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Just a couple of weeks ago, Francis Ford Coppola has announced today that he’s given his blessing for an official video game take on his classic film Apocalypse Now. A team of developers with a high pedigree (read above) are seeking $900K on Kickstarter to fund the development of said game in a three-year development cycle, which will give players the ability to take on the role of Captain Benjamin Willard as they navigate a rough framework of the film’s story to tell their own version of this classic story.
“Forty years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that could hopefully influence generations of viewers for years to come,” Coppola wrote in a prepared statement. “Today, I’m joined by new daredevils, a team who want to make an interactive version of Apocalypse Now, where you are Captain Benjamin Willard amidst the harsh backdrop of the Vietnam War. I’ve been watching videogames grow into a meaningful way to tell stories, and I’m excited to explore the possibilities for Apocalypse Now for a new platform and a new generation.”
The game has been in development for “several thousand man-hours in pre-production”, according to the game’s Kickstarter. And it’s readily apparent, according to the images below.
From the game’s Kickstarter page:
“Throughout the course of the game, players will have the ability to make their own decisions independent of the original narrative,” according to the press release. “As players navigate the unspeakable horrors of the Vietnam War, their reactions to each situation will result in consequences that will alter their journey as the story unfolds. Every decision matters, and each player will tell their own story.”
The game opens in Saigon with Willard holed up in a dingy hotel: “Audio and visual distortion evoke Willard’s emotions and past experiences. The game provides you subjective access to a character who is already nearly insane.”
While the game has role-playing elements, it won’t focus on dialog, instead emphasizing actions, postures and avoiding combat through stealth.
“You will quickly learn that the gun-blazing solo war machine of other shooters would not have lasted long in the real Vietnam,” according to the Kickstarter. “Instead you will find rewards for proceeding cautiously and managing limited resources with care. Willard is your responsibility; make him an adept soldier and you will command respect in the jungle.”
Your actions as Willard will also impact the relationship the character has with those around him, most especially the crew of the PBR Streetgang.
“Your actions can endanger or empower them and will affect how they view you and their willingness to aid you.”
The game will also have your carefully tracking resources like food, water, first aid supplies, anti-malaria medicine, drugs, ammo, weapons, mission information and even gasoline.
While the game promises to have many of the characters from the film, it will also include new ones created in collaboration with American Zoetrope.
“Our goal is to immerse you in a tale of drama, magic, and horror.”
Game director Markland says the teams’ main goal is to challenge the concept of interactive experience, just like the film challenged the concept of cinema.
“We will deliver a greater variety of experience and interaction than is currently available within the the relatively static industry,” he said.
If you back it on Kickstarter, you can get all sorts of goodies relating to the film like: Colonel’s Kilgore Death Cards (at the appropriately named $8.5K level, Kilgore), a prop (at the $4K level of Chief), or if you want to back the game’s development at $10K, you can get a large prop from the film, full motion capture for purposes of being in the game as an NPC, and a tour of the Family Coppola Archives.
If the game is fully funded, of course there are stretch goals. With this game, the team will expand the soundtrack, voice over casting, a PS4 and Xbox One version, and if they hit $3 million, a virtual reality version.
The game is currently slated for a October 2020 release, with an early access period starting in 2019 to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary.