Having confirmed our original story some time ago, EA has finally taken the wraps completely off its new GoldenEye title for PS2, Xbox and Cube, and not only is it nothing to do with Free Radical Design - a developer consisting of many ex-Rare personnel who worked on the celebrated N64 GoldenEye title - but in narrative terms it is also about as far removed from the N64 original and its cinematic progenitor as you could feasibly get without dispensing with the name completely. Which, given the recognition factor in the name and the publisher's desire not to completely piss off the hardcore with its sacrilegious efforts, was probably the idea all along.
In fact, the only mention of anything to do with the GoldenEye movie seems to be Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen's character), who will pop up at some point, and of course James Bond himself - although even he appears to be completely off-screen. Indeed, as the title suggests, the game focuses on the exploits of a rogue double-oh agent dismissed by MI6 for "reckless brutality", now in the employ of gold-obsessed villain Auric Goldfinger.
The idea apparently is that Goldfinger is locked in a war with Dr. No for control of a massive criminal organisation (we can guess which), and that your aspiring henchman gets to rise through the ranks, customising and upgrading his villainous abilities along the way, and fighting alongside or battling against various Bond characters including the aforementioned Ms. Onatopp, bowler-hat-chucking Oddjob, Scaramanga (he of the Golden Gun fame), Pussy Galore, and of course Goldfinger himself.
So then, you might be wondering, why is it called GoldenEye? Because, it says here, your nameless henchman lost an eye in an encounter with Dr. No, and Goldfinger's technicians replaced it with... a... golden... eye... Nice one, EA. So, you can expect to drag the titular gimmick around and cast a gaze over various famous Bond locations, including the mountains of Switzerland (wasn't that Sherlock Holmes?), the streets of Hong Kong, Fort Knox, and of course Dr. No's Crab Key lair in the Caribbean, which suggests that the game takes place before the events of any of the Bond films.
What else do we know? Well, all three versions will feature multiplayer split-screen modes, the PS2 version will support online multiplay, and in the single-player department there will be simulated deathmatch (bots, effectively) and "objective-based war games" to go along with the story-driven campaign missions. EA also reckons enemies will react intelligently in combat and make use of the environment in shootouts.
Other than that, we're just crossing our fingers and hoping that this bizarre project does more for us than EA's most recent Bond success, Everything or Nothing. If you pretend it isn't called GoldenEye, and pretend you aren't terrified that EA will produce another marketing driven shoot-'em-up, the idea of playing an aspiring henchman is actually quite neat.
Expect to hear more about the EA LA-developed FPS at E3, ahead of a multi-format launch in late 2004.
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