James Bond almost killed No One Lives Forever

2 min read


Quick, name a criminally-underrated FPS game from a couple of years before the console boom that would actually make for a great reboot in the market of today. If you said No One Lives Forever, then you’re awesome and we can remain friends. NOLF is one of those cult classics, a retro romp starring agent Cate Archer foiling plots in the groovy sixties. And it’s the kind of game that almost never was, thanks to James Bond.

Or more precisely, the distributor and studio behind the Bond franchise, MGM. Speaking on the Jace Hall show, NOLF lead designer Craig Hubbard revealed that Monolith was at one point sent a cease and desist letter by MGM, who felt that Cate Archer and her spying activities infringed way too much on their iconic shaken martini drinker. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

According to the promotional material …the game features ‘over-the-top-action, outrageous villains, and wry humor in the great tradition of a great 1960?s Bond film!’ It is clear the plain intention of Monolith is to draw substantially from the James Bond motion pictures and the James Bond character through the choice of theme, characters, names, plots, gadgetry, action sequences, and the method Monolith has chosen to advertise and promote the game.

Not even the “not-Bond but totally is” film Never say never got this much crap. So what did Monolith do? Why, the only sensible thing they could do in the face of such lunacy: Ignore the possible lawsuit, and keep on developing the game. That, and seeing as how the letter was sent 18 months before launch, could also possibly mean that Monolith just forgot about it entirely.

I’d love to see Cate Archer return one of these days, but there’s one big problem with a new NOLF game being made: No one knows who actually owns the damn IP for it anymore.

Last Updated: July 25, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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