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GoldenEye 007: Footage surfaces from Rare’s abandoned remake of James Bond’s N64 classic

By Benjamin Bullard
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye

Ah, what might have been. Back in the days when Pierce Brosnan was the face of Special Agent 007 and Rare was a powerhouse studio for the Nintendo 64, there was no better place to be than in the 64-bit corridors and James Bond-worthy outdoor set pieces of GoldenEye 007.

Based on the big-screen 1995 Bond spy thriller of (nearly) the same name, GoldenEye 007 was a not-so-rare home run for Rare the studio, which cranked out a ton of N64 hits during its Nintendo heyday, from Jet Force Gemini to Banjo-Kazooie to Perfect Dark to Conker’s Bad Fur Day to Donkey Kong 64 and — believe it or not — many more. After Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002, plans emerged for an upscaled Xbox 360 remaster of GoldenEye 007 — but owing to rights issues surrounding the Bond franchise at the time, the game never made it into players’ hands.

Now, thanks to a YouTuber who goes by “Graslu00,” a trove of new footage has emerged from the abandoned do-over, which reportedly was intended to arrive as an Xbox Live Arcade remaster, via IGN. From starting screen to the very end, as well as some additional multiplayer gameplay, behold the Bond remaster we never got (even though it still looks pretty amazing, while hewing to Rare’s N64 graphical style, to this day):

We’re not sure how the new footage managed to surface after all these years, with Graslu00 revealing only how the game is running (via an emulator at 4K/60 FPS on the Xenia emulator), but staying quiet on how the game reemerged.. But the full playthrough seems to match up with previous glimpses of the canceled project, including the half-hour snippet that another YouTuber shared back in 2016.

In any case, it’s the best look yet (short of playing the actual game) that fans could ask for from the James Bond video game title that everyone still remembers. Subsequent attempts at 007 games like EA’s 2004's GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (2004) and Activision’s GoldenEye: Reloaded (2011) never quite captured fans’ enthusiasm the same way the original GoldenEye 007 did — though Nintendo’s own 2010 remake for the Wii and the 3DS, which swapped Brosnan’s Bond likelness for that of Daniel Craig’s, perhaps came closest.

In any case, there’s no way to know whether the Xbox remaster of GoldenEye 007 will ever see the light of day (Graslu00 says in the video’s accompanying notes that there are rumors circling a possible 2021 release). But even if we don’t get to experience Rare’s stepped-up take on its N64 classic anytime soon, there’re still plenty of James Bond video game thrills headed our way: Hitman developer IO Interactive is already hard at work, probably deep in the bowels of MI6 headquarters, on an all-new Bond origin story game of its own, slated to arrive sometime in the future for new-generation consoles.