Spider-Man (Insomniac Games)

Spider-Man
Spider-Man (Insomniac).jpeg
Spider-Man (Peter Parker) as portrayed in Spider-Geddon (vol. 1) #0 cover art in his first comic appearance.
First appearance Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover (2018)[1]
First game Spider-Man (2018)
Voiced by Yuri Lowenthal
Information
Full name Peter Benjamin Parker

Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is a fictional character, a superhero developed and created by Insomniac Games originally for the Spider-Man video game released in 2018. Based on the original character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the character was later established in Marvel Comics continuity as an alternate version of Spider-Man. The video game character was created with contributions from various writers such as Jon Parquette, Benjamin Arfmann, Kelsey Beachum, Christos Gage and Dan Slott and is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. His primary suit is called the advanced suit, which is designed differently than his comic book counterpart and serves as a replacement for his original suit, which was damaged during a confrontation with one of his foes.

He is depicted as a more mature and experienced version of the character, who has battled various super-villains in his eight-year career as the city's protector, while still struggling to balance his superhero alter-ego as Spider-Man, along with his personal life as Peter Parker. The character has received a widely positive reception critically and is praised as one of the most authentic adaptations of the superhero.[4][5][6]

Development

Creation

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,[7] 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."[8] 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.[7] Spider-Man became the first licensed property by Insomniac in 22 years.[9]

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.[8] 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.[10][11] 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.[8] The team deliberately avoided retelling Spider-Man's origin, reasoning "everyone kind of knows Spider-Man was bitten by a spider."[10]

Voice

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Advanced Suit

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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

Publication history

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.[19][20]

Spider-Geddon #0 introduced the character from the Spider-Man 2018 video game into comics. 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".[21] 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.[21]

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.[22][23][24] A second miniseries, Spider-Man: Velocity, is scheduled for release in August 2019. Also written by Hopeless, with art by Emilio Laiso, the miniseries will take place after the events of the game, detailing Spider-Man's encounter with the supervillain Swarm, and Mary Jane's work with reporter Ben Urich.[25]

Fictional character biography

Role in the game

Peter Parker (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal)[26] was a bright, intelligent and sincere, yet shy, outcasted and withdrawn 15-year-old high school student,[10][27] who gained spider-like superhuman abilities after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider during a field trip. Employing a secret identity, Parker uses these abilities to protect the citizens of New York City as the superhero Spider-Man, in order to atone for his paternal uncle/foster father: Ben Parker's murder at the hands of a robber, something for which he was partially responsible and which constantly haunts him, after initially attempting to use his abilities for personal gain.[28] Eight years into his superhero career, Parker has become an experienced and masterful crime-fighter, has graduated from high school and college, and is employed as a research lab assistant, but still struggles to balance his superhero alter-ego and personal life. He is aided in his fight by intrepid Daily Bugle reporter Mary Jane Watson, (Laura Bailey),[26] his former high school classmate and ex-girlfriend,[10] and NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe (Tara Platt).[26] In his civilian life, Parker is supported by his Aunt May (Nancy Linari)[26] who volunteers at the F.E.A.S.T. homeless shelter run by philanthropist Martin Li (Stephen Oyoung).[26][27] Parker is employed by his friend and mentor, the respected scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (William Salyers).[10][29] Spider-Man's adventure brings him into contact with other characters, including an African-American teenager: Miles Morales (Nadji Jeter)[10][26] and his parents, NYPD Officer Jefferson Davis (Russell Richardson) and Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol), OsCorp CEO and New York mayor Norman Osborn (Mark Rolston),[26][30] and Silver Sablinova (Nichole Elise), leader of the private military company Sable International.[10]

Spider-Man's mission to protect the city which brings him into conflict with various supervillains and criminals.[31][32][33]

In Marvel Comics

The Spider-Man from the game was featured in the Spider-Geddon storyline, a sequel to Spider-Verse. The storyline is written by Christos Gage (who also wrote the video game), who noted Spider-Geddon takes place after the events of the game. The first issue in the storyline, Spider-Geddon #0, was released on September 26, 2018.[19]

The story begins on Earth-1048 as Spider-Man is listening to J. Jonah Jameson's podcast called "Just the Facts" where he talks about Mayor Norman Osborn resigning, a power struggle to replace Kingpin, Nazis made of bees, and a claim that this is all Spider-Man's fault. Spider-Man is contacted by Mary Jane Watson who states that a criminal is tearing up a bank in the Financial District and has a spider symbol on him. He arrives at the Financial District where he discovers that Tarantula is responsible. During the battle, Spider-Man is visited by Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius of Earth-616) who joins the battle. After some difficulty, Spider-Man of Earth-1048 and Superior Spider-Man defeat Tarantula as Spider-Man of Earth-1048 agrees to accompany him.[34]

Spider-Man of Earth-1048 is with Superior Spider-Man's group on Leopardon as they discuss how to destroy the Inheritors.[35]

After Solus dismisses Superior Spider-Man upon bringing Ben Reilly to him, Spider-Man of Earth-1048 is revealed to have secretly followed Superior Spider-Man and thinks that he has betrayed him. As Spider-Man of Earth-1048 learns that tricking Jennix into feeding on Ben Reilly was part of Superior Spider-Man's plans, they are attacked by the Inheritors, but were saved by the remaining Spider-Men who were trapped in Earth-616 and glad to see the remaining Spider-Men (including Kaine and 616's Spider-Man) who were trapped in another universes back to 616. With the Inheritors turned into babies to be raised by Spider-Ma'am (Aunt May) for their redemption, same goes for Morlun, who is currently in 616's high-security prison, Spider-Man of Earth-1048 returns to his Earth.[36]

In other media

The advanced suit that Parker wears in the video game appears in the 2018 film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, among the suits collected by the Peter Parker of Miles Morales' universe.[37]

Merchandise

Reception

Insomniac Games' portrayal of Peter Parker was widely well-received by both fans and critics. Giuseppe Nelva of Dualshockers.com praised the character's portrayal in the game noting that, while he's an older and more confident Spider-Man, the character is still portrayed as human and playful like in his comic book counterpart. Nelva also praised the depiction of Parker's maturity in the video game.[41]

Jonahan Dornbush of IGN praised the game's focus on Parker and highlighted his voice actor Yuri Lowenthal of possessing "an emotional honesty" that made it one of his favorite portrayals of the character.[28] Similarly, Harmon praised the game's characterization of Parker and its understanding of him, which he found was better than most comic adaptations.[5]

Dom Nero of Esquire praised the character describing the character as one of the best versions of Spider-Man he has seen. He enjoyed the way that Insomniac depicted Spider-Man's morality and how Insomniac depicted him as a character where the player wants you do the right thing while still being able to "web-kick some ass" too.[4] Noel Ransome of Vice also praised the risk of depicting a more mature Peter while still depicting the misfortune of the original Spider-Man, calling out the inabilities of the superhero "to reach the cusp of greatness" as "so identifiable".[6]

The character was ranked as number one character within the game by WhatCulture.com.[42]

References

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  2. ^ Spider-Man: City at War #1. Marvel Comics
  3. ^ Spider-Geddon #0. Marvel Comics.
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  5. ^ a b Harmon, Josh. "Marvel's Spider-Man review". EGMNOW. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Visser, Josh; Ransome, Noel (October 1, 2018). "The 'Spider-Man' Game Is Better Than Marvel's Best Spidey Movie". Vice. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
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  35. ^ Spider-Geddon #3. Marvel Comics.
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