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I'm Sorry, But Who the Hell Is This Supposed to Be?

Peter Parker in the remastered Spider-Man...or that kid from 13 Reasons Why? You be the judge.
Peter Parker in the remastered Spider-Man...or that kid from 13 Reasons Why? You be the judge.
Image: Insomniac

In addition to putting Miles Morales at the center of its next Spider-Man game, Insomniac’s also releasing a remastered version of the first game, meant to show off the PlayStation 5's raw graphical power. While gameplay won’t be all that different from the original Peter-centric game, a number of updates will purportedly give the remaster a new level of detail that makes things feel fresh.

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To show off just why the game studio’s revisiting the first game (and make a case for dropping a few hundred bucks on a new console), Sony recently dropped an extended scene between Peter Parker and Otto Octavius. You can immediately see that things have changed, but...well, it’s not all for the better. There’s no real polite way to put this: Peter’s new character model looks like like a completely different person who clawed his way out of the uncanny valley.

In a blog post accompanying the video, Sony explained that a large amount of energy went into giving characters higher fidelity skin, eyes, teeth, and hair, but in Peter’s case, the actor his face is modeled after is actually someone new who was cast specifically for the PS5 remaster to to make Peter more closely resemble voice actor Yuri Lowenthal. “We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console. He looks incredible in-game, and Yuri’s moving performances take on a new life,” the blog post reads in part.

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While that might be Sony’s official explanation for Peter’s new face, it’s difficult not to also see this as an attempt to make the game’s version of Peter Parker visually read more like Tom Holland, as the remaster’s Peter appears significantly younger than the game’s story makes him out to be. Part of what made Insomniac’s first Spider-Game so enjoyable was the way in which it both felt true to Peter Parker’s core identity and also like it wasn’t wholly hung up on trying to be a one-to-one correlation with any of its characters’ previous incarnations.

In response to the somewhat mixed reactions to Peter’s new face, Insomniac’s creative director Bryan Intihar took to his Twitter account to to insist that the recasting decision was driven by a desire to make Peter look more “believable.”

By going out of its way to make its Peter Parker look like his cinematic counterpart, Sony’s erasing some of the magic that made Marvel’s Spider-Man feel like a breath of fresh air and a reminder that the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t the end all, be all when it comes to stories about Marvel’s icons. This is the Peter Parker who’s likely going to appear in Miles Morales, and so we might as well get used to looking at that mug. Hopefully, though, this doesn’t end up becoming a trend, as the webhead’s set to make his debut in Marvel’s Avengers as an exclusive to PlayStation owners at some point in 2021.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

To me it looks weird because he doesn’t look like post-grad mid-to-late-twenties Peter Parker like he’s supposed to be, he looks like college-freshman Peter Parker.