After multiple sites have reported recently that there may be a new Ghostbusters game on the way from Activision, which could simply be a movie tie in for the new, all female, Ghostbusters movie coming out this summer that could be a very paint by numbers Activision movie tie in game that, based on other move tie in games, could be a terrible entry. After this news, I started to think about an idea I had about a new Ghostbusters game around the time the last, physical game was announced that was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The idea was, and still is, an open world Ghostbusters game.
I will preface this by saying that I realize that making games is hard, and this idea would not be a small feat, but the interest in Ghostbusters is still apparent with movie goers and gamers, as shown by the sales of the previous Ghostbusters game for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Also, I am not going to go into the ongoing debate about the new casting of the new movie coming soon. This game idea can be used for either set of Ghostbusters and is not contingent on the sex of the characters. I am simply projecting my thoughts about what could possibly be a great Ghostbusters game.
So here we go.
The Atari 2600 version of Ghostbusters, no matter how you felt about the quality of the game for its time, had a great idea; have a map that you can travel to different buildings to “bust ghosts” and drive the Ecto-1 to each area with some obstacles along the way. Of course, this new game would be an open world areas of New York, or a certain area(s) of it. As you drive Ecto-1, you get updates from the home office secretary, Janine Melnitz, or the secretary from the new film, over the radio about new cases of hauntings that you can go and take care of. In a typical open world fashion, you drive around New York only not to run into other vehicles which can be avoided by turning on the car’s siren.
When you arrive to the house, apartment, business, or any other building for that matter, you go in and trap the ghost and return it to headquarters to put in the containment unit in the basement of the firehouse. Of course, it would be obnoxious to do every time in a game, so you could be allowed a total of however many full traps to keep with you until you have to go back to base and empty them. If a developer really wanted to create a challenge, they could only have two Ghostbusters go at a time for these type of side missions and as their energy drains from working, they can switch off the other two. Of course, you could choose your team of two and switch between the characters over the course of the game.
The only time all four of the Ghostbusters would be together is during cut scenes and when plot driven campaign missions that come about that requires all four of them during gameplay. The only reason I would like there to be two separate teams is that I believe that have all four of them on the screen in tight quarters may prove to be cumbersome.
As regular and side missions are completed, you will accrue money. The money can be spent in many ways in the Ghostbusters universe; proton packs, P.K.E. meters, Ecto-1 and other accessories can be upgraded over time to make the tasks in the main campaign easier to complete. Also, the money can be used to buy items that can help regenerate a fatigue meter over time that can dwindle from over working or even from crossing the streams by accident. Of course, there can be other variations to this concept, as these are just my ideas.
One of the aspects to the Ghostbusters franchise that many don’t realize and is talked about in the films, the last game made by Terminal Reality, and the comic book run, is that ghost busting is a business and businesses like to expand. We love the antics, the characters, and even the special effects of the spirits, but at the end of the day, the Ghostbusters exists to make money like any business, for better or for worse.
One of the best ideas that the Assassins Creed series had, was the ability to hire new people and assign tasks to complete in areas other than where you were able to travel to. This brought a new way to level up your character and ways to own businesses in cities.
This idea would not be a completely different idea for the Ghostbusters universe because tt has been mentioned that the Ghostbusters brand has turned into a franchise in its canon.
“The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.” – Peter Venkman
So they did, eventually.
In this proposed idea, the money that is made from the missions can be invested into opening up new locations across the U.S. that could inevitably lead for more money to come in. While franchising in the real world would be a great way to do it, for the sake of this Ghostbusters game, hiring and creating of a new headquarters in other major cities would be in the player’s hands. This could bring a whole new level to the game that could continue after the main campaign is finished. A design your own Ghostbusters headquarters could be every fans dream they never had if done correctly. Of course this may be more than would be actually needed for the game, but it could be what players unknowingly want.
Then there is the question of online gameplay. I believe that the only multiplayer that a Ghostbusters game should have is online co-op. While I, as many other people, enjoy a good local co-op game, the split screen idea for this game would take away from the experience of the game that is intended. Then there is the question of “How many people should be allowed for co-op?” comes into play. While the immediate answer would probably be four people, I would have to make a controversial choice for only two due to the gameplay that was mentioned above.
The DLC ideas for the game could be vast; more missions, better upgrades, new weapons, new areas of New York, costumes, and even campaigns that would be shorter in length compared to the main game. If they really wanted to do some fan service, they could use the original animated series ideas. DLC concerning ghosts like the Boogieman, Samhain, and countless others would be great, even for those who have never seen the animated series that ran in the 80’s.
Once again, I am not going to pretend that this isn’t a huge feat, but I do believe that it is feasible given other games have done similar things in the past. While some of the ideas are not totally original, they are elements that could work none the less.
The Ghostbusters logo is one of the most recognizable pieces of art to this day, which means that there is a substantial interest in the series. Activision, should get out of the movie tie-in head space and look at the bigger picture; A GTA like, open world game, set in the Ghostbusters universe, that takes everything we know about Ghostbusters and gives to the players to experience. This may be something that has been discussed before in meetings, but I genuinely believe that if you get the right developer and writers behind it, then it could be lucrative and even one of the best games of all time…but that is my fan boy opinion.