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Ghostbusters Video Game - Cutscene Script & Original Story Synopsis

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Nov. 21, 2009 at 9:02 PM , Categories: Cast & Crew, Games
There were six credited writers on Ghostbusters: The Video Game: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, John Zuur Platten, Flint Dille, Patrick Hegarty, and John Melchior (who was only credited in the stylized version). Although the marketing department heavily hyped Aykroyd and Ramis as the writers of the game, they have each gone on record to state that all they did were small rewrites and consultation. (I know Dan said it too in a text or video interview - but I can't find the link right now.) I always got the impression that Dille and Zuur Platten (you don't know how tempting it is to write "Zuul Platten") wrote the bulk of the script, Hegarty wrote a few scenes and/or dialog, Aykroyd and Ramis consulted and did little rewrites to all of that, and Melchior wrote some stuff that only appears in the stylized version. I e-mailed Mr. Dille and Mr. Platten, via their website The Bureau of Film & Games, to find out if my hunch was right, and they were happy to share with me some information about the writing of the game. With their permission, I am happy to relay this information to you, along with a special surprise.

The way you have it is pretty much right on. Our original pitch for the game was "Who's Gozer Gonna Call?" - the idea being that after he's been defeated by the Ghostbusters, the gods get together and gang up on Gozer (beaten by a bunch of pathetic humans, after all) and kick him out of their realm (his wife, a goddess, played a part in this). So Gozer fools the Ghostbusters in rounding up all the ghosts in New York so that he has an army to fight with and reclaim his throne in the afterlife. Of course, the Ghostbusters eventually figure out what's up, but they make a deal with Gozer to stop the greater evil. And of course, Gozer reneges on the deal and they eventually have to defeat him again.

Shandor played a big role in this by creating the ghost mandala that basically was some of the key landmarks of New York. Eventually, Shandor became the primary villain, and Ilyssa was the conduit to him.

Flint and I did the first draft (and three additional drafts) of the Ghostbusters game script while it was in development at Sierra. Dan and Harold were part of the approval process at that point, but gave us very little input other than some high level notes. The big issue was "would Bill Murray be involved or not", which meant we did a draft that wrote out Venkman in the first scene. Of course, once we had done our drafts, Harold and Dan did a "punch up", re-writing mostly dialogue (which both Flint and I think was great - it was an honor to play in their world).

John Melchior was an executive at Sierra on the project, and came up with some of the ideas. He was not involved in writing with us, but appears to have made some contributions. Patrick we never met (not unusual in this business). He may have been involved directly with Terminal Reality (who we met early on in the process).

It was great that Atari picked up the game from the ruins of the Activision purchase of Sierra (who were after Blizzard and WoW more than anything else).

Overall, I think it turned out very well.

-- John Zuur Platten
Flint Dille told me an amusing little antedote: John and I referred to each other as Dan and Harold when we were writing it, because we sort of cynically assumed that we'd get no credit. We were wrong. If you dig through the game's audio files, or read the script below, you'll find out that John and Flint named the two guards at the beginning of the game "Danny" and "Harold" in honor of Mr. Aykroyd and Mr. Ramis.

In addition to giving me some great insights into the writing of the game, they also provided me with a copy of the Cutscenes script. This script, which is equivalent to a movie script, contains the dialog and action from all of the cutscenes in the game. Overall the script is identical to the final game, but since this script contains the scenes as they originally wrote them, there will be differences. Look carefully to find the parade scene after the museum visit (pages 40-46), Louis' small role at the start of the game and after the parade scene, a false ending after you beat an unused butler ghost (pages 57-59), and the Ghostbusters shutting down the containment grid to create their own "ghost army" (page 62). (Even though I didn't play very far in the realistic version yet, though I did complete the stylized version, I'm pretty sure all of these items don't appear in the realistic version either. There might be even more deleted stuff in the script.) So without further ado, I present to you...

Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Revised Cut-Scene Script
by John Zuur Platten & Flint Dille
  3rd Draft - October 8, 2007 - Version 3.0  
Download: 266 Kb, PDF format

Although the script was provided to me by Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten, the copyright on it is owned by Columbia Pictures, Sony, and probably Atari. No infringement of rights is intended or implied, and if those parties disapprove of the script being made available for the fans online, it will be taken down upon request - but I don't see any reason why it should ever have to come to that.
3 comments »

3 comments

Comment from: Alex Upton [Visitor] · http://therealghostbusters.com
Awesome post!
Nov. 27, 2009 @ 13:01
Comment from: Dizzle [Visitor]
Hell yes. Flint rules!
Nov. 27, 2009 @ 14:37
Comment from: Serjel [Visitor]
Dear Paul,
Thank you very much for such an interesting post and... the script, wow! I love the franchise, and, I think, the game is really good. Couldn't even hope it would ever come out... In my language no localisation was made, only some text, but again, all the dialogs were translated online very badly. The script will help me a lot to enjoy the world of Ghostbusters, thank you again,
and Happy New Year!

~Serjel
Jan. 2, 2014 @ 13:17

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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

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