Insomniac’s debut trailer for Spider-Man 2 was an incredible tease for fans of the studio’s first two Spider-Man games. Peter and Miles even appear to perform a team-up attack at one point in the trailer, which has many fans speculating that the game could feature a co-op mode. This isn’t the first time; fans have speculated about co-op since the release of Insomniac’s first Spider-Man game in 2018. But here’s the thing: Spider-Man 2 doesn’t need co-op. In fact, it could be bad for the game.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good co-op game. Left 4 Dead, Cuphead, Sea of Thieves, and It Takes Two are all games I played with a friend, and I think they were better experiences for it. However, those titles were all design from the ground up with co-op in mind.
That’s crucial because co-op is its own beast, and it takes a lot of work to make a game that is fun for two players. Portal 2 only made it work by designed co-op as a separate mode. Nintendo was able to get co-op into Luigi’s Mansion 3 by letting players play as Gooigi. Still, the second player’s interactions were a bit limited, and the mode only worked because the Gooigi mechanic was already in single-player. I don’t think either of those options work for Spider-Man 2.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man titles are great open-world action games. Like many people, I think it would be a lot of fun to swing around New York and stop crime with a friend. However, some of the best moments from Insomniac’s superhero games have been the story and action set pieces. Those elements don’t mix as well in co-op. If Spider-Man 2 has co-op, I’m worried it would lose a lot of its charm and what it does best.
We’ve seen this happen before. Series like Dead Space and Resident Evil were known for their incredible single-player campaigns, and the introduction of co-op only weakened many of the things I loved about both series. I don’t want that to happen to Spider-Man.
So how should Insomniac make use of both Peter and Miles? I think they should make both characters playable and let players bounce between them at different points in the story. They could still perform team-up attacks, but it would remain a single-player experience. In fact, Insomniac played around with a similar concept in its The City That Never Sleeps DLC, as did Rocksteady in Batman: Arkham Knight.
I’m sure Insomniac knows what it’s doing. The studio has earned my trust at this point. So if Spider-Man 2 ends up having co-op, I hope it’s great … but I don’t think it needs it.