GDC Europe attendees were today treated to a rare postmortem for the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 from the game's director Martin Hollis.
Never-before-seen design documents for Rare's classic 1997 title posed such questions for the team as "what is the appropriate level of humor?" and "what level of violence is acceptable?"
The game was originally angled as "similar to Virtua Cop in terms of gameplay," but with large upgrades and advances wherever possible, such as a larger number of character types, more intelligent AI and more interesting 3D backdrops.
Although the game was in development for nearly three years, Hollis admitted that the popular multiplayer mode was made at the very last minute, and took only one month to build.
"It was done without the knowledge or permissions of the management at Rare and Nintendo," he laughed, noting that if the team had not put it together on the sly before showing it to management, there's no way it would have been allowed -- the game was already late as it was.
As for a number of the game's issues, which are still remembered by gamers today, Hollis says he likes to refer to them as "mistakes I like."
The inclusion of the smaller Oddjob multiplayer character who was difficult to shoot at, for example, is something that Hollis still laughs about. "To me, that's a social dynamics problem," he joked. "You should be putting pressure on your friend not to use him."
The game was also initially too violent, with over the top blood and death animations. When told to tone it down, the team took the opportunity to inject subtle humor into the title, such as melee chopping enemies from behind, explosions that would send bad guys flying, and soldiers who would fall down in pain when shot in the crotch.
Gamasutra is in Cologne, Germany this week covering GDC Europe. For more GDC Europe coverage, visit our official event page. (UBM TechWeb is parent to both Gamasutra and GDC events.)