DuckTales: Remastered might not make sense to younger gamers who missed the show’s craze. VG247’s Dave Cook explores the NES original and speaks with Capcom about the remake.
Chances are if you’re a younger gamer you might not understand all the excitement around WayForward Technologies’ incoming digital release DuckTales Remastered.
The Disney cartoon premièred in 1987 and starred Scrooge McDuck, a penny-pinching Scottish grump who would search the world for new treasures to hurl into his vast vault of riches. He’d usually take his nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey along for the ride while being chased by the Beagle Boys or some other villain.
It was a brilliant show that took the viewer to exotic locations and saw Scrooge and chums getting mixed up in all sorts of adventures that recalled films like Indiana Jones and globe-trotting fiction like TinTin. Each episode was a blast filled with fun, peril and action from start to finish.
Plus, come on guys just listen to the theme song. It’s pure ’80s:
A-woo-hoo! (Thanks for the clip AshaneX)
It’s been 26 years since the first episode aired, so it’s only natural that many people might be puzzled as to why Capcom had commissioned WayForward to make a new game around the license. But for most people who know the series well it’s one of the most anticipated digital releases of the summer.
Why such a flood of nostalgia you ask? Well, it’s because the first DuckTales game adaptation on NES was actually damn fine. Forget what you know what about piss-weak licensed games of today; this was actually a stellar effort from Capcom and an up-and-coming designer called Keiji Inafune. You might have head of him.
The game actually took close inspiration from Inafune’s work on the Mega Man series, with levels set across the globe that could be tackled in any order and a tough difficulty setting. In fact, you could almost say it was an open world game given the freedom afforded to the player.
Throughout the game you’d battle bees and gorillas in the Amazon, explore a spooky Transylvania mansion teeming with abominations, slide around some ice caves in the Himalayas, dig deep into some African diamond mines and blast off to an alien mothership on the moon. It was a diverse game to say the least.
I’ve still got a copy. Cheers eBay!
Depending on how you perform in stages and your closing bank balance – Scrooge is all about the money you see? – you’d get one of three endings, including a special bad ending for not picking up a single penny in the game, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
All of this, along with some stellar gameplay and some utterly memorable stage music helped DuckTales to become one of the most iconic licensed games of the 8-bit era and beyond. If you mention the Moon level music in particular to a fan I guarantee they’ll love it, or at least know how favoured it is among players.
When I asked Capcom producer Rey Jiminez how the notion of a remake started he said it had been in the pipe for some time. “The discussions between Capcom and Disney about making DuckTales possible have been going on for quite a while. There have been various points in the past where we have approached each other with relatively casual proposals to redo another DuckTales.
“It’s taken a bit of time, but when we were finally able to come to a project that made sense to both companies, we pulled the trigger and signed the title. When it came time to pick a developer, Disney were the ones to suggest WayForward due to their expertise in platforming games and 2D animation.
“In fact, some of the guys that founded and work at WayForward came from the closely located CalArts. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s an arts school that was founded by Walt Disney himself. That means that WayForward is schooled in the animation techniques that Disney uses to this day.”
The art style helped the game go from this:
WayForward certainly seem to be the right team for the job, given all the superb gameplay footage that has come out of the studio so far. It captures the animation of the show, the familiar level settings, an emphasis on money-hoarding and the choice of tackling levels in any order.
The studio even got DuckTales artist Mike Peraza involved to make the game look authentic, and of course it couldn’t have been a faithful adaptation of the show without getting Scrooge’s actor Alan Young back on voicing duties. He’s currently 93-years of age you know?
“Unfortunately I didn’t have the honor,” said Jiminez, dismayed that he never got to meet Young, “but from those that were at the VO recordings, I’m told, said he was an extremely friendly and pleasant person to work with.
“You know, interestingly, the majority of voices that we recorded for DuckTales have been doing those characters for years. I was able to personally listen in on VO work for LaunchPad – Terry McGovern – and simply hearing and seeing the man speak in a voice I grew up with put a giant smile on my face.”
And that’s the killer hook right there my fellow DuckTales fans; it’s the chance to hear all of the old cast back together for one last adventure, and to see the levels that we perhaps grew up playing on NES re-created with today’s tech. Given that today’s kids might not give a stuff about the show, Remastered can hardly be called a nostalgia-baiting plot for your money.
It’s basically a gift to fans, and at a time where console devs are trying hard to hold you upside down by the ankles and shake you until the money stops falling from your pockets, that’s an admirable quality indeed.
DuckTales: Remastered hits PS3, Steam and Wii U in North America on August 13, and Xbox Live on September 11. Will you be picking it up?