Golden Eye 007 is perhaps the greatest example of a late 90s gaming sensation that has stuck in its day. Unlike other hits of the same era, which have received remasters and digital download options ad nauseum, this rare 1997 game is inactive on the N64, likely due to a tangled web of licensing and corporate ownership issues.
Three years ago, however, we finally saw hard evidence of what many suspected: that the original developers of Rare were working on an Xbox 360 remaster of the 1997 original and nearly re-released it. (Don’t confuse that with the ho-hum Golden Eye “reimagining” on Wii in 2010.) We took a closer look at a leak from 2016, which confirmed the existence of the Xbox 360 project. At that point we cried hard and moved on.
But this week a huge video leak has reopened the wound of what could have been – and it comes during arguably the most amicable period licensees Microsoft and Nintendo have ever shared.
The most exciting footage is a couple of documentary videos, which together provide 30 minutes of polished, professionally edited interviews with members of the original. Golden Eye 007 development team. One of the video files is titled “Rare Replay: The Making of” Golden Eye 007and it’s compiled in an almost identical format to the documentaries in that 2015 Microsoft-published Rare gaming anthology. While the video footage is undated, one interview includes a mention of fans thanking the development team “17 years later,” which put at least one of his interviews on 2014 — arguably a reasonable window to have a video primed for that disc’s launch the following year.
Some of these development stories have made the rounds over the years, including information about the origins of the SNES side-scrolling and how the four-player mode got to the end of development like a lark. But many of the stories will likely still be new to series fans, including tales of Rare’s photography of the film’s original sets and the claim that a slew of skins for the series’ original actors nearly made it as multiplayer characters. …until Sean Connery’s licensing heist meant that all other classic actors had to be removed. Original producer Ken Lobb also offers some interesting business details: that he convinced Nintendo to send additional rental copies of the game to Blockbuster Video stores to increase the game’s visibility (a crazy move, considering how anti-rental Nintendo has been anti-rental for years). was) and that sales of the game over Christmas 1999 exceeded sales of the game over Christmas 1997 and Christmas 1998… combined.
“We have always given up”
This week’s leak linked these documentary clips to a 30-minute explosion of B-roll from the Xbox 360 port of Golden Eye 007, which is even clearer and more demonstrative than the 2016 leak. After going through the game’s full opening level, the gameplay visuals revolve around the port’s “graphics toggle” button, which allowed players to toggle between the textures of the game. original N64 version and some updated textures with higher resolution. Most impressively, this switch showed a serious rework of each main character’s face, so that each movie character now really looks like his or her real actor.
But why would Rare and Microsoft have made a substantive documentary about a game that wasn’t included in? Rare Recurrence† The collection contained documentary clips about unreleased games, and the company uploaded a mini-document on YouTube about a single game that wasn’t on Rare Recurrence (the Game Boy Advance curiosities) It’s Mr Broek† But in general Rare Recurrence‘s documentary content focused on games on the disc as opposed to missing games like Wizards and Warriors† Donkey Kong 64or Taboo† Did Microsoft expect the stars to align for? Golden Eye in time for Rare Recurrencelaunch mid 2015?
Neither Microsoft nor Rare have publicly commented that the classic game is about to hit retail stores on Xbox consoles, beyond. Xbox chief Phil Spencer says late 2015 That “Golden Eye rights are so challenging” and “we’ve always given up”. Golden EyeAt its launch in 1997, EA acquired the game rights to the film series, which Activision then grabbed in a deal set to expire in 2014 (which may have expired slightly earlier). There’s really no telling exactly why the licensing powers out there haven’t joined forces to print money with a Golden Eye re-release, other than the likely answer that everyone wants a piece of the pie.
If it’s just a matter of Nintendo and Microsoft getting their heads together, that conversation will take on a different tone in 2019, a year in which former Xbox-exclusive releases like Ori and the Blind Forest† cupand Super Lucky’s Tale have made their way to the Nintendo Switch. But this week’s leak contains no substantive information about why things didn’t quite work out, nor is there any speculation about whether there’s a greater chance of a future. Golden Eye remaster comes out.
List image by Rare