You seldom hear about game ideas that don’t work out, especially if they never get past the pitching phase. Even more rare than that is being able to see the content that was pitched. Don’t even think about actually getting your hands on it and playing it. Somehow, in this case, we’re getting all three. Headcannon, a small developer and part of the Sonic Mania team, revealed this week that it pitched a new Darkwing Duck game to Capcom. The pitch didn’t work out, perhaps unsurprisingly, but the real surprise is you can download and play that pitch (on a computer, naturally).
This comes from Simon “Stealth” Thomley himself, who runs Headcannon and was one of the lead programmers on Sonic Mania alongside director Christian Whitehead. He posted both a gameplay video of the “demo” built for the pitch, as well as a second video providing the backstory on what happened. It isn’t the most elaborate story in the world, essentially going from a conversation at E3 to a series of attempts at email communications. Later, a separate conversation led to an assumption that Disney would have turned it down pretty quickly regardless of Capcom’s interest. Still, the “demo” is neat, and you can download a playable PC build and try it out.
It’s obviously a proof of concept, mostly showing off early mechanical ideas. It’s cute, though, in that it uses music and some assets from the original NES Darkwing Duck game (which of course was developed by Capcom). It also tallies some stats at the end, and Thomley encourages players to use that screen to share high scores on social media. Fortunately, while this proposed sequel will never see the light of day, you can certainly play the original for PlayStation 4 in the excellent Disney Afternoon Collection from Digital Eclipse.
New Darkwing Duck Game Pitched by Sonic Mania Dev Headcannon