Remember playing Goldeneye 007 on N64, four controllers connected, chasing your friends around in a slapping match? That almost never happened.

This surprise bit of trivia came out during a postmortem presentation at GDC Europe by 007’s director, Martin Hollis. In the presentation, Hollis included a story by developer Steve Ellis.

Ellis wrote that until March or April of 1997, there was no multiplayer mode for Goldeneye 007; it was put in at the last minute without the knowledge or permission of Rare or Nintendo management. It was first shown to them was when the developers had it ready and working. Because the game was already late, Ellis wrote, the mode never would’ve been approved and never would’ve happened if it hadn’t been done in secret.

That’s right: One of the truly watershed moments in multiplayer console gaming only happened because no one told management it existed until it was done.

Director Martin Hollis said that multiplayer wasn’t the only feature the team slipped in during development, crediting management’s trust of the team. Hollis said that there were stretches of months at a time without visits from management. Thinking about the size of the video games business, such things seem nearly impossible today.

[story and photo credit: Joystiq]