GoldenEye 007 setting sights on XBL?

Source: Microsoft-enthusiast blog Xbox Evolved. What we heard: Few games capture a generation in the way Rare's first-person shooter GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was able to do. Released in 1997, Rare's shooter quickly replaced Nintendo's groundbreaking Mario 64 in gamers' consoles due to...

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Source: Microsoft-enthusiast blog Xbox Evolved.

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What we heard: Few games capture a generation in the way Rare's first-person shooter GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was able to do. Released in 1997, Rare's shooter quickly replaced Nintendo's groundbreaking Mario 64 in gamers' consoles due to its stellar multiplayer deathmatch mode, which provided an intense and addictive four-way split-screen experience and set the standard for many FPS hallmarks, including zoom-enabled sniper rifles and context-sensitive headshots.

With its place in history cemented, recent reports that Rare will be reimagining the Nintendo 64 version of GoldenEye 007 for Xbox Live Arcade aren't without interest. Citing omnipresent "very reliable sources," as well as claiming to have seen evidence firsthand, Xbox Evolved claims Microsoft, Rare, and James Bond movie studio MGM have reached an agreement that will bring the acclaimed shooter, with updated graphics and Xbox Live multiplayer support, to Microsoft's downloadable service "shortly before the new game developed by Activision is released." The Xbox Evolved report also claims that Rare has plans to rerelease other classics from its back-catalog over Xbox Live, including Perfect Dark and the original Banjo-Kazooie, both of which were also created for the N64.

Several hurdles stand in the way of GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 being ported over. For one, Nintendo has expressed interest in bringing the acclaimed shooter to its own arcade classic depository, the Virtual Console. "Would I love to see it on [the] Virtual Console? Absolutely," Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said of the game in 2006, continuing, "But there are a lot of issues there... Suffice it to say we would love to see it, so we're exploring all the rights issues."

One of the primary issues Fils-Aime undoubtedly meant revolved around licensing. Currently, the 007 license rests in the hands of Activision, which announced it had acquired the rights to the brand from Electronic Arts during the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. However, with Activision planning to resuscitate 007 later this year with its first take on the franchise, the publisher could do much worse than rereleasing the pinnacle installment in the franchise to pique gamers' interest.

The development deal also seems likely, considering the unique status Rare maintains as a Microsoft-owned studio. Though Microsoft purchased Nintendo's stake in the UK-based developer in 2002, Rare has continued to release games for Nintendo's handheld devices. In addition to several Donkey Kong Country installments on the Game Boy Advance, Rare most recently brought its signature pint-sized gorilla to the DS in 2006 with Diddy Kong Racing DS. The developer is also planning to bring its papier-mâché garden Viva Piñata to Nintendo's popular portable later this year.

Rare also has precedents for developing on Microsoft's virtual arcade. In March, Rare released Jetpac Refuelled on Xbox Live Arcade, which is a reimagined version of its 1983 shooter classic Jetpac for the ZX Spectrum. Speculation also abounds that the developer will be creating an Xbox Live offshoot of its Viva Piñata series titled The Fast and Furriest, rumored to be a sports minigame compilation that will incorporate the Xbox Live Vision camera.

The official story: "We do not comment on rumors and speculation."--A Microsoft rep.

Bogus or not bogus?: Licensing issues are undoubtedly the hold-up for the massively popular GoldenEye's delayed arrival to this generation of gaming. However, with Activision's new game and the sequel to 2006's Casino Royale expected to hit this year, incentives seem to be piling up for bargaining concessions to take place. Likely not bogus.

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