If you're going to remake one of the most cherished games of all time, you're going to want to make damn sure you do a good job of it. Gamers are a finicky bunch, and although they've been demanding a remake of GoldenEye for years, now that it's actually happening they're straight on the attack. "A Wii game!?" they cry, "but we wanted a high definition remake of GoldenEye with a real control pad! And what's Daniel Craig doing in the game? WTF!?" At a special 007 event in London last week, Activision spoke of the 'weight of responsibility' that comes with remaking GoldenEye, and these are exactly the kind of comments that form the bulk of that weight. With any luck, this preview will help lighten the load, because from what I've seen so far, GoldenEye 007 is shaping up very nicely indeed.
The first thing to take note of here is that this isn't a remake in the traditional sense; it's a spiritual re-imagining. The GoldenEye of 2010 (denoted by the '007' suffix of sorts) uses the original game as a solid foundation, but builds on that framework in fresh and interesting ways. It's set in a different time, uses different locations and is driven by different characters (well, actors). Those against the idea of the remake seem perplexed that Daniel Craig has been cast as Bond - doesn't this go against everything that defined the original? This was a question I threw to Dawn Pinkney, Executive Producer at Eurocom.
"Since the game's been announced, everybody has asked that question," she said. "Starting the project, it was never a question we had. We're re-imagining GoldenEye, we don't want to go back to 1997, we want to be 2010." With that in mind, it makes sense to bring Daniel Craig on board; he's the James Bond of 2010 after all. The look, feel and - to an extent - the story have been redesigned around Craig's take on character. Today's Bond is gritty, physical and agile, traits that are reflected in the game's motion-based takedown moves and multi-route level progressions. The story has been revamped for a 2010 audience too, with modern environments populated with updated technologies. It's the same GoldenEye story, but in a parallel universe where it's 2010, and nobody knows who the hell Pierce Brosnan is.
The other thing that defenders of the original might have a problem with is controls, which is ironic considering that the original game was released on the N64; a console with a controller that only had one analogue stick - these days it couldn't be a worse fit for a first person shooter. Given that the Wii supports multiple control methods, I asked Dawn how she envisaged people playing the new GoldenEye, and whether the game was designed with one control method in mind.