Remember when I followed the development cycle of 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game like an obsessed hawk? So do I. Good times, my friends. I'm reminded of that wild period in my life as USA Today announces the news of the follow-up to that game, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime developed by Wanako and published by Atari, due out next year as a downloadable title for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC. It's a top-down co-op shooter adventure with both local and online multiplayer modes. None of the writers or actors from the Ghostbusters films or game will be back for this one. Somehow I just can't muster the excitement this time around.
The four-player adventure game -- playable locally or online -- lets players again don a proton pack and fend off a new supernatural threat. Promised are gigantic bosses that require teamwork and the entirety of the ghostbusting arsenal: the proton stream, plasma inductor and the fermion shock.
This game represents a passing of the Ghostbusters guard in the video game realm at least, as none of the actors who appeared in the films such as Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd are scheduled to appear.
Players do get a perk in that, for the first time, they get to drive one of the Ghostbuster mobiles, the Ecto-3.
Why do I have the sinking feeling that Sanctum of Slime is a generic low budget co-op shooter with the Ghostbusters license grafted onto it? No, based on first impressions I have to admit that I'm just not feeling this one. With the big publishers and talented development studios looking to get out of the licensed properties business when it comes to mega-blockbuster franchises, I'm afraid it may be a long, long time before we see another confluence of events that can bring us a worthy Ghostbusters adventure. I'd imagine that Atari has the Ghostbusters license for a certain number of years now, but perhaps when that contract comes to an end, Sony can reclaim the property and develop something amazing with one of its own studios internally. Basically, we need a developer that can play keymaster to Sony's gatekeeper.