GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Perfect Dark - Everything We Know

Microsoft is making a new Perfect Dark game--and here's the scoop.


Microsoft's Perfect Dark franchise is making a comeback via The Initiative--a first-party studio made of industry veterans. Perfect Dark is among the most-anticipated upcoming Xbox games, and while we don't have all that much to go on at this point, we do know a few key details about the project, including how long we may have to wait before we play it.

Perfect Dark release date windows and platforms

There is no release date for the Perfect Dark reboot as of yet, and given the behind-the-scenes reports and staffing changes (more on that below), no one should expect the game to be released anytime soon. The original game was set in the year 2023, and after years of silence, we've moved past the real 2023.

Presumably, when it does eventually launch, Perfect Dark will be available across the usual slate of first-party Microsoft games: Xbox, PC, and cloud streaming. It just remains to be seen if that Xbox will be the Series X|S or whatever comes next.

Who's developing it?

One of Microsoft's newest studios, The Initiative, is developing the Perfect Dark reboot. In 2021, Microsoft surprised some by announcing a partnership with Tomb Raider studios Crystal Dynamics to jointly develop the game. Crystal Dynamics was later absorbed by Embracer Group, but the company is still working with Microsoft on the Perfect Dark reboot. It was previously also in development at Certain Affinity--a common Xbox partner--but this ended in 2021.

According to an IGN report, development has been rocky at The Initiative, with the game's core mechanic not nailed down prior to its official reveal in 2020 and "little meaningful progress" made since.

How long has it been since the last game?

The Perfect Dark series was created by Rare and debuted in 2000 on Nintendo 64 as a pseudo follow-up to the acclaimed FPS GoldenEye 007. A sequel, Perfect Dark Zero, arrived in 2005 for Xbox 360 but received a much colder reception. A remaster of the original N64 game came to Xbox 360 in 2010.

Official reveal

After some rumors, Microsoft officially announced the Perfect Dark reboot at The Game Awards in 2020 via a brief and cryptic teaser trailer. It was more of a mood piece to help set the tone. Check it out below.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Story and gameplay details

Series hero Joanna Dark is back for another adventure. According to former game director Dan Neuburger, the Perfect Dark reboot aims to fill what he saw as a current gap in the market for a "blockbuster" secret agent game.

Lead writer Christine Thompson said the reboot also has the tricky task of balancing nostalgia with an effort to pursue new ideas. "You have to avoid doing too much devotion to the past but not enough," Thompson said. "You have to find the right spot in the middle."

In the reboot, there has been an ecological disaster that affected the world on a global scale, which is quite different from the original game's narrative. Corporations came in and created new technology to solve the problems. However, the hopeful world on the surface is not all it seems, and there may also be trouble brewing, developers said in a Game Awards 2020 video (below).

Joanna will be able to slide under and jump over obstacles in an effort to highlight her physicality. The game will have camera moves reminiscent of body cameras and Go Pros, too.

Game development is a highly iterative process and plans change all the time, so the way in which Microsoft spoke about the game in 2020 may not still hold today. In the interview video, developers repeatedly referred to its "vision" for the game, and concepts for it, and all of this could change. A number of developers in that video have left Microsoft (more on that later).

It's coming to Game Pass

Being a first-party title, Perfect Dark is expected to be available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog, just like every other game made by one of Microsoft's studios.

Shifting staff

According to a March 2022 report, more than 30 people left The Initiative in the preceding 12 months, including game director Dan Neuburger and design director Drew Murray. Former senior developers on the Perfect Dark reboot at The Initiative said they left the team due in part to how there was a "lack of creative autonomy and slow development progress," according to VGC. The development momentum on the Perfect Dark reboot has been "heavily affected" by the departures, the report said.

The former developers told VGC that some staffers became frustrated by The Initiative's reported "top-down" approach to decision-making when it comes to design choices.

"According to the former employees, many senior team members were frustrated by this perceived lack of autonomy and didn't feel heard on key issues such as development priorities, project planning, and team staffing," the report said.

For its part, The Initiative boss Darrell Gallagher told VGC that the staffing changes are not uncommon for a new studio taking over a "beloved franchise." Not only that, but Gallagher cited the "global upheaval" over the past couple years as an explanation in part for the staffing changes.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 3 comments about this story