During his presentation at GDC Europe, GoldenEye 007 director Martin Hollis revealed a few secrets about the game’s development, including the fact that its famous multiplayer mode was developed in a single month and snuck into the game without management’s knowledge.
“One of the things that always strikes me as crazy in retrospect is that until something like March or April of 1997, there wasn't a multiplayer mode at all,” he said. “It hadn't even been started.”
“It really was put in at the last minute – something you wouldn't dream of doing these days – and it was done without the knowledge or permission of the management at Rare and Nintendo. The first they knew about it was when we showed it to them working. However – since the game was already late by that time, if we hadn't done it that way, it probably never would have happened.”
Hollis admitted that this and a few other features were “snuck into” the game thanks to management’s trust. “I'm sure there were six-month stretches where no member of Rare or Nintendo management came into the team offices,” he said. “Which is really quite extraordinary, and all credit to them that they felt able to take that much of a leaned-back approach and place that much trust in the team.”