Reports Say Xbox’s Perfect Dark Reboot Is Still ‘A Big, Protracted Mess’

Reports Say Xbox’s Perfect Dark Reboot Is Still ‘A Big, Protracted Mess’

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Xbox. Following a week in which it closed well-liked Bethesda studios and then told staff it wanted smaller, more prestigious games that win awards (like the ones made by the very studios it had just closed), new reports have emerged about the current state of its Perfect Dark reboot.

The news is not good. According to Jeff Grubb on the Giant Bomb podcast (and spotted by Eurogamer), Perfect Dark production isn’t going well at all. “I’ve been hearing for years that Perfect Dark is in a rough state,” said Grubb, “[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.”

This statement was quickly echoed by several other journalists and industry observers. “I have some crazy stories about the development of [Perfect Dark] I have not put in print out of respect for a team really trying hard to push a boulder up a steep hill,” wrote VG247’s Alex Donaldson. Industry historian Liam Robertson echoed these sentiments: “From what little I have heard about the development of the new Perfect Dark, it sounds like… a big, protracted mess.”

These claims echo an IGN report from 2023 that asserted Perfect Dark had made “little meaningful progress” since its announcement in 2020. The game was still in pre-production at the time and was eyeing a release date in 2026-27. A staff exodus from The Initiative, the studio Xbox founded to handle the reboot, led to Crystal Dynamics being brought in to assist with development. A representative at the time attempted to project a change of fortune for the project, saying things were “going extremely well” after a rough start.

It, uh, does not sound as though things are going extremely well.

The reports come as Xbox faces significant backlash to recent studio closures at Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, studios that had produced award-winning games in the past (and one clanger in Redfall). The cuts come after Xbox’s significant and costly acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and there are reportedly more cuts still to come as it adjusts to its gargantuan new size.

Image: Xbox, Kotaku Australia

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