MI6 takes a retrospective look behind the scenes of "NightFire", the first 007 videogame to feature a James Bond actor's likeness...

The Making of 007: NightFire (1)
31st December 2006

MI6 takes a retrospective look behind the scenes of the first console game to feature a James Bond actor's likeness in this exclusive multi-part special feature.

Whilst most Bond fans were focusing on the latest Bond film "Die Another Day" that was in production during 2002, Electronic Arts were busy completing their second "next generation" 007 videogame. Thanks by in large to the huge success of their first multi-platform adventure "007: Agent Under Fire", EA's "007: NightFire" hit the ground running and secured the services of the current occupant of the famous tuxedo - Pierce Brosnan.


The game had been under development well before "Agent Under Fire" shipped for PlayStation 2 in November 2001, but it was rather late in the story when Brosnan was signed to provide his likeness to the digital 007.

"NightFire" was developed in two key parts: Eurocom Entertainment Software in England developed the first-person perspective shooting engine, whilst EA's Vancouver and Redwood Shores studios developed the vehicle-based missions. To link these two genres together, and to keep the story flowing, cinematics and sound production were delivered by a team spread across Los Angeles to Toronto. The entire production was coordinated from EA's headquarters in California.

EA began production on "NightFire" in September 2000 (under the working-title "Phoenix Rising"), and off the back of Brosnan's box-office success in the 1999 film "The World Is Not Enough", it was decided to tie their second game to the 20th film - both to be released in November 2002. Unfortunately as events would later unfold, almost all plans to link the game and film would be missing from the player's viewpoint, but two key elements would remain.

In July 2002, whilst shooting pick-up shots for "Die Another Day", Pierce Brosnan was "cyber scanned" for his inclusion in the game. EA shipped a laser digitizer to Pinewood Studios to produce a polygon mesh of Brosnan's head, comprised of almost three-quarters of a million polygons. This digital model was then tweaked and refined by 3D modellers, who produced the final character as seen in the game.

Brosnan's collaboration on the game was officially announced on July 18th 2002, when Chip Lange from EA said: "Pierce Brosnan and Bond have created an unbeatable combination for the franchise over the past few years, so we`re excited to have Pierce aboard to help deliver to fans the ultimate Bond experience. I am confident that together, Pierce Brosnan, EA and NightFire will make for the most dynamic and appealing Bond game yet."

It was in in March 2003, months after the game was released, that Scot Bayless, who oversaw the Bond franchise at EA, said that they only asked Pierce Brosnan to undergo a few minutes of digital facial scanning for "NightFire". Bayless revealed that they did not push the star to do any voice recording or character movements for "NightFire", but said that next time they hoped he would agree to do more (Brosnan would go on to provide both his voice and likeness for Bond in 2004's "Everything Or Nothing").

The other major element taken from "Die Another Day" and included in the game was Bond's new set of wheels - the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Working closely with MGM and Danjaq, EA were allowed to use Bond's latest car in new ways, with an original game storyline utilising the vehicle's key features.

One of the most iconic moments from the game turns the Vanquish into a submarine - a homage to the famous Lotus Esprit from 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me".


Whilst the modellers and artists were finalising the look of the game, in August 2002 - just three months before the game shipped - programmers were integrating a new particle system in to the Nintendo GameCube version. Despite the superior hardware contained within the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, early previews of the game praised the GameCube's visuals with rich colourful environments and smooth polygon edges thanks to the in-built anti-aliasing toolset.

Stay tuned to MI6 for more from behind the scenes of "007: NightFire".

Related Articles