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Nintendo wanted GoldenEye sequel and less violence, says developer

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GoldenEye could have looked a whole lot different.

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GoldenEye 007, Rare's James Bond adaptation and Nintendo 64 multiplayer mainstay, could have not only had a sequel, but been a bit tamer, had Shigeru Miyamoto had his way, according to a member of the first-person shooter's design team.

Designer Martin Hollis talked about working with Nintendo over the weekend at GameCity 2015 in Nottingham, U.K. Hollis explained that the depiction of violence in GoldenEye was initially more graphic than in the final game. "[We had] beautifully rendered gore that would explode out," he said. "When I saw it the first time, I thought it was awesome, it was a fountain of blood ... Then I thought, hmm, this might be a bit too much red."

This was a cause of concern for Rare and its publisher Nintendo, which Hollis considered to be "family-friendly." Miyamoto himself reached out to the developer — by fax — to express his desire for the game to tone down its body count. "One point [that Miyamoto made] was that there was too much close-up killing — he found it a bit too horrible," Hollis shared, noting that the team chose not to take the suggestion.

In addition, "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." The way to circumvent this was to include the game's end credit sequence, which pointed out the cast of characters as to highlight the artificial nature of its proceedings.

Despite hesitation regarding the violent content of the Bond adventure, Nintendo approached Rare to develop a sequel following the game's success. Hollis and Rare's reply: "We don't plan to make another Bond game from another Bond film."

Rare instead went on to develop spiritual successor Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64 before parting ways with the Japanese company in favor of Microsoft.

GoldenEye 007 was later remade for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, this time published by Activision and developed by Eurocom and n-Space. The original game was conspicuously absent from Rare's most recent release, Rare Replay, which arrived on Xbox One in August.

Check out our ranking of the titles that did make their way into the Replay collection, as well as our review of the game overall.

Listen to this story in the episode of Minimap, Polygon's daily news podcast, below.