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July 13, 2010 / Joe Osborne

Coffee Talk: Is This Really Necessary?

Now, I know we’ve touched base on something similar to this before, but this is just too good to pass up. Joystiq recently found a new studio named Killspace Studios via Supererogatory and after some digging found they have recently purchased the domains ApocalypseNowGame.com and WarIsNotAGame.net (just sitting there, waiting). 1UP drew the conclusion that the new studio comprised of former developers from studios such as Obsidian and Pandemic as well as a few others might be creating a game surrounding the award winning film, Apocalypse Now.

You know, that award winning Francis Coppola directed film that starred Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall. The same flick that many believe set the standard for cinematography as one of the greatest films of all time. Yeah, that one. Not to mention the studios founding statement by talent agency, Digital Development Management, says the 40-strong team’s specialty is “action” games for the “[Xbox] 360, PS3, Wii, PC, iPhone [and] Facebook”. Oh boy, this ought to be good. 

While I may be jumping the gun here and counting Killspace out before even seeing the title in action, I find it hard to place faith in any studio who would attempt to reinterpret such a work into a video game. This is because, frankly, there isn’t much else to say, imply or depict about the atrocities of the Vietnam War that Coppola and his crew in Apocalypse Now haven’t already addressed vividly.

I finally understand why fans of artistic triumphs and their creators alike get their panties in a bunch when arguable masters of other creative media attempt to recreate their original works. While it has been done tastefully before and even to point of becoming supplemental to the original piece, more times than not it falls short and can cheapen the original as a result.

Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Apocalypse Now

I cannot wait to hear Coppola’s official reactions to his film potentially being reinterpreted into a video game. One could only hope that he’d be interested enough to involve himself directly and potentially turn this game into something that both compliments and does the film justice.It’s a given that these statements are all capable of sliding down the slippery slope, but that’s the beauty of social media (they let you make comments. Amazing, I know).

Now, the talent of Killspace’s founding team isn’t in question at all, to be clear. It’s merely whether an “action game” can balance the action with the emotion and drama of the original work. Simply throwing in Marlon Brando’s digital avatar whimpering, “The horror, the horror” before his iconic death at the game’s end isn’t going to cut it.

Is it disrespectful to automatically assume that Killspace would cheapen the film like this? Probably, but judging from what other developers have done to literary masterpieces one is allowed to be cynical skeptical. So, to channel my inner Michael Myers:

Discuss.

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