Friday, June 27, 2014

'GoldenEye: Rogue Agent': An interview with Danny Bilson

Almost ten years ago, Electronic Arts have put themselves into a challenge in taking James Bond into a different direction. Something that was tried, but wasn't perfected in the final outcome. In many ways, however, it was certainly a great experience. And that product happened to be GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. More recently, I personally have interviewed one of the writers behind the video game, the great Danny Bilson, who also have delivered us Agent Under Fire, Nightfire and Everything or Nothing, along with his life-long writing partner, Paul De Meo. Indubitaply an exciting conversation it was.

"How did you fellows come up with the idea of making GoldenEye: Rogue Agent?"

Danny Bilson:
"We wanted to create a bad guy game in the JB universe. It was originally titled Goldfinger vs Dr. No."

"It was rumoured that the project was going to be a lot different than what it has come to be with the final release, what were the differences between the original concept and the video game we played?"

Danny Bilson:
"The original had much more scope and depth. More environments, more encounters. There is a script..."

A concept art of  the protagonist of the game, GoldenEye by Takayoshi Sato, with the likeness based on Gary Oldman's in order to create a very complex character.
"Did you intend to give James Bond a larger role than the cameo he delivered in the first level?"

Danny Bilson:
"Yes. But it was tricky because the Bond license comes with a lot of rules about what the character can and can't do."

The James Bond character as he appears in the beginning of the game, making a slight cameo.

"Alongside Paul De Meo, you wrote the very best video games in the franchise favoured by the fans over anything else, how did you become involved in writing these spectacular Bond adventures?"

Danny Bilson:
"We started at EA on The Sims and after that launched we managed to insert ourselves into the Bond franchise which we grew up with and loved."

"Were there any plans ahead for a sequel to GoldenEye: Rogue Agent?"

Danny Bilson:
"Yes. But I left the project in mid production due to creative issues. It was my idea to bring Ken Adam on board which was the best part of the experience."

"Splendid. Was the game, in any way, connected to any of the classical timelines regarding to a certain Bond actor's tenure as the secret agent?"

Danny Bilson
"[Sean] Connery."

"Did you ever want to write and direct a theatrical James Bond film?"

Danny Bilson:
"Of course."

"If you do direct a James Bond film, who would you pick for the role?"

Danny Bilson:
"I would set it in the 50's-60's and do it period and closer to the books."

"Classical indeed. The Bond character, then, in the video game, was based on Sean Connery?"

Danny Bilson:

"Certainly an exciting legacy it would have left. If there would be any plans to revive the sequel, would you participate in the project?"

Danny Bilson:
"If asked, of course."

"These are all the questions I prepared. Thank you very much, sir, for your time. It was certainly an excellent conversation."

Danny Bilson:
"Sure thing."

We've come to learn that there was more to come in the franchise that promised us a great legacy to leave, but sadly didn't live up to it, with a sequel in the pipeline opted out. As a dedicated Bond fanatic myself, I would have loved to explore that side of the franchise. It had so much to show. Hopefully, if the license is given back to Electronic Arts, a sequel might be possible to see in the near future, along with the writers of the first game, Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, to join the project and provide us with even a greater experience than before.

For more concept artworks and early development footage, check out Takayoshi Sato's website, who was the character art director of the game.

Special Thanks to Danny Bilson.


  1. An interesting question answer session with Danny Bilson. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Danny, we look forward to more interviews like these. Keep up the good work!

  2. Big fan of Danny Bilson. Thanks for sharing this mate. And i must confess you are donig a good job with your blog. Keep up the good work.