Movie-like games have gotten a bad rap, since they tend to be bad about imitating movies and equally bad with robbing games of their interactivity.
But Andy Serkis’ digital effects studio, The Imaginarium Studios, is taking a shot at it with a very different kind of game, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier.
I’ve seen a preview of it, and it looks like it could be a great new form of narrative storytelling in games.
Serkis’ performance capture studio can take acting performances and combine them with digital effects to create lifelike characters, like Gollum in The studio takes those characters and puts them in animated scenes, and it forces the players to make tough decisions about the conflict between the apes and the humans. Martin Alltimes, CEO of The Imaginati Studios, showed me a scene that typifies the kinds of decisions you have to make, which are a lot like Telltale’s The Walking Dead or Until Dawn.
Alltimes’ team of 30 developers created all-new characters, since every one of the characters can live or die in the game.
As a result, the game has 11 different possible endings.
When you make a decision, you only get two choices.
That makes the game more accessible than titles like Heavy Rain, where you may have more choices.
But as many as four players can join, with each player getting a vote in the decisions.
The developer accomplishes that through Sony’s Play Link technology, which lets you use smartphones to vote in a Play Station 4 game. These humans are living on the edge,” Alltimes said. Anything that threatens their survival, they’re going to react against it, and sometimes not completely rationally. In our story, you play as both a human leader and as someone who’s part of the ape tribe.” In this story, the tribe of smart apes has migrated into the Rocky Mountains, where they believe they have a sanctuary. The leader of the pack sends his three sons out to forage.
“The eldest son, Tala, is aggressive and impulsive. Your story arc is all about how you deal with the conflict between the two different philosophies that exist in your family, and your divided loyalty between your brother and your father.
It’s implied, but not made explicit, that there’s no mother there, that she’s been killed by the humans in the conflict,” Alltimes said. Your brother is out for war and revenge against humans.