Rumor Control: GTA PSP screens and (more) real-time PS3 demos
[UPDATE] This week: XXX San Andreas minigames confirmed, Sonic gets his own MMORPG, and LucasArts pledges to support all three consoles (or does it?)
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RUMOR #1: Screens of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City stories have been leaked.
Source: Underground gaming site Videogameslife.com.
The official story: See below.
What we heard: Early in the week, some of those sitting on the fence about buying a PSP probably got pushed off. The tipping point was a batch of "leaked" GTA: LCS images (pictured), which showed what looked like both online and ad hoc multiplayer options for the PSP game. One screen also showed menu for team-based action, with each side taking the role of one of the gangs from GTA III. The screens also showed pictures of Carl "CJ" Johnson, leading some to speculate the game would be a prequel to San Andreas. Unfortunately, those high-flying dreams got shot down right quick. "These shots are 100 percent fake," said a Rockstar representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.
RUMOR #2: Nvidia plans on staging real-time PlayStation 3 demos when it unveils its next-gen GPU June 21.
Source: RC special guest star SPOnG.
The official story: "We do not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nvidia spokesperson.
What we heard: The logic behind this one is simple: Nvidia designed the next-generation RSX graphics processing unit (GPU) for the PlayStation 3, while Nvidia's next-generation G70 PC GPU is based on the same technology. Ergo, whatever demos Nvidia has at its event should be the "clearest indicator" of what actual PlayStation 3 gameplay will look like. Can't argue with that logic, right? But, SPOnG's sensationalist headline "Real-time Playstation 3 demos within weeks?" sets off a rumor firestorm that Nvidia has a working PS3 (or at least an emulator) at the event. GameSpot Hardware editor James Yu thinks that's very doubtful, saying, "Nvidia may have designed both graphics chips, but why would Sony want to associate the RSX's graphics with a desktop GPU that will be surpassed by another GPU in just 18 months?" So what will be on tap? "I think the most we'll see at the Nvidia launch will be the Luna demo that we saw at the Sony E3 press conference," said Yu. "As for game demos, they should all be upcoming PC titles, like Battlefield 2."
Bogus or not bogus?: PS3 demos? Bogus. A look at PS3-esque graphics in real time? Hopefully not bogus.
RUMOR #3: LucasArts has pledge to support all three next-generation consoles, including the Nintendo Revolution.
Source: An interview with LucasArts president Jim Ward on Boomtown.net.
The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."-- Nintendo spokesperson.
What we heard: When the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were unveiled last month, dozens of publishers pledged their support for both consoles. However, far fewer third parties got on board the Revolution bandwagon: At last count, only Square Enix and the soon-to-merge Namco and Bandai have made public their plans to support the Revolution, although Nintendo (naturally) says "many more" publishers are interested. So Nintendans rejoiced at this week's Boomtown interview, in which Ward said, "We learned it the hard way. We celebrate all new platforms. We will support all new platforms, and we will be on all platforms." Many members of the Church of Mario took Ward's "hard way" comment to be a mea culpa about LucasArts' recent neglect of the GameCube. However, reps for the publisher were quick to play down Ward's words. "Regarding Jim's comment, we are not announcing anything further at this time," a rep told GameSpot. "We'll let you know as soon as we have more specifics to share." However, it would be hard not to imagine LucasArts wanting to get some extra income from its back catalog by having classics like the N64 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron be part of the Revolution's retro-game download catalog.
Bogus or not bogus?: It's bogus that they have specifically announced Revolution support, but that could very well change...
RUMOR #4: A Sonic the Hedgehog online role-playing game is in the works.
Source: The Web site for Panovation Studios.
The official story: "While we wish we had the time to come up with such interesting and innovative ideas, Sega cannot confirm the development of any MMORPG relating to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise."--Sega spokesperson.
What we heard: This week, the ever-vigilant and still-rabid Sega fan base spotted the Pannovation site, which seemed to indicate a Sonic online role-playing game is in the works. At first, the evidence was sketchy, merely being the inclusion of such words as "sonic," "hedgehog," "sonic mmorpg," and "blue hedgehog network" in the page's metatags. Instantly, Dreamcast-era rumors of a Sonic MMORPG were resurrected, even though sources close to Sega attributed them to "folks with too much free time on their hands." But that all changed later in the week, when a message appeared on the Pannovation site saying the rumors were true. "You should expect a launch of the Sonic ORPG possibly near the end of this year as a beta," read the message, which is signed by Pannovation "Head Founder" Mark Grieg. In an interview on the official Sega forums, Greig lays out his plan for the as-yet-unnamed RPG. "The storyline isn't focused on the Sonic Adventure series," he said, although he promised "all of the game stays true to how Sonic used to be...to know more about the story you will have to wait and see." The Pannovation site now also links to a teaser page for the company's new Web site, which clearly says "Sonic ORPG announced!" In exchange for being up front, Grieg asked one thing of visitors to his site: "Please stop e-mailing Sega about this project."
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. That or someone is going to get their pants sued off.
RUMOR #5: At one point, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had XXX-rated minigames.
The official story: Rockstar officials were not available for comment as of press time.
What we heard: As a long and grinding workweek wound down, fate graced many-a-tired cubicle drone with one of the most hilarious game rumors yet. According to Gtasanandreas.net, one of its users had "discovered a few sections of unused code in the PS2 version of San An[dreas] for the girlfriend 'missions.' With a bit of memory hacking and such, he discovered these removed portions of mission scripting were to not only put the camera inside the girlfriends' house when you stop in for 'coffee,' but also to make a little minigame of it." As is often the case in the dating game, "coffee" equals "sex" (in this case, fairly graphic sex that involves the player winning a rhythm minigame to, er, score). Apparently, this same code was left in the PC (and presumably Xbox) version of the game, which is kind of hard to believe. [UPDATE] Initially, UK Resistance pointed out that a trio of initially released images looked "awful and amateur," so RC gave it a "probably bogus" determination. But RC checked out the mod further. It looked legit, since the mod replaces just one game file. Such a change would take more work (and more file changes), were coded from scratch.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus or not bogus, it's definitely funny.