It wasn't a rights issue after all.
The canceled GoldenEye Xbox 360 remaster that’s recently been leaked to YouTube (and to torrents) was actually shuttered by Nintendo and not over a rights issue with the IP’s license holder, two of its developers have confirmed.
Speaking with VGC (which also provided this post’s images), co-project leads Mark Edmonds and Chris Tilston said the decision to shelve the title was made by Nintendo, the publisher of the original GoldenEye release on N64.
“Nintendo reached out to Microsoft via our contact there [producer Ken Lobb], who we’d done a lot of games with before,” Tilston said, detailing the start of the project.
“Everybody wanted it. For Activision it was free money, for Microsoft they saw it as a way of having a really large hit on Xbox Live Arcade, when there really hadn’t been a million-seller before. We weren’t privy to the details, we just thought Nintendo got to do what they wanted. Potentially they thought we were going to do a straight port on our side.”
Tilston continued on to say it was his “understanding” that Nintendo eventually pulled the plug on the project, rather than James Bond 007 rights holder Eon or even Activision.
“From our side, we just heard that one group didn’t want to do it anymore – or was unhappy that the game that they believed originated on their platform was going over to Xbox,” he said. “I can understand it. If you look at it from a purely mechanical point of view, Nintendo paid for the game originally for their platform – it wouldn’t have existed without them.
“But we thought everybody was fine with it, otherwise we wouldn’t have jumped on board. Well, I think we were pretty quick jumping on board – we started it off pretty quick and lots of people were diving in before they could be dispersed to other teams. We started it before it was approved, but a couple of months in we were convinced that everybody was up for it and we had all their backing.”
Pour one out for a great Xbox Live Arcade title that could have been.