After the huge success of the Planet of The Apes movie franchise, it was only really a matter of time before the series spawned another video game. Yet, while this meant that the announcement of last month’s Planet of The Apes: Last Frontier wasn’t exactly a huge surprise, the type of game that was revealed definitely was surprising.
Instead of giving fans a gritty open-world Planet of The Apes game, this Andy Serkis produced epic is actually a story-driven, gameplay-light adventure, in the vein of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. This means that instead of controlling an ape and leading him or her into battle, players will be taking a back seat, watching the action unfold on screen as they make key dialogue choices that affect how the story plays out.
Eager to learn more about this intriguing new interactive movie, we sat down with Martin Alltimes, the man who leads the development of the game at the Imaginati Studio. You can find out all about the vision behind Last Frontier by watching the video above.
What We Thought of The Gameplay
As well as having a nice chin wag with the man who made the game happen, we also got to play an early section of Last Frontier.
With the game telling the story of a band of apes who fled to underground tunnels in the wake of the human war, our demo saw our ape hunting party stumbling on a human farm. Desperate for food, its up to the player to decide whether or not its worth raiding the farm for supplies, and if so, how best to approach the raid. While decision making in video games isn’t exactly something new, in the Last Frontier, it’s not always just up to one player.
With our demo being shown on PS4, we were given the option to use either traditional controllers or make use of PlayStation’s little known new feature, PlayLink. Shown in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it segment during this year’s Sony E3 conference, PlayLink allows PS4 owners to connect up to four phones to their console, letting multiple players control a game with their smartphones.
When presented with a choice over whether to attack the farm or not, we found our opinions clashing with Martin’s. While we wanted to scout out the area first, he was keen to charge in and steal us some much-needed supplies. In a nice touch, each player gets one decision override per story chapter, allowing them to turn the tide in pivotal story moments.
Much to our dismay, Martin opted to use his veto. This meant that our band of over-eager apes charged in to the farm unprepared. Thanks to the apes’ lack of stealth, our group startled the sleeping horses, swiftly drawing the attention of the gun-wielding humans. With no time to spare, we both agreed to take out the attacking men before they could signal for help.
Despite our protagonists’ best efforts, one rancher made it to a horse, galloping off into the distance.
You Get To Play As The Humans Too
As Martin revealed in the video interview above, players will be experiencing the war from both sides in Last Frontier. With you able to make decisions for both sides, you can ultimately decide how this epic war pans out. Whether its a decisive victory for either side, peace or something a bit less clear cut, Martin hopes that players will want to invite people over and replay the game multiple times to see all its different endings.
For the last part of our demo, we found ourselves put in the shoes of the humans. Playing as the leader of the resistance, we walk into a room where an ape is being tortured. The humans hurting the writhing ape are convinced that their quarry is holding out on them. With the men paranoid about an imminent attack, tensions are high. As an unproven leader who has inherited the position from her father, players find themselves stuck in tricky situation without a clear answer.
Being unable to sit there and torture the suffering ape, we managed to slowly diffuse the tension and take back control of the situation, convincing the soldiers to prepare for an attack rather than torturing the ape.
The decision not to make this a traditional video game will surely rub some gamers up the wrong way. Yet, for many fans, the idea of being able to influence your very own version of an Apes movie will be too tantalising a proposition to ignore. With no word on price or game length yet, it’s too early to make a judgment call on whether Last Frontier will be worth the cash.
Still, despite only getting a brief taste of the game, we left our demo feeling intrigued and ready to dive straight back into the murky decision-making of Last Frontier. For more information on what to expect from the game, check out the video interview at the top of the page.