1. "It's kind of locked in this no-man's land."

    By Matt Weston on 2008-08-07 have scored a massive interview with Rare’s senior software engineer, Nick Burton, in which he discusses the status of the much-touted Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the studio’s classic James Bond shooter, GoldenEye 007.

    Microsoft had previously indicated that Nintendo was at the heart of the holdup of the revamped game’s release, with the company reportedly against GoldenEye appearing on Microsoft’s console.

    “The ball’s not in anybody at Rare’s court really,” Burton said. “It’s squarely in the license holders’ courts. It’s a shame. It’s kind of locked in this no man’s land. There’s nothing on LIVE Arcade, there’s nothing on Wii.”

    Burton continued, “To be fair, I kind of wished that the differences got sorted out, but obviously there’s the licensing issue for Bond, even if it’s something that’s already come out. It’s incredibly hard to solve because there’s so many licence holders involved. You’ve got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the licence to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees.”

    “Me, just personally, I thought, God, that’s a difficult problem to solve. The guys wanted to go and make it. I guess it probably got to them maybe, I don’t know, but for me I just kind of thought that we’d never manage it, never quite make it. But the feeling’s not too bad really. It’s what it’s like as a games developer. You have to treat something that’s not seen the light of day as a prototype. I’ve had, what, four or five things that never happened. It’s funny that we don’t even talk about them a lot of the time, because you think, well, we might revisit it.”

    Burton said that Rare is aware of gamers’ appetites for the GoldenEye rerelease.

    “It’s just what happens legally sometimes. Not necessarily with games, but you see it with music and films. Things get locked in this legal limbo. Even most of the parties involved, probably all the parties involved want to solve it. It’s such a complex issue. It amazes me. I sort of sit on the periphery, but I know a few guys in the legal team. Why can’t this happen? I want to play it and I want everyone else to play it. And they’re like ‘well, there’s this and this and this and that, and you have to have approval from them, and then there’s artist approval, all the way up to probably Pierce Brosnan has to say it’s all right for this’. There’s not enough hours in the day.”

    “Ultimately everyone loses out. Including the license holders.”

    Burton also refused to confirm that leaked screenshots from the revamped GoldenEye were genuine: “I can’t say. Again, infer what you will from that [laughs]. Let’s just say. The last thing about GoldenEye: Legal mine field.”

    The website also questioned Burton as to whether the original 1997 release still holds a shadow over the studio’s output.

    “No, not at all. I wouldn’t say indifference. It’s nice to see people still talk about it. But I also think, and a lot of us think this, that you look back at it and it’s still good fun to play, but if I played it now with my gaming tastes as refined as they are now, would I still have the same reaction or have I really got rose tinted spectacles on? It’s almost impossible to separate one from the other. I still look at it and think, no, it’s got great level design for instance, but then you think I’m saying that because maybe the control feels really good, but it’s not perfect. But it’s not perfect because the frame rate wasn’t high enough. It’s very difficult to separate your memory.”

    “I think sometimes it gets to you a bit when you a get a forum poster say “Rare’s not as good as it used to be”. In reality, if you look at our recent games, they’re better than they ever were. It’s just that the market has changed, and diversified and got a lot bigger, and we still appeal to the audience we appealed to. Gaming changed and started to fracture a lot. One studio will find it very difficult to fulfil everybody’s tastes, unless you get that one golden moment where you get that true breakout game, that breaks outside of its niche and becomes that phenomenon like GTA and Halo. They do that because they’re very good games, without doubt, but these days you have to have that alignment of the planets, where the marketing has to be right, the time has to be right, all the social aspects have to come into alignment. And when it does you get an amazing effect, but it’s more than the sum of its parts, without a doubt.”

    Activision will be hoping for such a planetary alignment as their debut 007 game based upon the films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace hits shelves later this year.

    Keep watching for the most up-to-date James Bond gaming news on the web.