James Bond in video games
This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)
Electronic Arts (1999–2006)
MGM Interactive (1999–2005)
IO Interactive (2020–present)
|Platform(s)||Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Sega SG-1000, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Macintosh, MSX, Oric 1, Oric Atmos, Amstrad PCW, BBC Micro, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Sega Master System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, dedicated, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, OS X, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Wii U|
|First release||Shaken but Not Stirred|
|Latest release||007 Legends|
The James Bond video game franchise is a series of predominantly shooter games and games of other genres (including role-playing and adventure games). Several games are based upon the James Bond films and developed and published by a variety of companies, centering on Ian Fleming's fictional British MI6 agent, James Bond. The intellectual property is owned by Danjaq.
|1982||Shaken but Not Stirred|
|1983||James Bond 007|
|1985||A View to a Kill|
|James Bond 007: A View to a Kill|
|1986||James Bond 007: Goldfinger|
|1987||The Living Daylights|
|1988||Live and Let Die|
|1989||007: Licence to Kill|
|1990||The Spy Who Loved Me|
|1991||James Bond Jr.|
|1993||James Bond 007: The Duel|
|1995||GoldenEye (dedicated handheld)|
|1998||James Bond 007|
|1999||Tomorrow Never Dies|
|2000||The World Is Not Enough (N64)|
|The World Is Not Enough (PS)|
|2001||The World Is Not Enough (GBC)|
|James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire|
|2002||James Bond 007: Nightfire|
|2003||James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing|
|2004||GoldenEye: Rogue Agent|
|2005||James Bond 007: From Russia with Love|
|2008||007: Quantum of Solace|
|James Bond 007: Blood Stone|
|TBA||Project 007 (working title)|
Early era (1983–1994)
In 1983, Parker Brothers released the first officially licensed James Bond video game, James Bond 007, for multiple consoles. (An earlier unofficial game, Shaken but Not Stirred, had been released in 1982.)
Since 1983, there have been numerous video games based on the films, Ian Fleming's novels, and original scripts created by the developer or publisher of the game. Mindscape, Domark, Interplay, and THQ all created James Bond games.
Nintendo era (1995–1998)
The popularity of the James Bond video game series did not rise quickly until 1997's GoldenEye 007 by Rare for the Nintendo 64. GoldenEye 007 expanded on the plot of the film GoldenEye and is a first-person shooter with a multiplayer mode. The game received very positive reviews and sold over eight million copies.
In 1998, Nintendo released James Bond 007 for the Game Boy developed by Saffire. The game features a story including characters from multiple James Bond films, such as Oddjob and Jaws. It also incorporates gambling minigames, such as Baccarat and Blackjack.
Electronic Arts era (1999–2005)
Electronic Arts took over the license from MGM Interactive when a video game based on Tomorrow Never Dies was in development in 1998. Taking the initial concepts for the video game adaptation, developer Black Ops Entertainment handled the final form of the title and the game saw the light of day in 1999 on PlayStation and met mixed reviews from critics, albeit becoming a financial success. The following entry was to be based on The World Is Not Enough, consisting of several versions released on multiple platforms, including one on Nintendo 64 developed by Eurocom, a version for PlayStation developed by Black Ops Entertainment, and Game Boy Color by 2n Productions, with all three meeting different results in spite of being commercially successful. Unlike the former two versions – first-person shooters – the Game Boy Color version is played from a top-down perspective.
In 2001, EA released Agent Under Fire for PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox, featuring an original storyline and lacking the likeness of then Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. The game added the elements of "rail" shooting and driving segments to a first-person shooter. The game sold nearly 5 million copies, making it the second-most successful game in the series, while only receiving mixed reviews. There are no differences between the console versions.
In 2002, Nightfire was released, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the film franchise and retaining Brosnan's likeness for the Bond character. It was developed by Eurocom for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox consoles, with a PC port by Gearbox Software and a Mac port by Aspyr. The computer versions are substantially different from the console versions, featuring different missions, a modified story line, and online play. In 2003, the game also had a Game Boy Advance version by JV Games, which also differs from both the console versions and PC versions.
In 2004, EA released Everything or Nothing, developed by EA Redwood, for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Unlike the two previous installments, Everything or Nothing is a third-person shooter with driving missions, and it stars the voices and likenesses of Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe and John Cleese, among others. It was written by the scriptwriter of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, with a plot connected to the Roger Moore Bond film A View to a Kill. It was released to mostly positive reviews, the game also had a Game Boy Advance version by JV Games, which differs from the console versions.
Later that year, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent was released on the same platforms with the exception of the Game Boy Advance version. A first-person shooter loosely connected to the Bond franchise a spin-off, it stars a former MI6 spy known as "GoldenEye", who works for Auric Goldfinger against Dr. Julius No. The game was panned for its misleading title and poor storyline. The game was released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Nintendo DS. EA listed 007 Racing and GoldenEye: Rogue Agent as spin-offs, out of their canonical order they have built.
2005 saw the release of From Russia with Love, based on the 1963 film of the same name. It stars Sean Connery as James Bond, and the other characters had the same likeness of the original cast. The game is a third-person shooter in the same style as Everything or Nothing, with expansions in the story and certain details changed (such as trading SPECTRE for OCTOPUS, due to legal problems). The game received positive reviews, and was released on GameCube, Xbox, PS2 and PSP.
Electronic Arts announced in 2006 a game based on then-upcoming Casino Royale, but it ended up being cancelled, because it would not be ready by the film's release in November. This fact, which would lead MGM to lose millions in licensing fees, along with EA's commitment to move away from movie franchise games and focus more on internal intellectual properties, led the company to abandon the Bond franchise in May 2006.
Activision era (2006–2013)
Shortly after Electronic Arts abandoned the license, in May 2006, Activision acquired non-exclusive rights to develop and publish James Bond games, which were to become exclusive in 2007. Activision's first game was Quantum of Solace, which was based on the 2008 film of the same name as well as the previous film Casino Royale. It was developed by Treyarch for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC; Eurocom for PlayStation 2 and Vicarious Visions for the Nintendo DS. The game was released on 31 October 2008 and received mixed reviews, with the PlayStation 2 version receiving the best reviews.
At E3 2010, Nintendo revealed GoldenEye 007, a remake for the Wii of the 1997 game. Developed by Eurocom, using their Dead Space: Extraction game engine, the game updated the story of the movie, with a script by Bruce Feirstein and the current Bond actor Daniel Craig as 007. It was released in November 2010 in all regions and received positive reviews from critics. Approximately a year later, an enhanced port of the game entitled GoldenEye 007: Reloaded was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The port featured HD graphics, new missions and PlayStation Move support on the PS3 version.
Activision's third Bond game, Blood Stone was released on the same day as GoldenEye 007 in November 2010. Developed by Bizarre Creations, the game returned to being a third person shooter, featured an original story and starred Daniel Craig, Judy Dench and Joss Stone, the latter of which also sang on the game's theme song "I'll Take it All". It was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and DS and received mixed reviews from critics. Developer Bizarre Creations was closed down by Activision in early 2011 just a few months after the game's release.
On 19 April 2012, Activision announced plans for a game titled 007 Legends to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the James Bond film franchise. The game was described as a "greatest hits compilation", retelling six film narratives with an overarching storyline to connect them together. The missions were revealed to be based upon Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to Kill and Die Another Day. On 9 November 2012, Activision added the last mission to the game, released as a downloadable content, which was based on Skyfall. The game was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U and received negative reviews from critics. Developer Eurocom shut down soon after the game's release in December 2012.
On 4 January 2013, Activision and Steam's online stores removed online availability and pages for Quantum of Solace, Blood Stone, and 007 Legends without explanation or warning, only to confirm three days later that the James Bond game license was revoked. A month later, Activision themselves declared that they would be backing away from licensed games in a formal statement.
Hiatus and IO Interactive era (2020–present)
On 7 January 2014, president and co-founder of Telltale Games, Kevin Bruner had expressed an interest in making a future James Bond game if he were afforded the chance. He stated that "I'm a giant James Bond fan and I'm always frustrated by games that make him a mass murderer." When he was asked which license he would adapt next if money and licensing hurdles were not a factor. "He's a super-spy, and that's a different skillset. The films make him less of a mass murderer, and there's not much killing in the books – more spying and intrigue." A rumour surfaced in June 2017 that Telltale was working on a video game entitled 007 Solstice. However, its status proved unlikely when Telltale filed for bankruptcy and closed down in November 2018.
On 21 January 2016, president of Curve Digital Dominic Wheatley expressed his interest alongside the company in the series, saying "I'd be very happy to have a James Bond licence. We could do a cracking game around that," adding that these opportunities are overlooked by the bigger firms, since Electronic Arts and Activision have their own IPs and no longer want to "promote someone else's brand."
In November 2020, IO Interactive announced Project 007, a brand new James Bond video game, working closely with licensors MGM and Eon Productions. IO described the game as a "wholly original Bond story" where "players will step into the shoes of the world's favorite Secret Agent to earn their 00 status in the very first Bond origin story." The game is currently in pre-production.
- Octopussy (1983)
Shortly after James Bond 007 was released in 1983 by Parker Brothers, another video game was announced, titled Octopussy, based on the film of the same name. The game was planned for release on the Atari 2600 System, Mattel Intellivision, and compatible systems. Set for release in the summer of 1983, it was cancelled for unknown reasons shortly after it was announced by Parker Brothers.
- GoldenEye 007 (1997; 2008)
A remastered version of the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007 by Rare was scheduled for release on Xbox 360's Live Arcade on 27 February 2008, but Microsoft (who acquired Rare and their intellectual properties in 2002) couldn't get the publishing rights from the intellectual property owners, Danjaq, LLC, resulting in the cancelation of the project, despite being nearly completed. It was rumored that Nintendo (the publisher of the original title) or Activision (who had exclusive rights to publish video games based on the James Bond franchise at the time) may have been involved in the project's cancellation, but no sources confirm the rumor. Despite this, in January 2021, a near-final build of the game was leaked online from an unknown source, which lead to many players playing the ROM via emulation.
- Tomorrow Never Dies: The Mission Continues (1998)
The original VHS release of Tomorrow Never Dies featured a brief trailer with Desmond Llewelyn which highlighted a game that would "start where the film ends". Footage shows Bond skiing, scuba diving and driving in third person and on a first-person shooting mission. The game was to come out on PlayStation and PC in the fall of 1998 and was being made by MGM Interactive, not EA; EA was not involved in Bond until November of that year. Because MGM's motion picture division had licensed exclusive James Bond console rights to Nintendo (for GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64), MGM had to buy some of their rights back from Nintendo in order to make the game.
A Tomorrow Never Dies game was released on 16 November 1999, distributed by EA, but with notable differences from the 1998 attempt. The game was a third-person shooter with no scuba diving level. The story follows the plot of the film, not the continuation that had been planned.
A level in the game sees Bond skiing down a mountain and killing a Japanese terrorist named Sotoshi Isagura (who had featured very briefly in the film), while on another stage Bond has a driving mission in Switzerland. These were not from the film and may have survived from the 'continuation' story.
- The World Is Not Enough (2000)
A game based on the 1999 film The World Is Not Enough film and using the Quake III Arena engine for the PC and PlayStation 2 was cancelled in favor for Agent Under Fire. Electronic Arts thought, by 2001, that too much time has passed since the release of the film, and that fans would be no longer interested in the product as talks of the succeeding film in the series, Die Another Day, were taking place.
- 007 Racing sequel (2001)
- Bond6 (2005)
EA Games began conceptual work on the game in 2003, under the working title of Bond6. The game was originally meant to be released in 2005, set to star Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. A video game adaptation of From Russia with Love began development when Brosnan announced that he was stepping down from the role, which ended plans for Bond6. The opening level planned for the former was retooled for the latter, and CGI work intended for the game was reused in television commercials for GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.
- Casino Royale (2006)
A game was in development based on the film of the same name. Daniel Craig, in character as Bond, was going to give his voice and likeness to the video game. It was set to release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. The game was 15% developed when the project was cancelled, as Electronic Arts would not finish it by the film's release in November 2006. Later, unfinished development screenshots from the Venice level were uncovered. Activision's debut in the series, Quantum of Solace, combines the storylines of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
- Blood Stone sequel (2011)
In December 2010, some screenshots and a video were leaked online that depicted a new James Bond game, which shared similar gameplay to its predecessor, Blood Stone. Reportedly, the project had been in development by Raven Software, but was postponed six months prior to the leak, at which point the game was believed to be back in development. However, the game was ultimately cancelled due to Blood Stone's poor sales.
- Skyfall (2012)
In January 2012, it was announced that a video game based on Skyfall would be released by Activision. Ultimately, a downloadable level based on Skyfall was released for Activision's 007 Legends, although a full game was not released.
Mobile and smartphone games
Since 2002, games featuring the Bond character and the 007 trademark have been published and distributed on mobile phones. The first two are based on action sequences from Die Another Day, one of them is titled Hover Chase and the other is Ice Racer. Both were published by Vodafone.
With the official reboot of the film franchise in 2006, Sony Online Entertainment released a side-scroll action game based on Casino Royale developed by Glu Mobile, following a storyline inspired by the film. Similarly, an identical tie-in based on Quantum of Solace was released in 2008 by the same team. The same year, Sony Online Entertainment Los Angeles developed and published an arcade fighting game to coincide with the aforementioned film, entitled Top Agent.
In 2014, it was reported that Glu Mobile was working on another mobile game bearing the James Bond license. A year later, its title was revealed as World of Espionage, a point-and-click game retelling several previous storylines from the film series, debuting an early access mode in July 2015 and releasing a full version of the game in November later that year. The game, after being universally panned for its uninspired content, was removed from the online mobile stores in December 2016 and Glu Mobile pulled the plug on the title.
With the popularity laid by GoldenEye 007 in 1997 on the Nintendo 64, fans of the video game have made many attempts to remake or recreate the title with updated makeovers on current engines over time. But, only one project succeeded. Entitled GoldenEye: Source, the game entered development in 2005 and officially saw its international release in 2010, five years after being in beta mode hosted by the Source engine. It is a total conversion mod based on the multiplayer mode from the aforementioned title.
A different team initiated similar attempts in 2013 to port the multiplayer mode from Nightfire (2002) to the Source engine, hoping to release it on Steam under the title Nightfire: Source. The project, as of today, remains in development.
To commemorate the video game's 25th anniversary, another project based on GoldenEye 007 entered development in 2017 on Unreal Engine 4, with the aim of releasing it sometime in August 2022, based on the title's single-player campaign. However, in August 2020, the team received a cease and desist letter from Danjaq, forbidding the remake and stripping its use of any licensed asset related to the property, including James Bond and related characters. The project was reborn as Spies Don't Die – an original experience "inspired by 90s first-person shooters".
Appearance in other media
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- "James Bond 'Skyfall' Game In The Works". GameRant. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Skyfall mission in 007 Legends launches first for PS3". GameSpot. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Glu to Create James Bond Game with EON Productions and MGM Interactive". MarketWatch. 8 April 2014.
- "The Next Bond Game by Glu Mobile". MI6-HQ.com. 2 June 2015.
- "James Bond: World of Espionage". MI6-HQ.com. 18 July 2015.
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