Everything We Learned About Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed – AI Teammates, PKE Meter Stun Effect & More

Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed

MP1st was given a behind closed door look at Illfonic’s newest title, Ghostbuster Spirits Unleashed! While we covered the official announcement, here’s everything we learned, plus a sprinkle of our own impressions from the event! Once again, this is all done in a bulletpoint format for an easier read. Enjoy, Ghostbusters!

Everything We Learned About Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed – AI Teammates, PKE Meter Stun Effect & More:

General Notes:

  • Developed by Illfonic
  • Asymmetrical multiplayer game, four Ghostbusters vs a Ghost. 
  • Game takes place after Ghostbusters Afterlife. Illfonic has been working closely with Ghost Corp, the studio behind the recent Ghostbuster films. 
  • Game has been in development for a few years.
  • Will launch sometime in Q4 of 2022.
  • Will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC (Epic Game Store Exclusive)
  • Crossplay will be available at launch.
  • Like past Illfonic games, Ghostbusters is asymmetrical multiplayer 4 vs 1.
  • Unlike past Illfonic Games, Ghostbusters is family-friendly given the IP and how the studio wanted to expand their audience. Wanted to make a game a little less violent, however, a T rating was pushed for.
  • Outside of films, the team has drawn great inspiration from other material such as the comics, animated shows, and even merchandise.  
  • Signature theme song played during trailer reveal. 
  • Iconic sound effects are present
  • Fans of the IP can expect plenty of Easter Eggs

Ghostbusters Gameplay

  • Played in a first-person perspective.
  • Four player squad, each a unique custom Ghostbuster.
    • You can customize a number of things on a Ghostbuster, from shape, race, gender, and more.
  • As Ghostbusters, you win by destroying the three rifts and capturing the ghost for the final time.
  • Ultimately you don’t want the ghost to scare all the civilians (AI) out and haunt the place
  • As a countermeasure to the Ghost’s goal being to scare civilians, Ghostbusters can interact with them and calm them down, adding longevity to matches. 
  • Additional civilian mechanics even allow them to call out/spot the ghosts for Ghostbusters.
  • Each player has a PKE Meter, which is a directional radar showing where a ghost is.
    • The PKE Meter can stun ghosts.This was inspired by Afterlife.
  • Ghostbusters can stun ghosts out of possessed items, or they can use their Proton Pack to blast and destroy the object.
  • Of course each Ghostbuster is equipped with a Proton Pack.
    • You can cross streams with another player and this will increase the strength of the stream as shown off in the movies.
  • Can use Ghost traps to trap ghosts.
  • Particle thrower and the above mentions can be customized.
  • Leveling up will unlock new skills and customizations (same with Ghosts)
  • Characters will make call-outs if no one is using VoiP to let other players know when they’ve placed a trap and other actions.
  • Compared to past titles, they developed Ghostbusters to be more accessible. Even if you aren’t good at the competitive side of things there is a lot you can do to support your teammates.

Ghost Gameplay

  • Ghosts are played in a third-person perspective.
  • There are different available Ghosts that you can select from.
    • They will vary in stats, movement speed, attacks, ect, but also have core mechanics such as possession.
    • They can use three different abilities.
    • The Ghost we saw had the ability to release minions, which are AI controlled. 
    • Other Ghosts may have ranged attacks, and more.
  • Win condition for ghosts is to haunt the building and scare civilians out.
  • Civilians will go into a horrified state when they are scared enough, making a way to the exit. These civilians can knock down Ghostbusters if they get in the way.
  • There are three rifts available on the map for the ghost. These are essentially “second lives” respawn points for when a Ghost gets trapped they will use one of these rifts. These can be destroyed by the Ghostbusters. 
  • Ghosts can see through walls via Ghost Vision that lets them see civilians and the Ghostbusters. There is gear the Ghostbusters can get to combat that visibility.
  • As a ghost, you can possess props scattered around the map (prop hunt almost)
  • Possession of smaller objects will allow the ghost to move quicker. Larger objects let them recharge safer. This helps with the general balancing in combat.
  • Ghosts have an ectoplasm bar which is used to move faster and for its abilities.
  • Possessing items replenishes ecto.
  • If you get trapped in a Ghost trap a QTE game will begin, giving the ghost player an opportunity to escape. 
  • The Ghosts can fly, making traversing levels a breeze, especially to different floor levels.
  • Ghosts can slime players to slow them down.
  • There are multiple playstyles. Illfonic mentioned they are easy to pick up, and fun to master.  

General Gameplay

  • There is a hub area (the firehouse)  that players can explore.
    • Serves as a ready up screen, system, customization, achievement, and more.
    • Was stated that you can throw ghosts in the containment unit. 
    • You will meet familiar characters here. We saw both Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson,) and Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) , each voiced by their respective real-life actors. No details on whether we will see Bill Murrary return or another other characters were revealed.
    • Ray and Winston will provide story, which will also include cinematics. 
    • Ray has a bookstore in the firehouse and has found an object that allows players to go into the ghost world and customize their ghost. 
    • Eco-1 is in the firehouse and is used to take you to different haunted locations.
  • Story mode progression unlocks new heroes and ghosts, as well as equipment.
  • Once you’ve unlocked something there will be challenges so that you can unlock additional parts and cosmetics for the Ghostbusters. 
  • There are civilians on maps. 
  • You can play solo with AI teammates or against AI ghosts if you aren’t a fan of competitive online
    • Adding AI was a big focus for the team, and helped make the game more accessible, especially to new players.
    • This helped in matchmaking as it allowed players to find matches and lobbies easier.
  • Matches are built to last 7-10 minutes
  • Multiple maps will be available at launch. Specific count will be revealed at a later date.
  • One shown to us was called The Museum, which is showcased in the trailer.
  • Maps have vertically built into them, far more than what was seen in previous Illfonic games. 
  • The environment can take damage, and as a Ghostbuster this can affect the XP bonuses at the end of matches. 
  • VoiP from past games (Predator, Friday the 13th) will be present in Ghostbusters. For those unfamiliar, this is proximity base, so players had to be within range of each other to hear. The opposing team can also hear the player if they are within range.

First Impressions:

AJ: Illfonic’s Ghostbusters looks to be an interesting twist on their tried and true asymmetrical multiplayer formula made famous with Friday the 13th: The Game. After speaking to some of the Illfonic developers, it’s clear they’re huge fans of the Ghostbusters franchise and it shows in the game. They’ve remained true to the iconic Ghostbusters IP and drawn inspiration from not only the films, but from the comics and other material. For the first time, they’ve also built a more family friendly experience, which means Ghostbusters will be a great time whether you’re at home with your family, or playing online with your friends. And with full crossplay at launch, you’ll be able to join in regardless of your platform.

Gameplay-wise, the mechanics look solid and the first-person perspective looks to be implemented well. It’s an interesting formula that seems to be more than just the basic hide and seek gameplay from some of their previous games. As a Ghostbuster, you’ll now have civilians to worry about and you’ll need to have a sharp eye to spot any objects that have been possessed by the Ghost. On the other hand, as the ghost you’ll have to protect your rifts and fully haunt the building as quickly as possible versus some of their previous games where it was simply about eliminating the other team.

The addition of AI companions and NPCs seems to be a huge selling point of the game. It’s something that has long been requested by their fans, and it will be a nice option to have as the player base dwindles and for those who would prefer to play solo or strictly PvE. Backfill is a great quality of life feature as well, and although it’s unclear how extensive the story components are as of now, it sounds like there are some options there for people who would prefer to play offline.

With multiple maps, ghost types and a progression system there seems to be a good amount of content available at launch. The colorful and vibrant art style fits the Ghostbusters theme perfectly, and sits in stark contrast to some of Illfonic’s previous titles.

James Lara:  Illfonic is shaking up their asymmetrical foundations with their latest, Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed. While past titles such as Predator: Hunting Grounds and Friday the 13th: The Game focused heavily on a survival style of play, Illfonic has shifted towards a more friendly, accessible form of gameplay that focuses on team-play, rather than being the last-man standing.

A departure for sure, but given the IP, perhaps this might just be a perfect match for the studio. From the short gameplay videos we’ve seen, one from the perspective of the Ghostbusters, while the other from the Ghost, I have to say I was left rather impressed.

This new direction that Illfonic is going for, specifically how it tackles the online competitiveness seems to be a great direction, as while they maintain the whole asymmetrical gameplay in true form, they have gone out their way to ensure that players who prefer solo action can still very much enjoy the game.

As for combat, seeing the Ghostbusters in action truly felt like a love letter, as the team have extensively gone through the history of the franchise, implementing all sorts of classic, and new gameplay mechanics. Inspiration from the original, and Afterlife are well spotted during the reveal trailer. To compare, for anyone who played Terminal Realities excellent Ghostbuster The Video game back in 2009 (or the remaster from Saver Interactive) then you may have a good understanding of what to expect.

The ghost combat was really my only concern, though it’s clear from what the studio told us that they fully intend not to make battles lopsided. They do this by offering additional lives for the Ghost, so that players can’t go out their way and charge at them. An issue seen in Predator and Friday the 13th, with matches lasting just a few minutes. The glimpse of ghost gameplay that we did get to see did look fun, but it’ll be interesting to see how the team handles the other ghosts featured throughout the reveal trailer.

Outside of the main player versus player mode, we did get to see a look at the firehouse, the base of operation for the Ghostbusters. Here you’ll see some familiar faces as outlined above. Illfonic didn’t go to in-depth with the firehouse, but it certainly looked to be a place filled with plenty of callbacks and interactions.

All in all, fans of the Ghostbuster franchise, be excited…very excited.

Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed will be out sometimes during the fourth quarter of this year. It will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC (Epic Game Store exclusive).

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