It’s hard to imagine Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 (and later PS5) without Aunt May. She plays a pivotal role in the game, appearing in many cutscenes alongside other main characters in the story. Yet, according to Dan Slott, Insomniac wasn’t sure if it could create a realistic and good-looking old character in the game due to all the wrinkles. Instead, the studio wanted her to only appear as a voice over the radio.
In an interview with GamesRadar, Marvel comics writer Dan Slott, who contributed to 2018's Spider-Man, explained the whole Aunt May situation. According to him, early on in the game’s development, he learned that Insomniac didn’t want Aunt May in the game as a physical character. Even though Aunt May is one of the most important characters in Peter Parker’s life, the studio was concerned about how wrinkly and old she was.
“They were telling me the reality of it,” explained Slott, “According to them, old characters - wrinkly characters - to make them look good and realistic, it takes a big amount of work. Equal to what they could use to create five other characters.”
So the plan, at first, was just to have Aunt May call Peter and talk to him over the phone and radio and never have her appear in the game as an NPC or physically modeled character. But Slott pushed back on this decision, telling GamesRadar he was “adamant” that Aunt May needed to be in this game and not just as a voice you hear on the radio. According to Slott, he finally convinced Insomniac to include May in the game after explaining to the devs that she doesn’t have to be that old to still be Aunt May.
“Look, Marisa Tomei [who plays Aunt May in the MCU films] isn’t that old,” said Scott. “Aunt May doesn’t have to be super wrinkly; she can be less wrinkly’.
Of course, if you’ve played Spider-Man on PS4 or PS5 you already know how this story ends. Apparently, making her less old and wrinkled helped convince the devs that they could include this pivotal and iconic Marvel character.