You may want to answer this call.
Have you ever dreamed of strapping on a proton pack and letting your charged particle beam loose? Maybe give that troublemaker Slimer a taste of his own medicine with a strategically placed trap to the Containment Unit? Well now you finally can—in VR.
Sony has answered our call, bringing the first in a series of VR Ghostbusters episodes to PlayStation VR today. Act one of Ghostbusters VR — Now Hiring, is a roughly 15-minute standing or sitting VR experience that lets you explore the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse—and its packed with surprises.
During a press preview event on the Sony Pictures lot in LA, where even Dan Aykroyd made a surprise appearance, I got an early look at the Ghostbusters VR experience. Slapping on a PlayStation VR headset, with Move Motion controllers in hand, all I really hoped for was some Proton Pack action. Because let’s get real, isn’t that why VR was invented in the first place.
The adventure began outside the firehouse in the streets of New York where Mooglie, voiced by Patton Oswalt, volunteers to be my guide. After a quick stop at a hot dog stand to shake a ketchup bottle and throw a grilled frank or two across the street, I made my way inside the firehouse.
I teleported myself to hotspots around the building, stopping to pick up some donuts and push any blinking button I could touch. Mooglie kept encouraging me to move along—and for good reason. Sitting on a table in the back of the firehouse was, you guessed it, a proton pack! With some quick assembly, I was ready for some capturing. To my delight, so was Slimer, whether he liked it or not. I finally got my chance to wrangle the green ghost into a Ghost Trap and rush him into the basement for permanent containment.
With my mission finally accomplished, I jumped into the Ecto-1 and readied myself to drive off for the next ghost-busting. Hands about ready to grip the steering wheel, the screen faded to black, “Act 2 — Coming Soon.” Gasp.
Not so much a game as it is an interactive story with gaming mechanics, Ghostbusters VR act one left me hanging, but wanting more. Available for download from the PlayStation Store for $6.99, this VR experience is just a taste of hopefully what we can expect from more episodes in the future. According to Jake Zim, Senior Vice President VR at Sony Pictures, Act Two has already been created and the team is currently developing the roadmap for future acts, which could include “an open world.”
This isn’t Sony Pictures’ first pass at a VR experience for Ghostbusters. Last year, the studio partnered up with The Void to bring a Ghostbusters: Dimension location-based experience to the world famous Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York. With a VR headset and PC backpack that doubled as your proton pack, you could blast streams of energy at ghostly surprises around every corner—all while traversing a maze of rooms with a friend.
Two very different types of VR experiences, this Ghostbusters PlayStation VR release brings the ghost-catching story straight to your living room, making it accessible to all of you who already own a PlayStation VR, PS4, and Move Motion controllers.
For those of you who don’t own a PlayStation VR, we can only hope that more location-based VR centers open up to the public to provide greater access to this technology. Because whether or not you’re a hardcore Ghostbusters fan or just someone looking for immersive entertainment, you’ll never know what it’s like to answer the call until you actually try it.
Speaking with Ivan Reitman, director and producer of the Ghostbusters movies and VR experiences, I hoped maybe he too saw the opportunity of location-based VR, similar to the success seen from last year’s Madame Tussaud Wax Museum experience. When asked about whether he had considered opening up a VR arcade in Los Angeles in the future, he answered with a short resounding, “Yes, there will be more stuff coming.”
Produced by Sony Pictures VR and Ghost Corps, Ghostbuster VR – Now Hiring, Act 1: Firehouse was designed by CreateVR, the team behind last year’s Sony Pictures VR experience for The Walk. Earlier this month, we also got a preview of the studio’s Passengers VR movie adaptation that is available for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.