MI6 recently caught up with Activision producer James Steer
to talk abut their latest videogame under their exclusive James
Bond licence, "GoldenEye
007: Reloaded", as it hit store shelves across the
world this week.
How did you start out in the games industry? What exactly
do you do as a producer?
After university I started out as a level designer working
for a UK based developer called Intelligent Games, at the time
we were working on the Dune franchise with Westwood Studios.
As a Producer I manage all aspects of the video game development
cycle from Activision’s point of view. The main part
of this is dealing with developers on a day to day basis, from
the concept stage right through to the release of the game.
We also interface with many other departments within Activision
such as Marketing, PR, Finance, Legal and Sales. For Goldeneye
007: Reloaded, we also work very closely with EON Productions
to make sure that they game is as authentic as possible.
What were the most difficult aspects and technical
challenges developing "GoldenEye: Reloaded" for
the latest platforms, compared to the Wii?
The key challenge here was about developing a new engine that was capable of
delivering HD graphics whilst still running at 60fps, plus we also wanted to
move from 8 to 16 players for online multiplayer. The engine the team at Eurocom
produced allowed us to do all of the above.
How did you decide which technologies to integrate for
Gameplay and overall product quality are always the key drivers behind decisions
to update our technology.
What new experiences will this offer a Bond fan and
gamers alike? What is the one feature that stands out
and sets the game apart from past versions?
This is a tough question as Goldeneye 007: Reloaded has a lot to offer players,
but I really love the addition of the MI6 Ops challenges and the way they drive
competition between friends through the online leaderboards.
Did you use established scripts and pre-visualization aspects
already produced for the Wii? How much creative license were
you given to mould the game into its own unique version?
In terms of the game’s single player story, this is still
the same as the Wii version, but as we have a new AI system
the gameplay within levels will feel slightly different. As
for the other parts of the game, we have really gone through
an upgraded many different areas. The MI6 Ops mode introduces
entirely new gameplay that was not seen on the Wii version.
We have added new Classic Characters such as Goldfinger and
Max Zorin, plus given them all unique abilities.
Last but not least, online multiplayer has new maps, modes,
weapons and playable characters.
How long has the title been in development? What sets the
game engine apart from other games? Did you spend much time
trying to match the established Wii version?
The technology team at Eurocom started working on the engine
for Goldeneye 007: Reloaded back in 2010, whilst Eurocom’s
game team were working on the Wii version. In terms of the
engine, we wanted to create something that allowed us to deliver
for the first time in HD, running
at 60fps with an entirely upgraded multiplayer system.
When defining the different multi player and single player
modes what was the key development mantra?
I think the key thing here was to allow players the chance
to play in different ways, so if you want to pick up a AK-47
and blast your way through a level, then the game delivers.
On the flip side, if you like to play like a spy using silenced
weapons and takedowns, the game will react accordingly.
We will get a raft of classic Bond villains will we see some
classic Bond locations? Will new environments be released for
players to download?
DLC is not something we are talking about at this moment in
time. However, the game already offers the chance to take control
of a whole array of Bond characters including Dr No, Goldfinger,
Rosa Klebb, Max Zorin and Tee Hee.
How does the development differ from a single player mode
and a multiplayer mode? How does this affect the environments?
I think the key thing here is balance - all multiplayer maps
need to have some level of this to succeed. For every sniping
position on the map, there needs to be counter position so
that play does not get bogged down. Whereas for the most part
a single player environment is built around the gameplay we
want to introduce to the player at that
point in time and also the story we are telling.
What sets the Goldeneye Reloaded multi player apart from games
already on the market?
Classic characters is one of the key aspects here, no other
game allows you to enter battles involving Jaws, Oddjob, Goldfinger,
Scaramanga, Tee Hee and Max Zorin to name but a few. You can
also access these Classic characters in 4 player local split
screen which is an amazing amount of fun.
What homages are there to the original game? How did you go
about trying stay true to the original yet bring it up to date
with the latest technology?
We certainly pay tribute to the original game, by visiting
some of the same locations, but we also wanted to update the
story, so some of the locations such as Zukovsky’s Nightclub
are completely unique. The goal was always to re-imagine the
Goldeneye story for today’s
world. The same goal was then applied to the games feature
set, to bring it in line with modern FPS games, but always
adding that Bond twist.
When revisiting the characters how
did you select which Bond villains to bring back and which
to update? What has been your favourite Bond weapon and character
over the course of development?
We work as a team to decide which characters to create, the
decisions come from wanting to have a good spread of characters
and abilities that suit all play styles. We are really lucky
to have such a cool cast of characters to choose from. In
terms of my favorite character, it has to be Jaws as he is
For weapon it would be the Golden Gun. Watching people chase
after this weapon in multiplayer demonstrates its powers.