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You don't need to have been playing video games in the era of the Nintendo 64 to know that Rare's GoldenEye 007 was an absolute stunner for the console. The first-person shooter is legendary, primarily for its split-screen multiplayer modes, and holds a lofty place in the memories of gamers who both played it every night after college and who came to it several years after its 1997 release. (It came in at 92 on our Greatest Games of All Time list.)
What it lacked in refinement - the N64's triple-pronged controller only had one analogue stick, meaning that today's established console FPS control scheme wasn't possible - GoldenEye 007 made up for in one-more-match appeal. Few other games were so satisfying to play with mates around, especially when you were the player with the Golden Gun. I definitely welcomed a few dawns in the late 1990s having not slept at all, thanks to this exceptionally influential game.
GoldenEye 007 did receive a remake for the Wii in 2010 - and that game was subsequently ported to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with a Reloaded added to its title, in 2011. It wasn't a bad game by any means - but it wasn't the N64 classic, as we remembered it. And for that reason, gamers of a 1990s vintage have long been wanting a re-release, or remaster, of the 1997 title. Sadly, for a host of licensing reasons, GoldenEye 007 wasn't on the Rare Replay compilation of 2015, and it's unlikely we'll ever see the original game on new hardware - unless the expected N64 Classic mini-console pulls an incredible rabbit out of its hat.
However, a remaster of the N64 GoldenEye 007 was once on the cards - back when the Xbox 360 was the dominant console on the market. And, as reported by GameSpot, via VGC, we now have footage of the abandoned project to watch, to stir dreams of what might have been. Originally intended for a 2008 release via Xbox Live Arcade, this GoldenEye was cancelled due to those aforementioned rights issues despite being practically complete.
Check out the newly published video of the Xbox 360 version of GoldenEye 007, below (or on YouTube).
This remaster was reported on back in 2008, in Xbox 360 World magazine, and short clips have found their way online in the years since - but this footage, uploaded by YouTube user Graslu00, represents our best look yet at the game. And what a look it is. That's GoldenEye 007 alright - running on hardware that makes it shine like never before. Love the Nintendo logo note at the beginning of the video - but if you're settling down to watch this in action, be warned it's a two-hour-long run through of the game, which includes clips of its multiplayer modes in action.
Reads the video's YouTube description: "Footage of the canceled GoldenEye XBLA remake from 2007, full game on 00 Agent, 4k 60FPS and thirty minutes of multiplayer games. Played on Xenia emulator to achieve a higher resolution."
As well as local multiplayer, the 360 version of GoldenEye would have supported online matches, too; and players would have been able to switch between the (still satisfyingly chunky) remastered graphics and the original N64 visuals. VGC quotes Rare's then-in-house composer Grant Kirkhope in their coverage of this video, who says of the remaster:
"The main reason it didn't happen was because there were too many stakeholders. Microsoft, Nintendo and EON (Productions, who produce the James Bond movies) could never agree on terms. It would've cost a lot of money to get it done, and because of that the project probably wouldn't have been financially viable."
While this remaster of GoldenEye is another note in video gaming history, there is a brand-new James Bond game in development right now, at Hitman studio IO Interactive. Rather than being based on a film, the game will be wholly original, representing an origin story for 007. It'll be out in the not-so-near future - let's say 2023, if you really need to stick a flag in your planner.
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