GoldenEye is finally coming back to consoles. But that good news was quickly overshadowed by his upcoming launch being anything but simple. The re-release has two versions with different versions for Nintendo Switch and Xbox, neither of which is the highly anticipated remaster that was leaked last year. It’s a strangely confusing situation.
As part of the recent Nintendo Direct, N64 classic shooter GoldenEye was announced for Nintendo Switch Online. As with the other games in the online collection, this is an emulated version of the N64 original, not a remake or remaster. However, it has one new feature: online multiplayer.
Around the same time, Rare—the Microsoft-owned studio that created the original version of GoldenEye— announced the re-release of GoldenEye on Twitter will also come to Xbox via Game Pass and will be available for free to owners of the Rare Replay collection. However, the studio’s description of the game made it immediately clear that the Switch and Xbox versions are not the same. The Xbox version “includes achievements, 4K resolution and smoother frame rates – even in split-screen local multiplayer.” There was no mention of online multiplayer at all.
Later, the official Bond site 007.com confirmed that online multiplayer is exclusive to the Switch version. He also noted that the Xbox version is different from the Switch release, calling it a “4K remaster” rather than a re-release.
The GoldenEye 007 experience faithfully recreated for Xbox consoles 25 years after its original release. Achievements include 4K resolution and smoother framerates – even in split-screen local multiplayer! Soon @XboxGamePass. pic.twitter.com/kpBlJKqFR9
— Rare Ltd. (@RareLtd) September 13, 2022
But this remaster of GoldenEye is no remaster that has been an open secret among the gaming industry for years. During the Xbox 360 era, Rare created a complete remaster of GoldenEye with updated graphics and a feature that allowed players to instantly switch between the original and updated visuals, just like the Halo 1 and 2 remasters.
This version finally leaked online in 2021. After the leak, members of the development team stated that work on the GoldenEye remaster was almost complete and the game was ready for release, but Nintendo stepped in and canceled it. Allegedly, Nintendo did not like the idea of releasing the N64 game on Microsoft’s console.
Over the past year, a number of leaks have revealed Xbox achievements for GoldenEye. This gave some people hope that a full remaster of Nadir was finally on the way. The news that the game was left in ruins due to the war in Ukraine would further strengthen this hope. The version to be released instead is just a high-definition version of the original Nintendo 64 version. You get the same 1990s graphics, just cleaned up. The updated visual remaster is apparently (officially) for Nadir’s eyes only.
Thus, there are two versions of GoldenEye: one with online multiplayer on a console that is often used on the go, and the other without it on a platform known for its world-leading online infrastructure. Nor is it the highly sought-after Rare remaster from the Xbox 360 era. Given the long troubles with GoldenEye’s re-release (due to licensing disputes on multiple fronts), perhaps we should celebrate that we got it all – but it feels like a strange celebration.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.