Monday, May 23rd, 2022

The true story behind Rhea’s canceled GoldenEye007 remaster

Image: MGM / Eon

During the holiday season, we’ll republish some of the best features, interviews, opinion pieces, and issues of the last 12 months. From staff and contributors — The articles we feel represent our best in 2021.Among them is our usual combination of thoughtfulness, frivolity and retro. Expertise, The nostalgia of the game, and, of course, the enthusiasm for everything about Nintendo. fun!


GoldenEye 007 I’ve recently returned to the news.I knew for a long time what Rhea had planned Xbox Live Arcade With a remake of the acclaimed shooter and the favor of Youtuber Graslu00, we’ve recently taken a complete look at what it looks like. Since then, some people have gotten the leaked remaster and managed to play it for themselves via a modified Xbox 360 system or emulation.

As you can imagine, with the advent of “Golden Eye XBLA”, many people have come to guess why it didn’t happen. Complex game-related rights (consigned by Nintendo and developed by Rare, but with other companies such as Activision, Microsoft, MGM, and Eon Productions involved along the way) are difficult projects to complete. was. , Some blame games have been played since the remaster leaked.

Some fans believed that the remake was canceled by Nintendo and the original publisher of the N64 version (in fact, Graslu00’s “I’m hoping to remove this Nintendo logo screen”. No, Mr. Bond, I’m expecting you to die. “). Graslu00 was accused of misunderstanding this situation, statement Here’s a rumor that MGM and Eon weren’t happy with the level of in-game violence and imposed restrictions on future bond titles related to on-screen death and blood volume.

Former rare staff Nick Burton seems to support this stance. He talked about legal issues that hindered the release in 2008,say it:

It was tricky. I wanted the differences to be sorted out for the sake of fairness, but the Bond licensing issue is clear, even if it’s already out there. It is very difficult to resolve due to the involvement of so many license holders. You now have a person who owns a license for the rights to the game, a person who has a license for Bond as an IP, and there are many licensees.

This is a situation that cannot be helped by Bond’s license holders MGM and Eon Productions. They deal with a series of films based on Ian Fleming’s literary Super Spy.Talk to MundoRare Over a decade ago, game designer Duncan Botwood confirmed:

The license is essentially a very restrictive contract and GoldenEye 007 was under the supervision of the licensee, but the success of our game was that subsequent games weren’t so lucky and probably in development. It meant they weren’t free from that kind of surveillance than those teams wanted.

In addition, in 2016 Phil Spencer on Xbox Head GoldenEye 007 said it was “always a matter of rights” more than anything else. The case is closed, isn’t it? error.

A more contemporary interview with former rare artist Ross Berry has given us some additional insights.Talk to Ars Technica, Bury revealed how everyone at Nintendo approved the game. In other words, they were thinking until an executive at a company (not yet known, but not the late Hiroshi Yamauchi) stopped the project. Almost done:

When submitted to Nintendo, everyone approved, except I didn’t confirm with one of the people involved … I think his reaction was: At the Microsoft console. “

According to Ars Technica, Bury adds this one “order beats everything” way. This is believed to include the handling of Bond video games at the time by MGM and Eon.

Berry’s comments are even more important in a recent interview with the core “Golden Eye XBLA” remastered team. Video game chronicle.. Talking to collaborative project leaders Mark Edmonds and Chris Tilston, VGC supports the sentiment that Nintendo is the main reason the game never saw the light of day.

Tillston explains the origin of the project:

In 2007 [Rare founders] Tim and Chris Stamper have left Rhea, and without their protective blanket the game we were working on at the time was closed. From my point of view, I felt a little responsible for the people who follow us. A Microsoft contact said, “Nintendo has this opportunity to release GoldenEye, and in return you can do whatever you want with GoldenEye on the Xbox.”

We were a small team of eight people, so giving the team something to get stuck seemed like a really good opportunity.Nintendo contacted Microsoft through Microsoft contacts [producer Ken Lobb], People who have played a lot of games before.

Everyone wanted it. It was free money for Activision, but for Microsoft it was previously seen as a way to make a huge hit on the Xbox Live Arcade when there weren’t really a million sellers. We were not familiar with the details. I just thought Nintendo had to do what they wanted to do. Potentially they thought we were trying to do a straight harbor on our side.

The team seems to have started working before the ink dries (or, in fact, before the contract runs out of ink at all). Tillston recalls how the issue of project feasibility was a running theme throughout development.

We send a weekly report to Microsoft to keep it up to date and satisfy, but the question on our part has always been “Did you sign the contract?” And it became a joke for a while. Because things went very well apart from this one aspect we couldn’t control. We ask in sync every month,’Have they signed yet? Is this a completed transaction? “

The longer it lasted, the more you started thinking, “Well, there’s something completely wrong here.” We started with the understanding that Nintendo was completely happy and Microsoft was completely happy. I rarely thought we were doing it and were happy that they let us do it.

We weren’t doing anything all day with eight people, we were actively trying to do something positive for the company. It wasn’t until the end that I realized that someone at Nintendo didn’t actually ask or get permission to ask.

From top left, Golden Eye XBLA teams: Chris Tilston, Chris Woods, Mark Edmonds, Laurie Cheers, Dave Herod. Bottom left: Ross Bury, Sergey Rahkmanov, Keith Rabbette
From top left, Golden Eye XBLA teams: Chris Tilston, Chris Woods, Mark Edmonds, Laurie Cheers, Dave Herod. Bottom left: Ross Bury, Sergey Rahkmanov, Keith Rabbette (Image: Ross Berry)

Edmonds added that the team had the impression that it had been approved.

At some point, we are all convinced that we were all told that we all approved it as a team. I can’t remember when, but I remember someone saying that I’m glad everyone approved it. Something must have changed since then.

That “something” is believed to have known that Nintendo was still actively developing projects that seemed to have not yet been officially approved. When pressed for the definitive reason for canceling the game, Tillston replies:

We just heard that a group doesn’t want to do it anymore. Or, I was dissatisfied with the move of games that I believed were created on the platform to the Xbox. You can understand. From a purely mechanical point of view, Nintendo originally paid for games for their platform – it wouldn’t exist without it.

But we all thought it was okay. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to jump on. Well, I think we got in very quickly. We started it very quickly and many people were jumping in before it was distributed to other teams. We started it before it was approved, but in our few months we were convinced that everyone was in favor of it, and we got all their support I did.

Tillston adds that, in his understanding, Nintendo was the reason for the cancellation of the game, not Activision, MGM, or Eon. Edmonds agrees:

I don’t remember hearing anything from Eon or MGM. I don’t even know if they were involved. I don’t even know if they had to approve the project.

It’s worth remembering that Tillston and Edmonds weren’t involved in high-level discussions between Nintendo, Rhea, Microsoft, Activision, or Bond’s rights holders, but it’s a problem with MGM and Eon. There was no evidence that there was, given the content of the game, Nintendo seems to be the company most responsible for the final release of GoldenEye XBLA.

So will the GoldenEye remaster be officially released? Talking to Ars Technica, Edmonds said:

Unless Microsoft buys Nintendo, I can’t see it happening.