Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a 2009 action-adventure game based on the Ghostbusters media franchise. Terminal Reality developed the Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions, while Red Fly Studio developed the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii versions. The game was released after several delays in development and multiple publisher changes. In North America, all versions of the game were published by Atari, while publishing in Europe for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 versions was handled by Sony Computer Entertainment. A separate game for the Nintendo DS developed by Zen Studios with the same title was also released at the same time, albeit with substantial differences in gameplay and story.
|Ghostbusters: The Video Game|
Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360 box art
Red Fly Studio
Saber Interactive (Remastered)
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (European PlayStation releases)
Mad Dog Games (Remastered)
|Producer(s)||Michael Duane Fetterman|
|Programmer(s)||Craig Reichard |
|Artist(s)||Austin Cline |
Robert St Aubin
John Zuur Platten
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
The game follows the player's character as a new recruit in the Ghostbusters, a team of parapsychologists who pursue and capture ghosts. The game features elements of typical third-person shooters, but instead of using a traditional gun, players are equipped with a "Proton Pack", a laser beam-like weapon, and a ghost trap to fight and capture ghosts. The game's plot is set two years after Ghostbusters II, around Thanksgiving in 1991, with the Ghostbusters team training the player's character while investigating paranormal activities in New York City.
Many of the principal cast members from the films were involved in the game's production. Each of the actors who portrayed the Ghostbusters in the films (Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson) lent their voices and likenesses to the in-game characters. Aykroyd and Ramis, who wrote the films, also aided in script doctoring for the game. Other film cast members such as William Atherton, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Annie Potts lent their voices and likenesses to the game's characters as well. Max von Sydow reprised the voice of Vigo the Carpathian. Ghostbusters: The Video Game contains the soundtrack from the original Ghostbusters film along with various characters, locations, and props featured in the films. The game received generally favorable reviews from critics and more than three million copies were sold. A remastered version for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games, was released on October 4, 2019.
The game is a third-person shooter, placing players in the role of an original character known as "the Rookie" (also called "Rook", "Newbie", "Cadet", "New Guy", and similar names by the Ghostbusters), a new recruit to the Ghostbusters team. Players control Rookie's movements as he explores the environments of each level, seeking out paranormal activities and ghosts, either alone or with up to all four of the other Ghostbusters. Players can switch to a first-person perspective by equipping the Rookie with the PKE Meter and goggles. In this mode, paranormal items are highlighted and the PKE Meter will help direct players to ghosts or haunted artifacts. Players can scan these elements to gain more information about them and receive a monetary reward. Weapons cannot be used in this mode.
Outside of the first-person view, players can aim and fire the Proton Stream to weaken ghosts so they can be captured in a ghost trap. However, continuous use of the pack will cause it to overheat. The pack can be manually vented to cool it down and keep it from shorting out and resetting. While the pack is overheated or being vented, players will momentarily be unable to use the pack's weapons. Once a ghost is weak enough, players can switch to the Capture Stream to maneuver the ghost into a ghost trap. With a ghost in the Capture Stream, players can also execute a "slam" attack to force it against a hard surface, weakening it further and making it easier to trap the ghost. The Capture stream can also be used to move objects in the environment.
The single player campaign for the Xbox 360, Windows and PlayStation 3 versions are the same. The Wii/PS2 version has a significantly different campaign although the stories are mostly the same. Over the course of the game, the Proton Pack is upgraded to include an additional firing mode other than the Proton Stream, such as the Shock Blast, Slime Blower (positively charged) and a Meson Collider, each with an alternate firing mode (a Boson Dart, Stasis Stream, Slime Tether and Overload Pulse). By capturing ghosts, as well as identifying cursed artifacts and new species of ghosts using the PKE Meter, players earn in-game money to spend on upgrades to proton pack modes and ghost traps. The game also tallies monetary destruction caused by the player, with Xbox 360 Achievements and PlayStation 3 Trophies awarded for either minimizing damage done, or for causing a high amount of damage.
Many achievements' names come from quotes in the films, for example, the "You Gotta Try This Pole" achievement. Other quote achievements are "I Looked Into the Trap, Ray", "I Feel So Funky", "You Never Studied" and others.
In place of a traditional heads-up display, the player's health and weapon status are represented as meters on the rear of the Proton Pack. Health regenerates over time if the player does not take further damage. However, by taking more damage, they can be knocked down; if there are other Ghostbusters still standing, they will attempt to reach the player and revive them. Similarly, the player can help revive fallen team members. However, should all the active Ghostbusters fall, including the player, play will end and the player will have to restart at the last checkpoint.
The Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP versions differ slightly from the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows versions in some aspects. In addition to the cartoon-like graphics and the E10+ rating, the Wii version uses the Wii Remote for gameplay. Visual aspects of the interface are relocated, such as placing the Proton Pack's temperature meter as a HUD element instead of on the backpack. In the Wii, PlayStation 2, and PSP versions, the player "slams" a ghost by initiating a Simon Says-type game with the ghost, and is given the option to play as a man or woman.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions feature online multiplayer. Players can play online in a cooperative mode with up to three others in a variety of missions outside of the main storyline. These include capturing as many ghosts in a limited period or attempting to defend ghost disruptors as they are charged up. The Wii version is the only other platform to feature offline multiplayer, with the entire single player mission playable by two players in split-screen mode. An adversarial multiplayer suite was advertised for the Wii version as well, but it is nowhere to be found in the final release. In December 2012, after three years of online gameplay, Atari shut the PlayStation 3 servers down for the online modes. Atari cited the declining online game play as the main reason for shutting down the servers.
Setting and charactersEdit
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is set during Thanksgiving in 1991, two years after the events of the 1989 supernatural comedy film Ghostbusters II. The primary characters are Peter Venkman (voiced by Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), a trio of eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City known as the Ghostbusters. In the original film, Ghostbusters, the titular team combat a rising paranormal threat in the city brought on by the machinations of long-dead cult leader Ivo Shandor to bring about the end of the world by summoning the demi-god Gozer the Gozerian. Unable to cope with the demand for their services, they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Following their defeat of Gozer, Ghostbusters II follows the team after they have put out of business because of the damage caused battling Gozer. They re-form as a new threat arises in the form of Vigo the Carpathian, a 16th-century tyrant reborn in a painting and empowered by a buildup of supernatural slime beneath the city brought about by the negative emotions of New Yorkers. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the Ghostbusters have become city contractors, authorized and insured to capture ghosts.
The player character is dubbed the "Rookie" and does not speak. He is a new hiree tasked with testing the Ghostbusters' experimental and dangerous devices. Returning characters from the films include the team's receptionist Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), Walter Peck (William Atherton) who heads the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission (PCOC) which oversees the Ghostbusters' operations, Vigo the Carpathian (Max von Sydow), the ghost Slimer, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, the Destructor form of Gozer. The game introduces Gozer expert Ilyssa Selwyn (Alyssa Milano), and New York Mayor Jock Mulligan (Brian Doyle-Murray). The events of the game are set in motion by the machinations of Shandor, who in death has become powerful and elevated to the level of a deity alongside his loyal cult followers, the Spider-Witch, the Chairman, and the Collector.
A supernatural energy pulse emanates from the Gozer exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, engulfing New York City and increasing supernatural activity. The pulse liberates Slimer in the Ghostbusters' headquarters, and they and their rookie pursue it to the Sedgewick Hotel. They find that the hotel is now haunted by dozens of ghosts, and that the Destructor Form of Gozer, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, has returned and is wreaking havoc throughout the city. They successfully destroy the Marshmallow Man, noting that it was weaker than their previous encounter with it and that it was pursuing Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn.
Another haunting at the New York Public Library draws the team into a confrontation with the Librarian Ghost. They learn that while alive, the Librarian Ghost had been murdered by the Collector, a serial killer, after refusing to give him a rare book, the Gozerian codex. After capturing the Librarian Ghost, a portal opens to the Ghost World. The Ghostbusters travel through and defeat the spirit of the Collector, reborn as the god Azetlor. A recurring symbol the team sees in the haunted locations is revealed to be a mandala representing a spiritual labyrinth running throughout the city with major nodes positioned at the library, museum, hotel, and in the Hudson River. Egon hypothesizes that ghosts are drawn into the mandala, increasing in power as they pass through each node, before being fed into its core to power a Destructor Form, and the energy is gradually merging the Ghost World into the human world.
Mayor Jock Mulligan places Walter Peck in charge of keeping the Ghostbusters from causing too much destruction. The Ghostbusters successfully cleanse the museum and hotel, defeating Shandor's guardians. At the final node in the Hudson River, the team discovers an island emerging from the water. They learn that the island belonged to Shandor and that Ilyssa is his descendant. It was her presence that triggered the Mandala, after Peck apparently recommended her to curate the Gozer exhibit. They also discover machines pumping ectoplasmic slime into tunnels beneath the city, which had been used in the resurrection of Vigo the Carpathian. They disable the pumps and defeat the final guardian, closing the last node and sealing the mandala, trapping its accumulated energies.
Returning to the mainland, the Ghostbusters find that Ilyssa has been abducted and their ghost containment unit shut down, releasing all of their supernatural captives. The team suspects that Peck is responsible and that he is trying to summon a Supreme Destructor. The Ghostbusters battle their way to the center of a massive mausoleum that emerges in Central Park. They discover Ilyssa and Peck are both prisoners, and that Mayor Mulligan is the true culprit, having been possessed by Shandor months earlier. Seeing his god fail twice, Shandor decided to usurp Gozer and become a god himself. After the mandala was disabled, he released the Ghostbusters' captives to provide the energy for his Supreme Destructor Form and required Ilyssa's blood. The Ghostbusters exorcise Shandor from the Mayor but are dragged into Ghost World where they battle Shandor's Destructor Form, a Satanic being called the Architect intent on building a new world over the remains of the Earth. The Ghostbusters cross their proton streams, causing an explosion that defeats the Architect and returns them to the real world. They escape the collapsing mausoleum with Ilyssa, Peck, and Mayor Mulligan.
During the credits, the four original Ghostbusters determine that five of them is just too many for one team, but offer the Rookie a position as the head of a yet-to-be-opened Ghostbusters franchise in another city.
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In 2006, game developer ZootFly started work on a Ghostbusters game before having secured the rights to develop the game from Sony. The company subsequently released videos of an early version of the game onto the Internet. However, the company was unable to secure the rights to develop the game as a Ghostbusters game. Zootfly continued development of the game as a non-Ghostbusters themed game renamed TimeO.
Coincidentally, in 2007, Vivendi Games and developer Terminal Reality met with Sony to discuss the possibility of developing their own Ghostbusters video game. The positive reaction that Zootfly's videos garnered helped sell the concept of such a game to Sony. After a successful pitch, Terminal Reality started developing the game, eventually stating that the PlayStation 3 was the lead development platform. One of the game's features that Terminal Reality promoted was a crowd artificial intelligence system to be used extensively for a Thanksgiving Day parade level that was eventually cut from the final version.
Development of the game stopped when Vivendi Games merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard. On July 28, 2008 Activision Blizzard (the publisher of Vivendi's and Sierra's titles) announced that only five franchises would be released through Activision. Ghostbusters was not one of them and was put in developmental limbo following the announcement. The Sierra PR team later confirmed that the game was not and would not be cancelled.
Ending months of speculation, Infogrames, the owner of Atari; announced on November 7, 2008, that they would be releasing the game in June 2009, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film's theatrical release. At the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony confirmed that the game would be released on June 16 in North America and June 19 in Europe, alongside Blu-ray releases of the Ghostbusters films. Sony later announced that they would be publishing the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 versions in Europe granting the Sony consoles a timed exclusive release, while Atari would publish the game for other consoles later in the year. Atari would remain the sole publisher for the games in North America. Despite Namco's purchase of Atari's European operations, this release schedule remained intact. The Xbox 360 version of the game is not region locked, allowing gamers in European markets to import and play the North American Xbox 360 release.
Terminal Reality reported total development costs between $15 and 20 million. Terminal Reality had expressed interest in making a game based on the possible third Ghostbusters film, though the studio has since shut down.
The project allowed Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis to explore some aspects of the original films that they otherwise had not been able to in the past, such as the history of the Librarian ghost, and pursue some of the ideas left out of the original script, including the appearance of Ivo Shandor as Gozer, who was intended to appear in the finale of the film as the ghost of a man in a business suit. Other concepts used in the game, such as the alternate dimensions that open up during the latter half of the game, are based on the original Ghostbusters 3 concept Hellbent which was in development hell during the 1990s.
Sigourney Weaver had initially turned down the offer to reprise her role of Dana Barrett when approached by Terminal Reality, but showed interest when she learned that Murray was attached to the project. At this time however, the game was too far into production and there was no role for Weaver.
Similarly, the team was interested in getting Rick Moranis to reprise his role as Louis Tully, but he declined the offer. Although lacking involvement from both actors and lacking direct character roles, their characters of Dana and Louis are both mentioned in the game. In the remastered version, Harold Ramis was remembered in the game's opening cutscene, following his passing on February 24, 2014.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game was met with a generally positive reception. Greg Miller of IGN gave both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions an 8.0 out of 10. Miller describes the game as a "love letter to Ghostbusters fans", saying that it "makes you feel like you are really a Ghostbuster". He lauds the CGI cutscenes as a positive feature, but finds fault with stiff character animation and bad lip sync in the other cutscenes. Miller gave the Wii version a 7.8 out of 10. Unlike Miller, fellow reviewer Matt Casamassina believed that the aiming system in Ghostbusters was better than the aiming system in Resident Evil 4. PSM3 gave the game a score of 85 out of 100, stating that the game was "too short, but packed with quality and imagination." The A.V. Club gave the game a B-, concluding that "It’s the best Ghostbusters game of all time, though that really isn't saying much." Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot rated the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game a 7.5 out of 10, listing the ghost-trapping gameplay and multiplayer mode as positives and frustrating spots in the game and repetitive gameplay as negatives. He also reviewed the Wii version and gave it an 8 out of 10 stating that "Ghostbusters is such riotous fun that you'll forgive its short length."
Ars Technica has reported graphical differences between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Though both versions were developed simultaneously by Terminal Reality, Ars claims that the PlayStation 3 version appears to use lower quality textures compared to the Xbox 360 version.
Reviews for the Windows version of the game have tended to be more mixed. In general, reviewers have praised various elements of the gameplay, story, acting and graphics in a way consistent with the other platforms, but have expressed regret for a lack of multiplayer support and sometimes problematic digital rights management implementation. While the Windows version received a generally positive review from GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd, it received a slightly lower score than the comparable Xbox 360 and PS3 versions due to having no multiplayer features and exhibiting "...noticeable signs of console porting, such as minimal graphics options and keyboard-centric menus." Axel Cushing of Armchair Empire glowingly described the gameplay and overall execution, but ultimately awarded the game only a 6.0 out of 10 due to an issue he encountered with the installer and the SecuRom DRM scheme on the boxed version, which he described as "obnoxious as hell."
|Interactive Achievement Award||Outstanding Achievement in Adapted Story||Harold Ramis, Patrick Hegarty, Flint Dille, Dan Aykroyd, John Melchior||Nominated|
|Spike Video Game Award||Best Game Based on a Movie/TV Show||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Human Male||Bill Murray||Nominated|
A remastered version of the game, developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games, was released for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows on October 4, 2019, marking the game's 10th anniversary and the franchise's 35th anniversary. It is based on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows versions of the original game. Whilst online features were said to be in development prior to release, there have been no further details since.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game was developed during a time where Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were trying to write a script for a second sequel following Ghostbusters II, released in 1989, principally related to the uncertainty on Bill Murray's participation for filming. Around 2005, the script got to a shape which would account for Murray's potential absence by replacing him with Ben Stiller, leading to initial discussions for how a project may go forward.
Terminal Reality's game was developed with some input from Aykroyd and Ramis, incorporating elements of the Ghostbusters 3 script that they had been working on; Aykroyd considered the game "essentially the third movie". They were also successful in getting all four actors - Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, and Hudson, to voice their characters in game. The ability for the project to overcome Murray's prior reluctance led Sony to put more effort behind a new Ghostbusters film. By September 2008, Sony had announced work on a new Ghostbusters film was in full production, even if they could not get all four actors involved. This film ultimately went under many conflicts and eventually morphed into the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, but the strong interest in Ghostbusters from the video game, along with ongoing ideas, led Sony to establish Ghost Corps, a studio where they planned out to expand the Ghostbusters franchise into a narrative universe, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ghost Corps is producing a true sequel to Ghostbusters II, titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which may affect the game's canonicity. This film is set 28 years after the game's events and is currently scheduled to be released in 2021.
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Stantz: What's your name again kid? / Venkman: No names, Ray. I don't want to get too attached to this kid. You know, just in case... You remember what happened to the last guy.
- Mayor: Well, that's where your old friend Peck comes in. He's annoying, a stickler for the rules, the perfect "Peck" for the job. He's our new head of P-COC! / Stantz: P-COC? / Peck: P-C-O-C. Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission. And my first official act is going to be suspending you clowns' operating license. Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
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Spengler: Was that us? / Venkman: Ray? / Stantz: Had to be some kind of psi-energy pulse!
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- Spengler: The Shandors owned this island. The castle was built in the 1860s. Ivo Shandor used it as a refuge, a lab, and a temple for the other members to worship Gozer. / Zeddemore: Okay, that's all well and good. But can someone explain to me how an entire island sinks? Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Spengler: This is Ivo Shandor's mother, painted in 1885. / Zeddemore: Wait. What? Ilyssa is a Shandor? Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
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- Janine: Okay, okay. Somebody jumped me from behind. And before I passed out, I heard Ilyssa struggling and yelling 'No!' And the last thing I remember was the screams of the dead and damned echoing in my brain! / Venkman: So either there was a mass escape from Rikers... / Spengler: ...or someone shut down our containment grid. Again. / Stantz: Again? / Zeddemore: Just like Peck threatened to do. / Venkman: It's funny. I always knew the Peck was a pencil-necked, bureaucratic prick. But I never pegged him as an evil occultist. Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Reporter: This just in: as authorities continue to supervise the Thanksgiving evacuation of Manhattan, increasingly powerful tremors are rocking Central Park. The questions is: where are the Ghostbusters? / Venkman: Tell you what... Kind of a nice day. Why don't we go to Central Park? Could round up some ghosts, save the girl... get back in time for a nap? Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Venkman: Wait! It's Ilyssa! / Spengler: It's Peck. / ... / Stantz: It's the mayor. / Venkman: No Ray, it's not. It's Ivo Shandor. / Zeddemore: Shandor possessed the Mayor, turned Peck on us to slow us down. And when we shut down his mandala before he could get fully juiced, he hijacked our ghosts out of the containment unit as an alternate energy source. Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Venkman: Hey Shandor! Where's your Destructor form now? Leave it in your other suit? / Shandor: I have chosen! I am the destructor. I am the Architect! Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Spengler: It's time! Cross the streams! / Shandor: I am a god! / Spengler: We eat gods for breakfast! Terminal Reality (June 16, 2008). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360). Atari.
- Terminal Reality (June 16, 2009). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360). Atari.
Stantz: Looks like things are going to be a little slow around here for a while. / Zeddemore: Which means we might be heavy by one too many Ghostbusters in New York. / Ilyssa: Wait, you're not gonna fire him after everything he's done? / Venkman: No, of course not. Louis has been scouting locations, and I think we're prepared to offer a potentially lucrative Ghostbusters franchise in either Chicago, Los Angeles, or Cincinnati. I'll pick./ Spengler: So, are you prepared to expand the Ghostbusters family on a semi-equivocal basis and be your own boss?
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