Perfect Dark is getting a reboot from first-party Microsoft studio The Initiative, as the publisher announced tonight at The Game Awards 2020.
The reveal trailer is an unabashedly cinematic look at a world ruined by corporations. It's mainly a supercut of drone's-eye footage, but it ends with a goosebump-inducing landscape shot featuring the one and only Agent Dark.
The Initiative describes Perfect Dark as "a secret agent thriller set in a near-future world." In an Xbox blog post, studio head Darrell Gallagher said, "We have built the Perfect Dark team at The Initiative by bringing in some of the most talented game makers from around the industry who all share a passion for storytelling, world-building and creating memorable game experiences. With the full backing from Xbox Studios to re-imagine one of the best-loved IPs from gaming history, we couldn’t be more excited to share some of our early ideas."
Rumors of some sort of reboot in the works at The Initiative first appeared in early 2020 when Xbox boss Phil Spencer visited the studio to play its debut title. At the time, Spencer described The Initiative as an "incredibly talented studio challenging themselves to do new things (and old things) in new ways," which triggered some retro alarms.
In April, LinkedIn sleuths noticed that the studio's former technical designer, Christopher Ng, described working on "various weapons, gadgets, and a camera surveillance system." This loosely fits with the themes of Perfect Dark, which has always had a bit of stealth and espionage to it. It wasn't much to go on, but combined with Spencer's earlier comments, it gave Perfect Dark fans another bit of hope.
Rumors amplified in June when placeholder Twitter profiles for Fable and Perfect Dark were discovered, and with the reveal of Fable 4, the possibility of a new Perfect Dark gained some serious ground. However, at the time, Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg poured cold water on the hype: "I know everyone is hungry for news, but sorry to get your hopes up," he said. "These accounts have been inactive for years, it’s standard practice to secure social handles for our IP."
And voila, here we are. The long-rumored and even longer-awaited Perfect Dark reboot is – well, not quite upon us, but finally official.