In the 1990s Atari dabbled in FMV for PC and the Atari Jaguar, with a format called GameFilm promising interactive movies with seamless scene transitions and choices that didn’t result in immediate dead-ends, but instead branched the story and affected a final score. The first GameFilm, Caves of Fear, was completed yet never released, while American Hero was filmed but never adapted into a game. The whole line was cancelled, a victim of the Jaguar’s commercial failure.
Retro publisher Ziggurat Interactive and developer Empty Clip Studios have revived American Hero, restoring it and bringing back lead actor Timothy Bottoms for additional voice-acting. Bottoms, the star of The Last Picture Show who also played George Bush on That’s My Bush!, features alongside Daniel Roebuck from The Fugitive and Musetta Vander, who played Lady Elara in Dune 2000 and the substitute teacher who turns out to be a mantis-woman in that one episode of Buffy.
In American Hero, Bottoms plays an ex-intelligence officer named Jack who comes out of retirement in response to a plot to drop a “mind-control virus” in Los Angeles’ water supply. Jack has to protect a scientist who has the cure for the virus, and presumably utter a bunch of terrible one-liners. Well, we live in hope.
“With American Hero, we sought to balance conservation of the project’s original vision with editorial restoration wherever game assets were incomplete,” said the CEO of Empty Clip Studios, Matt Shores. “We feel that this was the best approach to resurrect the game and allow players a chance to experience a title that was never released to the public.”
American Hero will be out in summer 2021.