Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dan Akroyd Hopes "Ghostbusters" Video Game Lays Groundwork for New Movie

Interesting Article from the "Arts and Entertainment" Section of today's LA Times:

"On June 16, Atari will release the much-anticipated "Ghostbusters" title...there is intense consumer interest in this game, and it brought together the core of the original cast for voice work - two facts that have restarted the dormant "Ghostbusters" filmmachinery."

"Ivan Reitman, producer and director of the two films, said the video game essentially hit the restart button on the franchise."

I've never watched any of the Ghostbusters movies, but I understand that many a movie buff will rejoice at the announcement of a new installment in this venerated series. However, the idea that a movie-to-game adaptation is going to "revive" a franchise seems silly to me. Gamers know all too well that, with very few exceptions (such as Capcom's Aladdin game for the SNES as well as the various LOTR games that have been released simultaneously with their movie counterparts), video games based on movies are nothing more than quick cash-ins for corporations to make a few extra millions off the success of a blockbuster movie franchise.

Now, there are signs that indicate this game won't be the typically worthless corporate rip-off crap gamers are used to. It's not being released as part and parcel of a movie release, so it needs to be a product that stands out on its own merits; secondly, it's been in production for a significant amount of time (some, as the article points out, would argue it's been in production for too long!), meaning that game-breaking glitches and bugs won't be a source of consternation for gamers who are becoming increasingly impatient with technical improprieties in video games. All in all, gaming fansites and magazines have been giving it fairly positive press, though to label it as a gaming hype juggernaut is probably overstating things. I'm don't think the article is trying to say that, though...

If the Ghostbusters brand name is strong enough, however, even harsh reviews won't deter good sales - and, consequentially, the movie sequel Aykroyd wants - because despite the complaints and poor reviews from the hardcore gaming populace, movie-to-game tie-ins DO often sell gangbusters at retail, even if they are dwarfed by their bigscreen film counterparts. The question is: Can Aykroyd hope to fall back on this if the game is indeed a critical failure? Can the specter of a new Ghostbusters movie potentially propel sales of the game, as well (methinks this is the REAL purpose of the article, FWIW). Most importantly: Is this game look like it's going to be anything particularly memorable? I certainly could care less for it, but not being a Ghostbusters fan anyway, I'm not the target audience for the product in question. For those of you out there who do happen to consider yourselves Ghostbusters fans, though...anything to add?


Andy Kirchoff said...

For those interested, IGN recently reviewed the ps3 version and scored it with a respectable, though not exemplary, 8.0/10. Not bad! Let's see if other critics follow suit...

KingAssmar said...

It is amazing to me that you haven't ever watched the Ghostbusters films, if not because the first one was just so fantastic. Maybe they're not really the type of movie you like to see, but any fan of the Bill Murray generation of SNL. I don't see what draw you have to this game or movie franchise, but apparently the producers did some sort of search and they found that the Ghostbusters logo is something like the second most recognizable symbol in the world... NEXT TO COKE!

Anyway, sir, the cast has mostly returned, yes, but Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd are actually writing the game script. I was so impressed by the movie quality of the cut scenes in the original Uncharted, and if Ghostbusters can get close to that level with their story, then that alone might justify fans' purchases, regardless of the quality of gameplay.