It’s the ultimate case of Never Say Never Again. After years of rumours, gamers gave up on ever seeing GoldenEye return to consoles – especially after Microsoft, Nintendo and Activision quashed any hopes of a downloadable HD re-release of the classic.
Rumours have a nasty habit of surviving, but even a leaked trailer wasn’t enough to quell the excitement this summer when Activision announced it was working on a brand new GoldenEye exclusively for Wii and DS.
The Nintendo 64 original is still hailed to this day as the father of the console FPS and every Bond outing since has faced the terrifying but inevitable comparison to this landmark game release. But Activision believes it has found the perfect way to satisfy hardcore fans and newcomers.
“The key thing is that this is a reimagining of the original title,” says Activision’s executive producer Julian Widdows. “If we had done a remake it would have been directly compared with the first game, inch-for-inch.
"Instead, we’ve gone back to the original game and film and asked ourselves what this should look like in 2010 so that it can stand on its own two feet, but also stand next to the original GoldenEye.
“I think it stands up really well – it’s what a GoldenEye experience should look like in 2010. The reaction we’re getting from hands-on previews and studio tours is also very positive – people didn’t expect the quality and the production values of the game.”
ALL THE USUAL REFINEMENTS
Far from being a polished port or a wildly different approach to the licence, GoldenEye 007 is an entirely new beast. Activision has built the title from the ground up.
While there will be various references to the 1997 Bond flick and game that inspired this new title, every aspect has been redesigned to fit in with the world of 2010. This includes the environments, the weapons, the storyline and even Bond himself.
Tapping into the Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace audience, GoldenEye 007 ditches the suave charm of Brosnan for the ruthless but loyal Daniel Craig. The result is a subtle change in how players approach each situation – rather than using gadgets to get the jump on enemies, they can take them out with hand-to-hand takedowns.
Craig even lends his voice, as does Dame Judi Dench who plays MI6 boss M. And the Hollywood production values don’t stop there.
The game features an original score by David Arnold, the composer behind the last five Bond films, and a fresh plot penned by Bruce Feirstein, who wrote the screenplay for several of the movies including GoldenEye.
The storyline sheds the post-Cold War atmosphere in favour of a more contemporary story focusing on a conspiracy behind terrorist attacks. All the major players are present – from fellow Double-O agent Alec Trevelyan to corrupt Russian general Ouromov – but their roles and actions have changed, providing veteran fans with a brand new experience.
LICENCE TO THRILL
As you would expect, the game also caters for up to four players locally and features a range of classic Bond characters, including Oddjob, Jaws and Baron Samedi. There are even familiar gameplay modes such as Golden Gun and Melee.
Gamers can even purchase a special game bundle that comes with a golden Wii controller.
Activision has drawn on its experience with Call of Duty’s phenomenally successful multiplayer by adding support for eight players online, as well as an XP system and unlockables.
Naturally, given the prestige of both the Bond and GoldenEye names, this is a key title in Activision’s Christmas line-up. Combined with James Bond 007: Blood Stone on the other consoles, the publisher will capture every lapsed fan of first-person shooters and Britain’s iconic fictional superspy this November.
To ensure that GoldenEye 007 lives up to the anticipation that has been mounting since July, Activision has drawn up a world-dominating campaign to give the game’s release even more impact (see ‘Universal Exports’).
With its massive following and a reimagining of a worldwide hit, there’s no doubting GoldenEye 007 will be just as much of an event as the original. The best Bond game of all time is back.
Activision’s European general manager of licensed business David Tyler explains the marketing plan:
“Our GoldenEye campaign represents the single largest scale of investment we have ever made in the UK for a title that is exclusive to Nintendo platforms.
“In collaboration with Nintendo, we recently shot our TV ad that showcases GoldenEye being played in a very social setting with an ad that feels distinctively ‘Nintendo’.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome here and have an aggressive level of media investment in place for the UK, kicking off with the first TV ad which will be broadcast during The X Factor on October 30th.”