Part of the enduring appeal of the Super Smash Bros. series is the chance to pit iconic gaming characters against each other. But James Bond, despite his storied history on Nintendo consoles, has yet to make an appearance in the fighting franchise.
GoldenEye 007 on N64, in particular, is considered to be a classic in Nintendo’s back-catalog. Many nights have been spent among friends, running frantically around a map, slapping enemies as a pixelated approximation of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond and the other characters from Martin Campbell’s 1995 007 flick.
The idea of dropping Brosnan’s Bond into a battle with Mario, Pikachu, and all the rest is an absolute doozie, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the concept has actually been considered by Nintendo. The suggestion of adding Bond to the Smash Bros. universe was apparently raised during the development of 2001’s Gamecube-era Super Smash Bros. Melee.
And now, we know why Bond didn’t make it into the eventual game. This statement from creator Masahiro Sakurai cropped up on Nintendo Japan’s official Smash Bros. website, Smash Dojo:
“Showing realistic guns = no good! Character uses an actor’s likeness = no good! Since the original game is based on a movie, getting those rights = no good! He’s Rare’s property = no good! Blocked on all fronts.”
Sakurai also notes that using characters from games that Rare developed “would be difficult for various reasons.” Banjo and Kazooie may seem like an “obvious inclusion” to fans, for instance, “but that’s unlikely for a variety of legal and financial reasons,” although Microsoft, which owns Rare, was keen on letting Nintendo use the characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Bond bashing Bowser with his Slappers Only special move is an image that lives only in our memories, then, and seems likely to stay that way. Shame.