Here we go again with a newly baked episode of the never-ending but always-interesting GoldenEye XBLA drama. Some weeks ago we published several comments coming from Microsoft about this sensitive topic. You don’t see representatives from gaming companies commenting on unofficial games everyday, and if the unofficial game in question is the epicentre of a licensing conflict between three major developers, the chances of getting a single word equal zero. That’s why we felt both shocked and confused when they told us that “the rights to the title [meaning GoldenEye 007] are shared between Microsoft and Nintendo.” As we said then, we would ask Microsoft again about that part just to make sure we heard well.
And apparently, we did. “We share the rights with Nintendo on the title and they are the ones who have prevented it from happening” is their new and crystal-clear answer, as quoted by Rare’s George Kelion. It is important to note that knowing this, one of the key factors of the equation disappears from it. Of course, we are talking about Activision, the current James Bond licence holders and the ones who, according to the latest versions of the story, would have ultimately killed the GoldenEye XBLA project by keeping the 007 rights away from Microsoft at Nintendo’s request. But if Nintendo does hold some rights over GoldenEye 007 anyway, they obviously didn’t need to press Activision and would have cancelled the project by themselves right away. Just like Microsoft says.
It also means that we are totally screwed this time, since it’s highly unlikely that Nintendo will change their minds in the near or distant future. Before it was just about Activision being brave enough to send them to hell, but now, the ball is completely on Nintendo’s side and there is no way they will play. As long as they make millions with outlandish gymnastic devices and dozens or mediocre games for the casual kingdom, there is no need at all to let other people take advantage of one of the best-selling videogames ever produced, even if its re-release means more money for themselves too.
Bond with the N64 controllerIn the meanwhile, IGN has published an article with the reasons why, according to them, the GoldenEye experience wouldn’t be that good on Xbox 360. Writer Rachel Langdon thinks that the small size of the multiplayer arenas and the lack of a single analog stick control type would turn GoldenEye 007 into some disappointing, aged product and betray its origins. Interesting. Certainly the game experience wouldn’t be exactly the same as back in 1997, that’s why it’s called a remake. But a rather good one, considering that Rare added even more levels for the multiplayer (including the vast Depot, Frigate and Dam from the single player) and brand-new control styles, among which it wouldn’t be surprising to find an old-fashioned one-stick mode stuck in there just for the fan reaction (heck, there were even options to play using two controllers at the same time in the original game).
Langdon also mentions that the dispersion of deathmatch opponents across the globe wouldn’t help to recreate those nostalgic fights between friends in front of the television and next to each other. That’s probably why Rare included the option to play using the split-screen mode even for online matches (so you can see what the other players are doing even if they are in Papua New Guinea). Being not a big fan of the lonely online matches so popular nowadays, I personally agree to some point with that, but what Rare proposes is the closest thing to the old friend gatherings that we can get through online play today.
Some other people that should hold their horses are the Future Publishing group legal representatives and, indirectly, the touchy Xbox World 360 magazine staff. The story goes as follows: last month we were informed that people from that magazine were unhappy with some of our recent articles about their then upcoming GoldenEye special. We decided that it was indeed fair to act friendly since we all support the same cause, plus most of our controversial comments were motivated by official statements that had nothing to do with us. We sent them a conciliatory e-mail and we published a flattering review of their educational GoldenEye report. The answer, just a few days later, was the lack of an answer itself, with the sole exception of a letter from their publisher’s legal department threatening us in order to get the scans of their magazine removed from our site.
Fine, we removed the scans. It was only good for them so fans worldwide could have the chance to read the article. We thought that the goal was to get as many people involved as possible to support their crusade for the sake of GoldenEye. Instead, now people will be able to read our own extensive coverage, which is wider, more accurate, up to date and, on top of that, free.