Well, apparently we are getting a video game based on the Planet of the Apes series. Did anyone really ask for this? Not really, but after watching the trailer and a few minutes of gameplay, I can’t say I’m not a little excited. Lead actor Andy Serkis had let us know that there would be a video game tie-in before War for the Planet of the Apes came out. From what it looks like, this game had a bit of a production delay, but was officially announced yesterday as a cinematic adventure titled Planet of the Apes Last Frontier, a sort of passion project from Serkis’s motion capture company Imaginarium Studios and FoxNet Games.
I am a huge fan of the most recent Apes trilogy, as I praised it in my recent review of the War for the Planet of the Apes. What set the prequel trilogy apart from other summer blockbusters was the emphasis on characterization and storytelling. While the action was absolutely stunning, it was due to our love for these characters and this bleak universe created. I say universe as there is still so much to be explored, which is what I believe Last Frontier is taking advantage of. Thank goodness this isn’t some action heavy cash-grab game that just has apes vs humans in mindless action (although I’m not 100% opposed to a game like that).
“Choose the leader you want to be.” This is the tagline at the end of the reveal trailer, and from the gameplay demo showcased, this is at the forefront of the game’s story. Set between the events Dawn and War, the war is still raging on between apes and humans. A group of apes have descended onto the Rocky Mountains, and with winter on it’s way, food and supplies are scarce. This causes our ape leader (not sure the name yet) to have to make decisions that determine the survival of their group. On the other side of the conflict, we have a human family facing the same dilemma. Through back and forth narrative’s between apes and humans, choices must be made for the good of the group.
The prequel trilogy is an excellent war story as it’s about war that no one wants. Throughout Dawn, there are generalizations made on both sides. The fear of the unknown gave humans a bad impression of the apes, as what they don’t understand seems dangerous to them. On the apes side, we had a character like Koba, who’s only knowledge of humans is the torture he suffered, and his influence carried out the events for the rest of the trilogy. This theme is still shown in the interactions for the demo. There are apes and humans on both sides that believe violence may be the only solution, which will most likely cause some moral dilemmas for players. In the demo we see the apes looking to steal some supplies from the human’s farm, and the choices players are forced to make on how to approach the situation. While it’s easy to take the morally right direction, the motivations of other apes in the group look to have an affect on the decision.
Details are still scarce on the full details of the narrative, but I’m excited to play a story based game that explores this dynamic of two sides at war who don’t fully understand each other. The emphasis on storytelling and Andy Serkis’s involvement makes me hopeful this could be a surprise indie hit. Last Frontier is set to release this upcoming fall for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can also check out my review of War and see in more detail what I thought of the recent film trilogy.