Skip to main content

James Bond is back in two video games

The icing on the cake for Bond fans suffering from withdrawal: the voice and image of Daniel Craig appears in two new games.
The icing on the cake for Bond fans suffering from withdrawal: the voice and image of Daniel Craig appears in two new games.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two new video games reboot the James Bond movie franchise with Daniel Craig's likeness
  • Activision's Kyle Walker boldly declares: "This is the Bond event of 2010"
  • New Wii game is an update of the classic 1997 "GoldenEye" game for the Nintendo 64
  • "Blood Stone" was written by Bruce Feirstein, who's co-written screenplays for three Bond films
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- If you're a James Bond fan, times right now are as dark as one of 007's tuxedos.

The next Bond movie has been put on hold because of MGM's lingering financial troubles. And no one knows when, or even if, a Bond movie will hit the big screen again.

But this week, the promise that appears at the end credits of every Bond film ("James Bond Will Return ...") is being kept by a pair of video games.

Activision is releasing two new Bond games -- "GoldenEye 007 " for the Nintendo Wii and "James Bond 007: Blood Stone" for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC -- and the voice and image of current Bond star Daniel Craig appears in both.

Activision's Kyle Walker boldly declares: "This is the Bond event of 2010."

Like James Bond at the beginning of a mission, these new games face potentially hostile territory. With two years gone by since the last Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," it seems the only place you see the phrase, "Bond ... James Bond," these days is in the financial pages.

Will Bond fans raise their martini glasses to toast 007's long-awaited return in these games? Or will Bond's absence from the pop culture radar cause fans to put out their own burn notice on the missing superspy and move on to something else?

"Fans are going to be very happy with it," promises Michael O'Donnell, lead producer for "James Bond 007: Blood Stone."

He believes "Blood Stone's" original story (written by Bruce Feirstein, who's co-written screenplays for three Bond films), international locations and intense action sequences will satisfy gamers and Bond film devotees alike.

"The [game's] cinematic presentation will take a lot of people by surprise," says O'Donnell, who also cites a new Bond girl -- singer Joss Stone, who performs in the game and sings its theme song. "We're definitely going to do [James Bond] justice."

The makers of "GoldenEye 007" have to pull off more than just doing James Bond justice.

That new Wii game is an update of the classic 1997 "GoldenEye" game for the Nintendo 64, which itself was based on the 1995 film that introduced Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. The game is still widely considered one of the best shooting games ever.

"GoldenEye's" makers are well aware that tinkering with a classic can be as dangerous as messing with Odd Job when he's cranky.

"It was a massive thing when we found out we were going to working on this," says "GoldenEye" lead producer Dawn Pinkney. "You have to live up to the best shooter of all time."

The new "GoldenEye" has gotten a fresh coat of paint for its relaunch. The dialogue has been adapted to suit Daniel Craig's man-of-few-words style; the 1990s setting of the original has been updated to resemble a 2010 world; and unlike the original, the new "GoldenEye" will have an online multiplayer option.

But even with all the changes, Pinkney insists, "We didn't stray too far from 'GoldenEye' -- it still is 'GoldenEye.' "

"It was a bold choice on their part to remake such a favorite," says Morgan Webb, host of G4's video game review show "X-Play," about the "GoldenEye" update.

Webb, who has yet to play the new Bond games, fears some gamers might slam the new "GoldenEye" for straying too far from the beloved original while others may slam it for not having changed enough to suit the times.

"It runs the risk of making absolutely nobody happy," she says.

And both Bond games have to deal with another pitfall: Despite being reliable million-plus sellers, Bond titles generally don't get much respect in the video game world.

"They just were so forgettable," G4's Webb says of 007's past gaming ventures. "They didn't really appeal to the core gamer."

With a few exceptions, most notably the original "GoldenEye" game and 2003's "Everything or Nothing," too many previous Bond games suffered from uninspired gameplay, recycled storylines and a rushed, thrown-together feel. That spotty record might make gamers wary of giving 007 another shot.

Still, the makers of the new Bond games are confident there are enough Bond-deprived fans out there to make "Blood Stone" and "GoldenEye" hits. The question now is: Will those folks who can't see Bond on the silver screen be satisfied to play Bond on their video-game consoles?

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

Most popular Tech stories right now