This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
The recently released Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is loaded with Easter eggs. That information shouldn’t surprise anyone who played Insomniac Games’ previous Spider-Man adventures or anyone who is familiar with the studio’s other titles. That team loves to fill their games with various winks and nods, and they happen to be very good at doing so.
While there are numerous little Easter eggs in Spider-Man 2 worth discovering, the best (and biggest) Easter eggs are worth discussing as well due to the various ways they reference the larger Marvel multiverse. Given what we know about Insomniac’s future projects, they also raise some fascinating questions regarding how far Insomniac will be able to expand its own corner of that multiverse.
See, there are numerous nods to other Marvel properties in Spider-Man 2 that I ultimately don’t consider to be anything more than gags. Those include a location in Coney Island called “Dazzler’s Stage,” Matt Murdoch’s seemingly vacated law offices, a Damage Control banner, and similar largely throwaway acknowledgments of other Marvel properties. Those seem to be (admittedly fun) visual jokes.
There are, however, far more substantial Marvel references found throughout the game. For instance, there is an early story mission that sees Black Cat steal the Wand of Watoomb. Well, the Wand of Watoomb happens to be a pretty powerful magical artifact that plays a role in several Doctor Strange stories. As if that reference wasn’t clear enough, the mission ends with Spider-Man receiving a note from Wong that says “Just got back from Nepal. The Doctor and I owe you one.” It’s a tantalizing tease made all the more substantial by virtue of the fact that it is presented so clearly as part of the main story rather than as an otherwise missable side quest.
Less obvious (but no less intriguing) is what happens when you swing by the Baxter Building: the home of the Fantastic Four. Notably missing from the original Marvel’s Spider-Man game, the Baxter Building is not only in Spider-Man 2, but it is presented as a work in progress. In fact, if you go to the building’s roof, you’ll find a bunch of construction equipment and a partially painted “4” logo. That could very well be a cute way to respond to those who wondered why the building wasn’t in the original game, but it’s interesting to see the “under construction” nature of the gag given that visually similar Easter eggs have been used to tease future projects in other games.
However, one of the most notable teases of what may come occurs when we finally get a closer look at the meteorite that brought a Symbiote to Spider-Man 2‘s version of NYC. Well, it turns out that the meteorite is emblazoned with the symbol of Knull: a villainous deity who created the Symbiotes. While that obviously makes him an enemy of Spider-Man, Knull has also crossed paths with even more powerful Marvel figures such as Thor, The Silver Surfer, and, yes, the Fantastic Four. Knull is also a significantly more powerful villain than anything Peter Parker or Miles Morales have faced in these games so far. If that symbol is meant to hint that Knull could appear in a future Spider-Man game, then it’s hard to imagine Spider-Man taking him on without some substantial help.
Obviously, all of that information is little more than speculation and references until we hear otherwise. However, it’s worth noting that Insomniac’s Marvel universe is more than a theory. They officially got to create their own Spider-Man (and Marvel) universe with their Spider-Man games, and it has been strongly suggested that the team’s upcoming Wolverine game takes place in that same universe.
While it would be wild for Marvel to let Insomniac make standalone games with all of those characters, the idea of some of those characters appearing in this little corner of the greater Marvel multiverse seems pretty reasonable. After all, we’ve seen numerous games over the years that feature multiple Marvel characters, and the standalone nature of Insomniac’s Earth-1048 universe means that creative decisions they make with those characters can exist in something of a vacuum. For that matter, we’ve already seen Insomniac change pieces of Spider-Man and Marvel lore in some pretty big ways.
We know that Insomniac isn’t done expanding their Marvel universe quite yet. The only question is, “How big is that universe going to get?”