Multiplayer Wasn't Planned in 'GoldenEye,' and Other Things I Didn't Know

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The development of GoldenEye remains one of my favorite stories in gaming. How such a haphazard and messy design team was able to create such brilliance continues to boggle my mind. I especially enjoy the anecdote about the inexperienced team creating environments first and then populating them. This led to plenty of rooms that had no game or story justification, but made the world feel more “real”. Like, there’s no reason that James Bond needs to go into the office of a random scientist, but it existing just made the level feel more lived-in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this was a development process to emulate, seeing as the project involved plenty of extreme crunch. But it seemed like such an inflection point in console game design that I can’t help but be fascinated by it.

So here’s a question: How many of you played GoldenEye (or Doom 64, or Perfect Dark or Turok) with the left hand on the D-pad and the right hand on the analog stick? And if you did, what is it like being a king among men?

Speaking of kings, the last time I trotted out GoldenEye at a small gaming con in town, we devised a little something we call The Game Of Kings: Two players, Licence to Kill, Slappers Only. It’s genuinely like playing Nidhogg in first person, and it is glorious.


In my experience I’ve seen development teams get the most done when they are basically being ignored by management and not having to field requests all day. Iteration speed is king so if you can just iterate on something with a small group of people and don’t need approval from outside parties you can get a lot done.

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That was a great little article and really enjoyed watching the GDC powerpoint. When I was 12 I dreamt of working for Rare… I had no idea you didn’t need to know how to make a game to make a game!

I remember back then following development stories in magazines (N64 Gamer!)… information often seemed more like rumours than based on actual truths. I had no idea about the multiplayer addition being last minute, but do remember having read it was intended to be a rail shooter, and being fascinated with artefacts like the 4th tower in Dam. I think with a game shark you could even walk over to it on the water.

I used solitaire (1.2?)… but also remember messing around with the weird control styles that let you use 2 controllers (2.2?). Maybe trying to emulate dual shock… or co-operative control sharing. Back then I’d really play a game to death. Nowadays I get bored. Kinda wanna play bond again.