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'Apocalypse Now' game studio tries raising $5.9 million on its own

Kickstarter's not working out for the ambitious adaptation of the cult film.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
02.15.17 in AV

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The plan to translate cult war horror film Apocalypse Now into a video game seemed ambitious in scope and public support when it launched a Kickstarter late in January with a $900,000 goal. But after raising only $172,000 with just 9 days left, the team decided to pivot its crowdfunding efforts. The new plan: open a fresh website dedicated to a 460-day long haul fundraising campaign with a much larger $5,900,000 aim. Assuming all goes well, the team will still release the game in 2020.

The funding switch hasn't changed the title's plan: A first-person survival horror trudge through the jungles of Vietnam, rooting the player in the boots of Captain Willard (Martin Sheen in the original film) on his mission to assassinate the rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). The new, standalone site aims to become a hub for community engagement during the game's long development. According to the team's post on the game's Kickstarter, backers and fans can visit the site to "see real-time updates on the game through posts, livestreams and group community events" and enjoy direct communication with the team.

The reward options on the dedicated crowdfunding site are mostly the same as those on the game's Kickstarter, though they also give access to an eventual beta version of the game. Legacy backers who opt to give again to the new campaign will automatically get bumped up a tier.

"Whatever you pledged on Kickstarter, we're going to have our web team manually increased you a full tier," the team's spokesperson told Engadget. "If you pledged $35 on Kickstarter, you'll be increased to the $50 tier on our site. If you pledged $500 on Kickstarter, you'll be increased to the $1,250 tier on our site."

It should be noted that the Kickstarter campaign was never intended to fund the whole game -- just raise about one-fifth of the production's funding total before a second-longer term effort launched, according to The Verge. It's unclear whether the Kickstarter campaign will stay up for a moonshot hope at funding the last $720,000 or be shut down before it ends in 9 days.

Backers will receive their rewards shortly after the larger funding goal has been met, according to an update on the Kickstarter campaign's page, but that's the extent of information on the crowdfunding transition.

Update: When we asked about the far larger fundraising goal on the new site, the game's director Montgomery Markland noted that their $5.9 million in development costs would be in the ballpark of other critically-acclaimed non-AAA budget titles:

"I like to think of the budget and scope in comparison to Executive Producer Lawrence Liberty's work on Fallout: New Vegas," game director Montgomery Markland said. "A game which Liberty produced for Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda and which delivered over 100 hours of gameplay and received an 86 metacritic rating from users for about a $9,000,000 budget. Apocalypse Now will be roughly 1/5th the size, with some greater complexities and will benefit from significant technological advancements."

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