Rumor Control: Son of Syndicate and 24: The Game

Truncated Xbox Next controllers and a bloodless Sacred are among the week's items of interest.

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RUMOR #1: Electronic Arts is readying a console and PC remake of Syndicate.

Source: UK-based game site SPOnG.

The official story: "I have no comment." -- EA Games' Director of Studio PR David Lee.

What we heard: Since GameSpot editors have long been calling for the 1993 Bullfrog classic to be remade, we took great interest in this bit of informational flotsam. The SPOnG article was also full of tantalizing details that revealed that a number of former Bullfrog developers had been brought back to work on the title, which will be unveiled at this year's E3--along with a remake of Desert Strike. However, a source at EA dashed our hopes. "Ha! That's an interesting one," the source said, "Unfortunately, I have never heard anything about that."

Bogus or not bogus?: While it shouldn't be bogus, it probably is (although we'd gladly be wrong on this one).

RUMOR #2: Xbox Next controllers will no longer have black and white buttons.

Source: The always incendiary Computer and Video Games.

The official story: Xbox officials had not commented as of press time.

What we heard: Infamous for pushing the envelope of game journalism, Britain-based C&VG apparently scored a juicy bit of inside intel this week--if it's true. Their article quoted "a highly placed source" at Microsoft who said the rarely used but occasionally handy black and white buttons are on the way out. "Studies show that the black and white buttons are the two least used and hardest to use buttons on the standard Xbox pad, so are therefore unlikely to feature in the [Xbox Next]," the source reportedly said. Apparently that source never had to quickly switch to frag grenades when facing an onslaught of the Flood in Halo.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. If Microsoft is likely ditching the Xbox's hard drive, what do two controller buttons matter?

RUMOR #3: A game version of the hit Fox series 24 is being developed.

Source: The BBC's Radio One.

The official story: Fox reps did not return calls.

What we heard: Elisha Cuthbert , the Canadian actress who plays Kim Bauer on 24, recently appeared on the government-run, pop culture-centric radio network to promote her new movie The Girl Next Door, in which she plays an ex-porn star...(deep, thoughtful pause). Er, anyway, during an interview Cuthbert let slip that a 24 game is in the initial stages of development. "They're very early on in the process with the story, characters, and ideas," she said, commenting that its plot will be "very [James] Bond-ish, I think." Business-wise, a 24 game would make perfect sense. On the verge of finishing its third season, the show has never been more popular, and like Alias, its intense suspense would be perfect game fodder. And, hey, they made two Law & Order games, didn't they?

Bogus or not bogus?: If they can turn Jerry Orbach into a game hero, Kiefer Sutherland should be a cinch. Not Bogus.

RUMOR #4: Publisher Encore Software cut much of the violence out of the role-playing game Sacred.

Source: The forums at Ascaron Entertainment, its German developer.

The official story: "Things we thought were excessive by the ESRB were removed so we could secure the 'T' rating." -- Encore spokesperson.

What we heard: After playing Sacred's violent demo, many gamers wondered how a PC RPG that featured limbs being hacked off could receive a "T" for Teen rating. The reason is simple--it didn't. The demo most people played was the British version of the game. Encore asked Ascaron to tone down the violence in the US version of the game, which is scheduled to ship March 23. "Given the theme and storyline of the game, we felt that the gore didn't contribute anything to the gameplay experience," said Encore. "The sight of someone getting their head chopped off and blood spurting out of the corpse didn't lend anything to the story." However, Encore made a point of saying the fantasy-themed game would not be completely sanitized. "There will be blood in the game," the spokesman assured GameSpot.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

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