The Initiative's reboot of Perfect Dark remains in pre-production three years after the game's announcement and five years after the Microsoft internal studio's founding, according to an IGN report.
Speaking with 13 sources familiar with the project's development, IGN's Rebekah Valentine retraced the game's development through the years, including its stints with Certain Affinity and Crystal Dynamics on board as supporting studios, years of wheel-spinning, an exodus of talent, and a 2022 decision to basically start over from scratch in Unreal Engine 5.
"I blame The Initiative," one former Initiative employee said. "I don't blame our development partners. We chose not to hold anyone accountable to the vision, and we just let people keep trying things."
Developers from The Initiative, Crystal Dynamics, and Certain Affinity had all told IGN that Microsoft was very hands-off with the project, which calls to mind Xbox head Phil Spencer's recent suggestion that the company had been too hands-off for too long with Arkane's Redfall, which launched to a disappointing reception earlier this year.
Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty took exception to that "hands-off" characterization of Perfect Dark development in comments to IGN, saying, "The amount of time I've spent on the phone with [The Initiative studio head] Darrell [Gallagher] and everybody at that studio is sort of the opposite of hands-off, and the amount we've been down there."
IGN's sources said the game remains in pre-production and estimate it is two to three years from release.