NYCC: Ghostbusters Impression and Hands On

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend and cover the fourth annual New York Comic Con, which was located at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. During the Con I met with a lot of wonderful developers who talked with passion and excitement about their games. There I met James of Red Fly Studio; Red Fly Studio being responsible for the upcoming Ghostbuster game on the Wii. James and I talked about a lot of things, story wise aspects, control aspects, and finally puts the nail in the coffin about the Wii version being a PS2 port. So if you want to know the what is going down in ghost busters hit the jump.

As we all already know, the Wii version of the Ghostbusters features unique cartoony deformed characters style as compared to the hi-resolution PS3 and Xbox360 models. However, the Ghostbusters on the Wii makes up for that in terms of actual gameplay. As the controls are uniquely mapped to the WiiMote and Nunchucks and makes excellent use of the controllers built in gyroscopes.

The first thing that should be noted about the game is that, when you are using the Wii controls it actually feels like you are in control of the gear made by Egon. Holding the Wii mote also makes it feel like you are controlling a proton pack, as you point at the screen and slam the ghosts around with the beams. Also, when you make a bowling motion with the nunchuck the character you are playing actually throws out one of the ghost containment traps. While the proton pack can destroy most of the early weaker enemies, when you see ghosts similar to slimer you have to stun them and capture them with a trap. Which makes it feel like you are using the equipment to the best of your ability and are an actual Ghostbuster. Along with this equipment in the game, there is also a few experimental devices that are added like the “Paragoggles” which works like an advanced EKG meter.

The Paragoggles are one newer item that the player will use to solve most puzzles and use to track ghosts around the game. As they allow the player to see things that are not normally visible in the material plane. This adds another puzzle element to the gameplay, which can also freak out someone playing with you when you are actually doing co-op mode.

The game features a very well done Co-Op split screen mode from what I heard from the developer. Although, not much information was released on how it will work or who will be playing who. The game allows for two players, which includes another new rookie character. As with story mode you are playing a rookie Ghostbuster, and each player will be playing either a (female or male) character; it was not specified if a selection of gender would be in the retail version of the game. It was not released who you would be able to play with in the 360 or PS3 version either.

The Wii version was developed to exploit the console’s potential. Instead of making a down port of the PS3 and 360. Red Fly Studio decided to make a totally different game that follows the same script of the other versions. You should look at it more like two different directors, using the same script to make a movie. The plot and story is there, it is just told different through the use of visual styles. The game still follows the same script which was wrote by both Dan Akroid and Harold Ramis. The Wii version will also feature all the same voice acting as well.

As with all systems and game development, Red Fly studio actually ran into some technical problems during development. The main problem was that the Wii didn’t have any shaders for them to use. So it posed a problem with transparent characters and various other graphical elements. However, they came up with an interesting solution and used some tricks with the fixed-function texture pipeline. So they worked really hard on that by messing around with the accessing of various in game assets. This helped with the various ghosts and some of the level design, adding a very detailed shine to some of the levels. However, the main difference between the PS2 and the Wii version is that the PS2 version is a port of the Wii.

The Playstation two version is actually a downgraded port of the Wii version, that has had some things cut out of it. Mostly the motion controls, and some story, gameplay and graphical elements have been changed. However, the superior version will be on the Wii. I made sure to double check this information with James of Red Fly, who set the record straight.

I would like to take this time to thank Atari and James of Red Fly studio for meeting with me at Comic Con, and I honestly cannot wait to play the full version when it is released. Is anyone looking forward to it now that we know that it was not just an upgraded port from the PS2? That it was the first version, and features superior graphics and controls?

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.