GoldenEye 007 for the N64 was released in 1997 in most of the world. However, in Germany, it was banned and designated as “Media Harmful To Young Persons.” But now someone has stepped in to help unban the classic shooter.
As spotted by VGC, Rare’s beloved N64 game GoldenEye 007 is no longer banned from being sold, advertised, or marketed to minors in Germany. This follows 24 years of it being on the banned media list in the European country.
What’s interesting about this recent unbanning of GoldenEye in Germany is that it was going to happen automatically next year, as media on that index is removed after 25 years according to Eurogamer Germany. However, someone or some entity stepped in early to get the game unbanned. We don’t know who or what company decided it was time to free GoldenEye from this old banned media list, but there is a lot of speculation online that it might be a sign the game will soon be released on the Nintendo Switch, possibly via the N64 NSO Expansion plan.
The reason for getting the game off the banned index in Germany most likely comes down to Nintendo and its partners wanting to sell the game digitally on the Switch. But, because Nintendo’s European headquarters are located in Germany, it means that its digital store in that part of the world has to follow German laws. So any game banned in Germany—and for a long time, a lot of games were banned over there—can’t be sold digitally on the European eShop.
That all means that if the speculation is true and GoldenEye is indeed coming to the Switch via the NSO Expansion plan or through a more direct re-release, it needs to get removed from the ban list to allow a wider release across Europe.
In fact, just earlier this month a Dying Light Switch port ran into an issue with the European eShop being headquartered in Germany and the game being on the banned media list since its release in 2015. While the new port released on Switch digitally in North America and Asia just fine, it was unexpectedly delayed in Europe with Techland explaining in a statement that “due to nature of the content the digital version of the game is currently banned in Germany where European e-Shop is officially registered.”
It seems very plausible that Nintendo or some other company involved in the complicated rights revolving around GoldenEye wanted to avoid any problems that might arise from the game still being on the banned index in Germany and decided to ask for it to be removed a bit early.
Still, until word from Nintendo, this is just a good, yet unofficial theory.