Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: Is Venom a Villain or Playable Antihero?

Venom will be a featured character in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, but is he the antagonist he initially appears to be?

Spider-Man 2
Photo: PlayStation Studios

As if the recent PlayStation showcase couldn’t have just shown us the Star Wars: KOTOR remake and God of War: Ragnarok trailer and called it a day, Sony had to go one step further and give us an early glimpse at Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 that ended with a brief look at what figures to be one of the game’s biggest new characters, Venom.

Now, some are already suggesting that Venom is the one narrating that new trailer, but based on the accent and dialog, it seems more likely that’s actually an unseen Kraven the Hunter. Besides, there’s a voice change at the end that seems to clearly signify that Venom is now speaking.

Oh, and if that voice sounded familiar to you, that’s because Venom is being voiced by none other than the legendary Tony Todd. Yes, the original Candyman himself will be bringing Venom to (digital) life in this upcoming game, which is honestly all the reason that some will need to get very excited about this upcoming PS5 title.

Of course, while the casting of Tony Todd may strengthen the already popular belief that Venom is one of the sequel’s upcoming villains, that trailer makes it seem like he might actually be one of the game’s playable characters alongside Peter Parker and Miles Morales.

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Watch that trailer again and listen to Kraven’s dialog. He’s talking about seeking an “equal” to challenge him as we watch Peter Parker and Miles Morales beat up various thugs. He then asks “Will one of you finally give me what I desire?” as the camera shows Parker and Morales staring into an alley. From that alley comes Tony Todd’s voice growling out the words “Yes…we will” followed by a brief glimpse at Venom himself.

Now, while the shot of Venom arguably reinforces the idea he’s going to be one of the game’s main antagonists (a theory supported by Todd’s particular voice acting style), the specifics of Venom’s appearance don’t immediately support that interpretation. If we’re to believe that Kraven is one of the game’s villains (and it’s hard to see that not being the case), then why would another villain such as Venom seemingly directly respond to his challenge?

While there are many possible answers to that question at the moment, the most likely explanation is that this particular version of Venom may be more of an antihero (or even just a wildcard) who battles Parker and Morales as well as Kraven (and anyone else in his way) pretty much indiscriminately. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen that version of Venom, and it’s arguably the more compelling portrayal of the character than simply presenting him as a villain.

But if that is the case, then does that mean we can also expect to play as Venom at some point during the game? Again, this is all speculation, but the fact that we briefly see a black and white version of the Spider-Man logo at the end of that trailer would seem to suggest that Venom (or perhaps an “infected” form of either Spider-Man) may indeed have a much larger role to play in this game than that of the antagonist.

While this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve gotten to play as Venom in a video game, it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten a video game that really did that character justice. In fact, 2005’s Ultimate Spider-Man was arguably the last game to properly portray a playable Venom, and that game also initially presented him as a villain before eventually letting players control him as a kind of antihero.

However he is portrayed, Insomniac’s previous work with this franchise leaves us feeling oddly optimistic that this is going to be one of the best versions of Venom that we’ve seen in years (with apologies to Tom Hardy and…well certainly not Topher Grace). The question now is whether or not the mystery of Venom’s allegiance and playability will be solved ahead of Marvel Spider-Man 2‘s 2023 release date.

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