Perfect Dark Rumour Mill
Okay. Here's a bunch of official Perfect Dark team responses to the main PD questions doing the rounds. Some are taken directly from letters sent in, others are worded to address general concerns of which we're aware. Choose to disbelieve any or all of them if you like, but you'd have to be a bit stupid because this, according to the PD team itself, represents the absolute and final truth.
Q: PerfectHead: the famously removed face-mapping option. Is it still somewhere in the game's code? Can it be unlocked?
A: No it isn't; no it can't. Our statement at the time said it had been removed; we didn't lie. Some strings and keywords may remain in the code, but that's about all.
Q: What's the purpose of the question mark in the Warehouse and the keyhole in Area 51: Rescue?
A: Both are graphical oddities put into the levels solely for your bafflement. They have no function outside of the obvious one, i.e. making people ask what they are for. Same goes for the 'Anal Land' sign that somebody dropped in.
Q: Are there any other multiplayer arenas (including GoldenEye levels) hidden away in Perfect Dark?
Q: Jonathan is named as Jonathan Dark at one point in the game. Does this mean that he's Joanna's brother/husband, or is Dark just part of a standard codename?
A: He was originally intended to be Joanna's brother, yes. Don't get too attached to any one idea since background details like this can change or be thrown away completely - and that's not a hint. There's still no final word on what will happen to Jonathan in any sequel to PD that Rare may make.
Q: Why does the All Guns cheat exclude the Slayer except in certain levels?
A: The levels in which the Slayer is not present were found during testing to be unsuited to use of the weapon; you could lock up or crash the game by flying outside the bounds of the level.
Q: Why was so much of the background information hidden away? A lot of gamesplayers tend to hammer Start a lot, and miss new information. Putting it with Grimshaw was a nice touch, but not everyone will think to look there.
A: Grimshaw was meant to provide extra information not essential for the player to complete the mission, but to give the 'explorer' players a bit of a bonus. Data on missions you had just completed, people you had just met (or killed), would be stored in the archives for you to reminisce over. And there were the facts that we couldn't squeeze into the cutscenes too; since the storyline was based on a conspiracy theory, there needed to be a lot of explanation so that people didn't get short-changed in the info department.
Q: Why are there quote marks at the end of the Perfect Dark logo?
A: It looks cool. Nothing more than that: it is simply a piece of design inspired by some Japanese text.
Q: What's the deal with the username and password ('I Am Ozymandias'?) on the necklace dropped by Cassandra De Vries?
A: It was intended to be an access code to one of the PD marketing websites, as was the reward code for achieving the '1:Perfect' multiplayer ranking. As far as we know it was never used.
Q: What were the ENTROPICDECAY username and ZERO-TAU password (given out on reaching Perfect: 1 ranking) intended for? Are there any different usernames/passwords to be found?
A: See previous answer on passwords. Apart from these, there are no others.
Q: PD fanatics are trying to link things to the Ozymandias poem. "In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, stands a gigantic leg, which far off throws the only shadow that the desert knows". The first pillar, if you are playing in Battle Shrine, is the only one that casts a shadow. On WAR, when you go to where that pillar would be, you can destroy the wall and floor where the shadow was. Another segment of the poem: "I am great Ozymandias," saith the stone, "The king of kings: this mighty city shows the wonders of my hand." The symbol of the Skedar looks very much like a hand, and again, the hole in the Skedar King's room is that symbol. Can you reveal anything else related to the Ozymandias poem in Perfect Dark?
A: Sadly, you are merely straining the bounds of coincidence with the assumption you make. The password sequence was chosen as a very obvious pointer to Cassandra DeVries herself as a parallel to Ozymandias, believeing herself to be all-powerful, in complete control etc. Any reference to 'the Ozymandias poem' (sigh) beyond the password is unintentional, as is any connection between old Ozy and the Skedar. Or indeed anything else in the game. The pillars' shadows had to be made as well as the pillars themselves so that they could be removed when the pillars were blown up, hence avoiding smart-arse e-mails (which was of course our only reason for doing all of the extra work). The Skedar symbol has five prongs because it just has. Sometimes, things just are. This is one of those times.
Q: Why is there a locked door on the bottom floor of the Grid multiplayer arena? The sims seem to be able to open it - why can't the human players?
A: If you're talking about the front door of the lobby, it's locked because there is no background behind it and falling out of a door would be a pretty foolish way to die in a deathmatch. It's unlikely that the sims would open the doors because there's nowhere behind the doors for them to go to.
Q: The cheese. There's cheese in every level. It's driving us mad. Tell us why!
A: How should we know why you're being driven mad by cheese? One of the artists took it upon himself to place cheese in each level, again, as a graphical oddity for your confusion. At the time there were suspicions that the cheese was left in places where the art/design was considered to be - wait for it - a bit cheesy, but even if that's the case, there's still no extra purpose to it. If you've found all the cheese, you get a warm, satisfied feeling (probably) and nothing else. Alternatively, you could think of it as being for the big mouse who lives in your cartridge.
Q: We've been told time and time again that there are no push-button codes for PD, but we still don't believe you. Are you holding out on us?
A: No. We find it quite offensive that you are accusing us of lying, and we will punch you if we meet you in the street. There were no button codes during the production of the game. There are no button codes now. There will be no button codes in the future, not even if you place the cart in the freezer for several weeks before performing a pagan dance around it. (Note: Don't bother bringing up the GoldenEye button codes as an 'argument'. Those were originally intended for development/testing purposes and were eventually hacked, not released by Rare or Nintendo. As a result, PD has no codes whatsoever.)
Q: What's the meaning of the 'Release the Beast' graffiti in the Chicago level?
A: What else would you like graffiti to say? It was a random sample of street art reproduced by one of the artists. It's there because it produced the look that the artist wanted for the level. You're reading far too much into far too much of the background artwork.
Q: Is there any real use for the hovercrate in the Carrington Institute (apart from jamming the doors open)?
A: The hovercrate is there for you to familiarise yourself with how the hovercrates work. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
Q: Why did you make the game so difficult? Challenge 29/Maian SOS/are simply impossible on the highest difficulty levels.
A: Some people will have reached that point and thrown the cartridge away in disgust; others will have had only slight trouble. The point is that we cannot cater for everyone all the time, and there have to be some difficult (or very very difficult, if you like) levels for the best gamers. We'd rather have people moaning about the challenge that PD presented to them than bewailing the easiness of it and demanding their money back. A lot of the time, a different tactic can be the key factor, be it hiding in a different place or using a weapon in a different way. It can be very difficult to change one's playing style on demand, but that is almost always the way to beat the game. Any game, in fact.
Q: Was it too late to add some explanation for Velvet? If Velvet completes a Co-Op mission, having Joanna speak in the cut-scene with Velvet's head is quite disturbing...
A: The recording of speech for the game and cutscenes took a lot of time to get right, and it also took up a lot of cartridge space. If we could have done more, we would.
Q: Advancing your rank in multiplayer seems to involve all sorts of factors. Could you shed some light on these?
A: Okay, let's see. The following stats affect your rank: Kills, Games Won, Time, Distance, Damage Dealt, Ammo Used, Accuracy Medals, Headshot Medals, Killmaster Medals and Survivor Medals. In each of these ten stats there are ten values at which you earn another point, up to a maximum of (obviously) 100 points, i.e. Perfect ranking. Ranks basically descend in five-point intervals from there (95-99 gives you Near Perfect, etc.)
Q: Why are there some characters that spontaneously drop dead and leave items behind? What's wrong with just placing items on the ground?
A: It's to add a bit more of what we humans call 'background ambience' to the single player game. A dead guy with a gun… who killed him? What was his job? Is the gun useful to me? Etc. etc.
Q: Why does one of the guards in Area 51 shoot his fellow guards with a Magnum then run away?
A: He is Jonathan, your Carrington Institute co-agent, and the person you're supposed to meet before scarpering. Look, you're obviously suffering here, give the cart back. Play snap or something.
Q: Did the Pond Punk in Chicago or the observatory in Carrington Villa ever have more importance to the plot?
A: Pond Punk, no. Except it resembles a place that some of the team have visited. The observatory is where you start, but apart from that, no.
Q: What's the point of the locked doors that lead nowhere in the Attack Ship level? (They lead out from the room with the control panel for the hangar bay doors.)
A: They are placed to prevent entry to a mirror of the cell that Joanna starts in. It was modelled for the sake of completeness, but was never used. In all likelihood, given the size of the level, the room behind them may not be there at all; such dead-end rooms ended up being removed from the models to make sure the backgrounds loaded without any problems.
Q: Can the GoldenEye weapons be used in multiplayer?
A: No, they can't. We intended to put that in but somehow it disappeared from our checklist of things to do. The PD weapons are better anyway (plus we didn't want to push the potential licensing restrictions on anything to do with GoldenEye).
Q: There are several 'secret' levels supposedly hidden in PD, including the single-player 'Retaking The Institute' and the multiplayer 'Citadel', 'Rooftop' and 'Ark Hives'. Can you give us the truth behind these?
A: Citadel is a complete fanboy fabrication, back from the GoldenEye days no less. Retaking the Institute… an idea floated part of the way through production before being dropped for lack of time and cart space. Rooftop was indeed a multiplayer level but it was not up to scratch and dropped from the final game, while Ark Hives probably would have been the Archives from GoldenEye, subtly retextured and resubmitted under a name no-one would figure out, if - like Citadel - it hadn't been made up by somebody completely unconnected with Rare. So in a nutshell, all those 'secret levels' are utter b*ll*cks.
Q: Why is there a hidden door in the Pelagic 2 submarine room that you can only see with the X-Ray Scanner?
A: Either it's a graphic that slipped through the net during the tidying-up phase we like to call bug testing, or it is placed in the background for completeness' sake.
Q: Where are the Cetans described in the detailed version of the story? Isn't the Pelagic 2 supposed to be a dormant Cetan? Also, how did the Skedar establish a portal into the Cetan if they were on the run from the "authorities?"
A: It became clear that the massive craft on the ocean floor was an organic entity, so the Institute gave it (or rather, the race it appeared to be a member of) a name - the Cetan. The Cetan was lying at the bottom of the Pacific, there was only one terrestrial craft that could provide a base of operations for an entry into the Cetan (the Pelagic 2) so as long as the Skedar could get there, they could do any damn thing they wanted and nobody could interfere. Trent Easton was trying to wrangle a deal with the President that would have given dataDyne (and therefore the Skedar) the Pelagic 2 for a certain amount of time, and this was preferable to the Skedar, since they wanted to keep everything under wraps until they had the Cetan and its Megaweapon under their control. After the Institute forced their hand they had to accelerate their plan and use more troops than their commander would have liked to get the Cetan for themselves. This meant the theft of the Pelagic 2, the alerting of the authorities, etc. etc.
Q: What's all this about the 'ghost' characters who attack enemies in the distance? Is it true that they were programmed in to keep the number of active enemies down to a certain level?
A: We're not convinced that this exists. We certainly didn't program it in. Take your cart to a priest if you are at all worried.
Q: What happened to the multiplayer options that we heard about but didn't make the final cut? Touch That Box, Floodlights, Destroyable Walls...
A: Some were dropped because they weren't good enough (Touch That Box), others were just placeholders and never got done. Either that or they were considered too sparkly and lovely for anyone but super special people, who have a limited run of beta-PD cartridges. In a pig's arse.
Categories: Interviews, Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark, Rare