Peter Parker (Insomniac Games character)
|First appearance||Marvel's Spider-Man (2018)|
|Voiced by||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Full name||Peter Benjamin Parker|
|Significant other||Mary Jane Watson|
|Origin||Queens, New York City, New York, United States|
Spider-Man is a superhero character created by Insomniac Games originally for the 2018 video game Marvel's Spider-Man. Based on the original character of the same name created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the character was created with contributions from various writers including Insomniac Games writers Jon Parquette & Benjamin Arfmann, collaborative game writer Kelsey Beachum, and Marvel Comics alumni Christos Gage and Dan Slott, while he is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. He has three signature suits: the Advanced Suit, the Velocity Suit designed by Adi Granov, and the Resilient Suit designed by Gabriele Dell'Otto.
Insomniac's Spider-Man is depicted as a more mature and experienced version of the character, who has battled various supervillains in his eight-year career as the city's protector while still struggling to balance his superhero alter-ego with his life as Peter Parker.
The character was later established in Marvel Comics continuity as an alternate version of Spider-Man within the multiverse of the shared universe in an alternate reality called "Earth-1048". He has received a book adaptation along with spinoff comic book series starring the new take of the superhero. Insomniac's take on the superhero received a positive critical reception for their work on the older and more mature role in comparison to other adaptions of the character, with many even considering him the definitive version of the character in video games. The character was marketed around early 2018 during the hype of the superhero video game release in the PlayStation 4 and his design has gone through various merchandise.
The character's facial model was changed for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, to better match the facial capture of Yuri Lowenthal. This change has garnered mixed reactions.
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. This was due to him and his true identity Peter Parker being more relatable to the staff than other Marvel characters such as Thor and Iron Man, a sentiment that Insomniac CEO Ted Price shared. Spider-Man then became the first licensed property by Insomniac in 22 years.
Creative director Bryan Intihar collaborated with a team of writers under lead writer Jon Paquette to create an original take on Spider-Man that remained true to the original. Paquette is cited to commonly subscribed to Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man) and also Thor comic books at the "boonies" at a younger age before his time attending film school. Alongside 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. 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. The team deliberately avoided retelling Spider-Man's origin, reasoning that everyone knows Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider.
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. Paquette trusted his acting ability however, and convinced the studio to cast him. 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. As a result, he spent a large amount of time working on his performance to achieve a balance. Lowenthal worked with two stunt people throughout the game's development.
"When you see the red and blue, the iconic eyes, the overall shape and form, there's no mistaking that as Spider-Man. But... seeing that giant white spider on the red and blue suit, you know that's different, that's from a different universe. That's Insomniac's Spider-Man."
Bryan Intihar, creative director
Insomniac wanted to modernize the design of Spider-Man's costume while paying homage to the original design by Steve Ditko. The new advanced costume design retains the traditional red-and-blue color scheme, a large white spider symbol stretching across the torso, gauntlet-like gloves, and sneaker-style design based on athletic wear instead of knee-high boots. Art director Jacinda Chew said the design goal was to create what a "23-year-old, would-be superhero" would wear in 2018 New York City. Chew compared the outfit to compression wear, and said each color represented different materials. Blue is the most flexible, red is thicker for added protection from minor injury, and white offers the most protection, as it covers his chest, hands, and feet.
Peter Parker was a bright, intelligent and sincere, yet shy, outcasted and withdrawn 15-year-old high school student, 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. Eight years into his superhero career, the now 23-year-old Parker has become an experienced and masterful crime-fighter who comes into conflict with various supervillains. He is employed as a research lab assistant under his friend and mentor Dr. Otto Octavius, 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, his former high school classmate and ex-girlfriend, and NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe. In his civilian life, Parker is supported by his Aunt May. Spider-Man's adventure brings him into contact with other characters, including an Afro-Puerto-Rican-American teenager: Miles Morales and his parents, NYPD Officer Jefferson Davis and Rio Morales, Oscorp CEO and New York mayor Norman Osborn and Silver Sablinova, leader of the private military company Sable International.
The character was developed primarily for the 2018 Spider-Man video game and later appeared in its DLC expansion pack, Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps, both for the PlayStation 4. An official prequel novel titled Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover was released on August 21, 2018, predating the video game. 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.
The character then appears in the 2018 Spider-Geddon comic book storyline written by Christos Gage, a sequel to 2014's Spider-Verse, which brings together different variations of Spider-Man themed superheroes from the multiverse within Marvel Comics to battle the Inheritors. It was first released on September 26, 2018. The comic book designated the character's universe as Earth-1048. The story of Spider-Geddon takes place after the events of the game, and also introduces the universe's version of Tarantula. Insomniac artists provided variant comic book covers for the series. Gage felt that "it seemed like a perfect time" to bring the character into mainstream comic books.
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. A second miniseries, Spider-Man: Velocity, was released in August 2019. Also written by Hopeless, with art by Emilio Laiso, the miniseries takes 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. A third miniseries, Spider-Man: The Black Cat Strikes, was released in 2020. Written by Hopeless with art by Luca Maresca, the miniseries adapts the events of the downloadable content The City That Never Sleeps while elaborating upon Spider-Man and Black Cat's relationship. Peter makes a minor appearance in the follow up to Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, wherein he helps his protege Miles Morales subdue the Rhino before departing for Symkaria to join Mary Jane in covering the civil war taking place there briefly rejoining the Daily Bugle as a freelance photographer. He returns at the end of the game where he praises Miles' growth as a hero after the latter stops the war between the Underground and Roxxon and heads off to fight crime alongside him, later in-game dialogue with Miles reveals that he is taking a hiatus from crimefighting to focus on renovating Aunt May's old house in Queens, where he and Mary Jane have decided to move in together while also focusing on finding a new job.
While the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse does not feature an explicit appearance from this iteration of Spider-Man, his advanced suit makes multiple background appearances throughout the film and is featured more prominently during the end credits sequence. The character is referenced in the PlayStation 5 launch title Astro's Playroom, which acts as a celebration of numerous PlayStation franchises.
Merchandising and marketing
Artwork dedicated by famed comic book artist, Alex Ross, depicting the character was featured by Game Informer even before the game release. The character was also spotlighted in a blockbuster style commercial in a 2018 NFL Draft Thursday night premiere of American football by NBC.
Various merchandise of the character was sold before the game's release. Action Figures were made by companies like Diamond Select Toys releasing a 10-inch (250 mm) statue of Spider-Man along with Sideshow Collectibles releasing two 1/6 scale statues both based on the game, one of Spider-Man in the stealth suit and another of his Spider-Punk costume, including a guitar and spider-drone. A velocity suit-wearing Spider-Man by Hot Toys was also announced by Sideshow Collectibles. Hasbro released a Marvel Legends action figure of Spider-Man from the video game as a GameStop exclusive. A Funko Pop figure of the character was released, which was also exclusive to GameStop. Clothes such as hoodies and t-shirts of the character and the advanced costume have been made.
Insomniac Games' portrayal of Peter Parker was well received. Jonahan Dornbush of IGN praised the game's focus on Parker and highlighted Yuri Lowenthal for his "emotional honesty" that made it one of Dornbush's favorite portrayals of the character. Dom Nero of Esquire praised 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 while still allowing him to "web-kick some ass". He also praised the way that it handled the transition into adulthood. Noel Ransome of Vice found him identifiable for his difficulty in achieving "greatness", praising Insomniac for taking the risk of depicting a more mature Peter as well as the misfortune of the original Spider-Man.
Josh Harmon of Electronic Gaming Monthly found the character's storytelling to be one of the most interesting things about the game. He praised the writers for their understanding of Spider-Man and heroes in general, which he felt was handled better than how other comic adaptations handle their protagonists. Matt Goldberg of Collider felt that Insomniac did well with understanding Spider-Man's "ethos" and challenging it in unique ways.
The character was named the fan-favorite video game character at the Gamers' Choice Awards in 2018. Comic Book Resources regarded the advanced costume as one of Spider-Man's best alternate costumes.
In-game face model replacement controversy
Following the announcement of Marvel's Spider-Man being remastered as a launch title on the PlayStation 5, Insomniac Games revealed that a new face model provided by Ben Jordan would be implemented into the game, to be a better match to the facial capture recorded by Yuri Lowenthal. The new face model reveal was met with major polarizing reactions from fans and critics, and developers even received death threats and demands to change it back. Many have cited that the new face model looks drastically younger than the original face model provided by John Bubniak, and has been compared to actor Tom Holland who portrays Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Upon the release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Spider-Man Remastered, reactions from critics and fans about the face were more favorable. Push Square called it "pretty good" and Comic Book Movie indicated that "he didn't look anywhere near as bad as it initially seemed" going on to also say that "it could be that everyone overreacted a little". Even with the warmer reception upon release, players and critics, notably Chris Stuckmann, have criticized the change as unnecessary, jarring and even detrimental to Miles Morales and the remaster. Stuckmann stated that the original face made Peter more "lived-in" and experienced as Spider-Man, and that the change negatively affected the relationship of Miles and Peter, remarking he looked "way too young" to believably be a mentor to Miles.
- Spider-Man in video games
- Miles Morales: the second incarnation of the Spider-Man titles within Insomniac's game universe
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