Coming off the again of a Gamescom the place Xbox largely targeted on well-known titles that’ll be out fairly quickly, it regarded like we’d be ready fairly some time for an additional replace on a few of Xbox’s greater and extra mystery-shrouded upcoming video games. From time to time we get just a little shock, nevertheless – and such was the case with Good Darkish, the place Xbox’s Matt Booty briefly deigned to speak in regards to the hotly-anticipated reboot throughout a PAX West panel.
Booty, who’s the top of the now-sprawling Xbox Recreation Studios portfolio of growth homes and video games, talked about how any reboot of the Good Darkish franchise must be dealt with “very fastidiously”, noting that properties equivalent to this “don’t all the time age properly.” And, you understand, Booty is correct. However the subsequent factor he mentioned is curious – and for my cash, it’s flawed.
“What I feel is tremendous cool about Good Darkish, what’s tremendous cool about Joanna Darkish, is the tremendous agent fantasy, the spy, the form of Bourne Identification, James Bond sort of factor there,” Booty defined.
“That’s all the time a cool meme individuals wanna lean into – however once more, we gotta guarantee that comes ahead in the best approach, so I’m simply gonna stick with ‘very fastidiously’.”
Fallacious might be unfair. I feel the whole lot that Booty says is correct… however it’s solely correct for round half of the unique Good Darkish. Or, to place it one other approach – Good Darkish is a spy recreation, and it’s ostensibly a few feminine James Bond. However that’s each actually and figuratively solely a part of the story, and any reboot of the franchise must embrace the entire authentic to channel what made it so beloved.
I’m speaking, after all, about Good Darkish being just a little bit bizarre. It’s not simply Bond or Bourne, and that’s even true from the very begin. The sport’s opening cutscene takes place on a futuristic flying transport zipping by means of a neon-lit futuristic metropolis straight out of Blade Runner. Your mission is to rescue a mysterious Physician within the clutches of an evil company – although if you uncover the physician, he’s not an individual in any respect, however quite a complicated AI encased in a form of flying laptop computer. Good Darkish is full sci-fi.
It’s camp as hell, too. From the visits to Space 51, the place you rescue a wise-cracking ‘gray’-style alien known as Elvis – who later goes on to put on a stars and stripes waistcoat. Quickly, Good Darkish feels as a lot Halo because it does GoldenEye, with Agent Darkish discovering herself on hostile alien spaceships, finally launching an assault on the hostile alien homeworld. Nothing is held again.
Don’t get me flawed – the spy stuff is a large a part of Good Darkish. I additionally suppose that the standard espionage-driven missions are the perfect within the recreation. The opening trio of DataDyne HQ missions are glorious, as is defending your boss Carrington in an assault on his personal villa. Chicago stays my favourite, outlined by a extremely exploitable degree design, a thick rain-soaked environment with unforgettable music, and Jo skulking round in a Deckard cosplay trench coat.
However nonetheless all of that is solely a part of a wider recreation, and I genuinely attribute a lot of what makes Good Darkish an incredible recreation – and a greater recreation than GoldenEye, don’t hassle commenting in any other case – is its breadth. It makes use of the spy and espionage stuff as a springboard right into a wider, madder story – and in doing so elevates itself past being only a Bond clone with a unique lead. On the time, I think about this was the purpose – Uncommon seemingly wished to each evoke and differentiate their new hero from Bond and their work on GoldenEye – and the full-fat sci-fi setting and extra-terrestrial shenanigans allowed it to do exactly that.
This isn’t the be-all, end-all, clearly. Extra necessary to me is that this Good Darkish reboot isn’t just a few Tomb Raider-esque aggregation of at present fashionable traits, however that it examines the construction of the unique recreation (specifically its open-ended however mangeably-sized, multi-objective missions) and finds a strategy to efficiently adapt that into fashionable recreation design. The closest latest touchstone is IO Interactive’s glorious Hitman reboot sequence, clearly – and that studio now finds itself engaged on Bond – so it appears Joanna and James’ futures stay intertwined.
What we’ve seen to date of the brand new Good Darkish is fascinating. The trailer, although CG and brief, lays out a transparent form of world state. The planet is ravaged by horrible climate and pure disasters, and humanity now cries out for assist from the very mega-corporations that most likely precipitated the issues within the first place. We see hints of drone surveillance, we catch a glimpse of a laptop computer gun (itself consultant of PD’s sensible weapon alt-fire modes), and there’s discuss of secrets and techniques as a digital camera zips by means of a clearly prime secret laboratory. To date, so good.
All this might simply be a near-future sci-fi story, although, and stay comparatively grounded. I can simply see a model of this recreation that performs this comparatively straight, as a darkish cautionary sci-fi story in regards to the mixture of the continued local weather apocalypse slow-burn and the unchecked energy of firms, satirically bankrolled by bloody Microsoft. We are going to uncover one thing like, shock-horror, the corpos actively sped-up and instigated disasters to broaden their sphere of affect, and all that. I actually hope it isn’t simply that, although.
Whereas it wouldn’t be as a lot of a shock as within the authentic recreation, the place the alien affect actually comes out of left-field, I actually do hope these firms are mining their local weather change answer expertise from past earth, or are even hatching secret offers with nefarious aliens behind-the-scenes. That is the schlock I wish to see. It’s a core a part of what Good Darkish is to me. It was largely lacking from Zero, owing to it being a prequel, and it was actually one among my bigger issues with that recreation’s story.
So, sure. You’re proper, Matt Booty – one of many cool issues about Joanna Darkish is the super-spy fantasy of all of it, and about her as a solution to 007. However that’s solely a part of Good Darkish’s attraction – and a few of the campier parts, whereas maybe not as attractive on paper as we speak as within the late ninet
ies, are an important piece of the sequence’ id. I hope they continue to be within the reboot.