MR: Tell us about the mission objective originally planned for the famous distant island in the Dam level, and why you kept it out of the final game.
ME: There was talk about being able to drive a boat there, but we never got around to implementing the boat… Development was very freeform and unplanned back then – some things made it in and some didn’t. We really were working out how to do everything as we went along.
DB: There was no real objective as such – if I did it today I’d probably have a control for an open water outlet pipe that was blocking Bond’s bungie jump there, so you’d have to go there to turn off the water. I think the original plan was to have a building over there to go and investigate, with armour as a reward. That would have meant a boat ride needed to be coded in, and some of the scenery had gaps in when viewed from the island, so it was too much work. The Dam was one of the more technically difficult levels to get working – Martin ended up hard-coding the chunks of background into the game to get it to turn off scenery correctly and it took him ages!
MR: You tried to include an objective in the third level, Runway, where Bond had to ride a motorbike like in the film. Were players also supposed to chase the plane as it moved through the landing strip? Or even worse… chase it as it went down the precipice?
DB: Would we have done it like the film if we could? Yes, definitely.
ME: We probably had that idea at some point! If we could have made it more like the film I’m sure we would have.
MR: What was the original purpose of Ourumov’s briefcase in the seventh level, Silo?
DB: It was an objective – you make him drop it, and it would have information inside which would lead to your next mission. That mission had rather a lot of objectives anyway.
ME: Originally there was an objective to “steal Ourumov’s briefcase” but it was removed at some point. It’s possible there were some launch codes or important documents inside it that were vital to the mission.
MR: Why does the roof open in that level and was it related to the stair that appeared alongside the missile in the first shots of the game? How did you come up with this level?
ME: There were some ideas related to having the rockets actually launch from their silos during the mission or a cut scene (like the space shuttle in the Aztec mission). So I think the roof was made as a working door just in case.
DB: The roof opens because it’s a door, like the other doors in the game, and is set up the same way. We had forgotten to set it up so that it couldn’t be opened, and when we found out during testing it was actually quite nice to be able to open it, even if it did nothing, so we left it like that.
MR: Rare have despised questions about button codes in their games for years. Why were they included in GoldenEye 007, then?
ME: That’s strange… the editor of Rare Scribes is always telling me he loves questions about button codes and wishes he could be asked about them more!
In GoldenEye 007 the button codes were partly left in as a safety measure, so that if the game turned out to be too hard or we wanted to make sure everyone could access a particular cheat or level then we could just release the code in the future.
DB: They were debug tools in GoldenEye 007 for us and Nintendo testers. We believed quite strongly in not having these shortcuts – we thought that the special modes and other levels should be earned by the player rather than gifted to them, so we didn’t want to include the button codes for GoldenEye 007; including the codes in the final game was not the team’s decision. However, since we had to include them, we made them obtuse and difficult so you wouldn’t find them by accident. We didn’t include them in Perfect Dark because we were able to get our own way on that occasion. Of course, some people choose not to believe us, and continue to ask us to this day.
MR: Was the last blank space in the cheats menu where the ‘All Bonds’ option should have been placed?
DB: It was just that – a blank. We didn’t have another cheat to go in it, so we left it empty. ‘All Bonds’ would never have been a cheat option, anyway.
ME: ‘All Bonds’ wasn’t a cheat option actually. On the folder screen where you choose between the four saved games you could switch between the different Bonds for a new saved game by using the D-pad.
I’m not sure why we ended up with an odd number of cheats and a single empty space – but there were certainly a lot more cheats available during development which got removed.
MR: Why was George Lazenby never included as a playable Bond according to photos?
ME: Four Bonds seemed the optimum number when we were working on that feature – since there are four save game folders and up to four players in multiplayer. Unfortunately George was the lowest profile Bond at the time.
DB: There were four save game slots – mimicking the four save slots in Mario 64 – so we picked four Bonds to go on the front of the files. George Lazenby had only been in one Bond film, so the others had precedence.
MR: Was the ‘All Bonds’ option removed due to legal problems with the other Bond actors, as it’s been long said?
ME: Yep. I remember the main problem was going to be the cost of using their likenesses – I remember some figure like $1M would have been needed for one of the actors.
DB: Not for actual legal problems, more to forestall them - Pierce Brosnan’s contract covered us using his likeness in the game, but other actors would have needed their own special contracts for that (I assume that is the case, since that’s how it normally works).