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You Finally Live Twice: GoldenEye’s Tortuous Route To Rebirth

“We’ve been expecting you”. The original classic is back at last

Nintendo has announced that developers Rare WILL release GoldenEye 007 HD on Nintendo Switch and Xbox in the coming days as a remaster of the popular Nintendo 64 title launched in 1997. 

The remastered version will include 4K resolution, split-screen multiplayer and improved frame rates. Rare has also stated that the game will be available on Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online. However, the official 007 website states that the game’s online multiplayer modes will be exclusive to the Switch version. 

The classic campaign mode, on the other hand, will return with dual analog stick support and a native 16:9 aspect ratio at up to 4K resolution. People that already own a digital copy of Rare Replay will get GoldenEye 007 for free

The eye of the storm

The original GoldenEye 007 game was developed by UK studio Rare exclusively for Nintendo using their then-brand-new Nintendo 64 console and using GoldenEye movie IP licenced from MGM, not least the James Bond name and the likenesses of James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, characters from the movie and even – in a bonus level – the likeness of actor Richard Kiel as Jaws from the Bond movies The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

Altogether quite the package, but it’s worth remembering that the GoldenEye IP was by this time rather long in the tooth, the movie itself being released in 1995 with the game not appearing until a whole two years later. Thus, when the game was announced it was initially perceived as being rather an also-ran and insanely late to the party.

That, of course, was before we got to play it only to discover that – yup – it was one of the best FPS games ever, if not one of THE best games ever.

Microsoft buys Rare

With Rare being bought by Microsoft in 2002 it was hoped that GoldenEye would appear in an Xbox HD remaster, and indeed it was slated to launch on Xbox 360 in 2008. Instead the completed game (which has since seen the light of day) was shelved due to licensing and copyright issues as its intellectual property moved from owner to owner and rights and licences expired with the many pieces of the jigsaw built for the original game, unable to fit back together.

Instead, in bizarre licencing twists that only scuppered further deals (and which nobody actually wanted) Electronic Arts were able to trade on the GoldenEye name for their GoldenEye: Rogue Agent game in 2002 and Activision for their GoldenEye 007 in 2010 neither of which were remakes of GoldenEye, and neither of which were any good.

Indeed, the makers of the original GoldenEye 007 N64 game – Rare themselves – weren’t even able to create a sequel to their smash and instead, unable to repeat the same licensing magic that made the original possible (or at least unable to strike a workable deal after the stellar success of GoldenEye) Rare’s ‘sequel’ turned out to be the futuristic Perfect Dark, which built on GoldenEye tech, and also appeared on the N64 but starred a new protagonist of their own creation, sci-fi agent Joanna Dark. But at least this game DID get its Xbox 360 remake.

Now it seems – for reasons that aren’t quite clear (but we’ll bet it involves money changing hands) – GoldenEye in the form we all know and love is finally back and looking better than ever.

Currently there’s no precise release date for the game but it’s thrilling news that we’ll all finally be able to get our hands on the REAL GoldenEye once again.

Written By

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the world's biggest entertainment, home and tech media brands. He's reviewed all the greats, interviewed countless big names, and reported on thousands of releases in the fields of video games, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors, garden design and more. He’s the ex-Editor of PSM3, GamesMaster, Future Music and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Computer Music and more. He renovates property and writes fun things for great websites.

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