A few months back the industry's most outspoken analyst, Michael Pachter, threw on his soothsayer hat to predict 007 GoldenEye's future - and it looked a bit grim. The common or garden FPS has evolved in the 13 year period between Rare's original and Eurocom's reboot, but this is still a genre built for gamers, with the real hardcore testing their aim online. A Wii exclusive shooter is an odd proposition, Pachter, argues, when FPSs are so inextricably linked to the Xbox 360/PS3/PC crowd.
It's a fair complaint. A FPS-based Wii exclusive might seem like commercial suicide, but speaking with producer Dawn Pinkney up in Derby she explains that the idea hinged on the history of the title.
"It was a Nintendo, N64 game. That's what everyone remembers when they remember GoldenEye, so it was very important for it to be a Wii exclusive because that is the Nintendo platform of today. But it's also touching back on the original title. It made shooters a success for console so it is exciting for us to do something accessible on the Wii platform. We've been targeting accessibility, you can play it with a gamepad for people who aren't comfortable with a motion controller in a first person shooter."
Rather than a direct interpretation of Rare's game, you're essentially getting a Bond remix: a modernised, flashier take on an older title, that still hits most of the same notes of the N64 shooter, albeit edited for 2010. The update is penned by GoldenEye's screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, is scored by Casino Royale composer David Arnold, switches out Brosnan for the skulking, man-throttling Daniel Craig. As in GoldenEye's current rival, Bloodstone, the developer has adopted Craig-Bond's gadget-lite tendencies, opting for a basic gun/punch/smart phone combination, and both projects have used Craig's stunt double Ben Cooke for motion capture.
Despite the nods to Rare's work, this is a game that's been built for a modern demographic; the sprawling, multi-dimensional all-ages group of hardcore FPS fans, nostalgic gamers and people who bought a Wii back in 2006. So it offers a regenerative health system common to any modern shooter, but not to the original GoldenEye. It offers a 007 difficulty level that brings back limited health for the whinging, nostalgic masses unhappy with regeneration. And beyond that it's graphically impressive, with melee kills showing detailed takedown animations based on mo-cap footage shot (quite literally) in Eurocom's backyard. It adopts the far superior Extraction Engine to help showcase its production values and be more palatable for a modern market.
And there's a similar dichotomy happening in gameplay. Progress through the surrounding area of the guard-riddled Siberian facility is a stealthy affair, tense largely because the focus is on timing rather than action. Miscalculate a head shot and the guards will instantly be alarmed, painting your mini-map red with enemy dots. But the game can also be incredibly linear in level design, funnelling you between snow banks to your objective, for better or for worse.