Back in August 2012 I started a series of articles entitled, “What Could Have Been…”, which detailed the way some of our favourite films could have played out if different decisions had been made during the production process. Now I’m turning my attention to video games that will never see the light of day
The Ghostbuster’s presence in video games has been a bit of a mixed bag. The last major release of a Ghostbusters video game was in 2009 for the Xbox 360 and PS3. It was published by Atari but unfortunately it received lukewarm reviews.
The game had everything going for it, Dan Akroyd (Stantz), Harold Ramis (Spengler), Bill Murray (Venkman) and Ernie Hudson (Zeddemore) all lent their voices and likeness so the game looked pretty good. Ramis and Akroyd also helped do a little script doctoring to help things along.
Even as a Ghostbusters fan, I found the game good but not great. But this is not about the Atari release, this is about another version three years earlier by an Australian software house by the name of Zootfly.
It was January 2006 and without warning several videos appeared on YouTube showing off a brand new Ghostbusters game for the Xbox360. No one knew where these videos had come from and after a couple of days the videos were removed by a copyright infringement order from Sony, the owners of the Ghostbusters license.
Months later in an interview with Zootfly, the creators of this unlicensed game, they admitted it was themselves who uploaded these video clips to judge the reaction. It transpires that Zootfly were indeed working on a Ghostbusters game but had not obtained permission from Sony. This experiment was supposed to show how much the fans clamoured for a Ghostbusters game so obtaining the license would be made a little easier.
Zootfly were never able to obtain the permissions and instead reworked the already written code into another game by the name of TimeO.
Here is the official synopsis.
Zed Condor, an urban explorer and Violet Munro, an investigative reporter get trapped deep in the shadow world of a parallel New York. The city itself is a giant war machine threatening to wipe out our world. They have three days to stop it. TimeO is a daring and upbeat action adventure about two diehard New York City urban explorers. They discover an entrance to a parallel world in which an army of enslaved people is building replicas of cities in order to launch a Trojan horse invasion on Earth and other worlds. There’s the exploration spirit of unknown worlds, the audacity of the greatest movie adventures, and the roughness of gritty urban TV series.
TimeO was due to be published by Brash Entertainment but they went out of business in November 2008 and the game was never heard from again after its initial media coverage when it was first revealed back in 2007.
Some speculate that there never was a Ghosbusters game and that Zootfly were trying to generate media interest for TimeO. Ironically, all of Zootfly’s efforts did in fact help the 2009 Atari Ghostbusters game I mentioned at the beginning.
Mark Randel, co-founder and head of Terminal Reality, the software company behind the Ghostbusters game was interviewed by the Official Xbox Magazine, “What Zootfly did for us, inadvertently, is help sell the concept. When their footage came out, we were close to our green-light meeting, and when the executives saw the reaction from the fans, they immediately knew, ‘Hey, Ghostbusters is going to be a big hit – we need to put this game into production.”