Most gamers – at least those of a certain age – know Joanna Dark. The star of both Perfect Dark and Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna’s a no-nonsense, thrill-seeking secret agent who works for the Carrington Institute, a weapons and tech manufacturer that runs a secret espionage agency on the side. As a master spy, there’s more than a little James Bond in Joanna’s DNA, and with good reason: Rare started developing Perfect Dark almost immediately after finishing its classic 007-themed shooter, GoldenEye.
Less people know about Velvet Dark, Joanna’s sister. Originally, Velvet only appeared in Perfect Dark’s co-op mode, as the second player’s avatar; she was never named, and actually took over Joanna’s dialogue in cutscenes if the timing was right. Over the years, fans assumed that Velvet was just one of Joanna’s code names. It isn’t. As it turns out, Velvet is an entirely separate character – and she was supposed to have her own game.
As part of the lead up to the Rare Replay collection – a 30 game compilation that collects all of the developer’s biggest hits (or, at least, all of those based on original intellectual properties) – Rare creative director Gregg Mayles is sharing tons of goodies from the company’s past on Twitter. Among those is a design document for something called Velvet, along with the following message: “There was a planned ‘sister’ title to Perfect Dark called Velvet Dark.”
According to Mayles, Velvet Dark was being designed for the Nintendo 64, although he’s not sure. There’s some evidence that Mayles recollection might be off. For one, the design document is dated October 30, 2000; the Nintendo GameCube came out roughly a year later. Assuming that the game would take at least a year to develop (which is likely, although by re-using existing Perfect Dark’s assets and code Rare could theoretically produce a sequel even faster), Velvet Dark would’ve come out on outdated software. Additionally, one of the sections in the design document is dedicated to Game Boy Advance compatibility, which was a GameCube feature.
Perfect Dark did get a follow-up in Perfect Dark Zero, a prequel that served as a launch title for the Xbox 360. A Perfect Dark remake also made its way to Xbox 360 consoles in 2010, bringing with it updated graphics and online multiplayer. Both will appear as part of the Rare Replay collection.
Rare Replay arrives August 4, 2015. It’s an Xbox One exclusive.