Rumor Control: Revolution rumblings, Killzone konfusion, and Nintencats

This week: Nintendo's next-gen TGS debut, the Revolution's tilt resistance, and Untold Legends <i>3</i>?


RUMOR #1: The Nintendo Revolution and its controller will be fully unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show on September 16.

Source: The scuttlebuttlicious SPOnG.

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on speculation."--Nintendo of America spokesperson.

What we heard: Adopting its typical--and not always unwarranted--self-congratulatory tone, SPOnG this week trumpeted the fact that it had learned exactly when the Revolution and its vaunted controller would be revealed. However, its assertion that the deed will be done at TGS next month wasn't quite as surprising as the site made it out to be. Rumors to the same effect have been swirling ever since Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced he would be delivering a keynote at the event. SPOnG's "exclusive" echoed that speculation, saying that Iwata will offer "an explicit outline of the [Revolution] hardware and its controller and input mechanic" and will "illustrate exactly how it will work." The site says executives will also show off several games on the console, including the title popularly referred to as "Mario 128." Indeed, TGS seems like an opportune time to finally take the wraps off the Revolution, which is supposed to launch sometime next year. It would also make sense strategically, as Microsoft is planning a pre-TGS conference where it is expected to reveal the Xbox 360's price, and Sony says the PlayStation 3 will be present in some form at the event. Iwata's very presence is also noteworthy. Although he addressed TGS two years ago, his company traditionally eschews the event altogether, meaning he likely has a special reason for turning up. But is there any evidence of the Revolution unveiling other than Iwata? According to SPOnG, "Nintendo is assembling key media to attend this year's show." However, "assembling" is a bit much, as the company has not been waging a major media campaign promoting Iwata's speech. That's probably because they don't have to, as every game journalist worth his or her salt is trying to get in to hear what Iwata does--and doesn't--say.

Bogus or not bogus?: We'll see next month, but sources close to Nintendo say a next-gen Mario demo is a strong probability.

RUMOR #2: The Revolution controller's secret feature is...gyroscopic tilt resistance!

Source: The fine fellows over at Ferrago.

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo of America spokesperson.

What we heard: When Nintendo intimated that the truly revolutionary aspect of its next-generation consoles was in its controller, rumors began to fly fast and furiously. One of the very first was that it would incorporate gyroscopes, which would allow players to control games via physical movement of the controller. Later rumors said the controller would sport everything from a touch screen, which would allow for configurable virtual buttons, to there not being any controller at all--just a visor and floor-mounted motion sensor. Now the spiral of speculation has come full circle, with Ferrago saying that the controller will have tilt control, which will provide directional force feedback when a player moves the device. "Details are still sketchy as Nintendo works on perfecting the controller, looking at ways of balancing the revolving effect with the drain on the batteries of the console's wireless controllers," said Ferrago. Such an innovation would be in line with technology Nintendo has already developed, most notably the "Acceleration Sensor" the company patented in 2003, which would allow players to control 3D movement onscreen by moving the entire controller. And while tilt control may not be as revolutionary as some people had hoped, it would be an improvement over the nonspecific vibration function current-generation console controllers have. But until Nintendo makes it official, this still remains a rumor.

Bogus or not bogus?: Hopefully Iwata's speech will clear up the confusion.

RUMOR #3: The minds behind the runaway DS hit Nintendogs are cooking up a similar game that features cats.

Source: An illuminating Eurogamer interview with Hideki Konno, one of the masterminds behind the game.

The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo of America spokesperson.

What we heard: While canine-crazed DS owners have been lapping up Nintendogs like a parched puppy, cat lovers have been feeling neglected. But, according to Eurogamer, the creators of the game have something in store for the litterbox lobby. In the interview, Konno is asked if his team is considering a Nintendogian game that will feature other animals. "To tell the truth, we were already starting to develop a cat-based game at the outset of this project [Nintendogs]," he said. "So we already have the cat models, voice data and so on." Konno explained the reasons Nintendo went with dogs over cats. "Why dogs instead of cats? Well, one of the things we really wanted to do was to let players teach tricks by utilizing their own voices...cats are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning tricks." However, Konno demurred when he was asked when a cat game would dip its paw into the market, saying "give me more time to review the possibilities!"

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. Given the success of Nintendogs, a cat game is almost certainly coming--it's just a question of when.

RUMOR #4: Killzone 2 is coming out for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.

Source: Dual listings for the games on EB Games' online store.

The official story: "No announcements with regard to Killzone [2] have been made at this time."--Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson.

What we heard: While the original PlayStation 2 Killzone garnered only tepid reviews, interest in Guerilla Games' shooter became white-hot after E3, where a dazzling-but-controversial tech demo for a PlayStation 3 version of the game was shown. Even though the tech demo ended simply with the word "Killzone," it was assumed the game would be one of the flagship titles--possibly even a launch title--for Sony's next-gen console. However, this week, EB Games confused matters by putting up listings for "Killzone 2" for both the PS2 and PS3. While Sony wouldn't comment (see above), such a scenario would make perfect business sense, since a PS2 version could tap into the current-generation console's massive installed user base, while a PS3 version could further showcase the next-gen console's graphical brawn. Ubisoft is taking a similar strategy with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, which is currently one of the best-looking titles in development for the Xbox 360 and PC--but it will also arrive on GameCube, PlayStation 2, and the Xbox 360 in a less-slick form.

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus, given EB's track record for preemptively unmasking titles. However, given that neither has a release date, it could be a while until we know for sure.

RUMOR #5: Sony Online Entertainment is working on two sequels for the PSP action role-playing game Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade.

Source: A job listing on SOE's official Web site.

The official story: SOE officials had not returned requests for comment as of press time.

What we heard: Since its release earlier this year, Untold Legends has been the best-selling PSP RPG in the US...because it's the only PSP RPG currently available in the US. Nonetheless, it should come as no surprise that SOE is working on a sequel. However, a job listing on SOE's Web site was calling for an "A.I. Programmer" for "an action RPG title" called "UNTOLD Legends 3." This raised the possibility that the company was working on two sequels for the PSP game...or its human resources department is in dire need of a copy editor. However, as of Friday, all mention of RPG and Untold Legends 3 was deleted from the listing, so only time will tell how many sequels the semi-praised portable RPG will get.

Bogus or not bogus?: Semi-bogus. One Untold Legends sequel is all but certain, but it's a little premature for two.

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