Published November 7, 2023

'Marvel's Spider-Man 2' Explained: Who Is Harry Osborn?

Read on for everything you need to know about Harry Osborn before playing 'Marvel's Spider-Man 2'!

'Marvel's Spider-Man 2' Explained: Who Is Harry Osborn?

One of the most pivotal characters in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is Harry Osborn, the best friend of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson with a dark secret of his own. Appearing on the periphery of the first two games in the series, Harry resurfaces seemingly healthy as ever in the PlayStation 5 title, only to become one of the most insidious adversaries the Spider-Men have ever known. Across the game, Peter and Harry’s friendship will be tested to its absolute limits, with Peter having to confront his own heart of darkness as he and Miles Morales are plunged into a nightmarish adventure.

With Harry Osborn playing such a prominent role in the Marvel’s Spider-Man series, here’s how the character’s full introduction was set up in the first two games, the crucial part he plays in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and how it compares with Harry Osborn’s depiction in the comic books.


Harry Osborn’s Impact Before Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

For much of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Peter and Mary Jane assumed Harry was in Europe overseeing Oscorp’s business interests overseas. This was eventually revealed to be an elaborate lie by Harry’s father Norman Osborn, who actually had placed Harry in medically induced stasis until proper treatment for Oshtoran Syndrome could be found. The rare disease claimed the life of Harry’s mother Emily Osborn, with Norman desperate not to lose his son to the same illness.

Throughout New York City, Peter found unfinished research experiments Harry undertook in his mother’s memory to improve the environment, with Peter finishing them through his own scientific acumen. One year after being placed in stasis, despite unsuccessful treatments involving the Devil’s Breath virus and Venom symbiote, Harry began to awaken from stasis. Despite warnings from his attending physician Curt Connors about unexpected side effects, Norman ordered his son fully released from stasis.


Harry Osborn’s Role in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Secretly bonded to the Venom symbiote, Harry appeared to be fully healed from his terminal illness and reconnected with Peter and Mary Jane, eventually learning that Peter is Spider-Man. Inspired, Harry tried to use the Venom symbiote to become a hero as well, while launching the Emily-May Foundation as a means to benefit the world in Emily Osborn and May Parker’s memories. However, the symbiote bonded with Peter, leaving Harry and causing his terminal illness to resurface full-force without the symbiote to combat it.

Because of the symbiote’s influence on his personality, Peter refused to return the symbiote to Harry, even to save his best friend’s life. Incensed, Harry extracted the symbiote from Peter and rebonds with it, transforming into Venom and wreaking havoc across New York City as Peter and Miles scrambled to stop him. Encouraged by Harry in a moment of lucidity, the heroes destroyed the symbiote, but this rendered Harry comatose. Blaming the Spider-Men for Harry’s condition, Norman decided that his last resort was to use the mysterious G-Serum while building a vendetta against the heroes.


Harry Osborn’s History in the Comics

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #31, Harry Osborn is the son of wealthy industrialist Norman Osborn and befriended Peter Parker while they both attended Empire State University. Harry has an estranged relationship with his father and descended into self-destructive vices while in college. Initially unaware his best friend is Spider-Man and father is the Green Goblin, Harry secretly witnessed Norman apparently die fighting Spidey and learned the truth about both men.

Swearing revenge on Spider-Man, Harry became the new Green Goblin after inheriting Oscorp from his father. Harry suffered a concussion which caused convenient amnesia, making him forget Peter is Spider-Man, leading him to reconcile with his friend. Harry married Peter’s longtime friend Liz Allan and had a son named Normie with her, though the marriage eventually fell apart.

Harry’s memories were stored, reigniting his feud with Spider-Man and prompting him to take a new, experimental version of the Goblin Serum to grant him heightened superhuman abilities. During a rematch with Spider-Man, Harry destroyed the townhouse where his ex-wife and son lived, with Harry dying saving both of their lives and forgiving Peter in his dying moments. After Peter and Mary Jane Watson sacrificed their marriage to Mephisto to save Aunt May’s life, the subsequent changes to reality resurrected Harry, who was alive and friends with Peter once more.

Harry’s new lease on life wasn’t without its complications, with Harry often clashing with his similarly resurrected father Norman, now more villainously twisted than ever. Harry had a second son named Stanley, with ex-girlfriend Lily Hollister, before Harry was revealed as the doppelganger of the true Harry, who was trapped by Mephisto because of Peter and MJ’s deal. This Harry sacrificed himself to protect Norman, with Doctor Strange saving Harry’s soul and allowing him to finally pass on peace and putting an end to his complicated dynamic with Spider-Man…for now.

'Marvel's Spider-Man 2' Explained: Who Is Harry Osborn?

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is available now only on PlayStation 5. Order the title on PlayStation StorePlayStation Direct or your friendly neighborhood retailer!

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