Rumors of a GoldenEye 007 remaster have been making the rounds for a while now. Today, it was finally revealed in the weirdest way possible. While Nintendo promoted a port with online play for its Switch Online Expansion Pack during a big September Direct, Microsoft quietly revealed a better version of the game would be coming to Xbox Game Pass at some point as well.
The Switch Online version is presumably just a port running in an emulator with additional features. On Xbox, however, GoldenEye 007 maker Rare is promising achievements, dual analogue stick support, 4K resolution, and a “smoother framerate.” It’s not clear if that means it’s targeting 60 FPS or not, but based on the teaser it definitely looks higher than the original.
Here’s a quick and dirty comparison of the opening shots:
While neither version has a release date yet, it’s a good bet the Xbox remaster will look and run better. To counteract that, online play will be exclusive to the Switch version, while the Game Pass remaster will only support local multiplayer. It really feels like the the baby got split in two on this one.
You would think that online multiplayer would decide the victor here, but Switch Online connectivity is notoriously finicky. Whether that’s because the WiFi on the device itself is so poor or because of Nintendo’s network, the result is the same: frequent disconnects on games like Splatoon 3 and Smash Bros. Ultimate. Plus, the Nintendo 64 ports we’ve gotten so far have varied drastically in quality. In some cases, like with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it’s taken multiple updates to improve the graphics and other issues.
GoldenEye 007 was originally published by Nintendo in 1997, two years after the Pierce Brosnan movie of the same name. It’s never been previously ported, and unlike back then, in the year 2022 Rare is now owned by Microsoft. There was a lot of debate amid prior leaks of whether the game’s return would get announced during an Xbox showcase or a Nintendo Direct. Sneaky of Nintendo to snag the spotlight for the reveal of the inferior version.
Still, a mostly barebones port of a classic is better than no port at all. GoldenEye 007 still has one of the most dedicated retro fan communities going. Every year they pull off incredible new feats, from finishing levels at record speed to beating the entire game using only one bullet. It’ll be interesting to see how they, with their encyclopedic knowledge of the game, compare the differences between the two versions once the games are finally released.