Goldeneye 007’s Violence Worried Nintendo So Much, A Ridiculous Alternate Ending Was Suggested

Pierce Brosnan taking cover from gunfire in Goldeneye.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Saving the world in the James Bond movies isn’t exactly torture porn, but there is always an expectation of violence. Armies of minions, various henchpeople and the big bad themselves aren’t going to defeat themselves after all. However, that didn’t stop a Nintendo legend from suggesting a ridiculous alternate ending to the legendary Goldeneye 007, which would have qualified the game for the weirdest 007 ending ever. 

In the documentary GoldenEra, various subjects involved with or informed on the creation of Rare’s classic James Bond video game tell some amazing and wild stories about its creation. The recently re-released Rare video game has a lot of interesting information to dig into, including the story of how Nintendo was worried about violence and even considered cancelling Goldeneye 007 outright. 

Natalya and James Bond standing in an alleyway in Goldeneye 007.

(Image credit: Rare Ltd. / Danjaq LLC and MGM)

The Ridiculous Alternate Ending Suggested For Goldeneye 007

Author and games journalist Simon Parkin shared the whopper of a tale you’re about to read, which involves game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The man behind watershed games such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda suggested a rather weird mission for James Bond to engage in after the events of Goldeneye 007, which Parkin recalled in the following story:

There’s a very well known story that Martin Hollis tells about late into the game’s development receiving a fax from Shigeru Miyamoto, who is still the most famous video game designer in the world, and certainly was at that time, sort of giving us feedback on Goldeneye and saying he doesn’t like the violence. He says it sort of feels tragic, and is there no way that at the end of the game, you as Agent 007 can visit the hospital ward, where all of the people that you’ve taken down during the course of the game are sort of holed up? And can you not work your way down the beds, shaking everyone’s hands? It’s obviously a very funny story, but it also illustrates, I think, something about Nintendo and Miyamoto’s approach to video game design, and probably their nervousness about a game like Goldeneye appearing on their flagship hardware.

Could you imagine dropping an entire satellite on Alec Trevalyan after his attempts to murder and betray you, only to meet up with him and his lackeys in a hospital? Is it even possible to shake hands with Sean Bean’s Goldeneye madman and not look for some mini satellite dish to try and bludgeon him with? 

Naturally, the absurdity of this idea comes across pretty easily, as the James Bond series has taught us all that you can’t just walk away after trying to conquer the world. The same can't be said about a mega popular game publisher and the potential for walking away from a game they were losing confidence in.

James Bond walks away from an exploding tank in Goldeneye 007.

(Image credit: Rare Ltd. /Danjaq. LLC and MGM)

Why Nintendo Almost Cancelled Goldeneye 007

Those concerns from Nintendo weren’t only conveyed to director Martin Hollis though. As Goldeneye 007 Lead Artist Karl Hilton recalls in GoldenEra, Nintendo’s notes on adapting the origins of the Pierce Brosnan era of 007 came down to some pretty core components of the franchise being translated:

There was concerns that it wasn’t a very Nintendo-ish product. We got told repeatedly it was too dark and it was violent. To which our response was, ‘Well it’s dark because the film is dark, and it’s violent because it’s James Bond, and he kills people.’

What’s even more absurd than imagining Commander Bond shaking hands with everyone he’s failed to kill? Try not having Goldeneye 007 to begin with! Nintendo’s executives were apparently so uncertain about publishing Rare’s game that, according to Simon Parkin, cancellation was still seen as an option late in the game’s development: 

At one point they were even saying, ‘We’re not sure about this. Maybe we just cancel it.” Because they’d rather lose that money, and preserve their reputation as a fantastic video game publisher than they would to recoup some of that money, and put something else out that’s substandard.

The history of James Bond video games is far from perfect, especially when something like 007 Legends still exists in the world. Just as Goldeneye is considered pivotal to the modern success of the Bond movies, the Nintendo 64 video game it spawned is just as important to video games that will bear the 007 name. This is something very important to consider now that Project 007 is currently in the works and ready to usher in a new era of 00-gaming.

Should you want to learn more about Goldeneye 007’s development, GoldenEra is currently available to stream on free ad-supported platforms such as Tubi! And if you aren’t already, you can reintroduce yourself to the joys of Goldeneye 007, XBox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscribers can get in on the magic. Last, but not least, a little movie called Goldeneye will be streaming for those with an HBO Max subscription, so that’s another entertainment option you might want to consider.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.