"The ball's not in anybody at Rare's court really," Burton informed Videogamer. "It's squarely in the license holders' courts. It's a shame. It's kind of locked in this no man's land. There's nothing on [Xbox] Live Arcade, there's nothing on Wii."
The Microsoft-owned studio had developed an Xbox Live Arcade port of the game but was unable to successfully acquire the rights from Nintendo, which originally published GoldenEye 007. Video game rights for the James Bond franchise, meanwhile, are owned by publisher Activision Blizzard.
"You've got the guys that own the license to the gaming rights now, the guys that have the licence to Bond as an IP, and there are umpteen licensees," Burton continued. "You have to treat something that's not seen the light of day as a prototype. I've had, what, four or five things that never happened. It's funny that we don't even talk about them a lot of the time, because you think, well, we might revisit it."
But not all of Rare's properties have fared as poorly as GoldenEye. An Xbox Live Arcade port of the studio's celebrated N64 platformer Banjo Kazooie was confirmed at last month's E3 2008 conference. Though the game had originally appeared on Nintendo's platform, Rare retained ownership of the property after the companies parted ways in 2001.
The developer added, "Things get locked in this legal limbo. Even most of the parties involved, probably all the parties involved want to solve it... Ultimately everyone loses out. Including the license holders."
Burton declined to comment on reportedly leaked screenshots of an Xbox Live Arcade port that had circulated the internet, offering only that GoldenEye was a "legal mine field."