Red Fly Studios is the developer behind the Wii Ghostbusters game, due for release in June. We caught up with creative lead Dustin Dobson to chat about puzzles, necessary evils, and how the game compares to its Terminal Reality-developed cousin on other formats.
VideoGamer.com: So, you're working with the official Ghostbusters license. You must be terrified!
Dustin Dobson: Oh absolutely. It's intimidating because people love it so much and because there are so many fans out there. You're scared! If we don't do well then we're going to skewered here, because people are expecting a lot. They've been waiting for a really good Ghostbusters game for a very long time, and we have the weight of all that pressure. It's fortunate that we were able to work with Terminal Reality and their engine, to collaborate with them as well as working with Atari. We wanted to treat the Wii version as its own project.
VideoGamer.com: You're handling the Wii version of this game, while Terminal Reality is doing the version for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Wii owners are kind of used to getting cut-down versions of the big games on the other consoles.
DD: Watered-down versions of the same game, yeah. So many people do that, and it's just very obvious.
VideoGamer.com: Do you think it's a necessary evil?
DD: Absolutely. Everyone is out there to make money, obviously, but it's great that there might be a change in that now. People are like, “Hey, maybe if we also make something original for the Wii, and use the Wii for what it was meant to do, maybe that'll be successful”. So I think that maybe that could be changing. Shaun White Snowboarding did it. They made their own game and it was very successful and people loved it, the game was great. I hope we get the same reaction from both the players and the press, that they see what we're trying to do and respect that.
VideoGamer.com: Quite a few people think that the Wii is great for casual gamers, but not such a brilliant choice for people who like hardcore games. Do you think a move away from these watered-down games would help to shift that image?
DD: I would hope so. There is that stigma, that the Wii is kids or whatever. But to be honest, it really is a great control scheme. The remote is the perfect controller for a Ghostbusters game. You have a pointer and it's basically a proton beam in your hand, and then over here on the nunchuk you can throw out the trap. It works great. You can't just say “Because this console is like this, it makes for bad gameplay”.
VideoGamer.com: Oh sure. That's not what I was saying, really – more that a change in approach from developers could change the console's reputation.
DD: Focus on the gameplay. Even if that means changing the game for a specific console – absolutely. You're going to want to create the best game possible, so I think if more game companies and publishers did that, you'd see really good third-party games on the Wii. That's always the trouble with Nintendo, getting a third-party game in there. So we hope we get that excitement built up.
VideoGamer.com: Where did you start with this project once it was decided that the Wii would get its own version?
DD: When we first started there was a lot of taking what the next-gen version had and just trying to bring it down-res. Then we we were like, “There are some really great artists here, and obviously there's the Wii remote and nunchuck. Do we really just want to do a port? And so a creative decision was taken, between us and Sierra, that we could do a lot better. We could take this and really blow it out of the water for the Wii. This was the studio that could make that happen, and we thought the fans would appreciate that. Sierra supported it, and Atari have also been very supportive of that decision. So that was fantastic, that we were able to make a brand-new title using the exact same story and voices.
VideoGamer.com: Have you had a lot of contact with Terminal Reality, the developer for the other format versions?
DD: At the beginning especially, we collaborated a lot back and forth, on the technology and what they were doing sound-wise. But there was obviously a point where we had to finish our own title, so we've been quite focused on getting our own version together. We do talk to them when necessary. For a long time we collaborated very closely and made sure were following each other's ideas.