So yes, the odds are that we'll all be playing through GoldenEye (first created by Rare for the Nintendo 64 fourteen years ago, and reimagined by Eurocom for the Wii release last year) yet again. This new version has the modern story tweaks, the addition of Daniel Craig, and all of the other reimaginings from the Wii, but Eurocom is aiming for even more, adding in a new set of modes called MI-6 Ops, as well as co-op and full competitive multiplayer. If Call of Duty had a baby with Rare's classic, this is what would crawl out.
Activision producer James Steer says that development on Reloaded began even before the Wii version was released. "When we were looking to make a GoldenEye game, the Wii platform seemed like the right platform to launch the franchise because of the N64 heritage," he says. "But while we were making that game, we were taking it on the road and showing people, it became clear that there was a wider hunger for a current-gen game on a high-def platform." The first question from journalists looking at early versions of the Wii title was always asking about an HD release. "So we had Eurocom's technology team start working on an engine."
That engine looks pretty good -- we're not exactly talking about Crysis-level fidelity, but it does hit all the checkmarks, including 60 frames per second, and all of the shaders and lighting you'd expect in an HD title. In the snowy Russian woods of the Severnaya level, Bond has a Russian helicopter land on his head, and it's definitely more visceral and clear than the Wii version.
But despite those modern updates, enemies still just disappear into the ground when killed. That same goofy stealth is there, with guards who sometimes can't see you sneaking right in front of them. And there are a few other moments where you'll notice a remnant of the old game, and then wonder just why Eurocom left that in. Part of the reason might be the fact that while Activision has worked with Nintendo to take control of the N64 game's rights, the actual code is still held by Rare, now owned by Microsoft. That weird ownership void is probably why this game is so confusing: It's meant to make you think of the old GoldenEye game, but not resemble it so much it attracts a lawsuit.
I only played the one single-player mission, but Activision also showed off one of the MI-6 mission modes. There are four kinds of these extra mission experiences -- Assault, Elimination (where you need to take out one certain target), Stealth, and Wave Defense -- and Steer only showed off a wave defense level, featuring the player defending their choice of a few different points on a map.
Steer promised more news to come on the game: Eurocom "wanted to make sure we still supported" things like four-player split screen multiplayer, though the system itself will eventually support up to 16 versus 16 players. The PS3 version will also support the Move and Sharpshooter, since "obviously we learned a lot from developing the Wii game last year, so it was a natural fit to move that forward," says Steer. Kinect support hasn't been considered, he tells me. "We're just focusing on Move at this time."
Activision's walking a weird line here, trying to sell old school fans on an updated product, and convince the Call of Duty types that a 14-year-old property (yes, a game that's probably older than some of the players themselves) is worth their time. We'll find out how that balance holds later on this fall.