Rare answer your Perfect Dark questions – Rare Gamer Exclusive
A few weeks back we asked you for your PD questions and quick as a flash here's Nick Ferguson, PD XBLA's producer, to go through your questions.
1. How does it feel for a title Like Perfect Dark to uphold such a following since the initial release in 200 to the XBLA release in 2010? (Sean)
We have been very pleased by the fan reaction to Perfect Dark on XBLA, and that people consider it a fitting tribute to the N64 original. One of the pleasant surprises working on the conversion was just how far ahead of the curve Perfect Dark was back in 2000. We’ve referred to it as “an Xbox LIVE game made before Xbox LIVE was invented”, and that development philosophy made it a natural fit for XBLA where a whole new audience can discover just how good the game is.
2. Was the plan to bring PD to XBLA always going to be a straight port, albeit with nips and tucks here and there to spruce up the visuals or did you consider a ‘re-imagining’ with new features and mission elements, and if that was the case any goss about what they would have been? (Paul)
The plan was always to be an authentic conversion, aside from the visual upgrade.
There were discussions around adding certain features that modern gamers would expect such as mid-level checkpoints (after completing a mission objective) or starting players with a weapon in multiplayer, but it was decided that Perfect Dark should be a completely authentic port of the N64 original.
We did tweak multiplayer so that players automatically switch to the first weapon they collect, but then made sure purists can turn that off.
There was never any discussion around adding new missions.
The only “extra” we added was bringing the Goldeneye weapons into the multiplayer experience, as believe it or not they were only available in single player on N64.
3. How long did the port process take, how many staff were involved, and what was the hardest part of bringing it from N64 to XBLA? (Skill)
The port took a year. The core development team at 4J Studios was about 15 people, but over 75 people at Rare and Microsoft supported 4J in bringing the game to XBLA.
The most challenging aspect of development was definitely the LIVE integration, particularly getting the Co-operative and Counter-Operative modes to work across Xbox LIVE. Perfect Dark required the largest Test team ever assembled for an XBLA title.
4. Was it ever possible to have the face-mapping feature brought back? As I recall it was in and workable in the original but just got disabled right before launch due to Nintendo getting the heebie jeebies so technically it could work with the Xbox Live Vision Camera? (Paul)
Face-mapping was not a feature in the final N64 game and the N64 implementation would not have been appropriate for Xbox 360. We didn’t feel it was appropriate to reinstate it for the XBLA version.
5. Is there anything else that you would have liked to have done or added before release? (Kazbananjo)
We wish we’d featured the Legacy and SouthPaw control options from launch, rather than adding them via Title Update a month or so after release. Sorry!
6. What were / are your favourite weapons? (Tioel-San)
Easy one! Laptop gun.
7. I have to ask ... what’s next in the pipeline for you, even if it’s the tiniest of clues? Any Blast Corps or Jet Force Gemini XBLA remakes coming soon? Maybe even (wait for it) Killer Instinct? (Paul)
We know Killer Instinct, Blast Corps and Jet Force Gemini crop up most regularly when fans discuss classic Rare games they want to see on XBLA.
It’s Mr Pants rarely seems to get a look-in.
Our huge thanks to Nick Ferguson for answering our questions and to Mike Wilson for arranging the interview.
Categories: Interviews, Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark, Perfect Dark (XBLA), Rare, XBLA, Xbox 360