The developers of the upcoming PlayStation 5 sequel Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 say that the game will try to strike a balance between humor and heart while respectfully depicting the darker tones of Peter Parker when he is using his Venom symbiote suit.
During Sony’s hour-long PlayStation Showcase last week, we saw over 12 minutes of new gameplay footage of Peter Parker and Miles Morales in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 to close out the show. The upcoming PlayStation 5-exclusive action game looked to be going for a similar mix of web-slinging traversal, kinetic fight scenes, and palatable humor as its predecessor, but with the added bonus of Parker being pretty aggressive while wearing his new Venom symbiote suit.
Peter’s internal battle with Venom will be like battling an addiction
While one side of the internet churned out memes comparing the edginess of the Spider-Man 2 game’s Parker to Tobey Maguire’s “Bully Macguire” performance in 2007’s Spider-Man 3 movie (which was a camp masterpiece), another group of fans was in awe of Peter Parker voice actor Yuri Lowenthal’s Sasuke Uchiha-esque performance as a newly jaded web-head under the Venom symbiote’s alien influence.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Spider-Man 2 creative director Bryan Intihar revealed that Parker’s internal battle with the black parasitic space goop that’s making him so aggro in the game will be akin to a person battling addiction. Unlike the more camp depiction of director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 Venom, Intihar said Peter getting bonded to the symbiote suit is “not something we want to make fun of.”
“The theme of addiction is prevalent, especially because of the symbiote. We did a lot of research, not only on previous stories with the symbiote, but also just looking at when [Peter] is bonded, what can that feel like? Not to go into too many things about how it plays in the narrative, but we want to treat it very seriously,” Intihar said. “So, it’s about really playing into those themes of addiction, how that can impact someone’s personality, impact the people around them, and you’re going to see that it’s not just how it’s impacting Peter on his own, but also those close to him. You’re going to see that play out throughout the game.”
Miles Morales will give Spider-Man 2 players a symbiote-angst break
While in the PlayStation Showcase footage it is definitely jarring to see Lowenthal’s Parker go from wise-cracking about being New York’s “Spider-Cop” and meekly goading the stoic Silver Sable into giving him a high five to dumping rescued civilians to the ground and doing whatever this is to Kraven’s goons, Intihar and game director Ryan Smith told Eurogamer that Spider-Man 2 won’t be entirely about Peter being an asshole because playing as Miles Morales will offset the game’s darker moments with a bit of levity.
“I think you saw that in the gameplay reveal,” Smith said. “We have the moments with Ganke and Miles and the Falcon that he’s trailing behind—the Talon drone—and then at the very end, you get that line about Peter changing and Miles saying, ‘You know, he’s never like that,’ right? So we have those human elements, both on the serious side of where we see the symbiote affecting Peter, but also on the lighter-hearted side.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty hit or miss with serious scenes, with a tendency for humor to abruptly rob them of their weight. Time will tell whether or not Spider-Man 2 will succeed in balancing its heart and humor with its darker moments, but Intihar is confident that the game landed on the right ratio of wit and drama.
“What we’ve talked a lot about is—whether it was Marvel’s Spider-Man or Miles Morales—our games are all about still having heart and humor,” Intihar said. “It’s really finding that balance between those darker themes and characters, but also delivering that very human story where there’s a lot of heart and humor… I think that’s what was tricky. But I do think we found that nice balance at the end of the day.”
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 launches later this fall.