GoldenEye Wii: Cash-In Or Next-Gen Love Letter?

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The announced remake of the GoldenEye for Wii by Activision has, understandably, ruffled quite a few feathers. Rare doesn’t like it, fans of the N64 are probably annoyed by it’s mean existence, and there is generally an air of concern that it won’t be given the love it deserves, serving just a method to make copious amounts of money. Lets be frank, Activision has made a habit of appearing like they are just in it for the money, with the increased price of StarCraft 2 and the cost of the Modern Warfare 2 map pack being excellent examples.

However, what if the new GoldenEye game actually is good, and serves as a high definition love letter to a game that changed how we play console shooters?

Click that nifty “read more” link to find out.

The impact of GoldenEye cannot really be understated, since it did effectively change how first-person shooters were created. It predates Quake 2, Half Life, Rainbow 6, and other massive franchises. It featured a whole range of new ideas, like a sniper rifle that could zoom, head shots, multiple ways to complete objectives, multiple objectives, and incorporated stealth elements. All these bread-and-butter aspects of first-person shooters now were practically done first by GoldenEye. Then there’s the real revolution – console multiplayer. GoldenEye is still spoken about in revered tones by men who played that in college or university. It was to local player console multiplayer what Halo 2 was for online console multiplayer.

GoldenEye is genesis when it comes to console first-person shooters. It was the original, and arguably one of the all time best, despite having God-awful graphics and not aging well.

Ironically, GoldenEye was almost a disaster. Initially it was going to be an on-rails shooter, and Rare actually wanted nothing to do with it when assigned it by Nintendo. George Andreas, creative director of the game, told CVG “Internally, while GoldenEye was being produced, there wasn’t an awful lot of faith in the game… we went to E3 at the same time as one of our other games and that was getting loads of attention while GoldenEye just had all these empty stands… we thought, ‘Oh, God, here we go – this is going to be a disaster. Thank God we’ve got Banjo’.”

It came out, sold 8 million copies on a console that wasn’t very popular, and formed part of the N64 trifecta that moved gaming forward as an entertainment medium (the other two being Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time).

GoldenEye was an accidental masterpiece, so there are jitters about anyone else touching it. The designer of the game, Martin Hollis, is not happy about its existence and doesn’t have many kind words for it. “I imagine it is a business decision. This name is valuable, let’s use it. I find it hard to picture Activision’s top management being excited about the original and wanting to do it justice. In fact, I find it hard to imagine them being excited about any game. It’s my perception that they are trying to be EA, only more so. I think they are doing a fine job at that.”

Those are hardly words of encouragement.

Eurocom, the developers of Wii remake, are treading in very dodgy water. They are not making a straight remake, so they could completely ruin not only the game, but the memories thereof too. And gamers don’t like having their memories toyed with.

But what if they make a genuinely good game?

The script is being done by the writer of the original film. Daniel Craig is now Bond, since Pierce Brosnan wasn’t interested, so the story had to be updated. They’ve hired a Hollywood set designer to help with making the levels interesting and engaging. The AI is being concentrated on, so that the enemies are not idiots. Obviously that could all be marketing speak, checking the right boxes to keep us interested, but I have some faith in them. I mean, it’s GoldenEye, not Cool Spot in Hollywood.

Destructoid recently had a hands-on with it, and they stated that the Tank level has been improved, which bodes well. However, the multiplayer has been tinkered with. According to Destructoid, there is now a loadout system, akin to Halo or Call of Duty. However, there are plenty of modifiers, so it’s a “wait and see” approach to see if it works or not.

In the end, it really appears that Eurocom are taking their gargantuan task quite seriously, and I urge you to have faith in them until proven otherwise. It’s too easy to be negative about this, since there is a lot at stake in terms of the older generations, but there has been an entirely new generation of gamers between 1997 and now, so perhaps they will get to experience the brilliance of a classic on a modern console.

GoldenEye 007 will be released early November.

[Fun fact, according to Rare, the GoldenEye 64 engine pushed the N64 to its limits, which is why Perfect Dark, which used a modified version of the engine, ran like sludge without the RAM expansion pack.]

Last Updated: September 16, 2010

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