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access_time August 2, 2020 at 6:00 AM in Features by David Poole

Why 2020 is the Perfect Year for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Spider-Man is one of the most iconic heroes of all time. The ability to balance the struggles of a “normal” life while also fighting crime as the mighty web warrior is inspiring. While the idea of Spider-Man may have started with Peter Parker, the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse teaches us that anyone can wear the mask. It’s that very core message that has given birth to the idea of other iterations, including Miles Morales. As a primary character in the film, Miles has gotten a lot of attention lately. Not only did he have a reoccurring role in multiple Spider-Man cartoons, but he also appears as a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. Arguably the most notable role, however, is his inclusion in Marvel’s Spider-Man, the hit PlayStation 4 game from Insomniac Games. Thanks to this role, he’ll get his own game with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

During the PlayStation 5 Future of Gaming presentation, this was easily one of the biggest highlights. Not only were we getting a continuation of the spectacular Insomniac Games title, but it’s on track to arrive later this year. While it may not be as fully featured as the 2018 predecessor, the developers still promise a full standalone title. That’s likely enough for fans of open world action games, especially since it will likely impress as a next-gen title. It might not launch day one with the PlayStation 5, whenever that may be, but a 2020 release is still important for this game.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, or even the past few decades, there’s a lot of civil unrest regarding racism in this world. We’re not going to go deep into the subject, but 2020 was a breaking point for the Black Lives Matter movement. As a Black Latino teenager, Miles represents another demographic for Spider-Man. Black and Latino kids everywhere can proudly see themselves in the Spider-Man role like never before. This doesn’t mean that Peter Parker isn’t important, but Miles brings a level of inclusiveness to an iconic character. Really, a representation of the symbol that is Spider-Man.

Getting back to the video game, Miles was introduced early on in Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. Without spoiling too much, while the game focuses on Peter and his problems, the game also acts as a Miles Morales origin story. We get to see Miles develop into a character that wants to help people. With the development of his own abilities, he is now given that power to do more. Of course, he’s still green in the field, which leads Peter Parker to mentor him. While we get to play as Miles in the game, we don’t get to experience his own superpowers quite yet. We simply get a tease that clearly leads to the PS5 game later this year.

While there are plenty more stories to tell with Peter Parker, it was clear that giving Miles his own game was the right move. The popularity of the character continues to rise, and the need for more representation of people of color is ever higher. And boy, does Insomniac Games nail that representation! Of course, it helps to have a talented voice behind the character with Nadji Jeter reprising his role. Aside from Into the Spider-Verse and the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, Jeter has essentially been the voice of the character in every other instance. This experience is going to help him rise above as the star of the upcoming title, and I look forward to hearing him take the lead.

As another version of Spider-Man, Miles shares similarities to Peter. They both have super strength and agility, the ability to crawl on walls, as well as the iconic “spider sense”. While Peter has a genius level intellect, Miles makes up for this with some special abilities of his own. The ability to camouflage himself has become a staple to the character. There’s also the Venom Strike, a special electric energy that he can emit from his fingertips. No doubt Insomniac plans to take full advantage of these abilities for the game. While Peter had several gadgets, we’ll likely see Miles use his own wits and instinct in the upcoming game.

Even though the timing is good for Black culture, it’s also good for Marvel too. With the COVID-19 pandemic, movies and various other forms of entertainment have hit a bit of a road block. It has now been over a year since the last theatrical release of a Marvel movie. Interestingly enough, it was Spider-Man: Far From Home in July of last year. With the delay of Black Widow to November, this is the longest drought we’ve had for Marvel films. While it’s not a Marvel film, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales just might scratch that itch that fans have been craving. It also helps that we get such a highly anticipated game in an overall depressing year. We could really use some positive light to really lift our spirits.

Overall, I look forward to seeing the story that Insomniac wants to tell with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I really dig the character and I think that the talented team will do justice for him. We’ll also likely see some nods to Into the Spider-Verse, given all the suits we had in the previous game. We know that Peter will join Miles in this adventure, though it’ll likely lead to twice the wall crawlers for a sequel. What do you think? Are you excited to jump back into New York and come out swinging? Let us know in the comments below. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is expected to launch exclusively for the PlayStation 5 sometime later this year. We’ll have more news when we get it.

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