Crystal Dynamics Sale Finally Gives Perfect Dark An Update
What do you get if you mix the video game world's answer to Natasha Romanoff and Lara Croft? Staring down the barrel of a gun is Joanna Dark, who is effectively Rare's very own female James Bond after the revolutionary success of GoldenEye 007.
Back in the '90s and '00s Rare dominated the Nintendo 64, with acclaimed titles like the aforementioned GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, and Diddy Kong Racing being staples of our gaming back catalogue. Hoping to cash in on the female-first market, Perfect Dark was a well-timed release that's never really earned the praise it deserved... until now.
What's Going On With Perfect Dark?
First released in 2000, Perfect Dark was a spiritual successor GoldenEye 007, which continued Rare's legacy of popularising the first-person shooter for home consoles. Taking a different approach, Perfect Dark followed Joanna Dark as an ass-kicking agent from the Carrington Institute. Set in the year 2023, she has to try and stop a rival agency, with all the usual twists and turns. Following the original, Perfect Dark Zero was released as a prequel on the Xbox 360 in 2005.
Like too many Rare IPs, the Perfect Dark name has laid dormant for too long. Now, The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics are here to steer the ship - which might have you worried considering the latter studio's upcoming acquisition by The Embracer Group. Taking to Twitter, The Initiative confirmed that it will continue to develop Perfect Dark alongside Crystal Dynamics and (now) The Embracer Group.
Despite a seemingly promising update, the news hasn't gone down well with fans, who have started to lose hope we'd hear much about Perfect Dark any time soon. One disgruntled gamer wrote, "Perfect Dark is so doomed. I really wish to see this game doing well but it's not looking good so far," while another added: "Really stupid of MS to let this happen. There's ZERO chance this won't have a negative impact on the game, which was already vaporware to begin with. MS needs to just start from scratch with another internal studio. Maybe 343i, if they don't F it up too."
What Else Do We Know About Perfect Dark?
Both Perfect Dark and Perfect Dark Zero were included in 2015's Rare Replay collection, however, we were surprised to learn about the reboot at the 2020 Game Awards. Given that Rare falls under Microsoft's umbrella, it's a sad state of affairs that the OG team won't be bringing Joanna to a new generation. Then again, Crystal Dynamics is known for its work on the acclaimed Tomb Raider reboot trilogy, so there are high hopes. If you still aren't convinced, Phil Spencer himself has said he's "all in" on Perfect Dark.
The Initiative has faced troubles in recent times, with a slew of staff departures being blamed on "a lack of creative autonomy and slow development progress." Although we don't imagine the Crystal Dynamics sale will do anything to fix that, we also hope it won't dampen Perfect Dark's already sluggish development. With an Xbox Showcase coming on June 12 - and promises that EVERY studio has something to show - could we finally get a proper glimpse at Perfect Dark aside from a glossy cinematic we saw at the Game Awards? Over to you, Ms. Dark.