Thanks to Daniel Craig's brutal, fists-first reappraisal of everyone's favorite MI6 agent in Casino Royale, 007 is back in a big way. Guys love him, critics love him, even rogue banker Le Chiffre seemed to like him... while torturing his nutsack with a leather mace. But, after forking out a rumored $70 million for the rights to the license (to kill), it's fair to say that Activision probably love him more than most.
Well, at that price they have to.
As everybody knows, the last good Bond game was Rare's GoldenEye on the N64 in 1997. Nineteen ninety seven. That's ten whole years ago, math fans. Worse, the intervening decade has been filled with brain-numbing EA-shaped rubbish like Nightfire and the now infamous GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, a game so horrendously bad and utterly implausible that Ian Fleming didn't just roll in his grave, he dug his way out and did the lambada with Pussy Galore. But now the more reliable gaming stable responsible for the reinvigorated Tony Hawk series and the excellent Call of Duty franchise are taking up the reigns, creating what's rumored to be a new, non-film-related Bond title using Craig's hard-as-nails 007 as its blueprint.
So far, so good. But what else do we know? Letdown answer: not a lot. A development studio hasn't even been announced at this stage - but, if we were betting men (and, in this case, we are), we'd slam a Ben Franklin on Call of Duty 3 funsters Treyarch being given the gig. The game will, in all likelihood, not stray too far from what's gone before, so plenty of gunnery and head-punching will of course be high on the agenda; that fact means their work on weapon-based, narrative-driven gaming like CoD3 will stand Treyarch in good stead when it comes to coding.
The release date is worth a mention, too. May 2008 is the given date at this stage, just nine months after their deal with 007 daddy MGM comes into effect. That ain't a lot of time. Sure, they will have started work a while ago, but until that date it's unlikely that the film company and rights holders will be able to give them much help with source material for characters, locations and storylines. So, while we're on a betting tip, we'd raise an eyebrow and put all our chips on that release date slipping back somewhere closer to Christmas 2008 - perfect timing, as it happens, for the already desperately anticipated Casino Royale film sequel, penciled in for that very season.