What’s up with “Perfect Dark”? The game’s development was reportedly beset by studio upheaval
She may have some stealth skills, but Joanna Dark was always destined to be in the spotlight. For players of the 1990s, perfect dark considered one of Nintendo’s most epic sci-fi adventures, not to mention a worthy shooter successor GoldenEye 007 – Developer Rare’s earlier adventure down the hall of special agent stalking on the N64 console.
That’s why it was only natural that fans sensed a new light dawning at the end of 2020, when Microsoft and in-house game studio The Initiative dropped a cute trailer for a surprise. perfect dark to restart. Microsoft unveiled a clean cinematic perfect dark clip, complete with next-gen graphics and an intriguing dystopian cityscape, with the tease that the game was in development for next-gen PC and Xbox consoles. Since then, however, there’s been a vacuum of news on the reboot’s progress, and no word on a release date.
New analysis of the studio’s staffing and interviews with “several former senior developers” may hint at the perceived lag. According to VGC, there is “a lack of creative autonomy and slow development progress” on the game, with around half of the perfect darkThe Initiative’s development team – “that’s about 34 people” – is said to have left the studio within the past year. The timing of most of these releases, VGC reports, appears to coincide with Crystal Dynamics (the studio behind Square Enix grave robber and Marvel’s Avengers) embarks on the project as a collaborator at the beginning of 2021.
Turnover appears heavy in the key design roles that help shape a game, with “most members of The Initiative’s senior design team, including game director Dan Neuburger, director of design Drew Murray, lead level designer Chris O’Neill, lead world builder Jolyon Myers, two senior system designers, a group of three alumni God of the war designers, and more” all having left the studio.
These departures from the design team would have been joined by further creative farewells. “[T]According to the analysis, the two most senior writers also recently resigned, along with the project’s technical director, technical art director, lead gameplay engineer, lead animator, quality assurance manager, etc. . “, says the report.
Despite what a former staffer described as “painfully slow” progress on the game, the integration of Crystal Dynamics may have “triggered an effective soft reboot” for perfect dark well into its development, one that recruits new employees more aligned with the second studio’s development culture. Darrell Gallagher, current head of studio for The Initiative, was previously head of studio at Crystal Dynamics and told VGC that the wait will be worth it when the perfect dark the reboot is finally coming.
“On this journey it is not uncommon for there to be changes in personnel, particularly during a period of global upheaval over the past two years, and there is still a lot of work ahead of us to deliver a fantastic perfect dark experience to our players,” he said. “We wish all of our former colleagues the best, and I’m confident in the team we have in place, the new talent joining us, and we look forward to sharing more with the fans.”