NiGHTS hits snooze bar?

Franchise fan site reports that Sega follow-up to Saturn action game has slipped into next year.

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RUMOR CONTROL:Source: NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams has slipped into next year, according to a news post on the laser-focused fan site NiGHTS Into Dreams.

What we heard: Earlier this week, NiGHTS Into Dreams updated with news that Sega's upcoming Wii game NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams has slipped from its fall 2007 release date and is now expected to arrive sometime next year. The information apparently came out of the Leipzig Games Convention, as a Sega rep told a NiGHTS Into Dreams reader of the delay, and that reader quickly passed word along to the fan site as part of a series of articles about the game's showing there.

While NiGHTS Into Dreams is more exhaustive and detail-oriented than a typical fan site (it counts the hair color and names of certain characters among its scoops), reader tips on a fan site are ordinarily something to take with a heaping helping of salt. However, there are a few reasons to think a delay is in the works. For one, the game apparently isn't far enough in development that Sega feels comfortable letting the press get hands-on time with it. The game wasn't actually playable by members of the press at the E3 Media and Business Summit last month, or even last week in Leipzig, where some levels of the game were quite noticeably far from finished.

Then there are the strategic reasons for letting Nights snooze into next year. With the rest of 2007 jam-packed with huge releases on all platforms, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams would have a hard time attracting an audience any larger than its current dedicated niche fan base. Sega probably doesn't need the game to pad its release schedule, either. The publisher is already lining up Wii releases like Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, The Golden Compass, Bleach: Shattered Blade, and Ghost Squad; it would make little sense to rush a potentially franchise-reviving title like Journey of Dreams into the mix.

The official story: As of press time, Sega had not returned GameSpot's request for comment.

Bogus or not bogus?: Leaning not bogus. Sega might not have confirmed the delay just yet, but the relatively low profile the game has been keeping, combined with the not-quite-ready-for-primetime state of it at recent trade shows, suggest that the game's definitely going to miss its fall ship window, and might not hit during the holidays, either.

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