Microsoft concluded July 23's Xbox Game Showcase by announcing Fable, Playground Games' soft reboot of a classic Xbox franchise that hasn't seen a new game in almost 10 years. While Fable's announcement is significant on its own, it was previously rumored alongside a new Perfect Dark game in late June.
Now that Fable is confirmed, what does it mean for the long-rumored reboot?
What is Perfect Dark? Perfect Dark is a first-person stealth shooter for Nintendo 64 from Everwild developer Rare. At the time, it served as a spiritual follow-up to the classic Goldeneye 007. It was critically acclaimed at the time of its release and was ported to Xbox 360 in 2010. Its Microsoft-published prequel and Xbox 360 launch title Perfect Dark Zero was much more divisive.
The series has been dormant outside of the original's re-release and both Perfect Dark games' inclusion in 2015's Rare Replay. New Perfect Dark projects have been canceled because Microsoft already had popular sci-fi games like Halo and Gears. Despite those previous cancellations, many fans actually think Microsoft will bring back Perfect Dark for Xbox Series X.
Breaking down Perfect Dark Xbox Series X rumors — Alongside Fable, a reboot of Perfect Dark is one of the most heavily rumored Xbox Series X games. As far back as 2018, Xbox Insider Klobrille hinted that Perfect Dark would make its return. Over the next two years, various other leakers also claimed that Microsoft was developing a new Perfect Dark in their own lists and breakdowns.
The idea of a new Perfect Dark started to gain more traction in 2020. This started in January when Phil Spencer tweeted about Microsoft's new studio The Initiative, hinting that the team was working on a new version of an old game. In April, The Initiative had a job description referenced a game that features "various weapons, gadgets, and a camera surveillance system," all of which are hallmarks of a Perfect Dark game.
Perfect Dark rumors reached a fever pitch in early July 2020 when Twitter accounts were spotted for both Fable and Perfect Dark. The Perfect Dark account was eventually outed as a fan-creation not affiliated with Microsoft, but this rumor intrinsically tied the two games as Microsoft revivals. If you remember this happening earlier in the summer and are wondering if that means Perfect Dark is definitely happening, think again. The game is still very much so unconfirmed, and it may just be wishful thinking.
Venture Beat also claimed that Perfect Dark was being rebooted in an article about the Xbox Games Showcase, though the article did claim that the game would not be revealed during the July presentation. Which is to say that it's possible that Venture Beat's claims are still accurate.
Should Microsoft bring back its dormant franchises? While Perfect Dark was not shown off during the Xbox Games Showcase, the existence of Fable shows that Microsoft has a clear interest in revitalizing long-dormant gaming franchises. While the studio is often pigeonholed into Halo, Forza, and Gears nowadays, they have many classic franchises to choose from. The Fable reboot shows that.
Rare, in particular, has a treasure trove of franchises like Banjo-Kazooie, Conker, and Perfect Dark. If Microsoft wants to gain back some goodwill with its community and fans of these series, it'd be smart to return to them at some point like it is doing with Fable. While Microsoft has yet to officially announce any plans for Perfect Dark, these rumors and Fable's revival bodes well for Joanna Dark and co.
Perfect Dark for Xbox Series X remains unconfirmed.