The Bruce Willis Original Video Game Everyone Completely Forgot

By Matthew Flynn | Published

bruce willis

Apocalypse, released in 1998, was a unique foray of Hollywood star power into the realm of video games, yet today it is largely forgotten. Developed by Neversoft and published by Activision, this action-packed, third-person shooter platform game featured a high-concept storyline with a post-apocalyptic setting. The game saw the iconic Bruce Willis lending his voice and likeness to the main character, Trey Kincaid, further blurring the lines between the worlds of cinema and gaming.

Bruce Willis Is Trey Kincaid

In Apocalypse, you’re immersed in a dystopian future where an evil scientist known as “The Reverend” manipulates his knowledge into creating four menacing sentinoids. These entities, modeled after the biblical “Horsemen of Apocalypse,” are designed to bring about doomsday. Bruce Willis’s character, Trey Kincaid, is the only man with the expertise to counter this terrifying prospect.

A prisoner in the Paradise Island Prison Facility, Kincaid breaks free and embarks on a relentless mission to halt The Reverend’s sinister plan.

Willis Was A Trailblazer

bruce willis

Apocalypse was notable not just for its ambitious scope and dark storyline but also for its leading man. Bruce Willis’s involvement was a groundbreaking moment in video game history. Willis, revered for his roles in Hollywood blockbusters, including the Die Hard franchise, Pulp Fiction, and The Fifth Element, brought a level of star power previously unseen in gaming.

At the time, Bruce Willis wasn’t just an actor slumming in video games; he was a bona fide A-lister who chose to take part in the creation of a video game for the original PlayStation platform. While finding action stars in video games is common today, at the time, a video game landing such a big star was unheard of. His voice and likeness elevated what could have been a standard shoot-’em-up title into a unique, hybrid entertainment experience that combined the thrills of Hollywood action films with the interactive excitement of video gaming.

Apocalypse Crashed And Burned

However, Apocalypse had its share of drawbacks. For one, Bruce Willis’s performance as Trey Kincaid was limited to a series of one-liners and a handful of short dialogue parts. Despite Willis taking on the role, his delivery of the limited lines did not live up to expectations.

The gameplay mechanics, while competent for a third-person shooter, lacked the kind of innovative elements that would set the game apart from its competitors. The game received an average reception from critics and players, with many citing the lack of creative gameplay and uninspired acting as key disappointments.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Despite its flaws, Apocalypse’s legacy is undeniable. The game’s engine was retooled and repurposed for Neversoft’s next title, the seminal and much-loved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

During the development of Apocalypse, Neversoft had already been experimenting with the idea of a skateboarding game featuring Bruce Willis’s character. This enabled them to hit the ground running when they switched gears to Tony Hawk’s title.

Apocalypse Was An Important Game

bruce willis

Although Apocalypse may not have been the most well-received game, its existence set the stage for one of the most successful sports video game franchises, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. As such, Bruce Willis’s involvement in Apocalypse and the game’s subsequent impact on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series underline the game’s significance in the evolution of video game development.