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Avoiding Crunch Changed Marvel's Spider-Man Forever

Given the amount of hype and anticipation created during its initial announcement in 2016, Insomniac Games' "Marvel's Spider-Man" had every opportunity to fall flat on its face, crushed under the weight of fan expectations. Fortunately for gamers everywhere, the PlayStation 4 exclusive was released to rave reviews in 2018, eventually leading to a critically acclaimed remaster for the PlayStation 5 and a beloved sequel in "Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales."

While it's obvious that "Marvel's Spider-Man" was a labor of love from Insomniac, the company's CEO, Ted Price, has recently revealed more about the work that went into making it. The company actually had to scale some things down to avoid putting its employees through crunch towards the end of its development cycle. 

"The temptation is to just brute force it, put our heads down and run through the brick wall," Price said at the Develop: Brighton conference (via GamesIndustry.biz). "But the team took a step back and thought about what was important to the players, and that was the breakdown of the relationship between Peter and his former mentor, Doctor Octavius." Here's how avoiding crunch allowed Insomniac to still make something special.

Marvel's Spider-Man scaled back on the final boss battle

In "Marvel's Spider-Man's" final boss fight, Spider-Man battles Doctor Octavius (a.k.a. Doctor Octopus) for the antidote to a biological weapon that Doc Ock has unleashed upon New York City in an effort to ruin Dr. Norman Osborn, head of Oscorp, who has pulled funding for Octavius' small lab. The boss battle takes place at Oscorp HQ, creating an ultra-personal setting where Peter Parker must fight his mentor tooth and nail in order to save the city. But apparently, this wasn't the original plan for Spider-Man's battle against Doc Ock.

According to Price, the original fight between Spidey and Ock was to take place throughout New York City, an idea that was scaled back in order to keep the team at Insomniac from going into overtime or resorting to overly-long work days (per GamesIndustry.biz). "They rethought the fight and realized they didn't need to destroy half of New York to pay off the relationship," Price said. "In fact, it would have worked against what we were going for. As a result, the final battle is much more up close and personal, and has a far bigger emotional impact than planned — and it fit within the time we had."

Even if fighting Doctor Octavious throughout the borough of Manhattan sounds like an awesome idea, the final product turned out to be just as impactful. Crunch has continued to be a controversial element in the gaming industry, with companies like Rockstar Games and Naughty Dog coming under fire for employing it to get games out on time. The fact that Insomniac was able to avoid it may make the game even more of a fan favorite.