- After almost 20 years, a prototype of a canceled Daredevil game has been discovered by Hidden Palace.
- The game was intended to be released on PS2, Xbox, and PC.
- A clash of demands between Marvel and Sony led to the cancellation of the project.
After almost 20 years, a prototype of Daredevil: The Man Without Fear has been discovered by Hidden Palace. The game was initially known as Daredevil: The Video Game and was a third-person beat ’em-up action game inspired by Frank Miller’s Marvel superhero comic of the same title. It was developed by 5,000 Ft. studios and intended for release on the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and PC platforms.
The game’s narrative revolves around an original storyline inspired by the Elektra Lives Again comic. It begins with the apparent assassination of Daredevil’s nemesis, The Kingpin, sparking a violent conflict among rival gangs in Hell’s Kitchen. As the gangs fight for control over the city, Elektra makes a surprising return. The gameplay draws inspiration from the Spider-Man games, offering wall and cliff grappling abilities.
After assisting 3DO with the PlayStation port of the Army Men series, 5,000 Ft. Studios embarked on developing their games using the Daredevil property, following Encore, Inc.’s acquisition of Marvel licenses. Initially, the game had a smaller scope due to budget constraints. However, when 5,000 Ft.’s president, Tim Page, learned of a 2003 movie adaptation in the works by 20th Century Fox, the game’s budget and scale expanded accordingly.
The game also had to undergo approval from Sony and Microsoft’s product evaluation departments. While Microsoft took a more hands-off approach, Sony’s demands, like implementing a beat ’em up combat system and a grinding mechanic inspired by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, strained the developer’s limited resources and clashed with Marvel’s agreements, leading to a strained relationship among all parties involved.
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Development initially progressed smoothly until a decision was made to switch to a new engine, resulting in additional engineering work to adapt existing technology. The game transitioned from an open-world concept to a linear third-person beat ’em up. Despite missing its original release target to coincide with the movie, the game continued development until its cancellation in March 2004, primarily due to clashes between Marvel and Sony.
Rumors suggested that the game was nearly complete before its cancellation. Additionally, the game eventually saw a release on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance in 2003, conveniently coinciding with the movie’s premiere. While it’s unfortunate that a dispute between companies led to the cancellation of this project, it’s still great to see a prototype of what could’ve been.
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