There are a lot of superhero-driven video games out there, but, as in other media, comic book adaptations tend to be dominated by the biggest, most bankable names (Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, etc).
However, fans of a certain visually challenged lawyer-turned-crimefighter might remember that some years ago there was an upcoming Daredevil video game being promoted. But the promised game never saw the light of day. What happened?
Development Hell's Kitchen
According to Unseen64, the game was taken on by developer 5000ft Inc and started life as a small-scale game with an episodic framework that remained heavily faithful to the source material; which, at the time, was a comic with a small but devoted following. Then the announcement of the big budget Ben Affleck Daredevil movie changed everything.
For one thing, the game became much bigger and was expanded into a Grand Theft Auto 3 inspired open world sandbox with beat-em-up elements. 5000ft Inc had a bigger budget to work with and took on a lot of new hires in order to handle the expanded size of the project. They also had to contend with oversight and regular progress reviews from powerful corporate interests.
Marvel were reportedly more supportive of their original vision, but Sony's committee made a lot of difficult demands of the developers, including a pretty ludicrous idea to capitalize on the success of Tony Hawks Pro Skater by having Daredevil grind around Hell's Kitchen.
The back and forth continued, with the situation exacerbated by the allegedly unprofessional behavior of some of the new contractors. Eventually, the tension between trying to please these two masters would pull the project apart before it could be finalized, even though 5000 ft had a near-complete game on their hands.
Marvel felt that the game, after making too many concessions to Sony, didn't fit the spirit of their franchise. And it's a shame that this happened, as 5000ft's game did have a few interesting ideas.
The Shadow World
A pitch-black Daredevil game would have been a hard sell, so the game was developed with a 3rd person perspective, but there was an interesting mechanic to let the player utilize Daredevil's unique perspective and skills.
By entering the 'shadow world', the player would miss out on a lot of visual detail, but could detect people through walls, hear their heartbeats and footsteps from a considerable distance. This could even be used in combat to locate weak points on enemies and dodge bullets, all way before Batman: Arkham Asylum popularized Detective Vision.
It's a little heartbreaking to watch as Unseen64 details the story of the almost finished game, which featured a plot centered around Kingpin as a manipulative, behind-the-scenes antagonist setting his rivals against each other. It would also have featured appearances from comic favorites like Bullseye, Elektra, and others, all in comic-appropriate outfits.
You could even earn classic costumes for Daredevil, including his original yellow suit. Original comic strips were also produced to tell the story between game areas, instead of using traditional cutscenes.
Unseen64 takes us through the Daredevil story:
Here's a TV ad with gameplay footage, from more optimistic times:
What do you think...
Could Daredevil come back in video game form?
Daredevil as a Ben Affleck vehicle didn't win many hearts and minds, but the horned hero has made a very successful comeback in the Netflix TV series.
With a resurgence of interest in the superhero and also in the Hell's Kitchen setting, the time seems ripe for a revival. So far we've no hard evidence of this happening, only that the timing seems right.