Back in the early 2000s, there was a giant boom in Marvel Comics properties appearing outside of the two-dimensional page. Film adaptations of classic comic characters were springing up at nearly every studio, and the same went for video games. One hero who as on track to make the leap to both mediums but failed to land on one was Daredevil. We all remember the much maligned 2003 film starring Ben Affleck as the Man Without Fear, but there was originally supposed to be a video game released around the same time.
Production company 5000ft had licensed the rights to Daredevil from Marvel and began developing a "tribute" to the horned vigilante. 5000ft president Tim Page described the third-person actioner as "a series of vignettes celebrating some of the most notable moments of Daredevil's superhero career." It was originally intended only for the Playstation 2, but when news of 20th Century Fox's big screen adaptation broke, the scope and direction of the project shifted.
The game pivoted to a big-budget open-world action tale set in Hell's Kitchen, with releases planned for PC and XBox. The story would be loosely inspired by Frank Miller's "Elektra Lives Again" graphic novel, opening with the news of Kingpin's assassination and Foggy Nelson's kidnapping. With Elektra blamed for Kingpin's murder, players would take on the role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil as they tried to vindicate his returned lover, save his law partner, and quell the criminal uprising that thrives in the wake of Wilson Fisk's death.
However, since both Sony, via their Playstation approval committee, and Marvel had final say on many aspects of the game, conflicts arose. Making things worse, there was internal unrest at 5000ft, including power struggles and drug abuse. On the technical side, the engine the team attempted to build began cracking under the pressure of the open-world setup, forcing them to shrink the scope in ways that negatively affected both scale and gameplay. Eventually, Marvel pulled the licensing rights, and though the game was nearly completed on a budget of $5-$6 million, "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear" was permanently shelved.
Now, DidYouKnowGaming? has shared a video detailing the entire history behind the failed game, including concept art and actual game footage. The video includes clips of Daredevil battling crooks and the Kingpin, swinging through the streets on his billy club, and using his radar senses to enter the "shadow world." There are also shots of Elektra Battling Bullseye, plus concept art for characters like Echo, Hammerhead, Sewer King, Rose, Silvermane, Kirigi, The Hand, Turk, Ben Urich, Stick, Josie, and even The Punisher and Black Widow.
Who knows: Maybe the success of "Marvel's Daredevil" on Netflix might lead to a fully realized DD game in the future. For now, though, take a look at what could have been with DidYouKnowGaming?'s video below.