By: Chris Baker, Interactive Manager, Marvel
Ever since the Xbox Achievements list for The Amazing Spider-Man hit the internet awhile back, Spidey fans have been trying to figure out who this handsome devil might be:
Actually, here's a better image for you:
In the past few days, I've checked out a few message boards, some of which have discerned the character's name: Nattie. Yes, Nattie. Odd, I know. And don't bother looking him up online -- you won't find him. We created him specifically for this game.
Wondering why? Well, there was a time in the development cycle when the full lineup of villains had yet to be determined. All we knew was that the cross-species science behind the Lizard in the new film would be a big deal, and a theme we'd want present in the game. So, Beenox's incredibly talented concept artists began creating different types of cross-species enemies to fight with no real thought toward them being Marvel characters -- just cool dudes to fight.
Two of these were so great, they actually made it into the game before we decided upon using the likes of actual characters, like Scorpion, Rhino and Iguana. One of them was a rat/human hybrid that we decided to evolve further to become Vermin. The other, a piranha man (above -- he's evolved a bit since the initial design), didn't fit as obviously with any Spidey villains, but we didn't want to lose him either, so we allowed him in the game as an original character known as Piranha.
At least that was the intention. It only took one Google search to realize that -- oops! -- Marvel already has a character from yesteryear called Piranha. Though he too was a toothy li’l fishie mutated into human form, the original Piranha was a Namor villain with only the most peripheral of ties to Spidey. It simply didn't make sense to confuse the hardcore folks -- the type who would have found that Piranha link without my help -- by making them think our new character and the Sub-Mariner's old foe had anything in common whatsoever. (And I assure you, they do not. To be extra clear: Nattie is not Piranha.)
So, what to call him? When I had to drop the news to Beenox that they couldn't actually use the name Piranha, I encouraged them to come up with a new name for the character themselves. Having done just a little bit of research on actual piranhas myself, I learned that Pygocentrus nattereri is the most dangerous breed of piranha in the world, and I threw in "Nattie" as a suggestion, based on something a scientist might nickname his creation. Beenox liked it and decided to go with it.
From there, we were able to put together a bio for the character. If you don't like the name...blame Mendel Stromm! Here's Nattie's bio, directly from the game:
As opposed to most cross-species experiments, which were usually the result of one scientist in his lab, this piranha infused with human DNA was the product of a team of Oscorp scientists working from Curt Connors’ research. Though only loosely associated with the group, Dr. Mendel Stromm took to calling this experiment “Nattie,” based on the subject’s scientific name, Pygocentrus nattereri. Stromm’s colleagues found great humor in the contrast of such a nonthreatening name belonging to one of the most ferocious fish on Earth, and the moniker caught on.
Beyond Nattie’s odd name, the beast’s story is about as straightforward as it gets. No one even bothered to record the identity of the human donor, so it is impossible to observe whether or not Nattie has taken on any of his “father’s” traits.
All signs point to Nattie’s human half coming from a fighter, as he’s surprisingly brutal on land, where his charge attack is second only to Rhino’s. He can even follow this up with a deafening scream capable of knocking even Spider-Man off his feet. And when Nattie confronts his prey under water, his victim doesn’t stand a chance…
See Nattie for yourself tomorrow, when the game comes out!
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Chris Baker: @cbake76