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Goldeneye’s lack of Xbox multiplayer is a missed chance to bond

Goldeneye 007 defined local multiplayer back on the N64, but times have changed since the Nintendo glory days. James Bond's Xbox outing deserves online modes.

Actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in a tuxedoin the game Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007 finally arrives on Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Online today, but Xbox players will be left without a key component: online co-op. The original game, complete with its split-screen, changed local multiplayer as we know it, as Bond’s N64 outing cultured an era of sofa shootouts for years to come. But with Xbox missing out on the online action, Goldeneye 007 isn’t going to be the social haven it deserves to be.

Following a cancelled Xbox 360 project and licensing issues, the journey to get Goldeneye 007 onto Xbox hasn’t been easy. Yet, somehow out there in the vast void of Bond licensing complications, a miracle presented itself. As of today, Bond fans can hop into a polished, 4K resolution remaster of Goldeneye 007 with the game’s campaign and local multiplayer intact. Meanwhile, Nintendo Switch players can dive into the original N64 version and battle Bond’s rogue gallery online via emulation.

That’s great for Nintendo players, but what about Xbox Game Pass subscribers? While there may be technical hurdles preventing it from happening, it feels like a bizarre occlusion. Multiplayer games like Modern Warfare 2 and Destiny 2 might be bigger in scope, but the social currency they offer is interchangeable. Goldeneye 007, all these years later, is still ripe enough to exude the same kind of value in social currency among friends.

Named after several James Bond movies, modes like The Living Daylights (capture the flag) and License To Kill (hardcore mode) walked so Call of Duty could run. But even then, generic military operators don’t have anything on running amuck as Jaws or Baron Samedi. Unleashing pure distorted microphone scorn upon an Oddjob player should be present in the Xbox version. Maps like the excellent Facility and Egyptian are sure to leave newcomers and returning fans shaken, not stirred.

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The game’s multiplayer appeal is still felt today too. Projects like Goldeneye: Source proves that fans are willing enough to forge an online multiplayer component for themselves. Bond’s iconography evokes a special atmosphere that thrives in an online multiplayer setting. Treyarch cracked the code with the underrated Quantum of Solace game, as modes like Golden Gun and Bond Versus were an absolute blast. James Bond: Bloodstone had a decent stab at it too.

Nevertheless, Bond fans will know that it’s been a bleak time regarding the spy’s gaming endeavours over the last decade. In lieu of a new James Bond game, the last adventure I embarked on was 2012’s 007: Legends. Ooft. Not only did it mark a dreadful end for Daniel Craig’s virtual run, but Activision’s license to game was pulled following its release. Hitman 3 developer IO Interactive is crafting the single-player focused Project 007, making it unlikely a multiplayer addition is on the cards.

It’s why Goldeneye 007 on Xbox Game Pass makes me so angry. Without proper multiplayer support, I suspect it will only hold players with no attachment to the 26-year-old game or Bond, for a limited time. Microsoft says “there are no plans to include online multiplayer” just yet, but hopefully a Midas touch could change that.

Dropping into Complex as Pierce Brosnan with the squad? Never say never.