MI6 tracks down what happened to the ill-fated "Casino Royale" videogame from Electronic Arts and uncovers graphics from Venice...

EA's Lost Casino Royale Game

26th May 2010

Back in 2005, with Daniel Craig officially announced as the new 007, EA scrapped an in-development original videogame based on Pierce Brosnan and switched tack to quickly create an adaptation of "From Russia With Love" starring Sean Connery. In parallel, the company also started work on a movie tie-in game based on "Casino Royale".

Before cameras rolled on the film, EA had access to the shooting script, set designs, production drawings, location information and costume designs. This enabled the development team to start work on the 3D models and game concepts in late 2005, a couple of months ahead of Daniel Craig shooting his first scenes as 007.

Concept artwork and some 3D models for "Casino Royale" were complete even before EA's latest game, "From Russia With Love", had hit the shelves. Unlike Activision's eventual title "Quantum of Solace" in 2008, that included missions based on "Casino Royale", EA had planned to set the game in third-person perspective - much like their blockbuster title "Everything or Nothing".

In recruitment advertisements posted during the early days of the project, EA boasted direct ties with the movie's production team, including Daniel Craig and the rest of the cast, director Martin Campbell, the script and marketing campaign.

EA had expected to release the game on the next generation videogame platforms on the same day as the movie hit theatres. At the time, Microsoft's Xbox 360 had only just been launched and Sony's PlayStation 3 was still waiting in the wings. The Nintendo Revolution platform eventually turned in to the Wii. It was expected that "Casino Royale" was going to be a launch title for the PS3 in Europe.

 


Above: Although it would not be until 2008 that Activision released their game, they visited the Casino Royale production at Pinewood to gather materials and capture 3D shots of the cast.

A month later, in January 2006, it was leaked that although the project was about 15% into development, production of the next generation platforms was been cancelled. Speculation mounted that the title had fallen behind schedule on the new platforms. Development focus would shift to the current-gen consoles, Xbox and PS2, for which EA had just released "From Russia With Love".

News of the game's existence started to become widely known in January 2006, but a few months later in May 2006, a bombshell was dropped on 00-gamers: Activision were taking over the James Bond videogame licence, despite EA having recently extended their option until 2010. Activision paid a reported $50m for the rights. EA stated that they were making a strategic decision to move away from licenced franchises, but rumours circulated that the "Casino Royale" game was going to miss its release schedule and MGM were unhappy about the prospect of lost revenue. The axe fell immediately on the "Casino Royale" project at EA. The shift of rights to Activision would not become exclusive until 2007, ruling out the new developer bringing a title to market in-line with the move.

MI6 can now reveal some of the early 3D designs for levels based around the Venice in EA's ill-fated "Casino Royale" game.

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