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007 Chronicles (06-01-1995)

7th January 2014

19 years ago this week, whilst "GoldenEye" was in pre-production, Nintendo announced that it had secured the rights to make a tie-in videogame

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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By 1995 and 007's return to the screen after a six year hiatus, the press and marketers alike were reminding their readers that the 007 franchise was the most "successful film franchise in history", as they were about to give Nintendo the opportunity to make one of the best-remembered and most successful James Bond video games to date.

On this day in 1995 it was announced that Rare, who were responsible for the prior year's successful "Donkey Kong Country", were in charge of the game. And, they would be putting some of the film industry's best tech to work: Silicon Graphics workstations, described by the press release as "the same supercomputers used by Industrial Light and Magic to bring computer-rendered special effects to movies such as the dinosaurs in 'Jurassic Park,' the villainous morphing in 'Terminator 2,' and the historical adventures of 'Forrest Gump.'"


Above: Example graphics, released to promote the videogame that would come to be known as "GoldenEye 64"

Recently cast 007 star, Pierce Brosnan reflected that he had played numerous characters on the screen, but it took 007 to immortalise him in videogame form. Brosnan would go on to lend likeness to various other Bond interactive adventures under the supervision of EA Games: "Tomorrow Never Dies", "The World Is Not Enough", "Nightfire", and "Everything Or Nothing", and in the latter he even provided the voice to videogame Bond.

 "Bond, as Ian Fleming described him, was always a brand leader in the high tech spy game, so teaming up with Nintendo makes great good sense to me," remarked Brosnan.

"James Bond has built unparalleled name recognition over the past 20 years and Nintendo is excited to be aligned with such legendary success," says Nintendo's Peter Main, vice president, marketing. "Over the years, Bond has been the quintessential high-technology spy, and as the video game industry's technology leader, we feel a certain kinship with him."

Said long-time film producer Cubby Broccoli, who was in the process of handing the franchise over to Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli: "When we shot Dr. No. in the Caribbean way back in 1962, only H.G. Wells could have envisioned the Brave New World of Video Games that has so captured the imagination of both young and old over the past few years. I salute your vision and like many of my generation remain in awe of your technical achievements in the new entertainment field."

Right: Pierce Brosnan appears at the photo call and press conference on June 8th 1994, which revealed him to the world as the new 007 star.

 

At this point, nobody knew or expected the impressive following the game would gather - both amongst 007 aficionados and video gamers. Nor did many predict that it would take until 1997 for its completion, a whole two years after film it was based on had screened. The press release optimistically announced that 007 would be back in videogame form by Christmas 1995. It transpired that te development team working on GoldenEye 007 was inexperienced; for all but two of them, it was their first game. The game was delayed numerous times, partly because during development, the team decided to incorporate a multiplayer feature to the game to demonstrate the N64's 4-player capabilities.


Many great achievements start from humble beginnings. But what about it made the game so timeless? It captured the entire essence of the first person shooter genre, contrasted the run and gun philosophies of Doom or Quake with the possibility for stealth tactics, featured first class music and is is credited with popularising the video game convention of a zoomable sniper rifle.

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