American Zoetrope has launched a Kickstarter campaign to solicit support and input from gamers and fans of the 1979 Vietnam War classic. But you won’t be able to smell virtual napalm in the morning for a few more years: The “Apocalypse Now” game is projected launch in 2020, with early access coming in 2019 to correspond with the 40th anniversary of the motion picture’s original release. The company is aiming to raise $900,000 to fund the game development, with a Feb. 24 deadline to reach the goal.
“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.”
The RPG version of “Apocalypse Now” aims to blend a cinematic narrative with role-playing game mechanics. Players will take on the role of Captain Willard, on a secret mission to assassinate the renegade Colonel Kurtz.
The game is being developed by a team of game-industry veterans in conjunction with American Zoetrope. The team includes: Rob Auten, a lead writer on gaming franchises including “Gears of War,” “Battlefield” and “Far Cry”; Lawrence Liberty, whose executive producer and director credits include “Fallout: New Vegas,” “The Witcher” and “DC Universe Online”; and Montgomery Markland, who was the lead producer on crowdfunded titles “Wasteland 2” and “Torment: Tides of Numenera.”
In addition, American Zoetrope has enlisted Obsidian Entertainment design director Josh Sawyer, who directed “Fallout: New Vegas” and “Pillars of Eternity” in a special advisory role. The company said it will bring more game luminaries on board in the future.
“We will create a game that challenges what an interactive experience can be, just as the original motion picture challenged the concept of cinema,” said Montgomery Markland, who is the “Apocalypse Now” game director. “We will deliver a greater variety of experience and interaction than is currently available within the relatively static industry.”
For those who pledge money to the project on Kickstarter, American Zoetrope is providing an array of rewards. Those include unique game options as well as props used in the original motion picture, such as the Lt. Col. Wm. Kilgore “Airmobile” surfboard and Col. Kilgore’s death cards (“not a jack in the whole bunch”)
Other rewards to Kickstarter funders include early access to prerelease versions of the game, limited edition “Apocalypse Now”-themed merchandise, and play sessions with the development team. A select tier of backers will have the opportunity to provide feedback directly to the development team and take a trip on one of the Family Coppola Hideaway Adventure packages.
The “Apocalypse Now” movie, directed and co-written by Coppola, was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” The film starred Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper.