Perfect Dark (universe)
The Perfect Dark universe (パーフェクトダーク, Perfect Dark) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of properties that hail from the Perfect Dark series of first-person shooters developed by Rare. Due to Rare's sale to Microsoft and resulting lack of presence on Nintendo platforms afterwards, Perfect Dark only received limited representation in the Smash series.
The game first started as an adaption of the then-upcoming James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. However, the studio lost the rights to the film after being outbid by Electronic Arts. The developers saw this as a blessing in disguise, as they felt working on an original project would allow them to be more creative. Several names like Covert Ops and Alien Intelligence before the final title Perfect Dark was chosen. The two slash marks in the logo was inspired by the Japanese writing system. The intentionally poor grammar of "Perfect Dark" was inspired by the team's love of Japanese products using English words and phrases inappropriately, a practice also known as "Engrish." The game was now set in a dystopian science fiction setting based on popular media at the time like Ghost in the Shell, Elektra, The X-Files, La Femme Nikita, novelist Thomas Pynchon, and The Matrix.
Development on the game was rocky from the beginning, with more and more features routinely being added, such as high quality sound, full voice acting, and native 16:9 widescreen support, to the point of the team not realistically including them all in the final product. These unchecked ambitions, as well as completely reworking the Goldeneye engine during development, incited a minor exodus of key staff due to expired contracts, and the team moving to new offices in 1999 slowed the game to a nearly four year development cycle. To make sure the game ran at all on the Nintendo 64 hardware, it was one of the few games that required the use of the Expansion Pak, which allowed for higher resolutions and more memory. The game also received minor controversy pre-release due to it being the first M rated game developed and published by Rare. The game finally released on May 22, 2000. The game starred Joanna Dark, a secret agent who must assassinate her targets to take down the evil dataDyne corporation. Joanna was an early example of a female lead in the first person shooter genre, and was deliberately made more plain looking than most hyper-sexualized female protagonists to be a more realistic character and stand out among her contemporaries.
The series went dormant for several years after Rare was acquired by Microsoft and many projects in development were canceled. One of these projects was Velvet Dark, a spin-off based on Joanna's sister. A proper sequel initially made for GameCube was not canceled and instead shifted to Xbox, before finally releasing as Perfect Dark Zero, a launch title for Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005. while the game was received as a solid entry to the series, many voiced disappointment and how it was much worse than the previous entry in many ways. While the graphics and weapon combat were praised, many design desicions like orientation sensitive actions and a more sexualized design for Joanna did not work and betrayed the design philosophy of the original game.
The series once again went dormant due to Rare being phased out of AAA game releases and focusing on Kinect titles. The series recently made an unexpected return at The Game Awards 2020 with a teaser trailer for a game simply titled Perfect Dark. The game is being co-developed by The Initiative and the Square Enix-owned Crystal Dynamics (best known for their work on Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain) and is planned to be released on PC and Xbox Series X/S.
The Cloaking Device item is based on Perfect Dark. Additionally, the Motion-Sensor Bomb in the Japanese release of Melee is based directly on its Perfect Dark appearance. The international releases of Melee redesigned the item to resemble its appearance from an earlier Rare game, GoldenEye 007, which was the game Perfect Dark had been based on in terms of gameplay and engine. Both items' references to Rare properties are minimized, with their games of origin listed as "TOP SECRET" in the Western releases, and the references to Perfect Dark in the trophy description removed entirely in the American version. All versions still list the game in the credits sequence, however.
Later Smash games redesigned the Motion-Sensor Bomb and treat it as an original Super Smash Bros. series property. The Cloaking Device was removed entirely, although invisibility is still present in certain modes such as Special Smash or by using a Boo in Smash Tour.
Perfect Dark is mentioned among the titles listed in the Chronicle in PAL versions of Brawl. However, no other content from the series is seen anywhere else in the game.