Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 cinematic classic Apocalypse Now is coming to a gaming console near you—if you pony up a few bucks.
American Zoetrope—founded in 2000 by Coppola and George Lucas—has teamed with industry veterans to develop a psychological horror roleplaying game based on the iconic film. But in order to maintain creative freedom of the game, the studio is raising funds on Kickstarter.
“Forty years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that could hopefully influence generations of viewers for years to come,” Coppola said in a 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.”
On a secret mission to assassinate renegade Colonel Kurtz, players are encouraged to make their own decisions independent of the film’s narrative, creating a new story nearly four decades after the fact.
“We will create a game that challenges what an interactive experience can be; just as the original motion picture challenged the concept of cinema,” director Montgomery Markland said. “We are making a game that we are excited to play. We will deliver a greater variety of experience and interaction than is currently available within the relatively static industry.”
This crowdfunding campaign is just the first step in what is expected to be a three-year journey to bring an interactive Apocalypse Now experience to fans.
Thus far, the Kickstarted campaign has raised just shy of $30,000, but it wants to pull in $900,000 in the next 28 days. Pledge tiers range from $35 (a digital copy of the final game, expected in October 2020) to $10,000 (two Collector’s Edition game boxes, 10 Collector’s Edition digital copies, and too many other perks to list here).
Led by American Zoetrope, the title is under development by a team of game creators that includes Rob Austen (lead writer on Gears of War, Battlefield, Far Cry), Lawrence Liberty (executive producer and director of Fallout: New Vegas, The Witcher, and DC Universe Online), and Markland (lead producer on Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera). Obsidian Entertainment Design Director John Sawyer is serving in a special advisory capacity.
“I’ve been watching videogames grow into a meaningful way to tell stories,” Coppola said, “and I’m excited to explore the possibilities for Apocalypse Now for a new platform and a new generation.”
Last year, Ys Net’s Shenmue 3 topped $1 million in contributions on Kickstarter and became the second-fastest campaign to reach that milestone; it eventually raised $6.3 million. But some backers were annoyed to learn that Sony was also pitching in to help get the game made. Why contribute to a game that could be funded by Sony’s deep pockets? Producer Yu Suzuki ultimately promised backers that their funds will be used only for production of the game, and that Sony is “not seeing a cent of your Kickstarter dollars.”
Shenmue 3 is currently the fourth most funded game-related project on Kickstarter behind Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5, Exploding Kittens, and the now-defunct Ouya console.