The studio behind Sonic Mania wanted to make a Darkwing Duck game

First released for NES in 1992, Darkwing Duck was one of Capcom's cherished Disney cartoon adaptations. Until recently it was lost to time, but thanks to the release of The Disney Afternoon Collection in 2017, the 8-bit platformer is available on PC. 

But one studio had even higher hopes for Darkwing's survival into the 21st century: Sonic Mania creators Headcannon Games built a working prototype for a retro-styled revival of the series. And not only can you see the game in action above, a playable prototype is also available here.

According to Headcannon's Simon Thomley, aka Stealth, the project was first mentioned to Capcom representatives at last year's E3. Sensing interest, Thomley gathered a team and quickly produced the one level demo, but all further communications with Capcom proved fruitless, until finally a "credible source" advised him that Disney would likely refuse the project anyway.

That story, as well as commentary on the prototype itself, can be heard during the below video, which is a commentated version of the above. As you'll see, it's definitely in keeping with the studio's work on Sonic Mania – it's faithful to the 1990s pixel-art style but evidently boasts more fluid controls. Whether a Darkwing Duck game could have succeeded in 2019 / 2020 is anyone's guess, but it does look pretty cool.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.