In mid-April, Activision unveiled their latest production: their fourth video game to add to the James Bond franchise, 007 Legends. With the announcement, it was revealed that the video game is planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise. 007 Legends has been described as a greatest hits compilation, offering a retelling of six different film narratives with a bridged storyline, linking them all together. Activision did not reveal which films would make it into the game aside from the upcoming film, Skyfall, but they did reveal that the gameplay mechanics will return to the first-person perspective after Blood Stone's experiment with the third-person perspective. 007 Legends has been listed on retailers such as Amazon for a 16 October 2012 release date, but given that the 50th anniversary film box set has not been given an official release date, this is most certainly just blind speculation; others have speculated that the game with coincide with Skyfall's release, sometime in mid-November 2012.
Having been a Bond fan for fourteen years this Wednesday (16 May; my 19th birthday, shared with Pierce Brosnan, coincidentally), I was naturally excited upon learning of the announcement. However, I grew rather concerned when the details of the game emerged; six film narratives in the game? Why not seven? You know...because of 007. I found that to be quite odd, especially if the game was meant to coincide with the commemorative 50th anniversary film box set. Further concerns emerged such as the possibility (or lack thereof) of seeing previous Bond actors portrayed in the video game; Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan--but as I remembered Activision's reimagining of GoldenEye and their excuse that Daniel Craig was Bond in the game to keep up with his current role, this chance seemed slim. Nevermind the fact that Electronic Arts released the From Russia with Love video game, starring Sean Connery, despite Brosnan being signed on as Bond at the time.
As I mentioned before, Activision has yet to announce which films from the character's 50-year-long movie history will be represented, so this has been left open for speculation. Naturally, as any fan would hope to see their favourite films incorporated, I distinctly remember reading that Activision stated the game will "features a storyline that ties together six classic James Bond films..." which makes me worry--what films does the production team at Activision consider "classic?" It could be anything ranging from Dr. No to The World Is Not Enough (considering that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace have already been touched) and that doesn't necessarily mean they'll stick to the appropriate narratives. Who's to say Activision won't take Goldfinger's scene at Fort Knox and change it into some sort of all-out assault to which Bond participates, despite his being trapped in the vault with Oddjob? Regardless of what is theorised or speculated, any true Bond fan must be concerned.
Furthermore, what I find most troubling is this promotional competition Activision is running on the official 007 Legends website--add a picture of yourself, describe your own kind of villain and if chosen, your face will be rendered onto a villain in the game. I don't much care for this promotion. I don't want to see some average Joe or Jane featured as a villain in a Bond game. As a true fan of 007, I want all of the original villains and characters--keep your common folk away from my James, please. Naturally, I entered the competition myself as winning this would be any Bond fan's biggest dream, but I still don't like it at all.
Activision also revealed with the announcement that the single-player mode brings back GoldenEye Reloaded's MI-6 Ops Missions, this time playable from a villain's perspective as well. They also confirmed that multiplayer is included, in both local split-screen and online competitive modes. As one of my previous blogs explained, I'm not pleased at all with the way Activision has been working on the Bond games--mainly, GoldenEye and GoldenEye Reloaded; with the multiplayer, it's much too similar to Call of Duty and the two should not be bred in the same pool, if you catch my drift. I'm hoping that Activision will take a different approach to [online] multiplayer by way of Blood Stone and less like GoldenEye...or Call of Duty...whatever.
Going back to what I mentioned previously about which film narratives will be included in 007 Legends, I've compiled my own wish list for what I desire to experience in video game form:
Without question, Goldfinger is one of Connery's best performances as 007. It's one of the more memorable films, simply because of the classic quote from villain, Auric Goldfinger: "no, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!" In addition, the Bond girl (Pussy Galore) and the assault on Fort Knox, as well as Goldfinger's henchman, Oddjob, make for an excellent video game rendition. As From Russia with Love was already made into a videogame, I can't think of any contenders that could top Goldfinger as a candidate for inclusion in Legends.
→ The Spy Who Loved Me
It was a tough decision, what with Octopussy and Live and Let Die in the running, but I always found The Spy Who Loved Me to be not so much an iconic Bond experience, but certainly a better candidate for a videogame adaptation. With the sexy and able Bond girl, Anya Amasova, who is clearly a match for 007; the classic underwater segment with the Lotus Esprit; and, of course, fights with the villain Jaws, The Spy Who Loved Me is the evident best choice.
→ On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Whilst this was Lazenby's only film, it doesn't make it any less valid a suggestion for inclusion in the game. It's true that On Her Majesty's Secret Service is probably the least enjoyed film by Bond aficionados; however, the film offers substantial material which would make it suitable for adaptation into a game, such as the battle at the Piz Gloria and the plotline, which saw a villain brainwashing young women and turning them into deadly sleeper agents, the Angels of Death.
→ Licence to Kill
Dalton's other film, The Living Daylights, is an amazing experience. However, the plot of Licence to Kill - Sanchez and the drug smuggling, Bond going up against a Columbian drug lord, and going rogue after losing his 00 status to get into Sanchez's organisation - is just a greater idea for inclusion in Legends.
→ Die Another Day
Considering that Brosnan's other films have been made into games already, Die Another Day was the only remaining candidate, but still an effective one at that. True, while I wouldn't consider Die Another Day to be "classic" as it's still only a decade old and one of the lesser approved Bond films, it offers quite a lot of material to incorporate into Legends, including the introduction to the film in North Korea, the fencing scene between 007 and Gustav Graves, the MI6 training segment, the ice chase between Bond and Zao, and lastly, the entire segment toward the end of the film with Bond, Jinx, Gustav, and Miranda aboard the aeroplane. I would be most excited for this out of all of the other films.
In closing, as a true and immense James Bond fan of fourteen years, I pray that Activision doesn't screw up what could possibly be the best Bond game since Rare's GoldenEye in '97.