It Doesn’t Really Matter How Fast Spider-Man 2’s Fast Travel Loads

Much ado has been made on Twitter about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’s fast travel times over the last week, as the embargo lifted and people started posting clips online. One particular clip that showed near-instant fast travel went viral online, shocking players with its speed. The video shows a brief hold-to-confirm button and an almost immediate transition to a spot on the other side of the map – you can travel to any location seemingly impossibly quickly.


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Many players think this actually is impossible, and that the hold-to-confirm button is a disguised loading screen. I did think this was a possibility, because even including the hold-to-confirm time, the clip shows four seconds between selecting the location and your chosen Spider-Man shown swinging right where you wanted him to be. A four second load time is already amazing, but an Insomniac Games developer has stepped in to say that this isn’t even really the case – it’s faster.

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On a ResetEra thread about the game, Mike Fitzgerald, Insomniac’s director of core technologies, confirmed that the hold-to-confirm prompt wasn’t hiding a load, and that he had suggested removing the hold-to-confirm prompt to prove that the loads were in fact near instant, but it was pointed out to him that “having a confirmation window was important for player usability, which at the end of the day is far more important than internet cred points”. You can’t control your Spidey for a couple of seconds after you fast travel as you watch a swinging animation, but whether this is to allow for loading or just a piece of visual flair is unclear. It’s also unimportant.

So, yes, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has basically instant load times. That hold-to-confirm button is essential for usability, and it should be there, even if some players inexplicably want it gone so that every time you click on a map on accident you’ll end up transported somewhere you didn’t mean to go. But I have to ask: why the hell do we care if the load times are five seconds or two seconds? Does it make that much of a difference?

Fine, yes, it’s a huge technical achievement. It makes the game feel seamless and it improves player experience if you care about load times. But is this the kind of thing we’re going to be nitpicking about as a community now? Even if the hold-to-confirm button was hiding a load screen – which it’s not – that would still be a maximum five-second load time. We are haggling over approximately three seconds. Isn’t it cool enough that you can travel anywhere in New York with an absurdly fast load time? Isn’t it cool enough that the game is critically praised across the board? Isn’t it cool enough that the game looks great, the story is great, and you get to be Spider-Man? Since when were loading times cool in the first place?

The whole hubbub just reminds me of how, as an industry, studios are constantly working towards technical achievements. They make more photorealistic characters, shorter load times, and ‘better’ graphics. Triple-A games are getting more costly and unsustainable to make because of these increasing technical demands, increasing development times, costs, and game prices, and still we are asking for improvements that are imperceptible to the vast majority of people. I’m sorry, I do not care at all if Spider-Man 2’s loading time is two or five seconds, no matter how cool it is that Insomniac managed this technical feat. There are important and interesting things to talk about when it comes to video games. A three-second difference in perceived load times is not one of them.

Next: No One’s Talking About Spider-Man 2’s Most Important Technical Marvel

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