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Ghostbusters: the Harold Ramis interview

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It’s been 25 years since Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson saved New York City from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. After a theatrical sequel that didn’t live up to the original in many fans’ eyes, the quartet have reunited for an original videogame outing that unfolds like a third installment of the film franchise and ships today on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 and DS.


Above: Harold Ramis in the game as Dr. Egon Spengler, and as himself (inset)

Ramis, who co-wrote the original film with Aykroyd, reteamed with his old friend to ensure that the game lived up to the hype. We recently caught up with Ramis (whose latest film, Year One, opens June 19) to talk about his own gaming background and discusses the challenges of making videogames funny, as well as the status of the next Ghostbusters movie.

GamesRadar: What games did you play back when you were a kid?

Harold Ramis: Oh boy. Pong was a big hit if we go way back. I played Pac-Man. I’m an addictive personality and I saw how much time I could spend on games like Tetris. But as games got more complicated, I can’t say I lost interest, but I didn’t have the time to put into it to become good at games.

GR: Did you have a sense of what they’re doing with games today before the new Ghostbusters game came around?

HR: Oh yeah, absolutely. Watching my sons play each generation of Madden or the NBA games as they started actually using real player images and motion-capture on real people. We have an 80-inch plasma TV in the family room and I’ll walk in and glance up and think they’re watching an actual basketball game, but they’re playing a videogame. It’s really amazing.

GR: What did you learn about the process of creating videogames through Ghostbusters?

HR: A lot of it was technical and it had to be technical, which was something we could not do because we weren’t doing the game design. It’s an interesting process. It would be like if you were writing a film and one person was assigned the physical action and you had to write dialogue to it. As a screenwriter, they’re linked together – the action and dialogue. In a way, it’s like writing a scenario without dialogue. Watching the process was interesting to me. I learned something, although I don’t know if it’s something I can actually apply.

GR: What was it like working with Terminal Reality?

HR: These are guys who grew up on Ghostbusters. The opportunity for them to give their input and consult for us was fun for them and obviously fun for us. The overall goals and the specific environments were approved by all of us.

GR: Did you add anything in particular to the game’s levels?

HR: I think Macy’s Day Parade was my idea, which was one of the game environments, which now is not in the game. They checked it out with us on the broad strokes level and I think they kept refining it, which I think for them was a lot of fun.

GR: If the game is a big hit, will that help with a movie getting made?

HR: There’s already work on a script for a third feature.

GR: Dan Aykroyd said he doesn’t believe anything until he sees a finished script.

HR: Well, that’s how I am, too.

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13 comments

  • StupidTownColonStupidStateColon - June 18, 2009 11:21 p.m.

    Nice interview, and I just noticed that the learning curves are the best part. But then you have destruction and open worlds which makes me think even deeper into what makes a game fun. I bet all the good games I have played implement a new style as you progress to systematically keep a game fun, amazing.
  • TURbo - June 17, 2009 1:29 p.m.

    He's a smart man when it comes to putting Ghostbusters or any movie to a videogame medium.
  • Psycho77 - June 17, 2009 12:16 a.m.

    1 thing i like is how it takes a little skill to catch these little bastards...its an art
  • Psycho77 - June 17, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    playing it now...good game...live is still down so waiting for that to come up....if anyone wants to hook up for co-op send me friend request... TdotO PsYcHo.....Tdot"O" as in the letter O not the number
  • Leebevan - June 16, 2009 11:26 p.m.

    Harold Ramis is a legend and i got the ghostbuster game pre ordred so cant wait the play it.
  • charley235 - June 16, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    i AM afraid of ghosts...ah!
  • NotSteve - June 16, 2009 8:18 p.m.

    Good to see that the old-school Hollywood vets are so adaptable to new media... maybe I have a chance in this industry after all.
  • Rattlehead - June 18, 2009 7:06 p.m.

    This is definately one of the best articles you guy's have ever done, 'cause it has Harold freaking Ramis
  • waynski1457 - June 17, 2009 6:55 a.m.

    While not nearly as hardcore into games like, say, Guillermo del Toro, he definitely has exactly the right enthusiasm for them and it is really great that he looked at the whole thing as a learning experience instead of just a cash-in. Here I thought that I couldn't respect him any more than I already do.
  • TrIp13G - June 17, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    The man obviously knows what's what.
  • Hurricrane - June 17, 2009 1:58 a.m.

    yay! an official 3rd movie! *explodes in fanboy joydom*
  • AntistaIsTheLight - June 16, 2009 11:11 p.m.

    Will the original actors be in the third movie if there is one?
  • skyguy343 - June 16, 2009 8:14 p.m.

    i aint fraid of no ghost

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

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