CONVINCING the producer of the James Bond movies to greenlight a new Bond game proved to be a challenging endeavour for the developers behind the stealth video game Hitman.
Despite initial reluctance, IO Interactive (IOI) successfully secured approval from Eon Productions by presenting a concept that transformed the traditional Bond narrative into a sophisticated stealth experience.
According to a report in Edge magazine, as cited by GamesRadar, IOI’s co-owners, Hakan Abrak and Christian Elverdam, faced difficulties in persuading Eon to grant the rights for the development of the next Bond game.
Abrak explained that IOI proposed the idea of a stealthy spy game, drawing parallels to the mechanics of their successful Hitman series. In this envisioned game, Bond would navigate global locations with a focus on stealth, avoiding excessive collateral damage, absurd violence or leaving a trail of bodies in local mortuaries.
The pitch aimed to showcase a more nuanced and sophisticated portrayal of the iconic agent. “That pitch helped us convince the Eon Group that there’s a sophistication in how we treat the agent fantasy,” Abrak stated in the magazine.
He further noted that, at the time, Eon was not actively seeking a game, and their impressions suggested a certain dissatisfaction with some of the recent Bond game offerings.
The developers’ challenges in obtaining approval were influenced by the success of GoldenEye 007, a first-person shooter (FPS) game released in 1997. This game achieved remarkable popularity and played a pivotal role in popularising the FPS genre on consoles.
However, it also established a formula that constrained subsequent Bond games to a shoot-em-up style, limiting opportunities for innovation. The co-owners of IOI emphasised that Eon had grown weary of this approach and was not interested in another action-oriented shooting game.
The success of their pitch rested on reshaping the Bond gaming experience into a more sophisticated and strategic venture, aligning with the stealthy gameplay style for which IOI had gained acclaim with the Hitman series.