GoldenEye: Rogue Agent First Look
We get an exclusive peek at Electronic Arts' upcoming first-person action shooter with an evil twist.
Rumors of a new GoldenEye game have been swirling for ages. Given that hard facts on the alleged game have so far been as elusive as the yeti, tales of what the game actually is have grown to nearly mythic proportions. Thankfully, Electronic Arts has finally put out official word on the game, titled GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, which takes the Bond franchise into a darker direction and offers more than a few promising possibilities. We recently took a trip to EA's offices to get the lowdown on what will likely become one of the most anticipated first-person shooters of the year.
It's fair to say that saving the world and generally being a badass spy and ladies' man forms the central core of any Bond game. However, while the rich universe has certainly made a case for the perks of fighting on the side of good, there's been an equally compelling case to be made for being bad. Let's face it: A good guy like James Bond may have plenty of cool gadgets, a whole fleet of fast cars, and a bevy of ladies at his disposal, but he often ends up working pretty hard to keep everything going. So we ask you: When was the last time Bond had his own mountain fortress? Or better yet, an army of minions willing to do whatever he commands? Sure, he's had a submarine car, but has he had his own underwater complex or space station?
Of course not. At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that villains in the Bond universe have it pretty sweet. Besides all the benefits of having specialized fortresses, loyal armies, vast amounts of wealth, and other assorted perks, villains also do all right with the ladies. Why have one or two ladies when you can have a captive harem? Given the pretty obvious disparities between good and evil in the Bond universe, you'd figure that anyone fighting for the good guys would have an epiphany about their moral alignment at some point. We expect that being hung over a shark pit for the umpteenth time or trying to figure out what to do as a powerful laser steadily makes its way toward your crotch would lead a man to ask, "Is there a better way to be spending my time?" GoldenEye: Rogue Agent proudly steps forward and says, "Yes, yes there is."
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent's story puts you in the role of an MI6 agent aspiring to the famed 00 status--much like the good Mr. Bond--who has the realization that maybe being good isn't the best use of his time. The game will open up with you making a go of the virtuous life, fighting alongside Bond during one of the climactic action sequences from Goldfinger. Unfortunately, your overly enthusiastic approach gets you cast out of MI6 and finds you going to work for Auric Goldfinger instead. While the transition goes fairly well, your new career is initially a little rough. An ongoing war between Goldfinger and Dr. Julius No's forces ends up costing you your eye. But as one more piece of proof that being bad offers all sorts of perks, you get a slick replacement in the form of a synthetic gold eye. Besides the "bling" factor, the new eye offers improved vision and nets you a catchy nickname, "GoldenEye." The loss of your eye also provides you with something to focus your new career on--revenge. Despite the perks offered by the synthetic eye, you're still pretty sore about the injury and would like very much to pay Dr. No a little retribution.
The classic use of revenge as a motivator works very well with GoldenEye: Rogue Agent's gameplay, which revolves around run-and-gun action. While the GoldenEye name refers to your character's moniker, it also calls to mind the classic Nintendo 64 game that marked an impressive pinnacle in first-person shooters on consoles. As a result, the development team at EA's Los Angeles studio is working to ensure that GoldenEye: Rogue Agent will offer an immersive and addictive experience that is a worthy spiritual successor to the N64 classic. The game's villainous slant features some extremely promising gameplay elements that we're very eager to try firsthand. At Rogue Agent's core are solid first-person shooter mechanics that provide you with the reliable set of basic actions you'd expect from any good first-person shooter. In addition, however, you'll find some very cool new elements thrown in as well. More than anything, the framework for the game's coolness resides in the fact that it lets you play as a villain.
As we mentioned earlier, being a villain is just downright cool, and GoldenEye: Rogue Agent aims to show that off at every turn. You'll be able to use human shields, perform melee attacks, and make use of interactive environments based on familiar locales from the Bond universe in your attempts to take out enemies. For example, you'll be able to make use of fuel that's spilling from specific damaged crafts by lighting it on fire, which results in explosions that take out foes in truly spectacular fashions. Another cool option is shooting the grenade from an enemy's hand, which takes him or her out--along with anyone else who's unfortunate enough to be around. The lengthy list of ways you can personally deal with your foes is fleshed out some with the addition of death traps, which are areas in the various levels that you can trigger to offer some truly lethal surprises for your foes. For example, a level based on the Moonraker space station will feature the innovative and deadly use of a space shuttle to take out some foes.
However, as much as it sounds like you can be a badass while tearing a swath of death through your foes, your road to revenge isn't going to be a cakewalk. Dr. No's forces aren't a pack of boy scouts, and they're hardly in a hurry to die. As a result, the game will make use of a robust artificial intelligence system--which the team is dubbing "evil" AI--that is designed to keep you on your toes by presenting to you unpredictable enemy behavior that's based on enemy aggression and composure. Essentially, this will affect how your enemies react to you. The goal is to have the AI try to learn how you play to keep you from getting complacent.
Thankfully, Rogue Agent's environments will also offer myriad cover options--if you're quick. Besides the standard assortment of objects to hide behind, you'll find a unique "visual" cover system that will let you hide in plain sight. For example, in a pinch, it's possible to hide using bonfires as cover, since your foes won't be able to accurately target you through the flames. Along the same lines, you can make use of glass that's frozen over, making it difficult to draw a bead on you.
The robust gameplay is going to be complemented by a polished presentation that makes use of a powerful engine and strong art direction. On the technical side of things, the Rogue Agent graphics engine will be churning out massive environments that feature a bevy of special effects and dynamic action to give you a good feel for the insanity of running around blowing the hell out of everything and everybody (while Dr. No's forces race to stop you). On the style front, the team is drawing on some unique resources to create the game's look--unique resources that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see tapped for a video game. The costumes in the game are being designed by Kym Barret, an academy award winner for her work on The Matrix. Rene Morel, lead character artist on the Final Fantasy computer-generated film, is modeling the detailed characters. As far as the cast for the game goes, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent has the benefit of drawing on Bond lore from the past few decades to craft its own unique universe. Expect to see more than a few familiar faces (in addition to Goldfinger and Dr. No), including Oddjob, Xenia Onatopp, and M, to name just a few. Moreover, plan on seeing some familiar places from the films, along with some original locales. Sir Ken Adam, the veteran designer who crafted the look of many of the classic Bond films, is on hand to bring his experience to the game's production design, and he'll also ensure that the new locales fit in with the style of the classic locations.
Based on what we've seen, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is shaping up to be an impressive first-person shooter that takes the Bond franchise in a rather bold new direction. The gameplay is on the right track, and the graphics are looking sharp as well. While EA isn't sharing exact details on the gameplay modes just yet, it was revealed that the game will have single- and multiplayer components to every mode, which is just what we wanted to hear. While it's been fun "playing it good" in the Bond games that preceded it, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent should make a compelling case for being very, very bad. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is currently slated to ship later this year for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. While the game will make its playable debut on the E3 show floor next week, check out our developer interview on our media page, which is complete with the first footage from the game in motion.