Sometimes (in this little hobby of ours) a game or product gets announced by a designer or company that, sight unseen, simply fires the imagination; consider White Star, which got considerable hype even before it was available. I've been on the receiving end of such attention myself, back when I was first working on my B/X Companion, and while it can make one a little anxious (hoping to live up to expectations), I generally think such anticipation is a good thing. Not only does it get one much needed publicity, but it confirms that you're not the only person interested in the project (sometimes designers have self-doubts that can lead to slowdowns and roadblocks) and the "communal excitement" can light a fire under one's ass to get things done.
|Two words: Sheer Awesomeness|
So...Apes Victorious. Proctor's latest greatest (currently in the play-testing stage with an intended release date of summer...well, summer if you live in the northern hemisphere) is a fairly obvious homage to the Planet of the Apes film franchise. We're not talking the most recent reboots (Rise of, Dawn of, etc.) chronicling the chronological evolution of Earth into "Ape World;" no this belongs squarely in the realm of "astronaut-travels-through-time-and-finds-a-hideous-future-ruled-by-monkeys," typified in the original French book (I read a translation years ago), the first two movies, and two abbreviated television series in the 1970s (one of which was animated).
This isn't the first time a Planet of the Apes-inspired product has hit the market. Terra Primate from C.J. Carella is a "setting-less" RPG that provides a toolbox for creating a number of different campaigns involving intelligent monkeys using the Carella's Unisystem. While I've owned Terra Primate for more than a decade (I purchased it when it first came out), I've never had the chance to use it...haven't even read the thing in years. I don't find the Unisystem particularly inspiring.
|Not like those Albedo games.|
I've always found myself inspired and interested by the Planet of the Apes franchise. I can remember reading the novelization of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (long before I ever watched the film) and being astounded at the color-coded clothing worn by the ape servants, and how that had (down the centuries) translated into the traditional species-specific garb worn by the Heston film simians; a little bit of silly sic-fi pseudo-anthropology that made me felt like some crypto-archaeologist making "discoveries." I remember the Ape Nation comic in the 90s (a mash up of two 20th Century Fox franchises: PotA and the James Caan film Alien Nation), and how (despite its ridiculous absurdity) it suggested all sorts of possibilities: Planet of the Apes meets Predator or Planet of the Apes meets Terminator (Dark Horse started publishing its various film crossover titles shortly after the release of Ape Nation).
[I should note I always though Ape Nation as a title was both clever AND hilarious]
But even though I've watched...and enjoyed...the recent reboots of the franchise (even the Tim Burton film to a lesser degree), I don't find them nearly as inspiring as the original stuff. Even if the "apes" don't look much like real apes, I don't find the original films to feel terribly dated. And for whatever reason (nostalgia? scarring of the childhood psyche?) I find many of the images from the original series to be incredibly powerful, emotionally. Maybe it's just the tragedy with which every one of the films ends? Perhaps.
|Cool...but I prefer my apes with pants.|
In my opinion, of course.
Plus, look at that cover! That may be the coolest RPG cover art I've seen since Vampire the Masquerade. I'd pick this up in hardcover just to have it sitting on my shelf. I'm hoping that option is available when the thing is finally released.
You see, it's projects and products like this that make it very hard for me to stay "monogamous" to a single RPG system or setting. I love the idea of stranded astronauts in a primitive PA world being hunted by gun-toting gorillas and trying to use their wits to survive, thrive, and possibly rebuild some semblance of a "human society." I know there are folks who share my enthusiasm for the subject matter. Just figured it was worth giving a shout out on Ye Old Blog.