A nearly-complete prototype of a cancelled Daredevil game for PlayStation 2 has been found and released by Hidden Palace, a website devoted to the preservation of games history. While the game was previously leaked, this earlier reveal only contained brief gameplay footage. What Hidden Palace has discovered, courtesy of an anonymous developer from studio 5,000 Ft., is a working prototype build complete with an explorable open world and dense narrative.
While the file provided to Hidden Palace was reportedly filled with errors and odd data, as it was burned to CD-ROM rather than DVD-ROM and was not properly mastered, with the help of hobby developers Casuallynoted and SolidSnake11, the prototype has been rescued and released online. It’s reportedly filled with bugs and clipping issues, but appears appears fairly well-finished.
You can check out the action in a new gameplay video, posted to YouTube:
The prototype is marked for 22 March 2004, and likely represents the end state of the game before it was cancelled. Per details provided by The Lost Media Wiki, it was pulled incredibly close to release due to tension between Sony and Marvel, who allegedly disagreed about the direction of the game and its gameplay mechanics. It’s believed Marvel wanted a game faithful to its comic source material, while Sony wanted a game with experimental and innovative mechanics.
Studio 5,000 Ft. attempted to corral these dual ideas, as the world of Daredevil expanded – but with the game being pulled in multiple directions, a major year-long delay, and alleged dissatisfaction on all sides, the plug was eventually pulled. According to The Lost Media Wiki, it was Marvel that chose to cancel the development, as it allegedly refused to approve the game, based on how much it had changed with Sony’s input.
Until now, the game has largely languished in obscurity – but with the prototype now freely available, we’re able to see exactly what 5,000 Ft. spent years working on.
Per the footage, it appears this adaptation of Daredevil was based around the Elektra Lives Again comic book storyline by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. The Kingpin is the primary antagonist of the tale, and the action takes place in and around Hell’s Kitchen, with gangs vying for power. To defeat these opposing forces, the game’s version of Daredevil uses acrobatics and a billy club weapon, as well as special ‘Shadow World’ vision that allows him to see enemies in the dark.
It’s a fascinating set up for the game, which could have been something great, if given the time. At the very least, it’s great to see the adventure rescued from obscurity, and that it’s achieved new life and interest as a curious in the modern era. You can learn more about this lost media find on the Hidden Palace website.