Perfect Dark Zero: First official details

Rare has released the first proper information on its very-long-time-in-the-making prequel Perfect Dark Zero, which is currently due to be released for Xbox 360 at the end of the year.

Still in development at Rare, who have been working on the game since 1973, Zero is set around a secret war that has begun between shadowy corporations bent on, yes, world domination.

Joanna Dark and her father, Jack, are caught up in the fight for the planet's future after a seemingly routine bounty hunting mission exposes a global conspiracy. Players must guide Jo on her journey to become the Perfect Agent, in a world of corporate espionage and conspiracy.

The game supposedly offers a fully interactive world, replete with what Rare calls "breathtaking" special effects. But more intriguing than that is the Xbox Live play that supports upwards of 50 - yes, that's 50 - players online, with tournaments, rankings and more.

As well as the story-driven single-player campaign, there are various other multiplayer options including a four-player split screen mode and cooperative games.

Finally, a massive arsenal of weapons, gadgets and vehicles (including jet packs, hovercrafts and motorbikes) includes many of the classic weapons and gadgets from the original game, as well as new additions.

With all that said, though, the game was mysteriously absent from Microsoft's Xbox 360 event on Monday, leading to speculation that it was decided at the last minute that the game still isn't fit for public consumption - meaning that a 2005 release could still be on the optimistic side. We'll have more updates soon.