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Why is Ducktales: Remastered being made anyway?

Monday, 5th August 2013 11:15 GMT By Dave Cook

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:

To 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?

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23 Comments

  1. polygem

    great article, awesome game. cannot wait. such a feelgood vibe. nostalgia at it´s best. sooooon!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. dreamcastnews

    Wii U version for me, I reckon. Although I bet it’s free on PS+ before December, those crazy Sony boys chuck games at you!

    #2 1 year ago
  3. VibraniumSpork

    Brilliant article Dave, the best musing on this title I’ve read. I have fond (but partial) memories of this game from the first time round and am eager to pick this up. For me this release is a lot more attractive than the Castle of Illusion one; there’s nothing wrong with Ducktales (or Castle’s) original gameplay, and I don’t need new hands digging into it adding dubious bits of this and that. I just want the brilliance of the original given a shiny new lick of paint so that it looks great in HD.

    The only other thing to maybe make fans happy? If they allowed you to switch between the new visuals and the old on the fly, like they did with the Monkey Island Special Editions – that was a lovely touch.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. polygem

    btw…no vita version?

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Blackened Halo

    better ask: Why was Rise of the Triad being made? absolutely terribly awfull game …the worst FPS since Hidden and Dangerous released on PSX

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Dave Cook

    Thanks guys. If you’re interested I recorded a Let’s Play on DuckTales NES here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQTn1WPZnL8

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Lengendaryboss

    @4
    Its Capcom, its selling badly = no port.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DUST3222

    @Dave after watching that video and hearing your voice why didn’t CAPCOM have you voice uncle scrooge?

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 Hah :D I’m too young I think. I also can’t roll my ‘R’s which for a Scottish person makes no actual sense.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. bradk825

    Excellent stuff in here. I played this game on my NES back in the day and loved it. It’s one of the ones that really stood out from the pack. Original voice actors just makes it feel that much better. I can’t wait.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. xino

    good question!
    why is it being remade? who cares for this?
    remade IP are there for sequels or to build fanbase

    #11 1 year ago
  12. TheWulf

    I’m sorry Dave, I really am… I do plan on reading the whole article and actually commenting on it as a whole, but you had a moment of serendipitous wisdom there where you actually understood what I do. Not just what I do, but what Lego Batman 2 seemed to grok as well.

    Namely this: “In fact, you could almost say it was an open world game given the freedom afforded to the player.

    One of my problems with open world games is that it’s an excuse for poor design. I suppose what I’m saying is that what you see in a well designed Metroidvania just blows away the computer-generated terrain and foliage of stuff like Far Cry and the Elder Scrolls. My favourite kind of ‘open world’ was one where you had a large hub (which was a level in its own right) which connected to other levels.

    The first thing I noticed in LEGO Batman 2 was that was exactly what they did. And I know I praise the LEGO games a lot, but that’s because they genuinely represent good design.

    In LEGO Batman 2, the hub was separated up into four distinct sections, each was its own ‘level,’ it was a very openly designed level, but it was about encouraging people to explore and find the finely crafted things that they intended for players to find. There were puzzles in each of the sections of those hubs which you could solve if you had the right equipment, and it felt like playing a level.

    Then those four areas of the main hub connected to actual levels. The levels were more linear affairs, but still very open, they had a distinctly Metroidvania feel to them as you could explore and find puzzles just by derping around, and you could collect things which would allow you to come back and solve puzzles later. All of this within something that actually felt hand-crafted.

    Compared to something like LEGO Batman 2, I honestly think that other games feel lazy. I’m going to be silly now and compare Far Cry 3 to LEGO Batman 2, because I actually think it’s relevant, and it explains why I prefer the LEGO Batman 2 approach. In Far Cry 3, you have your outposts, and you have a lot of terragen going on. It doesn’t at all represent good design, it’s lazy, and it’s easy to put together. It’s wow-inducing initially, sure, but then you realise that everything kind of looks the same, and it feels procedurally generated.

    When you compare a level of a good game — like, say, Mario 64 — with an open world area, I’d feel that the hand-crafted area trumps it because it’s actually fun to explore. It means that secrets can be obfuscated and hidden. As an example:

    - In an open world game, I obtained this item by killing X amount of animals and using their bits to make an item.

    - In this pseudo-open world game with levels, I climbed up the side of a building, and navigated a series of tricks, traps, and puzzles with parkour over the rooftops to acquire this item.

    I honestly prefer the latter.

    I think that stuff like LEGO Batman 2 is the way forward (heh), at least for me. I’m just tired of open world grind, because that’s all it ever is, and open world games just feel lazy. The only open world game I’ve truly liked as a game is LEGO Batman 2. Saints Row the Third I like more as a ridiculous toy, where anything can happen, but it is more of a toybox, and that’s about as far as my interest in open world goes.

    I think this is why people tried fixing this with mods with Bethesda Scrolls games. You had these mods called… oh, what were they? Unreal Landscapes? Something like that for Oblivion, and they were intended to add hand-crafted areas to the game which felt more fun to explore than the usual open-world trash. This is because when you have something as giant as an open world, it’s unrealistic to actually make it all fun to explore.

    The only way you can make an open world game fun to explore is if you allow players to build things, and eventually the game is going to become so chock-full of player-made linear experiences that it’ll not feel like an open world any more. (This is my hope for Everquest Next.)

    But Duck Tales was that special sort of game, it was a Metroidvania before anyone knew what a Metroidvania was. A Metroidvania essentially has a hub connected to levels which you can saunter back and forth between. And what was LEGO Batman 2? It was a 3D Metroidvania. I’m not even kidding. That’s exactly what it was. :I And I want more games which are 3D Metroidvanias rather than open world games.

    Why am I excited about Duck Tales? It’s one of the first Metroidvania-style games, and a damn fun one to boot. It was stuff like this, Megaman, Castlevania, and Metroid that really made the genre. And I love this kind of experience, but maybe that’s just me? But I’d prefer more Metroidvanias over open world games. And I really long for more 3D Metroidvania experiences like LEGO Batman 2.

    But even old ones like this… I’m happy to go back to.

    (Conversely, this is why I’m so dgsajgodishag about LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. It’s LEGO Batman 2 with Hulkbuster armour. I’m okay with this.)

    #12 1 year ago
  13. TheWulf

    I suppose the reason this makes a lot of sense is that there are a lot of people out there who still play old games. Substantial enough for there to still be printed magazines about retro gaming, where other types of gaming magazines are failing. One of the joys of having a PC is that you can play pretty much any kind of old game with a huge degree of accuracy, and with the right adaptor, you can even use the proper kind of controller.

    And it might be reasonable to assume that this large base of retro gamers would actually appreciate graphically updated and modernised versions of their favourite classics. Indeed, the evidence would support that as we’ve seen no end of projects like that — some of which are successful, some of which aren’t. But the effort proves that there’s a market for this, and that people want it.

    There’s a lot of fun to be found in old games, and I’ve been finding that I can have a blast with an old game if I just turn infinite lives on, because many ‘modern’ platformers are very similar to older ones but… well, they have infinite lives.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a huge success, and I hope we see more of it.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. KineticCalvaria

    @12, really? That’s not commenting on it as a whole? Christ man…

    #14 1 year ago
  15. YoungZer0

    Nobody is going to read that.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. Sylrissa

    I sometimes read it when he can keep it within a single post, but this is far too much, I’ll pass.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. monkeygourmet

    @14

    Lol :D

    #17 1 year ago
  18. monkeygourmet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqyD8E1QATs

    #18 1 year ago
  19. fihar

    @14
    That, I believe, is called pulling a salarta.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. DSB

    Facepalm

    #20 1 year ago
  21. viralshag

    There you go Dave, your next article written for you…

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Lengendaryboss

    @21
    Would that be @12/13? Because i would end up sleeping and to be honest Dave can do much better than that :D

    @14/16/19/20
    Genuinely laughed at that :D Thanks.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. TheWulf

    If I honestly expected anyone to read it, I’d have a blog. This way I can just speak my mind and only those who’re genuinely interested will stop to have a nose at what I have to say. I feel more comfortable that way.

    It is kind of amusing that I’m getting gossiped about, though. It’s almost as if people have nothing better to talk about. And #22 comes over as just being incredibly insecure. >_>

    Like I said, no skin off my nose as I don’t mind either way. Hakuna matata.

    #23 1 year ago

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