Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has seen critical and fan acclaim in the week since its release, but one element that hasn’t been universally beloved is the return of Mary Jane’s stealth missions from the first game. While these missions were almost universally hated in Marvel’s Spider-Man, some tweaks to the formula have made them far more divisive in Spider-Man 2. And we recently spoke to one of the creative directors on Spider-Man 2 to learn exactly why they’re in the game at all.
So why have these missions been upgraded from loathed to merely divisive? Well, one big reason is that MJ is OP now. Her stun gun makes short work of enemies that take Peter and Miles multiple hits to beat up. For some, this change of pace is awesome, even John Wick-like. For others, it sucks the energy out of a game that’s otherwise fast-paced and wide-open.
Recently, we brought Insomniac senior creative director Bryan Intihar onto a spoiler-packed episode of Beyond to talk about everything Spider-Man 2, and he had plenty to say about the studio’s decisions for MJ. Warning: Spoilers for Spider-Man 2 follow. Read on at your own risk.
According to Intihar, Insomniac was well-aware that MJ’s missions hadn’t been anyone’s favorite bit of the first Spider-Man. And they did ponder foregoing them entirely in the sequel. But instead, the team went a different direction:
“We had two choices. We could say, ‘All right, we’ll make it easy and just not do it.’ And everybody would go, ‘Great. No MJ missions.’ Or we could say, ‘Hey, we’ve talked about showing the world from all different angles. We’re going to make her moments better. We’re going to take on the challenge. We’re going to make people like playing as her.’ We pick and choose our spots. We knew we had to make her more of a proactive, capable person. And if she’s a little OP, I don’t give a shit. She’s fine. I don’t care.”
So Insomniac committed, believing in the importance of showing MJ as a “capable hero”, even if she didn’t have powers. Intihar says that was even part of the motivation to include her as a playable character in the final mission, despite MJ not being in the original plan. They even briefly toyed with letting players control MJ riding her bike, though that was ultimately scrapped to make room for other content.
And that need to show her as a capable hero was also part of the reason that MJ got her incredibly powerful stun gun.
“In Spider-Man 1, there was a really, really early, super-early in development, we never made it, but it was part of a story treatment where Pete was going to be injured, and he could barely walk,” Intihar recalls. “She was going to actually try to get him to safety, and she was going to grab one of his web shooters and she was going to put it on, actually fire at enemies that were trying to get to them but that never happens. I think that’s where the web-shooter idea came from, because I was like, ‘Let’s give her the ability to stun enemies in the first mission.'”
We chatted with Intihar about absolutely everything Spider-Man 2, including an unusued idea for a Venomized Sandman, an explanation for some of the missing suits, and more. You can watch and listen to the full spoilercast right here, but if you’re not ready for spoilers just yet, our wiki guides to Spider-Man 2 and our review of the game have you covered.
Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to email@example.com.
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Author: Rebekah Valentine