Upon a slew of new announcements this week, one in particular took the gaming community by (slight) surprise. GoldenEye 007, the classic N64 shooter, would be coming to both the Nintendo Switch AND Xbox.
Whether by coincidence or planning, the ports for both systems were revealed almost simultaneously via the Nintendo Direct showcase and through developer Rare's Twitter.
Now it should be noted that rumors have been swirling for quite a few years now that a remake/remaster of the iconic shooter had been in the works, hence why I say this could've been only a slight surprise for some. In fact, several Tweets in the last year confirmed that the game was basically remastered and just awaiting release. We even got to see some amazing screenshots from this so called remaster in 2020 and full gameplay in 2021.
So this is where there is some surprise, as Nintendo's version and Xbox's version differ a fair amount. Nintendo's will be available via the Nintendo Switch Online and will be more or less a port of the original N64 version, with an additional online multiplayer mode.
Meanwhile, the Xbox version, which is developed by Rare Ltd, will include 4K resolution, smoother frame rates, Xbox achievements, and split-screen local co-op.
Both have no firm release date, only that it will come some time in 2023. Xbox players who already own a copy of Rare Replay will get the game for free and Game Pass subscribers will be able to access the game via the subscription service.
There's been some ongoing speculation as to why both versions are so different. The most logical reason boils down to licensing. While MGM owns the film rights, the game licensing has remained in Nintendo hands for decades. The remaster we saw images of back in 2020 and 2021 were developed for the Xbox, and rumor has it, that Nintendo wasn't thrilled at the idea of an N64 exclusive becoming available to Xbox users. Then in 2020, the creative license Nintendo held over 007 expired, after 20 years, opening up the door. So perhaps this different and simultaneous remaster release is the middle ground for both console makers.
At this time, without a firm release date, there is also no news of whether either port will eventually come to PlayStation.
Regardless, it's amazing news to see that this quintessential shooter is sliding into the modern era. Some of my fondest memories of gaming when I was younger was playing 007 with friends.
Here's hoping we can re-live those memories, but without the screen-hopping.