Rocksteady proved with its pair of blockbuster Batman titles that Superheroic action games can be done right, but in early 2012 Dark Horse and Gamers Digital are setting out to prove that comic book heroes can prevail in a new realm: the classic PC adventure genre. Ghost, to be released in downloadable format for PC, Mac and various iOS platforms, will be a “first person mystery” game based on the 1994 Dark Horse comic book property about a young woman imbued with supernatural powers after her untimely murder. Newsarama spoke to Scott Zerby, head of Gamers Digital, about this unique project and the degree of accuracy that they and Dark Horse went to please Ghost fans and attract new ones.
Newsarama: First Scott, why choose Ghost as a character to build a game around?Scott Zerby: We were looking for an IP with a deep history and mature characters in the graphic novel space that would convert well to the casual game audience. Elisa Cameron/“Ghost” is a complex female character, with many questions, and some very interesting powers that are unique to her that will hopefully allow fans to help solve the mystery of her untimely death, and make her world a better place in the process.
Nrama: How has Dark Horse been involved in the production of the game?
Zerby: We worked closely with [Ghost Creator] Randy Stradley to weave together the story of Ghost from the full series into 4-5 hours of interactive game play. Randy wrote the original comics and is collaborating on the game to make sure that it fits within the pantheon. In addition, Dark Horse Comics has provided reference material and art work for the creation of locations, characters, etc.Nrama: Any game based on a comic is unvaryingly an action title, but Ghost is different, can you explain why and how?
Zerby: We wanted to focus on the dynamics between the characters in the story. Beyond the mystery of her “Ghost” abilities, Elisa must first repair her relationship with her sister, Margo, and then must save her. She also finds a new friend, Focus. Focus' intentions are not quite visible so gamers need to pay special attention. There are some very personal relationships in the Ghost storyline, and we hope that by exploring these with the combination of the special powers Elisa has, we will have a powerful gaming experience. Ghost is a first person mystery game. Like all mysteries, Ghost is a story that is dying to be solved.Nrama: How are her powers, primarily intangibility and teleportation, being incorporated into the game?
Zerby: Ghost is a first person mystery game. It is about exploration. We are using her unique powers in order to drive the game play experience. Her powers are key to locating objects she needs to uncover her 'murders'. By using her Ghosting abilities she can eliminate the objects that are not needed and focus on the ones that are. She can also quickly move between locations with her teleportation, which makes it easy for her to find the next piece to each puzzle.Nrama: What can you tell us about the game itself, will the game cover some of the same ground that fans familiar with the comic will recognize?
Zerby: The game is very faithful to the comics. Working with Randy Stradley has ensured that fans of the franchise will instantly recognize the themes found in the game. We wanted to have a sort of Batman Begins sort of plot, where we assume the player knows nothing about the original storyline. We begin with her 'murder', introduce her family, allies, and enemies, and finish with the resolution and acceptance of her situation. All this takes place in Arcadia City, and the locations come directly from the comics.
Nrama: What other game titles were influential in Ghost's development?Zerby: We have developed many casual adventure games over the last three years. We are leveraging this experience to build Ghost, while constantly playing competitors games. Batman: Arkham City is a good example of a game that has influenced us.
Nrama: Visually, are you looking to recreate the 'page and panel' look or go in a different direction?
Zerby: We are not using the panel look. The game is a 3D rendered environment, with a slight perspective shift to give it more of a surrealistic feel. The character art is 2D and is very similar to the comic book illustrations.
Nrama: Why should gamers pickup a copy of Ghost?
Zerby: We think gamers will find the story a fascinating look into both the supernatural and scientific world, while discovering the importance of friends in both life and the world of Ghost. The adventure of more than a lifetime!