Insomniac Games tells fans to expect a completely new version of Mary Jane Watson when Spider-Man swings into action on the PlayStation 4. Although the open-world game will focus on a more established version of Peter Parker's Spider-Man, a whole host of important Marvel friends and foes will be along for the ride as well.
Spider-Man's various teaser and gameplay trailers have shown redesigned versions of villains like Kingpin, Shocker, and Mister Negative alongside an overhaul of allies like Miles Morales and Aunt May. Given more of a role than Peter's love interest, MJ has undergone some of the biggest changes yet.
Speaking to Italian gaming site Everyeye at a recent press event, game director Bryan Intihar revealed what's different about Mary Jane. Top of the list, Intihar explained her role as an investigative journalist makes her a vital part of Insomniac's storyline:
"I imagined she could be an investigative reporter, possibly looking into these Inner Demons and what’s happening in New York now that the Kingpin, AKA Wilson Fisk, is out of the game. Ultimately, it was more about deciding what we wanted from Peter and his journey. Mary Jane’s role came as a result of that, to balance everything out."
Cleverly, MJ's new career path makes her a bigger part of the game instead of being just another damsel in distress. Also, while she starts the game separated from Peter, it means she can carve out her own storyline instead of just being known as the girlfriend of the main character.
It just wouldn't be Spider-Man without MJ, so Insomniac made sure the iconic redhead is part of their reimagined Spiderverse. Since she was first introduced in 1965, Intihar and his team had some 53 years of MJ history to work with to decide how they wanted to handle the character. It turns out that Spider-Man needed to include a vulnerable version of Parker who asks for help every once in a while. Intihar went on to explain that this is how Mary Jane became part of the title:
“Once we had designed this situation, the obvious question was: ‘Who could help him along this journey?’ and the answer couldn’t but be Mary Jane, a woman that’s been previously featured as an actress, as a club owner, roles that I wasn’t able to fit with everything else in the game."
With a bold reinvention of many classic Spider-Man characters, Insomniac isn't afraid of the comparisons to Rocksteady's Arkham games. Just as the Arkhamverse expanded Vicki Vale into a no-nonsense investigative journalist, Intihar has done the same with Mary Jane Watson. Although Vale was a forgettable character of Rocksteady's series and was outshone by a playable Catwoman, here's hoping Spider-Man gives MJ the part she deserves.
With confirmation that MJ will be a playable character in some missions of her own, it makes sense that Insomniac has put more thought into her backstory and wants her to stand out more than other characters. Find out whether the new Mary Jane Watson fits with Spider-Man's gritty aesthetic when the game comes exclusively to the PlayStation 4 on September 7.