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GoldenEye 007 devs on toning down initial violence, how using Oddjob is cheating, game’s huge success

Posted on August 22, 2018 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

GoldenEye 007

MEL Magazine has a huge article up looking back on GoldenEye 007. Lead environment artist Karl Hilton, gameplay / engine programmer Mark Edmonds, and developer David Doak were brought in for the retrospective piece.

The interview has a number of highlights, some of which we have below. There’s talk about toning down the violence with Nintendo being concerned about the amount of killing, how using Oddjob is cheating in their view, and huge success including Nintendo being unable to keep up with the initial demand.

On toning down the violence…

Edmonds: In some of the original testing, there were huge gouts of rendered blood boiling out of enemies when you shot them. So this got toned down a lot to just brief flashes of red. There was some worry about leaving the red markings on enemies where you had shot them, but luckily that stayed in. There was also some attempt with the front-end sequences to impart a bit of a filmic feel - to show that all the characters in the game who you’re going round shooting aren’t actually real, and they aren’t actually dying, they’re just characters in a video game!

Hilton: Yeah, Nintendo of Japan was concerned about the amount of killing that happened in the game, and made some suggestions about reminding people that James Bond was fictional, that this was based on a film. [Martin Hollis previously told The Guardian that an idea was floated to have Bond tour a hospital, shaking hands with all the people he shot.] It certainly wasn’t a typical “Nintendo” game for that period on the N64 console. There was a definite realization that console gaming was getting more mature, and this was part of the growth of video games in this area for Nintendo. It certainly was a counterbalance to the Mario games!

Edmonds: Plus, it was important to get a teen rating so as many people as possible could buy and play the game.

On Oddjob’s advantage…

Hilton: We all thought it was kind of cheating when we were play-testing with Oddjob [due to his short stature, the auto-aim of the weapons goes above his head], but it was too much fun to take out and there was no impetus from any of us to change it. It’s clearly become part of the culture and folklore of the game – I noticed playing GoldenEye as Oddjob was mentioned in Ready Player One, so ultimately, I think it’s fine.

Edmonds: It’s definitely cheating to play as Oddjob! But that can just add to the fun when you’re all sitting there next to each other and berating/poking/hitting the person who chooses him. Personally I like to pick Jaws [who originally appeared in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me] and then beat the person with Oddjob just to show them! We could have put something in to stop this blatant cheating, but why not just let players decide on their own rules?

On the game’s huge success…

Hilton: We were all surprised by how successful it turned out to be, as we were all a little uncertain of the final game, mainly because there was so much we still wanted to implement and change. We all felt it could have been better. Initially, I think Nintendo only made around 1 to 2 million cartridges, and we kept hearing stories of how people were searching for the game in shops that had sold out. We all thought we’d missed the chance to sell big numbers! Nintendo reacted quickly and got more games in the shops - at that point the sales took off again, which was a huge thing for us as a team. It was great to see the enthusiasm of all the Nintendo fans for the game.

You can read the full article here.

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