Insomniac’s highly anticipated superhero action-adventure game, “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2,” released this past Oct. 20, 2023. It is the third installment to the two previous games of the “Marvel’s Spider-Man” saga, following “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” released in 2020, and “Marvel’s Spider-Man” released in 2018.
This new game revolves around the lives of both Peter Parker and Miles Morales, who serve as Spider-Men to their often-troubled New York City. They struggle with the next steps in each of their lives, with Peter unsure of how to balance the personal with the heroic aspects of his life, and Miles unsure what to do with his college applications and future. While they struggle through their own journeys, they are forced to combat new and old foes with their two main antagonists Kraven the Hunter, who sets up New York City as his new hunting ground, and the Venom symbiote, who bonds with Peter, creating tension in his relationships.
Building on top of the overarching character development both protagonists have gone through, as well as making their fighting and swinging action even more fluid than the past two games, it’s no wonder that this game was a hit with its new and old fans.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” specifically has an incredible portrayal of inclusivity and representation, particularly of the deaf community. As seen in the “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales”, we see Miles meet his deaf classmate (now friend and crush) Hailey. Rather than simply having Miles speak to her while she lip reads what he says, we saw the two characters speak to one another through American Sign Language (ASL). Insomniac turns it up a notch in this new game, having Hailey as a prominent side character like Miles’ best friend, Ganke. “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” demonstrates Ganke also conversing with Hailey through sign language, though with the mistakes and slowness of a new beginner, as well as having an interpreter at their school. There’s even a side quest where you can play as Hailey, painting a mural with no audio to simulate being her. I found that feature really sweet, because it offers the audience a reprieve from all the fighting (though that’s never a bad thing).
Video games have come a long way with inclusivity and appropriate representation, alongside all other forms of entertainment. In the past decade, and even just the past few years, we have had all sorts of better representation ranging from disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, race, gender and sexuality. Games such as the Red Dead Redemption franchise have come a long way in providing representation in their games franchise, helping future games in doing the same.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see such representation in video games because it should be the standard in general. I still commend it regardless, because it’s definitely long overdue for video games to have deaf representation such as the new Spider-Man game. I can’t wait to see what’s to come for the future of video games, and to see even more games with diverse casts and people. And I definitely recommend playing “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2” if you’re a nerd for these particular heroes (and would love to meet Hailey)!