It must be tricky being Rare. It sold the immortal love of Nintendo fanboys around the world, unable as it was to resist the truck full of dollar bills parked outside its offices by the biggest company in the world.
And now it has to deliver. Kameo looks set to be the first game to hit retail, dismissing the unilaterally disliked Grabbed by the Ghoulies. And it has to be said that Kameo deserved the Game of the Show award at X03. It looked absolutely fantastic.
However, the holy trinity of Conker’s Live and Uncut, Banjo and Perfect Dark must also follow. And all were shockingly absent at X03. The fact that Rare showed nothing of the games did more than raise eyebrows, with Microsoft staff admitting - albeit off the record - that to reveal nothing was an error and a disappointment.
You may have caught wind that Perfect Dark is set for release in 2006. This may be true, it may not. If it is, Perfect Dark is an Xbox 2 title, without question. When quizzed on the matter yesterday, the super-cagey outfit offered nothing. Speaking to respected UK news site C&VG, Rare’s Andy Wilson said, “We're just not putting a date on Perfect Dark yet. Anything you read on a website is speculation, we're still in the process of getting the game ready. I won't commit to a date. We know when we're aiming for, but we're not ready to reveal that date yet. We've got other games in the works that are going to be appearing first and we want to concentrate on those.”
Which is essentially the same as saying that Perfect Dark Zero, surely the Rare game most anticipated by the shooter-hungry Xbox userbase, is on the back-burner while Conker’s, Banjo, Kameo and Grabbed by the Ghoulies are completed.
As ever with Rare, it’s unlikely that this matter will be clarified in the near future. However, when will we see Perfect Dark in any form? “Well, there's E3 next year, or there's the X0 conferences, they're the big ones,” said Wilson. So it’s May or September 2004, a long way away.
There was talk on the beach at X03 of some kind of tactical non-disclosure, both from third parties present and Microsoft staffers alike. At the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft needs to make an impression on a consumer-base that has shown hardware-apathy the likes of which have never before been seen in the country. Although it’s unlikely to be Perfect Dark - given that the Japanese show almost no interest in the FPS genre, for some reason - Conker’s or Banjo are both possibilities.
We’ll keep you posted on all developments.