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Microsoft and Nintendo seem close. But despite their corporate bromance, these are still companies that want to do what is best for themselves first and foremost. And if you look at their relationship through that lens, it is easy to understand why a GoldenEye 007 remaster is likely coming to Xbox soon.

A number of leaks have suggested that a revamped version of the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 is coming to Xbox. A list of achievements popped up on Xbox Live as did a handful of screenshots. But the circumstantial evidence for this deal was already in place, and it was easy to assume this would happen.

To understand how GoldenEye 007 reappeared, you need to know that Microsoft studio Rare Ltd. — a former Nintendo partner — was working on a GoldenEye remaster for Xbox Live Arcade in the late 2000s. Rare finished that project and was ready to release it. Microsoft had even done the legal legwork with Bond rights holder MGM and GoldenEye 007 copyright holder Nintendo. But at the last moment, Nintendo changed its mind. According to those familiar with the deal, the fallout was due to Nintendo not wanting to release one of its games on Xbox.

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So the game never came out except for a leaked version in early 2021. But fast forward to January 2022, and Nintendo’s position has changed. The company wants to encourage more people to subscribe to its Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack service for $50 per year. Nintendo 64 games are key to that sales pitch, and Rare represents a significant portion of the most memorable games from that library.

That means Nintendo needs something from Microsoft, which gave the Xbox team the bargaining chip it needed to get the greenlight for GoldenEye 007 again.

GoldenEye 007 gives Xbox a needed boost

While Xbox boss Phil Spencer wants to stay on friendly terms with Nintendo, he is also staring down a long road to E3.

Xbox is coming off a strong 2021 with Age of Empires IV, Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite, but that release cadence is slowing down. In terms of big games, Xbox is looking at Arkane’s Redfall in the summer, Forza Motorsport 8 likely in the fall, and Starfield in November. But what does it have up until those games begin dropping?

Well, Xbox really only needs to get to E3. By then, it can begin to lean on Starfield marketing and promises for 2023.

Before E3, though, Xbox doesn’t have a lot. Stalker 2 is due out April 28, and Obsidian should release Grounded 1.0. Those projects alone, however, likely aren’t enough to keep people from feeling a bit antsy for new content. That is where something like a remaster for GoldenEye 007 fits in. It is a classic that many gamers remember fondly or have heard others talk about in glowing terms.

That makes the potential GoldenEye 007 announcement something that Xbox can coast on.

It’s like when WWE surprises everyone by bringing an old wrestler back as a surprise during the Royal Rumble. That’s not going to fix the week-to-week storytelling of Monday Night Raw, but the exciting return generates enough momentum to get viewers to WrestleMania.

Goldeneye’s return will get a big pop from fans, and that’s the point. If fans forget all about it a few months later, well — by then, we will have all moved on to E3, gaming’s WrestleMania.

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