Whenever a game gets the “remastered” treatment, I expect there to be some upgrades and I understand some elements have to be adjusted to make full use of upgraded hardware and software. It happened with Capcom’s Resident Evil Remastered games and Square Enix’s recent Final Fantasy VII Remastered games. And I for one appreciate all the hard work and effort that went into them. I never did mind the little and big changes the previously mentioned entries made as they made those games feel like a homage to the original while also putting a new spin on them.
I, however, am rather miffed at Insomniac Games’ decision to change how Peter Parker looks in the Remastered version of their Spider-Man game.
Now, this might seem like a minor gripe and, ultimately, it is. This isn’t egregious enough that should get someone to toss death threats at the folks at Insomniac Games for changing the look of their “beloved” Peter Parker… but I’m sure there are some that already have. And it’s not like the original PlayStation 4 version of Spider-Man had their Peter Parker look like any version from Marvel comics. At least, I don’t think so. But it is definitely something I would get used to after playing it for a couple of hours. Yet, the new Peter Parker face model for the PlayStation 5 Remastered version does rub me the wrong way.
Oddly enough, my issue isn’t with how the new face model, Ben Jordan, looks a lot like Tom Holland, the current actor who plays the wall-crawler in the live action Marvel movies. I mean, it’s totally possible Insomniac Games’ official explanation that the new face model fits better with Yuri Lowenthal’s performance might be true. It seems like an odd reason but, at least, they tried to give us a reason.
But, if that were the case, why did they get John Bubniak, the original Peter Parker face model, in the first place? Besides, I’ve played the original game on the PlayStation 4 and I thought the model matched up, like that scene in the diner with Mary Jane Watson and the “trick question” expression just looked perfect. In fact, I just saw the same scene with the new Peter Parker model and, well, it just didn’t look as expressive. If the new face is supposed to “be a better fit” for Yuri Lowenthal’s performance, then why does the “old” Peter Parker just come off as a better fit when it comes to performances?
A part of me actually believes the reason is that there’s a contract dispute with the original Peter Parker face actor and that Insomniac Games only contracted him to do one game, the original PlayStation 4 version of Spider-Man. But with Spider-Man Remastered Spider-Man: Miles Morales also coming out, they had to find some way to get the same looking Peter Parker in both games. Maybe it was much easier to get a new actor to play Peter Parker in the Spider-Man Remaster and Spider-Man: Miles Morales than shelling out the necessary funds to pay for John Bubniak’s likeness? It’s just a theory…
Anyway, back to my gripe with the new Peter Parker. My big issue is that Insomniac Games pretty much de-aged the Remastered version of Peter Parker. The Peter Parker that’s featured in the Remastered game and Miles Morales looked like he’s, at most, a college freshman. This doesn’t match with the game’s timeline. Basically, in the games, Peter Parker has been doing the Spider-Man gig for almost a decade when you first boot up the game! So, assuming he started web-slinging during his early teens, Peter Parker should be in his early to mid-twenties.
That is pretty much how the “old” Peter Parker looked like in the original version. He might not be an overly mature looking adult but it looked like he had a lot of experience fighting crime and battling supervillains on his face. The new and “younger” Peter Parker doesn’t. In fact, he looks like he’s around the same age as Miles Morales! It’s really weird as Peter Parker is supposed to be mentoring the “new” Spider-Man but, when they talk to each other now, it comes off like a couple of teenagers just chilling on a rooftop! Okay, sure. They’re a couple of teenagers who just so happened to have superpowers chilling on a rooftop. I still expect one to look more like an adult, though!
Granted, I haven’t seen every single scene featuring the new Peter Parker as I don’t have either Spider-Man Remastered or Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I’m actually going to hold off a bit before I get the Remastered because, well, I’m not planning on getting a PlayStation 5 anytime soon. The Miles Morales game I will definitely get the PlayStation 4 version soon because, well, I loved what Insomniac Games did with the Spider-Man game on Sony’s current generation of systems. I’ve heard it plays really well on the PS4 and I can upgrade to the PS5 version in the future, so it’s a pretty done deal!
I know after playing Miles Morales for a bit, I’ll probably get used Peter Parker’s new mug and how young it looks compared to how I expect it to actually be. It just astonishes me that Insomniac Games would change their original version of Peter Parker, a version that many fans honestly think is the best version of Peter Parker that’s been made, so unnecessarily. It’s just a nonsensical change that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.
Then again, I still am thankful that Insomniac Games hadn’t “patched” the new face in my original version of Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. If they did that, I know I wouldn’t be just a little miffed at the change. And who knows? Maybe they’ll make a DLC skin of the “old” Peter Parker in both games for fans who are clamoring for the original face… for free, of course.
But if you really wanted to change a face model in your Spider-Man games, Insomniac Games, might I suggest you adjust Aunt May’s face to look more like Marisa Tomei as she does play the character in the Marvel live-action films?
I know a lot of little boys who’d appreciate it. Rawr!
What’s your take on Insomniac Games making changes to their Peter Parker face model in the new games? Was it a good or bad idea? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!