At Tokyo Game Show, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan listed an Ape Escape game for PlayStation Move. It wasn’t at E3, so we got in touch with Ape Club, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Ape Escape hub, to find out what happened to the game.
That’s how this interview started and we have a lot more news about the Ape Escape series, like how Ape Escape: Million Monkeys 2 is in development.
First, what is Ape Club?
Jack, Ape Club curator: Originally Ape Club started out as a Promo site for SCEE’s Ape Escape titles and was run by them up until 2007. In 2007, there wasn’t any maintenance to be done except Newsletters. So Rebecca, who was a major fan, was left in-charge of that. She updated the newsletters and received updates from SCEE, and Japan Studio about upcoming Ape Escape games. She was also asked to promote Ape Quest when it was released.
In 2009, it was announced that Ape Escape PS3 was in the works, then a week later it was announced publicly at the TGS. Rebecca asked me to be a part of the team, and we decided to make a twitter page to help promote the title as "newsletters" weren’t exactly easy to send through the site etc. Plus we could announce information publicly, not just to members. Then we started to get asked a lot of questions and we decided to make a site that didn’t belong to Sony, and have all the information there.
Unfortunately, we can only use free sites as Sony have stated we can’t use the name "Ape Club" if we receive money or have to pay for making the site. We then decided to use another name, but then we were also told we can’t use the updates given, if we use another name. So the site we have now is the best we can do. Hope that clears some doubt about Ape Club. If you haven’t visited the site yet, we are running a contest for a PlayStation Move Ape Escape pack.
We haven’t heard too much about Ape Escape PS3. What can you tell us about it? Is it a platfomer or something like Monkey Mania?
Japan Studio are working on Ape Escape 4. They also could be multi-tasking and working on another game as well. They are known for that. Eg. Ape Escape 2 and Piposaru 2001.
Well, up until recently, we thought Ape Escape (working title) was one game. But apparently, we were wrong. Japan Studio (the developer of Ape Escape, Piposaru 2001, Ape Escape 2, Ape Escape P and Ape Escape 3) send us updates about the upcoming Ape Escape games. They told us it was Ape Escape 4, then they told us it was a Piposaru 2001 sequel, then told us it wasn’t anymore, and it was getting confusing.
So we asked and apparently both Japan Studio and SCEI (who developed Pumped and Primed, PipoRacer, Monkey Mania and Million Monkeys) are working on separate games. This was when it started to make sense to us. Japan Studio are working on Ape Escape 4, and SCEI are working on another title. Japan Studio have some input in all the games. Even the ones they don’t develop. For example, SaruSaru Daisakusen (aka. Master Moves) was developed by H.A.N.D, but Japan Studio is also listed as they confirm the release etc.
Originally, SCEI were working on a Piposaru 2001 sequel, but now apparently it’s changed. We have just found out that the concept of Ape Escape: Million Monkeys 2 has been completed. It hasn’t been developed yet, so it rules out the possibility that the upcoming game could be it. It shall also feature more monkeys than ever before. Ape Escape Million Monkeys had the most monkeys in one game, and Ape Escape Million Monkeys 2 almost doubles the amount. It is unsure if it will go into development at this stage. But the concept has been completed.
Are there any other canceled Ape Escape games you’re aware of?
Apart from Trapped in Space, the only other game would be Ape Escape 2 which was going to be released on PlayStation 1. However, Japan Studio (JS), was already releasing Piposaru 2001 before hand, so releasing a PS1 game after a PS2 game didn’t make much sense. So in Early 2000, they stopped working on AE2-PS1, and worked on AE2-PS2. Apparently, looking at the leaked photo of it, it seemed to have the same graphic engine, and look, as the first.
How does Ape Escape PS3 use the PlayStation Move controller?
Well, we really can’t tell you at this stage, however just like the Dualshock layout, it’s apparently very creative. That was based on JS’s version. Who knows what SCEI are doing with theirs.
Well as we mentioned, they told us that "Japan Studio’s" version Ape Escape 4 was the best yet, making great use of the controller, as well as interesting game-play. But recently, JS have mentioned that the Move-Factor might be removed from the game as it’s very "tiring" to use the gadgets.
Can you play it without PlayStation Move?
Well, just like the first, Sony want to introduce people to the Move controller without a choice (just like the Dualshock controller). So Ape Escape is like Sony’s secret weapon. If people don’t like the new controller, they use Ape Escape as a way to show how enjoyable it can be.
We’ve missed out on a bunch of Ape Escape games in the West. Will Sony, perhaps, release some of the PSP ones over PSN?
Unfortunately, European Markets did miss out on a few PSP titles. The problem was that, in around 2005 – 2006, was that SCEE were translating EVERY game and releasing it very close to each other. So instead of one title getting all the sales, divide it up into the four at the time, and the sales per-game were low. So with this, they skipped a few games, and postponed Million Monkeys till September 2008. But when it was time to release Million Monkeys, Ape Quest had just come out, so it was canceled until further notice.
Well, as explained, we said it "Might" come true. SCEE canceled the game, however stated, it wasn’t completely scrapped. Take what you want from that. SCEA was also supposed to be translating it. Haven’t heard anything since 2007, but who knows? We can’t confirm from them that it’s been scrapped.
All Ape Escape fans want to know this… what can you tell us about the concept of Ape Escape 4?
Haha, all Ape Escape fans are dying to know this. You should see all the comments on twitter. Well, we can’t tell you. :P
The concept is to be remained hidden. From what we have been told, it’s similar to the first, as in it gives you a whole new experience to gaming with the Move, just like the first with the Dualshock.
Will Ape Escape 4 and/or Ape Escape: Million Monkeys 2 be translated?
At this stage, it’s what ever comes first. If Ape Escape 4 is allowed to be translated by SCEE then SCEE will (at this point) translate it. If SCEI’s game comes first, then it will be translated. It will probably be one or the other, according to SCEE release method. We have no idea if SCEA will be doing anything with Ape Escape 4 or SCEI’s title. But seeing as they developed the latest title, we wouldn’t say that its unlikely that you would be seeing SCEA publishing it.
What’s the future of Ape Escape?
Probably a few more PSP titles, and the two PS3 titles. Possibly others as there are many developers that work on the Ape Escape series.