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What You Didn't Know About Ghostbusters

by Andrew Reiner on Oct 20, 2009 at 06:04 AM

Game development often lasts for years. And in that stretch of time, studios have their fair share of ups and downs. From humorous game bugs to stress-relieving antics, Game Informer peers behind the curtain of game development. In our sixth Tidbits column, Redfly Studios and Terminal Reality share stories behind the development of Ghostbusters.

Terminal Reality (PS3, 360 versions)

  • Actual prop proton packs were recorded for the Ghostbusters’ movement foley sounds.
  • The in-game Slimer model differs from the film version and the Steve Johnson bust offered on The movies never featured any clear, well-detailed shots of Slimer's backside. In-game, he has a short, stretchy tail, and the bust/movie sculpt has shapely kidney-bean backside on the bust.
  • In April, the studio was visited by the actual Ecto-1 and a giant inflatable Stay Puft. One of the animators holding a cup of coffee disastrously tried to lean against Stay Puft's leg for a photo op, coining the term "hot-cup-of-fail."
  • For approximately one month, the entire ground floor of Terminal Reality's offices could break out into spontaneous AirSoft firefights. A hasty truce was called when high-powered rifles became the armament of choice, and one civilian bystander suffered unacceptable casualties during the epic Battle That Happened Too Close To The HR Office.
  • Sunglasses destroyed during the notorious AirSoft Wars (after the Era of High Powered Rifles): 5 pairs
  • 3D scans used while modeling the likeness of each actor: 0 (the last Ghostbusters film was made prior to commonplace digital scanning, so the modeler used photo and still frame references of the actors culled from multiple films from that era)
  • Of all the children's drawings on the wall in the game’s Firehouse, only one was actually drawn by a child. The rest were done by TRI's QA lab. Some of the testers were actually trying to draw well.
  • Terminal Reality's Team Fortress 2 team defeated the Valve team to take second place in the hotly contested 2008 Studio Rumble tournament.
  • TRI employees coexisted with a disturbing recurrence of brown recluse spiders throughout the development of Ghostbusters. They eventually disappeared. It is widely assumed that the office scorpions got them.
  • Due to an unintended similarity in appearance, one of the game's bosses was nicknamed "The Big Jesus." The 200 ft. tall Big Jesus (standing 700 ft short of popular 90's hip-hop act) was subsequently reworked into a much less beatific and more conventionally evil form. Certain team members still insist that the original was scarier.
  • The Cursed Artifact 'Mini Mansion Bear' plays a distinctive three-note groan that has been used as demo placeholder in every Terminal Reality game since BloodRayne, but has not actually been used in-game since Nocturne.
  • Ray's desk in the Firehouse features all the prototype equipment that was developed for the game but didn't make the final cut, including ghost stasis-mine disks and five different PKE models.
  • The people calling in on the answering machine are all employees of TRI.
  • The Hotel Manager character's likeness is modeled on Terminal Reality's Studio Director.
  • The Hotel Manager character's voice, mo-cap mannerisms, and distinctive girly shriek are NOT modeled on Terminal Reality's Studio Director, thank God.
  • The 'Rookie' Player character is modeled on a former Sierra AP, intended to accentuate an 'everyman' appearance. The original Player Character was modeled after a Terminal Reality level designer, but was replaced to due to a striking similarity to Half-Life's Gordon Freeman character.
  • The cake in the Hotel Sedgewick's Alhambra Ballroom is modeled after a real-life cake created by the pastry-chef wife of the Terminal Reality modeler that built it.
  • Ghostbusters gameplay was originally developed using a single-stick control scheme, based on the publisher's marketing tests that suggested those types of schemes are simpler to use and learn. This was abandoned for the current two-stick scheme more or less immediately upon playtesting.
  • Cans of Coke consumed by Principle Programmer throughout Ghostbusters development: 4,680
  • Lines of dialogue in the game: 9,964
  • Sound effects in the game: 3,961
  • Individual pieces of music: 271
  • Total particle effects made specifically for Ghostbusters over the course of development: 1,510
  • Polygons in each in-game Ghostbuster model: 28,310 (+), including proton packs
  • Unique character animations in Ghostbusters: 2,605


Redfly Studios (Wii Version)

  • Every night, bright color-changing lights blast in through the office windows courtesy of our building's attempt to stand out in the Austin skyline.
  • Unlike many buildings, the studio's building has a 13th floor (but no 12th floor).
  • The studio might have single-handedly closed down a nearby hamburger shop by stopping regular weekly trips to the establishment.
  • One of the developers sprained both his ankles racing down the stairs to a studio-sponsored afternoon off to see Iron Man.
  • While developing Ghostbusters, The Onion ran a news article entitled: "EPA Shuts Down Local Ghost-Entrapment Business," which was a spoof on the original Ghostbusters movie.
  • We very briefly contemplated playing the sound clip, "Bustin' makes me feel good!" from the unmistakable theme song whenever a ghost gets trapped, but it proved annoying.
  • Red Fly Studio has been flooded three times in three years.
  • Approximately 150 ping pong balls were broken during the development of Ghostbusters.
  • To put themselves into the proper state of mind for Ghostbusters development, the sound team, Gl33k:

           - watched Ghostbusters a total of 7 times.
           - watched the cartoon series through once.
           - watched the Angry Nintendo Nerd's review of Ghostbusters for NES about 30 times.

  • Five children have been born to studio members during the production of Ghostbusters and Mushroom Men.
  • Several studio employees have been immortalized on Google Street View during their commute to/from the office.
  • Six different publishers have been involved with Red Fly’s two projects, Mushroom Men and Ghostbusters.
  • The Ghost Wrangling mechanic went through ten complete re-designs and iterations before reaching its final, very fun state about a month before we finished the game.
  • Everyone's favorite bug in Ghostbusters was "slime launching." By firing the Slime Spray, pressing the Z button, and pointing the reticule beneath the hero, players could actually propel the hero straight up as if the slime was a jetpack. We wanted to keep this in as an Easter Egg bug, but ultimately decided it could cause too many navigation issues and wasn't fair since it only occurred for the male avatar (for reasons unknown).
  • Red Fly Studio's first three games have been a pretty diverse set: a 3D action platformer, a 3rd person shooter, and a cooking game.


For other Tidbits entries, click the desired game name: Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, Overlord II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Scribblenauts