“I didn’t really know what I was working on” – How nine people at Rare created GoldenEye

Original maps and sketches of Goldeneye on the N64 from Retro Gamer magazine

Acclaimed first-person shooter Goldeneye (1997) was brought to life by a core team of nine developers – in stark contrast to the teams of 500+ who work on modern shooters like Destiny 2 (2017) – many of whom had never worked in the industry, or had any idea that they were creating a Bond game.

“I didn’t really know what I was working on,” explains Mark Edmonds, gameplay and engine programmer. “I was asked to investigate creating filleted joints for an animated 3D character system. I had no idea it was connected to James Bond but I must have passed the test because I got moved over to the stable block and onto the team proper. It was great just to be working on my first videogame.”

Mark is one of nine original members of the Goldeneye development team interviewed in the new issue of Retro Gamer magazine. GoldenEye: The Declassified Report looks at every aspect of the popular game; from its early development period where it started off as a Virtua Cop clone, to its accidental multiplayer mode that was knocked together a few short months before the game’s 1997 release.

"My favourite moment was meeting the original Valve guys at ECTS, and them joking that GoldenEye forced them to do a bunch of stuff on Half-Life", says developer David Doak (who appeared in the game as 'Dr Doak'), and later went on to found Free Radical Design, the creators of the acclaimed TimeSplitters series.

The exhaustive 14-page feature reveals why the Bond licence was so critical to GoldenEye’s success, the three Bond heroes that failed to make the cut and the difficulties of creating a film-like score on a cartridge-based console.

Retro Gamer 178 features Duncan Botwood discussing the difficulties of motion capture, David Doak on GoldenEye’s excellent level design, Steve Ellis on its magnificent multiplayer, Martin Hollis on leading a team of staff who had never made a game before GoldenEye’s release, as well as additional exclusive insight from Mark Edmonds, Karl Hilton, B Jones, Graeme Norgate and Grant Kirkhope.

The jam-packed issue also contains the making of The Need For Speed, the history of Championship and Football Manager, the origins of Kingpin: Life Of Crime and much, much more. 

You can buy the latest issue of Retro Gamer now or take out a Retro Gamer subscription and save 40% on regular prices.