Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now is a cinematic classic. Now, nearly 40 years later, Francis Ford Coppola has assembled a group of game designers to adapt the movie into a video game, and they’re turning to Kickstarter to fund it. Yeah.
According to Deadline, the game will be financed in part through Kickstarter, which is looking to raise $900,000 before the end of February. The description describes the project as an “immersive, psychedelic horror RPG,” one in which players will be forced to make a lot of difficult decisions. Coppola’s production company, American Zoetrope, has partnered with a group of game developers, who explained that they didn’t want to license out their story for the first-person shooter or mobile game that they were advised by bigger publishers to do. This also appears to be a project that Coppola has been trying to get together for a number of years, one that’s now landed at Kickstarter’s door for funding.
In his introduction to the project, Francis Ford Coppola notes how the film was a deeply personal project for him, and how he wanted it to be an immersive experience for moviegoers. After watching the rise of the video game industry, he explains, he became interested in taking the world the movie into gaming, with more than a little passive-aggression:
“I learned quickly that the major game publishers have modeled themselves after the big Hollywood studios, in that they’re driven to make risk-free, formulaic, tent-pole projects that fit easily into a specific genre. So I wasn’t surprised to hear that these companies weren’t ready to take on Apocalypse Now in the way we wanted to make it.”
Coppola is known for his aversion to the larger Hollywood system of filmmaking (there’s a good account of this in a recent George Lucas biography), so it’s fitting that he’ll do the same when dipping his toe into the world of game design. He’s assembled a team of designers and writers who have worked on games such as Fallout: New Vegas, Battlefield, and Far Cry to build the game. Backers can get a copy of the game when it’s completed in 2020, get props from the movie, or play the game (if it’s finished) with the development team.
Apocalypse Now famously had a difficult production and this project is an ambitious one with plenty working against it. The history of Kickstarter-funded games is long and full of failed projects, ranging from Neal Stephenson’s Clang or the dinosaur survival game Stomping Land. Even if a game is completed, it can still have considerable problems, such as Mighty No. 9. It’ll be interesting to see just where an Apocalypse Now game will end up (they’re predicting October 2020 for a delivery date), but $25 seems worth it for a game that will let you drop acid just because you can.