Brian Horton Describes What It Was Like to Work on 'Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales'
Read more in an exclusive interview with Insomniac Games' Creative Director Brian Horton!
Behind every great game is a compelling story and an incredible team steering the creative process to ensure that every detail is just right. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is no exception. Fans quickly came to love the game and were impressed by the authentic storyline and representation of Afro-Latino teen, Miles Morales, living in New York City.
Rallying the team around a clear creative vision was imperative to make the game a success, especially in the inclusion of cinematic scenes such as Miles Morales’ heartwarming holiday dinner with family and friends, featuring delicious traditional cuisine. We sat down with Insomniac Games' Creative Director Brian Horton to discuss the magic between the webs.
Working on games like this must be an exciting job. Can you please tell us about it and describe some of your day-to-day responsibilities?
As the Creative Director, I work with the teams at Insomniac Games by setting a vision and providing feedback to help steer the project to quality and cohesiveness. I worked closely with the narrative team to craft the story, collaborated with Lead Designer and Game Director Cam Christian on the gameplay, and Jess Reiner-Reed, Project Lead on the production.
How did your career begin? And what was the path that led you to your current job?
My first job was at Disney Interactive in 1994 as an artist. I’ve worked at numerous studios including DreamWorks Interactive, The Collective, Vivendi Interactive until I joined Crystal Dynamics as an Art Director for Tomb Raider, and then Game Director of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Five years ago, I joined Insomniac Games as a Creative Director and worked on Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I’m currently Creative Director on Marvel’s Wolverine.
We understand you’ve played a key role in the Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales game’s production. Can you tell us a little more about it?
When Insomniac Games' Creative Director Bryan Intihar chose to introduce Miles in Marvel’s Spider-Man, we were all passionate about the character and knew we wanted to develop a standalone game with him as the lead. I fell in love with the character and felt it was important to ensure Miles’ story was focused on what made him unique and creating an origin story for him that was specific and personal. It’s special to me because of the people who collaborated to make it, the developers, actors, senior leadership at Insomniac Games and our collaborators at Marvel Games and PlayStation. It was a passion project for all of us.
The game has been praised for its authentic representation of Afro-Latino culture, highlighted in the holiday scene which displays a traditional spread of food. How did your team stay true to the diversity of the characters and the food?
We did extensive interviews with residents in East Harlem to ensure every detail of our game was authentic. The decorations in the house and street, the murals, the music, and the characterization and behaviors of the people were all scrutinized and refined throughout production. The food was also meticulously researched to ensure every dish was specific to Rio's Puerto Rican roots. When we heard the feedback from fans about our attention to detail and representation, it warmed our hearts, and was a validation of the team’s hard work.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Insomniac Games’ mission is to make a lasting and positive impact in people’s lives and we also believe great ideas can come from anywhere. Inclusivity is in the bedrock of what it means to be an Insomniac. We continue to work hard to make our culture more diverse, equitable and inclusive every day.
What advice do you have for others to keep the conversation going?
I suggest opening your mind and heart to people that have different lived experiences and engage. This is a process and the more we learn from each other the better we are as humans.
What advice do you have for aspiring game designers?
Play as many games as you can and learn what makes them fun. Once you understand that games are crafted to provide a player experience, you can start to design your own games. We are in a wonderful time where tools are available to make games on your own, so find some friends and make something you love!
What was your favorite part about working on the game?
Bringing a character like Miles Morales to a high-profile game was truly special. I’ll never forget how rewarding it was to work with so many talented developers and actors.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is out now on PC! Swing over to Steam or the Epic Games Store to grab your copy today!
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