The folks over at Mel Magazine had a unique opportunity to talk with some of the greatest minds to ever create videogames. I am of course talking about the talented chaps that developed the biggest game changer in the history of videogames… Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64.
Back in 90’s, Nintendo relied more on western development teams to appeal to western audiences. One such company was the British Powerhouse known simpy as RARE. RARE had worked on a number of projects for Nintendo including the Donkey Kong Country Series and Banjo-Kazooie. The one game that truly shines above them all though, is of course Goldeneye 007. It changed the way people viewed first person shooters, it made split-screen multiplayer a staple and proved that film to videogame adaptations were possible and most importantly, fun and enjoyable.
Well, I best get back on point. Writer for Mel Magazine Quinn Myers got to talk with members of the development team that worked on Goldeneye 007. This includes Game developer David Doak, Lead environment artist Karl Hilton and Mark Edmonds, Gameplay and engine programmer. Chris Kohler from Kotaku was also involved in the interview.
Together, they spoke about the development of the game. How, at one point, up to 4 James Bonds could be played at one time, based on the different actors that played the iconic character. The famous and revered multiplayer mode that was a last minute thing and ultimately became the most essential part of the whole game. The Dev team also spoke about how using Oddjob was technically cheating as his small stature allowed him to just miss being targeted by auto aim. Most in-game weapons were also renamed as to not be susceptible to lawsuits by gun manufacturers.
We have a number of excerpts from the interview below:
Nintendo Japan’s concerns with violence in the game
Edmonds: In some of the original testing, there were huge gouts of rendered blood boiling out of enemies when you shot them. So this got toned down a lot to just brief flashes of red. There was some worry about leaving the red markings on enemies where you had shot them, but luckily that stayed in. There was also some attempt with the front-end sequences to impart a bit of a filmic feel — to show that all the characters in the game who you’re going round shooting aren’t actually real, and they aren’t actually dying, they’re just characters in a video game!
Hilton: Yeah, Nintendo of Japan was concerned about the amount of killing that happened in the game, and made some suggestions about reminding people that James Bond was fictional, that this was based on a film. [Martin Hollis previously told The Guardian that an idea was floated to have Bond tour a hospital, shaking hands with all the people he shot.] It certainly wasn’t a typical “Nintendo” game for that period on the N64 console. There was a definite realization that console gaming was getting more mature, and this was part of the growth of video games in this area for Nintendo. It certainly was a counterbalance to the Mario games!
The Legendary Multiplayer that almost never happened
Kohler: At the time, single-player mode would’ve been the thing that was concentrated on, because that’s what people did with their game consoles. In general, game consoles had two controller ports, but the Nintendo 64 changed things by making the four ports standard. That enabled out-of-the-box four-player parties, because you didn’t need to buy an expansion multi-pack, so developers were more likely to include four-player functionality.
Doak: The multiplayer mode, which is now seen as critical for its big success, was for a long time just a wish-list thing, not a thing that we were definitely going to have. The N64 had four controller ports so it invited the idea that you’d have four-player split screen, but we were only going to program a multiplayer mode if we had time.
Edmonds: I remember doing the code to handle the four-player split screen rendering before we’d actually been given the go-ahead to add in a multiplayer mode. That way when the decision was being made on whether to include it, I could say, “Well, we already have a split-screen mode working — it would be a shame not to use it!”
Doak: Steve Ellis, another programmer, was finishing off the work he was doing on the main game, and Martin told him, “Okay, you and Duncan just go, we’ve got, whatever it was, three or four months left, see if you can get the multiplayer working before the deadline…” We always knew it was going to be clunky, and they hammered away at it as a tiny team of two people.
Edmonds: We got a basic demo mode going, and it was fun. So we all decided it needed to be turned into a proper part of the game with different modes and scoreboards and that kind of thing. I don’t think I ever thought of it as a game-changer at the time, but we all enjoyed playing it ourselves and had lots of fun developing it, so that was enough.
There is so much more information to be found from the interview that it wouldn’t be right for us to just copy/paste the whole thing. If you would like to know more about Goldeneye 007, please be sure to visit the original article over at Mel Magazine.
Source: Mel Magazine
This post was written by Mike Scorpio