How did Nintendo, a company that required red blood be removed from the Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat, publish one of the best first-person shooters of the the late 1990s? According to The Guardian, game director Martin Hollis took the state at the recent GameCity festival and pull back the curtain on the creative process between the Big N and then-independent developer Rare on the making of GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. Hollis shared a couple choice anecdotes about how the publisher encouraged the developer to reconsider the virtual violence.
"Bond is a violent franchise and making that fit with Nintendo," said Hollis, "which is very much family-friendly, was a challenge. For a while we had some gore, it was just a flipbook of about 40 textures, beautifully rendered gore that would explode out. When I saw it the first time, I thought it was awesome, it was a fountain of blood, like that moment in The Shining when the lift doors open. Then I thought, hmm, this might be a bit too much red."
The team at Rare received a fax — a fax! — from the creator of Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, about possible changes. "One point was that there was too much close-up killing," said Hollis. "He found it a bit too horrible. I don't think I did anything with that input. The second point was, he felt the game was too tragic, with all the killing. He suggested that it might be nice if, at the end of the game, you got to shake hands with all your enemies in the hospital."
Other outlets have balked at the idea, but I love it. Truly, imagine this moment at the end of a Call of Duty or Metal Gear Solid. You can practically hear the positive takes thundering across your Twitter feed. And imagine how such a conclusion could have impacted the first-person shooter genre, which following GoldenEye became a sober, colorless venue for shooting virtual people in the face. Minamoto's idea is silly, but it has one thing so many ultra-realistic games that would follow GoldenEye lack: perspective.
Be sure to read the Guardian story, which has many other fun stories about making games at Rare.