The more I think about it, the stranger late-’90s gaming feels. As a 14-year-old, I would have friends come over to my home to play local multiplayer games on the Nintendo 64. And that all seems so distant and foreign during 2020 and this pandemic. But at the time, it was always fun thanks in large part to the James Bond shooter GoldenEye 007. My friends and I spent hundreds of hours playing that deathmatch classic on the big rear-projection television in my basement. It was such a defining game experience for me that I spent years hoping for a worthy followup — but nothing ever really recaptured the magic of the original. After years of mostly disappointing James Bond games, I gave up hope.
Hitman developer IO Interactive announced today that it is making Project 007. This is an officially licensed game that is using the same Glacier Engine software tools that powered 2016’s Hitman and 2018’s Hitman 2.
“It’s true that once in a while, the stars do align in our industry,” IO Interactive chief executive officer Hakan Abrak said. “Creating an original Bond game is a monumental undertaking, and I truly believe that IO Interactive, working closely with our creative partners at EON and MGM, can deliver something extremely special for our players and communities. Our passionate team is excited to unleash their creativity into the iconic James Bond universe and craft the most ambitious game in the history of our studio.”
So why am I letting myself get excited for a new Bond video game adventure? Because time has recalibrated my expectations, and because IO Interactive is an ideal choice for this character.
IO Interactive will do something new with James Bond
The problem with every 007 game after GoldenEye is that fans believed they wanted GoldenEye over and over. This led to publishers sticking to the first-person action of that Nintendo original. And the issue with that is GoldenEye 007 had the benefit of its time and place. This was a console shooter before Halo or Call of Duty. If you weren’t playing Quake on PC, you didn’t know what a first-person shooter should feel like.
As time went on, even most GoldenEye 007 fans admit that it was probably never that good. It’s something we suffered through because it was the best way to approximate the multiplayer deathmatch action that other games would later turn into actual fun games on Xbox and beyond.
And now that we’ve had 23 years since GoldenEye, I know that I don’t want a James Bond game like GoldenEye. I want a 007 adventure that does something different, and that is where IOI comes in.
IOI didn’t provide any solid details about how its James Bond game will play. But it seems fair to assume that the studio is using its Glacier tech because it wants Project 007 to play like Hitman. And that’s an ideal fit.
While the older Bond games captured the bombastic action and car chases, they’ve typically skirted around the sneaky spy stuff and the related gadgetry. That’s exactly the world that IO plays in with Hitman, and it’s the side of Bond I most want to see in a game.
So I find myself once again getting excited about a followup to GoldenEye. Only this time I’m not excited about the prospect of going back to sitting on a couch in my basement playing splitscreen with friends. Instead, I’m allowing myself to anticipate this game because of the ways that IO Interactive might push James Bond forward.