Spider-Man Part 9: The Web of Spider-Sneak

By Shamus Posted Thursday Mar 14, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 67 comments

Spider-Man gets a tip from Yuri that the Demons are seizing a lot of the Kingpin’s holdings. Spider-Man still thinks this is a gang war problem. By this point in the story the player has run into spontaneous clusters of Demons doing various crimes around the city. They seem to be amassing weapons and money and Spidey is wondering what their next big move is.

Yuri is invaluable here. As a member of the police force she can feed Spider-Man all the exposition we need and act as a sounding board for our lead character. Without her, Spider-Man would need to convey all of his plans and fears by narrating to himself. That works fine in comics where the writer controls the flow of time and can have Spidey recap recent events in a single full-page panel, but in an open world having the player character endlessly chattering to themselves would be incredibly tedious.

Spider-Man and Yuri figure out that the Demons are likely to attack one of the Kingpin’s properties at the docks. Yuri sends officer Jefferson Davis with a warrant. This means Spider-Man and Officer Davis can conduct a proper search and gather evidence.

Before they can do the search, Spidey needs to knock out all the guards, so I guess now is a good time to talk about the…

Spider-Stealth

Oh good. This guy is "Safe" to eliminate. Glad the game was able to tell me this so I don't need to think for myself.
Oh good. This guy is "Safe" to eliminate. Glad the game was able to tell me this so I don't need to think for myself.

I’ve never really thought of Spider-Man as a stealth-focused hero. While I’m sure he’s done a little sneaking over the last five decades, I can’t remember reading a single instance of him doing it. Most of the time he just flings himself at the bad guys while shouting jokes.

On the other hand, I actually think stealth fits his character design. He’s a wiry dude in skin-tight spandex, which – ignoring his color choices – is pretty much step 1 of becoming a stealth character. I was never clear on how he was able to dodge bullets so easily in the comics and cartoons. Sure, I can see him ducking and jumping around one guy with a revolver. He’s fast and his Spidey-sense lets him knows when attacks are coming. But once you’ve got a handful of guys with assault rifles I start to wonder how our hero doesn’t get hit. Those things shoot a lot of bullets and it’s possible to fill the air to the point where there isn’t enough space for our hero to fit through regardless of his acrobatic ability. On top of that, spiders are ambush predators so stealth takedowns totally fit with the character concept.

On the cynical side it’s easy to assume Insomniac Games just put in these stealth sections because they were trying to tick all the boxes on the Batman template. Then again, stealth makes sense for the character in a situation where he’s facing a dozen guys with automatic weapons. There’s nothing in Spidey’s background or concept that precludes the use of stealth, so why not give the gameplay a little variety?

Having said that…

Shallow Stealth

YOINK!
YOINK!

The stealth gameplay in Spider-Man 2018 is incredibly shallow. If they added this feature to copy what the Batman games are doing then they really missed the mark.

When you’re watching a foe from the shadows, there’s an indicator over their head telling you if they’re safe to pick off or if someone else is watching them. Isn’t figuring that out that the central challenge of stealth encounters? You’re supposed to observe enemy positions, analyze the field, and find someone vulnerable to pick off. But now the interface does all of that work for you. You just swing around and look for the prompt. It’s literally called “Safe”.

In Batman, enemies are always in motion. Nearly all of your targets are walking around. If they’re stuck in a single location, it usually means they have a hostage and it’ll be a game over if they spot you. The encounter areas are limited so there’s no easy escape if you’re discovered. There are special anti-stealth foes, like night vision guys to spot you hiding in the dark and landmine guys to restrict your movement.

We could make the player analyze the field and look for weaknesses, or we can just TELL them who they can ambush. It's like these stealth sections were designed by someone who doesn't like stealth sections.
We could make the player analyze the field and look for weaknesses, or we can just TELL them who they can ambush. It's like these stealth sections were designed by someone who doesn't like stealth sections.

In Spider-Man, guys usually stand still. They don’t have hostages except for in specific side-missions. The arenas are generally larger and you can erase almost any blunder by simply swinging away and waiting fifteen seconds. None of your adversaries have any anti-stealth tools, which means your foes are completely interchangeable and none of them require special consideration or prioritization.

Moreover, Spider-Man has the ability to attack across huge distances. A guy might be twenty meters away, but all it takes is a single press of the triangle button to have Spidey launch himself at the guy and knock him out in a single pounce. This means you barely need to worry about positioning. Unlike Batman, you’re not going to have to puzzle your way through an encounter, looking for a way to get behind that one vulnerable guy.

If nothing else, the long-distance pounce should have broken stealth. The move makes a pretty big slam when you land on a guy, and it would make sense if that drew everyone’s attention. The designers could have made it so that you need to get directly behind or above guys before doing the more silent web-based takedowns. That wouldn’t be enough to fix these encounters on its own, but it would at least be something to mildly challenge the player.

Weapons Cache

How come we have a proper warrant for THIS illegal operation but we couldn't get warrants for any of the others? Actually, forget I asked. This is the kind of question you should never ask in a comic book story about costumed crimefighting.
How come we have a proper warrant for THIS illegal operation but we couldn't get warrants for any of the others? Actually, forget I asked. This is the kind of question you should never ask in a comic book story about costumed crimefighting.

Spider-Man and Officer Davis slip into Fisk’s warehouse and do a few mild puzzles to open up the secret tunnel to the armory where Fisk’s men keep their insane cache of overpowered hardware. Spider-Man arrives just in time to see the Demons sneaking out the back door with the last of the weapons, which begins a high-speed chase across the city. There are rocket launchers and crashed vehicles and explosions and last-minute saves. I’m sure you’ve seen an action chase scene before so I’m not going to give you the full play-by-play.

At the end, Officer Davis saves Spider-Man’s life while Spider-Man is saving the lives of a bunch of people on the subway. It ends with a small crowd of bystanders applauding and Spider-Man motioning towards Officer Davis to give him all the credit.

What Time Is It?

I don't know that the crowd should be clapping for either one of us in the middle of all this destruction, but it's nice that we're sharing credit.
I don't know that the crowd should be clapping for either one of us in the middle of all this destruction, but it's nice that we're sharing credit.

Curiously, this game doesn’t have a running day / night cycle. Instead the time of day moves forward after story missions. Once the game is over you can visit a few specific locations on the map to manually switch between day, dusk, and night. There’s always a loading screen when the time changes, which makes me wonder how this game engine works. Is each time of day a totally different version of the city? The city itself will get torn apart as the story goes on, and some major landmarks will get destroyed or damaged. There are at least three distinct periods of the city in terms of scenery, and there are also three different versions of the city in terms of lighting. I’m wondering how they pulled this off without needing nine copies of the city.

I usually like working out the timeline of a story to see how many days pass. I did that for both Half-Life 2 and Final Fantasy X.  I like doing this sort of thing because the passage of time is always so strange in videogames. We’re accustomed to a compressed day-night cycle and don’t bat an eye when several days of in-game activity happens inside of a couple hours of gameplay. At the same time, we usually consume a game over the course of days or weeks. You can take in an entire movie in just 90 minutes, but typical AAA games are expected to take at least ten times that.

So we’re comfortable with time passing very quickly within the world during a single play session, but then time is suspended within the world between play sessionsUnless you’re playing Animal Crossing.. Moreover, you might spend hours faffing around in an open-world game and not engaging with the story. Some games have the day / night cycle roll on while you do this, and others suspend the passage of time until you jump back on the rails to the next cutscene. This makes for some strange distortions to the passage of time that can leave the audience confused about pacing.

There's a mission where a birder spots some bad guys in central park, and the mission is explicitly set at night. Is this a thing? Do bird nerds really look for birds in New York city in the middle of the night?
There's a mission where a birder spots some bad guys in central park, and the mission is explicitly set at night. Is this a thing? Do bird nerds really look for birds in New York city in the middle of the night?

I guess this confusion is why I like analyzing how the writer handled the passage of time. I think it’s amusing when it feels like a story must have taken place over the course of months, and then you discover the writer envisioned the whole thing happening in three days.

Sadly, it’s somewhat harder to do here. Some sidequests take place at a specific times of day. So if it’s daytime in the main story when you trigger a nighttime mission, then the game switches to night for the mission and then back to day when it’s over. Other side missions clearly are supposed to take place at a given time of day, and the game will allow you to tackle it at the wrong time without messing with the position of the sun. For example, there’s a mission where you need to hunt down missing ESUEmpire State University. students based on photographs taken “just a few minutes ago” according to the student asking you for help. However, the photographs are unambiguously daytime and the game allows you to do the mission at night. There are a few vague time cuts in the story that might cover a few days and other cuts that are explicitly weeks. You could build a rough timeline here, but it’s hard to nail down anything concrete.

My point is that this game plays pretty fast and loose with the timeline and I can’t quite nail down when things happened or how much time passed between events. I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to think about it. Although thinking about stuff that you’re not supposed to think about is kind of my brand.

Evicted

Spider-Man gets evicted. And he just lost his job! Oh well. At least he still has a good relationship with his friend Otto.
Spider-Man gets evicted. And he just lost his job! Oh well. At least he still has a good relationship with his friend Otto.

After this adventure, Spider-Man heads home to get some shuteye. Like I said above, I’m not totally sure how long it’s been since Peter got that nap at the Octavius Industries Lab or how long he managed to sleep at the time, but it’s safe to say it’s been quite a while and he’s long overdue.

He gets home to discover the locks have been changed and his stuff is gone. He’s been evicted.

This is a pretty classic Spidey story. In fact, one of the last Spider-Man comics I bought was Amazing Spider-Man #314Published in 1989, but I didn’t pick it up until a few years later. where Peter and MJ get evicted on Christmas Eve.

On one hand, it’s sad that you can’t re-visit your apartment before being evicted. You only get to see it during the opening cutscene. After that it still appears on the map, but you can’t get in. Sad face. This eviction might sting a little more if it was cutting the player off from someplace they they’d previously been able to visit. On the other hand, the apartment was incredibly dense with detail and I imagine making an additional version that was accessible outside of a cutscene would be a lot of extra work. On the gripping hand, this game is so enormous that a single detailed room ought to be just a drop in the bucket.

Either way, it was a cool apartment.

Peter doesn’t care about his possessionsPete! For a dude who can’t even make rent you’re awfully blasé about losing your laptop, food, and all your clothes. except for the flash drive where he keeps all the plans for his Spider-gadgets. So he has to swing all over town, chasing garbage trucks and dumpster diving to recover his lost flash drive.

Couch Surfing

Like Pete's apartment, May's office is packed with wonderful worldbuilding and character details. Some artist came up with pictures of Ben, pictures of young May, pictures of young Peter that look sort of like a young Tobey Maguire. (Not sure if that's deliberate.) All of it is detailed, interesting, and helps characterize our leads. Peter even has comments on some of it.
Like Pete's apartment, May's office is packed with wonderful worldbuilding and character details. Some artist came up with pictures of Ben, pictures of young May, pictures of young Peter that look sort of like a young Tobey Maguire. (Not sure if that's deliberate.) All of it is detailed, interesting, and helps characterize our leads. Peter even has comments on some of it.

Pete considers going to MJ’s to crash, but chickens out and heads back to FEAST. Aunt May has a really big office and he crashes on the couch.

Peter narrates to himself that he hasn’t slept “since the Fisk takedown”. This isn’t strictly true. The scene where he built the new White Spider suit had him napping, and that’s part of this same linear narrative. I’m not saying this is a plot hole or anything. A guy who gets this much exercise and this little sleep can certainly be forgiven for losing track of his last nap. I’m just saying I noticed.

He wakes up to discover she’s left him a few hundred bucks. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to accomplish. You can’t get housing in Manhattan for much less than $1,500 a month,  which means you need somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000 just to pay the first month’s rent and security deposit. Peter made it clear earlier that he’s basically broke, and now he doesn’t even have a job.

She also gives him a pep talk about asking for help and they do a little bonding.

I'm going to be out of the office for a few days to do some mass murder. I mean business trip. Totally a business trip. I don't know why I said that other thing.
I'm going to be out of the office for a few days to do some mass murder. I mean business trip. Totally a business trip. I don't know why I said that other thing.

Martin Li interrupts. He announces he’s leaving town to take care of personal business. Everyone in the audience over five years old knows he’s the villain at this point, but our characters don’t know they’re in a comic book story so they have to figure things out the hard way.

Li puts Aunt May in charge while he’s gone. He asks her to take good care of FEAST, saying “It represents… the best part of me.”

I think it would be more accurate for him to say, “This place represents the tiny slice of me that isn’t a mass-murdering terrorist dumbass” but I guess that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

We’ll get to Li and his ridiculous plans later.

Sorry this entry was really heavy on recap and low on analysis. I don’t like to waste time just telling you the events of the story, but there’s a lot of plot in this game and some of this becomes important later. I can’t skip this recap without losing everyone in the audience that hasn’t played. And since this is a PS4 exclusive, that’s most of you.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Unless you’re playing Animal Crossing.

[2] Empire State University.

[3] Published in 1989, but I didn’t pick it up until a few years later.

[4] Pete! For a dude who can’t even make rent you’re awfully blasé about losing your laptop, food, and all your clothes.



From The Archives:
 

67 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 9: The Web of Spider-Sneak

  1. John says:

    Huh. Is Officer Davis’s first name really Jefferson? ‘Cause Jefferson Davis is, uh, let’s say unexpected choice of name for a black character, given that it is also the name of the first and only President of the Confederate States of America.

    1. beleester says:

      Yes, he’s actually a canon character, the father of Miles Morales (alt-universe Spiderman). I can’t find anything on why they picked that name, though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Marvel_Comics_characters:_D#Jefferson_Davis

      1. John says:

        That’s just weird. I can only assume that not everyone is a Civil War–the American Civil War, not Marvel’s Civil War event–nerd like me.

        1. Daimbert says:

          I’m not sure that’s the explanation. I’m Canadian and not a huge American Civil War buff and _I_ noticed it in the article when Shamus mentioned it.

          1. Kylroy says:

            Yeah, this is like having an Irish character named “Oliver Cromwell”. I’d argue that anyone in the U.S. who’s going to name characters should be aware of this sort of thing (like why you’re unlikely to have a black man named Thomas).

            1. Sartharina says:

              … I know a bunch of black guys named Thomas.

              1. Syal says:

                I don’t get the Thomas one.

                1. John says:

                  It’s probably a reference to the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

            2. Kyle Haight says:

              On the other hand, I kind of like the idea of the historical Jefferson Davis spinning in his grave because a heroic black man has appropriated his name.

            3. krellen says:

              It’s more like naming an Irish character Kelly O’Sullivan. Jefferson and Davis are both very common surnames among African-Americans.

              1. Ravens Cry says:

                Nonetheless, the combination is hilarious.

              2. Sleeping Dragon says:

                Not directly related but let’s talk about that time in AssCreed3 where the protagonist is told that he could pretend to be Spanish or something like that and so he should use a namer Connor.

      2. Hal says:

        I’m more curious why Miles doesn’t share his father’s name.

        1. MilesDryden says:

          Morales is his mother’s last name, I believe.

          1. Hal says:

            Right. But Davis and Morales were married. It’s possible that she wanted to keep her name, or Miles was born before they were married, but I can’t find any reference to it.

            1. Sarfa says:

              Morales is the mothers last name. She kept her name, and Miles took her name because if you have the choice of your name alliterating or it not alliterating, and you live in the Marvel universe, you go for the alliteration. It dramatically increases your chances of getting superpowers- see Matt Murdock, Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Reed Richards, Bruce Banner…

              1. Blake says:

                Stephen Strange, Otto Octavius, Wade Wilson, Susan Storm(-Richards), Victor Von Doom…

        2. Christopher says:

          ‘Cause then he’d be Miles Davis.

    2. Biggus Rickus says:

      It could be a “taking back the name” kind of statement. I think it’s a poor choice, because you shouldn’t name characters things that take people out of the story. You don’t want your readers thinking, “That’s weird. Why’d they name him that?”

    3. Syal says:

      I’m really hoping there’s an Arnold Benedict in this police force.

      1. Biggus Rickus says:

        Have a new character named David Duke inherit the mantle of Black Panther. The possibilities are endless(ly terrible).

  2. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Two typos : entire move, operaton.

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      Also “centeral park”

    2. Lee says:

      Also, in a screenshot comment, “centeral park.”

      Whoops, ninja’d while reading the post.

      1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

        Your shame will be eternal.

    3. Zak McKracken says:

      Also: “they they’d”

  3. ElementalAlchemist says:

    Do bird nerds really look for birds in New York city in the middle of the night?

    I can’t speak to New York specifically, but more generally, yes, if the species of interest is nocturnal (for example, owls, nightjars, etc.). And even for diurnal species, the peak observation period is usually dawn, which typically means getting up well before, especially if you have to make any sort of trek to the observation site. I guess 3 or 4am is probably considered “middle of the night” by some people.

    1. Blue-NINJA'D says:

      I just assumed he was lying; he was actually trying to spy on doggers or look in women’s windows while they changed. He just didn’t want to admit that to the crime-fighting hero.

      Though yeah, maybe New York has nocturnal birds. I don’t know.

      1. Chuk says:

        The bird watcher is a she. (A she still might be doing those things but it seems from the mission that she’s a legit birder.)

      2. Syal says:

        I figured it was vampires. She’s trying to catch one turning into a bat.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Not much into birds but read something a few years ago that birds in large cities tend to become nocturnal even if they naturally aren’t, or at least move most of their singing etc. into the very early morning hours, when daytime noise doesn’t interfere.

      1. evileeyore says:

        That’s because of street lamps and light attracted insects making for very easy meals for many species of smaller birds (and bats).

  4. Daimbert says:

    When you’re watching a foe from the shadows, there’s an indicator over their head telling you if they’re safe to pick off or if someone else is watching them. Isn’t figuring that out that the central challenge of stealth encounters?

    I don’t think it has to be. Persona 5 added stealth to its dungeons, and it also gives you an indication if you’re in a position where you can get in a sneak attack (that gives you the advantage of going first) when you’re hiding. The challenge of that sort of thing is not the tactical challenge of figuring out the precise moves — which can be difficult and boring/frustrating for some players — but is instead simply down to positioning, timing and patience: get yourself into the right position for an ambush, wait patiently for the opening, and time it right so that you can activate it when it comes available, move off to a new stealth point, and so on.

    A game that had mandatory stealth sequences where you had to do all the work of figuring out when it’s safe to do that would generally frustrate and bore me. The reward would have to be great to get me to put up with it (VTM: Bloodlines did give out lots of extra XP for being stealthy, which is why I did it in my half-a-game playthough, but I still used a FAQ to figure out what the pattern and path actually was).

    1. Matthew Downie says:

      What I find frustrating in stealth sequences is the need to wait patiently sometimes. Sure, I could sit here doing nothing for ten seconds while I wait for one of the guards to turn a corner, but I’d rather be doing anything at all.

    2. Hal says:

      Perhaps that could have been something for higher difficulties: Take away the stealth safety indicator.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Or made optionally configurable right from the beginning. I’m really in favour of lots of customization and so essentially allowing people to set their own “difficulty” based on what they like and are good at.

  5. KotBasil says:

    “And since this is a PS4 exclusive, that’s most of you”
    Why must you hurt me like this with painful reminders ;_; I hate exclusives so, so much.

    1. Redrock says:

      Not PC exclusives, though. No, we like those.

      1. SoldierHawk says:

        We do?

        I just hate exclusives, period.

      2. Leocruta says:

        I was going to say “Only as a consequence of requiring a keyboard and mouse to play” but then I thought of how amused I’d be if a game had a console ui and was PC exclusive. So, yeah, accurate.

      3. KotBasil says:

        Well, according to the shitstorm with Epic Games Store exclusives, PC players are not fond of any exclusivity whatsoever :)

        1. emptyother says:

          A change in exclusivity after they started selling the game is a bit different.

  6. guy says:

    To me, what makes the stealth sections worse is that the guards seem to have an unusually large autodetection radius where they alert on takedowns behind them. It feels like it’s at least five meters and ignores obstacles. So it’s annoyingly hard to pull clumps apart to the point that guards move out of mutual coverage.

    1. Hal says:

      The autoalert isn’t completely stealth-breaking, though. Let’s say there’s a group of two guys, and you take out one of them; if you can take out the other guy fast enough, stealth for the entire area isn’t broken.

      As far as pulling clumps apart goes, the game had a mechanic for shooting webs at something nearby to make noise and attract their attention. It wasn’t foolproof, of course, but you usually had a better chance than not of separating goons, especially if you chained the effect.

    2. Armagrodden says:

      I learned that those clumps are best broken up by web bombs. Usually the clumps are standing by walls. If you drop a web bomb into the middle of the clump, the guys closest to the wall will be webbed to it (taking them out) while the others will stand there struggling to free themselves. Ridiculously, this does not alert them that Spider-Man is in the area, so they will not sound the alarm as they stand there complaining about the webbing. If there’s only one guy left free in the clump you are free to fly in and punch him down; if not, the remaining guys will walk up and investigate the guys still stuck to the wall once they free themselves, meaning you can drop another bomb behind them and they’re now close enough to the wall to get stuck alongside their companions.

      So that’s how I handled clumps, but if anything it only makes the stealth sections more absurd.

  7. Lars says:

    You should play a Yakuza game. The number of events happening in one night challenge Arkham City. But like Arkham City, it’s fun.

  8. Hal says:

    I’ll recap one of my previous comments on the stealth:

    I recall Arkham Asylum having escalating conditions if Batman was in stealth taking guys out, where the bad guys would sweep the rafters for him, get paranoid and erratic, etc. I don’t see why you couldn’t do that here; as it is, the bad guys might realize Spider-Man is in the area but they’ll never look over their heads to find him. At least, until stealth is “broken,” at which point they home in on you like blood hounds no matter what you do or where you go. Again, loved the game, but this mechanic needed some refinement.

    I really did enjoy the stealth portions of the game, but it was always a little weird how the bad guys seemed to be staring at their shoes the entire time. I think the shallowness of this part could easily have been alleviated had the bad guys been inclined to hunt for Spider-Man over their heads.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I didn’t care much for the stealth sections. As I mentioned elsewhere, stealth is not well thought and is certainly nowhere in the level of care that an Arkham game is. In Arkham games, Batman can move in and out of stealth at leisure (provided you escape your enemies before they kill you). He can punch someone from the back when he’s in stealth and go back to being stealthy if he gets away.

      You can’t do that in this game. You can’t break stealth unless you stand in front of an enemy, and at that point stealth is broken forever, so stealth is mandatory until it becomes impossible. In bases this is slightly different because you can swing away from the zone for a few seconds and go back to have everything reset, which is basically no different from restarting a mission.

      It doesn’t really make the gameplay any easier or harder, but it makes some challenges more annoying if you want to rack up base points.

  9. Hal says:

    I’ll admit, I was angry about the Demons coming in through the back door to scoop up all of the goodies.

    It’s an overplayed trope. You could see it coming a mile away. More frustrating, however, is how the way you enter, as Spider-Man, seems to itself be “the back door,” given how onerous and complicated it is to get to the cache that way. The “back-door” opens right onto the streets, or at least an alley; the Demons had a truck backed up to it to load!

    So now explain to me why the “back door,” with the street accessible entrance, was left unguarded, while the “front door,” which Fisk’s goons probably couldn’t access in the first place, was crawling with mooks.

  10. Joshua says:

    “How come we have a proper warrant for THIS illegal operation but we couldn’t get warrants for any of the others? Actually, forget I asked. This is the kind of question you should never ask in a comic book story about costumed crimefighting.”

    This is one of those things you have to accept as comic book logic. In the real world, any non-police officer who is acting as an agent for the police is still bound by the same restrictions when it comes time to rules of evidence. A person generally can’t break into a place without a warrant, find evidence, turn it over to the police, and then have that evidence be admissible. If you are working for the cops, for all intents and purposes you are therefore a cop and any evidence illegally obtained without a warrant is tainted. “Exclusionary Rule” , “Fruit of the poisonous tree” and all that.

  11. Christopher says:

    The little mission where you try to track down the right garbage trucks was one of mye favorite missions in the game. Almost entirely because of the voiceover. Pete phones up this sanitary worker and he tries to help him look for it even though it’s the middle of the night, and you get this distinct sense of Spider-Man actually being a local as he tries to suss out where it could be. There’s a good mood to it, as you swing around homeless in the middle of the night while the chill music track from the puzzle sections is playing. That’s one thing that never happened in an Arkham game.

  12. Zak McKracken says:

    Gosh, does Martin Li’s suit look like plastic …

    1. Volvagia says:

      New “Action Figure Cut” suits. All the great super villains will wear them in a few years.

  13. Zak McKracken says:

    So … do you get your possessions taken away and thrown away when evicted in the US?
    Over here, you may get some of your stuff seized and sold if you’re owing debt and do not pay (after a certain number of other procedures have failed…), but there are limits to that.
    It seems kind of unnecessarily brutal to me to take somebody’s private stuff (photos, diaries… the data on his USB drive) and just throw them away. I’m fairly certain that in most jurisdictions, that wouldn’t be allowed. Or at least I hope so…

    1. Hector says:

      Not normally, and my understanding is that New York especially has strong renter protections. You can’t normally have surprise evictions.

    2. Shamus says:

      The eviction scene in this game is cartoonish. In the real world, it takes MONTHS to (legally) evict someone. Pete got his final notice at the start of the game, and then was evicted a couple of days later. As far as I understand, that is both a civil and a criminal violation.

      I don’t know about your stuff, though.

      1. evilmrhenry says:

        The laws vary by state. After Googling, it looks like in New York, the landlord would probably store the stuff for 30 days, and attempt to send written notice to the tenant. (The state doesn’t have this as a real law, but this is the common wisdom for “do this and you won’t get sued”.)

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          Thanks everyone, that seems a lot more civil!

        2. Syal says:

          Here it’s 30 days notice before someone can be evicted, and 90 days after eviction before you can throw away their stuff. Don’t know how much of that is state law and how much is federal.

    3. Ander says:

      In my area (northern Chicago), it’s illegal to evict as a private citizen. You’re required to have the sheriff’s department do it. I don’t know what they do with your stuff, but it is illegal for the landlord to do it independently.

      As one might imagine, it’s very difficult to get people out of spaces they have been renting.

    4. Olivier FAURE says:

      Also, isn’t it illegal in the US to evict somebody in the middle of the winter? It is in France (we call it “the Winter truce”).

      1. Ander says:

        That’s a fantastic term

      2. Paul Spooner says:

        You’ve got two thousand years of organized civilization informing your laws and customs regulating landlords. For contrast, our rent legislation isn’t much older than that nice copper statue you gave us.
        Also, in about half the country, it doesn’t get cold enough in winter for it to be fatal, and the other half is populated by Norwegians who don’t even notice the cold on principle.

  14. Geebs says:

    There’s always a loading screen when the time changes, which makes me wonder how this game engine works. Is each time of day a totally different version of the city?

    Oddly enough there isn’t much on the internet about what lighting techniques Insomniac uses. The city itself is apparently streamed in in chunks, which might explain why they’re not moving the sun about during gameplay

    The game’s environment is absolutely full of tall, rectangular buildings which create a whole bunch of nasty edge cases in terms of shadow mapping and filtering. If the sun gets low to the horizon, you’ve potentially got shadows cast for miles across the map, so if you want to do real time shadowing of buildings you basically have to draw the entire city every frame to avoid artefacts like shadows appearing and disappearing, and you’re still going to get horrible aliasing everywhere. If you’re then loading and unloading chunks of city and the sun is moving low to the horizon, you’re going to have huge areas of shadow popping in and out as some large building several blocks away poofs out of existence. I guess they just figured, pre-render three sets of shadow maps for each block and have done with it.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      This solution also allows them to bake a nice Global Illumination light map for each time of day. It doesn’t look like they actually did this, but they could have.

  15. decius says:

    You are skeptical of nocturnal birds, but have no problem with surprise evictions being a thing?

  16. Dreadjaws says:

    There’s a mission where a birder spots some bad guys in central park, and the mission is explicitly set at night.

    Oh, man, that mission. That goddamn mission. I don’t know why the developers of this game are so obsessed with pigeons, but I’d love to have a few words with them about it.

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