Rare insight: Nintendo’s Miyamoto wanted N64 GoldenEye to be less violent

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Edit Nintendo worried its classic game GoldenEye was too violent.

Violent video games make you more violent, unless they totally don’t. If your first thought while playing GoldenEye 007 back on the Nintendo 64 was that the game could have used a more upbeat, less bloody life-affirming ending to its missions, you 1) may have missed some of the point, and 2) you and Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto have something in common.The classic N64 first-person shooter GoldenEye 007 is one of the most beloved games of the ’90s and played a big part in ushering such games from the PC to the living room.In his interview , Hollis discusses what it was like for Rare to partner with family-friendly Nintendo on a franchise like Bond, as famous for its fight sequences as for its protagonist’s smooth moves and choice of drink. “Bond is a violent franchise and making that fit with Nintendo, which is very much family-friendly, was a challenge,” said Hollis, speaking at the GameCity festival in Nottingham. But either way, Nintendo has apparently been concerned about how on-screen bloodshed comes across at least since the glory days of their beloved N64 console.

It’s the kind of game that a certain audience will never tire of learning more about, which is why this report from The Guardian is such an enjoyable read. Shigeru Miyamoto , legendary creator of classic Nintendo franchises like Super Mario , Star Fox , and Legend of Zelda , sent over a fax with some feedback for Goldeneye 007 close to the end of the project confirming Hollis’ fears that some aspects of the game might be a bit too over-the-top for Nintendo. “One point was that there was too much close-up killing – he found it a bit too horrible.

After several approaches, the studio was finally visited by Genyo Takeda, the director behind the Punch-Out!! titles. “He went back to his hotel room, and when he came back for more meetings the next day, Rare had made a new version of Punch-Out!! over night, using their Silicon Graphics workstations and featuring huge rendered sprites. Hollis’ workaround, rather than introducing a hand-shaking minigame, was to include a credits sequence that insinuated all of the characters in the game were being portrayed by actors to give it more of an “artifice.” Despite that incongruent ideal, Hollis discussed how impressed he was with the respect Nintendo gives its players and creators, citing their discussions about a potential sequel for the game that Rare would develop based on the next James Bond film. “We had a small chat, three or four of us on the team. While the game was ultimately a huge success for both Rare and Nintendo, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto had major concerns over the killing portrayed throughout. After producing the fighting game Killer Instinct, Rare was then offered the chance to make a game based around the GoldenEye movie, or “Bond 17” as it was known at the time. “Tim Stamper told me to write a design document,” says Hollis. “So I went away and thought about it for a month and wrote a ten-page document. I played Link to the Past from beginning to end… Then Mario 64 came out during the development of GoldenEye and we were clearly influenced by that game,” said Hollis. “Ours was much more open as a result.” Another aspect of Nintendo which Hollis admired is the idea of putting oneself in the player’s shoes, something Nintendo did before there was design doublespeak for it. “I value the idea – which I do see as quite strongly a Japanese idea – of respect to the player and trying to see into their mind and their life,” Hollis said. “We have jargon for it nowadays: ‘user-centric design’.

Nintendo thought about where the player would be when they played the game and who would be with them at the time.” Anyone who played Goldeneye 007 in the Nintendo 64’s glory days can remember that game’s four-way multiplayer split-screen: couch co-op before co-op was a gaming term, a triumph of user-centric design before that phraseology existed. The Guardian’s report has plenty more details on the development and legacy of GoldenEye — if you spent your youth playing this with your friends, it’s definitely worth a read. And imagine how such a conclusion could have impacted the first-person shooter genre, which following GoldenEye became a sober, colorless venue for shooting virtual people in the face. And that was it.” Years later, Hollis still seems surprised at how easily Nintendo accepted their refusal. “It must have grossed, I don’t know, $400m or something.

Partly it was Nikita, the film by Luc Besson, and also Dishonored, a 1930s movie starring a spy who was a woman, and a general sort of sensibility that I thought it would be interesting to have a woman be the centre of attention. We constructed this character, to the very best of our ability, to be the centrepiece of the game.” Joanna Dark was born of the best intentions – even her name comes from Jeanne D’Arc, or Joan of Arc – but her game inevitably made less of an impression than GoldenEye. You hear the theme tune and you’re right there.” After briefly discussing the logistics of the GoldenEye development (it took a team of ten two and three-quarter years, and a budget of $2m), he was asked about how Nintendo managed to maintain its brilliance as a game development studio.

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