Rumor Control: The 3D Revolution and the Xbox 360's backwards-compatibility
This week: Rare's Xbox 360 launch double-shot, Microsoft's PC/console agnostic controllers, and Diablo III emerges from the depths.
RUMOR #1: The Nintendo Revolution will feature 3D projection.
Source: The blog of Brooke Burgess, the creator of the award-winning anime Broken Saints.
The official story: "Nintendo does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Nintendo rep.
What we heard: This week saw some new rumors about Nintendo's next-generation console surface. The most interesting of these came from Burgess, who has long-standing ties to Nintendo. In his blog, he reflected on attending the ShoWest conference in March. There, he heard Sin City director Robert Rodriguez mention how he and other filmmakers that are eager to make 3D movies, including James Cameron and Peter Jackson, had become "aware of a game machine beating them to the mainstream 3D market." Burgess then heard from an "industry pundit" that Nintendo had already shown off a stereoscopic peripheral capable of projecting 3D images at last year's E3 for the GameCube and was planning something even more advanced for the Revolution. A forum post on the same blog also claimed the Revolution will come "equipped with a short-range wireless mapping camera that will somehow make the software 'adapt' itself to [the player's] surroundings," presumably to customize the 3D projections. But since Nintendo is saying nothing, there's not enough information to call this one way or the other.
Bogus or not bogus?: We'll see at E3 (hopefully).
RUMOR #2: The Xbox 360 will be backwards-compatible.
Source: A survey sent to Xbox Live subscribers.
The official story: Microsoft has not made any announcements regarding backwards-compatibility and does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Microsoft representative.
What we heard: As the launch of Microsoft's next-generation console nears, the amount of rumors surrounding it is reaching critical mass. One of the biggest points of speculation is whether or not the device will be backwards-compatible, given current-gen Xbox games are designed to run with a 40GB hard drive and credible photos of the Xbox 360 show it with an optional hard drive. However, this week, numerous Xbox Live users reported they were sent a survey that explicitly stated they will be able "to play against gamers who are on Live through Xbox 2--as long as they are playing a current-generation Xbox game." Although Microsoft would not officially comment, the volume of the reports and the clarity of the survey's wording make it a near certainty that at least one model of the Xbox 360 will be backwards-compatible.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.
RUMOR #3: Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo: Elements of Power will be Xbox 360 launch titles.
Source: Our friends over at SPOnG.com.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Microsoft spokesperson.
What we heard: While a number of titles have been confirmed for Microsoft's next-generation console--including Project Gotham Racing 3, the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Tomb Raider: Legend, and Battlefield 2: Modern Combat--a full list is not yet known. But when SPOnG "confirmed" this week that Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero, two games from Conker maker Rare, would be among the launch titles for the Xbox 360, it caused quite a stir. Why? Because both games were announced all the way back in 2001, back when Rare was a GameCube-only studio. However, both jumped onto the Xbox wagon when Microsoft bought Rare in 2002. Since then, however, barely a peep about either game has been heard, causing no small amount of schadenfreude on the part of the Xbox-antipathetic. That tune may change, though, if SPOnG's assertion that both titles are listed under the "Xbox 360 launch" section of Rare's internal schedule holds true.
Bogus or not bogus?: Hey, those games gotta come out sometime… A guarded not bogus.
RUMOR #4: The Xbox 360's controllers will be compatible with PC games.
Source: A speech Microsoft senior vice president Will Poole gave to the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference this week.
The official story: See below.
What we heard: The controller-crossover rumors stem from Poole's speech in Seattle on Monday. His presentation centered on the new LongHorn OS's "virtual registry" feature, which will provide backward-compatibility with older applications. More important for gamers was his announcement that Xbox 360's controllers will be Longhorn compatible, meaning the reportedly wireless devices will work with consoles and PCs. Luckily, we can tell you definitively that this is not bogus. That's because last fall, Windows Gaming general manager Dean Lester told GameSpot that "Xbox 2 peripherals will all work on PC." He later clarified that this meant Xbox controllers, steering wheels, and other console-related peripheral functionality will all be Longhorn-compatible.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.
RUMOR #5: Some postproduction work on Diablo III has been completed.
Source: Blizzard fan site Diabloii.net.
The official story: "We'd definitely like to revisit the Diablo universe in the future, but we haven't announced any plans to do so at this time."--Blizzard rep.
What we heard: Midweek, the fan site Diabloii.net received an e-mail from someone claming to be a "musician in Czech Republic." The person said that, "I have recently been to Bratislava in Slovak Republic for recording sessions with local Radio Symphony Orchestra, where we just recorded music for Diablo 3." So why should we give credence to someone who could be a crank from a former Warsaw Pact country? Because the music for the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction was recorded in Bratislava, Slovakia, with the Slovak Radio Philharmonic, around four months before the expansion pack was released. By that same calculus, if the music for Diablo III was recorded this month, then the game could be released before the end of the year. (Although some rumors pegging it as a PlayStation 3 launch title would make that unlikely.) So while there's no definitive proof that Diablo III is in the can, it is looking more and more likely that Blizzard will announce the game soon…and perhaps as early as E3.
Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus.