In context: Ask gamers of a certain age which first-person shooter dominated their youth and you’ll find the same name keeps popping up: GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. Such was its influence on the gaming landscape that the Bond title forced Valve to change development of another classic FPS: Half-Life.
GoldenEye sold over eight million copies and became the platform's third best-selling game of all time. One of its many significant elements was the enemy AI, which was highly sophisticated for the time, and especially on a machine as limited as the Nintendo 64.
A video from YouTube channel AI & Games takes a deep dive into what made the AI of GoldenEye’s NPCs so good for 1997. One important element is that developer Rare built the whole game around the artificial intelligence of these enemies, ensuring that it was something players actually see.
“The important thing is to show the player the AI. There’s no point having sophisticated AI that the player doesn’t notice,” said GoldenEye producer Martin Hollis, back in 2004. “The game mechanics have to showcase the AI. The level setup has to showcase the AI. And it all has to make an actual difference to gameplay.”
David Doak, another developer who worked on GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and TimeSplitters, revealed to GamesRadar in an interview last year just how much influence the game had on Half-Life.
“My favorite moment was meeting the original Valve guys at ECTS, a UK trade show, in 1998 and them joking that GoldenEye had forced them to redo a bunch of stuff on Half-Life. They went on to do all right,” he said, likely referring to the AI.
Make sure to watch the entire video to learn more about this classic title.