IO got the 007 license because it wants to make 'multiple Bond games' in the same way it handled Hitman

Agent 47 channels James Bond
(Image credit: IO Interactive)

The latest issue of Edge Magazine includes an extensive interview with IO Interactive co-owners Hakan Abrak and Christian Elverdam about the studio's first 25 years and, of course, its future. A huge part of that is a new James Bond game, which IO announced in 2020 as an origin story with its own version of Bond: despite there being decades of 007 games, this is the first to ever take such an approach, with the others tying in to particular movies or actors.

Edge suggests the tone will be "closer to Daniel Craig than Roger Moore", which is hardly a surprise, and that this may be a more scripted experience than the relatively freeform Hitman games. But details remain scant, other than that IO had a tough time pitching EON on a Bond game: largely because of how the industry has treated the character in the past.

"Our impression was clearly that [at the time] they were not looking for a game," said Abrak. "And I think it's fair that they might not have been super-happy with some of the later games." Abrak has previously mentioned how Barbara Broccoli and EON believed previous games weren't "worthy enough" and had too much "violence for the sake of violence."

Elverdam picks up the thread to talk about moving away from "action-oriented shooters", and presenting Hitman to EON as a game that actually discourages a violent approach (beyond the one or two murders necessary for completing a level, of course). "That helped us convince the EON Group that there's a sophistication in how we treat the agent fantasy."

There appears to be a wider Hitman influence too, specifically relating to how the World of Assassination series played out over multiple entries and years. Edge asks if there's a similar concept underlying the 007 project.

"Yeah, absolutely," says Abrak. "I mean, that's the dream. That's the ambition. And it's also how we always talked about it." Abrak adds that IO isn't interested in doing a license just "to score some money" and has turned down offers from "several other IP holders."

Such ambition does depend on good sales but the Bond license remains enormously popular and, should IO produce the kind of quality it's obviously capable of, you'd think the game might do quite well. "I would love players to look back on multiple Bond games by IO," says Abrak, "and go, "Wow, that was quite a journey!""

There hasn't been a Bond game since 2012's 007 Legends, which was pretty poorly received and essentially a COD-style FPS that cycled through iconic setups from various movies. The best arguably remains GoldenEye 007, which is pretty astonishing, though that is also one of the few Bond games to incorporate elements that went beyond "shoot everything that moves". IO does feel like the perfect fit for the game, though it may well be some time before we see it.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."