Xbox to revive classic with 97% Metacritic score – 25 years after landmark original

Perfect Dark returns at last

Perfect Dark
(Image credit: Xbox)

After years of knowing that the project was in the works, Xbox finally showed off a gameplay demo from the forthcoming Perfect Dark at its showcase this past week. 

The footage again confirms that Xbox is rebooting the beloved franchise almost a quarter of a century on from the original game, which came out on the Nintendo 64 all the back in the year 2000. 

The original was created by Rare, arguably most noted for the production of GoldenEye 007 on the same Nintendo console, but also famous for classics such as Diddy Kong Racing. And, yes, all of which is almost a quarter of a century ago!

Perfect Dark - Gameplay Reveal - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube Perfect Dark - Gameplay Reveal - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube
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The new Perfect Dark game will star an all-new version of Joanna Dark as she infiltrates locations and takes on covert missions, and it's set to have the ecological focus that was first rumoured years ago when Xbox announced the title.

In fact, it looks like Dark might well come to question the organisation she's working for as secrets start to tumble out and loyalties are brought into doubt. While we don't get a lot of story detail in the trailer, it's shaping up to look like a great thriller.

Given it was part of a long showcase full of other games (like the new Gears of War prequel that's coming), the gameplay isn't exactly extensive, totalling just a few minutes – but it's enough to give us plenty of hints as to how the game will actually feel to play.

For one thing, it looks like we'll be carefully casing locations and figuring out different ways in, much like you might have in games like Dishonored or Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It's also clear that things will turn more action-packed if you're discovered, though, and at least a few weapons are shown off.

In particular, that old-school blend of humour seems present, as demonstrated by the guard who gets tasered with an almost Looney Tunes pose at one point. That fits perfectly with the original from legendary developers Rare, which was distinctly tongue-in-cheek.

That original game is revered with good reason and sits to this day on a staggering 97 score from critics on Metacritic, so there's a lot for this reboot to live up to. It's even more of a knife-edge situation given there's already been one sequel that didn't win people over in a lasting way – 2005's Perfect Dark Zero

If Xbox can stick the landing this time it might have another beloved franchise on its hands – although we still have no idea how long it'll be until Perfect Dark actually arrives. At this point, sometime in 2025 seems like the most likely eventuality. The good news is that it'll almost certainly hit Xbox Game Pass on day one too.

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.