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Microsoft’s Perfect Dark reboot reportedly in “a very rough state” and a “big, protracted mess”

Closing in on four years since Microsoft’s Perfect Dark reboot was announced, and a year since it was reported that “little meaningful progress” had been made on the project since its unveiling, it’s now being claimed the reboot remains in “a very rough state”.

That’s according to journalist Jeff Grubb who, while discussing Xbox’s surprise recent studio closures on the Giant Bombcast, told co-presenters, “I’ve been hearing for years that Perfect Dark is in a rough state, [but] it sounds like it’s in a very rough state. It doesn’t sound like it’s really come together in any way since then.”

In the wake of Grubb’s comments, several other industry pundits (as spotted by VGC) took to social media with similar claims. VG247’s Alex Donaldson wrote

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, “I have some crazy stories about the development of that game I have not put in print out of respect for a team really trying hard to push a boulder up a steep hill. But my patience is getting thin.” Meanwhile, video game historian Liam Robertson wrote, “From what little I have heard about the development of the new Perfect Dark, it sounds like… a big, protracted mess.”

The Perfect Dark reboot’s 2020 announcement trailer.Watch on YouTube

These latest claims follow an IGN report last year in which the Perfect Dark reboot was said to have made “little meaningful progress” since its 2020 unveiling, after it hit “roadblock after roadblock”. IGN claimed the project – a spy flavoured FPS combining espionage, gadgets, and combat – was still in pre-production at the time of its report, despite having been revealed three years prior, and roughly two to three years away from release. And based on these latest reports, it doesn’t sound like the project’s fortunes have substantially improved.

Microsoft’s Perfect Dark reboot was initially being developed by the company’s Santa Monica-based The Initiative studio, but 2021 hinted at troubles for the project when it was revealed Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics had been brought in to assist. An exodus of key staff – including the game’s design director, lead level designer, principal level designer, and principal world builder – was reported the following year.

Claims of continuing turmoil on the Perfect Dark reboot come in a week Microsoft is already facing criticism for its handling of other studios in its portfolio, with the company having just announced – following 1,900 layoffs at Xbox earlier this year – the shock closure of Prey and Redfall developer Arkane Austin, The Evil Within and Hi-Fi Rush studio Tango Gameworks, Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Games. It’s also been reported further cuts at Microsoft’s Xbox division are on the way.

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