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Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier

Developer Imaginati is working on a new game due out this fall called Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier. The game is designed to mimic a Hollywood movie, even more-so than most games, and is even being designed to be played over the course of only two or three hours, as opposed to traditional cinematic games.

According to an exclusive from IGN, the game will only be two or three hours long, and there is no direct control over the characters, no camera control, and no exploration or puzzles. Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is also designed to be replayed multiple times over, given the different plot/story decisions that players can make that will affect the outcome of various characters.

Imaginati founder Martin Alltimes explained what the difference will be between a typical Telltale Games outing and Imaginati's take on the cinematic storytelling formula, saying to IGN...

Traditionally in video games, the writer is the last person hired. In our game, they were the first person hired, because all our games are about is storytelling. The roots of what we've done is built on the heritage of Quantic Dreams' or Telltale Games' products. But we have a very specific angle. I saw the opportunity here was pure, cinematic-style storytelling, rather than traditional console storytelling.

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It's no coincide that Alltimes mentions Quantic Dreams. The studio is responsible for some of the more celebrated and renown cinematic gaming experiences, including Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, which starred Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page. Imaginati actually tapped Quantic Dreams' veteran Steve Kniebihly to frame every shot as the director of photography for Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier.

For all intents and purposes, this is essentially going to be more movie than game.

However, the focus on linear framing for the game is a huge boost for how the team can tackle fidelity. Utilizing the Unreal Engine 4, the developers will use the preset camera shots to squeeze the most out of the home console hardware for the graphics. Unfortunately this means that the game is first and foremost being made for the lowest common denominators: the vanilla PS4 and standard Xbox One.

There's no mention in the article if developer Imaginati or publisher Imaginarium will be focusing on scaling the game for the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. It would seem like a huge missed opportunity not to give those consoles a bit of time and loving, given that a cinematic-style game like Planet of the Apes would truly benefit from the extra performance gains. That's not to mention that, according to the developers, it wants to aim to hit visual fidelity on par to the Planet of the Apes movies.

With Andy Serkis working as the executive producer, a full mo-cap team doing performance capture for every character, limited use of hand-animation, and a full-on stunt team to capture all the action, it seems like it could attempt to bridge that gaping medium between movies and video games.

The story takes place between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the most recent War for the Planet of the Apes, so there's a lot of leeway with what the developers can do with engaging the player in the world and the characters. However, according to Alltimes, there won't be any opening and closing of drawers, item scavenging or inventory micromanagement...

The pace of the storytelling is just super-intense compared to any of these other games. There's no opening and closing drawers, no searching through inventories. It's all about you making choices that affect relationships with other characters and, in the long term, how those relationships play out, and how the story plays out.

It's hard to tell how well this will go down with gamers. The hardcore gamers have become increasingly frustrated with video games trying to mimic Hollywood. However, casual gamers really enjoy Telltale-style games and story-driven titles they feel an attachment to. So it will be interesting to see how well Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier does on the market when it releases later this year.