Rare: Perfect Dark "sister title", Velvet Dark, planned for Nintendo 64

Mar 30, 2006
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Rare's Creative Director, Gregg Mayles, has tweeted a design document for "Velvet Dark" (labeled "Velvet").

He hasn't provided any details about development, such as whether Velvet Dark made it past the planning stage, and he hasn't provided any insight to the contents of game itself, but it can be expected that elements were probably incorporated into Perfect Dark Zero.

In Perfect Dark, Velvet is the sister of Joanna, the game's protagonist.

The most interesting thing about this design document is the mention of Game Boy Advance compatibility, despite Mayles stating that this game was in development for Nintendo 64. This could be a mistake, but we should remember that Rare were pioneers of their time and not averse to trying daring new things.

The tweet

The follow-up


EDIT:

I'm not sure if that is the date next to the title, but if it is (30th October 2000?), then perhaps the reference to N64 development is incorrect.

Though Banjo-Tooie spent just 2 years in development, so it's possible that Velvet Dark would have started as N64-bound and released just after Conker's Bad Fur Day, if it would have seen the light of day.
 
Mar 30, 2006
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#8
I'm not sure if that is the date next to the title, but if it is (30th October 2000?), then perhaps the reference to N64 development is incorrect.

Though Banjo-Tooie spent just 2 years in development, so it's possible that Velvet Dark would have started as N64-bound and released just after Conker's Bad Fur Day, if it would have seen the light of day.
 
Jan 1, 2012
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#9
Old IGN article from 2000 talked about Rare registering the domain Velvetdark.com.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2000/02/15/retro-races-to-dolphin

On a side note, it seems that developer Rareware has registered the Internet domain name www.velvetdark.com. Perhaps this is the name of Joanna's sister who is playable in cooperative mode of Perfect Dark? Or does Rare have a big announcement cooking for us? At this point, your guess is as good as ours, but it's very intriguing all the same.
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/4602/domain-dreamin

Apparently, Rare, has registered a domain by the name of www.velvetdark.com It is not yet known what this domain name is for, but we think it's pretty apparent that it is a sequel to Perfect Dark. Velvet Dark was just registered recently, and as we know that Rare has just finished up several games, it's very likely they've already begun work on "Velvet Dark". Perfect Dark was named after it's "Perfect" main character, Joanna Dark, who had "unprecedented achievements in training". It can thus be deduced that "Velvet" has something to do with a new codename, with Joanna most likely taking the lead again. In related news, Rare has also registered the newly rumored Dinosaur Planet(www.dinosaurplanet.com) which is said to be a very beautiful N64 game graphically(a la Zelda: The Ocarina of Time), with hours of voice samples.
 
Sep 30, 2004
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#10
Might have been a good way to extend the franchise, rotating Dark family bad-asses instead of making Joanna front every package, though the name "Perfect Dark" is too good to ignore a formula opportunity.

The most interesting thing about this design document is the mention of Game Boy Advance compatibility, despite Males stating that this game was in development for Nintendo 64. This could be a mistake, but we should remember that Rare were pioneers of their time and not averse to trying daring new things.
Was there not a N64-to-Game Boy/GBA link cable? There was a GBC version of Perfect Dark and Rare had a handheld team for portable games across GBC and GBA, so I'm not surprised they'd try to make a companion game or application. (I'm not sure why this is the "most interesting thing", are you thinking that there was supposed to be like a radar tracker on your Game Boy or something? Could just as easily have been GBA game that interfaced with some exchange-passwords to unlock costumes or something simple like that, according to the little bits of info we have.)
 
Mar 30, 2006
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#11
Was there not a N64/GBA link cable? There was a GBC version of Perfect Dark and Rare had a handheld team for portable games, so I'm not surprised they'd try to make a companion game or application. (I'm not sure why this is the "most interesting thing", are you thinking that there was supposed to be like a radar tracker on your Game Boy or something? Could just as easily have been GBA game that interfaced with some exchange-passwords to unlock costumes or something simple like that, according to the little bits of info we have.)
Well, the front page of the design document itself is not that interesting, but there are no examples of GBA games interfacing with N64 games. This would have been the first (and only) example of GBA <-> N64 compatibility.

Like you suggest, Rare could have connected the handheld and console versions with Stop 'N' Swop-like passwords, though. Hopefully he'll shed some light onto it soon.
 
May 18, 2011
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#14
Imagine the framers the of a third crack at this type of game from Rare - oof.
I wish the series was still alive, but Perfect Dark Zero was really atrocious.
I'm not going to bother downloading it with the Rare Replay bundle. It was just painfully unfun back when I first played it and doubt it could've aged better since then.
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Well, the front page of the design document itself is not that interesting, but there are no examples of GBA games interfacing with N64 games. This would have been the first example of GBA <-> N64 compatibility.

Like you suggest, Rare could have connected the handheld and console versions with Stop 'N' Swop-like passwords, though. Hopefully he'll shed some light onto it soon.
I remember Pokemon Stadium on N64 interfacing with Gameboys though. Not sure about Gameboy Advance but I see no technical limitations preventing it other than the fact that it released far too late relative to N64's active years (very little overlap).
 
Mar 28, 2015
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#16
I love hearing these hidden nuggets of gaming development, especially when it has anything to do with 90s Rare. Velvet Dark probably would have been better had it come out than PDZ... Jesus anything would have been better.

I remember thinking the A.I. of co-op Velvet was so advanced. Perfect Dark multiplayer bots and behaviours too were so ahead of its time.
 
Mar 30, 2006
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#17
I remember Pokemon Stadium on N64 interfacing with Gameboys though. Not sure about Gameboy Advance but I see no technical limitations preventing it other than the fact that it released far too late relative to N64's active years (very little overlap).
The N64 could interface with Game Boy cartridges (via the Transfer Pak), but not the Game Boy itself. The slot in the Transfer Pak would not allow for a Game Boy Advance cartridge. It would be the same as trying to stick a GBA game into a Game Boy Color and expecting it to just work.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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#19
Imagine the framers the of a third crack at this type of game from Rare - oof.

I'm not going to bother downloading it with the Rare Replay bundle. It was just painfully unfun back when I first played it and doubt it could've aged better since then.
All I remember from Perfect Dark Zero was that everything was SUPER shiny and the animations, especially rolling, looked ridiculous. Oh, and the campaign was garbage. What a disappointment that game was. :(
 
Nov 4, 2010
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#21
It sounds neat, but didn't Perfect Dark come out right near the end of the N64's lifespan? Surely Rare of all studios would've known to just plan it for the GCN instead, especially if there was going to be GBA interconnectivity.
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
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#23
Before the console world was consumed by Halo a generation later, GoldenEye and Perfect Dark were my multiplayer cocaine. Most prefer the former, but the latter is definitely my favourite. So much content, and a huge technical accomplishment on the N64 (even if it often pushed things too far). Getting a second Perfect Dark on the N64 would have been too good to be true.
 
May 16, 2013
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#27
Before the console world was consumed by Halo a generation later, GoldenEye and Perfect Dark were my multiplayer cocaine. Most prefer the former, but the latter is definitely my favourite. So much content, and a huge technical accomplishment on the N64 (even if it often pushed things too far). Getting a second Perfect Dark on the N64 would have been too good to be true.
Yep. More content, better content. The amount of customisation is still staggering. Me vs my brother, Aliens only, Farsight. Best memories.
 
Mar 30, 2006
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#29
Jun 8, 2013
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#30
Perfect Dark was like the best possible multiplayer experience you could have on the N64, it was an incredible evolution to the fun of Goldeneye.
This would have been fantastic to see if they had gone ahead with it.
 
#32
Weren't Velvet Dark and PDZ trademarked around the same time?
Well, if they were, then the only way this makes sense is if the Perfect Dark team split up into two different teams, and then merged into one team once again when development of PDZ started? I don't know. :/

This happened before PD even came out, right?
Yep. That's true. And Perfect Dark didn't seem to suffer for it. :p
 
Jan 3, 2012
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#37
I tried GoldenEye when it was released and I didn't bother with any other FPS games on the N64 after having played it. The controls were honestly so atrocious I do not understand how people enjoyed them but hey, to each their own.
 
Mar 30, 2006
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#39
I tried GoldenEye when it was released and I didn't bother with any other FPS games on the N64 after having played it. The controls were honestly so atrocious I do not understand how people enjoyed them but hey, to each their own.
Goldeneye seriously raised the bar when it came to console shooters. That one game was a totally different experience to what was available on PC at that time, and it was so much fun huddling around a single TV screen for a deathmatch with three friends. Rare did an excellent job, especially considering the limitations of the system and its controller.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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#42
Goldeneye seriously raised the bar when it came to console shooters. That one game was a totally different experience to what was available on PC at that time, and it was so much fun huddling around a single TV screen for a deathmatch with three friends. Rare did an excellent job, especially considering the limitations of the system and its controller.
Oh they definitely did an amazing job with what they had to work with, I just still thought it controlled way too poorly to be any fun. Again this is just my personal experience, I have friends that loved it.
 
Dec 14, 2007
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#43
Man, there were so many tentative late N64 games that either moved to newer platforms or got cancelled. Imagine what the N64 library would have looked like if it lasted one or two more years.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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#45
Man, there were so many tentative late N64 games that either moved to newer platforms or got cancelled. Imagine what the N64 library would have looked like if it lasted one or two more years.
While playing Eternal Darkness and Mother 3 I get a real N64 feeling (main hub area, re-visiting environments...the scale of the Eternal Darkness final battle :( ) while for Dinosaur Planet I don't but that might be as much it probably being cutting edge for N64 (though it similarly has a main hub)...though I do feel the windy corridors to mask loading might be a sign of that (as in not changing the areas up but the connecting tubes).

I wonder if this is why we got that Mr Blonde stage? stage never really fit in the game, its very random.
That stage was basically a role reversal. In Perfect Dark you play as a woman who kills men but in Mr. Blonde's revenge you play as a man who kills women.
 
Mar 13, 2014
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#50
Like Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero went through development hell across at least four radically different platforms. I don't think anything could have saved it from mediocrity.
Four platforms? I count GameCube, OG Xbox and Xbox 360. Where's the fourth one? Unless you were counting the N64 which was never in the cards.