Rumor Control: San Andreas heist details and Sid Meier's Pirates! The sequel!

Also this week: The new PS2 has USB 2.0, Civilization IV for consoles, and Half-Life 2's mandatory Internet connection.

Rumor #1: The pirated versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas originated from a complex heist.

Source: A GameSpot reader.

The official story: "We don't comment on rumors." --Rockstar spokesperson.

What we heard: Yesterday, GameSpot was contacted by an anonymous reader who claimed to have firsthand knowledge about the theft of the original Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas discs. According to the reader, 14 finished copies of the game--which included the manual, cover, and game disc--were stolen by a group of workers from a manufacturing plant in New Jersey. The reader was also very careful to cover his or her tracks: rather than send a traceable e-mail, he or she used GameSpot's general contact page, which retains no information about the sender.

Bogus or not bogus?: Who knows? Hell of tale, though.

Rumor #2: Firaxis is already working on a sequel to Sid Meier's Pirates!

Source: The always entertaining UK game site SPOnG.

The official story: "No, we're not working on that." --Firaxis rep.

What we heard: In today's article about the "recent" announcement of Civilization IV--the existence of which has been public knowledge since December 2003--SPOnG also mentions that a sequel to Pirates! is in the offing: "In other Firaxis news, the team will also be working on a new Pirates game (Pirates 2, in case you were wondering)." GameSpot called Firaxis to confirm the development of the hotly anticipated buccaneer sim. "What are you talking about?" asked the spokesperson. "We're still working the Xbox Pirates!"

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

Rumor #3: There will be a console version of Civilization IV.

Source: The same SPOnG article.

The official story: "No, we're not working on that either." --the same Firaxis rep.

What we heard: In SPOnG's defense, its article is openly speculative. After mentioning the disastrous PlayStation Civilization II, the article ponders the following: "It will be interesting to see if, and how, Civilization IV might establish itself on PS2 or Xbox; or indeed the next generation of consoles." However, the Firaxis rep contacted by GameSpot said no such project was in development. "That's not something we're considering," she said. "I don't know where they're getting their information from."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

Rumor #4: To be playable, the single-player portion of the retail version of Half-Life 2 will require buyers to be connected to the Internet.

Source: The Quarter To Three Forums, the soapbox for the discerning gamer.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: A complaint on the Valve forums about having to set up a Steam account to register Half-Life 2 eventually sparked a flurry of speculation that to play Half-Life 2, you would need to be connected to the Web constantly. Although it elicited some biting observations ("Funny these complaints are posted by people WITH NET CONNECTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", said one poster), it is, thankfully, not the case. "For security/antipiracy, each copy must be authenticated via Steam during installation," Valve's Doug Lombardi told GameSpot. "After this one-time (per install) authentication is complete, an Internet connection is not required for single-player and LAN games."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

Rumor #5: The new PlayStation 2's USB ports are 2.0, not 1.1.

Source: A bunch of confused GameSpot editors.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: After caressing the petite console's black-matte case, several GameSpot editors began thumbing through the manual. Looking at the tech specs on page 50, something struck us. In the "Inputs/Outputs" section were the words "USB Connector 2"--it didn't identify which kind of USB connector. Since the original PlayStation 2 used USB 1.1, and USB 1.1 has been all but phased out, could the USB connectors be USB 2.0? If they were, the USB connectors could be used to support a variety of fancy peripherals, including an external hard drive (which would come as a great relief to Final Fantasy XI players). However, our hopes were dashed by Sony, which said the USB ports had the "same functionality as the first PS2."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

To see the video edition of Rumor Control and all the latest gaming news and reviews, tune in each week to Let's GameSpot!

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