Rumor Control: Half-Life 2 plot thickens, Molyneux's mea culpa

To say nothing of the next feature that's sure to be packed into the upcoming Xbox 2.


Rumor #1: Half-Life 2 shipping to US retailers this November 23, 2004.

Source: "The long, drawn-out Half-Life 2 release-date saga appears to be drawing to a close," says Eurogamer. chimes in with a similar chorus.

The official story: The always present and invariably polite Doug Lombardi of Valve: "VUG has not given us a release date."

What we heard: Did ya hear the one about the Half-Life 2 release date? What would Rumor Control be without another sighting of Half-Life 2? While the rumor mill that is the British press is well versed in delivering whoppers, this time around the sources referred to--retailers--seem credible. Our own moles to the north say many small bits of evidence from HL2 Central (Valve's offices in Bellevue, Washington) add up to a "the date nears, the date nears" vibe. However, the complicated nature of what is now a documented "he said, she said" backstory only complicates any one person's statement on the matter. To wit: The internecine fighting between Valve and publisher VU Games has been shown to be worthy of lawsuits, counterclaims, threats, and even some good old-fashioned trash talk (see GameSpot News' coverage of the Valve vs. Sierra/VU Games spat that is ongoing in federal court). Given the amount of mud that's been slung so far, it's hard to know who to trust anymore. Still, calmer minds prevail, and with the contractual rights VU Games is likely to invoke, we editors at the rumor desk reserve the right to change our tune.

Bogus or not bogus?: Yesterday, not bogus. Today, bogus.

Rumor #2: The Xbox Live system for the Xbox 2 will feature a service called "Xbox TV" that will allows players to watch other players' games in progress and see highlights and recent high scores via a ticker system that runs along the screen.

Source: An article on CodeJunkies that purports to reveal the details of a job posting that was put up on Microsoft's site and then hastily yanked.

The official story: No comment was provided.

What we heard: A Microsoft employee posted a job on the company's official Web site that sought a software-development engineer who could help design a system called "Xbox TV," which was described as a spectator mode for Xenon (the internal code name for the Xbox 2) "with tickers at the bottom of the screen featuring recent high scores and game highlights, a tournament system, and tradable trophies." Players would be able to watch other Xbox Live tournaments and games in progress even if they are not participating in them. The job posting was quickly pulled down.

Bogus or not bogus?: When Bill finally does reveal the Xbox 2 next year, will he have anything to announce or will pretty much everything have been leaked by then? Not bogus.

Rumor #3: Peter Molyneux has apologized for making promises that his game Fable never quite delivered on.

Source: A message-board posting on Lionhead Studios' official Web site.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: "If I have mentioned any feature in the past which, for whatever reason, didn't make it as I described into Fable, I apologise," reads the post, the first and only one on the boards written under the user name Peter Molyneux. "I have come to realise that I should not talk about features too early so I am considering not talking about games as early as I do. This will mean that the Lionhead games will not be known about as early as they are, but I think this is the more [sic] industry standard."

Lionhead Studios did not return Rumor Control's request for authentication of the post (very likely due to the time difference), but the fact that it remains on the company's official boards, "stickied" and in bold type, would indicate that it is indeed from the keyboard of Molyneux (and because the sentiments contained in today's post are so similar to what Molyneux has told GameSpot previously).

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

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