The Disney Afternoon Collection is a nostalgic trip back to the NES heyday, when Capcom's deal with Disney resulted in some of the most polished 8-bit platformers around. The collection, which packages Darkwing Duck, Talespin, both DuckTales and both Chip 'n Dale games, is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 18 for $19.99. Shacknews talked with John Faciane, associate producer, about the ins and outs of revisiting the classics.
Where did the genesis of this idea come from, to group these games together?
I joined the team at Capcom in July 2016 and this project was already in motion. As I came on to the project in the producer role, there were several different combinations of games being considered, but we kept coming back to what we knew fans wanted. Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, DuckTales 2, TaleSpin, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 have been the 8-bit titles that fans ask us about, especially following the release of Mega Man Legacy Collection. Since these were all games based on TV shows that aired during the Disney Afternoon programming block it seemed like a natural fit once we looked at the project as a whole.
What can you tell us about Digital Eclipse's work, and what you learned about it from the Mega Man Legacy Collection?
The Eclipse Engine effectively decompiles the game data and rebuilds it into a different programming language for new platforms. This process preserves everything from the original games as they played on their original consoles, including frame rate quirks and flickering that those of us who grew up playing these games experienced.
Digital Eclipse has been focused on NES classics so far. Has there been any thought given to expanding these retro collections to other platforms?
One of the things I enjoyed about working with Frank Cifaldi and the team over at Digital Eclipse is that they are passionate about preserving games for future generations. With The Disney Afternoon Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection, they have helped us share a large part of our gaming history with new and returning fans, and celebrate the impact that this era and these games had on gamers. At this time though there are no plans beyond what we have announced with The Disney Afternoon Collection.
The name is very consciously a signal to people who grew up watching those afternoon cartoons. What went into that angle for presenting the collection in this particular way?
I was one of those kids who grew up watching these cartoons. I even had the DuckTales bed sheets and comforter set as a kid! This collection will definitely be enjoyed by kids that grew up during that time. The biggest thing we wanted to emphasize in the presentation of this collection is the celebration of the era, which many consider to be the golden age of Disney television animation.
As those of us who were born in the mid to late 80s are getting older, we’ve become more and more nostalgic for our childhood, so one of the ways I’ve been able to satiate my hunger for nostalgia has been to work on this collection. Probably the first thing you will notice immediately upon booting up the collection is the color scheme. The early 90s were all about bright colors and geometric shapes. You see it everywhere when you look at media and fashion from this time period. One of the biggest influences on the art design of this project has been early 90s pop culture. I really think you’ll get that feeling when browsing the collection, especially if you grew up during that time.
What unexpected challenges have you faced while porting these games, many of them for the first time in years?
Accessibility is probably the biggest challenge in every sense of the word. All of these games are out of print and some of them are very rare. In the early stages of production, I looked around on the internet for fun to see about how much you would need to pay for all six of the cartridges and it was well over $500, with DuckTales 2 alone coming in at around $200.
The other aspect of accessibility is like most 8-bit games of that era, they were known to be challenging. With that in mind, we looked into ways we could make these more accessible for new players and worked with the team at Digital Eclipse to add features to the collection such as the ability to create Save States and use the Rewind feature to allow players to go back in time before making a mistake.
Some fans have suggested this collection would be a good fit on handheld systems like Switch, 3DS, and Vita. Are you keeping an eye on those platforms as possibilities?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any news to share at this time, but please know that we are listening and we value the wonderful feedback we get from our fans.
Steve Watts posted a new article, Disney Afternoon Collection Producer Talks Challenges and Nostalgia
A few years back, I think maybe when Amazon Prime Video first because a thing, DuckTales was available to stream. I was elated. I watch an episode or two, and figured it would be great to watch with my kids. I only got to show them part of an episode. Life just kept getting in the way. Later, when I felt I had time to sit and binge watch, I noticed they were gone. HUH? Yep. I learned yet again that streaming catalogs only come and go.
I kick myself constantly now for not looking into buying the series on Amazon. I assume that was possible, but it never entered my mind to look into that. It probably wouldn't have been cheap, knowing Disney.
The moral of my "tale" is this: If any of these classic cartoon come available on Amazon again, look to into buying them! It's possible that might happen later this year when DT 2017 finally airs. (still no date).