In the lead up to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 this October, a panel at San Diego Comic-Con today gave an in-depth look at new details about the game, including an exclusive (thus far) trailer that focused on Venom and the news that one J. Jonah Jameson is back at the Daily Bugle where he belongs.
The panel itself included a number of development team members from Insomniac as well as several key voice actors. Following the trailer, kicking off the panel was Peter Parker actor Yuri Lowenthal, who opened by stating the group stands “in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the strike.”
“The WGA and SAG, we’re able to be here because we’re under contract for games… but that might not last forever.”
Then, the group got into details Spider-Man 2, starting with what all the heroes of the first game are up to when the game opens. It takes place roughly 9-10 months after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with Miles applying for college, eventually confronting Mister Negative, the villain who killed his father.
And yes, J. Jonah Jameson is back at the Daily Bugle. Previously, Jameson was a radio host of a show called “Just the Facts” where he talked crap on both Parker and Morales as Spider-Man. Now, it looks like he’s been restored to glory (or something) and is Mary Jane’s boss.
The panel then moved on to discussing some of the new landmarks and gameplay features. Previously, we’d been told that new areas such as Queens and Brooklyn will be included in Spider-Man 2. Today, we learned that will include Aunt May’s house along with other known Marvel landmarks. And around the city, new features are added such as Web Wings, which can help either Spider-Man gain speed and height as they weave their way around the city.
Then, the group got into discussion of characters, starting with the symbiote. Lowenthal quips that the symbiote impacts Peter Parker by letting him “say anything I want and blame it on the symbiote,” but then adds with a laugh that it makes him a better Spider-Man. It’s power, but with little responsibility, indicating that things will get complicated with Peter and his interpersonal relationships as a result.
Meanwhile, Miles Morales is coming into his own according to voice actor Nadij Jeter. “Miles would not be anywhere without Pete,” he says, noting that Miles still looks up to him even after time has passed.
Finally, we hear from Laura Bailey about Mary Jane, who’s a reporter for the Daily Bugle under Jameson. Her relationship with Peter is more comfortable by the start of the game, and she’s more comfortable with Miles as well and present in their work.
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And then there’s Venom, played by Tony Todd. Todd reiterates that much of the story of Venom, as a symbiote, is about the darkness inside of all of us, and the ways that darkness impacts relationships when allowed to fester or thrive. Insomniac senior art director Jacinda Chew talks about Venom’s design and its visual contrasts to Spider-Man’s design, and the team’s goal to make him “look semi-liquid.” He’s buff, but also nimble, sometimes huge and sometimes skinny.
“Our Venom was inspired by the comics, but there have been so many interpretations that it was fun to pick and choose what fits the game,” said Chew in a PlayStation blog post about the panel. “He has a unique take on the white spider icon and has the anatomy of a human. He also has powerful tendril attacks that can take many forms. It was challenging to find the right balance between liquid and solid in Venom’s materials as going too watery makes him look weak and going too solid can quickly turn him into a tentacle monster. Venom must look both powerful and semi liquid at the same time.”
Venom’s influence was only highlighted further as the panel revealed a brand new Spider-Man 2 PS5 and DualSense controller that shows the symbiote’s power threatening to overtake Spider-Man’s. We have more details on both items right here, and they’ll be up for pre-order next week.
You can also read more about the new trailer shown at the panel, and everything else coming out of ComicCon in our roundup of everything announced.
Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.