MI6 quizzed Executive Producer Jon Dean from EA Tiburon this week about the forthcoming Nintendo DS version of "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent"...

GoldenEye Rogue Agent - EA Producer Interview
14th May 2005

What were the most difficult aspects and technical challenges developing "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" for the new DS platform?
From the start our overriding objective was to get the best possible implementation of the GoldenEye: Rogue Agent story, using the Nintendo DS in a way that helped bring the fiction to life. We spent time working out how to best adapt the story and figure out how to make the tremendous innovation offered by the DS relevant to the gameplay.

How did you decide which technologies to integrate for the game? With a new range of features available to consumers what will set this game apart past handheld Bond titles?
Great FPS games need great control methods and multiplayer options. The DS is a terrific platform for FPS because of the precision control possibilities it offers. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent DS offers four control schemes: two button-based including left and right handed options and touch-screen options including stylus and the thumb nub.

But for me the most exciting feature that GoldenEye: Rogue Agent on DS offers is the ability for up to 8 people to play head-to-head using wireless single-card play. This is a first, and not just for Bond titles.



Above: In game footage from "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" on the Nintendo DS

What new experiences will this offer a Bond fan and gamers alike? What is the one feature that stands out?
We're very proud of the new 'Virtual Training ' arenas that are unique to GoldenEye: Rogue Agent DS. These are secret arenas created by Francisco Scaramanga to test the powers of the GoldenEye technologies. Set in classic Bond locations, such as Carver's Press, Scaramanga’s Fun House, and Atlantis, you get to battle multiple incarnations of virtual Bond villains while you learn how to get the best out of your MRI Vision, EM Hack, Magnetic Polarity Shield or Magnetic Induction Field GoldenEye powers. Presented as optional training as you progress through the Campaign missions, each area unlocks as a multiplayer arena once completed. Best of all, multiplayer Virtual Training offers a host of new play options including Domination and Team Showdown.

Above: In-game shot of "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" on the Nintendo DS


How were you approached to create the DS version of "Goldeneye Rogue Agent"? How eager were you to be involved in a project that was related to such a famous and world recognized series?
The team here at EA Tiburon was approached to develop GoldenEye: Rogue Agent for the DS, and we were incredibly enthusiastic to work on a James Bond title as we are all big fans of the series. We brainstormed some great ideas with the team that developed the console version and they loved them. Long story short, we got the job and the game has turned out great.

Did you use the established scripts and pre-visualization aspects already produced for the consoles? How much creative license were you given to mould the game into its own unique version?
We have creative license, but our mission from the beginning was clear -- we were creating the Nintendo DS version of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. We based everything on the existing game fiction and visualizations, however, we did expand in particular areas and de-emphasized in others. Overall, we were respectful of our subject matter.

Visually, what improvements will we see over previous handheld games in "GoldenEye Rogue Agent"?
We had remarkable art direction for the game. You’ll see a wide range of locations and moods, which is something that handhelds haven’t been typically known for in the past.

Has the game engine been tweaked to suit the DS? If so what differences will we notice?
This is a brand new engine for the DS. It's very fast!

Above: In-game shot of Dr No's Osprey

Above: In-game shot of the Virtual Training Mode

How long has the title been in development? Did you spend much time trying to match the established console version?
The game started development at EA Tiburon in the Fall of 2004. We set out to create the best possible implementation of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent for the Nintendo DS, so we used the console games as well as all of the original fiction and visualizations as reference in our design and implementation phases.

How easy is it for someone to pick up the new elements on the DS? What features have you included to help this new platform timers?
The game has multiple difficulty levels. 'Easy' really does allow you to get deep into the game. To get the best out of it, however, you'll need to learn to play at the harder difficulty settings. New features such as Virtual Training and the different control options will help newbies get the best out of the DS as well as the game.

Can you tell us more about the 'Virtual Training' aspect of the game?
Virtual Training, 'VT' as we call it, is our umbrella name for a number of new things—you’ll find it on the main menu and use it to access the multiplayer modes as well as the practice arenas. We liked it so much that we added it into the single-player mission structure too. VT arenas are Francisco Scaramanga's secret testing areas for the GoldenEye upgrades, and they are very cool!

In VT you play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse against multiple instances of virtual Bond villains, including Auric Goldfinger, Dr. Julius No, Xenia Onatopp, Pussy Galore, Oddjob and even Scaramanga himself! Each VT arena is played in a classic Bond environment. These include Golden Gate Bridge, Atlantis, Scaramanga’s Fun House and Carver's Press, each with its own deadly traps and other surprises.


Above: In-game shot of "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" on the Nintendo DS

In single-player, you first encounter VT after completing Auric Enterprises where you have the option to continue to the next mission or take a test to try a Scaramanga VT arena. If you're successful, you earn a new GoldenEye upgrade from Scaramanga that you will have going into the next mission. You get VT options after each mission thereafter. Multiplayer options allow you to play the VT arenas head-to-head for up to 4 players using wireless multi-card play. You can also use single-card play and the DS download feature for up to 8 people. Deathmatch in an arena unique to this mode of VT, is what we nickname 'spawning'. Lots of fun!

The DS features wireless, allowing for multiplayer action, will we be seeing any new environments?
The new environment is the single-card VT arena, which is unique to GoldenEye: Rogue Agent DS.

Finally, what are you most proud of with the game? What do you think Bond fans will enjoy the most?
As may be clear by now, I love the wireless multiplayer games. I think it’s a huge achievement to be able to have up to 8 people playing from a single game card, not to mention its great fun and a different experience from console play. I especially like playing the "Tug Of War" multi-card play VT arena, where up to 4 people compete in teams to move a bomb along a tunnel to their opponent's base. Game control changes sides constantly. It's a blast. I think Bond fans will really appreciate the Bond multiplayer VT arena environments. They're a great tribute to the Bond heritage.

  Stay tuned to MI6 for further intel reports on "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" for Nintendo DS, due out in stores 15th June 2005.

Images courtesy EA Games.

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