The Death Of Arkham Has Me Worried About Spider-Man

It always gets bad due to greedy suits. I just hope Insomniac evades that fate.

Story Highlights

  • Rocksteady developed its image with the Arkham universe, something that’s also its undoing.
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 played things too safe & failed to leave a lasting impression.
  • The continued trend of transforming big IPs into live services worries me for the webhead’s future.

After how Rocksteady ruined the Arkhamverse with Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, I’m concerned about the future of Marvel’s Spider-Man. You might think it’s a reach to connect these two things.

In my opinion, however, there are some highly valid points regarding the two franchises, live service, and the industry at large that make it all seem a bit shaky.

About the Author: Saad’s only concerned with two characters when it comes to comics—Spider-Man & Batman. Both have been with him since childhood in various media forms.

Rocksteady Built A Legacy Only To Crush It A Decade Later

After Arkham Asylum in the late 2000s, many proclaimed that games copied Rocksteady’s combat formula and failed to make it feel as good as the original. Others rightfully pointed out that said combat system was introduced in the tie-in game for Spider-Man 2 on the PS2. Even so, Asylum brought so much to the table that it stood on its own as the pioneer.

In an age of mediocrity, where no superhero game truly made an impression, Rocksteady divebombed onto the scene with Batman: Arkham & showed what was possible. After the success of Asylum, Arkham City went on to redefine the genre and open-world design. It improved upon its predecessor in every way even if it gets the “ugliest portrayal of Batman Beyond ever” award.

What happened to you rocksteady
byu/Initial_Surround478 invideogames

Credit to WB Montreal too, for it crafted a phenomenal entry in the series. Arkham Origins often gets overshadowed by Rocksteady’s work but it deserves just as much attention and love as the other titles. Moving on, even though it relied excessively on the Batmobile, Arkham Knight capped things off for Bats in the most fitting way possible. It inspired Insomniac to craft Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Such a legacy, built over a decade, amounted to what? A pale, washed-out GAAS looter-shooter where you play as common street thugs and kill a super team that was never formed. WB’s thirst for greater profits not only proved to be a failure, but it also ruined an immaculate universe. Not by making a live-service game; by making one that’s as horrendous as Suicide Squad.

Now, WB has made the fantastic decision of giving up on console games and focusing on mobile live service titles. Weren’t Suicide Squad’s sales disappointing? Didn’t Hogwarts Legacy shatter records and expectations in 2023? What kind of suit is sitting at the top of this company?

You must be wondering how this affects Spider-Man. It may not have a direct impact but it does set a precedent.

Spider-Man 2 Was Great But It Didn’t Leave A Mark

Let me make this clear, no amount of pitchfork-raising or Reddit-hate is going to affect my opinion. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was a good game. In fact, I enjoyed Insomniac’s take on the Symbiote arc despite having serious reservations regarding some of its elements. That said, it’s far from being a truly ground-breaking experience. Revisiting its predecessors & the Arkham series has cemented that fact.

Spider man 2 is disappointing
byu/Smelly_Varghina inplaystation

And that’s not where it ends. I’ve always felt The Game Awards is pretty biased at times but that doesn’t prevent great games from winning a few accolades. Despite having almost a dozen nominations, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 didn’t win a single award. In one of my previous pieces, I said it’s because Insomniac played too safe & that’s true. But now I believe another reason may have contributed to its lack of wins.

Sweet Baby Inc. has become infamous for its work in video games. Honestly, I don’t know a lot about how this company adjusts content to make it more diverse and inclusive. Even so, playing Spider-Man 2 & a bit of research gave me enough context to understand why people hate this organization.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 featured minimal innovation over its predecessors.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 featured minimal innovation over its predecessors.

See, the main element of any action is its intention. Let’s take representation of any kind for example. If you intend to add that element just for the sake of adding instead of weaving a story that naturally involves such a thing, it’s never going to come out right. And players are smarter than devs give them credit for.

Brian Intihar talked about how, with Spider-Man, Insomniac gives people what they want so that it can add new stuff in there to soften things up. It’s not a bad mindset to have but when what you’re adding is a weird form of propaganda that really doesn’t deserve to be there, at the expense of core gameplay segments, it’s bad.

This was just one of the many reasons why the webhead’s latest outing didn’t pack as much of a punch despite being his highest-rated game ever.

YouTube video

Plus, the Insomniac leak revealed some pretty interesting yet questionable information which lends credence to the validity of my concerns.

Everything Doesn’t Have To Be Live Service, Even Spider-Man

We all know Helldivers 2 is a huge success and Suicide Squad is dumpster fire. It just goes to show that there’s only one thing that sells—a good game. It’s that simple but suits have taken a vow to ruin gaming in an endless pursuit to line their own pockets.

One thought that constantly goes around in my mind is how the “unsustainability” of AAA development is contributing to this GAAS shift. At the same time, devs are purposely ignoring the successes of titles like Hogwarts Legacy, Elden Ring, Hi-Fi Rush, Armored Core 6, Baldur’s Gate 3, and many more. 

Helldivers 2 may be a live service success; that doesn't mean you jump on the bandwagon with halfhearted goals.
Helldivers 2 may be a live service success; that doesn’t mean you jump on the bandwagon with halfhearted goals and greedy intentions.

My point? There’s a ceiling placed on revenue and profit generated from single-player titles, be they AAA or AA or whatever. That cap is removed in live service due to its model. With how saturated the market is with GAAS shooters at this point, it’s difficult to break into the scene unless you prioritize the player and exercise goodwill.

The problem is, suits don’t care about that. 

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

People in suits are in a place of great power and with great power comes great responsibility. Think of this what you will but these words hold immense value for me even if modern writers have ruined his life in the comics.

Sony does “okay” business but with everything revealed in the Insomniac leak combined with the recent layoffs, I pray for Spider-Man.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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