It’s the first day of PAX East 2013, yet con-goers and Internet folk alike are going gaga over the recent reveal of DuckTales Remastered, a remake of the NES platformer/cartoon tie-in DuckTales. However, there are three major things that make it seem like a cash grab worthy of Scrooge McDuck.
WayForward’s Track Record With Licensed IPs
WayForward Technologies might not have the street cred of Capcom, but that doesn’t make them a bad developer in and of itself. In fact, they have had moderate success when it comes to making their own titles, as seen in the recent Mighty Switch Force and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. However, this penchant for quality often dips when the company tries to adapt other’s work.
Let me ask a question: how many people played the Wii version of A Boy and His Blob? How about Bloodrayne: Betrayal? Batman: The Brave and the Bold? The truth of the matter is these games did not capture the heart and soul of its inspiration, coming off as posers rather than the real deal. Which brings me to my next point…
It Has a Lazy Art Style
Cartoons from the late 80s and early 90s were often created with tender loving care, and the DuckTales cartoon was no exception. One would not expect anything less from the wonderful world of Disney, but DuckTales Remastered takes what was once great and gentrifies it to the point of blandness.
The anime eyes and chibi body of Scrooge McDuck are just the start. The clash between the high resolution sprites and the low polygonal backgrounds clash together make for a jumbled mess. In comparison, the original spritework of the NES title is preferable in its simplicity and elegance.
It Panders to Nostalgia…and the Fans of PAX East
I’ll be the first to admit that the original DuckTales was a good game. After all, there’s a reason many gamers still sing the “Moon Song” to this day. However, it’ll take more than a duck with a monocle and a bouncing cane to sell me on this one.
Think about the venue and the way they released this title: WayForward and Capcom unveiled this game during a fan convention at the height of excitement, a time when I have personally seen people line up for hours to play Duke Nukem Forever. Many people in attendance no doubt grew up with the cartoon and/or have fond memories of playing the original. Heck, even the debut trailer has a sing-along of the theme song.
The development team hit the target demographic at the precise time needed to drum up enough hype. If they waited a week later to unveil it at the more business-minded GDC, people would be too busy ogling The Phantom Pain to pay this downloadable title any notice.
Keep in mind I could be wrong, and I may very well be eating my words a few months down the road, but the tell-tale signs are there. Let’s just hope we don’t have another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled on our hands.