007 Legends – Why You Should Be Hyped
by Mike D.
It was only two years ago when Nintendo fans finally got their hands on GoldenEye again. The original, the first-person shooter that first truly exploited the fun of multiplayer for a home console, is rightfully regarded as a classic (albeit one that hasn’t aged as gracefully as the men who have played Bond on the big screen). The 2010 remake by British developer, Eurocom, was not quite as warmly welcomed, but it was a great return to form for Bond games.
Which leaves me wondering: why does it seem like no one is that hyped for the upcoming 007 Legends? I suppose there are more than enough FPS to choose from these days, but Bond on a Nintendo console creates a bit of nostalgia, doesn’t it?
Checking around internet forums revealed one main culprit – the game’s graphics. See for yourself:
Not bad, I’d say, but I also recognize that there isn’t much in that trailer (or any other trailer for the game on youtube) that screams “this is on the bleeding edge!” However, I’d wager there’s a reason that the game looks the way it does. Walk with me, if you will, through equal parts detective work and guesswork…
Firstly, Legends is most likely using the same engine (perhaps modestly updated) that powered GoldenEye Reloaded on the PS3 and 360 last year, which looked like this:
Reloaded was, of course, a port of the Wii’s GoldenEye remake/reimagining (a game that was powered by a heavily modified version of what ran another of Eurocom’s Wii releases, Dead Space: Extraction).
Now, that’s all just context for why Reloaded looked the way it did – it was a port of a Wii game. Of course, when that game launched, it was reported that it ran on a “new engine” that pushed out 60 frames-per-second, but it was still a port. The source material for its assets was a Wii game. Similarly, I’d put money on Eurocom not starting with a blank slate for Legends; I think they started with what they already had available from their work on both versions of GoldenEye.
Why would I guess that? Because if you played any version of GoldenEye, you remember the Docks map in multiplayer. It looked something like this:
But as you can tell by the IGN watermark and third-person perspective, that isn’t GoldenEye.
That’s from Eurocom’s version of Quantum of Solace for the PS2, released in 2008. We’re talking reused game assets from a PS2 game; that was the starting point for Eurocom’s Bond games. It seems to me that the British developer hasn’t been starting from scratch at all with their latest 007 adventures – they’re building off of what they have (game assets and an engine that began life on the Wii, if not before, in the PS2 era from QoS).
Keep in mind the development schedule they had. Apparently a Rare-developed port of the original N64 GoldenEye was in the works throughout 2008; that fell through because Microsoft and Nintendo couldn’t agree on slicing up the profits. As GoldenEye on Wii was released in 2010, that gave Eurocom under two years to make their Nintendo game. They customized their engine from Extraction, cribbed some assets from last gen’s QoS, and put out a pretty high caliber game in a very small development window.
They then had a year to port the Wii version of GoldenEye to the PS3/360, while simultaneously putting together an engine that could double the framerate, as well as optimizing the game and maps so that they could fit in more players online. Now, less than a year later, they’ve got Legends on their plate.
So if anyone is wondering why this game doesn’t look like it’s a graphical monster, my guess is that it’s because Eurocom has had one hell of a schedule. When Legends releases, they will have put out three 007 games back-to-back-to-back, in three straight years.
So while we may not get blisteringly sweet eye candy, recent history tells us we’re still probably going to get one heck of a game.
Because Eurocom’s version of QoS was the only version of that game worth a damn. Because GoldenEye was really fun; it looked quite good on Wii, and while not pushing the outer boundaries of the 360 or PS3, was still a solid-looking game with the same fun multiplayer that was on Wii.
Eurocom is a tried and tested developer. They know how to make a fun virtual playground for our favorite MI6 agent.
Even if it’s not the most visually flashy videogame you’ll see, my money is on oo7 Legends being an outright blast to play.