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Rumor Control: The first PS3 game and no OL for GTA: SA

[UPDATE] This week: Yet more Xbox Next specs and the PSP's newfound MP3 incompatibility.


RUMOR #1: The first PlayStation 3 game has been announced.

Source: Recurring RC guest star SPOnG.

The official story: See below.

What we heard: The "exclusive" SPOnG interview quotes Mark Cale, head of British developer Studio 3, commenting on his company's long-delayed game, The Last Ninja. Originally, the Last Ninja was scheduled to be published in 2003 by Simon & Schuster's now-defunct game arm for the Xbox. Now, according to the SPOnG article, the game won't appear until the next generation of consoles. Boasting of its graphical quality, Cale is quoted as saying, "Ninja Gaiden simply doesn't compare...the game is simply too advanced technically for a release on current systems." So which next-gen console will we see this dazzling title on? "We are going to release it on PlayStation 3," Cale allegedly said. That mention sparked murmurs that the game was already approved by Sony, who hasn't even officially announced the PlayStation 3's name yet. The problem is, Cale claims he never talked to SPOnG. "I have not been interviewed by SPOnG about Last Ninja and have no idea where they obtained their information from. We do, however, have every intention of releasing The Last Ninja on the PS2," he told GameSpot. "The game is scheduled for release next summer."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

RUMOR #2: The Xbox Next specs have been leaked--again.

Source: Indeterminate, although the rumor was picked up by well over a dozen high-profile game sites.

The official story: "Since we haven’t made any public announcements about future Xbox products and services, we’re not going to comment." (emphasis in the original)--Microsoft spokesperson.

What we heard: Just under two months after a diagram of the Xbox Next--coded-named "Xenon"--was allegedly leaked, a more detailed dossier supposedly outlining the console has surfaced. Like the first diagram, the paper contained the name of a real-life Microsoft engineer, Peter Isensee. It says the "Xenon" will feature a three-core, 3.5GHz IBM PowerPC CPU and an ATI GPU clocked at over 500MHz with 256MB of RAM. It will also sport a 12x DVD-ROM drive, designed for use with both standard and high-definition televisions, and will feature advanced built-in antipiracy and antihacking security technology. Some accounts also had the paper containing a redesigned controller with two extra trigger buttons, much like Sony's Dual Shock. However, none of the sites that mentioned the story had a reproduction of the original document, like they did with the widely circulated scans of the earlier diagram. So is it legit? quoted several developers who looked at the specs as saying they looked like the real thing. "There's certainly nothing in there which doesn't fit with what they've been telling us," said one. "If this is a hoax, which I doubt, it's a hoax so close to the truth that it hardly makes any odds."

Bogus or not bogus?: Semi-bogus, for the reason above.

RUMOR #3: The PSP will no longer have the MP3 playback functionality Sony previously announced.

Source: The latest issue of British Edge magazine, by way of PSPinsider.

The official story: Inquires to Sony were passed between different reps, with no results.

What we heard: Someone who got hold of an early copy of Edge relayed its contents to PSPInsider's editors, who passed them along to GameSpot. The main draw was an interview with Phil Harrison, SCEE's famously garrulous executive vice president of development, in which he discusses the PSP. Some of his comments were not so shocking: Games and movies on the UMD format the PSP uses will be in line with current PS2 and DVD prices, and the device's external battery pack will be 8mm thick and will be worn on the wrist. However, Harrison did drop one bombshell, mentioning that the PSP will not play the uberpopular MP3 music format. Such a move would deal a major blow to Sony's marketing of the PSP as an all-in-one portable media device to gadgeteers already lugging around a cell phone, PDA, iPod, and (presumably) a wallet.

Bogus or not bogus?: Hopefully bogus.

RUMOR #4: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will not have online play.

Source: British industry Web site

The official story: "We are not commenting further on the Houser interview."--Rockstar spokesperson.

What we heard: As avid readers of the American and European games press, picked up on an interview that Rockstar's creative director Dan Houser gave to the Dutch game magazine Power Unlimited. In the interview, Houser confirmed what many had suspected: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will not have an online component. While American Rockstar representatives would neither confirm nor deny the report, such a revelation is unsurprising, given that Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City didn't have online components. That means that for the foreseeable future, the only place would-be Tommy Vercettis and Carl Johnsons can run each other over is via the PC Mod Multi Theft Auto.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not Bogus.

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