MI6 can reveal that James Bond 007 will return
in... From Russia With Love - by EA Games in late
2005 / early 2006.
James Bond 007: "From Russia With Love"
by EA Games
22nd January 2005
James Bond 007 will return in... From Russia With Love - by EA Games!
Ever since Electronic Arts obtained the licence to create
James Bond games, the preferred project was always a game
based upon a classic movie, but Eon Productions and MGM's
modus operandi of "always moving forwards, never going
back" has until now prevented this. Several variables
in the 007 franchise have recently aligned to green-light
a classic Bond videogame.
Sean Connery's second
outing as James Bond in the 1963 film From
Russia With Love will be the title and basis of
the next 007 video game from EA Games. Expected for released
in late 2005 / early 2006, the title will ship on the Microsoft
Xbox , Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube platforms.
EA's last 007 game Everything or
Nothing lost 30% of its potential revenue due to missing the
scheduled release date November 2003 according to an EA financial
report press release (it shipped late in February
2004), so ideally EA would prefer to release the game in November
2005 when the market is hottest. But a release date is yet to
be confirmed, so it is unclear exactly when the game will ship.
Marketing surveys have consistently identified Sean Connery as
the 007 most gamers would like to play as. Roger
Moore would be another popular choice, and was in fact the
original plan when EA started work on the PS2 for Agent Under
Fire. Unfortunately for Timothy
Dalton and George Lazenby,
they do not hold enough gravitas in the USA to justify selection
ahead of the other options.
Above: This iconic image Sean Connery as James
Bond in "From Russia With Love" was used on the
Modern Classics re-release of the Ian
A Fateful Year
Up until late last year, the next 007 videogame was titled
Bond6 - following the movie tradition of numbering
the next installment (1: Tomorrow Never Dies, 2:
The World Is Not Enough, 3: Agent Under Fire,
5: Everything or Nothing. Note: 007Racing
and GoldenEye: Rogue
Agent are considered spin-offs of the licence and
not counted in the lineage of James Bond games by EA).
EA Games had started conceptual work on Bond6
before Everything or Nothing had been completed
in 2003. Most of the CGI cut scenes and original storyline
had been completed with James Bond cast as a younger, GoldenEye
era, Pierce Brosnan.
Unfortunately for EA, after a lot of the work had been done,
publicly stepped down from his 007 role in late 2004
and the project was instantly thrown into flux.
Without a definite name playing 007, the Bond6
project could not move forward. Even if the name of the
actor to play the sixth Bond had been officially announced
by Eon Productions, the timescale for game development and
the politics involved would have prevented 007 #6 from making
his debut in a game before the 21st
Bond movie went before theatre audiences.
Since Brosnan publicly distanced himself from the role late last
year, and despite being optioned for another 007 game from EA,
the series will now move ahead without the Irish actor. Even if
Brosnan was signed on to play in 007 in Bond6, the possibility
of the next actor being announced as 007 during development or
release of the game would be a marketing disaster.
Another option would have been to use a "synthetic"
generic Bond (as with Agent Under Fire), but using the
third person perspective and casting known Hollywood actors in
secondary roles (ala Everything or Nothing) would have
led to a disjointed composition.
That's not to say work on Bond6 has been wasted. CGI
work has already been reused, in the guise of GoldenEye: Rogue
Bruce Feirstein (pictured opposite), who scripted
that last Bond game Everything or Nothing, and worked
on Brosnan's first three 007 film outings, has been onboard
the Bond6 project since at least October 2004 to
work on the original storyline.
Speaking to Written
By magazine late last year, Feirstein said "[This]
second experience was the dream date: We know we need this
number of levels, we know we need this to happen. Here's
the money, go create."
Talking about his experience on the Everything or
Nothing project, Feirstein commented "I got that
phone call. I came into it late. They were bolting things
into the game afterwards, shifting points of exposition.
It would be like endless reshoots in a movie because they
hadn't gotten the story right the first time."
Development of the game will take place at EA Redwood
studios (USA) and will ship in late 2005 / early 2006 for Xbox,
PlayStation 2 and GameCube. An official announcement of the game
is expected sometime in Q1 2005. It is unclear how faithful EA's
videogame of "From Russia With Love" will be to the
From Russia With Love
Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
Bond 007: NightFire
Images courtesy Amazon Associates, Penguin.