Sony created an absolute gem when they made Ape Escape in the late 90s. It was both charming and action-packed at the same time as it let players use futuristic devices to travel through time to capture hyper-intelligent monkeys. It was one of the greatest games on the classic PlayStation console, on par with the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. The story was interesting, the platforming and puzzle-solving were fun, the action was intense, and the aesthetic was delightful. It was also revolutionary for video games in general, as it was the first game that made using analog sticks mandatory (which most games do today), and it was one of the earliest games that allowed the player to free-roam in a 3D environment.
The game was so popular that it became a series, getting multiple sequels and spin-offs in the U.S and even more (including an anime series) releasing in Japan. Sadly, after the PS2 era, the series faded into oblivion. Sony and Japan Studio seemingly lost interest in the franchise altogether. There was never much of a reason stated as to why this seemingly-successful series was dropped. The only time Ape Escape has been acknowledged since then was when Spike, the original game’s protagonist, was made playable in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
There’s been a trend in recent years where classic games are given a remake with updated graphics for modern consoles. Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Final Fantasy VII, Destroy All Humans!, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, and Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater are just some of the titles to receive the modern remake treatment. Why isn’t Ape Escape among them?
With these remakes selling well and nostalgia being outrageously popular, now is the perfect time to revisit Ape Escape. A remake of the original trilogy would match what was done with Crash and Spyro. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the series’ legacy while making it feel fresh and new. It also allows newcomers to experience games they may have missed out on years ago. A sequel, whether it takes place after the original series or after a remake trilogy like Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, will finally give fans a glimpse as to what happens next in the story or how it finally ends. Plus, seeing what new mechanics that can be implemented on modern consoles could be rather exciting.
There is a newer PlayStation game called Bugsnax that is said to be loosely inspired by Ape Escape, as it allows the player to learn the Bugsnax patterns and weaknesses in order to capture them. Perhaps a game like Bugsnax can help Ape Escape regain some traction. There’s also an #ApesWillEscape Twitter campaign to convince Sony to pay more attention to their forgotten franchise, so there is still fan interest in the series.
Ape Escape is a huge part of PlayStation’s roots and played a major role in the evolution of gaming. It’s genuinely sad there hasn’t been a new Ape Escape game in such a long time. Perhaps now is the time to revive the series and catch those monkeys.