See a full playthrough of the canceled GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster

GoldenEye 007 was one of the biggest hits on Nintendo 64, and Rare was poised to drop a remaster on XBLA in the mid-2000s. However, rights issues caused it to be canceled. Screenshots and video leaked over the years, but we never got to see the game in its entirety until now. A full GoldenEye 007 XBLA playthrough recently was posted to YouTube by Graslu00 that takes us through the entire game on 00 Agent difficulty.

How is the GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster different from the original?

There were a few GoldenEye titles over the years that attempted the capture the magic of the original. The closest was the reimagining that released in 2010, but that changed the entire game to fit in with the Daniel Craig Bond timeline.

The GoldenEye XBLA remaster follows the N64 game exactly; in fact, it’s the same game. I’ve had a chance to look at the file structure of the XBLA version, and it appears to be built similarly to how Halo and Halo 2: Anniversary were. It seems like a ported version of the original GoldenEye 007 ROM serves as the foundation of the game, and the remastered textures and models are injected into it. As such, players can switch the old and new graphics on the fly with a button press.

Additionally, the game is presented in 16:9 ratio, which gives a larger viewing angle than the original’s 4:3. Framerate and draw distance have also been noticeably increased, which means some levels, like Surface, are missing the fog used to save on processing power. I can’t tell simply by ear, but higher quality audio might have replaced the compressed N64 sound effects and music, as well.

Besides the updated fidelity, performance, and a few added multiplayer maps, the GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster seems to be the same game, which makes sense, as it was supposed to be a discount title. The most significant change is that the multiplayer would have likely given some sort of online functionality, which would have been a huge selling point.

Why was GoldenEye 007 XBLA canceled?

The James Bond video game license is a tangled web. According to Graslau00, the person that uploaded the playthrough, most of this lies with MGM/EON. According to them, the Bond right holders tightened the restrictions on games featuring the license:

“…after GE64 released and was a big success, they didn’t like how the game “represented” Bond and started adding fees and guidelines to it. No blood, no Bond dying, no civilian kills, no good vs. good characters in multiplayer, no cheats, no use of Bond theme, Bond model has to be the current Bond actor…”

Many have blamed Nintendo for blocking the release over the years, but that never made sense. Nintendo never owned the rights to James Bond or GoldenEye 007. Banjo Kazooie, another of Rare’s games published by Nintendo, made it to the Xbox, so it’s obvious there’s always been a deeper story surrounding the cancelation of GoldenEye 007 XBLA. Since the game was so near completion, it’s possible the rug might have been pulled out from under Rare at the last moment. This seems to have happened, not once, but twice, as Rare was planning to include it in Rare Replay. In fact, the studio went so far as to record the video that would have accompanied the game.

Can you download GoldenEye 007 XBLA?

As of now, GoldenEye 007 XBLA remains unreleased. It’s likely that it’ll never receive an official release, but it will probably leak soon. The game was apparently available on PartnerNet, the Xbox Live testing environment, for some time, for anyone with an XDK to download. This means it’s likely been found quite a few times and hoarded until now.

The playthrough video that was uploaded to YouTube was captured through the Xenia emulator, so we know the game has been dumped from its source. Now that we know it’s out in the wild, it’s likely only a matter of time before we see a leak.