From Russia with Love: How the PS2 game gave Sean Connery a final goodbye to James Bond

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In 2005, Sir Sean Connery was frustrated with the film industry. He felt he had made the wrong call in starring with ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman’ in 2003, and working with some directors after made him feel as if he wanted to give it all in and retire.

Around this time, games were becoming sophisticated enough for an older age range to take notice. The 2003 entry of ‘Everything or Nothing’, Pierce Brosnan’s last starring role as James Bond, was given critical acclaim. And the developers at EA Redwood Shores wanted to use the engine for a Bond game that was lifted from the films directly.

This is where they came upon the idea for ‘From Russia with Love’ as their next project, and as a long shot, they decided to contact Sean Connery to see if he wanted to appear once more in voice-form.

Surprisingly, he said yes. This is how it ironically turned out to be Sir Sean Connery’s last acting performance before his retirement the year after, and his death last week...

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From Russia with PS2

Back in 2005, it was reported that the actor was coming back to help with voicing the character of James Bond.

He was reported as saying, "...As an artist, I see this as another way to explore the creative process. Video games are an extremely popular form of entertainment today, and I am looking forward to seeing how it all fits together.

After many years of distancing himself from the role, it seemed as though that he had made peace with the role that cemented him as the definitive James Bond in 1962 with ‘Dr. No’.

With the game featuring other elements from other films such as the Jetpack and the Aston Martin DB5, it was a game that improved upon the elements introduced in ‘Everything or Nothing’, while introducing the set pieces that made the film its own.

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A Farewell

Similar to how Metal Gear Solid 2 was set in the ‘future year’ of 2007, and Metal Gear Solid 3 was set in ‘1964’ with influences from the James Bond series, it was a welcome surprise when ‘From Russia with Love’ was released in November of 2005.

But here, it was a film-to-game adaptation which had to do well. After all, the original James Bond was voicing new lines for the game, it had to be good, and it was.

The Gamespot review at the time said, “These are the sequences that are the most memorable and enjoyable by far, not necessarily because of how great the gameplay is, but because they appropriately stretch out a few minute-long film sequences into a 10-to-15-minute level without sacrificing the great bits from the film.”

Playing it in 2020, it has certain camera issues and it’s obvious that this is a much older Sean Connery than the Bond he’s voicing from forty years previous. However, the gameplay is still fun, and the set pieces across the levels make it something that you just want to go back to again and again.

Even in 2005, established actors in a game were seen as a novelty; ‘Enter the Matrix’ in 2003 was one example, and of course, ‘Everything or Nothing’ was another. It was seen as unusual for the actors to star in games that related to a film series. But Sean Connery knew that it was a viable option, a medium to take seriously, and it’s only fifteen years later, and a week after his passing, that we’re seeing just how right he was.

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