Perfect Dark: Everything we know so far

A Perfect Dark reboot is in development for Xbox Series X. Announced in 2020, Perfect Dark is set to be a “secret agent thriller set in a near-future world” that is being torn apart by ecological disasters. A new Perfect Dark game has been a long time coming, with super spy Joanna Dark effectively sitting on the sidelines since Perfect Dark Zero launched alongside the Xbox 360 in 2005. 

Development of the Perfect Dark reboot is being handled by The Initiative, a brand new studio formed by Microsoft, whose ambition is to “craft an innovative vision for how high-quality games are created and experienced.” While we’re hoping to see more of the game during E3 2022, at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase in the E3 2022 schedule, you should keep reading for everything we know so far about the new Perfect Dark.  

Perfect Dark release date

Perfect Dark

(Image credit: The Initiative )

The Perfect Dark release date is still going to be a number of years away. The Initiative was formed in 2018, and the studio has spent a number of years staffing up for its secret agent thriller for Xbox Series X and PC. It means that despite being announced in 2020, the Perfect Dark reboot is still in the early stages of development. 

A report from VGC (opens in new tab) notes that ‘as much as half’ of the core development team of Perfect Dark left production in 2021, prompting Crystal Dynamics (the studio responsible for the Tomb Raider reboot) to be brought on as co-developers. Basically, expect to be waiting a little while longer to get your hands on the new Perfect Dark. 

Perfect Dark trailer

The first Perfect Dark trailer was revealed at The Game Awards in 2020. The cinematic was designed to give us a sense of what The Initiative is shooting for with its Perfect Dark reboot, giving us but a taste of what a Joanna Dark adventure might look like in the new generation. The trailer, which can be viewed above, shows gorgeous graphics, a world wrought by ecological disasters, and a sci-fi aesthetic that we can’t wait to spend more time in.  

Perfect Dark gameplay

Perfect Dark

(Image credit: The Initiative )

When Perfect Dark does eventually land on Xbox Series X, it’s set to be a first-person shooter which really leans into the super spy fantasy. Former design director Dew Murray spoke about the broad concept in 2020 (opens in new tab), explaining: “One of the things we thought about was how to differentiate what we call ‘spy fighting’ versus what you’d see in a traditional first-person shooter…” 

“[You’ll be] sliding under things, jumping over things. We really wanted to play up the physicality and being in the world, getting some of that camera movement that we see watching body cameras, GoPros, and trying to get that excitement of moving in places and in ways that you and I don’t.”

Perfect Dark development

The Initiative

(Image credit: The Initiative)

Microsoft is in no rush to get this Perfect Dark reboot out into the world – it’ll be released when it’s ready. The Initiative was founded in 2018 and headed up by Darrell Gallagher – who played a key role in the 2013 revival of Tomb Raider with Crystal Dynamics. Rumors have circulated for a number of years that The Initiative has struggled to retain staff, as development of Perfect Dark became more complex, although Gallagher later told VGC: “It’s no small task to build a studio and reinvent a beloved franchise… In this journey, it’s not uncommon for there to be staffing changes, especially during a time of global upheaval over the last two years, and there’s plenty more work in front of us to deliver a fantastic Perfect Dark experience to our players.”

In 2021, Microsoft announced that The Initiative was partnering with Crystal Dynamics to complete development of the Perfect Dark reboot. In a statement, The Initiative drew attention to the “world class team behind character-driven games such as Tomb Raider” which will help it “to bring this first-person spy thriller to a new generation”. Crystal Dynamics was acquired by Embracer Group from Square Enix in 2022, but has since confirmed that it will continue working on the new Perfect Dark in a co-developer capacity.

Perfect Dark reboot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Perfect Dark

(Image credit: The Initiative )

For more, check out all of the new games of 2022 and beyond to get excited about. 

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