GoldenEye is finally back on consoles. But this good news was soon overshadowed by its upcoming launch being just about something else. There are two versions of the re-release, with different versions for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox, and neither is the much-anticipated re-release that was leaked last year. It’s a strangely complicated situation.
As part of the recent Nintendo Direct, the classic N64 GoldenEye shooter has been announced for Nintendo Switch Online. As with the other games in the online collection, this is an emulated version of the original N64, not a remake or rework. 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 on Twitter that the re-release of GoldenEye It 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 immediately made it clear that the Switch and Xbox versions are not the same. The Xbox version includes “achievements, 4K resolution, and a smoother frame rate – even in split-screen local multiplayer.” There is absolutely no mention of the online multiplayer game.
Later, Bond’s official website 007.com Confirmed that online multiplayer is exclusive to the Switch version. He also noted that the Xbox version is different from the Switch version, calling it a “4K remaster” rather than a re-release.
25 years after its original release, try GoldenEye 007 faithfully redesigned for Xbox consoles. Includes achievements, 4K resolution, and a smoother frame rate – even in split-screen local multiplayer! soon to Tweet embed. pic.twitter.com/kpBlJKqFR9
– Rare Ltd September 13, 2022
However, this modified version of GoldenEye is Not A switch that has been pretty much an open secret among the gaming industry for years. During the Xbox 360 era, Rare created a fully modified version of GoldenEye with updated graphics and functionality that allows players to instantly switch between the original and updated visuals, just like Halo 1 and 2 remasters.
This version eventually leaked to the Internet in 2021. After the leak, members of the development team revealed that work on renaming GoldenEye was largely over and the game was ready for release, but Nintendo stepped in and canceled it. Nintendo allegedly didn’t like the idea of releasing the N64 game on Microsoft’s console.
Over the past year, a number of leaks have revealed Xbox’s achievements for GoldenEye. This may have given some people hope that Rare’s full remaster was finally on the way. News that the game is in limbo because of the Ukraine war would have only fueled that hope. But instead, the version to be released is just an HD version of the original Nintendo 64. You’re getting the same ’90s graphics, just cleaned up. The updated visual mod appears to be (officially) for Rare’s eyes only.
So there are two versions of GoldenEye: one with online multiplayer on a console often used on the go, and one without it on a platform known for its world-leading online infrastructure. And Rare isn’t the much-needed remaster of the Xbox 360 era. Given the long haul in GoldenEye’s relaunch (due to licensing disputes on multiple fronts), maybe we should celebrate the fact that we’ve had it all — but that sounds like a strange kind of celebration.
Matt Purslow is the UK news and features editor at IGN.
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