In the end, we didn’t have to track down a stolen battleship, or enter the password “knockers” into any computer system, to get our hands on one of the rarest and most rare video games. most elusive ever created. We just had to wait a few days.
This past weekend, the long rumor Goldeneye 007 Remake project, officially led by Microsoft and Rare before being summarily canceled, has finally landed in the hands of a fan. This Spanish streamer’s gameplay video made the rounds, and four days after it was uploaded to YouTube, someone decided to take it a step further and download the full, working ROM for public consumption.
And Ars Technica has it.
The download, which we discovered on a publicly accessible site without any passwords or logins, includes an NFO file dated August 24, 2007, complete with an elaborate ASCII title map you might expect from a hacking group. or games. This one has a unique name, however, which we have never seen before: “Fyodorovna”. If that name escapes you, it is the middle name of Bond fictional character Natalya Simonova, who appears largely in the film and video game of the same name.
The resulting 7Z file weighs in at 231MB and contains a folder simply titled “Bean,” which was the original codename for the game – and its name on the outdated Xbox 360 Partnernet service, whose attached NFO says these files originate from August 2007. Partnernet was previously used by owners of Xbox 360 development kits to share game projects in development, but its access was closed towards the end of the Xbox 360 lifecycle after leaks of games have been attributed to its unprotected file-sharing ecosystem.
No limits, no fears, no substitutes
I easily booted the game files on the Xevia emulator using Windows 10 without any adjustments or workarounds on my end, in part because the included ROM was patched to not require use from an Xbox 360 development kit. Other than a few stutters as the game loads assets or mid-mission sound effects into memory, everything seems to work just fine, even when you max out Xevia in a 4K fullscreen window on my RTX 3080 test bench.
Among other things, it means the most intriguing promise of the canceled game – classic Goldeneye 007 Split-screen deathmatches, only with refreshed graphics, updated textures, and refresh locked at 60fps – runs without a hitch. (Teenager me, who played a lot under 30 fps Golden eye on N64, I find it hard to believe.) While I would have liked to access this kind of Golden eye action on an official version of the game, this Fyodorovna version on my PC, with four Xbox game controllers connected, should be enough.
The Fyodorovna leaks instituted a few other tweaks, including one not seen in Graslu00’s video from a few days ago: native 21: 9 resolution support. Additionally, some of the game’s menu options have been removed by default, especially the Xbox Live online mode (which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t work as enabled in the version of Graslu00). But the “system link” remains, and that means advanced users will likely figure out how to chain this remake online sessions using Xlink Kai shortly.
It’s also a real treat to finally see how the Xbox 360 Project implemented a “toggle updated graphics” button. Press the right bumper of the Xbox gamepad at any time, whether in single player or multiplayer, and the entire game will go from the newly refreshed graphics, textures, and geometry to an apparent 1: 1 match for the original. N64 – with this console’s cookie, smeared anti-aliasing. Hilariously, this version allows all The player toggles the graphics back and forth at any time, and cannot be turned off, so be prepared for the split-screen action to be interrupted by one of your multiplayer friends who likes to swap graphics as a distraction.
As for the gameplay specifics, Spanish streamer Graslu00 has spoken at length to Ars about how this game handles mechanically – look for the bulleted list on the second page of this article – and I can immediately confirm that his descriptions are relevant. AI, character speed, even the swing of a sniper rifle in your hand like a melee weapon: it’s all there. (The same link also includes a reminder of the history of this lost project, in case you’re still wondering what’s going on with a fully remastered multiplayer map like Temple.)
A lot of the top gallery of the post focuses on things I didn’t see in Friday’s Graslu00 download, specifically the new-to-old comparisons activated by hitting the correct bumper. in the middle of the game. If I find anything else fascinating playing the Xbox 360 version until the end, I’ll be sure to let you know. (Which I do, by the way, because the game’s multiplayer arena selection isn’t fully unlocked without doing so.) Otherwise, if you’ll excuse me, I have, uh, work to do. And if you’re trying to make me feel guilty for playing this weirdly sourced ROM, I’ll respond by asking if all the vodka martinis silence the screams of the men you killed.
List image by Microsoft / Rare