Rumor Control: Jason Rubin's next gig and Halo 2 beta details

This week: Xbox Doom 3 in 2005 (again) and Codename: Panzers rewrites history, much to the Poles' offense.


RUMOR #1: Details of the Halo 2 beta test have been leaked.

Source: A post on the official Xbox forums, which was republished on the Gaming Age forums.

The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation"--Microsoft spokesperson.

What we heard: With Halo 2 only 87 days away, gamers are ravenously devouring every scrap of information Bungie makes public. However, they are even more interested in what Bungie is keeping secret. So when the alleged beta-test leak appeared on the Xbox forums, Master Chief wannabes went to condition red. It described three new multiplayer maps: Zanzibar, the factory shown off at E3; Mid-ship which takes place inside a Covenant battle cruiser; and Ivory Tower, a greenhouse filled with elevators. It also outlined the new weapons in the game, including the new SMG ("this little baby packs a punch"); the battle rifle, which can be used to snipe from afar or used up close as an assault rifle; the Covenant beam rifle ("equivalent to the human sniper rifle"); the brute shot ("shoots grenades that bounce around"); the hard-to-find Covenant carbine ("the best gun in the game"); and the energy sword ("don't mess with the best 'cause the best don't mess"). The leak also killed some rumors ("You CANNOT duel wield plasma swords... There IS NO DIFFERENCE aside from appearance between Spartans and elites in MP.") But veteran Halo fans will be most excited by the following tidbit: "Halo 2 will support four people on one Xbox for LIVE play. All at the same time." But is the leak accurate? Given that Microsoft pulled the original from the forums, the answer is almost certainly "yes."

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

RUMOR #2: Jason Rubin is in talks to join Microsoft Game Studios.

Source: The Rumor Mill, Gamerfeed's own gossip roundup.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: When Jason Rubin announced he was leaving Naughty Dog (shortly after the D.I.C.E. Summit in March), he took pains to emphasize that it was not due to dissatisfaction with Sony. “They have been an incredibly strong vehicle that has guided Naughty Dog’s and my success,” he said in a speech. Since then, though, tongues have wagged about what Rubin's next gig might be. Given the dearth of top-notch platformers for the Xbox, Gamerfeed's supposition that he might join Microsoft's development team makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it's not true. "That's wild speculation," Rubin told GameSpot. "I am hard at work balancing and debugging Jak 3, as you might imagine."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #3: Codename: Panzers contends the Second World War was started when Polish soldiers invaded Germany.

Source: An article in the online edition of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

The official story: "Everyone already knows history and knows that this game is styled on Nazi propaganda."--CDV Software.

What we heard: According to the article, Polish gamers have been outraged by the WWII real-time strategy game--which has been out in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland since March. "According to [the game], Poland started the Second World War," read one angry post on Internet portal Virtual Poland. What has drawn Poles' ire is a part of the game where German soldiers receive information that the Polish started the war. However, that's exactly what happened in the real world back in 1939. As a pretext to invade Poland, the Nazi government staged a fake attack on a German radio station, a falsehood repeated in orders to the Wehrmacht. "The game's creators left them in for the sake of realism," said Adam Piesiak of Cenega, the distributor of Codename: Panzers in Poland.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #4: Doom 3 isn't coming out for the Xbox until 2005.

Source: Chris Morris' Game Over column on CNN/Money.

The official story: "It's still up in the air."--id CEO Todd Hollenshead.

What we heard: If this rumor sounds familiar, that's because it was in Rumor Control--a month ago. Then, it was a prerelease Game Over in which Hollenshead said, "We can't say, at this point, that it's going to come out this year." In his postrelease chat with Morris, he said pretty much the same thing. "It could happen, but that's not our focus right now," Hollenshead quipped. "Our focus is on the gameplay... Doom 3 is a game that on the PC is very finely tuned. There was a lot of play balancing."

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking less and less bogus. Hollenshead's repeated evasions can't be a good sign.

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