Planet of the Apes hits the virtual world this year

It’s not just our own world that the apes are fighting for survival in, as Planet of the Apes moves beyond the film world and takes on that of VR later this year.

Of the two revivals of the classic “Planet of the Apes” franchise, we’re pretty specific about the one we like and the one we don’t.

The Tim Burton one with Marky Mark? That’s not it. But the Andy Serkis-led amazeballs CGI franchise that has seen James Franco, Gary Oldman, and Woody Harrelson, well, that one has seen some stellar cinematography and animation, and makes for a visual treat for folks who watch either in the theatre or 4K, or even both.

The spectacularly sharp visuals in “War of the Planet of the Apes” in 4K makes for a good test of 4K TVs, as seen here in a review of a Panasonic TV.

But watching that story and getting involved in the experience are two different things, and now that the third film is well and truly dusted, and there’s the possibility of a fourth, a video game experience is the next place that’s going to.

On the plus side, Fox isn’t talking up a standard game, so don’t expect to grab the Nintendo Switch or Xbox One and hope for the best.

Rather, it has reportedly developed a version of the franchise for virtual reality, with Fox’s FoxNext VR development studio building “Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR”, a game set between the first and the second films in the new franchise, “Rise” and “Dawn”. The game will put you in the feet of an ape trying to escape a scientific facility, making your way to join the other apes in the world.

Told from the first person point of view, it makes a lot of sense why Fox is embracing virtual reality, though depending on what you end up doing, it could be like “Mirror’s Edge” and become a test for why running into gunfire and almost dying in-game makes you feel weird in the virtual world.

Still, given the success of the franchise, it makes a lot of sense for Fox to head down this path, especially as virtual reality starts to come into its own.

“VR has always held the promise of bringing together the cinematic storytelling of film and deeply immersive interactivity of games,” said FoxNext’s Brendan Handler.

“We set out to give the fan a lead role in this dark Planet of the Apes world, to feel the ape’s strength, power, and movement as he fights his way to safety.”

One thing that neither you or the apes won’t get to try, though, is mobile VR, because while the game has been reportedly been built in the Unreal engine, and the Unreal engine does support mobile VR (albeit at different resolution), FoxNext’s “Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR” will be a high-end VR affair only, meaning Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

Sorry mobile VR owners with either a Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream, but this release isn’t for you.

But if you have either one of these other high-end VR-friendly devices, you’ll have the chance to try out what it’s like to be a smart ape from April 3.


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