Nintendo gamers won’t be the only ones getting their James Bond fix this November. Activision has catered for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC owners with a far more cinematic adventure in the form of James Bond 007: Blood Stone.
The game is the long-rumoured Bond outing by British studio Bizarre, the creative minds behind Blur and the Project Gotham Racing series. It has everything a Bond fan could ask for.
With Bond’s silver screen future hanging in the balance following financial trouble at franchise owner MGM, this latest game provides a brand new storyline to fill the void. Written by Bruce Feirstein, who penned GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Blood Stone sees Bond investigating the connection between the disappearance of a researcher and a group of terrorists attempting to steal a biochemical weapon.
This mission will take him all over the world, from the rustic delights of Athens and Istanbul to the snowy wastes of Siberia and the jungles of Bangkok. With such an array of far flung hotspots, fans can be assured of a true globe-trotting Bond experience.
“To our advantage, we’ve got this really well-known character, and we think we’ve managed to get the essence of Bond into a game,” says Bizarre Creations producer Nick Davies.
“I think people who aren’t massive gamers but understand James Bond will really appreciate this game. I think it’s got all the elements of a Bond movie, and the movies are still very successful, so it has the opportunity to stand on its own two feet.”
GOOD EVENING, MR BOND
As with GoldenEye, Blood Stone is set in the world of current Bond actor Daniel Craig, who provides both his likeness and voice to the game. For that touch of authenticity, all of Bond’s movements have been motion captured by Ben Cooke, Craig’s stunt double.
Other stars appearing in the game include Dame Judi Dench, reprising her role as M, and singer Joss Stone. Stone not only plays the game’s Bond girl, she also provides the title song, which plays over the opening credits reminiscent of Casino Royale’s.
With so much Hollywood talent behind the game, Activision is positioning this as a fully-fledged Bond adventure worthy of the films, which puts players in control of the action.
Rather than using the first-person perspective, the game is a third-person action adventure using the game engine from Bizarre’s 2008 title The Club. This allows players to see Craig at his best: sneaking from cover to cover, gunning down terrorist henchmen or beating them with his trademark takedowns.
Beating a thug into unconsciousness charges the Focus Aim meter, which allows players to pull off rapid-fire headshots without having to aim manually. By chaining together these attacks, Bond can dispose of terrorists without taking a hit.
There are also plenty of stunt sequences, akin to the on-foot chases from the last two Bond films, so expect plenty of near misses and leaps of faith.
With Bizarre’s strong racing pedigree, it will come as no surprise that Blood Stone features plenty of car chases. Whether players are racing around in the new Aston Martin Vanquish or the classic DB5, the vehicular sections of the game will feel like something out of a classic Bond film.
Of course, since Craig’s iteration of Bond doesn’t use gadgets there will be no ejector seats or hidden stinger missiles to protect gamers from harm. Instead, they will have to depend on their own skills and the smooth handling of Bizarre’s driving mechanics to avoid enemy fire and other hazards.
There are even chase sequences in other vehicles such as speedboats, and these merge seamlessly with the third-person shootouts so that players are never torn away from the action.
Throw in team-based multiplayer and James Bond 007: Blood Stone forms the complete Bond gaming package.
While GoldenEye may seem to be the higher profile release, Activision will still be pulling out all the stops to ensure 007: Blood Stone performs just as well at retail (see ‘Marketing Brief’).
By providing everything a fan could want while they wait for the next film, the game keeps Bond’s followers satisfied with an authentic action adventure.
As well as the 30-second TV ad showcasing GoldenEye on Wii, Activision is also spending big on a marketing campaign for James Bond 007: Blood Stone, too.
A significant TV campaign will run throughout the months leading up to Christmas, including the 30-second GoldenEye ad during The X Factor on Saturday, October 30th.
Activision is also implementing multiple trade mechanics, including unlock codes and gifts with purchase and bundling. The firm says it has already seen strong pre-order figures building, particularly with the limited GoldenEye 007 Classic Edition bundle, which includes the special Gold Classic Controller.
Multiple site takeovers and advertising will target Bond fans online, while multiple DPS placements will run across the specialist press around the game’s release up to December issues.
A wealth of creative PR activities will ensure both Bond games achieve market cut-through during the competitive Q4 timeframe, with key awareness drivers.