Documentary “GoldenERA” in development

The most influential video game for modern shooters gets new attention with an upcoming documentary film project that will be realised through a crowdfunding campaign

Boxart of the N64 game

Ahead of the release of the 18th James Bond adventure ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, the summer of 1997 left a lasting impact on Bondfans around the globe. When the Nintendo64 video game ‘GoldenEye’ was released on August 25, it rapidly became an instant hit despite low expectations of the gaming media. With over 8 million copies sold and a gross of over $ 250 million, the game turned into the third best-selling Nintendo64 video game right behind ‘Super Mario 64’ and ‘Mario Kart 64’.

In terms of video game graphics, ‘GoldenEye’ was praised for for its varied and detailed environments, realistic animations, special effects such as glass transparencies and lingering smoke and for generally maintaining a high frame rate even in multiplayer games. Aside from the incredible love for detail, the story of ‘GoldenEye’ impressed equally with a lot of depth and relation to the original James Bond film of 1995 of which some story elements were extended.  IGN’s Doug Perry called ‘GoldenEye’ an immersive game which “blends smart strategy gameplay with fast-action gunmanship”.

Developed over a period of two and a half years by an inexperienced team, the game was originally conceived as an on-rails shooter before being redesigned as a free-roaming shooter. Eight of its ten developers had never previously worked on video games but tremendous effort was put into making the game as fun and detailed as possible. This included a visit to the original film sets of ‘GoldenEye’ at Leavesden Studios to take photos for later use in the game design.

NinGen 3D level design for St Petersburg (Source:

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘GoldenEye’, Melbourne based Roller Coaster Productions is now aiming to create a documentary on this influential console shooter, with the goal of exploring the untold story behind the game. The film, aptly titled GoldenEra, will examine how a young and inexperienced team were trusted to work on such a huge licence, how the game continued in spite of its cancellation, and most importantly, how they motivated each other to surpass all expectations and create a game that would shape the genre and delight players for years to come.

GoldenEra will also delve into personal anecdotes from the game’s developers, critics, fans and celebrities – discussing how it shaped them and their lives. Featuring interviews with gaming journalists from IGN, Kotaku and Cnet as well as industry experts and developers, the documentary will celebrate the game that revolutionised the way we play together, in our lounge rooms and bedrooms with friends and family around the world. A film can never be made without funding which is why the producers have launched a crowdfunding campaign paired with an impressive teaser trailer on IndieGoGo where you can give your support to get the film made.

GoldenEra – The untold story behind the game from Roller Coaster Productions on Vimeo.

Documentary director Drew Roller said the game had had a huge impact on him. “I have a successful career in interface design and film making because I became addicted to ‘GoldenEye’ and also ‘Zelda – Ocarina of Time’ which were both games that changed my view on the world.  I wanted to create interactive experiences for people that delighted them.”

Documentary producer Narayan Pattison states that the game had been the cornerstone of his love for gaming and the N64. “I was a fledgling writer for N64 Gamer magazine and was given ‘GoldenEye’ as my very first review. I went in without any expectations and was utterly flawed by its atmosphere and depth. Having the honour of explaining to Australia why this game was so revolutionary and why they should all play it was pivotal in my decision to turn my back on my law degree and spend the following 20 years as a games journalist.”

Personally, I have fond memories of playing ‘GoldenEye’ myself. When I bought it, I had to order it in Austria since Germany had indexed the game for its “very realistic death animations”. Well, that’s the 90’s for you. I bought the Nintendo64 console extra for the game and didn’t own any other game for it until ‘The World Is Not Enough’ was released. Multiplayer was never my thing to be honest, but I enjoyed the single player for nights on end and still do occassionally – except at night as I’m a bit too old to pull an all-nighter nowadays.

I am very much looking forward to seeing ‘GoldenERA’ get made and hope everyone who is passionate about this game will give some support to the crowdfunding campaign. I will keep you updated about further developments.