The upcoming Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed has one major advantage that will help it stand apart from the already-released Phasmophobia: it will let players control the ghosts. It might just be what the game needs to set it apart from other games in an increasingly crowded subgenre of horror games.
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed exists on the movie timeline featuring four new Ghostbusters teaming up to hunt down ghosts in a variety of haunted locations. It is scheduled to release on October 18 for most major consoles and for PC, though some have wondered whether the IP alone will be enough to distinguish it from other games of its type. Phasmophobia also features four players teaming up to hunt down ghosts in a haunted location, and the game has already long been a hit, becoming a best-selling game on Steam globally for several weeks, and for a time garnering many and consistent views on Twitch, thanks partly to fun Phasmophobia holiday events like a haunted egg hunt.
With the niche of a four-player cooperative ghost hunting game already being neatly filled by Phasmophobia, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed may have to rely on one particular feature as a key advantage: it allows a player to play as the tricky spirit, while Phasmophobia has strictly AI ghosts haunting the players. This certainly isn’t the first horror game allowing asymmetrical multiplayer, but it could give the game the edge it needs in order to make a name for itself. Human opponents bring a level of challenge and unpredictability that can keep a game exciting and terrifying, while games like Phasmophobia need updates to get more terrifying after players have adapted to the AI routines.
Real Players As Opponents Makes All The Difference
Another famous example of asymmetrical multiplayer adding to a horror game is Left 4 Dead. The game had four player co-op against AI enemies by default, which could have been enough as far as multiplayer capabilities went. However, Valve also allowed a multiplayer mode where players controlled the special infected, adding a new degree of challenge and excitement to the game that kept players interested far longer than they otherwise might have been. The opportunity not just to have a challenging opponent as a survivor, but also to have a fresh experience by playing on the other side of the horror keeps players coming back. Even ten years after release, Left 4 Dead 2’s player count is higher than its spiritual successor, Back 4 Blood.
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed allowing players to experience the other side of the haunting may give the game the fresh twist it needs to overtake Phasmophobia in this gaming niche. There are other factors such as name recognition and console availability that could help it carve a unique spot for itself, but being able to differentiate itself with a different gameplay mode gives the game a leg up that could help it unseat the current champion of this genre. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed could soon be the one to call when gamers are looking for a multiplayer ghost hunting game.