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Dala Designs… A James Bond Game.

January 13, 2010

‘Be Bond’ has always been the mantra of the James Bond video game, but just how many of the games make you feel like Bond? I mean really feel like him, rather than ‘Ah’m doin objectives jus liek James Bond wud!’ or the ability to stealth your way around levels, rarely do we ever feel like Bond, we never get to choose a snappy catch phrase or unleash a gadget at just the right time (ok, apart from the Train in Goldeneye, that was pretty bad ass), it just never happens.

Which brings me to my design of a James Bond game, in which the player assumes the role of another agent.

Inspiration

Just go play the British levels of Modern Warfare 2 and marvel at the cinematic displays of your comrades, the stealthy tip toeing towards enemy outposts or the brilliant one liner radio chatter. Well I say brilliant, I mean ridiculous, but that still fits.

Imagine the muscly arms of Daniel Craig reaching down.

Gameplay

Now replace McTavish with James Bond, and Roach with an up and coming field agent, you, that Bond is effectively ‘babysitting’, already you have the set up for some brilliant story points in which Bond tries to show off how much better than you he is, or how he is too good to train a rookie, whilst the player still gets to see James Bond doing all his cinematic stuff and they get to shoot some suckers. Of course all the gadget tinkering would be there as well, but seeing Bond equip them or having Bond tell you when things would be good would teach the player before later levels demand they think on their toes.

So we’ve got a great story point to follow, some deliciously cinematic gameplay opportunities when following Bond, but a whole game can’t go on like that…

So then you need to split up, MI6 wouldn’t send two agents on a mission for nothing. Imagine doing the Bond like stuff to infiltrate a facility whilst the Bond whispers in your ear about his progress or what he’s found out, you could see his handiwork or catch glimpses of him whilst on your way to your objective, these levels would feel more like Goldeneye levels and even though you’re not playing as Bond, the feel of the game would make you feel enough like him.

And the love interest? Having a girl smooch your screen is always strange, so playing an outside role would let the usual Bond romance play out with no awkward feelings for the player (I know some female gamers who don’t like being forced to play a male, then being forced to fancy a female), the usual Bond cinematics could play out whilst the player retains control and watches Bond pull all his usual smooth moves.

How to make it ‘FUN’

Keep it interesting, make sure Bond acts like Bond and not some useless AI, whilst enemies should die in overblown ways. But what is paramount is to keep the player interested, throwing them down enemy gauntlets is boring but what if Bond needs sniper cover for one section, or visa verca, give the player a variety of gadgets to enable them to experiment or find secrets, but also mix in stealth opportunities with action, but don’t separate them obviously, let alarms be raised but for the player to fight out. Also some variety in terms of cinematic scenes, see MW 2’s cliffhanger as an example, or have a freerunning section that takes inspiration from Mirror’s Edge.

Also, Bond shouldn’t die but the character should feel important, perhaps let Bond pick the player up a few times before out and out failure, however a feature like this would be hard to put in individual levels. However the game needs to support the idea of Bond and not demean him, he should never really be in an emergency, i.e. Bond cannot be injured to needing to be picked up.

QoS so frequently wrenched the camera outside Bond's skull to remind you you were Bond, it may as well have been third person, but then Bond wasn't animated enough to feel like the real deal.

Issues

Well, people do like to be Bond, so the idea of controlling more of a spectator might disappoint some, however once it all got moving I’m sure it would be easy to adjust to. Bond fans would also likely have a problem with the idea of Bond ‘babysitting’, ergo a solid plot would be paramount; Sebastian Faulks proved proficient enough at penning a worthy Bond so the world is not short of people who would likely be able to do the premise justice.

As stated in the previous section, Bond needs to feel like Bond and not a usual co-op partner, something between MxTavish and Alyx Vance in terms of usefulness and have plenty of cinematic scenes.

Why this would work

Bond has been languishing as a typical FPS franchise for too long, no developer has really played to the strengths of the franchise and has instead tried to implement expected game elements such as QTE’s to make it cinematic rather than actually make it a cinematic game to play a part in.

This way, Bond still feels like Bond without a rubbish player muddying his name, the idea of playing an MI6 agent rather than the love interest means you won’t have Daniel Craig thrusting his scrunchy face into your screen when he feels horny whilst it also makes it believable that you could do Bond like things alongside the actual Bond. It would be fun.

Oh and as long as you lather hours of Monty Norman over it it will automatically feel like Bond, even if you get Harry Hill to voice the character.

Poker minigame optional

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