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How  GoldenEye 's famous multiplayer mode was sneaked in at the last minute
How GoldenEye's famous multiplayer mode was sneaked in at the last minute
August 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose

August 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, GDC Europe

GDC Europe attendees were today treated to a rare postmortem for the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 from the game's director Martin Hollis.

Never-before-seen design documents for Rare's classic 1997 title posed such questions for the team as "what is the appropriate level of humor?" and "what level of violence is acceptable?"

The game was originally angled as "similar to Virtua Cop in terms of gameplay," but with large upgrades and advances wherever possible, such as a larger number of character types, more intelligent AI and more interesting 3D backdrops.

Although the game was in development for nearly three years, Hollis admitted that the popular multiplayer mode was made at the very last minute, and took only one month to build.

"It was done without the knowledge or permissions of the management at Rare and Nintendo," he laughed, noting that if the team had not put it together on the sly before showing it to management, there's no way it would have been allowed -- the game was already late as it was.

As for a number of the game's issues, which are still remembered by gamers today, Hollis says he likes to refer to them as "mistakes I like."

The inclusion of the smaller Oddjob multiplayer character who was difficult to shoot at, for example, is something that Hollis still laughs about. "To me, that's a social dynamics problem," he joked. "You should be putting pressure on your friend not to use him."

The game was also initially too violent, with over the top blood and death animations. When told to tone it down, the team took the opportunity to inject subtle humor into the title, such as melee chopping enemies from behind, explosions that would send bad guys flying, and soldiers who would fall down in pain when shot in the crotch.

Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe. For more GDC Europe coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)

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Patrick McAllister
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Anyone know if there is anymore information about all this anywhere?

Frank Cifaldi
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Define "this" please? This particular talk? The making of GoldenEye?

Simon Carless
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We'll be posting the full postmortem video on GDC Vault (and likely Gamasutra!) some time in the next few weeks.

J Scott
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A couple of articles with some additional info (including a video that was shown as part of it) (in response to Patrick's request)

Patrick McAllister
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Thanks for the links.

Nathaniel Grundy
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You know, I'm really not surprised that the multiplayer was put in at the last minute, considering the corniness of some of the "cheats". Big head mode, anyone? Also, the fact that you could pick pretty much any character model from the game to play as.

Omar Marshall
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I really love this game to the bottom of my heart. I am gonna play this game right now. Go goldeneye!!!!

Jeremy Alessi
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Everytime I play Goldeneye (especially the multiplayer) it still blows me away how polished it is. Great game that I would gladly still play with my friends any given night.

Matthew Cleere
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GoldenEye is perfection. You cannot criticize it, only learn from it. These days kids grew up with better graphics and playing on FPS control systems that were, every one of them, evolved or straight copied from Goldeneye controls and mechanics while they were often totally oblivious to the root source of all things wonderful in FPS: Goldeneye. Even these kids should be able to go back, play Goldeneye and recognize the pure genius and finely honed craftsmanship. This kid commenting that it doesn't surprise him that mulitplayer was put in at the last minute has absolutely NO appreciation for this demi-god of a title. Doesn't surprise you, huh? Okay, too cool for school boy. You may not have been there to see the evolution of gaming, but you should school yourself before you fool yourself. GoldenEye ROCKED the universe!!! Changed everything. And it is nothing short of amazing that the dev team created multiplayer in their spare time DURING CRUNCHTIME. A tip of the hat to some true masters. Kudos gentleman.

Nathaniel Grundy
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...I understand that this reply is months late, but HAW HAW HAW. I grew up on Goldeneye. I didn't intend to belittle their craftsmanship, but come on, those cheats were so cheesy.