We're taking a break from Mario today to discuss the House of Mouse. Man, this one really stings. Let's hope something happens to right this wrong. As always, thanks for reading!
Come Hell or high water, game companies are going to release their attempts at April Fools' Day jokes on April 1st. It seems devs and pubs just can't resist goofing on gamers, be it with an obviously fake announcement or something that blurs the lines. There's always winners and losers in the April Fools' rush when all is said and done, with some jokes that landed and others that didn't. Then there's the special case of an April Fools' that stings a little bit more when it's revealed as fake. That's exactly what FDG Entertainment shared yesterday.
FDG Entertainment took to Twitter on April 1st to share a look at one of their latest projects. The team announced DuckTales Quackshots in collaboration with Game Atelier, the team that worked on the gorgeous Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. A brand-new, 2D, hand-drawn Disney affair that brought Donald, Scrooge, and the nephews together for a bit of daring, do-bad-and-good adventuring. What's not to like about that?
Well, the only thing to not like is the fact that it was an April Fools' Day joke. After receiving an overwhelming response on Twitter, FDG sent out another tweet confirming that the project wasn't actually in the works. Unfortunately, the truth behind the situation was even worse. It turns out FDG and Game Atelier actually did have their hearts set on creating the game, and they even pitched it to Disney. For whatever reason, Disney turned down FDG and they never got the DuckTales license. Instead of a joke that was 100% fake, we got a behind-the-scenes look at something that almost was.
Looking at the high-quality art and surmising gameplay details from the screens, you have to wonder how in the world Disney could have passed on this. DuckTales Quackshots seems like an absolute no-brainer! The revamped DuckTales cartoon is going strong right now, with Season 3 debuting this weekend. Wouldn't a video game to pair with the third season make an absolute ton of sense? A bit of cross-promotion for the brand that would reach out into areas that the TV show might not, and woo people to get interested in the animated series.
That's not to mention the insane nostalgia that's at play here. Disney, the kings of playing on nostalgia, somehow didn't see that DuckTales Quackshots could have made a big splash with gamers. It's been a long time since we've seen a brand-new DuckTales game, and plenty of fans still have fond memories of DuckTales on the NES. That game was so beloved that it even got a remake in 2013 as DuckTales Remastered, courtesy of Capcom and WayForward. To follow that up 7 years later with a brand-new DuckTales platformer seems like a dream come true. How in the world did Disney not jump on this?!
I'm sure the House of Mouse has a TON of data that I don't have access to that makes them believe DuckTales Quackshots wouldn't be a good idea. Perhaps DuckTales Remastered wasn't a big financial success, or a success at all. Maybe there's some sort of licensing issue at play with whoever Disney has deals with in the game industry. It might have something to do with Disney, time and time again, having a really rough go of things in gaming altogether. They've tried to bring their expertise into the world of video games, but in recent years, they've had more misses than hits. Big misses at that, with expensive endeavours like Disney Infinity failing to make a dent in the market. Whatever their reasoning is, it doesn't make the end result any less heartbreaking.
FDG shared the artwork on Twitter as an April Fools' Day joke because they said it would be a "shame to bury the material." I have to agree with them on that, because there's some really gorgeous stuff there, and the game looks like it would be a blast. FDG also said that maybe one day Disney will reconsider, which is another reason why I believe they shared the tweet. I can't blame FDG and Game Atelier for wanting to stir the pot and get some grassroots support. Being able to team with Disney on any brand would be a feather in the cap of both companies, but furthermore, I can only imagine that both are extremely passionate about the project. They never would have put the pitch together if they weren't. Having it not go through must have been killer, but at least sharing the pitch with the world has some chance of sparking interest at Disney.
I'm going to keep all fingers and toes crossed that DuckTales Quackshots gets greenlit some day. FDG and Game Atelier have proven that they know how you bring a franchise back to life with painstaking care and absolute expertise. I have no doubt DuckTales would be in good hands with them. I just hope the April 1st antics and the groundswell of support that followed will somehow make their way back to Disney. This game deserves a chance to shine.