Last Friday, former Insomniac artist Xavier Coelho-Kostolny revealed in a now-viral tweet that he was the only man alive to have sculpted Spider-Man’s nipples for a video game.
Now, in a set of interviews based off of that revelation, Coelho-Kostolny has detailed the process behind his artistry – which also extends to Spider-Man’s butt and bulge.
It can be credibly stated that I am the only man alive who has sculpted Spider-Man’s nipples for a video game.
So yeah, you could say I’m a big shot.
— Xavier ? ?? GDC ?? (@XCK3D) February 21, 2020
Marvel’s Spider-Man’s nipples can of course be seen when wearing the game’s unlockable “Undies” outfit, which presented its own unique challenge to developer Insomniac. Peter Parker – like Mario – is very rarely seen in the buff. And he is also owned by Marvel, which is typically protective over its legendary library of characters.
“The most important thing is making sure his nipples weren’t distracting,” Coelho-Kostolny told Kotaku. “As a character artist, I have to consider how certain details will read when you finally see them in the game, so having unusually dark nipples, for example, would make people focus on them instead of the overall effect of Spidey being mostly naked.”
Coelho-Kostolny used the scene in Tobey Magire’s first Spider-Man movie where he wakes up topless in bed as reference “for colour and placement”. But Parker’s nips are not identical, he continued, to avoid the feeling of a “seam running down the middle of the model”.
Pleasingly, Marvel did not intervene on how Peter Parker’s nipples looked – something Polygon reports happening to Edge of Reality, developer of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Back then, Marvel nudged the developer to move all camera shots to shoulder height or higher when showing a nipple-free Ed Norton. Alternatively, the game’s camera was zoomed out, so Norton’s chest was no longer in focus.
Speaking to Polygon about Spider-man’s lower regions, Coelho-Kostolny said he made specific choices about sizing.
“I settled on a bulge that was slightly larger than what’s visible on the [default] suit,” Coelho-Kostolny explained. “The logic there being that he didn’t have as much constriction or support, so things would be a little more free to move around.”
Parker’s underpants-wearing butt is also a little thiccer – but there’s no real logic there.
“That was just me being shameless about adding some beefcake,” Coelho-Kostolny concluded.
Credit for sparking this discussion should be given to fellow former Insomniac artist Ryan Benno, whose tweet sparked Coelho-Kostolny’s reveal.
“Video games are great because somewhere right now there are artists in a meeting room debating whether to have a character with nipples,” Benno wrote, “what possible options to explore varying nipple looks, and how out of scope/tone are nipples.”
Video games are great because somewhere right now there are artists in a meeting room debating whether to have a character with nipples, what possible options to explore varying nipple looks, and how out of scope/tone are nipples.
— Ryan Benno (@BryanRenno) February 20, 2020
All of which makes me wonder which characters’ nipples are being discussed in a board room, right now. Master Chief? Tom Nook?