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Perfect Dark Core Outed, Canceled

Felix Kemp
Games news, Perfect Dark, Perfect Dark Core, Rare Studios

Perfect Dark Core Outed, Canceled

A while back in the latter stages of 2009, MundoRare unearthed footage of an FPS prototype rumored to be Perfect Dark 2. It's been almost two years since then, with nary a mention - let alone an announcement - of a new Perfect Dark game. Well, we have some news now. And it's bad. Perfect Dark Core - as it was referred to during development - featured a "more realistic atmosphere" and an edgier Joanna Dark who "smoked and flirted". Excited? Well, don't be. As it's been canceled.

Intended to be a direct sequel to Perfect Dark's first outing on the N64, Core's development was headed up by remnants of the original team who had since disbanded - a few went on to form Free Radical. However, with Perfect Dark Zero enduring a torrid reception upon release, and Rare in the midst of a studio shake-up that would eventually transform them into Microsoft's premier Kinect stable, Core changed hands numerous times, eventually ending up with Chris Seavor, who was originally in charge of the Conker team.

With no established team - or even a greenlight from Microsoft - work on Core progressed at a sluggish rate. However, drastic changes were made to the game, so much so that it barely resembled a Perfect Dark game at all. Femme fatale Joanna Dark was swapped out for a generic male lead, and gameplay focused on players fighting - and eventually controlling - mechs.

By late 2008, Core had yet to develop beyond the prototype stage, with only one proof-of-concept level completed. Much of the staff had been re-directed to other projects, leaving the game with only three developers. By now, Microsoft had to begun to realize Rare's destiny lay somewhere other than big-budget blockbuster releases, and so Perfect Dark Core - along with a promising-looking Kameo sequel - was canceled.

However, thanks to MundoRare we have a bevy of prototype footage, screenshots and art that give us a tantalizing glimpse of what Core might have looked and played like. We see a leaner, more desperate-looking Joanna Dark in military fatigues, a slew of high-tech weaponry and mechanised units. The footage itself is pretty basic, with rough reload animation reels and whatnot. Still, it's interesting stuff.

It's doubtful we'll ever see Perfect Dark Core again. While we can hope Microsoft might wise up and allow Rare to flex their muscles on a non-Kinect stage once more, the studio is so busy with follow-ups to Kinect Sports and Adventures, I wouldn't hold your breath. [MundoRare]

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