Perfect Dark is a franchise that has been a bit on the outs lately. The original game was released in 2000 for the N64, and found immediate acclaim in the wake of the legendary Golden Eye=induced FPS craze. The legacy of these games hangs on to relevance, thanks in no small part to the speedrunners and dedicated fans who keep interest in these classics alive.
The recently announced acquisition by Embracer group won’t affect those goals and plans, says Crystal Dynamics. The team continues to work hard on delivering a game worthy of the legacy of the franchise. Crystal Dynamics will continue working on the game, while fans are eager to actually see some gameplay and other details.
This past September, the company announced it was partnering with The Initiative to support the development on the reboot. “The teams couldn’t pass up a chance to work together. We’re still early in development, but incredibly excited to use this unique opportunity to deliver on the vision for Perfect Dark,” said the studio at the time. The Initiative was founded in 2018 as part of the Xbox Game Studios division at Microsoft and is led by Darrell Gallagher, a former studio head from Crystal Dynamics. So with that pedigree established, it’s easy to see how this deal happened.
This is technically the fifth game in the franchise, but only the third one to actually see release, at least that’s the plan. The reboot doesn’t have much detail yet, as it’s still early in development. The game was announced as one of many in-progress titles at the Game Awards 2020. And even though we’re two years past that, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic has likely slowed development pace more than a little.
Despite that, it would appear the title is on track for release. Reading that, you might be confused about how this is the fifth game in the series. Following the release of the original game, there was a big push to make Perfect Dark more capable of competing with the likes of Halo, mostly by trying to bring game into a new generation. A second first-person shooter, Perfect Dark Zero, was released for the Xbox 360 in 2005. Despite some positive reviews and reception, development was remarkably rocky. Two sequels were planned post-release of that new game, but never saw the light of day. The canning of the sequels, Core and Vengeance, was blamed on poor sales for Zero.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. It would appear the relationship between the two studios remains strong and supportive. The Initiative posted on its Twitter account regarding the acquisition saying “We’re excited to see Crystal Dynamics take these next steps with their studio. Our teams have made great progress in building Perfect Dark together as co-development partners, and we will be continuing this work with them in their next chapter.”