Some of my earliest gaming memories involve getting all the neighbourhood kids together for a game of Goldeneye 007 on our shiny new Nintendo 64: remote mines, Facility, first to ten kills. I feel like most kids with a N64 or with access to one would have wasted many hours on this game throughout the years – so I was surprised to find that Goldeneye’s incredible multiplayer mode was never actually meant to be in the game.
Developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, Goldeneye 007 is the rare movie-based video game that doesn’t suck – and even revolutionised its genre.
Soon becoming a bestselling and award winning game, the multiplayer deathmatch mode was key to Goldeneye’s appeal, one of the first of its kind on consoles. Between the numerous interesting multiplayer modes or ‘scenarios’ and its technical proficiency, Goldeneye set the standard for many years to come – and I’m still waiting for more games to award me the ‘Lemming Award’ at the end of a multiplayer match.
But the multiplayer mode was only added six months before the game was released – and was developed without the knowledge of either Rare or Nintendo management.
This little tidbit was revealed by GoldenEye 007’s director Martin Hollis back in 2012, who delivered a presentation on the game at GDC Europe including accounts from others who worked on the game.
It turns out the multiplayer was almost exclusively programmed by one person, Steve Ellis. Ellis basically took the single-player version of the game and hashed out a working multiplayer from that, much closer to the game’s release date than those types of projects would usually be undertaken.
“It really was put in at the last minute – something you wouldn’t dream of doing these days – and it was done without the knowledge or permission of the management at Rare and Nintendo.” Ellis said. “The first they knew about it was when we showed it to them working. However – since the game was already late by that time, if we hadn’t done it that way, it probably never would have happened.”
And aren’t we glad it did happen!
You can catch Hollis’ full talk here for a bunch of other interesting 007 facts:
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