Several characters from Marvel Comics were considered to have their own game developed by Insomniac Games but the team’s final choice was to adapt Spider-Man in his own video game, saying they related to the dynamic between the heroic Spider-Man and his everyman alter ego Peter Parker. Creative director Brian Intihar said "I feel like he's the most relatable of the heroes. As much as I love Tony Stark, it's harder to identify with a billionaire. As much as I love Thor, it's hard to identify with a god. Peter makes mistakes, he has ups and downs in his career, his relationships, his family. I think we can all relate to that." Price said "He's so human, and he's so relatable. He's also the most popular Marvel character in the world, I think". Price also considered the logistical benefits, as Sunset Overdrive featured a dynamic traversal system that they could build upon for Spider-Man. Spider-Man became the first licensed property by Insomniac in 22 years.
Intihar collaborated with a team of writers under lead writer Jon Paquette to create an original take on Spider-Man that still remained true to the original. Alongside lead Paquette, the story was written by Ben Arfman and Kelsey Beachum. Comic book and screenwriter Christos Gage co-wrote the script, and comic book writer Dan Slott provided additional story contributions. Insomniac researched different iterations of the character to understand what made a compelling Spider-Man story, after which Paquette said "okay let's forget all that stuff", aiming to not draw too much from any single version. One lesson the team took from the research was that whenever Spider-Man wins, Peter Parker loses, and vice versa. Intihar said that from conception, the game was designed to be as much Parker's story as Spider-Man's. The team deliberately avoided retelling Spider-Man's origin, reasoning "everyone kind of knows Spider-Man was bitten by a spider."
Yuri Lowenthal provides the voice of Spider-Man / Peter Parker, but there was some initial reluctance to cast him as he had previously voiced a characteristically-different lead character in Sunset Overdrive and it was thought that he was not capable of providing a drastically different performance. Working with voice director Kris Zimmerman, Lowenthal tried to differentiate his voices for Parker in his civilian life where he is more gentle, and as Spider-Man, where he is more confident. Paquette convinced the studio to cast him in the role due to his trust in Lowenthal's acting ability. Lowenthal worked with two stunt people throughout the game's development. He tried to differentiate between his voices for Peter Parker and Spider-Man but thought that they could not be totally different and as a result spent a large amount of time "finessing and massaging" his performance to achieve a balance.
Insomniac wanted to modernize the design of Spider-Man's costume while paying homage to the original design by Steve Ditko. The new design features a large white spider symbol that stretches across the torso, gauntlet-like gloves and a sneaker-style design based on athletic-wear instead of knee-high boots. Chew said the design goal was to create what a "23-year-old, would-be superhero" would wear in 2018 New York City. The traditional red and blue color scheme is retained in the costume, but with the addition of white. Chew compared the outfit to compression wear, and said each color represented different materials. Blue is the most flexible and is where Spider-Man requires the most flexibility, such as his limbs. The red material is flexible but thicker for protection from minor scuffs and scrapes, and the white is compared to a carbon fiber, offering the most protection, so it is positioned on his chest, hands and feet.
Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover
An official prequel book titled Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover by David Liss by Titan Publishing Group was released on August 21, 2018, predating the game release date. It details Spider-Man's fight with the book's version of Blood Spider and depicts the rivalry between Parker and the Kingpin before the events of the game.
Liss explained to Syfy that ground rules had to be established by Marvel Comics and Insomniac Games of what elements of the game Liss could reveal in the book. He stated anything that happened in the novel "had to make sense in terms of the game" on making his book.
The game's Spider-Man appears in the 2018 Spider-Geddon comic book storyline written by Gage, a sequel to 2014's Spider-Verse, which brings together Spider-people from different Marvel realities. Spider-Geddon issue #0 (released September 26, 2018) follows the Superior Octopus (an alternate universe version of Otto Octavius in Peter Parker's body), as he travels to the game's Earth (designated Earth-1048) to recruit the game's Spider-Man. The story of Spider-Geddon takes place after the events of the game, and also introduces the Earth-1048 version of Tarantula. Insomniac artists provided variant comic book covers for the series.
Spider-Geddon #0 introduced the character from the Spider-Man 2018 video game into comics, and set up the plot for the game's sequel. Both the video game and the comic are written by Gage, who said that "Since I have been writing for the video game for the past three years (along with the ever-amazing Dan Slott, Jon Paquette, and Ben Arfmann), it seemed like a perfect time to bring that Pete into the mix". The first illustrated teaser poster featured a black silhouette of a Spider-Man character, who was revealed to be the one from the game in a later full version of the poster.
A six-issue comic book, titled Spider-Man: City at War, was released in March 2019. It follows the events of the game while introducing some new events. The series is published by Marvel, written by Dennis Hopeless, with art by Michelle Bandini, and variant cover arts by Clayton Crain, David Nakayama, Gerardo Sandoval and Adi Granov.