We talk to the guys behind the new Ghostbusters game
09 February 2011 | By Import
Strategy Informer:Sanctum of Slime seems to be positioned as a follow-up to the 2009 title Ghostbusters: The Video Game despite the contrasting approach to game play. What’s the plot this time around and how much story relation is there to the previous game?
David Williams: The story of this instalment is completely original. Although it has a couple references to the previous game, the story tells what happens after the rookie leaves and the team is forced to hire a new full group of rookies to help them due to the abnormal increase of paranormal activity in the city.
The storyline sees a familiar character, Dr. Janosz Poha, sent to the mental hospital due to some sliming issues (at the end of the 2nd movie). Here he meets Ismael, a strange character who is trying to resurrect the demon by collecting an ancient relic. We flash-forward again to the present day. Paranormal activity in the city is reaching critical mass and the Ghostbusters crew is getting overrun. They decide to recruit a full team of 4 rookies to help them out. The rookies set out to bust their first job when their paths are intertwined with Janosz’, the Relic and a very bad demon.
Strategy Informer:SOS is going to be a downloadable title with a more modest budget than the 2009 game, but has there been any involvement of the stars and writers of the original movies?
David Williams: Although we didn’t have the privilege to work with original cast and writers of the films, we did have very good team of writers for the game. The original game idea was developed in-house and then the story was written by Tom Waltz, the scriptwriter for the Ghostbusters comics from IDW.
Strategy Informer:The previous game was peppered with Easter eggs and call backs for fans of the franchise. Can we expect to see the same in Sanctum of Slime?
David Williams: Of course! Besides tying the storyline with classic characters like old Janosz, there are some in-game objects and dialogs that’ll bring more than one memory back from the past.
Strategy Informer:It looks like the game will follow in the vein of top-down twin stick shooters like Geometry Wars and Smash TV. How have you guys tailored this style of play to make it fit the Ghostbusters universe?
David Williams: It was indeed a challenge tie in the original ghostbustin’ style with a more arcade, fast paced game. But thanks to improvements in the Neutrona Wand technology, Egon’s new inventions and a rookie team willing to test-drive the new equipment, we were able to create a new way of dealing with the paranormal threats haunting NYC.
Strategy Informer:How will the game’s boss battles (like the possessed subway train seen in the trailer and screenshots) differ from fighting standard enemies?
David Williams: Boss battles will require you and your partners (either friends or A.I.), to work as a team to overcome them. These bosses will have weak points that you can use to your advantage by shooting at them with different weapons. You will have to be very careful though since these enemies are very tough and strong!
Strategy Informer:In the trailer we also see players riding through a spook-filled New York City on the back of a moving vehicle. How do these sections pan out and will players have any control over this new Ectomobile?
David Williams: Since the Ecto-1 is such an icon on the Ghostbusters universe, we decided to give our rookie team their own vehicle: The Ecto-4WD. This big jeep is specially modified to carry the full team on the rear while driven by the 5th, less know team member, Geoff. Since all the players will be riding the same car, we chose to let it ride on its own while you can focus on shooting at the ghosts. In these levels you will have to shoot down the enemies incoming attacks pretty fast since your closing speeds are much much faster! Team work is a must during these vehicle sequences.
Strategy Informer:It looks like players will be revisiting locations from the series like the Sedgewick Hotel and the graveyard from the 2009 game. How many stages will there be in total and what’s the ratio between familiar and original?
David Williams: We wanted to visit some classic locations to keep the game familiar to the players who are fans of the brand. The Sedgewick hotel is a classic and we chose to have it in there, with a few modifications . We also added new locations, like the mental asylum mentioned before, NYC streets in the vehicle levels and a visit to the sewers, among others.
Strategy Informer:The game will support up to four people playing simultaneously both locally and online. Is this in a co-operative or competitive capacity? Will there be any differences to the experience when played solo?
David Williams: This game is focused on co-op gameplay, however you can always choose to compete with your friends over who gets the best score at the end of the level. We have several scoring mechanics that will give the player different choices on how to score the most points when playing with friends. When you play single player, you will still have 3 partners helping you out controlled by A.I. and will try their best to keep you alive for you to have a great time shooting at ghosts.
Strategy Informer:Can you cross the streams?
David Williams: Due to the shooting nature of the game, having catastrophic consequences in the time-space continuum when crossing the streams would be a bit chaotic, so we decided to add a filter to the tip of the Neutrona Wand that, although shortens the reach of the beam, makes it safer for the rookies.
Strategy Informer: Are there going to be any persistent hooks to keep players coming back for more like a levelling system, hidden collectibles or high score challenges?
David Williams: We have a cool scoring system that awards points to the player not only for shooting at ghosts but for helping out their friends, not dying, collecting items, etc. With this we give the player the chance to revisit levels and try to obtain better scores to post on the leader boards. We also have set of hidden collectables scattered around the levels the player can choose to hunt for extra points and of course bragging rights and an achievement/trophy.
Strategy Informer:Will players be able to customise their characters at all?
David Williams: Players will have the ability to play as one of the four characters.
Strategy Informer:Are there any plans for downloadable content after the game launches?
David Williams: We have given it some thought, but we’re excited to see what feedback from players is on the game before we make any decisions.