Earning the distinction of being the first celebrity to star in a video game was not Willis’ original intent. Originally, Willis was supposed to play an AI-controlled partner to the player-controlled protagonist. During production, this role was changed to Willis being the player-character, which reduced his spoken dialogue to one-liners and quips, as well as several lines for in-game cutscenes.
The motion capture work was done at the House of Moves in California in January, 1997 and lasted only two days. The “behind the scenes” video is well worth watching, as it shows how Neversoft was able to get Willis into the game through the motion capture, and it illustrates just how far the industry has come in that regard. Additionally, Willis had input on the games spoken dialogue and worked with Neversoft to fine tune Kincaid’s character.
Upon release, Apocalypse received “average” reviews, with some criticism coming at Willis for his voice performance. GameSpot‘s review noted thatthe voice work was uninspired, citing the change of Willis character from sidekick to main character as a misstep.
The original PlayStation is full of classics and hidden gems, and even if Apocalypse may not be amongst those other standout titles, it will always hold a special place in gaming history.