Friday the 13th developer Illfonic’s new project is a Ghostbusters multiplayer game, and it’s basically a direct Ghostbusters Afterlife sequel. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is out later this year, and it’ll continue the story “shortly after” the 2021 movie’s post-credits scene.
PCGamesN recently sat down with the heads of Illfonic to check out Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, the studio’s new ghost game that was accidentally confirmed last year prior to the release of Afterlife. It’s a 4v1 asymmetric multiplayer game where four Ghostbusters – all player-created and customisable – try to catch a troublesome spook haunting a building.
At the end of Ghostbusters Afterlife, the post-credits scene teases a sequel where a now-wealthy Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) buys the Ghostbusters firehouse and the iconic Ecto-1. Spirits Unleashed, for now at least, is seemingly that sequel. “The timeline is shortly after the Afterlife film,” confirms CCO Jared Gerritzen, “where Winston has reformed the Ghostbusters and you are one of the new hires.” Ernie Hudson and Dan Ackroyd’s Ray are returning, and the developer says they have a story reason for being there.
“We got these amazing actors to come and so we couldn’t just make them hub masters,” Gerritzen explains. “As you progress in the game, you get some story and some cinematics throughout so it’s really exciting for us… it’s a growing thing for us to add this.” Players can interact with Ray and Winston between missions in the firehouse and Ray’s Occult bookstore, as well as manually deposit their caught ghosts in the containment unit. Nevertheless, Spirits Unleashed is a multiplayer game first and foremost.
The game itself is a little similar to Midnight Ghost Hunt at first glance, including the Prop Hunt-like ability to possess things that the ghosts have – including whales and dinosaurs in the museum level we saw – although there’s only one player on the ghost side. Once the area becomes 100% haunted, the ghost wins. It’s the Ghostbusters’ job to stop this from happening and catch the pretty pesky poltergeist.
The Ghostbusters have a range of tools at their disposal, apart from their ghost-nabbing proton wands. They can use their PKE meters to track the ghosts when they hide, and even stun them for a time. They can catch them too, although there are “ghost rifts” around the level that can let the ghost respawn as long as they remain active.
The ghosts, on the other hand, have one main goal – making the level as scary as possible. They do this by possessing items, stopping Ghostbusters from taking down their rifts, and by scaring civilians out of the level – something fans of haunted house management game Ghost Master will appreciate. What’s particularly neat is that the level changes as it gets more haunted, such as slime dripping from the walls.
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This is the first major Ghostbusters game since the remastered version of the 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which never got its co-op multiplayer game back – so it’s lucky that this is here to expand on that promise. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is due out Q4 2022 and is an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC, although it may come to other storefronts like Steam later.