It is no secret that the 2018 critically and commercially acclaimed superhero game Marvel’s Spider-Man will be getting a remaster for the next generation of PlayStation console. This news was announced alongside new gameplay for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. What we didn’t know was just how much the main character was going to change. When I say change, I mean he gets a completely new face as well as a fair amount of de-aging.
The game will have a lot of technological updates due to the greater capacity that the PlayStation 5 will have in terms of graphics. In Insomniac’s PlayStation blog detailing the remaster, they discuss the changes to environments and models as well as new ray tracing technology used to create reflections and ambient shadows. It looks pretty amazing, as shown in the image below which was captured on a PS5. For more information, have a read of Insomniac’s blog here.
One of the biggest talking points was the change to Peter Parker’s face model. John Bubniak- who was the face model for Peter Parker in the 2018 game- had to be replaced by actor Ben Jordan due to certain technical difficulties. Insomniac Games explain that the recast was necessary as Yuri Lowenthal- the motion capture and voice actor for Peter Parker- needed an actor whose face better matched his bone structure to transfer his performance over more easily to next-gen technology. Whilst Bubniak was a great and unique Peter who didn’t really feel much like any other iteration of the character (except for a having a bit of an Andrew Garfield look), this is an understandable issue. However, there is no doubt that this new version of Peter has a striking resemblance to actor Tom Holland who plays Peter Parker in the Marvel films. Insomniac Games have fervently denied that this recast is only intended to create more similarities to the MCU. Whilst I do believe this is not the case, I find it unfeasible to believe that there wasn’t any intention to make a connection with Holland here. There is no way that his character model made it through to the final stage of development without someone noticing this similarity. It can’t have happened, right? It seems blatant.
What is even weirder is that Ben Jordan doesn’t actually look as similar to Holland in his other pictures as he does in the remaster footage, which makes it feel all the more intentional. He does have some similar features but his version of Peter Parker definitely looks more like Holland than Jordan himself. Take a look at the picture of Jordan below with his iteration in-game. Is there really no chance that he has been made to look – even if only a little bit- like Holland’s Peter Parker?
Another strange factor here is how much younger the new Peter looks. Whilst Peter wasn’t exactly old in the game- I think he is meant to be 23 or 24- he looks like a teenager here. He looks much younger than Mary-Jane and Miles in the game. It is hard to believe that they would hang out together. He looks too young for Mary-Jane and he definitely looks too young to be having flirtatious interactions with Black Cat. Someone is going to be going on a list. What is even weirder is that Ben Jordan is actually older than both John Bubniak and Tom Holland (he is 26 whilst Holland is 24 and Bubniak is 23). He is older than the character himself and yet they have made him look like a teenager, much like Holland does in the movies. I find this a very odd choice and I cannot see how it doesn’t boil down to just trying to cast an actor with a similar facial structure to Lowenthal. This Peter is far too reminiscent of the MCU’s teenage Peter to be a coincidence in my humble opinion. Especially since the new actor is older than the first face model, Tom Holland and even Peter Parker, and yet they have still made him look like a baby-faced teen! I’m not here to point fingers at Insomniac as their reason does genuinely make sense. However, it is the execution of this facial change that has me confused. Perhaps when the next-gen console and the game finally drop, the change will be different from the one small clip we have seen and not be quite as controversial.
Marvel’s Spider-Man will release alongside Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales when the PlayStation 5 drops on November 12th in the US, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and Japan and November 19th for the rest of the world.