Footage of Perfect Dark’s cut face-scanning feature shared online

New footage filmed on the show floor of E3 1999 has been posted on YouTube, and gives us one of the closest looks yet at the cut “Perfect Head” feature from N64 gem Perfect Dark.

Perfect Head would have allowed players to scan a face into the game using the camera on a Game Boy, which could then be mapped onto a multiplayer character’s head. The feature was complete and functional, but was removed from the game for its release.

In an 2020 interview conducted by our own Wesley Yin-Poole, several of the developers revealed it had been removed at Nintendo’s request due to the recent Columbine High School massacre and concerns over the feature’s potential uses.

Announcement trailer for the Perfect Dark reboot.

The E3 footage from 1999 was uploaded to YouTube by channel Hard4Games, focused on game archiving, which had been shared with them by livingaretrogaminglife on Instagram. The section containing Perfect Head starts at around six and a half minutes in (video embedded below).


Footage from the showfloor at E3 1999.

The process of mapping the image onto the head model is shown close-up starting from the eight minute mark. Position and brightness could be adjusted to improve the mapping quality.

The relevant part of the video has been clipped and posted on Twitter by Kode-Z, who spotted the footage.

It’s rare that we get a glimpse into cut content from a game that came out 22 years ago, and also fascinating to see the feature in action as it was something that no other game had done at the time.

A reboot of Perfect Dark was announced at The Game Awards in 2020, and the head of Microsoft Studios recently stated that the sale of Crystal Dynamics to Embracer Group has not affected development.

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