As first reported by JapaneseNintendo, a trademark filing from Nintendo has confirmed the firm’s interest in retaining and utilizing the Nintendo 64 branding for products and accompanying memorabilia. In this light it appears that conversation has once again picked up amongst consumers hopeful to see a miniature N64 system akin to the previously released NES Classic and SNES Classic. As a result, gamers have begun to chime in with games that they feel should come preloaded on the hardware itself and topping many fans’ lists is sure to be the classic first-person shooter GoldenEye 007.
As one of the most beloved games to appear on the original console, this is an understandable desire. That’s why it’s such a shame that GoldenEye 007 is almost definitely never going to be present on an alleged Nintendo 64 Classic.
To clarify, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love it. Far from it, as I believe that the title helps to capture the very spirit of the original hardware. I’m just saying that it’s almost definitely not going to happen. Provided that an N64 Mini is in the cards (which seems very possible, if not inevitable) then opting to forego the inclusion of this James Bond first-person shooter is almost certainly going to be the call made by higher-ups at Nintendo as a result of a complex licensing issue that spans across several companies.
Those looking for proof regarding my claims don’t even need to go back all that far to see how this is the case. As it turns out, Microsoft and (at-the-time James Bond license holder) Activision had plans in place to remaster and release GoldenEye 007 under the XBLA banner on the Xbox 360’s online marketplace. With Microsoft in possession of GoldenEye 007‘s developer, Rare, this should have been an easy means of moving forward with the product, but development hit a snag because it turns out that Nintendo still has partial ownership of the N64 original.
After attempted negotiations, Nintendo and Microsoft simply couldn’t strike a deal. As a result, the game was shelved indefinitely. Footage and screenshots of the project are still present on the World Wide Web, allowing fans to reminisce on what could have been, but this literal failure to launch doesn’t bode well for the fate of this N64 classic appearing on, well, the Nintendo 64 Classic.
There’s also the underlying issue of which publisher currently owns the James Bond license – if any. The franchise’s previously mentioned license holder, Activision, announced that it was walking away from licensed games back in 2013 and hasn’t dropped a game under the Bond IP since 2012’s 007 Legends. Glu Mobile then had a brief fling with the property and managed to release James Bond World of Espionage on mobile devices before the game failed horribly and the developer was forced to surrender it.
If no company currently has the game-based rights then Nintendo would have to go about securing them directly from James Bond franchise owner Danjaq, LLC. At that point, would Microsoft be so keen as to then make a deal so that Nintendo could release the game on its new and limited N64 hardware after its own attempts were barred by Nintendo when it attempted to re-release GoldenEye 007 on 360? It’s hard to imagine that the verdict reaching a positive outcome for fans.
Even if Microsoft was willing to play ball, there’s already been so much effort – and presumably money – placed into simply including the title as one of a number of games on the Nintendo 64 Classic at that point that it’s far more logical if the companies were to reach a similar deal on some other sort of cross-platform revamp of 64’s GoldenEye where they would both stand to profit a great deal more.
If all of those hurdles weren’t already enough, there would then have to be added costs associated with using the likeness of former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan (as well as all of his featured co-stars). All of these additional expenses applied to making the title a part of the Nintendo 64 Classic’s built-in library are just too steep to make it worthwhile for anyone involved.
Still, I have to admit that it would be golden, aye?
Believe otherwise? Make sure you let Riley know he’s a fool on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle. Honestly, he needs some humbling.