Joanna Dark returns to the present day with The Initiative, an Xbox Game Studios team full of proper names with the difficult mission of redefining the concept of Triple A
It was one of the high points at the last Game Awards. Playing mystery, the trailer showed us a future in which climate change is killing life on Earth, and how humanity puts itself in the hands of large corporations to try to survive. A first-person camera flies through crowded labyrinthine alleys in what appears to be the city of Cairo, sweeps down the gleaming glass wall of a modern skyscraper and into a floor where a bloody scuffle has taken place. Once on the roof, just thirty seconds from the end of the trailer, we can see the huge logo of the dataDyne corporation crowning the building. The subjective camera, transformed from one second to the next in our heads into a familiar spycam, focuses on a woman from behind. She is looking at the ancient pyramids in the distance, and we already know who she is. We hear a voice addressing her coming out of the flying device: Did you find the answers you were looking for, Agent Dark? To which she responds: Not yet… This is just the beginning. Black letters turn white on a red background. We read Perfect Dark. Two minutes of trailer after which the public has found an answer to a question asked a thousand times: Joanna Dark is back.
My name is Dark, Joanna Dark
Sometimes it happens that a developer creates titles that will become classics and cannot make sequels because she loses the rights to the license. What at first may seem like a drama has nevertheless given us immense joys. Bioware, after creating something as magnificent and unforgettable as Knights of the Old Republic, was forced to build an entire universe with what he learned in what would become a mythical franchise: Mass Effect. Something similar happened to Rare after the unforgettable Goldeneye on Nintendo 64, which led to Perfect Dark. Without a doubt, it is to celebrate the result in both cases.
Perfect Dark, which debuted on N64 in 2000, honed certain aspects of Bond’s adventure while benefiting from being able to fly free without the shackles of such a strong franchise. This is how ancient alien conflicts came into play, an alien called Elvis and futuristic weapons (the one that had a telescopic sight and allowed us to shoot down enemies through walls between psychedelic colors was wonderful). The settings were in some cases semi-open and mostly intricately designed labyrinths. The three levels of difficulty redefined the concept of replayability as the objectives increased. Playing the first and then jumping to the third resulted in a new experience, almost as if it were another game, more challenging, more varied, longer, better. The touch of adventure, stealth and espionage enriched the sensations beyond the typical corridor shooter in which we only shoot and advance from A to B.