From white spiders to the influence of Iron Man.

In a panel at DICE today, Insomniac’s Ted Price and Bryan Intihar sat down to discuss the latter’s history at the company.

Inevitably, some of that discussion veered onto the topic of the company’s biggest hit, Spider-Man on PS4, for which Intihar was the creative director. On the way, we learned a few things about the game’s development – here are the highlights:

There Were Originally Too Many Gold Trash Cans

While discussing how Intihar learned to provide feedback during production, he gave an unexpected example:

“Do you want to know how it started originally? With me screaming about gold trash cans animating. That we had too many gold trashcans in the F.E.A.S.T. shelter, because I thought that was a big detail. I was like: there cannot be gold trashcans in this. And there was a point where one of our old environment artists just started putting gold trashcans in screenshots and sending them to me.”

If that seems like an odd hang-up, Price agrees, and asked why Intihar hated that cosmetic touch so much. Even while admitting that he overreacted a little, the director still couldn’t quite let go of his problem with them:

“That’s one of my bugaboos. I can’t deal with gold trashcans. They weren’t supposed to be in that set. Anyway, you’re giving me PTSD.”

The White Spider Was One of the First Decisions

The white spider on the game’s core Spidey suit suit – an invention for Insomniac’s take on the character – was, according to Price, an early design decision, and one that proved important for everyone making the game, giving them the flexibility to build their own Peter Parker:

“I think that, for us,” explained Intihar, “[the white spider] was us saying this is Insomniac’s Spider-Man. It’s recognisable: there’s no doubt when you look at that character, you know it’s Spider-Man. But it’s got the big white spider, which is really reserved for another suit, and people know ‘oh that’s Insomniac’s Spider-Man.’ We wanted that kind of… we wanted to stay true to the franchise, but we also wanted to mix things up.”

The MCU’s Iron Man Was a Big Inspiration

Intihar makes very clear how much a fan he is not just of Marvel as a whole, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Insomniac’s Spider-Man, he says, was his effort to make a playable version of those movies – and there’s a key touchstone there:

“Iron Man 1 is great because it’s a great Tony Stark story, not just a great Iron Man story… that’s what we wanted to do with Peter. Out of all the super heroes, we had such an opportunity to tell a really great human story with Peter because he’s not the billionaire or a god like Thor, you could really dig into someone who has flaws. We always talked about when Peter fails, Spider-Man succeeds and vice versa, there’s so much to play with there.”

Some Worried That the First Draft Wasn’t Funny Enough

Intihar repeatedly pointed out how fundamental he thinks humour is to the character of Spider-Man, but also revealed that, at one stage, some were worried that the game spread Spidey’s quips a little too thinly:

“When the story was still not totally there, I think there were concerns about ‘was the story gonna be funny enough?’ And do we have to add more humor? We knew more was coming, it just wasn’t in the game yet, and I said ’no, we’re gonna be totally fine’.”

“We had the story we wanted, then some things weren’t there, but we actually went back and did some reshoots, and we actually found moments that were already in the game where we could literally just add a 15 second sequence to the end of a certain scene, or something at the beginning… that helped at the end of the day.”

New Scenes Were Added Very Late

The game’s story is one of the reasons we enjoyed it so much, but it seemingly didn’t come together totally until very near the end of production. Intihar pointed out that the game shipped a near-final version in July of last year, but sequences were still being made very soon before that:

“We were shooting new scenes in the spring. To get that kind of support from Sony as well was unbelievable. I just said ‘we gotta do this thing’ and… all of our Sony people were like ‘go for it’ and that’s the last I ever heard of it, and we just went and did it. And that is unbelievable to have that kind of support. Having a partner like Sony on this project was… that’s one of the reasons why it’s so good.”

A Marvel Games Exec Bought Intihar Spider-Man Underwear

Price calls Intihar the biggest Marvel fan he’s ever met, but apparently Marvel Games Vice President Bill Rosemann is a step above. It seems game respects game, though. When Price asked Intihar if his Spidey mania extends to owning themed pyjamas, he explained:

“No, but I have Spider-Man underwear, I do. Which Bill [Rosemann] actually bought for me.”

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s UK Deputy Editor, and he almost only used the stealth suit. Follow him on Twitter.

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