They finally really did it: a new Planet of the Apes game

ape

There are many unresolved questions about the state of the world in 2017, but one of them is how we ended up in a situation whereby films about talking CGI apes riding horses are considered a high watermark of modern mainstream cinema. Sure, the recent Planet of the Apes films are fine as contemporary action movies go, but they are also films about talking CGI apes riding horses, and somehow our brains stop laughing at that after a few minutes of desaturated colour palettes and sad Serkis eyes.

Can a videogame spin off, set between the second and third movies, hope to maintain the same illusion? Or: can it instead embrace the inherent silliness and go monkeycrazy?

Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier [official site] has chosen, essentially, a Telltale-style story-driven path which – well, it’s not monkeycrazy, but it makes sense. As with The Walking Dead et al, the films have long ploughed an emotional ambiguity furrow, and so choosing be a dick/don’t be a dick dialogue options then rolling with the consequences is a pretty good fit. Seems the game will shift perspective from humans who hate every ape they see (from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z) to the intelligent primates they struggle to share a world with, with both factions trying to weigh up the value of diplomacy vs direct action.

Here’s a cutscenetastic trailer:

And, more usefully, here’s some in-game clips, as seen on IGN:

Looking at the videos, it seems it’s going even further than Telltale – no direct character control, putting it almost in the ‘interactive movie’ bracket, and what appears to be a Manichean choice of aggressive/pacifistic response to each dilemma. I guess that’s broadly the way the films go, but I could do with a little grey in between IT’LL BE FINE and KILL THEM ALL. These are just snippets, however, and perhaps the full game won’t be quite so breathless in that regard.

The worried ape character models look very good, I must say, and very close to the expressive faces of the films, although the humans look unfortunately glassy-eyed by comparison. Haven’t seen ape on a horse yet, but it’s only a matter of time, surely.

Planet of the Apes: You’ll Never Make A Monkey Out Of Me Last Frontier is due this autumn from FoxNet, 21st Century Fox’s very new game dev/VR/theme park division, with support from Andy ‘Don’t Call Me Gollum’ ‘Gollum’ Serkis’s mo-cap outfit The Imaginarium Studios.

15 Comments

  1. robertlepervers says:

    What’s wrong with talking CGI apes riding horses?
    CGI is just a mean to represent it, and talking is essential in a movie about achieving humanity, right?
    The horseriding is only here to give them a way of moving that apes didn’t master yet, as well as establishing their superiority above horses as a species, making them, again, closer to being human.
    I really do not see why anyone’s brain would laugh at this, as long as context is given.

    • trashmyego says:

      The horses are also a nod to the Ape civilization seen in the originals. But yeah, I find this article to be kind of absurd with its attack of the films and their positive reception. One of the worst, most self important reads I’ve seen on here in some time.

      • Thankmar says:

        The movies try and treat the themes earnestly and honesty, no doubt there. But humanizing animals, imagining a special bond with them, having a friendship with them is something that children do. I am no psychologist, maybe its because other kids are much more complicated, even if they are your best friend, and they are projecting a second me into the animals. This view of animals is exploited in many, many kids movies. When you grow up, you realize that animals are not capable of that sort of behavior.
        So, even if the movies try to be very serious, for me that childish insistent on animals behaving like humans is ever present, which gives this underlying silly vibe. At least the first of the original movies recognized that and countered it with being kind of a broad satire, it established this “we know its kinda silly, but stick with us”-tone. The first new one, which is the only one I’ve seen so far, does not, it is trying to be much more serious and “realistic”, which just emphasizes the silliness. I kinda liked the first new one, and I get what it wants to do, but the campy origins will haunt the franchise forever, no matter how hard it tries to get rid of it.

        • Barchester says:

          You say you’re not a psychologist, so why are you approaching sci-fi/fantasy fiction from that angle? I’d have a hard time enjoying just about anything other than realistic fiction if I’d do that.

  2. Chentzilla says:

    “You’ll never make a money out of me”. Missed typo or a typo so good you decided to leave it?

    • Holderist says:

      It’s a pun on a rarely used phrase “you’ll never make a monkey out of me,” which was akin to “you won’t make me look foolish.”

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I didn’t know if that was intended as a jab at its potential commercial success or just a typo, but it’s fixed now.

  3. fuggles says:

    Ideally it would be horses riding apes, akin to Gulliver’s travels.

  4. FredSaberhagen says:

    I want to kiss this game! But the graphics… it’s so damn ugly

  5. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I haven’t watched any of these new Apes movies but I’ve always wondered how there can be any suspense to them when you already know how it is going to turn out in the end.

    • mechavolt says:

      By telling smaller stories within that larger narrative. Sure, you know the apes are gonna get smart and take over in the end, but each movie focuses on a smaller part of that.

    • Herzog says:

      They are great. Very solid trilogy so far getting better with each chapter. The old movies were not as consistent as the new one (where only part 1 & 4 are really worth watching).

  6. noxohimoy says:

    The video convinced me to completely avoid this trash.

    Zero gameplay, all cutscenes, and a permanent expectation of a quick time event to end ruining it all.

    I donwvoted the video, and already hate it.

    It will fail, and ruin the franchise for good games, like Alien Colonial Marines ruined Alien Isolation.

  7. Alevice says:

    I love you dr zaius!

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