Rare Reveals XBLA Goldeneye Legal Problems

Rare Reveals XBLA Goldeneye Legal Problems

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The Viva Pinata people are having problems bringing their classic N64 Goldeneye game to the Xbox 360 due to a legal battle between Microsoft, Nintendo and Bond licensees.

Microsoft's acquisition of Perfect Dark developer Rare offered the Xbox 360 access to Goldeneye 007, a Rare creation based on the James Bond film and one of the Nintendo 64's best-selling titles. When the Xbox Live Arcade was launched, rumors that a downloadable port of the N64 classic would be sold via Xbox Live were quickly killed.

At the Develop conference in Brighton, Englad, Rare senior software engineer Nick Burton spoke to Videogamer about the ongoing negotiations between Nintendo, which published the original Goldeneye, Microsoft, Rare's parent, and a number of companies that own various licenses to the James Bond property.

"That was a tricky one. To be fair, I kind of wished that the differences got sorted out, but obviously there's the licensing issue for Bond, even if it's something that's already come out," said Burton. "It's incredibly hard to solve because there's so many license holders involved. You've got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the license to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees."

Even if the prototype port doesn't get published, Burton says that developers get used to having unreleased projects.

"For me I just kind of thought that we'd never manage it, never quite make it," revealed Burton. "But the feeling's not too bad really. It's what it's like as a games developer. You have to treat something that's not seen the light of day as a prototype. I've had, what, four or five things that never happened. It's funny that we don't even talk about them a lot of the time, because you think, well, we might revisit it."

The details of the legal wars are a mystery to even the Rare team.

"The ball's not in anybody at Rare's court really. It's squarely in the license holders' courts. It's a shame. It's kind of locked in this no man's land. There's nothing on Live Arcade, there's nothing on Wii," he explained. "It's just what happens legally sometimes. Not necessarily with games, but you see it with music and films. Things get locked in this legal limbo. Even most of the parties involved, probably all the parties involved want to solve it. It's such a complex issue."

He concluded, "It's probably going to go down in the annals of gaming history as one of the big mysteries."

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Their hands are tied. Here's betting that Nintendo will restrict it due to some ridiculous patent like the use of proximity mines. I don't know what the fuss is all about; Nintendo hasn't touched the game since its first release, excluding the whole 'Rogue Agent' debacle.

Logan Frederick:
"It's incredibly hard to solve because there's so many license holders involved. You've got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the license to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees."

there's no mention of a microsoft vs nintendo fight here it's between several parties and besides neither of them hold the licence to bond games right now... bit of a missleading blurp tbh

hasam:

Logan Frederick:
"It's incredibly hard to solve because there's so many license holders involved. You've got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the license to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees."

there's no mention of a microsoft vs nintendo fight here it's between several parties and besides neither of them hold the licence to bond games right now... bit of a missleading blurp tbh

Well it is referenced in the previous paragraph that there are a number of other licensees. As for the blurb, Nintendo is involved with the Bond gaming rights through a specific influence on Goldeneye due to its publishing history. Additionally, Nintendo is in negotiations for potential Wii download usage as well.

Burton briefly references this himself when he mentions that "there's nothing on Wii." So while there are many parties involved in the legal custody fight, Microsoft and Nintendo are heavily involved in the XBLA port debate.

I think it would be better as a Wii virtual console title. But I have a Wii, and not an Xbox 360.

Agreed. The place for nostalgia such as this is the Virtual Console, not the XBLA

Why can't all three systems (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) get the title? I mean, I may not be a law student or anything, but why didn't Nintendo freak out when Perfect Dark Zero was released? The original PD was released on Nintendo. So why didn't they sue Microsoft and Rare then? I don't know. Why everyone (especially Nintendo who also wants a GTA game, probably an exclusive-to-nintendo GTA title) wants to have it all for themselves doesn't make much sense to me.

The-Joker:
Why can't all three systems (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) get the title? I mean, I may not be a law student or anything, but why didn't Nintendo freak out when Perfect Dark Zero was released? The original PD was released on Nintendo. So why didn't they sue Microsoft and Rare then? I don't know. Why everyone (especially Nintendo who also wants a GTA game, probably an exclusive-to-nintendo GTA title) wants to have it all for themselves doesn't make much sense to me.

Activision is involved as well, I'm sure, as the current owner of the license. They might be trying to decide what DLC route they want to take with their games, as we haven't seen them in that space much beyond Guitar Hero DLC.

This is one of those reasons emulators, as illegal as they may be, are not going to disappear any time soon.

The only way a fan of this title can get a copy is through pirated channels. It is one of those games that all the parties involved do want to get out there because there is so much money in it. This is the same reason they have to be so legally diligent about it too.

Money can make gamers sad.

IP issues are a bitch, sadly. If the parties involved would just decide on a multiplatform release (since it seems a simple case of porting) and all take a cut off the profits, everyone would be happy, gamers and publishers alike. But instead they bicker and moan because they're scared of not getting enough of a cut.

Like the poster above said, this is the reason emulators are so popular. No BS, just games.

This reminds me...of all things...Roger Rabbit. There was supposed to be a sequal (ie more Jessica Rabbit) but there was a legal stranglehold between the book author, Disney, & some other company, & in the end, everything was scrapped. 20 years latter, still bupkiss.

I really liked Goldeneye too. My very first shooter.

 

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