An interview reveals that the developer of GoldenEye 007 for the N64 had to tone down the original bloody graphics to appease the bosses at Nintendo.
A significant chunk of violence was omitted from the final release of GoldenEye 007 after Nintendo told developer Rare that the overly graphic tone was not in keeping with its family friendly branding. GoldenEye 007 is one of the most famous releases for Nintendo’s revolutionary Nintendo 64 console. Many a gamer today still holds this console close to their hearts.
GoldenEye 007 was quite a break from Nintendo’s normal style of game release. Nintendo in general favors the more cartoon-like action, with the use of attacks such as spins and jumps preferable to the more realistic fighting style of combat that comes with a James Bond film. And as it turns out, this overly violent representation translated into its games was an issue for Nintendo. Before the release of GoldenEye 007, the developers at Rare were asked to tone down the violence of the now-classic shooter.
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In an interview with the Independent, GoldenEye 007 director Martin Hollis and script writer David Doak recollect the editing that happened behind the scenes to make their James Bond video game adaptation a more family friendly title. “We realised we couldn’t be as violent as the Bond films,” Hollis told the Independent. “We did have animations of gore – things like blood and exploding brains – but it was easy for us to edit that out.” This is clearly not what the duo had envisioned when they signed up to release a new shooter game for the Nintendo 64 though, admitting that it “wasn’t very James Bond” in its final form. However, it was what Nintendo insisted upon, with Doak admitting that the level of violence in the original edits seemed to come as a surprise to Nintendo.
Yet even with the toned-down final cut of GoldenEye 007, this change by no means hurt its sales. The game ended up becoming the third best-selling title on the Nintendo 64, only coming behind Nintendo’s mascot Mario in Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64, in the chart. This is no small feat considering that GoldenEye 007 beat The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time into the top three, a classic that is widely considered one of the best games of all time.
Despite its lack of realism in the final edit, GoldenEye 007 will still be held in high regard for many gamers. Be that for its level design, big head cheat or its famous (and very addictive) multiplayer, it will forever be the game that bought Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond into the world of polygon graphics, something that the gaming community is thankful for.
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