ByAna Valens, writer at
Writer and games critic. As seen at the Daily Dot, Waypoint, Kill Screen, Bitch Media, and ZEAL.
Ana Valens

Remember Apocalypse Now, the 1979 American epic about one man's journey through the madness of the Vietnam War? Well, it looks like that movie will soon be getting a video game adaptation. That's right, an Apocalypse Now is now being planned, and there's already a campaign on Kickstarter.

According to the Kickstarter, the upcoming Apocalypse Now video game will be "an immersive, psychedelic horror RPG" featuring creators, designers, directors, writers, and producers from Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher, Wasteland 2, and Star Wars Galaxies, just to name a few. With Francis Ford Coppola's approval for the project, the game's developers are turning to Kickstarter "because the traditional game publisher system won't let [the game] happen." That is, the game would otherwise end up as a shooter in the hands of AAA publishers.

"Apocalypse Now depicts the horror and spectacle of the Vietnam War through the character of Captain Benjamin Willard, an American tasked with the assassination of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz," the campaign explains. "The game is an interactive recreation of Willard’s journey, as seen through a survival horror lens in which players with limited resources face unspeakable terrors."

In order to fund the project, the team is asking for $900,000 USD. As of this article's publication, over 300 backers have pledged $11,000 to the game.

A little bit of gameplay detail is given as well. The game's Kickstarter page explains that players will choose how to react in difficult situations, molding "a unique version of Willard within the loose confines of the film story." Instead of being a combat-oriented action FPS, Apocalypse Now will focus on "combat avoidance and stealth," and the game rewards players for "proceeding cautiously and managing limited resources with care." As the Kickstarter explains bluntly, "This is not Call of Duty in Vietnam." Instead, the game plans to reflect the realistic and brutal look at war seen throughout the original film.

There's a couple perks available with backing the Apocalypse Now Kickstarter, too. $25 USD or more will land a backer with a digital copy of the game in October 2020. $35 will return the same. $50 will land players with a digital copy of the Deluxe Edition, 4K wallpapers, and digital novels from the world of Apocalypse Now.

Perks range as low as a choose-your-own-donation to $10,000 for:

  • 10 copies of the game
  • Two Collector's Editions
  • Access to the game's beta and alpha
  • Early access to the game
  • A tour of the Family Coppola Archives
  • Two invites to a Hollywood wrap party
  • A full-motion capture of a personalized NPC
  • Weekly video conferences with the game's director
  • And various other goodies.

Quite the steal for players with a couple grands lying around.

It's safe to say the Apocalypse Now project is quite ambitious: almost as much as the original movie itself. But the game seems to be headed in the right direction. Going for a first-person shooter route would have watered the movie's message down, valuing destruction and carnage over the issues of humanity, hate, and existential crisis that run through the film. Survival horror centers around the player's experiences and fears, this mirrors the horror of the Vietnam War that Willard was forced to experience while searching for Colonel Kurtz. Not just is it true to the original film, the premise mirrors the original novel, Heart of Darkness, pretty well too.

There's no official gameplay trailer or media yet to share, but with a crew of veteran developers and designers working on the game, it seems like the project is in the right hands. But it's hard to say for certain until the game is released. In the meantime, let's hope the developers do justice to the original film.

How do you feel about the Apocalypse Now video game adaptation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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