Apocalypse Now is going to be a video game.
You are an assassin.
You’ve been given the most dangerous, most secret and most controversial special forces mission in U.S. history.
But this game is not Call of Duty: Vietnam.
You will sneak. You will hide. You will gather resources. You will build your character. You will kill when necessary.
We're making a first-person perspective survival and horror roleplaying game.
Tension. Tactical decision making. Some outcomes determined by Player skill and some by Character skill. Psychological decision making in your dialogues with other characters.
And a heavy emphasis on an RPG-like narrative with branching outcomes.
You will explore the jungles and rivers of Vietnam in first person perspective. You join a crew of “rock and rollers with one foot in their grave”.
It’s like Fallout: New Vegas on acid in the middle of the Vietnam War.
Your ultimate mission is to assassinate Colonel Kurtz, a rogue American officer who is accused of forming a private army and operating "totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.”
Combat is often your last resort; the wise soldier will avoid the ever-looming enemy at all costs.
Maintaining resources and relationships is key to your survival and your success.
You will play Captain Willard.
And you have a mission, but between receiving your mission in the hotel room and meeting Colonel Kurtz, how you journey upriver on PBR Streetgang is up to you.
You will engage in dialog, like in most roleplaying games, but you are a Special Forces operative, so your dialog will be like Captain Willard's dialog.
You aren't chatty, you get to the point, but you are friendly and charming when you want to be. You are alienated. You are entertaining alternate points-of-view about the war and the world.
But you are also an assassin.
An assassin doesn't fire their weapon unless they have to.
So you will creep through the jungle.
You will engage in what everyone calls "stealth gameplay." Your sneaking will be based on both your personal skill and your character skills (which will be built out by you as you gain experience during your journey up the river).
Why character skill?
Because this is an RPG. You are building your version of Captain Willard, not ours and not necessarily the movie's.
Your skills will affect your dialogues, what dialogue choices you have, and will open up different avenues of approach to the characters in the world.
Character Skills for you personally will have their greatest impact on two things: 1) how you interact with the characters you meet; 2) how you navigate the jungle.
How stealthily or combat-intensive is your approach?
Why personal skill? And what do we mean?
We do not mean twitch gameplay. This is a game about survival, horror and stealth. You're a member of the special forces.
What we do mean is:
How do you tactically and strategically approach the game as a Player. Paying attention to details in the environment including the lighting like in the Thief series.
And why do we care?
Because this is a psychological horror game where the narrative gameplay and your interactions with the other characters drives the story; but we have the confidence to leave the steering wheel in your hands. Let you drive.
It might be our mission, but it's sure as hell your boat.
So first we ask for your support here:
Which will be both a long running ongoing crowdfunding campaign to raise $5,900,000 but also a site where we will provide entertainment throughout the course of development.
A cross-disciplinary team of AAA game developers, motion picture professionals and Interactive creatives are coming together to create a truly unique experience.
Erebus LLC is a special-purpose LLC setup specifically to make the game with American Zoetrope.
The name is from the actual name of the Patrol Boat Riverine commonly known by it’s codename PBR Streetgang. You see “Erebus” painted on the back of the boat.
Rob Auten, Lawrence Liberty, Montgomery Markland, Kevin McCann, and a dozen other non-public members of the team came together to build the initial prototype. Liberty, Markland and McCann have all built entire game studios and game teams.
Between the core group they've probably got over 50+ credits? Josh Sawyer is a design consultant thanks to him and Feargus (and best wishes for Pillars of Eternity 2!).
There’s a lot of long-experienced practical game development experience here. And we’re happy to answer any questions about anything related to the team or the company. In the comments!
For the first time, fans can experience this psychedelic vision of Vietnam as originally presented by legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
In order to maintain the creative freedom and integrity that this daring and intense tale demands, the project is being financed outside the traditional video game publishing system.
We want the support of backers like you to make this vision a reality.
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 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.
By choosing how to react to these situations, each player molds a unique version of Willard within the loose confines of the film story. You are Willard and your actions will determine his fate.
Your mission begins in Saigon, where Willard is holed up in a dingy hotel. Audio and visual distortion evoke Willard’s emotions and past experiences. The game provides you subjective access to a character who is already nearly insane.
Unlike a traditional RPG, the emphasis is not choosing dialogue, but rather actions and postures. Combat draws from survival horror to emphasize combat avoidance and stealth. This is not Call of Duty in Vietnam.
You will quickly learn that the gun-blazing solo war machine of other shooters would not have lasted long in the real Vietnam. Instead you will find rewards for proceeding cautiously and managing limited resources with care. Willard is your responsibility; make him an adept soldier and you will command respect in the jungle.
Brutalism and hubris will bring about severe repercussions affecting your relationship with those around you, especially the crew of the PBR Streetgang (aka the Erebus). Your actions can endanger or empower them and will affect how they view you and their willingness to aid you.
There is also a war of resources. Food, water, first aid supplies, anti-malaria medicine, drugs, ammo, weapons, mission information, and gasoline are all vital to your and Willard’s success. While in U.S.-controlled territory, you can find resources through exploration, interactions with allied forces, completing side missions, scavenging from hostiles, and supply drops.
Once the Erebus crosses under the Do Lung Bridge, the reigns of control are sheared away. American influence is replaced by something more primal, all ending in Kurtz.
The world of Apocalypse Now is full of compelling, disturbing, and potentially useful characters. You will recognize many of them from the film, but we’ll be adding new ones in collaboration with our partners at American Zoetrope. Our goal is to immerse you in a tale of drama, magic, and horror.
Francis Ford Coppola is the creative and prolific force behind American Graffiti, The Godfather series, The Conversation, Bram Stoker's Dracula and his most ambitious film, Apocalypse Now (1979), a Vietnam War epic that was inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899). Released in 1979, the acclaimed motion picture won the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and two Academy Awards.
Rob Auten has served as a lead writer on video game franchises like Gears of War and Battlefield, as an experience designer for Disney, and as a creative director on several forthcoming VR projects. As an entrepreneur, he is working to create an operating system for immersive experiences with the team at Hexagram.io.
Lawrence Liberty has held executive roles at studios and publishers in the Southern California games industry, and has shipped over 70 million units that have generated nearly 4 billion dollars of gross revenue. Titles for which he held an executive producer, studio director or senior producer role include Fallout: New Vegas, DC Universe Online, many Dungeons & Dragons titles, and was Senior Producer for the North American release of The Witcher (from publisher Atari). He is also a master project lead when it comes to developing or extending game engines and technology. On the personal front, he loves both pen and paper and computer RPGs. He’s spent more hours playing The Witcher 3 than any other man on the face of the Planet Earth.
Montgomery Markland obtained his Bachelor of Science in Film at the University of Texas – Austin. On the interactive side, Markland designed, produced or directed video games for Atari, Sega, THQ, Ubisoft, Obsidian Entertainment, Killspace Entertainment and inXile entertainment. His work includes being a producer on two of the most successful crowdfunding titles of all time: Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, a designer and producer on Aliens: Crucible, and work in various capacities from assistant producer to CCO on titles ranging from Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir to Rocksmith. He helped tabletop PNP setting Synthicide convert an unsuccessful Kickstarter project to a crowdfunding success. He is widely regarded as the go-to expert for entertainment crowdfunding. He's designed toys for Spinmasters, real-time facial replacement technology, and consulted on innumerable entertainment and social media projects. On the live-action side, Montgomery studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse and directed his first feature film Malibu Road in 2014-2015 slated for a theatrical & VOD run in 2017.
Josh Sawyer is the Design Director at Obsidian Entertainment and is providing external counsel to the team in a special advisory capacity in the area of gameplay design and crowdfunding.
Carmine Coppola collaborated to create an extraordinary, dense, textural electronic and symphonic soundscape using state-of-the-art synths that veers from psychedelic to operatic. And we are very lucky to be able to use this amazing music in the video game adaptation.
American Zoetrope is a privately run American film studio, centered in San Francisco and founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Opened on December 12, 1969, American Zoetrope was an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliest uses of HDTV. The studio has produced not only the films of Coppola (including Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Tetro), but also George Lucas's pre-Star Wars films such as THX 1138, as well as many others by avant-garde directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, Wim Wenders and Godfrey Reggio. Four films produced by American Zoetrope are included in the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films. American Zoetrope-produced films have received 15 Academy Awards and 68 nominations.
Framestore Ventures is the internal incubator and venture division of the Academy-Award winning visual effects company Framestore. Leveraging 1500 creative and technical staff in five cities, Ventures combines homegrown talent and strategic partnerships to develop original IP across many media, with a diverse content slate ranging from TV shows, video games and realtime animation to live experiences, virtual and augmented reality.
Ringling College of Art and Design Since 1931, creatives from every corner of the world come to Ringling College of Art and Design to deepen, transform, and explore their passions. Our 1,300 students are fueled by a need to create—and we deliver the tools to turn passion into profession: an award-winning faculty, cutting-edge technology, and a supportive, creative community.
Malibu Road Pictures LLC and Stoutlight Incorporated are multimedia entertainment companies which provide Markland’s services on motion picture Malibu Road, and crowdfunded games Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and Apocalypse Now.
Risks and challenges
By backing Apocalypse Now you are not just purchasing a physical or digital product but rather contributing to the game’s production. At the time of Apocalypse Now’s release, or Early Access should you back at the appropriate tier, you will obtain the game in its current state and have the opportunity to shape the game with your feedback.
The creative and production leads, prototype team, and American Zoetrope have already spent several thousand man-hours in pre-production, but with every project of such a scope there are inherent risks and challenges.
Our team's key personnel have shipped millions of units and generated billions of dollars of revenue. Their average metacritic rating is in the 80s. They have worked on five crowdfunding projects and have successfully shipped three with two works-in-progress. We have assembled a team designed to neutralize the vast majority of risks associated with crowdfunding and our team and vision have the support of the creators of the motion picture, Francis Ford Coppola and American Zoetrope. We hope you feel that this mitigates as many risks as possible and will join us in supporting the game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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