Rumor Control: The PSP and GTA:SA delays
This week: Mafia 2 gets whacked, Half-Life 2 gets dated, and BloodRayne gets naked--in <i>Playboy</i>, no less.
RUMOR #1: The PSP has been delayed to Q2 2005.
Source: A quote from Activision CEO Bobby Kotick during an investor's meeting, which reappeared in Chris Morris' Game Over column.
The official story: "We have not discussed or given any indication that an adjustment to the PSP launch window is on the horizon."--Molly Smith, director of public relations for Sony Computer Entertainment America.
What we heard: According to an analyst's note quoted by Morris, Kotick told a group of investors on Wednesday that his company did not expect Sony to launch the PSP on time. Ironically, said analyst was none other than American Technology Research's P.J. McNealy, who sent out another note at the end of June, titled "Sony PlayStation Portable Launch at Risk?" The earlier note outlined his own skepticism with the Sony PSP timetable, a charge Sony then adamantly denied. This time around, the company's rebuttal was a bit more guarded, merely saying they hadnt "adjusted" the launch date, versus reaffirming its Q1 2005 window. Does that mean anything? Who knows? However, there have been murmurs that Activision is working behind the scenes to downplay Kotick's statement under pressure from a certain none-too-pleased corporate behemoth.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. Officially, the PSP has not been delayed. But at this point, a postponement wouldn't shock anybody.
RUMOR #2: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been delayed for a week.
Source: Comments made by EB Games CEO Jeff Griffiths in an investor's conference call.
The official story: "The title is scheduled to be in stores on Oct. 19 in North America and on Oct. 22 in Europe."--Rockstar statement.
What we heard: During the conference call, Griffiths was discussing what the biggest-selling games of the year would be. Naturally, the subject of San Andreas came up. "[It] will do as least as well as Vice City did--and I think that is conservative," was his assessment. While that wasn't surprising, what he said next was. "There have been some rumors about it being pushed back a week." However, EB Games online actually lists the game as shipping on October 18--one day before its official release.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus. But would anybody care if it was delayed a week?
RUMOR #3: Half-Life 2 will be released September 1.
Source: Another product listing on EBgames.com.
The official story: Valve did not comment.
What we heard: When Valve announced that Half-Life 2 assets would be preloaded onto Steam on Thursday, it seemed it wouldn't be much longer until the game went gold. So many gamers are now playing the guessing endgame, trying to peg when exactly they can step back into Gordon Freeman's HEV suit. The September 1 crowd was given a lot of ammo by EB Games' listing, since the site has a long record of revealing release dates early. But is it true? It looked that way until Valve decided to delay the HL2 preload until Monday. When it will happen. For sure. Really. No fibbin'. I swear.
Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus--if the preload really does happen Monday.
RUMOR #4: Mafia 2 has been canceled.
Source: A post on the Gamers Hell forums.
The official story: Gathering did not comment.
What we heard: According to the post, internal strife at Mafia developer Illusion Softworks has led to the firing of head programmer Daniel Vavra--and to Mafia 2 being "indefinitely postponed." The post also quotes Petr Vochozka, founder of the Czech studio, as saying, "It is a shame that the game won't be finished anytime soon." That sounds like an open-and-shut case--except Mafia 2 hasn't even been officially announced yet, and neither Illusion nor Mafia publisher Gathering are commenting on it.
Bogus or not bogus?: Technically bogus, though given the disappointing sales of Mafia for consoles, it's likely the game will be stillborn.
RUMOR #5: BloodRayne will appear naked in Playboy.
Source: The official BloodRayne Web site.
The official story: "Rayne is 100% topless and smokin' hot in the October issue of Playboy magazine."--BloodRayne Web site.
What we heard: In a move that will inspire many moments of forehead-slapping disbelief, Terminal Reality and Majesco have decided to hype the October release of BloodRayne with a spread in American's favorite skin mag. "This is a first in videogame history and trust us when we say that Rayne does not disappoint," boasts the mag. And you thought the nude mod of Max Payne 2's Mona Sax was bad...
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.
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