Insomniac Games has shared the first details about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’s skill tree system and some exciting changes already confirmed. Both the first Spider-Man Insomniac game and its Miles Morales sequel also featured skill trees, allowing players to customize Peter Parker and Miles Morales’ abilities based on their preferences. That system is making a comeback in Spider-Man 2, but with a catch. Since Peter Parker isn’t the only Spider-Man playable in Spider-Man 2, Insomniac is changing the skill tree system to suit the new game’s action.
In both Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, players were given a trio of skill trees to progress through. In the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker had three skill trees. The Innovator focused on creative crowd control actions like throwing enemies and objects, the Defender helped create focus and increased survivability in combat, and the Webslinger targeted both airborne and ranged combat actions. Miles Morales’ three skill trees in the sequel were more streamlined and focused on direct combat actions, his Venom abilities, and cloaking abilities. Each character brought their own spin to Spider-Man’s combat.
Spider-Man 2 will allow players to switch between Peter Parker and Miles Morales, and so has a skill tree system built around that. Spider-Man 2 game director Ryan Smith spoke about the matter in a recent interview with Eurogamer. Smith says that both Peter Parker and Miles Morales will have their own skill tree, and a third one will be shared between the two. Smith says this is so that “there’s a sense of familiarity” even when switching between Parker and Morales.
According to Smith, Peter Parker’s skill tree in Spider-Man 2 could be dramatically different from the original Spider-Man. Those who watched the recent Spider-Man 2 gameplay trailer at the PlayStation showcase will understand why. Parker’s skill tree will focus on his symbiote abilities. Abilities shown in the trailer include a ranged punch that pins an enemy to a wall, a charge that captures multiple enemies in goo and launches them into the air, and another that grabs multiple enemies and knocks them to the ground.
When comparing these abilities to Insomniac’s first Spider-Man game, there’s a clear difference. Stylistically, the abilities are much more explosive and violent. Parker can summon weapons, tentacles, and more to throw at enemies, which combine into direct or CC attacks. Parker’s original skill tree focused largely on individual targeting, disarming or distracting enemies, resource management, and utilizing the environment. In Spider-Man 2, Parker’s objective seems more oriented towards grouping enemies and demolishing them with destructive combinations.
Miles Morales, on the other hand, isn’t going through the same Peter Parker reinvention. He’s becoming more aware of his own powers, though. That’s why Smith describes Morales’ new skill tree as featuring “evolved Venom powers”. We see them in action in the trailer. Morales is able to one-shot swipe robotic drones, teleport a short distance and explode in a disorienting electrical storm, and stun airborne enemies with a shocking blast that can also be transmitted to other nearby enemies.
Skill trees in the Spider-Man: Miles Morales game also included a Venom tree. This tree focused on Morales’ ability to stun enemies with Venom, either through a Venom Smash attack or with jumping and charging. Venom’s new abilities seem to have much bigger and more impactful results. Venom Smash seems to have returned, but now Morales can teleport and even fire electricity at groups of enemies.
The third skill tree in Spider-Man 2 is said to be shared between Peter Parker and Miles Morales. This tree will likely deal with Spider-Man’s more general abilities. Maybe the gliding ability Morales does while traversing the city is included in that, or the ability to freely create web lines while looking for stealth takedowns. What’s clear here is that Insomniac is building on the skills players already know from previous games, rather than taking them away.
With no more gameplay from Spider-Man 2, it’s not entirely clear how Insomniac is improving on the previous games’ gameplay. It feels like Insomniac wasn’t striving to be bigger and even more exciting than what it previously offered. Both Parker and Morales have abilities to damage groups and counter powerful enemies. Maybe that means more on-screen enemies and more powerful enemies. Expect to discover more information about Spider-Man 2 in the coming months.
Spider-Man 2 will be released in late 2023 on PS5.