As the director of some of the most beloved and respected films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic output has continuously managed to remain relevant with new generations of fans. To this day, any discussion of the greatest films in the war and crime genres is regarded as incomplete without mention of either Apocalypse Now or The Godfather franchise.
In terms of Apocalypse Now, its production was marked by such grueling and psychologically challenging intensity that numerous books and films exist on the topic. And while no self-respecting Francis Ford Coppola fan is likely to wish for a remake or a sequel, the themes and environments of Apocalypse Now do offer endless possibility for more storytelling to continue. So it’s worth at least asking the question – would Francis Ford Coppola ever continue to explore the world he left behind back in 1979?
Well, it seems that the answer to that question is yes. Sort of. According to Deadline, Francis Ford Coppola has decided to join a team of developers in bringing an Apocalypse Now video game to life. The game will be partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign and will allow players to take on the role of Captain Benjamin Willard as he descends deep into the jungles of Vietnam on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz. Coppola is quite keen on the idea of exploring new ground and offering Apocalypse Now to a new generation. Said the 77-year-old filmmaker:
“Forty years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that could hopefully influence generations of viewers for years to come. 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.”
In addition to Coppola’s statement, his production company, American Zoetrope has explained that the game will be:
“A cinematic narrative with role playing 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.”
Of course, this won’t be the first time that one of Coppola’s greatest films has been turned into a video game. Many will remember EA’s 2006 and 2009 efforts on The Godfather franchise – games that offered their share of entertainment, but failed to capture the complexity and drama that helped make the original films so phenomenal. Simply because Coppola is onboard with an Apocalypse Now video game certainly is no guarantee that the game will be a winner - though Coppola fans who also game will surely be excited by the concept and its potential.
It’s tempting to say that it’s easier to create a great video game out of an amazing film than it is to create an amazing film out of a great video game. But the challenge of finding success with a game based on such an iconic film is a huge one. In this way, it’s perhaps a blessing that Apocalypse Now isn’t going to see a wide release until 2020. By that point Coppola and his team will hopefully have managed to imbue the game with at least some of the depth and excitement that have made the film so enduring.