Hey, remember when Bond games weren’t just Call of Duty with different characters? Remember games like Everything or Nothing, Agent Under Fire and Nightfire? You know, back when you actually felt like Bond. Just look at the monstrosity that is GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. Everything about it screams “reboot because GoldenEye was a cash cow”. What a spit in Pierce Brosnan’s face. Not only did they go with Daniel Craig (great actor, terrible Bond), but they threw out nearly everything that made both the movie and Nintendo 64 game great.
But Nightfire was different. It had an original story. It had multiple awesome Bond gadgets. It had Bond moments, and most importantly it didn’t have the jarring “first person cutscenes”. It was fantastic. From the engaging campaign to the top-notch couch competitive multiplayer Nightfire could do no wrong. And with the upcoming retail release of 007 Legends and the SkyFall film Activision will have no way to woo Bond fans next year. This is exactly why Nightfire needs to make a comeback.
What should change:
Simultaneous online and splitscreen gameplay - A word to all multiplayer developers out there. If you want your game to sell well don’t have just one or the other. Games that have both appeal to all players. Games that have one or the other suffer. Yes, there’s an air of “we want our players to buy next year’s game” here, but that’s just the thing. The goodwill of actually giving players what they want and need comes back around when they have to choose between your new retail game and someone else’s. Long story short: spend the time necessary to make simultaneous online and splitscreen happen.
Bonus content – We’ll want more; we’ll want more characters, more maps, and maybe even a bonus mission. Make it DLC if you want, it doesn’t really matter. Out of the box Nightfire could easily demand 1200 MSP, so if it’s a budgetary concern split it out. Give us Daniel Craig. Give us Connery, Moore, Lazenby. Give us classic GoldenEye maps like Complex and Facility. 007 Nightfire is unique enough to stand alone from the N64 classic, yet familiar enough to accommodate those classic maps.
What should stay the same:
Actors – Some may disagree here, but Daniel Craig needs to stay in Daniel Craig games. The Pierce Brosnan-esque likeness used in Nightfire fits the game well. And for that matter it would be great to actually get Pierce Brosnan to re-voice the lines originally spoken by Maxwell Caulfield, but again if the budget doesn’t have it spend the money elsewhere. Other actors and likenesses all suit the story perfectly, to butcher it with radically different character designs like GoldenEye Reloaded did would cheapen … no, ruin the experience.
Classic Bond gadgets – GoldenEye Reloaded took a modern-day view on a then 15 year old film. Instead of multiple gadgets Bond had a smart phone, and whatever he needed, there was an app for that. While fitting for the setting, it took away something classic about the series. No longer were lasers concealed in watches and knives in shoes. Now Bond just loaded up an app and his iBond did the rest. Nightfire represents a transition between the classic gadgets and the new all-in-one mentality of Reloaded. The gadgets fit for the time, but they weren’t all smashed into one. It gave the player a sense of adventure that was lost with the return of GoldenEye.
Why it would succeed:
007 Nightfire is one of the very few 3D Bond games that actually leaves you with a feeling like you’re the world’s greatest super agent. Recent installments feel like Call of Duty with Daniel Craig thrown into the mix. Why not give players back that feeling of truly being Bond? This game had it all: an original plot, quality shooter sequences, crazy gadgets, vehicle sequences, and even a beautiful Bond girl. A fairly straightforward port using the original high-resolution production textures could take a few years from the game’s age, giving it a great look at a low cost. This is one title that could do a lot for a relatively small development budget.