Soon afterwards it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen, and to make matters worse, it looked as if Rare’s new owners might bring the game to their 360 console via the Xbox Live Arcade service, albeit in an enhanced form. That didn’t happen either, although images were leaked of an almost-complete version sporting higher resolution visuals.
Rare has now broken the silence about this rather sorry state of affairs. In an interview with UK site Videogamer.com, senior software engineer Nick Burton attempted to explain the complex legal minefield Goldeneye finds itself in:
To be fair, I kind of wished that the differences got sorted out, but obviously there's the licensing issue for Bond, even if it's something that's already come out.
It's incredibly hard to solve because there's so many licence holders involved. You've got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the licence to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees...but for me I just kind of thought that we'd never manage it, never quite make it. But the feeling's not too bad really. It's what it's like as a games developer. You have to treat something that's not seen the light of day as a prototype. I've had, what, four or five things that never happened. It's funny that we don't even talk about them a lot of the time, because you think, well, we might revisit it.
The ball's not in anybody at Rare's court really. It's squarely in the license holders' courts. It's a shame. It's kind of locked in this no man's land. There's nothing on LIVE Arcade, there's nothing on Wii. It's just what happens legally sometimes. Not necessarily with games, but you see it with music and films. Things get locked in this legal limbo. Even most of the parties involved, probably all the parties involved want to solve it. It's such a complex issue
It's probably going to go down in the annals of gaming history as one of the big mysteries.
You can say that again! This is an international mystery that even Bond himself would struggle to get to the bottom of.