The Ghostbusters are back in business.
All four original ghostbusters — Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis — supplied their likenesses and dialogue to a new video game out today, with a story by Aykroyd and Ramis.
Timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film (released today for the first time on Blu-ray Disc, $29), the game is spurring interest in a new Ghostbusters movie.
"There have always been opportunities to reboot the franchise with or without the game. The studio was willing and eager to make a sequel. It really had more to do with our motivation," says Ramis, who with Aykroyd wrote the screenplays for the two Ghostbusters films.
"But I would say that for the first time, there is a willingness to get together and do a sequel," he says. "Certainly the excitement around the game demonstrates to everyone involved that there is a great public affection for it."
The original made $229.2 million in 1984, just behind the year's top film, Beverly Hills Cop ($234.8 million). The 1989 sequel made $112.5 million.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (rated T for Teens 13-up, $60, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3; $30 for PCs) takes place two years after the events of Ghostbusters II, with ghosts and supernatural forces again wreaking havoc in New York. "So there is not only one structure like the structure we saw in the first movie where we get on the rooftop and battle the interdimensional forces," Aykroyd says. "There are a dozen structures in Manhattan which, in effect, are portals to other dimensions."
Players take the role of a rookie hired to test new equipment. The game starts with an action sequence that sets up the rookie's introduction to the team. Aykroyd's character, Raymond Stantz, demonstrates how to use the team's equipment. Quickly, players are blasting the proton pack's vividly reproduced blast streams at ghosts.
Ghostbusters works well as a game, Ramis says, because "there's these mythological clues and keys that have to be discovered and puzzles have to be solved. And all along the way, the search for these puzzles is complicated by the appearance of these creatures from the other world."
Aykroyd says Ghostbusters fans at studio Terminal Reality were looking to "in effect, create and do the third movie as a video game."
As for the actual third Ghostbusters, producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are working on a script with Ramis, Aykroyd and producer Ivan Reitman. "They are kind of slogging through a first draft during their spare time," Ramis says.
The story would focus on a new crew, with the veterans serving as advisers "like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future," Ramis says. "We'd be the crazy inventors who steer these guys and provide critical information when they need it. And help out during an action climax."
Fans have been asking for this, Hudson says. "It all seems to be coming together now. A lot of people say this is the first movie they saw and that they grew up watching this and introduced it to their kids. I just think that people weren't quite done with those characters and that idea."