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Plugged In

Bond vs. Bond: 007 games pick up spy slack

Plugged In

With the latest film mired in production limbo, James Bond won't be infiltrating the big screen any time soon.

Instead, this week he's sneaking into your game console. Two of him, to be precise. One, GoldenEye 007, is a Wii remake of a beloved Nintendo 64 classic, while the other, Blood
Stone, is a big-budget original tale which releases on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and pits the renowned star against a shadowy, bioweapons-packing terrorist group.

Click to watch James Bond 007: Blood Stone Video

The former may be more familiar to gamers, but fear not: the latter is as legitimate a new entry
in the Bond canon as you're likely to see for some time. After all, Blood Stone
is penned by long time Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein (GoldenEye, Tomorrow
Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough), who's confident we haven't seen the last
of 007 in theaters.

"There will be another Bond movie," he told Yahoo! Games. "When we started on these two Bond games, the next Bond film was on track for 2011. But right now this is a nice way for fans to get their Bond ration before the next movie hits theaters."

Feirstein has now worked on more James Bond video games (he also wrote Electronic Arts' James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing and James Bond 007: From Russia with Love) than movies. And he enjoys the freedom that interactive entertainment opens up when it comes to storytelling.

"While writing a James Bond game is very similar to working on a big budget action movie with original characters, fantastic settings and a great story, video games are
actually more freeing," said Feirstein. "In most Hollywood movies today you're
forced to stick to two or three locations, and you're lucky if you get two car
chases and some big explosions. Games offer a very different playing field, and
it allows us to do things that are much bigger and more fun for the player."

Blood Stone sends Bond on a mission to uncover who's been kidnapping English biotech engineers. It stars a digital version of Daniel Craig, whom Feirstein calls the perfect
Bond for this time.

"The Bond Daniel Craig created goes back to the original novel from Ian Fleming," explained Feirstein. "Bond's wit came from a screenwriter, Richard Maibaum. Fleming met him on the Thunderball set and said he wished his Bond was as wry as Maibaum's. I'm a great admirer of the way Craig has re-made the role. When it came to doing the
games, I wrote the dialogue for that character. He's not making quips. He's all
business and quite physical."

Click to watch 007: GoldenEye video.

He's such a good Bond, in
fact, that he's even swiped a role from previous 007 Pierce Brosnan, who was
the original star of the Bond hit GoldenEye. The first-person shooter remake
for the Wii features re-tooled gameplay as well as story to match the new Bond.
That's a bold move, as the original game sold over 8 million copies worldwide
in its Nintendo 64 debut.

"The challenge was to stay true to the original story, but update it for the modern world," said Feirstein. "You can't have ex-KGB agents running around today. And having the
bad guy own a nightclub in Moscow doesn't play the same as someone who owns the
world's largest yacht and buys up sports teams. We also updated a key action
sequence where a helicopter is stolen from a French frigate in Monaco harbor,
and we moved that to an arms fair in Dubai."

Craig's physicality was also updated in the game, as players are now given a choice of shooting enemies or taking them down physically. The Wii-exclusive game even offers classic Bond villains like Jaws and Odd Job as playable characters in multiplayer.

Of course, you can't have a Bond game without a Bond girl. Feirstein said it's always challenging to come up with a new Bond girl and bring a character that audiences (or gamers) haven't seen before.

"With Blood Stone, our idea was to use a modern character who lives her life out in the open, an "it" girl who's famous for being famous, dates rock stars, and has fragrances and a
jewelry line," said Feirstein.

Enter singer Joss Stone, who plays Bond babe Nicole Hunter (who Stone calls a cross between Jerry Hall and Paris Hilton.) The Grammy-winner also penned original music for
Blood Stone.

"I actually tried to write a song for a Bond theme tune a while ago, so I've always been
interested in being a part of it," said Stone. "It's just a really cool thing
to be a part of for me.  Whether it's the movie, the game, the music, any
part of it.
It's just really wicked.  I'm very
grateful to be here."

Stone now considers herself a Bond girl, even if she's virtual. And fans of the Bond films will also see and hear Judi Dench as "M" in the new game.

So which one should Bond fans pick up? Ultimately that decision rests on your game console: GoldenEye is only available on the Wii, while Blood Stone is set to release on
pretty much everything else. And with the likes of Feirstein lending a hand,
you're guaranteed a real Bond experience -- minus the popcorn.

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