Francis Ford Coppola’s production team, American Zoetrope, is teaming up with a group of industry veterans to create an Apocalypse Now video game. The game just went up on Kickstarter today with a funding goal of $900,000. It’s slated to be a survival-horror title with RPG elements, something the team says would have been impossible if the game had been developed by traditional publishers rather than through crowdfunding.
The development team includes designers, developers, directors, and producers that previously worked on notable games like Fallout: New Vegas, Far Cry, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Gears of War, The Witcher, and many more. The blend of genres represented in this list shows promise in Coppolas goal to present an unconventional war video game.
Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War film is one of the most highly regarded in cinema history and is based off of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It tells the tale of Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) sent on a mission to assassinate a rogue Colonel (Marlon Brando). The video game adaptation follows that same story through the eyes of Willard, though this time the choices you make, whether that’s the things you say, the actions you take, or even something as subtle as your posture, will veer the story in new directions, both positive and negative.
While an Apocalypse Now game has been rumored in the past, nothing ever came to fruition. Now, however, American Zoetrope appears to be serious, and the current video game development climate could be the perfect timing for an Apocalypse Now video game.
While games have been frequently criticized for their romanticized depictions of war, more recent entries in both the AAA and indie space have shown that video games can — like any other medium — tell powerful stories about war. Spec Ops: The Line is highly regarded as a war game done right thanks to its intelligent and critical look at the tolls of war and video game violence. 2014s This War of Mine, inspired by the Bosnian conflict, takes a different, equally lauded critical look at war with players cast as a civilian trying to survive in a war-torn city.
While many AAA developers shy away from producing games that veer from the traditional mold, the still relatively new Kickstarter platform makes it easier for developers to pursue their own passion projects. When an Apocalypse Now game was first hinted at back in 2010, Kickstarter was still in its infancy, but now crowdfunded games are the norm. Many big-name developers have started projects on the platform to avoid creative restrictions, and Coppola is following suit.
Citing his experiences making Apocalypse Now, Coppola described how he had to veer from Hollywood to realize his creative vision for the film, and how he hopes to do the same with the video game adaptation. Speaking in a promotional video, Coppola commented:
>“40 years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that could hopefully influence generations of viewers for years to come. 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 video games 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.”
If funded, Apocalypse Now — The Game is expected to launch in 2020.