Rare's cancelled Perfect Dark game would have been built around an "open-ended sandbox" that felt similar to Deus Ex, an ex-Rare developer has revealed.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Chris Seavor, who left Rare in January 2011 and now heads up indie developer Gory Detail, said that Perfect Dark Core had been in production "for nearly a year" before Microsoft pulled the plug, and that the game would have put a darker twist on Rare's shooter series.
"We did Perfect Dark Core, which was going okay," he said. "It was all right. There was a load of tech. I was trying to do something quite different with that.
"I wanted to get away from the go around the corner, shoot, on rails kind of game, which a lot of games are doing now. If you look back at what games were like, like GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, all the old games like Deus Ex, you compare how complex they were in terms of the multiple paths, first-person shooters now have gone backwards in time in terms of design, but way ahead in terms of graphics. It's a bit of a shame. But I was trying to get it back to that more open-ended sandbox feel to first-person shooters."
'I was trying to get it back to that more open-ended sandbox feel to FPSs.'
Seavor added that the game would have felt like first-person action-RPG Deus Ex, and wouldn't have been "as narrow as something like Call Duty, where it's like, walk, cutscene, walk, cutscene.
"It was definitely going to be, you could go over here and do this over here, or you could go over here and do this over here," he continued. "And then it would bottleneck down to something that would then take you to the next bit. It was very much about missions and storyline."
He continued: "[Deus Ex is] one of my favourite games. I really like that game. I thought, if you could get something like that but make it look amazing, you're probably on a fairly good direction to having a hit."
There would have been a Mirror's Edge feel to the game, too, Seavor suggests, saying that "it had some nice mechanics. We were doing all the parkour jumping from walls stuff."
Artwork and prototype footage of Perfect Dark Core leaked onto the web in March 2011. The game was described as being "more realistic" than previous titles in the series, and had players control a male character accompanying a "smoking, flirting" Joanna Dark.
So why did Microsoft decide to cancel it? Seavor suggests that it was due to lower than expected sales of Xbox 360 launch title Perfect Dark Zero and the popularity of Halo.
"I'd heard rumours PD wasn't the big hit that was expected," he continued. "They really expected it to be massive and there was a bit of disappointment at the sales. That tempered doing another one.
"Plus, Microsoft were reassessing the market at the time. They were looking at the whole spread of games they had across Game Studios. And they had Halo, which was a pillar game. They were thinking, well, we've got that. We've covered our bases with that. So why do we need another game that's like Halo? Really, that was it. And they just went, look, close it down."
As well as discussing Perfect Dark Core, Seavor revealed that Kameo 2 and Conker's Bad Fur Day 2 had also been in development at Rare, alongside new IPs Ordinary Joe, Urchin and a motion-controlled game called Savannah.
But as for what Rare is up to now, Seavor doesn't know.
"No-one tells me anything about Rare now," he adds. "I think they dare not in case I tweet it. I presume it's another Sports game."