Slimer? I hardly met her!
As featured in the June/July issue of Complex, the Ghostbusters video game (Capcom—360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS) is out today and it's already garnering good reviews. Since there's only so much we can fit on a magazine page, we're posting our extended interview with Glenn Gamble, senior artist at Ghostbusters developer Terminal Reality. See below for a gameplay trailer and Gamble's discussion of the game's illest weapon, Dan Aykroyd, and why the Infernal Engine is so dope...
Interview by Nick Marroni
Complex: How would you describe the gameplay of Ghostbusters?
Glenn Gamble: [Gears of War] is probably the closest thing to us out there on the market but Gears is a really good straight-up shooter, where this one, we had to come up with a whole new wrangling mechanic and trapping mechanic in the game, which is kind of interesting. It's funny, 'cause years ago, when we started the game, someone got the bright idea of using fishing mechanics, so we actually bought pretty much every fishing game that [our local] GameStop had, and [the manager] was like: "You're doing a fishing game?" And we were like: "Kinda.'"
Complex: Terminal Reality is the proprietary house for the Infernal Engine, which powers Ghostbusters. In layman's terms, how does Infernal enhance gameplay?
Glenn Gamble: It's an insane engine—we have transitions going from indoor to outdoor, which you very rarely ever see in a game. You've got an incredible physics engine—everything can be destroyed. Being an artist, I built the table and then I have to take an extra day to break the table, just so, as a player you can slice it horizontally, you can blow the legs off the table if you wanted to, you can blow it lengthwise—you can just cut this table up however you want.
Complex: What was the thought process behind the variety of weaponry in the game?
Glenn Gamble: You get money for busting the ghosts and then you can upgrade—you can save your money to spend on the big upgrade items or you can spend it on the littler upgrade items. They really did a good job of branching out the [tech] tree—originally it was a real linear progression, but then when we started really messing around with it, it was like: "Why not? Why not give the player that kind of freedom?" It's really crazy; we do branch out to kind of the weirder weapons. We've got a dark matter generator, which crystallizes ectoplasm—I've just re-done pretty much that entire look of that weapon to give it more of a weird ethereal look to it. So, it's really kind of funky looking—you get these weird amethyst-looking crystals growing off the ghosts.
Complex: The proton beam is pretty sick.
Glenn Gamble: I spent over a month and a half getting the proton beam to look the way it does, with programmer's help—he did all this crazy math, did it all wild, shooting every which direction. The proton beam originally was just as wild and crazy as it was in the movie and that's really frustrating to a player when you aim at the crosshair and it goes five, ten feet to the left of the crosshair. So we had to control it in, but it's that fine line of making it look like the proton beam, but at the same time it still have to hit somewhere around the target so people don't get frustrated with it. Crossing the streams is absolutely bad—you can do it if you want, but you get a blowback and it's a very damaging thing.
Complex: How was it working with the original cast?
Glenn Gamble: [Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and all the rest are] all really into it—we actually had to go through a fresh batch recently, this little extension we had, they've come back in and recorded a few new lines where we needed it. Everybody's on their 'A' game. I don't know if you've heard Dan Aykroyd today—he's gotten older as we all have; he doesn't really sound like the Dan Aykroyd of yesteryear, but I don't know what magic stuff he did, but I've heard the voice sessions and it's great because he just kind of takes this deep breath and all of a sudden his voice sounds like it did 25 years ago; it's just really cool. It's like, "Oh my God, that's Ray!" You hear that little childful glee in it and everything.
Complex: In the game, you play as a rookie Ghostbuster, not as one of the O.G. cast. Why is that?
Glenn Gamble: We wanted to keep the core feeling of the movie together and a big part of that is the character interaction. And, once we came to that realization, it was just the logical step of making the player the outside observer, the new guy on the block. The co-op is actually really cool—it's all team-based with common objective points, so really feeding into that whole Ghostbusters team feeling. There are five main characters in the game, but we do have two other sub-characters that, in our opinion, are just as important, which are, one: the proton pack, because that's got all your HUD information on it, as well it's right there in the camera the whole time, so it had to be good. The other one was Ecto-1, both of which we wanted to treat as their own characters, even though they're not technically a character in a character sense.
Complex: How is the Wii version different from the others?
Glenn Gamble: The Wii version's being done by Red Fly—we are sharing everything, but at some point we did have to cut, because they're going a very different stylistic route, because, of course, the Wii and PS2 versions aren't nearly as powerful as the next-gen versions and it eventually led to character and story changes on their end to accommodate that. At the same time, to their system's strength, I wish there was some way I could throw my controller and have it throw out a trap; that is one of the coolest things the Wii does. You can throw the nunchuku and it throws out the trap, and that's the motion for it and it feels so cool and natural, I want to throw my 360 controller across the room and get the same result.
GHOSTBUSTERS GAMEPLAY TRAILER: