Phil Spencer Is All In On Perfect Dark Reboot
The name's Dark, Joanna Dark. While it's been a whopping 21 years since Joanna Dark slipped into something uncomfortable and cartwheeled into our lives for Perfect Dark, the game has left behind an impressive legacy that's never been far from our thoughts. All these years later, now is the time for a Perfect Dark reboot after it was announced for Xbox last year.
Back in the day, Rare was more than just an indie video game developer that churned out titles for Nintendo. Before the company was bought out by Microsoft, Rare helped deliver Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, and (of course) GoldenEye 007.
Each of these has its own story to tell, but for many, Perfect Dark being a spiritual successor to GoldenEye means it never lived up to its true potential.
What's going on with the Perfect Dark reboot?
In terms of female video game legends, the likes of Lara Croft, Samus Aran, FemShep, and Aloy have paved the way. Although Dark had the opportunity to join the ranks, she's sadly slipped into the background alongside the series that introduced her. In a tempting twist, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has explained why now is the right time to bring back Perfect Dark.
Speaking to the IGN Unlocked Podcast, Spencer discussed the idea of a Perfect Dark reboot and the role Joanna could play in the company's line-up of first-party exclusives. "I think it’s awesome that, for us, we can focus on a female protagonist in our line-up", gushed Spencer. He admitted, "We don’t have a lot of that", which is presumably pointing to protagonists like Master Chief.
Continuing to explain Joanna's place in the future of Xbox, Spencer concluded, "I think Joanna offers a lot of modern opportunities that I love to see the team focusing on". Spencer also hyped the involvement of The Initiative Studio Head Darrell Gallagher, who has a proven track record of franchise reboots.
While at Crystal Dynamics, Gallagher was Studio Head during 2013's Tomb Raider revival. Although there were plans for Perfect Dark before Gallagher joined Xbox, Spencer reiterated, "Obviously he had a great track record at Crystal". Finally, Spencer discussed the 2010 remaster of the OG Perfect Dark and confessed it "wasn’t as well-received as we would’ve wanted", saying, "It was challenging" to get the title out on time.
When was the last Perfect Dark game?
That's the thing, though, it's hard to believe there was only ever two Perfect Dark games. Launching on the Nintendo 64 in 2000, Perfect Dark tasked gamers with playing as the no-nonsense Ms. Dark - as she tried to stop an extraterrestrial war between two races. Here, Joanna was effectively a female version of 007 in a dystopian future.
There was a prequel in 2005 with Perfect Dark Zero, but apart from a 2010 remaster for the Xbox 360 and both titles appearing in the Rare Replay collection, things have gone quiet. Considering we're entering a new generation of consoles, and movies like Black Widow are set to top the box office, we have to agree that Perfect Dark is well-timed to make the most of modern themes and nostalgia factor.
While there were once complaints Microsoft was lacking in first-party exclusives, this year's E3 proved that's no longer the case, with the likes of Redfall and Starfield getting ready to settle in alongside the much-delayed Halo Infinite. These days, it's Sony assuring us that there are plenty of exclusives on the way. Perfect Dark might not be a flagship franchise for Microsoft, but rest assured, things aren't going "dark" on Joanna just yet.