A playable version of that beautiful Xbox 360 GoldenEye 007 remaster we reported over the weekend is quickly spreading online after Ars Technica spilled the beans last night. I’ve played it and, unsurprisingly, it’s really great.
The files come from a near-final beta build of an Xbox Live Arcade release that was eventually canceled sometime in the late aughts. Grant Kirkhope, who composed music for the original GoldenEye and was still at Rare during the remaster’s development, told VGC last week the project never went public due to the overwhelming number of licensors who would’ve had to sign off on the project before it could see the light of day.
“[T]here were too many stakeholders,” Kirkhope explained. “Microsoft, Nintendo and [James Bond license owners] EON could never agree on terms, and that’s before you even start to consider getting all the original movie actors to agree to have their likenesses used again. It would’ve cost a lot of money to get it done and because of that the project probably wouldn’t have been financially viable.”
GoldenEye 007, which first launched on the Nintendo 64 in 1997, was considered the gold standard for console first-person shooters during its time, and is still looked upon fondly as a classic today. When asked about this canned remaster in 2015, Microsoft’s current executive vice president of gaming Phil Spencer reiterated that the rights to the game were just too challenging to secure for a remaster.
The leaked GoldenEye 007 build runs surprisingly well on Xbox 360 emulator Xenia, with just a few hiccups here and there as the game loads assets. There’s even a neat feature where pressing the right shoulder button switches between the upgraded textures and the original Nintendo 64 graphics. It’s awfully close to the original, just with better controls and visuals.
While we can’t link to the files in question for obvious reasons, they shouldn’t be too hard to find for anyone with an ounce or two of Google-fu.