News/Daredevil: The Man Without Fear - Unreleased PlayStation 2 Game
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? We apologize for the wait, as we have a couple of projects we are working on that we wanted to spend some time on before working on another article. Over the past several months we got some really nice things to show, so hopefully in the next few months, you’ll get to see some of them. 🙂
For now, let’s enjoy the spooktacular festivities with a new unreleased game for the Sony PlayStation 2 - Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (originally known as Daredevil: The Video Game during early development) was a third-person beat ‘em up action game based on the Frank Miller Marvel superhero comic of the same name developed by 5,000 Ft. studios. The game was intended to be published by Encore Inc. and was in development for the Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and PC.
The plot of the game consists of an original story that was based on the Elektra Lives Again comic, starting off with Daredevil’s arch-enemy, The Kingpin, who had been supposedly assassinated which causes a war among the rival gangs that occupy Hell’s Kitchen. The gangs compete for power in the entire city, leading to a resurrected Elektra.
You play as Matt Murdock’s alter ego Daredevil in this action-styled beat 'em up. The game plays like a loose version of the Spider-Man games, giving you the ability to grapple up walls and cliffs while taking advantage of a ‘spidey-sense’ like “Shadow World” that allows you to view heat sources and other forms of life around you. The game is separated into individual chapters where the game guides you to what you need to do to finish it while also offering optional side missions that can be done at the same time.
5,000 Ft. began development on the game after helping 3DO with their port of the Army Men series to the PlayStation. At the time, Encore, Inc. had purchased licenses to several Marvel properties such as Captain America and Daredevil. 5,000 Ft. decided to shift towards creating their own games by using the Daredevil property. The scope of the game was originally much smaller, given that the game originally received a much lower budget. However, when 5,000 Ft.’s president Tim Page was contacted by a friend who worked at Sony Pictures mentioned that a movie was in development by 20th Century Fox for 2003, the budget of the game was expanded and thus the game’s size and scope would expand as well.
Like all third-party developers at the time, the game had to receive approval from the product evaluation departments within Sony and Microsoft. Since Microsoft at the time was a newcomer in the video game console industry, they had a very hands-off approach to the evaluation procedure. However, Sony made several demands on the game that would eventually drain more of the developer’s limited resources. Sony would suggest things such as adding the beat ‘em up style combat system and adding a grinding mechanic that was inspired by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. To make matters worse, Sony’s demands were at odds with Marvel’s agreements with the developers, which strained the relationship between all parties involved.
The game’s first few months of development went smoothly until it was decided that a new engine was to be used. In an effort to lighten the cost of development, 5,000 Ft. decided not to go with third-party engines like RenderWare and decided to use some of the base technology to create their own engine. However, this caused issues during development as some of the technology supporting the RenderWare engine had to be engineered to work with the new engine that 5,000 Ft. was creating at the same time. In the end, the game moved away from being an open-world game and was developed as a linear third-person beat ‘em up. The game would miss its original target release date of February 2003 to coincide with the release of the movie and was bumped up to sometime during the Summer of 2003. The game was in development at least until March of 2004 before the cancellation of the game due to many of the staff members who worked on the game leaving. The final nail in the coffin was Marvel’s ultimate refusal to approve the game due to the various changes that were made due to Sony’s recommendations that steered far from the original concept the developer had sold to the licensor. The game was rumored to almost be completed by the time it was canceled.
The game would eventually have a release in some form on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance in 2003, ironically just in time for the movie. Like all unreleased games, the game would be introduced and then never heard from again. The game would eventually reappear on the PtoPOnline YouTube channel where an early build from July 2003 was shown. Aside from this, no other media on the game could be found.
Thanks to Casuallynoted and an anonymous developer who worked on the original game, a copy of the game was eventually dumped using Redump’s standards with DiscImageCreator/MPF. The disc is a bit of a curiosity as all of the game’s contents were burnt on a CD-R rather than a DVD-R, stretching the storage capacity of the CD-R itself to the absolute maximum. As a result, the copy of the game was burnt with some C2 errors that affect sectors at the very edge of the disc near the lead-out area, but thankfully exist outside the game’s TOC so none of the game’s files are affected. On top of this, the game wasn’t mastered properly as it lacked the PlayStation 2 license data needed to boot every PlayStation 2 game. SolidSnake11 was kind enough to look into getting the game to work again by supplying all the information needed for the game to boot.
The game is playable once fixed and represents a somewhat finished product. The game’s executable hasn’t been assigned a valid product serial ID yet so the game is still in development at this point. There are many bugs in the game that can cause the player to clip into walls. It appears there might also be a game crash that occurs after finishing the first chapter, but we aren’t sure if anything can be done. No known cheats or debuggers are enabled, however, a framerate counter is briefly displayed upon dying in the game. Despite this, the game appears to have most of its content available and just needs to be cracked to view the rest of the content. What other things does this game have to offer?
We’d like to thank Casuallynoted and an anonymous developer who worked on the game for sending us this prototype! A huge special thanks to SolidSnake11 for taking a crack at fixing the game so that it could be made playable. And finally, special thanks to the authors of the article on the Lost Media Wiki for giving us pretty much everything written in this article.
Until next time!