It’s a fundamental aspect of every Spider-Hero in Marvel Comics’ vast multiverse: imminent danger, heralded by a tingle. From hyper-sensitivity, to a flash of white, to goosebumps on the arm, Spider-Sense has been depicted in many ways across many mediums. But Miles Morales’ new video game might have the smartest one yet.
Because technically Miles doesn’t have it. You do.
Today Sony revealed a few more tiny details about the upcoming PlayStation 5 — specifically, its fancy-schmancy new controller, the PlayStation DualSense. Aside from looking like a banana from outer space, the DualSense has a bunch of features built in to make playing games with it a more involved experience, some of which were detailed in a new blog on the PlayStation website.
Aside from standard tech-y things like an inbuilt microphone and lights akin to the PlayStation 4's Dualshock 4, the new controller has things like adaptive triggers — programmed with various pressure and resistance sensitivities to, say, replicate the tension of pulling a bowstring or revving the throttle of a racing car. But the controller also has advanced precision haptic feedback technology that lets developers program which part of the controller vibrates and with what intensity to match the action going on in a game.
Vibrating controllers are nothing new — they’ve been rumbling since the days of the N64. But Sony is claiming the DualSense has some very precise and potent applications, some of which will be on display in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spidey-centric spinoff of the PS4 game that is set to launch...whenever the PS5 actually launches. “What does it feel like to use Miles’s stealth ability? How does a Venom Blast feel? Because of the high resolution of DualSense wireless controller’s haptics system, we can really push the dimensionality of the feedback,” Brian Horton, Miles Morales’ creative director at Insomniac games, revealed in the post. “For instance, as you hold down Square to do a Venom Punch, you feel [Miles’] bio-electricity crackle across from the left side of the controller, culminating in the right side on impact.”
But that’s not the actual neat thing haptic feedback will apparently do in Miles Morales. According to Horton, whenever a foe goes to lunge at Miles to attack him, his Spider-Sense will naturally go off...depicted by part of the DualSense controller subtly vibrating, in whatever direction the attack’s coming from in-game. Behind you? The bottom part of the DualSense rumbles. In front? the top, and so on and so forth. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spider-Sense was simply depicted on-screen, time slowing down ever so slightly when, prompted by a comic-book-esque flash of white alertness around his head, players had a chance to succesfully dodge Peter out of the way.
That’ll likely still be the case in Miles Morales. But the added little detail of an actual tingle running over your hands to help guide your interpretation of when and where to avoid danger is such a clever, silly little way to incorporate a fundamental part of Miles’ toolkit, it’s kind of amazing (or spectacular, or sensational) to see it happening.