GoldenEye leak a treat for gamers


By Alec Stone, Staff Writer

In early February a build of “GoldenEye 007” remastered for Xbox Live Arcade was leaked onto the internet, almost 14 years after the planned release of the game on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console was scrapped. The 2007 remaster of Rare’s 1997 first person shooter classic on Nintendo 64 took the internet by storm after an online user uploaded a “longplay” of the entire game to YouTube.

YouTube user, “Graslu00,” uploaded gameplay to his channel that showcased the remaster in its stunning 4k visuals, running at 60 frames per second, all while playing on the game’s hardest difficulty, “00 Agent,” and even showcasing the game’s multiplayer mode in its remastered quality.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of “GoldenEye 007, “ Xbox intended to release a remaster of the game to its Xbox Live Arcade services after Microsoft bought out Rare, a video game company, that worked on the original development of “GoldenEye 007.”

However, this process was not simple as the legal licensing for the James Bond intellectual property could be best described as complicated. Companies like MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios), Eon, Sony Pictures, and currently Universal Pictures are in charge of the film’s distribution rights. Other companies own the distribution rights of James Bond titles in literature distribution rights. This same complication is present toward video game distribution rights.

It is important to note that this leaked 2007 remaster is not to be confused with the 2010 remake of “GoldenEye 007,” that was released for the Nintendo Wii gaming console. This version of “GoldenEye 007” was a modernized reimaging of the classic 1997 game that included the look and talent of James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, instead of Pierce Brosnan, who played secret agent James Bond in the “GoldenEyefilm released in 1995.

This title was also re-released in 2011 with an enhanced port upgrade of the game, titled “GoldenEye 007: Reloaded”  for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

According to an interview in  Ars Technica, members of the “GoldenEye 007” development team were asked about the cancelled project and discussed the long-standing licensing issue that plagued the James Bond property.  They said that the  rights were cleared, with no condition that anybody had to work on a version for a Nintendo console or any other requirements.

One of the developers Ross Bury also shed some light on who was responsible for cancellation of the project last minute.  “When it was put to Nintendo, everyone there approved it. Except they didn’t check with the one guy who mattered.”

The developer pointed out that an unnamed Nintendo executive was the culprit behind this decision, “along the lines of, ‘There is no way a Nintendo game is coming out on a Microsoft console.'” These comments from the unnamed Nintendo executive is what ultimately crushed gamers from officially being able to own and play this remaster back in 2007.

According to reports from IGN, the game can be played on only a modded Xbox 360 console or a Xbox 360 emulator program, like Xenia, on a high-end PC. Obtaining the game is a task upon itself for those who are willing to dive deep into all corners of the internet.

It is currently unknown who was the source for the leak of this build for “GoldenEye 007,” but it is interesting to note that the build does contain messages included by the development team that does take a shot a Nintendo, having included in the startup screen of the game, “Do you expect me to remove this Nintendo logo screen? No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

Local gaming enthusiast William MacArthur was surprised by the unexpected arrival of this game on the internet.  “I honestly thought we would never see the day where this game would become available,” MacArthur said. “Yes, getting the game is technically in the gray of piracy, but gamers will do whatever it takes to play and preserve this game, especially a remaster of one of the greatest video games of all time.”

He continued, “I grew up playing “GoldenEyeon Nintendo 64 and I currently play on Xbox, so this would have been the right decision for this game to officially release on Microsoft’s console. At the end of the day, it’s all about the money, but I think people are tired of that excuse and the benefit of technology advancing is that more unfinished or unreleased video games have the potential to leak on the internet at the right time. This isn’t the end, this is only just the beginning.”

Although the days of an official release for “GoldenEye 007”  may never come, gamers can still enjoy this unfinished build of a remaster that was cancelled years ago in an almost-finished state. In the meantime, gamers can still be excited to see the return of James Bond by “Hitman” developer IO Interactive’s upcoming game, “Project 007.” According to IO Interactive’s website for “Project 007,” the game is described as: “Featuring a wholly original Bond story, players will step into the shoes of the world’s favorite Secret Agent to earn their 00 status in the very first James Bond origin story.”