In a dark future, religion and science have become the dominant forces of civilization. A shadowy figure known only as The Reverend has mastered these two conflicting forces and as his first act of evil, unleashes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
In Apocalypse, you and your tough-talking wingman Trey Kincaid (played by Bruce Willis) must eradicate the Four Horsemen and save the world from the Reverend’s evil plans. Bad-ass features include:
Hard-core console action: a powerful mix of pulse rifles, flame throwers and grenade launchers provide the offense as you explore full 3-D, expansive environments loaded with hidden areas, power-ups and dozens of hard-hitting opponents
Industry-first real-time virtual partner: Bruce Willis’ cyberscanned and motion-captured form backs you up every step of the way: he’ll point out danger ahead, cover your sorry butt if you fall down on the job and help boost your trigger-happy mood
Full 3-D control: Players have full control of a 3-D character – the Kid – in an explosive, go-anywhere, shoot-anything action environment.
Cinematic gameplay: a computer-controlled roving camera delivers over-the-shoulder, top-down, free-roaming, side-on and tracking views, while FMV cut scenes integrate seamlessly with gameplay.
Development for Apocalypse started out in-house at Activision Santa Monica. The concept was to use Bruce Willis’ likeness as a sidekick to the main character. The original version was considered by industry veterans as over ambitious for the capabilities of the hardware. An unnamed source claimed that the design document was basically a list of “it would be cool if …”, without any detail. After months of work, management at Activision decided to let the team go and use an outside developer to finish the game. Scrapping the game was no option: Activision paid too much to use Bruce Willis’ talent.
Activision approached Neversoft Entertainment and told them they needed the game out in nine months. It was apparent that the original “vision” had to be curtailed a little. Neversoft decided on a straightforward shooter style game, with a nice simple level progression, a variety of enemies, weapons, pickups and bosses. Neversoft “hit the ground running with a playable section of a level in one week that was a lot more fun than Activision had done in a year” according to unnamed source within Neversoft.
Neversoft Entertainment hired a few people from Activision, most notably Chad Findley, who turned out to be one of the best designers at Neversoft. None of the original code was used in the final version of Apocalypse, although they did recycle some of the original graphics for the initial rooftops level.
Another point was that focus testing revealed that people wanted to play as Bruce, which contributed to the whole AI-sidekick thing being scrapped.