Rumor Control: Halo GBA and Dirty Harry: The Game

Also this week: $49.99 DS games, the third <i>Mortal Kombat</i> movie, and gay marriage--Fable-style.

RUMOR #1: Bungie is making a Halo game for the Game Boy Advance.

Source: Too many to count.

What we heard: Last weekend, forums were afire with word that Bungie was developing a version of Halo for the Game Boy Advance. Given the bitter GameCube/Xbox console war, a collaboration between Microsoft and Nintendo is "very unlikely," according to an official denial by Bungie of the GBA Halo's existence. Still, the rumors persisted, fueled by "visual evidence," which consisted of screenshots of a professional-looking side-scrolling shooter (pictured) that showed the Master Chief battling Covenant Grunts and Elites. In fact, a side-scroller called Halo: Blood Covenant is being developed--by a group of amateurs for the PC. Motivated by its creators' desire to "re-create the old passion for those long-gone arcade platforms," the game is an unofficial tribute to Halo, and it will be free once it is complete. However, that may be a while, since the 2D 'scroller is only being worked on part-time and won't be ready "when it's done."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. The only way you can get a handheld Master Chief is to buy a Halo action figure.

RUMOR #2: DS Games will sell for $49.99 a pop--and they won't be out until end of Q1 2005.

Source: EB Games' Nintendo DS preorder page.

The official story: "Nintendo has not made any official pricing or release announcements since E3."--Nintendo rep.

What we heard: Recently, EB Games began offering several DS titles--including Dynasty Warriors DS, Bomberman DS, Super Mario 64x4 DS, and the infamous Project Rub DS--on its Web site. However, the titles are listed as costing $49.99 apiece, some $20 more than the standard $29.99 Game Boy Advance game. EB also lists all the games as having a March 1, 2005, ship date, which is several months after the DS' planned fall 2004 release. However, Nintendo-philes exasperated by these listings can take solace in the fact that they are all speculative. Nintendo reps confirmed that the company has not announced any specific DS games or price points, which means that none of EB's prices or list dates are official--yet.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus--for now.

RUMOR #3: A third Mortal Kombat movie is in the works.

Source: Superb underground movie-info site Comingsoon.net.

The official story: "We've always been developing the idea of a third Mortal Kombat movie."--spokesperson for Threshold Entertainment, owner of the MK movie rights.

What we heard: Earlier this week, Comingsoon.net picked up two hints that a third Mortal Kombat movie was beginning preproduction. The first was a post on the official site of Christopher Lambert, the Ren Hoek-accented French-American actor who played Raiden in the first Mortal Kombat films. "Christopher will once again take on the role of Rayden (sic) in the upcoming Mortal Kombat 3," read the post, which did not give specifics. The news was echoed by a TV Guide interview with Young and the Restless star Linden Ashby, who said, "I'll be reprising my role as Johnny Cage [in MK3]. It's supposed to start shooting this summer." But, while Threshold Entertaiment's Mortal Kombat movie page makes it look as though filming is imminent--it even has a poll devoted to which major character will die in the MK3 movie--company spokespersons would not confirm when or even if it would begin.

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus. It's probably more of a question as to whether MK3 will make it in to theaters or go straight to video or the Sci-Fi Channel.

RUMOR #4: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is planning a game based on Dirty Harry.

Source: UK-based Eurogamer.

The official story: "Can't comment."--a WBIE executive who would prefer to remain anonymous.

What we heard: Citing "British sources," the Eurogamer article says Warner Bros. has been actively recruiting developers to "make pitches for a Dirty Harry game." So far, according to Eurogamer, only two UK companies have given their pitches in full, meaning that the license to adapt the 1971 Clint Eastwood crime thriller should still be wide open. However, when contacted by GameSpot, an executive refused to acknowledge--or deny--the project was in the works, let alone which companies were in the running for it. But given the success of rogue-cop games like True Crime: Streets of LA, the interest in the 1970s-set Grand Theft Auto that never materialized, and Warner's desire to leverage its movie properties, a Dirty Harry game must look very attractive. It's certainly a better idea than a Godfather game, anyway.

Bogus or not bogus?: This punk is feeling lucky--probably not bogus.

RUMOR #5: Fable's story line will allow for gay marriage.

Source: A brief mention in the Lionhead Times, the official newsletter of the Xbox RPG's developer.

The official story: "Gay marriage hasn't been dropped."--LHT article.

What we heard: Besides saying the mammoth RPG will have four different endings, include 22,000 lines of dialogue, and sport soccer games with severed heads, the LHT article mentions that the gay-marriage option has been retained. That's right, gay marriage. A quick explanation: Since Fable follows a character from the cradle to the grave, marriage has always been one aspect of the epic RPG. Apparently, Peter Molyneux and the rest of the Lionhead crew thought it would add depth to allow for same-sex coupling--although it's unclear how, er, explicit martial relations will be depicted in the M-rated game. There is also a chance that same-sex coupling might not make it in to the final version of the game. "In these final stages, the team has to make difficult decisions about certain features, and [it must determine] if certain bits are left in as they are or [are] completely canceled," said the LHT article.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus--unless the Lionhead guys are having a laugh with an election-year, hot-potato issue.

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