What have we learned from Perfect Dark’s gameplay reveal trailer?

June 19, 2024
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The art of the reveal is a difficult thing – and in our current industry, most publishers prefer trailers packed with pre-rendered CGI or snippets captured across the game. Yet, I’ve always preferred a different approach: a linear series of events showcasing what’s possible in the game. This style was memorably used to reveal Metal Gear Solid 2, along with titles like Halo 2, Doom 3, The Last of Us and Killzone: Shadow Fall. It’s designed to showcase the gameplay vision of a title contained within a single location – a way to help the player understand what sort of game the developer is building. With the reboot of Perfect Dark, finally shown during this year’s Xbox showcase, I was thrilled to see a return to this format.

There’s little doubt that the lead-up to Perfect Dark has been fraught with challenges. First named six years ago in a simple teaser, the studio went radio-silent afterwards, with rumors suggesting it was in a rough state. With this new trailer, however, it finally feels like we have a vision for what the team wants to achieve. This is still very much a vertical slice – it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that little else of the game’s campaign has been built yet – but this trailer gives me hope that they’re on the right track.

Creating a new entry in the Perfect Dark series is perhaps not as simple as it may seem. On the face of it, the original Perfect Dark is a type of shooter that largely doesn’t really exist any longer. It’s mission- and objective-driven, filled with gadgets and other unique scenarios, but the central mechanics, level design and flow are very much of the era. There is one contemporary game, known as Agent 64, which perfectly builds on this style of play – the demo is excellent and a fun throwback – but that’s not necessarily what you’d want from a full reboot.

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