Daredevil Month: Whatever Happened to “The Man Without Fear”?

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Comic Book Study, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Image taken from smosh.com

Welcome back to Daredevil Month everyone. Let’s forget for a moment that Daredevil already starred in his own video game, and that it was extremely terrible. Instead, let’s focus on the much cooler game planned for DD called “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear”. IGN posted a short blurb about the game on their website, as follows:

Players slip into the role of the lead character and set out on a mission to find his kidnapped friend, Foggy. As players explore more than 22 stages based on locations from the comic book, they slowly uncover the connection between the appearance of Elektra, his ex-lover, and the murder of Kingpin, the notorious leader of New York’s crime syndicate. Daredevil can use unique weapons, like his radar sense, billy club, and a grapple hook. In addition to a set storyline, randomized crimes that occur throughout Hell’s Kitchen keep things fresh and unpredictable.

Sounds pretty good right? By the way, here’s the trailer for the game:

As you probably guessed by now, the Encore game was eventually scrapped after a long and delay-filled wait time. Why though? Whatever happened to it after its cancellation? Let’s take a look.

The History

As you all know, Marvel had a string of mostly successful video games during the 1990s through the early 2000s. Games like Spider-Man on the N64/PS1 and X-Men Next Dimension on the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube tended to get a lot of attention from video game fans and Marvel fans alike, so it’s no wonder why studios would want to continue this line of success with Daredevil.

Image taken from IGN.com

Publisher Encore eventually began working alongside game developer 5000ft to create a game based on Marvel’s blind superhero. It’s not known how far into development they got (more on that below) before the problems began to roll in, although they were able to show the game at E3 in 2002.

It wasn’t until 2004 when the owner of Encore, the Navarre Corporation, came right out and stated that the Daredevil game had been canceled. Navarre had also canceled any and all other Encore projects while also switching the developer to a strictly publisher-only role.

The Game

Obviously I can’t do a complete review of the game, but I’ll make a few points based on the footage that’s available.

As IGN put it in their blurb, The Man Without Fear was supposed to be something of an open world game, with random crimes for the player to solve/fight through and bosses to take down. While the player could only control Daredevil himself, more of his usual villains and allies would appear as indicated by the footage, including Elektra and Bullseye.

As seen in the footage, all of Daredevil’s moves would appear; the standard punches and kicks, his billy clubs, and even his radar sense all appear, and seem to be pretty faithfully adapted. Like in 2000’s Spider-Man game, Daredevil can even do some flips when he starts to jump. Unlike Spidey though, DD has an entire range of acrobatic moves to use, from grinding on platforms while flipping, to swinging through the air with his billy clubs, etc.

Even given that the game looks pretty rough and unfinished from what we can see, DD’s moves look extremely fluid and well done. With the way they chain together, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a combo system was in the works for this game. If true, then it definitely confirms my thoughts on how the fight system looks like an early version of Rocksteady’s Batman series.

My Thoughts

Image taken from youtube.com

It’s a shame the game never saw the light of day. It very well could have been something that set Marvel games apart from other video games, much like Marvel’s movies versus non-superhero movies at the box office right now.

The game could have also been the one thing to set Encore up as a major player in the video game world. Prior to their work on Daredevil’s game, and even after it was shut down, the studio was/is mostly involved with family friendly and party games. Something like The Man Without Fear could have been really well done in their hands.

Keep in mind though, they did publish that one Daredevil game I mentioned earlier, so take from that what you will.

All in all, who knows how this game would or could have been. All I know is, after looking over the game’s history and what the developers wanted to do, this game could very well have been that one title everyone would have wanted to have. Not to mention, it would have been one more thing for Batman and Daredevil to fight about.



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