News Article

GoldenEye Creator Explains N64 Title's Role In Bringing "Real" Guns to the Virtual World

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Brand names weren't licensed, which has changed in modern games.

With gun control and related violence a topical subject in the U.S. and among interested parties and spectators worldwide, the role of video games has faced its own level of scrutiny. Major publishers had a meeting with vice-President Joe Biden as part of his gun control task-force work, while a number of moderate and extreme — occasionally provocative — commentators have had their say.

While it can be tempting to brush the link off as irrelevant, deeper investigation suggests that the industries of powerful weapons and video games are tied, through licensing deals and realistic portrayals in games. Interestingly, in an extensive investigative article published by Eurogamer, an early link to the emergence of realistic 3D gun representation in games is highlighted as GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. Martin Hollis, the creator of the game, said the following about the gun models and, ultimately, the licensing issues that gave them iconic new names.

Most of the guns in the game were modelled on real weapons. The Walther PPK, Kalashnikov AK47, FN P90 and so on.

I was not pleased [on hearing real names couldn't be used] because it would decrease the realism, or at least verisimilitude. I assumed novelists and filmmakers have no compulsion to license. We removed the real gun names, replacing them with fictional ones - sometimes based on team members' initials and sometimes on a sense of authenticity. So we have the DD44 Dostovei named after [GoldenEye designer] David Doak, the Klobb after Ken Lobb and the PP7 because... It just sounds good.

The industry has evolved a great deal since then, with franchises such as Call of Duty and Battlefield using real guns, while EA's Medal of Honor Warfighter notoriously marketed real gun and knife manufacturers on a dedicated website. Money passes both ways between some video game publishers and gun manufacturers, a reality that makes debate about gun violence in games at least relevant.

We strongly recommend reading the full article on Eurogamer, Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers. We'll be sharing our own view on Nintendo's current place in this area of the video game industry, and related issues, tomorrow......


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User Comments (23)



DePapier said:

"The PP7 because... it just sounds good." I can't forget that name I've always thought it was real.



ste_wright said:

The name of a gun in a game doesnt mean anything to me. If they had fictional names it wouldn't take anything away from the game play. If they put a ban on real names being used because they think it will stop glamourising certain models and cut funds to the makers so be it.



technotreegrass said:

Part of me feels sick that the kid mentioned in the full article wants to own such advanced weapons when he's old enough, so yeah, if they feel that putting in fictional names and models will discourage future gun ownership, by all means. Fictional names don't bother me, the power of the weapon isn't diminished.



AbeVigoda said:

I don't think games cause violence, but there is certainly 'brand recognition' when it comes to using real-life gun names.



ThomasBW84 said:

@cornishlee Indeed, I will fix that rubbish repetition when I'm not on my phone!

EDIT: Our powerful overlord Anthony Dickens fixed the sentence for me, which was nice.



DaemonSword said:

Screw the politicians. How about we get a REAL remake of this game on the 3DS, with Rare and/or most of original programmers, and not Activision? lol



Rafie said:

@DaemonSword Oh how that would be lovely for the Wii U and 3DS. However, Rare belongs to someone else now. So seeing this game, Killer Instinct, Banjo series, any Battletoad future developments and such would be on the 360. Not a total loss for me as I have a 360 as well, but not for those who don't.



EaZy_T said:

In a fictional world (video games) we really only need fictional weaponry. I never even thought about the gun names in GoldenEye 007 not being "real", I was having too much fun playing the game.

edit: the linked article provides food for thought about the advertising in games aimed towards young, potential, firearms buyers.



doctor_doak said:

I didn't read the whole thing, but I got the basic angle. I dunno, but Joe Biden being commissioned to lead a task force 'exploring the issue' of the causes of gun violence, brings to mind Bob Arctor from 'A Scanner Darkly', sitting down in front of video surveillance monitors trying to crack a drug operation.... for some reason I can't explain.

Look, video games don't 'cause' people to commit mass murder. There's a much simpler answer, and it's 'mental illness' combined with a culture that permits virtually free access to military grade weapons. Not all people who suffer from mental illness will go on a shooting rampage, but I think we can agree that 'mental illness' is generally the common link if we're to sit down and look at the facts. That isn't an excuse. It's just taking a more plausible position than wildly throwing accusations at convenient scapegoats like videogames, or movies, or the President with his 'kill list', or whatever...Games don't 'cause' people to become mentally ill. I challenge anyone to argue otherwise..

The fact those guns are 'licensed' in games seems to be a fairly neglible thing to me. I mean, some of these killers come from relatively affluent backgrounds, some don't. Instead of all the scapegoating and finger pointing that's going on, America needs to have a serious public debate regarding 'mental health', and how to improve access to & 'increase' mental health services, and also in trying to better understand how to identify people at 'risk', rehabilitate people and integrate them back into society before they get to the stage where they pose such a threat. I think it's a deep systemic issue that's not going to go away without some serious self-reflection.

The societies we live in are often very stressful, we are driven to prioritize competition against one another rather than forming closer knit social bonds. There is a lot of alienation in western societies. I was surprised to read that 'serial killers' were virtually entirely a Western phenomenon. Non-western cultures tend to have very tight-knit, communal based societies, not to say there isn't violence perpetrated in these places, but that the 'lone outsider' serial killer archetype for instance, hasn't really existed in a lot of non-western places. Which begs the question, what is it perculiar to our societies that leads to such phenomenon?? We need to be looking more closely at the ways we organize socially & the way we organize our institutions and our relationships to one another to find meaningful answers.

Also, just because something was written on a piece of paper hundreds of years ago doesn't mean it's relevant today. Just ask both the Bush and Obama administrations for confirmation on that point. 2nd amendment rights do not really have an awful lot of relevance in a post-revolutionary period America for mine. Constitutional rights were designed to protect individual rights, but you can only have individual rights if 'everyone' does. What about the 'collective right' to be able to walk the streets without the fear of being shot at?? These are designed to protect 'all' US citizens. We're at the point now, where a certain constitutional right that no longer has an appropriate context, is actually placing the overall safety of the nation's citizens in peril, and the Constitution was certainly not designed to do that. So long as the government keeps the gun debate' tied into 2nd amendment rights, there is unlikely to be meaningful control measures implemented, which are necessary in addition to combating mental illness in general.



Zombie_Barioth said:

To me it comes down to how a child is raised. I can't say if a child with no experience with guns outside of games or other media would be influenced but I do think children brought up around or taught to handle guns would be more drawn to the ones they recognize from their favorite games. Guns are common place but rarely spoken about, despite their power many kids are only taught guns are bad and don't touch. I doubt the guns industry or violent games are going anywhere, what needs to change are how guns are regulated and sales of mature rated games are handled.

Personally I don't really care much about gun names, the only series I care about accuracy in is Metal Gear because of how much everything is based off real life things.



madgear said:

@doctor_doak you make valid points but the article isn't about games causing gun violence. It's more about gamers supporting the gun industry with our purchases.

For example if you're against guns in real life, yet love to play FPS video games (as most do - it's not hypocritical to engage in harmless fantasy) then you are contributing to the weapons industry. A portion of your purchase goes to weapons manufacturers, who will use it to make weapons that may be used to kill a person. I don't know how that makes you feel but I certainly don't feel good about it.

@Zombie_Barioth You mean the realism in Metal Gear such as giant mechs, genetically enhanced super soldiers, cyborg ninjas and psychic terrorists? I'm just messing with ya but that's a pretty funny example.



Zombie_Barioth said:

madgear wrote:

@Zombie_Barioth You mean the realism in Metal Gear such as giant mechs, genetically enhanced super soldiers, cyborg ninjas and psychic terrorists? I'm just messing with ya but that's a pretty funny example.

Whoops, looks like I got caught.
I was talking about the alternate history stuff and things of that nature, MGS3 was chalk full of real world references.



gundam00 said:

I always thought those names were real!! Goodbye innocent childhood. Although, I never did like the Klobb's name. I guess the contradiction is with Goldeneye, even though I thought the guns were real, I never felt like I was holding a real gun in the video game, as opposed to Call of Duty and Metal of Honor.



Gameday said:

Dostovei always !
Once again this kinda stuff is just madness , whats the difference really between using a fake or real name? An adult or gun lover could easily see what certain guns in games are modeled after.. These games are rated mature so people especially parents really need to remember that if they have a fear of their pups getting into guns are such at young age.
But saying that i guess we have come along way in a positive light and negative..

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