The wait has been almost unbearable, but the re-imagined GoldenEye 007 is practically here. Eurocom were given the unenviable task of updating the pioneering console FPS to modern day standards in gameplay, story and multiplayer. As a huge fan of the N64 original and a longtime fan of James Bond in general, I was eager to get the background intel on the new GoldenEye. Associate Producer James Lodato provided a detailed debriefing on the game’s development, deftly answering my interrogation with one of our most extensive interviews yet. Mix yourself up a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, and sit back for the full report on GoldenEye.
Could you introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project?
This is James Lodato, Activision’s Associate Producer on GoldenEye 007.
The original GoldenEye has become a classic in the minds of most gamers, what elements made the game so special to you? What things did you feel that you had to preserve from the original game?
I completely agree. GoldenEye is the foundation on which many gamers build their console FPS experience, and so there are certainly key pillars that the team felt very strongly about maintaining in the current experience, one of which is player choice. The team has made sure that all combat engagements have multiple choices as to how they can be approached, which includes both physical routes in the game world, as well as the ability to play either covertly or as an all-out firefight. It was really important to make sure that the players understand that they can assess a situation before going in - after all, James Bond is a secret agent, not just a soldier. Overall, we wanted to recreate the same sense of diversity and replayability in the single player experience offering the player a number of different difficulties and objectives. For instance, when you’re on the easiest difficulty, you’ll have say five objectives for any given level. However, when you’re in the harder difficulties you might have 10 or 12 objectives. Those objectives would include your primary objectives, but also a series of secondary objectives as well.
In addition to those single player features, we wanted to preserve the great multiplayer that the first GoldenEye had to offer. We did that by having not only online multiplayer, but also multiplayer split-screen, which is all but extinct in today’s market. We really felt that having the GoldenEye on the Wii really fed into that social gaming experience that you can really only encounter during a split-screen match.
Years ago Nintendo offered a new and updated control scheme for their N64 console with the addition of the analog stick. Now with the Wii we have another truly innovative input device. It was really exciting to take advantage of that as well.
Conversely, time seems to sand the rough edges off games in the mind of gamers, what flaws in the original game did you find that you fixed in the new game?
The N64 version of GoldenEye was a truly fantastic game, however there were plenty of opportunities to modernize the GoldenEye experience to meet the expectations of today’s gamer. We honestly didn’t think, and still don’t, that creating a step-by-step recreation of the N64 version would have given people the experience they were hoping for. There is an inherent thrill in discovering things for the first time. Because of this, the whole game has been conceived, designed, and built from the ground-up. It’s an entirely new ‘GoldenEye’ experience with nods to the original game, although putting the need to deliver a AAA Wii shooter experience before anything else. As this is a reimagining, rather than a remake, this means that there was nothing to fix, really. The underlying mechanics are designed for the current gaming audience. Needless to say, the graphics have been brought up to 2010 standards. I think you will be hard pressed to find anything that looks this good on the Wii. It is amazing.
As a re-imagining of the N64 game, how much does the game incorporate from the original level design, and what kind of changes have been made? Will GoldenEye veterans who have memorized every inch of the original levels feel at home and nostalgic with this new game?
GoldenEye for 2010 is the GoldenEye story; make no mistake about that. A lot of things have changed in video games in the last 15 years, however. Gamer’s expectations are different these days. The game now has additional mechanics, supports new and diverse controllers (Wii Zapper, Wii Remote/Nunchuk, Gamecube controller, Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro), all of which are designed and optimized to give the best play experience possible. This absolutely requires the world space to be built around those mechanics and as such people who’ve memorized the original game aren’t going to have any advantage over people who’ve never played a ‘GoldenEye’ experience before. And deep down, we really think most people need and expect something new. After all, this is not a video to watch on the Internet of ‘what if GoldenEye were re-imagined’ - it is an all new game to be enjoyed all over again. That being said, there are countless nods to the original throughout the game. Nostalgia is everywhere.
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