Perfect Dark Face-Scanning Tech Appears Online Over Two Decades Later

Perfect Dark's "Perfect Head" face-scanning feature has appeared in footage posted online. The footage is from E3 1999 and actually shows the feature being used by eager E3 attendees.

Spotted by Eurogamer, the footage was uploaded to YouTube by the archiving channel Hard4Games after being provided by an Instagram follower. The footage is one hour long, with footage of Rare's booth coming in at just after six minutes into the video.

Perfect Head allowed players to take pictures of their faces using the Game Boy camera, attach the camera to the N64 controller, and then download it into the game where they would then be transposed onto a character model. As you can see in the footage, the player would have to fiddle a bit with the photo in order to ensure its proper placement, but the end result was pretty convincing for the era.

Unfortunately, the feature never made it beyond Rare's demo booth. Nintendo ordered Perfect Head cut from the final product following the Columbine High School massacre which left 12 students and one teacher dead.

"It would have been a bad situation if someone had taken someone else's photo and stuck it in the game, and that had somehow connected with real life," said Perfect Dark programmer Mark Edmonds in an interview with Eurogamer.

"I think the concern was people would go into school, take photos of their teacher or something and then fantasise about shooting them, and then try to do it," added animator Chris Darling. "It was a fun thing to have, to shoot your mates and stuff. As long as you're not a psychopath. But I understand completely why it was taken out."

Even without Perfect Head, Perfect Dark would go on to become a true gem on the N64, proving popular enough for Microsoft to reboot the franchise in 2020. However, issues with studio The Initiative led Microsoft to bring on Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, who are now proceeding "very carefully" with development.

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