After the news of development difficulties, the latest rumour around the Perfect Dark reboot should be encouraging, as things seem to have improved.
A longer-than-expected journey was behind the return of Joanna Dark. After the surprise reveal of Perfect Dark at the 2020 Game Awards, updates on the shooter have seemingly dried up. While The Initiative, Microsoft’s own studio in the heart of Santa Monica, California, has managed to attract all sorts of veteran developers from established studios like Respawn, Blizzard, BioWare, Naughty Dog and others, a significant amount of talent has left the project altogether.
In fact, it wasn’t just the highly-regarded departures that were a problem, as the news painted a terrible picture at The Initiative.
The development of Perfect Dark appears to have hit a severe roadblock, with rumours and reports suggesting that more than half of the core team of the game have left due to various issues, including the direction of the game and the studio’s ‘top-down’ hierarchical approach. However, the management team, such as studio head Darrell Gallagher, remains committed and confident, while the arrival of Crystal Dynamics has also bolstered the project.
Although there has been little official update from Microsoft on Perfect Dark for some time, the addition of Crystal Dynamics seems to have contributed significantly to the game’s development. In a recent episode of ‘The Xbox Two’ podcast featuring Jez Corden and Rand al Thor, the duo ranked each Xbox Game studio based on how excited they were about the games they were working on. For both individuals, studios such as Obsidian, Bethesda and Machine Games ranked near the top, largely thanks to upcoming titles such as Outer Worlds 2, Starfield and the forthcoming Indiana Jones title.
However, several studios, including The Initiative, have also diverged.
For Jez, The Initiative was relegated to the very lowest “D” category due to the negativity of the project and the number of people leaving. Interestingly, Corden then confessed that after they made this list, they were contacted by a person who indicated that the development of Perfect Dark was going very well. When asked for further details, Corden immediately declined to say more.
Although this is still only speculation, it seems that the arrival of Crystal Dynamic has proved to be the spark the project needed to overcome its many problems. The good news is that Crystal Dynamics seems to be in it for the long haul, even after Square Enix sold it for $300 million earlier this year. After The Embracer Group acquired them, some fans were concerned about the state of the project, to which The Initiative later responded in a tweet, confirming that “great progress” had been made as the two teams continued to work together.