Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope is partnering with a team of entertainment and games industry veterans to develop a role-playing-style video game based on Apocalypse Now, Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War epic.
The project will be financed in part through a Kickstarter campaign, with backers offered rewards ranging from early access to the game to a surfboard used in the movie and five days at one of Coppola’s resorts.
“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. 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.”
The game is described by American Zoetrope as a “psychological horror” that will accurately capture the tone, themes, and characters of the film. A 2020 release is planned, with early access to backers in 2019 to coincide with the film’s 40th anniversary.
Says American Zoetrope, the game is “a cinematic narrative with roleplaying game mechanics set in the midst of the Vietnam War. As in the film, players will take on the role of Captain Willard, on a secret mission to assassinate renegade Colonel Kurtz. Throughout the course of the game, players will have the ability to make their own decisions independent of the original narrative. 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.”
Coppola’s studio is developing the game with Rob Auten, the lead writer on game franchises Gears of War, Battlefield and Far Cry; Lawrence Liberty, producer and director of Fallout: New Vegas, The Witcher and DC Universe Online, among others; Josh Sawyer, designer on Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity; and Montgomery Markland, lead producer on Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
“We will create a game that challenges what an interactive experience can be,” said Markland, “just as the original motion picture 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.”
Early Kickstarter backers will be offered such rewards as unique game options and props from the movie – including Lt. Col. Wm. Kilgore’s “Airmobile” surfboard and his “death cards.” Other rewards will include the early access to pre-release versions of the game, limited edition Apocalypse Now-themed merchandise, and play sessions with the development team.
According to the announcement, a “select tier of backers will have the opportunity to give critical feedback directly to the development team, and even take a journey on one of the Family Coppola Hideaway Adventure packages, along with a few surprise rewards that will be announced later.”