The popular pantheon of god-tier games is filled with titles that revolutionized the industry. There are old classics like Doom and Quake, and new icons like Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Each title has earned its legendary status by pushing boundaries and changing the shape of the gaming world. So it’s pretty wild to think that a James Bond game is still considered to be one of those games at the top. GoldenEye 007 is widely credited with popularizing the first-person shooter genre on home consoles, and now, 25 years later, fans are desperate for a remaster.
It may have re-defined the console FPS market, but GoldenEye 007 is a bit of a chore to pick up nowadays. Originally released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64, modern players will have to battle a fairly clunky and unintuitive control scheme, along with some very basic gameplay, and some very dated visuals. This is why, for years, long-time fans of the game have expressed interest in a GoldenEye remaster, and with some new leaked achievements, fans might get their wish. But remastering GoldenEye is no small task, and the world might be better off without one.
The Charm of GoldenEye 007 Can’t Really Be Replicated
GoldenEye 007 is remembered very fondly today. Those who played the game back in the day have memories of being immersed in the world of James Bond, getting to use cool gadgets and weapons to take on the bad guys during some thrilling action set-pieces. But times have changed, and a GoldenEye remaster would have to do a little more to impress modern audiences.
With contemporary games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Uncharted, action games have reached heights that would be unfathomable at the time of GoldenEye‘s original release. Now, explosive set-pieces are expected to occur at least once every mission, and a game’s mechanics need to offer more than just the standard point-and-shoot gameplay available in primitive FPS games.
But this is where a rumored GoldenEye remaster has its catch-22 problem. A new GoldenEye would have two development routes to choose from, the first of which is to completely overhaul the gameplay of the original, bringing in new mechanics and gameplay elements that are now simply necessary in a modern FPS game. The other option is to keep the same bare-bones gameplay from the original.
If the remaster follows the first route, then the game could very easily become just another average modern-day shooter, resembling very little of the original, and losing much of the charm in the process, a problem that the GoldenEye Reloaded 2010 remaster ran into. Alternatively, if the game chooses the second path, and changes very little from the original’s now very dated gameplay, then the game runs the risk of alienating a large portion of potential new players, who have grown accustomed to playing deeper FPS experiences.
This same paradoxical problem extends to the game’s visuals. Much of GoldenEye 007‘s charm revolves around how the game looked, its blocky characters and environments being seared into the gaming public conscious. But a GoldenEye remaster wouldn’t be much of a remaster if the visuals weren’t updated. If the game overhauled the graphics then it could end up looking just like Call of Duty, but again, if the old blocky textures were kept, then new players aren’t likely to be attracted to the game.
That’s not to say that a GoldenEye remaster couldn’t make pixelated graphics work, however. Right now, the Indie market is seeing a resurgence in pixel-art games, including popular FPS throwback arena shooters, so if a GoldenEye remaster embraced the pixel-art aesthetic, bringing updated lighting and cleaner textures to the game, then a classic pixelated look might just work.
Splitscreen Arena Shooters Are Long Gone
One of GoldenEye‘s most beloved aspects is its revolutionary take on splitscreen multiplayer. While it wasn’t the first to do it, GoldenEye did popularize console splitscreen head-to-head multiplayer. Using elements that became a staple of the multiplayer arena shooter genre, GoldenEye became a go-to for any Nintendo 64 owner who wanted to play with their friends in a more competitive nature.
But again, time has moved on, and splitscreen arena shooters are a distant memory. While Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal have reinvigorated the single-player arena shooter genre, and Halo Infinite seems to be doing the same for online arena shooters, that splitscreen aspect that was so vital to the GoldenEye experience has been lost.
In today’s gaming climate, a splitscreen game has to go above and beyond to be noticed. It Takes Two, for instance, had to win Game of the Year before many gave it a chance. A GoldenEye remaster would have to do more than just recreate the original’s splitscreen gameplay, but again, if too much was changed, then the game would risk being viewed as too removed from the iconic original.
Nostalgia For the Sake of Nostalgia
When all is said and done, a GoldenEye remaster has very little to offer the world besides simple, unsubstantial nostalgia. For the game to please fans of the original, it would likely have to stay so close to it that the experience would offer practically nothing new, giving long-time fans a temporary nostalgia rush, at the risk of pushing away potential new players who may be put off by the game’s visuals or limited FPS gameplay.
A successful GoldenEye remaster would have to navigate the impossible line between retaining the original’s essence while offering modern gameplay mechanics that are now simply required for an FPS to feel satisfying to play. It’s an extremely difficult job, but if it’s done right, then a GoldenEye remaster could act as a hopeful reminder of how far the FPS genre has come, and could stand alongside the original as a testament to its surprising longevity.
GoldenEye 007 is available on the Nintendo 64.
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About The Author
Cameron Swan (107 Articles Published)
From his earliest gaming memories playing Spyro 2 on the PlayStation, to being obsessed with the swing-out animations in Marvel’s Spider-Man, Cameron has always been, and continues to be, in love with video games. What started as frenzied childhood discussions on Star Wars Battlefront 2 has transitioned into somewhat less frenzied breakdowns on…Star Wars Battlefront 2. It’s fair to say that video games are an integral part of Cameron’s life, and hopefully they’ll continue to be. You can find more of Cameron’s work on Twitter @CamSwan117