Home » PC Tech & Gaming News » MGM And Danjaq Shut Down Fan-Made Goldeneye Remake With Cease And Desist

MGM And Danjaq Shut Down Fan-Made Goldeneye Remake With Cease And Desist

Plans for a remake of the N64 classic have now turned into an original creation

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For a solid chunk of time during the 1990s, N64 classic Goldeneye was the undisputed king of first-person shooters on consoles, offering an action-packed and varied single-player campaign based directly on the Pierce Brosnan movie, plus an iconic multiplayer mode. As beloved as the game was at this time, it’s a little hard to go back to these days, with dated controls, unstable framerate, and basic graphics. Fans have long wanted an authentic remake to relive their time spent with the original game, but an official remake or rerelease hasn’t been forthcoming. There have been a few attempts to cash in on the game’s legacy, with a pseudo-sequel by EA several years later titled GoldenEye: Rogue Agent; and the less said on that the better, plus a reasonably competent “reimagining” from developer Eurocom in 2010, but nothing that has really done the original game justice.

This is perhaps why then, there have been multiple attempts at fan projects to resurrect this game. Strictly speaking, fan projects that are developed without the permission of rights holders always exist within a legal gray area. Some publishers and developers are happy to allow fan projects to exist undisturbed, as long as they don’t attempt to turn them into commercial projects. There are even certain fan projects that have received the seal of approval from the rights owners, such as the Half-Life remake Black Mesa, or Sonic Mania which, in its earliest form, was a fan project.

Goldeneye 25 was one such project, hoping to remake James Bond’s N64 outing. It was intended to recreate the entire single-player campaign, running on Unreal Engine 4. Given how big and long-running the James Bond intellectual property is, it’s perhaps no huge surprise that a project like this would attract attention. The project has been coming along nicely, but sadly the team working on it have today announced that development on Goldeneye 25 can no longer continue.

Composer Yannick Zenhäusern working on the Goldeneye 25 project took to youtube to explain the situation, it will be the last video about Goldeneye 25, where he said:

“This was always in the back of our head, that this could happen one day, and now it has happened. We have received a cease and desist letter from Danjaq and MGM [the rights holders to the James Bond intellectual property], in which they have kindly asked us to stop the development of Goldeneye 25 by August 18th, which of course we will do, we will comply. Of course, it is their intellectual property, and we do not resist. There were some voices who said “why don’t you take a lawyer and go against this”, it’s just not what we want to do, we don’t want to create any fuss. I like to put it this way: They organized a party, and we were just hanging around there, and now we’ve been kindly asked to leave, which of course we will do, we will comply.

Now it doesn’t mean that everything we have created, that we have done, is going to the waste. The good news is that a lot of the material that Ben has created in the past, can be reused, you know? Of course, we will drop any references to Goldeneye and Bond whatsoever. We’re going to change the storyline, it’s going to be different, but it’s still going to have those elements of that beloved 90s shooter that we all love so much.”

As they shift the project from a remake of an existing property, to an entirely new and original creation, this has opened the doors for turning their work into a commercial game, where Zenhäusern says that they can now think about targeting Steam and consoles with this game, without licensing issues getting in the way. It makes sense that a small team would not want to proceed in a way that could lead down the path of a complicated and risky legal process of fighting against this decision from Danjaq and MGM, so complying with the cease and desist request is perhaps their best chance at avoiding exposing themselves to serious legal and financial consequences.

For the time being, this game that is still in development will go under the new name “Project Ianus”, and they have begun teasing some of what players can expect from the titles on their new twitter page:

It remains to be seen whether they’re still able to generate interest from players for a game that is inspired by but not directly based on Goldeneye, but we’re certainly still intrigued. Perhaps, in the long run, this could be for the best. This game could end up going in new and interesting directions as they change approach, instead of being tied to ideas and concepts from over twenty years ago. If we’re being optimistic, perhaps that Danjaq and MGM would fight to protect their intellectual property in this way could be a sign that they’re open to the possibility of doing some kind of official remake at some time down the road.


Lewie Procter

Lewie skews Chaotic Good where possible, and loves pressing buttons, viewing pixels and listening to sounds. He's written for publications like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, VG247 and Kotaku UK, and spent 13 years running Savy Gamer. If you ever get the chance you should ask him to tell you the story about that time he had a fight with a snake on an island off the coast of Cambodia.