20 Years Later: The History of Goldeneye 007 N64

20 Years Later: The History of Goldeneye 007 N64

It’s been 20 years since a polygon James Bond strolled onto CRT screens around the globe. Two decades since Goldeneye 007 brought multiplayer action and intense first-person shooting to the living room! We’ve raided the history books to uncover some interesting tidbits on how the legendary game came to be; it’s our Goldeneye 007 facts and history!

From Virtua Cop to Secret Agent

Light gun games are totally synonymous with the 90s. Arcades around the globe were full of trigger-happy people of all ages – it was Time Crisis vs Virtua Cop. Heated playground debates: which was the better game? Bringing that feeling of action and precision to the living room was a tough challenge for Rare. The original Goldeneye 007 game was designed to be much like Virtua Cop, an on-the-rails, secret agent, shooter. It was thanks to Super Mario 64 that pushed the game’s director Martin Hollis to rethinking their plans and opt for a more open-level approach.

Goldeneye 007 was almost on rails!

Reloading Guns Rumbled

Goldeneye 007 was one of the very first 3D shooters with reload action. Run out of bullets in your clip? Bond yanks it out, raids his pockets for more bullets and slides it in like a secret agent. Nintendo’s famed rumble pack, a mammoth of a brick, would have been the reload mechanic for the game. It would have been a neat idea, at first, but doing so whilst trying to pop a cap into Trevelyan on a giant satellite station would have caused broken controllers worldwide.

Rumble to reload? Goldeneye 007 facts

Goldeneye 007 facts: A Team of Newbies

Despite the immense success of Goldeneye 007, the team who crafted the 1997 classic were mainly newbies – for most, it was their first major project. Nintendo liked director Hollis’ pitch enough to say yes, but he had to rely on a team of, literally, newbs. Because of this, the group had to learn on their own, but were open to taking a lot more risks. “The world was our oyster! Only afterwards would you find it was a world of pain,” said famed composer, Graeme Norgate.

Goldeneye 007 was lead by a team of newbies!

Mario Created Bond’s Objectives

Super Mario 64 was one of the most pioneering games of its generations; an opinion shared by devs and fans alike. 3D platforming and tight controls were key to the games success. However, the objective/mission based structure also contributed to the industry’s approach. Games have had multiple goals on the go, but Nintendo brought it together in such a contained and structured way. Hollis revealed, in a talk 2 years ago, that the team borrowed the mission-based approach from Nintendo; and how the original game was intended to be far more linear.

Super Mario 64 inspired Goldeneye 007!

A Rare Visit to the Goldeneye 007 Set

Those who saw the film would instantly feel at home with Goldeneye 007. Whilst the game drew heavy influence from Bond’s cinematic experience, it felt that bit more in-tune than some other film-to-game projects. The main reason? Open access to the Goldeneye 007 film set. The Rare folk visited the studio a few times, took snaps to use as textures and received a wealth of production material. It was truly a homage to what made Pierce Brosnan’s Bond debut so iconic, and one of our favourite Goldeneye 007 facts.

A visit to the Goldeneye 007 set for Rare!

Mario Creator Wanted to Shake Hands

Throughout Nintendo’s history, the company have always dabbed in family friendly, accessible entertainment first. There have been some nibbles into the more adult or violent side of the industry, but the Japanese studio rarely toy with guns. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that, after completing the game, Bond would shake hands with those he brutally murdered. They’d be in hospital, on the road to recovery and back into the hands of the mafia. The final release didn’t have shaking hands, but did show the different generic soldiers as “characters” – almost like film stars or extras!

Shake hands and make up!

A Month for Multiplayer

Multiplayer shooting games? Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark are classic 90s ones that come to mind, inspiring many future shooters. But there originally wasn’t four player antics in the game, though, and it was all down to one man. Steve Ellis is the programmer responsible for many, many hours in the living room. With just a month left to go, Ellis decided to work on four player multiplayer. By the time he’d finished, everyone agreed that it as an experiment worth including and the rest is history.

A Month for Multiplayer...!


About J

J is TeeChu's founder and resident artist, a big Sonic and Zelda fan. Born and raised on hedgehogs and forest adventures!

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