I’m a huge James Bond fan and I proudly display my affection for the series by buying every DVD set that comes out for it. I believe people should shout their Bond love from the hill tops because, well, he is awesome incarnate. As such, I’ve pretty much played almost every Bond game out there and with the new movie making headlines with all those injuries and accidents, I figured this would be a good time to take a look back at all the great times we’ve spent with James Bond via gaming.
It’s also a great time to discuss the games because EA has lost their licensing agreement for the games and Activision is taking over. So we’re going to be seeing some new stuff from the franchise hopefully. Plus, despite being an amalgamation of guilty pleasures, the original Fleming books are experiencing a sort of literary renaissance at the moment, the films are both culturally significant and still relevant (thank you, Casino Royale) and for a while Bond basically defined what multiplayer FPS gaming was. In short, James Bond has not only had a major impact on culture but on gaming too.
But GoldenEye was 11 years ago, you say. Yes it was. So I’d like to take us down the path of what’s happened since then so we can see what worked, what didn’t and where the franchise should go now.
To start off you must realize that my love for Bond overrides my need to not spend 50 bucks on a game that most believe will disappoint. In my opinion, Bond sort of makes things better so take everything I say with a grain of Bond flavored salt. I can excuse some crappy gameplay because that gameplay features James Bond. Sadly I have not played every Bond game out there yet. I missed 007 Racing and Tomorrow Never Dies because 007 Racing just looks awful and Tomorrow Never Dies came out while I was still addicted to GoldenEye. So we’ll glaze over those. I have also played all the handheld Bond games but that might be for another time and another place.
So let me set the stage. Rare is no longer developing the Bond games and EA has snapped up the exclusive rights to all Bond game development. Eager for the same success that GoldenEye had, EA works on the next film tie in with a game based on Tomorrow Never Dies. Instead of making a sequel of sorts to one of the greatest first-person shooters ever, they take it in another direction and go third person. A bold move, but the game doesn’t fair that well (decent quality according to reviews but nowhere near the sales of GoldenEye) which can be indicated by the fact that I have never played it. So we move on to: The World is Not Enough.