For a certain demographic, GoldenEye 007's multiplayer mode is imprinted on the mind. Say the word “Facility” (or, if you’re the neighborhood bozo, “Faculty”) and a flood of low-res grey and blue tiles are instantly conjured; mention “Slappers only!” and the body tenses in anticipation of a frantic, karate-chopping melee between smushed-faced versions of James Bond characters. GoldenEye multiplayer was a staple—the best reason to contort hands around the torturous plastic trident of an N64 controller for hours on end.
It’s a bit surprising to learn, then, that the game’s multiplayer almost didn’t happen.
Over at Mel Magazine, Quinn Myers spoke to members of the team responsible for creating GoldenEye in a sprawling oral history of the 1997 shooter. Among the account of how a revered classic was made out of what could’ve been a forgettable movie tie-in, the piece reveals just how close the world came to the infinitely sad fate of never getting to blast each other with DD44 Dostoveis and Klobbs in its multiplayer.
Myers describes how contemporary first-person shooters were single-player only and that “GoldenEye 007 was expected to follow suit” until late in its creation process, when they began work on the mode “without telling [its publisher] Nintendo.” David Doak, from GoldenEye developer Rare, remembered the multiplayer “was for a long time just a wish-list thing, not a thing that we were definitely going to have.” He describes how, with only a few months left before deadline, two of their programmers were assigned to see what they could do with an early version of the mode. They worked up a basic version of it and the studio enjoyed it enough to keep plugging away and present it to Nintendo for approval.
The rest is history. Rare avoided the grim reality of a world devoid of entire summer days annihilated at the altar of GoldenEye multiplayer and ushered in fights aplenty with the jerks who picked Goldfinger’s diminutive, dapper assassin, Oddjob as their character. On this last point, the interviews are completely clear: “It’s definitely cheating to play as Oddjob!” according to GoldenEye’s gameplay and engine programmer Mark Edmonds. “We could have put something in to stop this blatant cheating, but why not just let players decide on their own rules?”
If only the piece gave official judgment on how to decide who got to use the nice, new yellow controller and who got the off-brand one with the busted joystick, all ancient GoldenEye arguments could finally be put to bed.
[via Mel Megazine]
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