GoldenEye is finally back on consoles. But that good news was quickly overshadowed by an upcoming launch that wasn’t straightforward. There are two versions of the reissue, with different versions for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox, and neither of them is the long-awaited remaster leaked last year. It’s a strangely confusing situation.
As part of the recent Nintendo Direct, the classic N64 GoldenEye shooter for Nintendo Switch Online was announced. As with other games in the online collection, this is an emulated version of the original N64, not a remake or remaster. However, it has one new feature: an online multiplayer game.
Around the same time, Rare — the Microsoft—owned studio that created the original version of GoldenEye – announced on Twitter that the reissue of GoldenEye would also be released on Xbox via Game Pass and would be free for Rare owners. Collection of repetitions. However, from the description of the game made by the studio, it immediately became clear that the Switch and Xbox versions are not the same thing. The Xbox version “includes achievements, 4K resolution, and a smoother frame rate—even in a local split-screen multiplayer game.” There was no mention of online multiplayer at all.
Later Bond’s official website 007.com confirmed that the online multiplayer mode is exclusive to the Switch version. He also noted that the Xbox version differs from the Switch version, calling it a “4K remaster” rather than a reissue.
25 years after the initial release, GoldenEye 007 has been accurately recreated for Xbox consoles. Includes achievements, 4K resolution and smoother frame rate — even in a local split-screen multiplayer game! Coming soon at @XboxGamePass.
However, this GoldenEye remaster is not a remaster, which for many years has been a top secret in the gaming industry. In the Xbox 360 era, Rare created a complete remaster of GoldenEye with updated graphics and a feature that allowed players to instantly switch between original and updated visuals, as in the Halo 1 and 2 remasters.
This version eventually leaked online in 2021. After the leak, members of the development team reported that work on the GoldenEye remaster was almost complete, and the game was almost ready for release, but Nintendo intervened and canceled it. Allegedly, Nintendo did not like the idea of releasing a game for the N64 on the Microsoft console.
Over the past year, a number of leaks have revealed Xbox achievements for GoldenEye. Perhaps this has given some people hope that a complete remaster of Rare is finally ready. The news that the game is in limbo because of the war in Ukraine would only fuel this hope. But instead, the version that will be released is just a high-resolution version of the original Nintendo 64 version. You get the same graphics of the 1990s, only cleaned up. The updated visual remaster seems to be (officially) intended for Rare eyes only.
So, these are two versions of GoldenEye: one with a multiplayer online game on the console, which is often used on the road, and the other without it on a platform known for its world-leading network infrastructure. As is the long-awaited Rare remaster of the Xbox 360 era. Given the long-running problems with the re—release of GoldenEye (due to licensing disputes on several fronts), maybe we should celebrate the fact that we’re getting it all – but it feels like a strange kind of celebration.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and articles editor.