Skip to main content

Perfect Dark has been ‘wholly reworked’ in Unreal Engine 5 since its announcement

The rampant issues that the development of Xbox’s Perfect Dark reboot from The Initiative has faced over the past several years were detailed in a new report on IGN. The report also claims that the game is still two to three years away from release, as development essentially restarted on Unreal Engine 5 in 2021.

Microsoft formed The Initiative in 2018 and announced its Perfect Dark reboot in 2020, but IGN’s report states that most of the work done on the project before 2021 is no longer in use. The Initiative’s ambition to become the stewards of the Perfect Dark franchise and make a self-proclaimed “AAAA” game without very clear high-level direction reportedly plagued the project in its early years, as did a rocky co-development relationship with developer Certain Affinity. The COVID-19 pandemic reportedly exacerbated all those problems, and The Initiative and Certain Affinity ended their partnership in early 2021, just months after the game’s reveal.

“So many things have changed in terms of how we want to staff games,” Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty told IGN in response to questions about Perfect Dark’s development. “I think that going forward, almost every major AAA game out there is using some level of co-development, which I separate from outsourcing. Outsourcing is very, ‘Here’s a spec, please go build this, give it back to us.’ Co-development is: This is a studio, a group of people who are a creative entity, how can you work with them? One of the things we learned on Perfect Dark is there is a difference between studios that have that creative DNA versus studios that have done more traditionally outsourcing, no matter how complex, and we just had to find the right rhythm there.”

Artwork for Crystal Dynamics and The Initiative's Perfect Dark partnership
Xbox Game Studios

The end of the Certain Affinity partnership was followed by many internal departures at The Initiative, which ultimately brought on Crystal Dynamics as a new co-development partner in September 2021. An IGN source claims that a lot of the game was “wholly reworked” at this point, with Perfect Dark now running on Unreal Engine 5. Development is reportedly progressing more smoothly, although the game is apparently still in pre-production and two to three years away from release.

That’s disappointing for Xbox fans who were expecting this title to come sooner, but it does explain Perfect Dark’s absence from the recent Xbox Games Showcase. Whenever it does come out, Perfect Dark will be playable on Xbox Series X/S and be on Xbox Game Pass.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
An Xbox PC Game Pass exclusive just got a release date and no one noticed
Nefertiti in Egypt menu in Ara: History Untold. An upgrade on screen is called Rays of the Aten: Farms and their Upgrades provide an additional +1 food per turn

Xbox is going all in on strategy games. On Wednesday, it announced that Ara: History Untold is coming to PC on September 24 and will be available on day one with PC Game Pass.

Weirdly enough, though, the news coverage has been slim, despite Xbox releasing a whole podcast about it and the soon-to-release Age of Mythology: Retold from the Age of Empires team. It's also strange that the news didn't pop up in this summer's Xbox Game Showcase, which took place days ago. The podcast and blog is all there is to show how Xbox is committed to real-time strategy.

Read more
Silent Hill creator’s new game Slitterhead prioritizes action over scares
One of the rarity characters in Bokeh Game Studio's Slitterhead.

Slitterhead was the weirdest game I stumbled onto at Summer Game Fest this year. Tucked away in a small cabana at the back of the event, it was a game few people attending even seemed to know was there. I felt compelled to check it out before the event ended, as if I were possessed. I managed to get an on-the-fly appointment to see it on the last day of Summer Game Fest, eager to dissect what I saw in its action-focused gameplay trailer. That decision would bring me face-to-face with Keiichiro Toyama, who helped create iconic franchises like Silent Hill, Siren, and Gravity Rush, and has now moved on to make Slitterhead at Bokeh Game Studio.

We're in a survival-horror renaissance now thanks to Capcom's Resident Evil remakes and standout indies like Crow Country, but Toyama tells Digital Trends he's now leaning into making a full-on action horror game. He believes that's what players today prefer, and Slitterhead is a result of that. With its focus on combat, a parry deflection mechanic, and a possession system that lets players move between bodies during battle, it felt like I had stumbled upon a creepy hidden gem at Summer Game Fest.
A Siren spiritual successor
Although Toyama is best known for creating the first Silent Hill, Slitterhead has more in common with the second horror franchise he worked on: Siren. That series was a creepy survival horror game where players could "sightjack" NPCs to learn what they can see and hear. That gameplay concept, as well as the idea of telling another ensemble story with a lot of characters, is something Toyama and other returning developers from Siren want to explore more with Slitterhead.

Read more
Helldivers 2 just got some long-requested changes in its new patch
Four soldiers walk in front of a blue Super Earth flag in the Helldivers 2 trailer.

Players have been eagerly waiting for another Helldivers 2 update, and now it's here, bringing with it massive updates to Stratagems, the galactic map, lobbies, and more.

Patch 01.000.400 released on Thursday, and the patch notes are quite extensive. What most players will notice though are the balance changes to certain weaker Stratagems. For example, the Orbital Gatling Barrage got an increased fire rate, more rounds, increased armor penetration, and a decreased cooldown time. The MG-206 Heavy Machine Gun can now deal more projectile damage -- increased from 100 to 150 -- and decreased reload time, although it also got a slightly decreased fire rate.

Read more