After the popularity of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix, a meme started making its way around social media showing off a screenshot from a first-person Daredevil video game. The joke, of course, is that the picture was a solid black image. Just because that was a joke doesn't mean that there's never been a Daredevil game in the works, though.
Newly released footage gives fans their first glimpse of the Daredevil: The Man Without Fear game that might have been. The game was originally being developed for release on the PlayStation 2, and plans expanded to include a PC and Xbox release before the project was finally scrapped.
According to Unseen64, the game was in development at 5000ft Inc. and was originally planned as a relatively small PS2 release that would focus primarily on recreating key moments from the comics. It was an offshoot of the Marvel licensing craze of the late '80s and early '90s, when Marvel was trying to stay afloat and licensed franchises such as Spider-Man and the X-Men films. Tie-ins and other comic-based games became popular as developers tried to cash in on the popularity of comic book properties, including games for lesser-known characters as well. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear was going to be one of the latter types of games, but it was impressive enough that Marvel itself took notice and became involved in the game's production.
As work progressed, the developers found out that Fox was making a Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck. Once it was revealed that there would be a big-screen Daredevil adventure that could boost sales of the game, 5000ft's publisher Encore wanted to make its little Daredevil project into something much more impressive. The game became an open-world adventure, and distribution plans expanded to the Xbox and even the PC as well. Differing visions between Sony and Microsoft as to the game they wanted on their consoles, along with Marvel objecting to some of the features that came from trying to please both hardware companies, put increasing strain on 5000ft. Game engine issues, internal conflicts, and staff members abusing drugs before or during work led to problems within the company and a gradual shrinking of the game to try and get its complex components to work.
In the end, the game was almost complete when everything finally fell through. 5000ft tried to appease Sony too much, and unfortunately Marvel refused to sign off on the game that was created. With the company unable to release the game, Marvel pulled the license and the game was shelved. 5000ft finally closed its doors in 2012.
While the graphics of the game look dated by today's standards, several of the things that the developers wanted to include in Daredevil: The Man Without Fear were years ahead of its time. Parallels could even be drawn to the Arkham games, and a game following Daredevil's general plot would still likely do well today. Perhaps one of these days we'll see a worthy Daredevil game, especially now that Marvel plans on being selective in the developers that it works with, but until then we'll just have to think about what might have been.
Source: Unseen64 (via DidYouKnowGaming?)