The Rare Interview: Perfect Dark Zero

On the eve of the Xbox 360's US launch, we bring you this detailed interview with Rare's Duncan Botwood, for the PDZ data you need before release, including Live and even Perfect Dark 2 gossip. Awesome new trailer too!

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As one of Xbox 360's most anticipated firstparty launch titles, Perfect Dark Zero has an awful lot to live up to. Most of its top-secret, five-year development has been under total wraps, and only in the last few months have we started to learn more about the potential mega-game.

Today, on the eve of the Xbox 360 launch in North America, we're pleased to bring you this detailed interview with the legendary studio behind Perfect Dark and its new prequel - UK-based Rare Ltd, with the game's Senior Designer, Duncan Botwood.

A ten-year veteran at Rare, Botwod was involved in both GoldenEye and Perfect Dark 64, and with lead designed Chris Tilson, has been central to the lengthy development of Perfect Dark Zero, working particularly on the anticipated multiplayer side of the project.

Duncan Botwood, Senior Designer, Rare Ltd

Enjoy this last-minute interview, and if you're picking up Perfect Dark Zero tomorrow, pay attention! Our man has some words of warning for you...


Kikizo: How do you think Perfect Dark Zero is going to stand up in a market crowded with first-person shooters - some of them extremely good - against such competition?

Botwood: We've kind of decided to do out own thing. We could have copied Halo, but that would have been a lazy choice. We've had the game in development for a very long time so we kind of feel that it's got its own character by now. We've done things in a very particular way - and it's very similar in some ways to the original Perfect Dark, in terms of its personality and the whole feel of it, so it will feel familiar to people who played it before.

We think it sits to one side to Halo - it's not the same. Halo is much more like, I'd say, our Deathmatch mode - it's fast and furious - and we've got other elements in there like stealth elements. You can play it stealthily if you want, but you can also go in all guns blazing - there's something for everyone in there, and we prefer it that way.

Kikizo: How do the player relationships work in the cooperative singleplayer mode?

There are basically fourteen levels in the game, and that's including one training level. All the levels can be played in co-op, and the main character will always be Joanna, but there'll be another character there which is appropriate to the level, so in the rooftops level, the third level, it's Jack, her father. They start out separated with Joanna in the rooftops and Jack down on the ground, and they have to help each other. Another cool thing is that if you take a weapon from any level, you'll always have access to it from any level in the game, and you can do the same with gadgets - they all change the way you go through the level, and you have mission systems and things that tell you how to get the most out of the weapons and the gadgets.

Kikizo: How does it differ from playing alone?

Botwood: So at the start of the level I mentioned, the first thing is you'll be able to see Jack Dark down below and he'll be marked, so you know it's him. Two waypoints, one on each character, will keep you in touch with each other. So if one character died by accident (obviously, instead of lack of skill!) then you'd be able to find your way back to them. They would come back, but only with half health. You have to think about the different enemy strength as well; some guys are wearing body armour and take a lot more shots to kill, and you should try to get in some head-shots to try and take them down faster.

You'll always encounter obstacles in the levels as well, you'll come to a rock fire door, and if your partner is in position he'll be able to help you set off the fire alarms to get through - and in return, you can help him through the next section or something, and use this zip line to get across to him.

Kikizo: How does it work when you want to take on a boss together, is that designed differently to how it would be accomplished in singleplayer?

Botwood: There are of course boss sections on every level, and there's quite a lot of variety. Again, using the rooftops level as an example, it's already a pretty tough level boss - he's hard to take out - and you'll need lots of firepower. You can work co-operatively, so that one of you distracts him, while the other takes a shot at him, but the whole time you'll both need to keep your eyes open because of all the guards around the sides. The boss will use these flame jets and rockets, and he won't go without a fight. You'll both have to try and take out his separate engines in order to beat it together.

Kikizo: How have you designed the different enemy difficulty from an AI perspective?

Botwood: Some of them will be aware of their surroundings a little more than others. Basically we have three levels of threat for the AI. Early in the game, they aren't very well armoured or well versed in tactics, and they'll often just shoot anything that moves, sometimes, more than others. Then there's a kind of veteran level who are kind of like a police level, and then there's an elite level, where they are very heavily armoured, there are a lot of them later in the game, and they are very tough to defeat because they'll work together to take you out.

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Video Coverage
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO
DescriptionDur.SizeDetails
New! PDZ Final Trailer
Perfect Dark Zero
Final trailer (hi quality)  
1.00m 20MB HD, 30, DF
800x448
2.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Final trailer (normal quality)  
1.00m 10MB HD, 30, DF
800x448
2.5Mbps
Gameplay Videos
Perfect Dark Zero
Cut scene, no audio  
1.02m 21MB HD, 30, DF
800x448
3.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - realtime cut-scene followed by action from level 3 (hi quality)  
4.15m 99MB HD, 30, CAM
800x448
3.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - realtime cut-scene followed by action from level 2 (hi quality)  
4.22m 1028MB HD, 30, CAM
800x448
3.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - better quality - demonstrated and commentated by Microsoft Game Studios (global product manager for PDZ) and Rare rep (hi quality)  
3.29m 70MB HD, 30, CAM
800x448
3.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Real-life trailer - Joanna Dark is hot (hi quality)  
1.03m 20MB HD, 30, CAM
800x448
3.5Mbps
Normal (Lower-Quality) Versions:
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - realtime cut-scene followed by action from level 3 (normal quality)  
4.15m 99MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
1.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - realtime cut-scene followed by action from level 2 (normal quality)  
4.22m 1028MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
1.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Gameplay video - better quality - demonstrated and commentated by Microsoft Game Studios (global product manager for PDZ) and Rare rep (normal quality)  
3.29m 70MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
1.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Real-life trailer - Joanna Dark is hot (normal quality)  
1.03m 20MB SD, 30, CAM
640x480
1.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Teaser footage HD   (Microsoft)
0.12m 4MB DF, HD, 60
640x480
3.5Mbps
Perfect Dark Zero
Teaser footage SD   (Microsoft)
0.12m 2MB DF, SD, 30
640x480
2Mbps





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