The James Bond film franchise is one of the most successful movie series of all time. According to Box Office Mojo, films starring the super spy have grossed more than $5 billion. These include the recent hits Skyfall, Spectre, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, which see Daniel Craig in the driving seat as the suave British intelligence agent.
Ian Fleming’s brainchild would be right at home here at ADAPT, giving some of the world’s top adventure athletes a run for their money. No James Bond mission would be complete without a daring race down snowy slopes or a parkour chase on top of a crane in Madagascar. In the 1989 Bond movie, License to Kill, the spy even bungee jumped off of a dam. While that’s not quite as crazy as dunking a biscuit in tea during a bungee jump or free soloing Yosemite’s 3,000-foot ‘El Cap’ (that’s Ethan Hunt territory), it’s still impressive to watch the stunt play out in the film.
Bizarrely, though, for all of the success of the James Bond movies, recent video games based on the British secret agent haven’t been such a hit. Even with the video game industry seeing huge growth and the continued interest in the franchise, it’s been quite some time since a decent Bond tie-in was released.
A look back at GoldenEye
While the James Bond franchise isn’t exactly known for its impact on the video game industry, there is one very notable exception: 1997’s GoldenEye 007. Based on the 1995 Bond movie of the same name, the video game tie-in was a first-person shooter developed by legendary British video game studio Rare and released on the Nintendo 64. Following the same story arc as the movie, it tasked players with preventing criminals from using a satellite to crash the financial market. It also featured four-player, split-screen multiplayer in which players battled it out in several deathmatch game modes.
GoldenEye 007 was a huge success when it was released, selling 2.1 million units in 1998 and receiving swathes of positive reviews that praised its gameplay, animations, and detail. It benefited heavily from the success of the GoldenEye film; the movie grossed $589,346,616 and made $296,429,941 in profit (when adjusted for inflation). However, the quality of the game also managed to draw in non-Bond fans and gamers who liked the idea of an action-packed title, even if they hadn’t actually seen the film that is was based on.
But the game has a long-lasting legacy too. Not only was it re-released in 2010 and 2011, but its influence can still be seen in other pop culture, with Nintendo Life highlighting a recent Family Guy cameo which sees the animated show recreated one of the game’s most iconic scenes. As Polygon reports, there’s also a thriving speedrun community and players continue to compete to take down the game’s oldest speedrun records (video above).
What would a new James Bond game look like?
Other James Bond video games haven’t quite been able to reach the same highs. 1999’s release Tomorrow Never Dies was critically panned for its shift from first-person to third-person shooter gameplay. 2001’s Agent Under Fire fared better, selling 1.5 million copies and making $58 million by July 2006, though this received mixed reviews. The same can be said for 2003’s Everything Or Nothing, 2004’s GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, 2005’s Russia With Love, and 2008’s Quantum of Solace. Fans will agree that there is ample opportunity to release a new James Bond video game for modern consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) and PC, using improved tech to get the franchise back on track.
The new game wouldn’t have to be a tie-in to the next James Bond movie (which does not yet have a name) but it would need to include some core principles from the series. 007 is fond of gadgets so these would have to be featured quite heavily, there would have to be lots of bad guys to battle, and James would have to say the iconic “Bond, James Bond” at some point (since this line is featured 25 times over the course of 24 movies). The game would also have to feature a love interest as James is a real ‘ladies man’, having 58 romantic interests in the franchise. And, if the success of GoldenEye 007 is anything to go by, it would have to be highly replayable and would need to feature a stellar online multiplayer experience too.
Why hasn’t there been a new James Bond game?
The James Bond video game series seems like easy money. EA and Activision, which have previously held the license to Jame Bond game tie-ins, have made millions off of the strength of the Bond brand. However, the reason why a Bond game hasn’t been made recently is that no one—neither EA, Activision or any of their competitors—have acquired the license. Although EA does own the Star Wars license, it and Activision have largely shifted to original IPs as they can keep all of the revenue, which isn’t the case with licensed properties.
That said, there are several interested parties. In a January 2016 interview, Curve Digital told MCV UK that it would make “a cracking” James Bond game. While it’s unclear if the studio ever began talks with the right parties, it suggests that fans shouldn’t completely give up hope on a new game.
Featured image: Brendan Bostock/Flickr