Perfect Dark finally emerged with gameplay during the Xbox Games Showcase 2024

Perfect Dark Joanna Dark
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Spy shooter Perfect Dark, a reboot of the franchise developed by Rare, is being co-developed by The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics.
  • First announced at the Game Awards 2020, years have gone by without a look at the game. 
  • Reports indicate that Perfect Dark's development has been stressed by losing team members and conflicting visions. 
  • Perfect Dark finally reemerged at the Xbox Games Showcase 2024, showing gameplay footage as Agent Dark pursued a target with free-running and special gear.

She's finally back. 

Perfect Dark, the upcoming shooter from The Initiative and Xbox Game Studios, finally reemerged during the Xbox Games Showcase 2024. The gameplay trailer showed a look at Agent Joanna Dark's skills and gadgets in action. You can check out the first gameplay trailer for Perfect Dark below. 

Perfect Dark is in development for Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC. Like all Xbox first-party games, it's coming day one to Xbox Game Pass.

Perfect Dark's development has been a long road

Early concept art for Perfect Dark's reboot. (Image credit: Xbox)

Perfect Dark has had a long road in development, with development studio The Initiative first being founded as part of Xbox in 2018. The studio, which is led by former Crystal Dynamics boss Darrell Gallagher, hired a number of industry veterans and unveiled Perfect Dark with a CGI teaser during the Game Awards 2020.

From there, the team went dark, with few updates bar the news that Crystal Dynamics would be co-developing the game along with The Initiative. Later reports indicated that the studio was having trouble, with a large number of departures and reports indicating the team had a lot of trouble developing a studio culture during the pandemic. Development finally seemed to hit a steady rhythm in 2023, with the game starting to come together more and more as The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics figured out their working relationship.

Perfect Dark is being built using Unreal Engine 5, and it's my understanding that Gears of War developer The Coalition — a first-party team well-known for its prowess with Unreal Engine, having provided direct feedback to the engine's creators at Epic Games — has been extremely beneficial in providing technical know-how and support to the teams at The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics.

Analysis: The day has finally come

It's extremely good that we've finally gotten a chance to see this game in action, as the reports over the years have painted a tough picture for it and its development team. Even so, the gaming industry is unique, and sometimes projects struggle for years before pulling together in a coherent form that becomes something special.

I'm certainly hopeful that'll be the case for Perfect Dark, because what I finally saw today looks absolutely fantastic. Free-running, special gadgets, and tactical first-person gameplay are everything I want from this game. There's no release date or release window just yet, but my faith is vastly restored in the future of this project.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.