Fans of ’90s split-screen shooter classic Goldeneye 007 (not to be confused with the loosely related 2010 Wii title of the same name) will only have to dig out their N64 controllers for a few more days. After 25 years, the game will finally see its first rerelease on modern consoles, with Switch and Xbox versions hitting on Friday, January 27.
As previously announced, the Switch version will be part of the awkwardly named Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership, which costs $50 per year. New footage of that emulated version of the original game shows the same blocky characters, muddy textures, and pixelated sprites that players know (and love?) from the original game. In addition to the previously announced online multiplayer support, the Switch version will also feature a widescreen mode to expand the 4:3 aspect ratio of the original game.
Xbox One and Series S/X owners, meanwhile, will be able to enjoy Goldeneye 007 as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription or as a free DLC download that’s now included with the purchase of 2005’s Rare Replay. The first footage of that Xbox gameplay shows this version’s upscaled 4K visuals, which smooth out those low-res original textures and the aliased edges on authentic low-polygon character and object models. This version only promises a “legendary local multiplayer mode,” though, in addition to “alternative control options” for a modern Xbox controller.
There’s still no indication that a PC release is planned or pending.
Mark your calendars: GoldenEye 007 is set to launch on @XboxGamePass on January 27th! The countdown begins now – only two days until you get to experience Dam with an Xbox controller for the first time. pic.twitter.com/MzLXJxV9BV
— Rare Ltd. (@RareLtd) January 25, 2023
These emulated and upscaled rereleases are in some ways less interesting than the canceled Xbox 360 port of the game, which was rebuilt from the ground up for that console in 2007 and recently leaked as a fully playable version. Still, the fact that we’re even getting these versions on modern hardware required a minor miracle of coordination between Nintendo (which originally published the game on the N64), Microsoft (which owns original game developer Rare), Amazon (which owns Bond film studio MGM), and Bond series licensor Danjaq.
Goldeneye 007‘s original creation was also a bit of a miracle, with a team of rookie developers at Rare making use of what they called “anti-game design” to craft a new kind of console shooter. As author Alyse Knorr put it in her recent book about the game’s creation:
GoldenEye was made by playful jokesters in a serious workplace environment—by young, inexperienced rookies who cared a great deal about the quality of their work. It’s this tension that created the game we know and love today: a quirky, goofy, finely tuned work of art. A game as precisely crafted as it is fun to play, with the faces of its perfectionist naughty schoolboy creators etched literally onto the walls and characters and computer screens of every level.