Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a lot going for it. (Just to note, former Kotaku staffer Evan Narcisse was one of the writers on the game.) But everything—the visuals, the web-slinging, the pedigree of an extremely popular character from an extremely popular cross-media franchise—pales in comparison to one thing: the cat suit. It’s not a suit with feline motifs. It’s a suit with an actual cat.
According to Game Informer’s recent cover story about the game, one mission has you come across a bodega owner who was recently robbed. Among other things, the alleged criminals stole his pet, an orange tabby cat named Spider-Man, by stashing the little fella inside a backpack. This, obviously, cannot stand, so you do the superhero thing and rescue the cat. For your efforts, you’ll get an outfit complete with that backpack—and the cat.
Spider-Man (the cat) isn’t just a cosmetic addition, either. As seen in a Game Informer video showcasing that mission, when you perform finishing moves, the cat will leap out of the backpack and slash foes:
I don’t know about you, but seeing Spider-Man (the cat) safe and sound, taking up the hero’s mantle (and iconic mask), makes me smile so much my face hurts. But this cat’s presence does more than just ratchet up the cute factor. It also captures an inextricable part of life in the Big Apple: the bodega cat. For a series as quintessentially New York as Spider-Man, these small details are of no small importance.
As urban legend has it, the bodega cat serves two purposes. One: They’re adorable. Who wouldn’t want to shop in a store with an angelic kitty guardian watching the door? Two: They scare rats and mice away. In fact, as reported by the New York Times, bodega owners prefer to keep cats around, despite the fact that having one in the shop is a violation of the city’s health code, because having a rodent infestation is far more odious. (According to the city’s statute, fines for both rodent infestation and having a cat on premises are roughly the same amount. But cats are presumably way better for business.)
I’ve lived in New York City for nearly seven years—not quite long enough to be an officially minted New Yorker, but certainly long enough to no longer be considered a newcomer. Nine times out of ten, when I go into a bodega, sure enough, I’ll see a cat. Bodega cats are woven into the city’s fabric. There’s even a website, a popular Twitter account, and a slightly less popular but no less heartwarming Instagram account dedicated to the existence of New York City bodega cats. Seeing that Insomniac did good by the bodega cat gives me faith that it’ll adeptly capture the essence of New York City as well as it did in 2018’s terrific Spider-Man.
Anyway, here’s Game Informer’s video in full, which shows the full mission that unlocks the cat suit:
And, for good measure, courtesy of the New York Times, here are some bodega cats.