James Bond: Quantum of Solace Q&A - Movies, Gameplay, and Final Thoughts

Treyarch executive producer Garrett Young discusses this soon-to-be-released action game. Exclusive trailer inside.

The silver-screen secret agent known as James Bond has been quashing evil conspiracies, using cutting-edge gadgets, and getting all the girls for decades. And he's headed to a video game console near you in the form of James Bond: Quantum of Solace, a new action game based on the upcoming motion picture starring the latest Bond actor, Daniel Craig. We sat down with Treyarch executive producer Garrett Young to discuss the game from top to bottom as we prepare for its release next week.

James Bond is heading to consoles and bringing the big guns with him.

GameSpot: We understand that the game is being built using the powerful Call of Duty 4 engine. What has using this technology let you do with the character, setting, and game?

Garrett Young: Yes, the COD4 engine from Infinity Ward served as the basis upon which we built Quantum of Solace. Their game was looking so good early in development that we leapt at the chance to utilize its technology as the foundation for our game.

The COD4 engine gave us a huge head start on development, allowing my team to get our build and test levels up and running very quickly, and allowing us to focus our development time on gameplay iteration rather than the underlying plumbing behind the game. We then created a completely different experience with different characters, all-new environments, AI, and new features like "cover combat" and our "takedown" system. We would not have been able to do it in time without their help.

GS: James Bond is a legendary motion picture character, but he hasn't always done well in the video game world. How are you making sure the game does justice to the reinvented Daniel Craig version of Bond while remaining an enjoyable video game?

GY: James Bond definitely has a long, rich history, and we were all excited to have the opportunity to build the first-ever Bond game for Activision. We've seen all the movies, read all of Fleming's books, and discussed with the filmmakers at length how to most effectively portray this new "rebooted" Bond in our game.

I loved GoldenEye, but I'm not sure why the other Bond games may or may not have achieved great reviews. James Bond is the ultimate secret agent--"the man every man wants to be, and every woman wants to be with." In short, he is the perfect character for a video game.

To me, it comes down to prioritization and focus. We as a team believe in getting the core gameplay experience right first before expanding out. Tactically, that means we knew we needed to nail down controls (shooting, reticule speed, button layout), camera, enemy AI, level design, cover combat, weapons, and the other action gameplay elements before we expanded onto the other features of the game.

Game developers are creative people--we always have ideas, and we always want to implement them all. This team had great discipline in choosing the right things to focus on in this first Bond game from our company.

GS: Give us an outline of the story we'll play through in the game--it's not just a direct translation of the movie, correct? We understand, for instance, that the game will feature areas from the Quantum of Solace motion picture as well as from Casino Royale.

GY: The movie Quantum of Solace is the first true sequel in Bond movie history, as it picks up 15 minutes after Casino Royale ends. Our game covers the story of both movies, so we had a lot of interesting scenes and beautiful environments from which to create great gameplay experiences for the game.

One interesting anecdote: You may have heard that we include a scene in our game that got cut out of Casino Royale (the fight on the train to Montenegro). Since they didn't use that scene, we were able to take "creative liberty" with the actor we used for the boss at the end of this level.

GS: The Call of Duty 4 engine did a fantastic job of rendering intense firefights in a smooth, fluid manner without a hitch, but that game was all about a full-on war. Tell us about some of the gun battles Bond will get into in the game. How big and crazy will they get?

You can expect to see intense gun battles and big explosions.

GY: James Bond is an action hero, and this is very much an action game, so yes, our gun battles are pretty intense. As Bond, you are almost always outmanned and outgunned with no squadmates for help. At the hardest difficulties, battles are a serious challenge. You learn to use cover combat pretty quickly.

A large chunk of our team is made up of people who not only love first-person shooters, but also have direct hands-on experience building them. This experience led our team to focus on creating engaging combat gameplay: great reads, solid cover spots for targeting and hiding, interesting engagement spaces with smart AI, beautiful weapons, and of course, big explosions.

GS: Even though Bond is sometimes portrayed onscreen as a one-man army, he's also a superspy who has been known to use stealth and subterfuge. What are some of the stealth options he'll have available to him in the game?

Sometimes, even James Bond needs to take cover.

GY: Good question. In our game we provide a balance of dedicated battle spaces with dedicated "decision" spaces. What this means is that players have a choice to go through with guns blazing or take a more stealthy, strategic approach. Both options provide their own unique challenges and rewards.

We as a team chose to go beyond normal first-person gameplay and design these options to give users choice. As the filmmakers told us early on in development, "Bond's greatest weapon is his mind," so we wanted to give players the chance to use their minds when playing as Bond.

GS: Bond is also known for having access to plenty of spy gadgets, either on his person or in a souped-up supercar. Tell us about some of the technological toys he'll have to execute his top-secret missions.

GY: We focused on a small set of gadgets we felt would make sense as realistic devices MI6 would provide its agents in the field. Daniel Craig's Bond character isn't quite as reliant on gadgets as previous Bonds, but with the OK from the filmmakers, we added the gadgets we felt would be fun and that would help gameplay, yet still fit within the world of the new, more realistic James Bond. We included some basic lock-, camera-, and phone-hacking systems in the single-player game, and many deeper gadget perks in multiplayer.

GS: We understand that a big focus of the game will be on interactive environments. How will they work in practice? What does this add to the game?

GY: Our primary focus as a team was to create really solid (and beautiful) first-person and cover combat gameplay, and then immerse all that in the world of James Bond.

One of the design decisions that fit both parts of that goal is the use of what we call "mousetraps." Using the environment to help take down enemies isn't a new convention in video games, but we knew it would fit well into a James Bond game (since he does this so often in the movies). The designers, coders, and special effects guys did a tremendous job planning and creating these options for gamers.

Not all mousetraps are in obvious locations, but they look very cool and really help during combat. I hope players watch some of the videos we have online to get a hint at their locations and devastating effect.

GS: We also remember Call of Duty 4 for its addictive multiplayer experience. What can you tell us about Bond's multiplayer? We understand you'll earn credits to purchase items to equip your character, but surely, there's more of a story here than that.

GY: Multiplayer is definitely important to us as a team, and we think players expect it in a James Bond game with the foundation laid by the Rare guys in GoldenEye.

We had two unique challenges. First, we needed to create a multiplayer experience that was approachable and accessible to a broad audience--people who are Bond fans but may not spend 10 hours each week online playing COD4 or Halo or Rainbow Six with their buddies. Second, we needed to create gameplay modes where people get to play as James Bond, without seeing 11 other Bonds in the game too!

With the combination of the COD4 engine, our developers in Richardson, Texas (Nerve Software), and our multiplayer team here, we feel good about how we handled both challenges. We were happy to see that new players (such as new testers and play testers) were able to jump in and have success within a few sessions. Additionally, we've create two unique new Bond modes--one of which was a huge adrenaline rush during every one of our nightly play tests during development.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the game?

Expect to see explosive action in multiplayer as well.

GY: Quantum of Solace is a solid first-person shooter with third-person cover combat, but it shines as a game for fans of James Bond. If you like Daniel Craig as a more physical, more cunning, and more dangerous Bond than ever before (like I do), this game is for you. If you like the rich history of James Bond, I think you'll appreciate the sense of immersion and the many subtle references to Bond's past sprinkled throughout the game. We really had fun with it.

This is the first Bond game from Activision, and launching a new franchise is always a difficult challenge. That said, this team achieved remarkable results over the final year of development, had great ideas, made some tough decisions, and really came together as a team. Although we had a lot of late nights, we hope people love playing the game just as much as we loved making it.

GS: Thanks, Garrett.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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123 comments
sandscomedy
sandscomedy

This game is very fun online for the wii. it lacks graphics at some points, but hey, its still fun.

crazyshot17
crazyshot17

Game is amazing for PS2 although the graphics and locations are not as good as the PS3 (these images are from the PS3 or 360 version) oh well what can be expected?

crazyshot17
crazyshot17

Game is amazing for PS2 although the graphics and locations are not as good as the PS3 (these images are from the PS3 or 360 version) oh well what can be expected?

cro24karabaja
cro24karabaja

very good game for ps2........ better than I expected

Rui71
Rui71

the images put in this site are not from the ps2 game

Vyronator
Vyronator

Probably best James Bond-game!

avaible
avaible

good game for ps2 but think on ps3........:D:D:D

batmanboy11
batmanboy11

I hope the game is better then the movie...

Promike10
Promike10

Game is Freaking Awesome Just wish there was more....... :)

IzE-DraGoN
IzE-DraGoN

i saw the movie yesterday and started to play the game 2 days ago and both are very cool, liked the movie and the game :-) good work Activision !!!

poopmaster369
poopmaster369

E8 UFO was the game that bad or are u joking

poopmaster369
poopmaster369

this game looks realy good and I'll probably get it

E8_UFO
E8_UFO

I agree with sentenced83 I rented it got off about 6 shots saw the light and ejected it. Straight back from where it came from.......

88freys
88freys

hey sentenced83 it doesn't have bad graphics. maybe for the ps2 if you have it, but not for the ps3, and i doubt for the x box.

sentenced83
sentenced83

the graphics are like PS2 , dont get the game , i played it for seconds then ran in horror

bern20
bern20

9.0 games top of my priority list. looks good but we shall see.

alkerbix
alkerbix

I have this game on the 360, i agree with chaos eagle the single player game is really good however because of the length of the game should be played on the hardest difficulty to get the most out of it. The online play is not good, i wouldnt even say it was half as good as cod4! i would say online it is a good 3yrs behind in gaming quality, for great online games i suggest halo3, cod 4, goast recon 2(sometimes.

Chaos_Eagle
Chaos_Eagle

@Mike0193: The online isn't as good as COD4. COD feels right, unlike this. This kinda feels strangely robotic, and all of the movements of the characters are quite strange, yeah, it sounds weird. The single player is brilliant, but the online is only half as good as COD4. @mikees1: 2 things; 1, it's not crap. 2, how can a review be right or wrong? Reviews are either very opinionated and personal or just a summary of the game's features. The only reason I read reviews is to find out the latter, but not to make the decision for me.

Chaos_Eagle
Chaos_Eagle

@PolishedSamuel: I got the game yesterday and I can say that it is not all-action. You start off just about every mission in stealth, but from there on it's up to you if you want to keep that stealth element or if you want to start shooting everyone. Some missions require stealth though.

Sodney
Sodney

I rembember playing nightfire years ago. I loved it. Hope this will be even better.

Monk4sport
Monk4sport

i want 2 give it a go. And how cool is it that it has the cod4 engine. Plus I liked Bourne so this should be fun. That is if it is longer

ankithaldar
ankithaldar

i will wait for the reviews but its definitely on my short list

games100
games100

except nightfire, there never has been a good bond game since goldeneye, witch i have be playing most of the day

dtb14
dtb14

i rekon it looks like a propa bust up man should be sick. an there arnt many shootem up grown up games for the wii.

hassy94
hassy94

IGN US rated it 7 now too... Not turning out how I had hoped.

hassy94
hassy94

Come on gamespot, your UK, you should have the review by now. I need your review cos I'm not sure about IGN UK's, they rated it 6.9.

Stu_ponk
Stu_ponk

looks cartoony,... good /bad

PolishedSamuel
PolishedSamuel

i dont know about this game because its taking an all action route, and we already have thousands of games for that. I liked games like 007 nightfire where you used a mix of stealth and weaponry

dstv
dstv

local multiplayer on the 360 ?

FomarThain
FomarThain

Having played the demo (or rather the commercial, heh) I think this may be the best Bond game ever. Always depends on the final deal of course but based on what I have seen and read from articles, I think Treyarch might have nailed it. Hopefully we will finally be treated to a really strong Bond game after such a long wait.

coolblackrain
coolblackrain

well we all know that Goldeneye was and still is a great game to play, and this one looks promising, lote of action and also looks like one of those action sequences where you have to press the button it tells you to perform like in Resident Evil 4. so that should be great. but... id rather watch the movie first not to spoil it.

YellowFlameDcr
YellowFlameDcr

I agree, i'm on the part where it's gone straight back to the beginning of casino royale... Amazing. The online play rules too... too good to be true...

Xionethic
Xionethic

The game bloody rocks. That's all i gotta say right now... i've been playing 30-50 mins

YellowFlameDcr
YellowFlameDcr

Ok playing it now and it looks and plays brilliantly... A lot like COD4.. (If you don't believe that I have it... check my gamertag on my profile)... But good news so far :)

Joe_Crow
Joe_Crow

Molezzi i thought you were right at first then i looked at the release date - It is out to day.

thedude78
thedude78

Sounds like the team actually cares about creating a satisfying experience. And with the Call of Duty 4 engine, maybe it'll turn out nicely!

Molezzi
Molezzi

How is it out today???? what ru smoking? LoL

YellowFlameDcr
YellowFlameDcr

Getting it today, whoopy. It's definatly out today you guys. I'll let you know what it's like.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

So many great games all of a sudden. I don't have enough money or time! :( This definitely makes my shortlist though I'll wait for the reviews to come in.

benboz
benboz

I always loved playing James Bond games. This one is going to be awesome.

Takeno456
Takeno456

Finally a new Bond Game! This one looks sweet!

cell_100
cell_100

im getting this week after gears 2 lol for the mighty 360 lol :D