Get Over His New Face

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is out soon and looking very good, with a ton of hype surrounding the PS5 exclusive open-world superhero game. But now, even years after Sony made clear it would be giving Spidey a new look, fans keep grumbling about the loss of Peter Parker’s old face, last seen in the original PlayStation 4 version of the first Spider-Man game. And Peter Parker actor Yuri Lowenthal has a message to those fans: Get over it.

When Marvel’s Spider-Man, originally released on PS4 in 2018, made its leap to the next-gen PS5 in 2020, it came with a bunch of changes and graphical improvements. One of the changes that got the most headlines didn’t involve ray-traced reflections or 4K textures. Instead, a lot of people got very upset that developer Insomniac Games decided to change the face of Peter Parker, making the character look younger and more like Tom Holland in the process. Since then fans have been talking about it a lot. And Lowenthal is “tired of talking about it after all this time” and just wants fans to move on.

In an interview with published Thursday, Lowenthal said that he got over the change as soon as Insomniac explained to him it would help improve Parker’s facial animation, telling the studio “I’m all in” after learning about why the change was being made.

PlayStation / Insomniac Games

“The performance was the same for me,” said Lowenthal. “I don’t care if he looks like a goblin, if my performance is better, then I’m in. I’m kind of tired of talking about it, to be honest, because I think everything that needs to be said has been said.”

The Spider-Man actor acknowledged that it will take longer for some fans and players to get comfortable with the face swap. And he also admitted that he understands some people will likely “never” reach that point. However, he does see one positive to all the backlash and continued demands for the original face to return.

“People connected emotionally so hard and so deeply in the first game that they’re mad when they feel that person changes,” said Lowenthal. “I can only be so mad about that because it worked—not the [face change]—but you connected with the character which is great.”

But the actor did have a final message for those still struggling with the new face of Peter Parker: “Now, get over it!”

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 launches on PS5 on October 20.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Developers Form New Union In Face Of Layoffs

As the international gaming industry faces wave after wave of layoffs, workers at Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher developer, CD Projekt Red, have created a new Poland-wide union aimed at protecting their rights. This arrives in the face of the massive studio announcing it would be firing nine percent of its staff by March 2024.

Związek Pracowników Branży Gier (Polish Gamedev Workers Union) has been created by CDPR employees Lev Ki and Paweł Myszka, reports Eurogamer, following a third round of job losses in three months at the studio.

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The new union’s site explains that it’s not specific to CDPR, but rather aims to represent “all professions and people working in the game development sector in Poland.”

CD Projekt Red has obviously been through a tumultuous few years, with the protracted development and disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077 upending its schedules, pulling hundreds of developers off potentially The Witcher 4 and any other projects they may have been working on, and then only made worse by a further year of all-hands-on-deck trying to get CP77 into a functioning state and its DLC out of the door.

That done, the studio will be entering relatively quieter times, and as is the grim state of the games development industry, mean it does not need to employ as many staff until it gets closer to launching whatever might come next. Announcing it would be letting go nine percent of its workforce, some 100 people, was enough to push those remaining into organizing.

“This event created a tremendous amount of stress and insecurity, affecting our mental health and leading to the creation of this union in response,” explains the site. It continues, “Having a union means having more security, transparency, better protection, and a stronger voice in times of crisis.”

This union can only represent workers in Poland, with Polish contracts, and as such doesn’t cover those in CDPR’s Vancouver studio. However, they can of course begin their own efforts to unionize. As the union site explains,

The above shows how employers tend to view their interests to be in conflict with those of their employees. While employees are the ones creating value in this arrangement, they lack any decision power in company-structure-related matters. That is why we need to organize to enter those situations on equal footing.

Update: CDPR gave us this statement in response to the formation of the union:

We have been informed about the intention to form a trade union covering gamedev companies, including our company. We will act in accordance with law and comply with legal obligations that might arise from that situation.

At the same it’s worth mentioning that the voice of RED’s team is already represented by the RED Team Representatives (RTR), which is a democratically elected body representing all employees and independent of the management board. We have been working with them for over 2 years now and we will continue to do so to keep our work environment transparent, safe and healthy.

Updated: 10/10/23, 03.51 a.m. ET: This post was updated to include CDPR’s statement in response to the story.