Tom Holland is trending on Twitter right now, and it's not because of the Uncharted movie, his "Umbrella" performance on Lip Sync Battle, or anything else he actually did. No, it's because lots of people think the new face model for Peter Parker in the upcoming PlayStation 5 remaster of 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man looks like the character's movie counterpart played by Holland.
Amid the buzz about the recasting, Insomniac's Bryan Intihar, Creative Director on Spider-Man, has come forward with a statement. On top of that, Peter's voice and performance capture actor Yuri Lowenthal has even weighed in with a quip about Insomniac's stated reason for the face swap.
"Today's news about the new Peter Parker face model has surprised some of you, and we at Insomniac totally understand your reaction," says Intihar. "Heck, it even took me a while to get used to Peter's new look."
To be sure, whether or not you think Peter's new face based on model Ben Jordan looks like Holland, he certainly looks quite a bit different from John Bubinak, the original's face model. Again, as in the announcement at the PlayStation Blog, Intihar says the recasting was done to better match the facial performance provided by Lowenthal.
"[As] we discussed the franchise's future and moving to the PS5," Intihar explains, "it quickly became apparent that delivering even more believable looking characters made finding a better facial match for actor Yuri Lowenthal-who we all love as Peter-a necessity."
Intihar goes on to say that Insomniac "didn't make this decision/change lightly." Gesturing toward "the future of the franchise," Intihar says he hopes that fans can trust the team is doing what it feels is best for the character.
Lowenthal, meanwhile, is bringing a bit more levity to the situation while also backing up Insomniac's explanation. "Guys," he writes, "it's my face's fault."
"The stupid stupid bones in my face. Blame my bones."
At some level, the matter of Lowenthal looking more like Jordan than Bubinak (our Reviews Editor Mike Williams thinks its the other way around) isn't as relevant as the actual correspondence between facial expressions, which undoubtedly gets into some high-level animation and physiology concerns. Still, at the end of the day, some people simply prefer the Bubinak look from the 2018 original, and technical explanations aren't likely to change that.
Intentional Holland-ification of Peter or no, the recasting adds yet another wrinkle to the odd situation surrounding the remaster. Available as part of the Ultimate Edition of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5, the remaster won't be offered as an upgrade to the PS4 original, and cross-gen saves won't work for it even though both considerations exist for the Miles campaign. Who knows, though—maybe come November 12, we'll all be too busy admiring Miles's perfect fade and new web-slinging moves to even think twice about Peter's face swap.