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Ghostbusters Revisited


by Stephen Becker 16 Jun 2009

Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray made us laugh through the 80s as they fought the paranormal in the Ghostbusters movies. Hollywood now hopes a new video game made by a North Texas company will rekindle interest in the franchise and possibly a third movie. The developers talked to Art&Seek about what goes into reinventing an icon.

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Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray made us laugh through the 80s as they fought the paranormal in the Ghostbusters movies. Hollywood now hopes a new video game made by a North Texas company will rekindle interest in the franchise and possibly a third movie. The developers talked to Art&Seek about what goes into reinventing an icon:

It’s been 20 years since anyone has made the call from the Ghostbusters theme song.

A new video game is about to change that.

Credit for that goes to Terminal Reality, a company in Lewisville that creates video games. The company has spent the last three years figuring out the best way to continue the Ghostbusters story.

Drew Haworth is the game’s creative director.

HAWORTH: “Right off the bat, we decided that we wanted to make this the third movie. Since no third movie seemed to be coming at all, we grabbed the reigns and said, ‘We’ll do it. We’ll make this the third movie’.”

So they made a demo of what they wanted to do and showed it to executives at Sony Pictures. In the game, players control a new recruit fighting the paranormal alongside characters from the movies.

Brendan Goss, the game’s senior producer, attended the meeting.

GOSS: “Mark Kaplan, who is the president of consumer products licensing, ran out of the meeting and came back with an armful of Ghostbuster toys. He’s like, “We can relaunch all of this. This is going to be huge!'”

As they say in Hollywood, the game had been green-lit. Terminal Reality then had to get Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and the movies’ director, Ivan Reitman, to sign on. Each of them owns a piece of the franchise.

Aykroyd came up with the idea for the movies, so Goss says he was the logical person to start with.

GOSS: “When he saw, it, he took it to Harold Ramis, and then the two of them took it to Bill Murray, and the rest is history.”

But, really, that was only the beginning. Terminal still had to figure out how to work pieces from the movies into the game.

It helped that the key players from the films except Signorney Weaver and Rick Moranis recorded dialogue for the game. And, of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man returns to terrorize New York City.

Next, they had to use those familiar elements to advance the story. As Haworth put it, they didn’t want the game to be viewed as a cash grab.

HAWORTH: “The upside is: you’ve got plenty to work from. The downside is: well you’d better get it right. Because everybody’s gonna know if it’s not right.”

But would everybody really know? The main audience for video games wasn’t even born when the last movie was released.

Goss says he was surprised when Sony’s research showed the ghost with the red slash through it is still one of the most recognized movie logos in the world.

During a recent publicity tour for the game in Europe, people from Italy to Sweden showed up at events wearing their Ghostbusters garb. It was a scene that convinced Haworth that fans are ready to embrace the franchise anew.

HAWORTH: “We say, ‘Everybody loves Ghostbusters.’ But this is sort of proving that Ghostbusters is something that should have happened – well, I don’t know if it’s a long time ago. Maybe this is just exactly the right time.”

If the game is a hit, that increases the odds of a third movie coming out.

Writers from the TV show The Office are already drafting a script.

If that third film is made, it will be a rare instance of the merchandising tail wagging the movie dog.

So if soon you hear that Ghostbusters theme song at a movie theater, a North Texas video game maker is partly to thank.

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  • Lindsay

    I’m glad to see some 80s icons getting some recognition in the video game world. While I’m not sure how a third movie would turn out, the game sounds like a lot of fun and I’m glad to see it was created by a few locals!

  • Hollyn

    I will be the first to buy it 😉