Nearly four decades after “Apocalypse Now” came out, Francis Ford Coppola is asking fans of the classic Vietnam War movie to help him turn it into a video game.
The legendary director is planning to develop a “psychological horror” role-playing game. Players will see the world through the eyes of Capt. Willard, the U.S. officer played by Martin Sheen in the film who embarks on a mission to assassinate Marlon Brando’s renegade Col. Kurtz.
As he did during his cinema career, Coppola says he wants to go outside of the mainstream industry to realize his vision.
He and his collaborators launched a Kickstarter campaign this week that’s aiming to raise $900,000. They’re offering rewards for early backers of the project that include props from the movie and opportunities to work with the game developers.
Fans hoping for a war game filled with lots of shooting, like “Call of Duty,” will be disappointed, though.
“Some game industry executives told us we should license our film and make a shooter game or do a mobile version, clearly trading only on the iconic title of the film, but that’s the last thing I’d want to do,” Coppola says in a video talking about the new project.
The Kickstarter fundraising, which stood at more than $89,000 on Friday, will only cover part of the financing for the game, which is expected to take about three years to produce. Its developers are also planning to raise money on a separate website and will turn to other funding sources if needed — but Coppola and his team are eager to remain as independent as they can.
“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,” he said.
The “Apocalypse Now” video game will nonetheless have industry veterans working on it, including developers of popular titles like “Gears of War” and “Fallout: New Vegas.”
Let’s hope the finances of the game are better managed than those of the original movie.
“‘Apocalypse Now’ almost broke me because it was so expensive,” Coppola told CNN in 2009. “I had every nickel that I owned riding on a movie that was going rampantly over-budget and I was going to end up with the bill.”