How Ghostbusters: The Video Game should inspire Ghostbuster: Afterlife

The next entry in the much-loved Ghostbusters movie series will release later this year. With it being ‘Ghostbusters Day’ - yes it's a thing - we wanted to look back at a potential unlikely source of inspiration.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game released in 2009 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PC, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii. Ghostbusters swerved the trends of poor game-to-movie adaptations by actually being a pretty authentic experience. It wasn’t a 10/10 game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun and a true Ghostbusters experience.

The game featured the full original team, all voice acted pretty damn well. Most interestingly, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was also an official sequel. When a movie sequel seemed unlikely, the game was exactly what long-time fans of the series needed. For all intents and purposes, this is the third film.

Considering Ghostbusters: Afterlife has already finished filming, the new movie is already set in stone. Having said that, the beloved cult-classic video game could still inspire the overall mood of the film.

The original four

Special effects and an engaging story were key elements in the success of the original films, but it was the chemistry between the four main characters that elevated the film. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis all worked perfectly on screen together. The game recognises this, bringing all four iconic actors back to the screen. 

Rather than simply having each actor read through a basic script, each actor perfectly replicated their character. Murray channels the sleaziness of Peter and Aykroyd captures the optimism of Stants. Ramis and Hudson also put in excellent performances, ensuring the full cast channelled the spirits of their on-screen counterparts.

Murray, Aykroyd and Hudson will all reprise their roles in Ghostbuster: Afterlife. Ramis, who unfortunately passed away in 2014 will not feature in the film, although we imagine there will at least be an homage to his character. It’s unknown how much of a part the original characters will play in the film, but it’s clear the characters are a key element of the franchise’s success.

Even if the original three don’t play leading roles in the film, they should at least be a key part of the narrative. What made Ghostbusters: The Game so enjoyable was once again watching each character quip and bounce off one another. Any Ghostbusters film that features those kinds of moments is going to strike gold. 

Keep the story simple 

Ghostbusters: The Video Game had a fairly simple premise. A psi energy pulse emanates from within New York, the team finds lots of ghosts, they go on a journey ending in another dimension. It doesn’t really veer too far from the original films. The game took what made the films so fun, added a few new elements and provided fans with the sequel they never thought they would get. 

Hopefully Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows suit. A simple story that inspired by the source material will help fans transition away from the original cast. The game proves that the original cast legitimise any Ghostbusters project they are near. Creating a new story that honours simple narratives with strong characters is what the series is all about.

It’s the small touches 

Ghostbusters: The Video Game was filled to the brim with small, but significant touches. From the old school Columbia Pictures logo on booting to the way Venkman is animated to match Murray’s specific walking style. The game was built from a place of passion and reverence for the series. The Ghostbusters firehouse is the perfect representation of this. Featuring many callbacks to both films, all interactive and explorable by players.

Finally found the Ghostbusters firehouse [Screenshot] : PS4
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The Ghostbusters Firehouse in Spider-Man

Ghostbusters: Afterlife should also include fun and minor call backs to the previous films. There’s obviously a balance that the directors will need to find, as too much fan service can have a negative effect. This doesn’t mean the film can’t include several smaller, hard-to-spot references for passionate fans of the series. Fan service can be a powerful tool, as it rewards fans for their dedication. Lean on it too much though, and you’ll alienate new viewers. 

Ghostbuster: Afterlife is only six months away, and while the initial trailer did provide a glimpse at what we can expect, it still didn’t feature any of the original cast. Hopefully, the developers can channel what made Ghostbusters: The Video Game such an outstanding example of extending the universe of a movie franchise without cheapening it. 

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