Perfect Dark Core/Vengeance [Xbox 360 – Cancelled / Prototype]

Perfect Dark Core/Vengeance [Xbox 360 – Cancelled / Prototype]

Perfect Dark Core was a project in development between 2006-2007, intended as a sequel to the critically acclaimed Nintendo 64 shooter, Perfect Dark. While Microsoft had previously released another instalment in the PD franchise on Xbox 360, Perfect Dark Zero, its reception among fans was fairly tepid by comparison. Rare, looking to shake things up, intended to bring some drastic changes with their next game.

Perfect Dark Zero was developed by what remained of the original Perfect Dark team at Rare, which was led by Chris Tilston. However, after PDZ was finished in late 2005, the team was split into smaller teams that started work on different prototypes. One of these was The Fast & the Furriest, headed by PDZ’s story and script writer Dale Murchie. Another prototype team was spearheaded by Mark Edmonds and Chris Tilston, both worked on an MMO called Cascade, which was cancelled during the company restructure in early 2009. As the leads of the PD series were either bound to other (later to be cancelled) projects or had already left the company (with one being graphics director Kevin Bayliss), Rare’s management decided to hand the PD franchise to the developers of Conker’s Bad Fur Day; a team led by Chris Seavor. Some of the Conker team had already helped during the final stages of Perfect Dark Zero when it was ported to Xbox 360, others had worked on Urchin, a gothic/horror prototype cancelled in 2006.

Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark Core

An unused concept for Joanna’s look.

As lead on the project, Chris Seavor and his team envisioned a very different approach towards the series’ titlular character, Joanna Dark. She was still to some extent the wise-cracking spy seen in the first game, albeit with some major changes. This Joanna was a colder, tougher warrior, whose very sanity has been, to some extent, worn down by years of field work.

Throughout the story, she would have been joined by a growing team of allies. These were almost all original characters named Sable, Milton, Pennington and Jo’s close friend, Mia. Later in the plot, they would have been accompanied by Elvis, the maian alien whom Joanna rescued in the original game.

Special Thanks to Mundorare, Rareminion and the various (former) Rare employees who made it possible to preserve some info and documents about Perfect Dark Core, before it could have been lost and forgot forever.

Perfect Dark Core proto / animation demos footage:

In late 2008, the prototype, that only featured one completed level, was still not greenlit. Instead, the team was cut down to only three developers, which meant the ending of the project. Most of its staff was put onto other projects – of which many were not released either. By that time, however, the prototype that started out as Perfect Dark Core was no longer set in the PD universe, it was not even referred to as Perfect Dark Core. While the gameplay was still an action FPS, the player was supposed to shoot at mechs that were controlled by humans (in case of this prototype the mech was controlled by the protagonist that was designed for an earlier built and seen in leaked gameplay footage). This was the last stage of the prototype after which it was entirely abandoned.

Unnamed Mech-FPS prototype footage

Images for Perfect Dark Core and unnamed Mech-FPS


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Liam Robertson

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