Harry Osborn in Spider-Man PS4: References and easter eggs!

The Spider-Man Playstation game (let’s call it Spider-Man PS4 to avoid confusion, though I gather its universe designation is Earth-1048) presents one of my favourite takes on Harry. Even though he doesn’t show up in the flesh until the end we do learn a lot about him from environmental storytelling. There’s some great easter eggs in there too. Let’s take a look! (huge spoilers ahead, obviously, if you’ve never played the game.)

Peter, MJ and Harry

This part of the plot is borrowed wholesale from the Raimi movies – Peter, MJ and Harry went to high school together and stayed friends as adults. Aww, look how cute they are in that photo! Harry is referenced multiple times in the game by both of them despite not being physically there.

My favourite one of those references is this:

“Nobody who raised Harry could ever be all bad.” Oh, my heart. That brings us to the other person who raised Harry-

Emily and the Lymans

To my absolute delight Emily plays a big role in this, in terms of Harry’s motivations she plays just as big a role as Norman does and hooray!

She has blonde hair in this one instead of the usual brunette. I wonder if this painting in the Osborn penthouse is meant to be a younger her?

She is (was) an environmental scientist and Harry wants to follow in her footsteps, hence his environmental research stations that give out quests in the game. This little snippet of newspaper in the game reveals more about Emily, including some details that never made it into the 616 comics:

Emily’s middle name is Marilyn and her parents were Marilyn and… Stanley! Wait! Did the Harry of 616 name his second son after his maternal grandfather?

Hey! A new bit of Osborn Lore! Fabulous.

Update 20/4/22 An EVER NEWER bit of Osborn Lore! Turns out if you look at Martin Li’s wall during the “Hidden Agenda” level, you find out what happened to Norman’s parents in this ‘verse. (They died.) Now, before you look at this you must understand, for a while now I’ve been using “Martha” as a fill-in name for Norman’s unnamed-in-the-comics mother, since every second woman in comics is called Martha.

She is, in fact, called Martha.

Harry’s disease, and Venom

Late on in the game we learn Harry is dying from the same disease that killed his mother. In his journal he left a note for Peter and MJ, and ow my heart again.

But if you’ve played the game you know exactly what the Devil’s Breath ends up doing. After Doc Ock releases it it kills multiple people… including Aunt May. (Nooo!) Since the game establishes Harry was close with Aunt May too, this could form a big emotional subplot in the sequel, who wouldn’t be horrified to learn something meant to cure them killed their aunt-figure instead?

In the very last scene of the Spider-Man game, we see Norman (not the Green Goblin yet, but definitely heading there) was keeping Harry in his secret lab all along. He’s in suspended animation in a tank and surrounded by what looks like the Venom symbiote.

Obviously this very heavily hints that Harry will be Venom in the game’s sequel, and this was done before in Ultimate Spider-Man.

To good effect, I thought! (Though it’s worth noting that Eddie Brock, traditionally Venom’s host in the Spider-mythos, does get a namecheck in the game.)

This portrayal of Harry borrows a lot from Ultimate Spider-Man but it definitely borrows from Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well, the other universe where Harry is dying from an inherited illness. Let’s hope this story ends better than that one…

Oh, one more thing. The entrance to Norman’s lab is hidden with a painting or maybe photograph of Norman and Harry, a much healthier-looking Harry than the one who’s actually in there.

Which means Norman must’ve gone out and hired either a painter or graphic artist and gotten them to basically Photoshop in a non-dying Harry, and then got a fancy plaque to put next to the picture, all to obscure the location of the laboratory that Harry was actually in. That’s so him.

Harry’s research stations

We get to know this version of Harry best via the research stations he’s set up throughout New York and the messages he’s left for Peter there. Harry’s aware Oscorp isn’t exactly a force for good but is trying to work within it to carry on his mother’s legacy. He also likes pigeons, as we all should.

However, and this is the FUNNIEST detail to me, this Harry may be a science whiz and bona fide genius but – you’ll notice if you watch the station-entering animations – every research station has the same password. The first three numbers on the keypad!

Obviously this is just a case of the animators reusing the same bit of footage but it’s so dang hilarious to think of Harry going to all this time and effort to create these research stations and then giving every single one of them the password 123. Bless him.

I love that Harry’s a scientist in the game! It has its roots in 616 (Harry did science in those comics more often than people remember I think) but brings that up to date by making him specifically an environmental researcher. Yeah… We’re gonna need a lot of those in this new decade.

This was not an intentional pun on the part of anyone I imagine, but I also love that this Harry’s focus on environmentalism makes him (wait for it)

a green goblin.

8 thoughts on “Harry Osborn in Spider-Man PS4: References and easter eggs!

  1. […] Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (also known as Sony’s Spider-Man 2, Insomniac’s Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 PS5, or just plain The Spider-Man Game) is TANTALIZINGLY close but we know almost nothing about the plot! However I’ve seen a lot of fans speculate that Harry Osborn will, alas, probably not make it to a Marvel’s Spider-Man 3 if there is one. Are they right?! Well, let’s weigh up the odds of there soon being yet another Harry death to add to the list, shall we? […]


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