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Source: A translation of the Japanese-language Super Street Fighter IV blog from news site Andria Sang.
What we heard: Capcom's presence at Japan's annual Amusement Machine Operators' Union show--a dealer-oriented event focusing on upcoming arcade games--has been growing rapidly in recent years, spurred by the renewed interest in fighting games and the publisher's July 2008 release of Street Fighter IV in Japanese arcades.
This year's show--from September 9 to 11--is set to be just as big for Capcom. While the publisher announced an arcade version of Super Street Fighter IV for Japan earlier this year, details on the new character roster have been few to date.
According to a translation from Japanese news site Andria Sang, SSFIV assistant producer Tomoaki Ayano hinted that more details on the arcade version's new characters could come by the end of the week on the game's official blog. Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu is also slated to run a semi-reveal in next week's issue, although Ayano said he'd update the game's blog with more hints.
The official story: Capcom to date has not stated whether SSFIV will be at Amusement Machine Operators' Union show next month.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus that new characters will be added to the arcade version; however, whether or not more details on who they are will actually be revealed by next week remains to be seen.
Source: Hollywood news site Showbizspy.
What we heard: In November 2009 Brad Pitt's production companies Reliance Big Entertainment and Plan B Entertainment bought the rights to the forthcoming Dark Void film, but that may not be the only movie project tied to the storied actor.
Sources told the Hollywood news outlet Showbizspy that Brad Pitt is the "hot favorite" to star in an upcoming film based on the events of Rockstar Games' critically lauded and commercially successful Western, Red Dead Redemption. The sources say the Fight Club and Meet Joe Black star will play the game's troubled protagonist, John Marston.
“This is an exciting project with a great character at the center of it,” a source told the Web site. “The idea is to make this in the style of an epic Western movie but with a few modern touches. Brad is perfect for the role and he is being given first refusal.”
Unfortunately, the report did not include the names of possible supporting cast members, a projected release date for the film, or any other details on the project.
The official story: A Rockstar Games representative told GameSpot, "We do not comment on rumor or speculation."
Bogus or not bogus?: Today's rumor is the first mention of a Red Dead Redemption film. While fans may be excited about the prospect of a film based on the game, if the project is real, it's likely only in the very early planning stages.
Further, Pitt is one of Hollywood's biggest stars, and he is likely offered "first refusal"--the ability to be the first actor to say no to a project--frequently. If the project is indeed real, Pitt may pass on the project, leaving the Marston role open to another actor.
Source: UK gaming Web site CVG.
What we heard: In January, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment trimmed staff at Surreal Software. The move appeared to signal the end for This Is Vegas, a property that was acquired by the media company when it purchased the remnants of Midway in July 2009. However, by May 2010, that initial presumption of doom and gloom for the game was again reversed, when WBIE registered a variety of Web domains, including one for This Is Vegas.
Now, it appears as if This Is Vegas has gone bust. Citing a source close to the project, CVG reports today that WBIE closed down Surreal Software in June, canceling This Is Vegas in the process. "Apparently, the entire This Is Vegas project has been totally canned," CVG's source claimed.
The game's cancellation is all the more shocking, claimed the source, considering the amount of money Midway and WBIE spent on it.
"Midway spent in the region of $43 million up to the point when it was being sold to WB," the source reported. "Alan Patmore, who was [Surreal] studio boss, either left or was let go--but considering the resources and art created this is a lot of work down the drain. It was moving along to a point where the title was on the schedule for release late last year--but still needed another eight months to a year to finish with a studio burn rate of $250,000 per month."
First announced for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2008, This Is Vegas was initially penciled in for later that year. The game was billed as a tongue-in-cheek approach to the notorious Nevada city, depicting its many vices through open-world gameplay. In addition to the expected casino action, the game also let players indulge in some spirited partying, which could segue naturally into another of the game's focal points, brawling.
The official story: WBIE had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Too close to call. On the one hand, the amount of money that has reportedly been poured into This Is Vegas typically isn't a figure most would simply walk away from. However, it is possible that WBIE simply saw no future for the project--even if it made positive impressions when it was last shown in 2008.
Source: UK gaming news site Eurogamer.
What we heard: In March, Nintendo fired the first shot in the next-generation handheld wars, announcing its glasses-free depth-of-field gaming machine, the 3DS. The natural assumption has been that Sony will respond with a PSP successor of its own, one that does more than simply upgrade certain components of its current system, and rumors have for some time now swirled as to what the Japanese electronics giant will be bringing to the table.
The latest of these comes from UK gaming news site Eurogamer, which claims to have been given the scoop on a handful of new details regarding the unannounced system. Citing a trio of separate development sources, Eurogamer claims the PSP2 will be approximately the same size as the PSP-3000, which was released in October 2008. Further, the PSP2 will reportedly have a touch-sensitive area on its back that can be used to control games.
Additional details on how the PSP2's alleged touch pad would interface with games was not revealed. However, Eurogamer's sources note that Sony is demonstrating a variety of first-party games on the unit to various publishers and developers as part of Gamescom this week. These sources were also unclear on a release date for the system, with one noting that it could arrive by late 2011 and another saying the PSP2 is still a couple of years off.
Word of a touch-sensitive back is the latest hearsay to emerge about Sony's speculated device. In July 2009, reports indicated that the PSP2 would include a quad-core graphics processor that eclipsed that of the original Xbox. Other reports have said that the device will maintain the PSP's UMD standard, as opposed to going all-digital a la the PSP Go.
The official story: Sony had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Too early to say. With Sony not even acknowledging that the PSP2 is in development, firming up details on what the device may or may not contain is next to impossible. Further, the electronics giant has the option of tweaking, revising, and overhauling the device, making any supposed features in the here and now potentially moot tomorrow.
[UPDATE] Harmonix has hilariously confirmed the entire Rock Band 3 setlist.
What we heard: Earlier this month the entire setlist for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock leaked and was later confirmed. However, now it seems Harmonix is having a similarly difficult time keeping the soundtrack for its own upcoming rhythm game under wraps.
According to RockBandAide, a YouTube video from Gamescom showed a Harmonix staffer casually scrolling through the entire Rock Band 3 setlist. And thanks to the recording's high-definition capacity, community members at RockBandAide have been able to decipher the supposed entire track listing.
The complete, purported Rock Band 3 soundtrack is below:
Amy Winehouse – "Rehab"
Antrax – "Caught in a Mosh"
At The Drive-In – "One Armed Scissor"
Avenged Sevenfold – "Beast And The Harlot"
The B-52s – "Rock Lobster"
The Beach Boys – "Good Vibrations" (Live)
Big Country – "In a Big Country"
Blondie – "Heart of Glass"
Bob Marley & The Wailers – "Get Up, Stand Up"
The Bronx – "False Alarm"
Chicago – "25 or 6 to 4"
The Cure – "Just Like Heaven"
David Bowie – "Space Oddity"
Deep Purple – "Smoke on the Water"
Def Leppard – "Foolin'"
Divo – "Whip It"
Dio – "Rainbow in the Dark"
Dire Straights – "Walk of Life"
The Doobie Brothers – "China Grove"
The Doors – "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
Dover – "King George"
Echo & the Bunnymen – "The Killing Moon"
Elton John – "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
Faith No More – "Midlife Crisis"
Filter – "Hey Man, Nice Shot"
The Flaming Lips – "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"
Foreigner – "Cold as Ice"
Golden Earring – "Radar Love"
HIM – "Killing Loneliness"
Huey Lewis and the News – "The Power of Love"
Hypernova – "Viva La Resistance"
Ida Maria – "Oh My God"
INXS – "Need You Tonight"
The J. Geils Band – "Centerfold"
James Brown – "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
Jane's Addiction – "Been Caught Stealing"
The Jimi Hendrix Experience ˆ"Crosstown Traffic"
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – "I Love Rock 'n Roll"
John Lennon – "Imagine"
Juanes – "Me Enamora"
Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Free Bird"
Maná – "Oye Mi Amor"
Marilyn Manson – "The Beautiful People"
Metric – "Combat Baby"
The Muffs – "Outer Space"
Night Ranger – "Sister Christian"
Ozzy Osbourne – "Crazy Train"
Paramore – "Misery Business"
Phish – "Llama"
Phoenix – "Lasso"
The Police – "Don't Stand So Close to Me"
Poni Hoax – "Antibodies"
Pretty Girls Make Graves – "Something Bigger, Something Brighter"
Primus – "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver"
Queen – "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Queens of the Stone Age – "No One Knows"
Rammstein – "Du Hast"
Ramones – "I Wanna Be Sedated"
Raveonettes – "Last Dance"
Rilo Kiley – "Portions for Foxes"
Riverboat Gamblers – "Don't Bury Me… I'm Still Not Dead"
Roxette – "The Look"
Slipknot – "Before I Forget"
Smash Mouth – "Walkin' on the Sun"
The Smiths – "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before"
The Sounds – "Living in America"
Spacehog – "In the Meantime"
Steve Miller Band – "Fly Like an Eagle"
Stone Temple Pilots – "Plush"
Swingin' Utters – "This Bastard's Life"
T. Rex – "20th Century Boy"
Tears for Fears – "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Tegan and Sara – "The Con"
Them Crooked Vultures – "Dead End Friends"
Tokio Hotel – "Humanoid"
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - "I Need to Know"
The Vines – "Get Free"
War – "Low Rider"
Warren Zevon – "Werewolves of London"
The White Stripes – "The Hardest Button to Button"
Whitesnake – "Here I Go Again"
The Who – "I Can See for Miles"
Yes – "Roundabout"
The official story: As of press time, Harmonix has not responded to GameSpot's request for comment or clarification on the matter.
Bogus or not bogus?: The YouTube video has been pulled, so GameSpot cannot check the validity of RockBandAide's claims. However, already confirmed artists and tracks for the game are all listed above, and Harmonix has previously confirmed that the game will ship with 83 songs, the total listed above.
Source: Aussie game developer site Tsumea.
What we heard: The global economic downturn of recent years hit Krome hard in November last year. Citing industry cutbacks and financial pressures, Krome laid off an undisclosed number of staff across its three studios in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne, mirroring recent layoffs made by Melbourne-based studio Transmission Games the previous month. In April this year, Krome confirmed more staff cuts amidst rumours that the studio had lost the licence to develop Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for the Wii, apparently due to poor review scores for the studio's other titles (which include Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii, PS2, and PSP; The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night for the Wii and PS2; Viva Pinata: Party Animals; and the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series, which has sold more than 2 million copies).
Now, citing Twitter posts made by Aussie developers Robert Dowling and Tony Albrecht, industry site Tsumea is reporting that Krome has shut down its Adelaide studio and has laid off half the staff at its Melbourne studio, with further cuts at its Brisbane studio.
Dowling initially posted on Twitter that more than 60 employees had been laid off from Krome's Brisbane studio, which Albrecht later confirmed.
The official story: GameSpot AU has contacted Krome for an official comment, but the company has refused to make one at this stage, though it is likely the studio will release a statement soon.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking very not bogus, although readers will have to wait until an official confirmation to see how extensive the layoffs have been. Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for further news as it comes in.
Source: Gaming blog Kotaku.
What we heard: The Duke Nukem Forever saga may not yet be over. Over a year ago, 3D Realms laid off virtually its entire staff after spending $20 million over nearly 13 years to develop the sci-fi shooter. Then, as is often the case with publisher-developer disputes, the game became the subject of a tit-for-tat set of lawsuits between 3D Realms and Take-Two Interactive, which had planned to publish the sci-fi shooter under its 2K Games label.
Now, the presumed-dead title has resurfaced. According to Kotaku's sources, Borderlands developer Gearbox Software--which, like 3DRealms, is located in suburban Dallas--has taken over the reins of the project, which was first announced in 1997. Because 2K Games still retains the publishing rights for the title, it could presumably go ahead with shifting development of the game to Gearbox--if 3D Realms didn't claim it owned the Duke Nukem intellectual property in its lawsuit.
And this is where the plot thickens. According to 3D Realms' lawsuit, Take-Two had commissioned Gearbox to prep another Duke Nukem-branded game, Duke Begins, for a 2010 release, but shut it down to stop royalty payments to 3D Realms. Court documents filed by Take-Two in July 2009 claim work on Duke Begins was shelved "for the time being," but the publisher disputed 3D Realms' claims that it was done for financially punitive reasons.
The official story: Gearbox reps had not responded to requests for comment, but Take-Two offered the following statement: "While it is the company's policy not to comment on rumors or speculation, we can confirm that Take-Two maintains the publishing rights for Duke Nukem Forever."
Bogus or not bogus?: Too little to go on. One possibility is that the Duke Begins project may be revived and simply retitled Duke Nukem Forever because it had been scheduled for a 2010 release already. A rumored Penny Arcade Expo panel by Gearbox may shed some more light on the matter.
Source: Enthusiast gaming and music message forum Gamertagradio.
What we heard: This fall, competing music game franchises Rock Band and Guitar Hero will release new offerings. Each game's respective soundtrack will likely play an important role in gamers' decision to purchase one or the other. And while Rock Band 3's final, 83-song tracklist is still largely a secret, all 93 songs in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock are now believed to be known.
According to the site, which posted a YouTube clip revealing all the game's artists and tracks (which has since been pulled after a copyright claim), the full 93-song setlist for Warriors of Rock ranges from Dethklok to Dire Straits. The purported track listing is below.
1. A Perfect Circle - "The Outsider"
2. Aerosmith - "Cryin'"
3. AFI - "Dancing Through Sunday"
4. Alice Cooper - "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
5. Alter Bridge - "Ties That Bind"
6. Anberlin - "Feel Good Drag"
7. Anthrax – "Indians"
8. Arch Enemy - "Nemesis"
9. Atreyu - "Ravenous"
10. Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"
11. Bad Brains - "Re-Ignition (Live)"
12. Band Of Skulls - "I Know What I Am"
13. Black Sabbath - "Children Of The Grave"
14. Blind Melon - "Tones Of Home"
15. Blue Öyster Cult - Burnin' For You
16. Bush - "Machinehead"
17. Buzzcocks - "What Do I Get?"
18. Children Of Bodom - "If You Want Peace… Prepare For War"
19. Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Fortunate Son"
20. Deep Purple - "Burn"
21. Def Leppard - "Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live)"
22. Dethklok - "Bloodlines"
23. Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"
24. Dragonforce - "Fury Of The Storm"
25. Drowning Pool - "Bodies"
26. Fall Out Boy - "Dance, Dance"
27. Five Finger Death Punch - "Hard To See"
28. Flyleaf - "Again"
29. Foo Fighters - "No Way Back"
30. Foreigner - "Feels Like The First Time"
31. George Thorogood And The Destroyers - "Move It On Over (Live)"
32. Interpol - "Slow Hands"
33. Jane's Addicton - "Been Caught Stealing"
34. Jethro Tull - "Aqualung"
35. John 5 Feat. Jim Root - "Black Widow Of La Porte"
36. Kiss - "Love Gun"
37. Linkin Park - "Bleed It Out"
38. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Call Me The Breeze (Live)"
39. Megadeth - "Holy Wars… The Punishment Due"
40. Megadeth - "Sudden Death"
41. Megadeth - "The Day We Fight!"
42. Metallica Feat. Ozzy Osbourne - "Paranoid (Live)"
43. Muse - "Uprising"
44. My Chemical Romance - "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
45. Neil Young - "Rockin' In The Free World"
46. Nickelback - "How You Remind Me"
47. Night Ranger - "(You Can Still) Rock In America"
48. Nine Inch Nails - "Wish"
49. Orianthi - "Suffocated"
50. Pantera - "I'm Broken"
51. Phoenix - "Lasso"
52. Poison - "Unskinny Bop"
53. Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
54. Queensrÿche - "Jet City Woman"
55. R.E.M. - "Losing My Religion"
56. RX Bandits - "It's Only Another Parsec…"
57. Rammstein - "Waidmanns Heil"
58. Rise Against - "Savior"
59. Rush - "2112 Pt. 1 - Overture"
60. Rush - "2112 Pt. 2 - The Temples Of Syrinx"
61. Rush - "2112 Pt. 3 - Discovery"
62. Rush - "2112 Pt. 4 - Presentation"
63. Rush - "2112 Pt. 5 - Oracle: The Dream"
64. Rush - "2112 Pt. 6 - Soliloquy"
65. Rush - "2112 Pt. 7 - Grand Finale"
66. Silversun Pickups - "There's No Secrets This Year"
67. Slash Feat. Iggy Pop - "We're All Gonna Die"
68. Slash Feat. Ian Astbury And Izzy Stradlin - "Ghost"
69. Slayer - "Chemical Warfare"
70. Slipknot - "Psychosocial"
71. Snot - "Deadfall"
72. Soundgarden - "Black Rain"
73. Steve Vai - "Speeding"
74. Stone Temple Pilots - "Interstate Love Song"
75. Strung Out - "Calling"
76. Styx - "Renegade"
77. Sum 41 - "Motivation"
78. Tesla - "Modern Day Cowboy"
79. Third Eye Blind - "Graduate"
80. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "Listen To Her Heart"
81. The Cure - "Fascination Street"
82. The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants"
83. The Edgar Winter Group - "Free Ride"
84. The Hives - "Tick Tick Boom"
85. The Offspring - "Self Esteem"
86. The Ramones - "Theme From Spiderman"
87. The Rolling Stones - "Stray Cat Blues"
88. The Runaways - "Cherry Bomb"
89. The Vines - "Get Free"
90. The White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"
91. Them Crooked Vultures - "Scumbag Blues"
92. Twisted Sister - "We're Not Gonna Take It"
93. ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man (Live)"
The official story: As of press time, Activision has not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. Every confirmed track thus far is listed above. Plus, though well short of a confirmation, Activision's decision to yank the video from YouTube does give the impression that the publisher feels the information is worth hiding. With the game's release date pegged for September 28, Guitar Hero fans will learn the official tracklist soon enough.
One of the more notable absences from June's Electronic Entertainment Expo was The Last Guardian, the upcoming game from Shadow of the Colossus studio Team ICO. The PlayStation 3 exclusive, which centers on the friendship between a young boy and a towering beast, was officially revealed via a trailer at Sony's E3 2009 press briefing.
Some footage of the title's environments was shown off at last year's Tokyo Game Show, an event that will likely be repeated next month. Via a post on his recently opened Twitter account, Team ICO head Fumito Ueda said, "We should be able to show something at Tokyo Game Show," according to a translation by Japanese gaming blog Andria Sang.
TGS is held in the massive Makuhari Messe convention center and runs from September 16 to 19. However, Sony hasn't tipped its hand about its plan for the expo. "We haven't announced any specific plans or titles that will be shown at TGS 2010," a US Sony rep told GameSpot.
The Last Guardian has been a long time coming, as it was first hinted at in late 2005. It was initially expected at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show, and a rough version of the reveal trailer surfaced in May 2009. However, besides a few screenshots, details on The Last Guardian's gameplay mechanics and story remain shrouded in mystery.
Source: Internet sleuthing site Superannuation.
What we heard: Superannuation has developed a reputation for uncovering the secrets of publishers well in advance of a formal announcement by hunting through patent and trademark databases, LinkedIn profiles, and domain registrations. Today, the site appears to have struck gold again, unearthing a URL registration for "Dead Space Sabotage," filed by Electronic Arts on July 29.
Exactly what form Dead Space Sabotage will take is a bit of a mystery, considering the range of products that Electronic Arts already has supporting Dead Space 2's launch early next year. Last month, EA released the prequel novel Dead Space: Martyr. Meanwhile, at Comic-Con 2010, EA announced the Dead Space Aftermath animated feature film as well as the Dead Space Salvage graphic novel, both of which are due in winter 2010.
As for game tie-ins, EA announced Dead Space Ignition during the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The downloadable title will be available through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network this fall and will play out like a Choose Your Own Adventure narrative with three different minigames.
One possible base not covered is an installment for Nintendo's Wii. Following the release of the original Dead Space in 2008, EA put out an on-rails shooter prequel titled Dead Space Extraction. However, despite solid reviews, the M-rated title proved to be something less than a commercial dynamo, selling fewer than 10,000 units during its first month at retail in the US.
The official story: "We have no new news about the Dead Space franchise at this time."--An EA representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: It is unlikely that EA would pick a random Dead Space-related subtitle to squat on, so the likelihood that Sabotage will emerge seems high. However, what form it takes and when it will arrive remain a mystery.
Source: Game Informer is reporting that Namco and Capcom are working together on a pair of crossover fighting games built off the Tekken 6 and Street Fighter IV engines.
What we heard: While the fighting game genre hasn't been the same since the heyday of arcades, crossover efforts have been one surefire way to draw attention. In 2008, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe scored the last big hit for Midway Games, and next year's Marvel vs. Capcom 3 dominated this year's Capcom booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
With Street Fighter, Soulcalibur, and Tekken, Capcom and Namco own some of the biggest fighting game franchises in the world, but the two publishers' brawlers have very different play styles. Capcom generally restrains its fighting action to a single 2D plane and features fireballs as commonly as fisticuffs, while Namco's fighters allow for more free-roaming movement and lean more toward melee combat.
Those different styles would make settling on a middle ground for a crossover game difficult, but the Game Informer report offers an interesting solution to the problem. According to the rumor, Namco would make a game called Namco vs. Capcom using its own style and based on the Tekken 6 engine. Meanwhile, Capcom would produce Capcom vs. Namco how it saw fit and build the game on the Street Fighter IV engine.
That's a similar approach to one used for Capcom's original cross-company crossover with SNK. Beginning in 1999, Capcom created a handful of titles using both companies' characters, including arcade and console editions of Capcom vs. SNK and Capcom vs. SNK 2. Meanwhile, SNK created SNK vs. Capcom card-battling games and a fighter for its short-lived Neo Geo Pocket Color console, and years later it released SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom for the Neo Geo, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.
As for Namco's fighting game crossovers, they've been more limited in scope. Each of the console versions of Soulcalibur II featured an exclusive guest character, with the GameCube version including Nintendo's Zelda star Link, while Xbox players got to take control of Todd McFarlane's Spawn. For the PS2 version, Namco brought in one of its own brawlers, with Tekken's Heihachi entering the weapons-based fighter bare-handed. The publisher took a similar approach with Soulcalibur IV, shipping the game with Star Wars icons Darth Vader and Yoda as exclusive characters on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively.
Namco and Capcom have also worked together on a crossover project before, even though it never saw release outside of Japan. In 2005, Namco published Namco x Capcom for the PS2. Unlike the SNK-Capcom games, Namco x Capcom was a role-playing game featuring more than 200 characters pulled from both publishers' entire catalogs, including non-fighters like Klonoa, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Xenosaga, and Resident Evil.
Game Informer's story doesn't name its sources and clearly labels its report as "rumor." However, it also says the crossover will be announced in a trailer this Saturday at Comic-Con. Looking through the Comic-Con panel schedule, Capcom does have Super Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono scheduled to give a talk reflecting on his latest game and offering "his exciting vision for the future of the franchise."
The official story: "We don’t comment on speculation or rumors."--A Capcom representative.
"We do not comment on rumors or speculation."--A Namco representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: There's not enough info to make a call just yet, but the rumor makes sense. Both companies have been amenable to such partnerships in the past, and two distinct crossovers would generate tons of interest. Check back with GameSpot throughout the weekend for the latest from Comic-Con.
Source: A YouTube video posted by a member of the 360Junkies forums.
What we heard: In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick expressed interest in participating in the financial revenue stream propagated by Call of Duty participants on Xbox Live. This morning, 360Junkies member PwnShop posted a YouTube clip (embedded below) of what appeared to be Activision's attempt to further monetize the series by charging a membership fee of some sort. Specifically, the user said he was "trying to join a friend's session on MW2" when he was prompted with a line of text that read "Modern Warfare 2 Membersh…" and a suggestion to select a level of membership or add Microsoft points.
Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling used Twitter to crush the idea of a subscription model for a Call of Duty game, saying, "Modern Warfare 2 subscription plan rumors going around. For the record, nobody has to pay to play COD or MW2 multiplayer, nor will they."
Additionally, Call of Duty: Black Ops is due out November 9, and Treyarch's community manager, Josh Olin, today shot down the idea of that game being "Pay to Play." His full statement was:
"No, you will not have to 'Pay to Play'#CODBlackOps Multiplayer either. Rumor -> Squashed," he wrote on Twitter.
The official story: As of press time Activision has not responded to GameSpot's request for comment on the matter or the monetization methods of future products.
Bogus or not bogus?: Certainly not bogus that Activision is looking for ways to wring more money out of its games, but exactly what form that will take is up in the air at the moment.
Source: A recent television appearance by Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.
What we heard: So far, 2010 has been a year of high drama for the game industry, much of which was generated by the split between Activision and a large portion of the staff of Call of Duty creator Infinity Ward. After studio cofounders Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired in March, over two dozen of their former employees (so far) followed them to their Electronic Arts-backed startup, Repsawn Entertainment. Then came the inevitable tit-for-tat lawsuits, followed by a legal complaint by current and ex-Infinity Warders seeking a whopping $150 million-$625 million.
Given its minimalist Web site and its founders' recalcitrance about their next project, speculation has been building about what Respawn and its ever-growing staff are up to. Now, Pachter has thrown his hat into the ring, predicting the suburban Los Angeles shop will take on Halo creator Bungie, which recently inked a 10-year exclusivity deal with Activision for its own mystery project.
"The one genre that hasn't been cloned a lot is the space shooter, so I'll make a prediction here. Respawn Entertainment, the ex-Infinity Ward guys--that's their next game," prognosticated the analyst. "They're gonna make a Halo-killer. They're gonna make a game that is going to compete in the space shooter genre."
The official story: Electronic Arts reps had not responded to inquiries as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: At this point, who knows? With Respawn going dark after touting its EA deal--and still solidifying its development team--it is still very early days. And, despite his clout, Pachter's prediction record is mixed. He thought US game sales would be up in May, but they were decidedly down. Then again, he also infamously taunted David Jaffe with cries of "Twisted Metal!" months before the reboot of the series was announced at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference.
Source: A product listing on the EB Games Australia online store.
What we heard: Microsoft went out of its way to make sure that everyone knew that it was demonstrating Kinect (previously dubbed Project Natal) at this year's E3 conference in Los Angeles. The software company pulled out the big guns, commissioning Cirque du Soleil to tailor a performance on the Sunday before the show started and sneaking into journalists’ rooms in various hotels to post Kinect advertisements in their bathrooms.
There was one noticeable detail that Microsoft left out: exactly how much the Kinect camera was going to cost. Industry analysts guestimated that the camera would sell somewhere between $150 and $250, with online stores from Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy supporting this, listing the peripheral at $150. Microsoft remained quiet, sticking to its usual “no comment on rumours or speculation” line.
Recently Australia’s largest video game retailer took a pot shot at the price, listing the Kinect camera at A$198.00 ($172). The price does have one massive caveat, stating that "Price Displayed is R.R.P." No other new details, such as release date, were given on the listing.
Kinect's biggest rival, the PlayStation Move, was dated and priced at Sony's E3 2010 press conference late last month, moving the ball back into Microsoft's court with Kinect.
The Official Story: A Microsoft Australia representative told GameSpot AU, "No comment, we do not speculate on rumours."
Bogus or not bogus?: Since the beginning, Microsoft has been touting the Kinect camera as a high-end piece of technology, perhaps to get the public prepared for a high-end price to go with it. While it's hard to tell if the EB Games price is going to be official, we think it's probably a safe bet to say that it’s a good ballpark figure.
Source: European gaming Web site Eurogamer.
What we heard: Crystal Dynamics is trying out a co-op focused, arcade-inspired, isometric downloadable take on Lara Croft with the Guardian of Light later this summer. But outside of the impending download-only release, the developer might be preparing a full-scale title as well.
An unnamed source told Eurogamer that the next entry in the long-standing Tomb Raider franchise is due out during the holiday 2011 season. What's more, concept artwork appearing on ex-Crystal Dynamics artist Joel Boucquemont's Web site, under the Tomb Raider tab, shows a variety of environs, ranging from cityscapes to eerie tombs.
The source verified last year's rumor that the game will be a "reboot" and will star a “young and inexperienced Lara Croft.” What's more, the conjecture said the game will take place in Japan and will tell the story of how Lara came to be a hardened adventurer, which are two claims the tipster verified.
The game is reportedly being developed by series studio Crystal Dynamics for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. According to the loose-lipped tipster, the development team has wrapped work on Guardian of Light and is now focused on the new game.
The official story: A representative from the game's publisher, Square Enix, has not responded to GameSpot's query for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. While 2008's Tomb Raider: Underworld failed to meet once-independent Eidos' sales expectations, the franchise remains an industry staple. Further, Eidos chief financial officer Robert Brent affirmed the studio's commitment to the franchise last year, saying that its future may reside in a more female-friendly Lara Croft.
Plus, it's not like Lara Croft hasn't undergone a complete makover before. Following the poor performance of 2003's Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, the heroine was completely redesigned for the last series reboot, 2006's Tomb Raider: Legend.
Source: Japanese gaming news site Andria Sang.
What we heard: In April this year , rumours surfaced that Nintendo was gearing up to launch its upcoming 3D-capable handheld by October this year, a move that would allow it to get a two-month jump on the holiday shopping season. However, the publisher remained vague about the 3DS' release date during this year's E3, stating only that it would arrive sometime before the end of its fiscal year in March 2011.
Now, it seems the initial rumours might be true. In its latest financial report, Japanese game and movie retailer Geo Corp. reportedly lists the Nintendo 3DS as due to go on sale in Japan before the end of 2010.
The report also lists a product named the "PSP-4000" due for release by the year's end. While speculation about a new PSP handheld has surfaced in the past, Sony has made no official announcements or mention of it to date.
The official story: A representative from Sony Computer Entertainment Australia told GameSpot that the company "does not comment on rumour or speculation."
A representative from Nintendo Australia reiterated the publisher's initial announcement regarding the release date for the 3DS, telling GameSpot: "[The] Nintendo 3DS is planned to launch in Financial Year 2011. Exact date TBC."
Bogus or not bogus?: Too early to tell. The original source does make mention of the fact that the Geo Corp. report makes errors concerning other releases. Gran Turismo 5, for example, was listed for a September release instead of November, while Pokemon Black & White is listed for October instead of September.
While both Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Rock Band 3 will use Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," fans of the heralded rock group might have more to enjoy next year.
Speaking with Swedish news site DN.se, Queen guitarist Brian May let slip the next band-specific music game from Activision. When asked about Guitar Hero: Queen, May confirmed the game's existence but kept mum on the project. He revealed only that the game will release in 2011 and will let users participate in the band's concerts.
This isn't the first time May has let loose details on the band's intent to appear in a band-specific music game. Preceding the release of Lego: Rock Band, a game in which some of the band's songs were featured, May said there was talk "behind the scenes" about a dedicated Queen Rock Band title.
Queen is no stranger to the self-titled music-game phenomenon though. SingStar: Queen, a karaoke title that released last year for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, featured 25 songs from the band's career and was warmly received.
After launching in 2006 with models equipped with 60GB and 20GB hard drives, the PlayStation 3 has seen its storage capacity balloon. The console, which has also lost PlayStation 2 backward compatibility and the ability to run Linux, is currently available with either a 120GB or a 250GB drive. The space can be used for game installs and downloadable titles, or for video, music, and photo files in its capacity as a media server.
Now, if a report on British site CVG is to believed, Sony is readying a model that will drastically increase the console's storage capacity. Citing unnamed sources, the site says Sony will phase out the 120GB PS3 and introduce a new model with a massive 500GB hard drive.
The new PS3 will also reportedly have improved Wi-Fi upgraded to the 802.11n wireless standard. Current models use the slower 802.11 b/g standard, which is also used by the Nintendo Wii. The Xbox 360 has no built-in wireless, with external 802.11n and 802.11 b/g adapters sold separately. However, the prematurely outed new slimline Xbox 360 appears to have built-in Wi-Fi, the standard of which is unclear.
CVG's report comes shortly after tech blog Engadget discovered Sony has registered two new PS3 models with the Federal Communications Commission. It also may be a bit moot to the tech-savvy, as the console is designed to allow consumers to remove and upgrade its hard drive with a standard laptop drive.
Source: News outlet Kotaku Australia.
What we heard: At the end of April, EA announced that Realtime Worlds' upcoming online shooter APB would be released on the PC on June 29 in North America, on July 1 in Europe, and on July 2 in the UK. While no mention of Australia was made, there's now speculation that the title may never make it Down Under.
According to Kotaku Australia, EA has decided not to release APB in Australia because a local server would be necessary to play the game. The article said an EA rep told Kotaku that Realtime Worlds had no plans to host a server for the game Down Under, which effectively means no APB for Aussie gamers.
APB is a massively multiplayer open-world shooter, in which players will take on the role of a criminal mastermind or dedicated law enforcer in a virtual city populated with up to 99 other players. Because the game is driven by an asymmetrical matchmaking system that assigns players to a game based on their skill level without the use of a lobby, there is no doubt that a local server would be needed to eliminate lag and ensure speed and accuracy during gameplay.
The official story: EA has not returned comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. APB has not yet been rated by the Classification Board of Australia, and while retailers EB Games and GAME both show listings for the title, there is no release date on either site. Interestingly, you can preorder APB from the GAME Web site.
Stay tuned for more updates.
What we heard: Microsoft's quest to turn the Xbox 360 into more than just a gaming console has led to the introduction of a variety of features to Xbox Live within the last couple of years. With the release of the New Xbox Experience dashboard update in November 2008, Microsoft has integrated such features as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm into the online service. And according to recent reports, the publisher has also been mulling over the idea of launching its own Xbox Live television channel.
Now, growing online chatter suggests that Microsoft will be getting an assist from the on-demand TV show streaming service Hulu as a way to augment the Xbox 360's non-gaming repertoire. Last night, tech site Gear Live reported that a "reliable source" had tipped off Microsoft's intention to announce Hulu integration into Xbox Live at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. The announcement is expected to come during Microsoft's E3 press conference, which is scheduled for June 14 at 10 a.m. PST.
Interestingly, though Hulu is currently available for free through a PC Web browser, Gear Live's source indicates that Hulu on Xbox Live will require a subscription fee. The site's source did not say how much Hulu access would cost, though it did indicate that the service would be integrated into the Xbox Live dashboard in a fashion similar to Netflix.
The paid model jibes with a recent report from the LA Times. In April, the newspaper reported that Hulu, which is a joint venture between media kingpins News Corp., NBC Universal, and The Walt Disney Company, would begin offering online users a $9.95 monthly subscription option called Hulu Plus, in addition to its free content. Subscribers would gain access to an expanded catalog of shows, while the free model would continue to offer the five most recent episodes of a given program.
Gaming Web site 1up also has sources close to Microsoft confirming the existence of a Hulu channel on Xbox Live, though the informant's info calls into question an E3 reveal. According to 1up's source, Microsoft already has a Hulu application that can run on Xbox Live. However, the publisher is currently grappling with licensing issues related to streaming Hulu programming through its console onto TVs. Hulu's content comes from a variety of networks, including NBC, ABC, Fox, and Bravo, and 1up's source indicated that "a lot" of these media companies have been unwilling to make their shows available on TV through alternate means.
The official story: “Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation.”--A Microsoft representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. Hulu would certainly fit right in with Xbox Live's other non-gaming services, and Microsoft has introduced similar services in the UK and Australia. However, it remains to be seen whether the publisher can resolve its licensing issues before E3--if at all--and to what extent the networks will allow their shows to be streamed on TV.