Marvel’s Spider-Man expectedly had several references to different heroes and locations within the Marvel universe, but one unexpected Easter egg indicates that characters from Grand Theft Auto IV also exist in Spider-Man’s version of New York.
During one of the side missions that players embark on in Marvel’s Spider-Man, the hero is tasked with foiling a robbery before it can even begin. Through some wall-climbing espionage, Spider-Man has to scale a building and spy on the would-be robbers to figure out what they’re planning on doing before they set their plan in motion. It’s during that scene that Insomniac Games included a clever nod to Grand Theft Auto IV but hinting that Niko, the protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto game, is involved in the crimes along with his cousin.
While following one of the quest’s characters named Deshaun to the building, Spider-Man overhears him talking to another conspirator as Deshaun asks about their getaway driver. That driver is named “Roman,” a reference to Niko’s cousin in Grand Theft Auto IV. Deshaun is talking to a character named Niko in DoctaDaKing's clip above who responds to Deshaun’s claims that Roman is “practically a kid.”
“Yeah, my brother’s kid,” Niko responds. “We can trust him. Anyway, it’s done, he’s already picking up our safecracker.”
He later says that “Roman’s ready” and that they’re running late before they leave the building. Before they do though, Spider-Man has to take a picture of their plans, and doing so provides the perfect angle to look at Niko and see that he’s clad in a tracksuit. He doesn’t sound exactly like the Grand Theft Auto version of Niko, but the appearance and the accent alone are unmistakable references even without the names sealing the deal.1comments
The details in Marvel’s Spider-Man’s nod to the character change their background slightly with Roman being Niko’s nephew since Niko says the getaway driver is his “brother’s kid.” In Grand Theft Auto IV, Roman is instead Niko’s older cousin who had already been living in Liberty City, a fictional Grand Theft Auto city with heavy references to New York. He often finds himself in situations where he needs Niko’s help in shady situations, though this would be the first time that their efforts have ever been thwarted by Spider-Man.