Sonic Mania Developer Pitched A Darkwing Duck Game To Capcom And it Looks Brilliant
PagodaWest Games, Headcannon Games and Christopher Whitehead's Sonic Mania is one of the best Sonic games ever made, hands down. Well, some of the team members that put that game together also had plans on bringing another popular character to life: Darkwing Duck.
Over on the Stealth YouTube channel there's a five and a half minute video showcasing a fan project pitch that the developers put together in order to get Capcom to pick up the game. The five minute video features the titular character, Darkwing Duck, swinging through the sewers, shooting enemies with his gun, using his grappling hook to get around the level and fighting a variety of foes, including some mutant flying creatures, and some henchmen in yellow jumpsuits.
The first level is a typical sewer stage, complete with all the challenge-based platforming that comes with it. I usually hate sewer stages so it's not like this was something that instantly appealed to me. I honestly don't know why exactly the team went with showing off a sewer stage, but from a polish standpoint the game looks superb.
Headcannon's Aaron Sparrow outlined how the game was pitched to Capcom, but they weren't interested.
This is despite the fact that Headcannon Games really knocked it out of the park with the 2017 release of Sonic Mania. The game also received a lot of positive feedback from critics and solid sales from gamers.
Headcannon's Darkwing Duck utilizes old-school synths and sound processing, so it not only looks like a sprite-based platformer from the 16-bit era, but it sounds like one, too. In fact, the team mentioned in a message at the end that the effects were actually from an 8-bit NES game. The combination of the sound and visual aesthetics makes it where you would be hard-pressed not to think that this was a missing gem from the Sega Genesis or SNES era.
That was part of the team's plans, though. At the end of the video there's a message stating that this little pitch was based on the 1991 Disney cartoon, Darkwing Duck, which was a parody of the dark and gritty Warner Bros. cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. The game was also loosely based on another game, Darkwing Duck, for the NES from Capcom.
I imagine if Headcannon put that kind of time and dedication into making a 16-bit style love-letter to Darkwing Duck, gamers would instantly flock to it as well. Sadly, Capcom didn't want to step away from the major money makers like Resident Evil and Street Fighter, or the huge blockbuster that is Monster Hunter World to give a little love to an old-school platformer.
According to Aaron, the company just didn't show any interest in the project at all. Usually companies these days want games that come with financial sheets showing potential market returns, and a retro platformer is likely not going to be a big hit like Call of Duty or Fortnite. Well, at least they tried and at least there's a free demo available.
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