Recently Jeff Grubb of Venture Beat published an article talking about the Initiative and their new development project. Inside speculation has been that the game will be a new entry in the perfect dark universe. With Jeff even commenting so on an episode of Kinda Funny Games Daily podcast
While the talk of Joanna Darks return to video games has been often brought up in many Xbox circles with varying degrees of excitement (personally I am all in for team Perfect Dark) if we read Grubbs article and listening to other insiders we may have to look outside the established norms of rares cult classic.
The Initiative is dabbling with the Perfect Dark universe for its upcoming game, according to sources familiar with the project. What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that it is a new Perfect Dark game. And it may not even take place in the same universe or star the same characters. So don’t expect a game about Joanna Dark, but maybe elements of her game could show up in The Initiative’s project.Jeff Grubb @ Venturebeat : https://venturebeat.com/2020/08/26/the-initiatives-first-game-whats-the-so-called-aaaa-studio-making/
So if the game isn’t strictly following Joanna’s storyline then where could we be going? In January 2020 Phil Spencer tweeted that The Initiative was doing new things and old things, in new ways
If you will follow me down a rabbit hole, dear reader, I think that we may see a member of the Dark family previously unheard of by most. Velvet Dark is the name of Joanna’s sister and she was due to get a game all to herself but it never got out of the concept stage.
Velvet Dark would have been a third-person stealth/action game and not a first-person shooter like the original Perfect Dark, as Rare wanted to expand their franchise in different genres, especially when such games as Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter were very popular on the Playstation, at the time Nintendo wanted to publish cool third-person action games for their 64-bit console, so much so that in mid-1999 they announced the Tomb Raider inspired RiQa, a collaboration project with Bits Studios that unfortunately has never seen the light of day. Rare was also interested in explaining more about Velvet and her backstory.
In 2015 Kenn Lobb spoke about Perfect Dark with IGN. “We have these discussions all the time about ‘hey, what should we bring back.’ Perfect Dark and Joanna Dark are in that discussion a lot.”
Lobb, however, did clarify that at the time of the interview a Perfect Dark game was not in development. He did, however, suggest that if the series were to return, it would possibly be as a third-person shooter or stealth game. He added he would like to see more of a focus on story and the story of the game’s protagonist (Joanna Dark).
Also in 2015, a photo of the cover for Velvet’s design doc was shared on Twitter by Gregg Mayle and was marked with the date 30 October 2000. If the speculations are correct, the small team at Rare spent about 1 year on Velvet Dark and many gameplay elements were already detailed before Nintendo and Rare pulled the plug.
The doc detailed things like Velvet gaining abilities from serums, characters having attributes, which could have leaned into stealth/action gameplay or more tactical gameplay choices.
In April 2020 insider Klobrille brought to light that The Initiative were making a game in unreal engine 4, with focusses on stealth, gadgets and surveillance systems. To me this screams the universe of Perfect Dark.
So while this could all be for nothing, it’s my opinion that we could very well see a game in the Perfect Dark universe focusing on Velvet or a character in her vain. The last question is timing, Although the studio was only founded in 2018, having a playable prototype and the industries ability to ramp up with contractors and asset houses all over the world, we could see this game earlier than we think, maybe even before 2024.