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How to start ‘The Flame’ in Spider-Man 2, and what the ending means

The cult leader is a lot more than he initially seems to be

Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

The Flame” series of missions is one of many side quests in Spider-Man 2 for PS5. But unlike the Spider-Bots or the Hunter Blinds, these are full-on story missions that will take you on a journey through New York with a not-so-mysterious ally. The goal is to track down The Flame, the cult leader who shares a name with his cult. But, as with all things in the Marvel extended universe, The Flame is much more than he initially seems to be.

In this Spider-Man 2 guide, we’ll walk you through how to start “The Flame” missions and tell you what Insomniac Games seems to be teasing in the final mission.

How to start ‘The Flame’ in Spider-Man 2

A map of the “Where Have You Been?” mission icon in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

If you looked at our Spider-Man 2 walkthrough and mission list, you may have been surprised to not see “The Flame” listed anywhere as an unlock reward. That’s because, unlike other side quests, “The Flame” isn’t unlocked by completing another mission. Instead, it’s something that you’ll randomly encounter as Peter while you’re swinging around the Financial District (or at least in the lower half of Manhattan) during Act 1.

We’re not exactly sure what the trigger is here to make “The Flame” show up, but in multiple playthroughs, we’ve gotten a call from the firehouse captain requesting Pete’s assistance at the hospital in the Financial District after just a few main missions.

If you’re halfway into Act 1 and haven’t gotten the prompt yet, swap to Peter and do some pop-up crimes in the Financial District. You should get a call about helping evacuate a hospital after just a few minutes.

The questline starts with the “Where Have You Been?” mission.

[Spoiler Warning: The following section covers the culmination of “The Flame” questline.]

Who is The Flame’s mysterious cult leader in Spider-Man 2?

Cletus Kasady, AKA “The Flame” in Spider-Man 2 Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Spider-Man 2 keeps the true identity of The Flame cult leader a secret until after you finish the final mission. But if you’re a web-head fan, you may have figured out the tease well before the dialogue where Yuri just tells you his name (or, at least, his most famous alias).

Redhead? Bad fashion sense? Mentally unwell? Three winning ingredients that always make up one Cletus Kasady, better known by his symbiote-infused alter-ego: Carnage.

Now, don’t panic: You didn’t blink and miss a surprise Carnage cameo in Spider-Man 2. Instead, “The Flame” quest just acts as an elaborate tease of what comes next, as we see Cletus get his hands on a symbiote before escaping into the bowels of New York.

As for when Carnage will show up, our money is on a standalone Venom game à la Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Venom and Carnage have always been classic foes, and it would be great to see them duke it out in a way only two symbiotes can.

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