The Easter Eggs And References Of Spider-Man
Spider-Man is going to be full of references to his long history and past Spider-Man stories. Some references and Easter eggs will be obvious, but others will be more subtle. We’ve talked about a number of these references already in our coverage of the game so far, but wanted to put everything we saw into one place, and also talk about some of the other surprises we encountered while playing.
Avengers Tower, Sanctum Sanctorum, and the Wakandan Embassy
We asked Insomniac writer Jon Paquette about how far this Spider-Man story would stretch beyond the realm of Spider-Man’s world. “We are firmly planted in the Spider-verse, with the characters you are familiar with, with all of Spider-Man’s stories and Peter’s stories,” Paquette said. While everything we’ve seen proves that to be true, it does not outright ignore the expanded Marvel universe. We don’t know if these locations will play into the story in a meaningful way, but we can absolutely confirm that Avengers Tower (complete with the Giant “A” on the side), Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Santorum, and the Wakandan Embassy from Black Panther are all present in the game.
We don’t know if Stan Lee will be making one of his obligatory cameos in Spider-Man, but we do know one part of the man appears in the game. We saw at least one license plate that had Lee’s familiar catchphrase, “Excelsior!” on it. Knowing how video game license plates work, however, it’s entirely possible that every car in Spider-Man’s New York will feature the phrase.
Crusher Hogan vs. The Spider
In the corner of Peter’s apartment there is a poster highlighting his early Spider-Man shenanigans from 2010. Peter, dressed in what is probably his first Spider-Man suit, wrestled and defeated Joe “Crusher Hogan” Hogan for money. In the comics, Hogan rarely goes full-on villain, but his life is affected by that early fight with Spider-Man. Additionally, we’re betting that the suit featured in the poster will be available as an unlock.
Fisk and McClintock Construction
We saw Fisk Construction signs everywhere, which is not surprising considering Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk is a major antagonist in the game, and he has his hands in a number of different businesses in Spider-Man’s New York, including construction. The more interesting construction sign we saw, however, was for McClintock Construction. McClintock Construction is a part of the Marvel universe, created for Netflix’s Daredevil, and it is related to Fisk in the context of that show. In that universe, the character McClintock also has ties to Union Allied Construction, the company that worked to rebuild New York after the events of the first Avengers film. We’re not sure how McClintock construction will factor in the game – it may just be a fun nod – but we definitely saw that name.
Scorpion, Rhino, and Vulture
We know Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk, Martin “Mister Negative” Li, and Herman “Shocker” Schultz are in Spider-Man, but the game’s opening cutscene offers hints for a few other villains. As the camera pans around Peter’s apartment, it slowly pans past a wall of newspaper articles calling out Scorpion, Rhino, and Vulture, complete with photographs. The headlines imply that Peter saved these articles to commemorate these villains being put behind bars, so it’s possible they may stay there for the duration of the game, but the prospect of getting to tussle with all three of those villains is undeniably exciting.
Another element of the game’s opening cutscene that stood out were discarded cans of SwillCo soda. We also saw signs for the beverage while exploring the city. SwillCo is not a brand from the Marvel universe (as far as we can tell), but we think it might be a referential cousin to FizzCo, the world-destroying energy drink from Sunset Overdrive – another Insomniac game.
Empire State University Posters
We saw ESU signs all over the place while exploring the city. It’s the college Peter attended, and in the timeline of the game, the one from which he recently graduated. ESU has been in the Marvel universe since its introduction in 1965 and has been host to all kinds of Marvel characters other than Spider-Man, like members of the Fantastic Four at different times, though I doubt any of them will appear in the game.
Norman Osborn Re-election Posters
In Spider-Man’s story, Norman Osborn was elected Mayor before the events of the game. During the few weeks of October during which the game takes place, he is running for re-election, and we saw campaign posters for his bid everywhere.
Spider-Man’s Performer Is Secretly Spider-Man
Yuri Lowenthal is playing the titular character in Spider-Man, but he is taking that role a step further by making sure he is always Spider-Man, even under his mo-cap suit. “One day, we were doing performance capture and it was the weekend of Halloween and so I wore a Spider-Man shirt, one of those Under Armour things, some Spider-Man boxers, and some Spider-Man socks and then at the end of the day I opened it up and showed it off and everyone thought it was funny,” Lowenthal says, “Everyone thought it was so funny that it became a thing.”