MAY 1996: And the award for the most obnoxious cover goes to ...
If you've read any of our past episodes of They Said WHAT?!? then you already know that what we normally do is make fun of Electronic Gaming Monthly's gossip hound, Quartermann, for constantly getting his facts mixed up. For ten episodes in a row we've selected a random issue of EGM and have gone through each and every rumor to see just how accurate their gossip really is. For the most part it's extremely unreliable, with only a few minor facts finding their way into the section.
As much fun as it is to make fun of Electronic Gaming Monthly we are starting to get bored of kicking the Q-Mann around. After ten episodes we needed something brand new, something fresh. We needed another topic or magazine or something, anything to get our minds off of the stench of inaccurate rumor mongering. For our eleventh episode of They Said WHAT?!? we are ditching EGM so that we can focus on another magazine, the one and only Die Hard Game Fan.
But this is not your typical episode of They Said WHAT?!?, instead of rumor busting one issue at a time we've decided to look at everything Game Fan said about a particular subject. In this case we want to see how accurate they are about Street Fighter III, one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of video games. It's the game that everybody wanted to have the scoop on, but Game Fan took it to a whole new level. Watch as we dissect four years worth of Street Fighter III rumors as we go over nine wildly inaccurate rumors spread out over nine issues. You simply won't believe how wrong one magazine could be about a game, it will definitely make you think twice about believing any rumor that came out of Game Fan. So sit back and watch as we give EGM the night off and go after Die Hard Game Fan, your least reliable source for Street Fighter III news!
Rumor #1 - April 1993: Volume 1/Issue 5
"Here's the exclusive first news on Street Fighter 3. This new version will incorporate only two of the original cast from part two, Ryu and Sagat. You know what that means ? 14 new characters! Now, when Ryu does his fireball, he has an aura around him, and Sagat can now do a tiger knee helicopter kick. [?] As far as new characters, we know about two so far, Chun Li's younger sister, and Bison's mentor (who will be the last boss), his name is Shadow Lu."
Believe it or not, Die Hard Game Fan's non-stop list of Street Fighter III rumors actually started back in 1993 ... four full years before the game actually shipped. Perhaps it was because they wanted to be the first to offer news about the game or that they just needed to fill up a few pages, but whatever the case may be Game Fan was the undisputed leader when it came to pulling Street Fighter III gossip out of their butt. While all of the news ends up being false, these early rumors prove to be some of the most outlandish guesses I've ever seen. Even if they were just rumors (extremely inaccurate rumors) it's hard to take any magazine seriously when print gossip like this.
So where do we even start? Let's start with the most glaring error, the returning World Warriors. Game Fan seems to think that it will be Ryu and Sagat returning to the third Street Fighter game, yet what really happened was that Ryu and Ken were the only regular characters to make the transition. Eventually Capcom would add Chun Li to the mix, but Sagat was one character that never made it to Street Fighter III.
Obviously it's hard to predict the new characters four years ahead of time, but that didn't stop Game Fan from just making stuff up. They reported that Chun Li's sister would be introduced and Bison's Mentor (Shadow Lu) would be the final boss. Instead the final boss was Gill, and Chun Li's sister was never appeared. Oh, and I have no idea what they are talking about with the new fireball and the tiger knee helicopter kick. If you ask me these ideas came from a brainstorming marathon that started with the phrase: "Wouldn't it be cool if ..."
Rumor #2 - August 1994: Volume 2/ Issue 9
"From what we hear, Capcom's newest coin-op fighting games (Dark Stalkers, X-Men, and Street Fighter 3) will be translated first on to high end consoles (PlayStation Saturn, Ultra 64) before they are released on the Genesis or SNES."
Here we are three years before the Street Fighter III release date and Game Fan is already predicting what systems the game would be on. Usually I would say that it's a bit premature, but hey, it's a lot of fun to speculate ... right? On one hand it's a no brainer that Street Fighter III would hit the more powerful game systems, surely this amazing new sequel wouldn't be able to fit on some 2 mb Super NES cartridge. The problem is that Street Fighter III didn't even make it to the 32/64-bitters. Instead it jumped right to the Dreamcast (and then later to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox). Unfortunately this is just the first time Game Fan predicts the console port, and in every case they get it wrong. I'm sure PlayStation and Saturn owners would have liked a port, but that just wasn't in the cards.
Rumor #3 - December 1994: Volume 2/Issue 12
"Other Ultra 64 games in development include Batman Forever, X-Men, Slam Master 2, Street Fighter 3, Pocahontas (the new Disney movie for '95), Final Fantasy VIII, and a new version of the Star Wars trilogy."
We've already explained that Street Fighter III didn't make it to the Nintendo 64 (or Ultra 64 as it was known at the time), so instead of beating a dead horse I figure we can take a break from Ryu and Ken and actually look at this entire rumor. This isn't a Street Fighter III rumor, per se, instead this is a list of games that were supposed to be in development for Nintendo's next generation cart-based system. Batman Forever? Never came out. Slam Masters 2? Don't make me laugh. Pocahontas? It was on the Game Boy, Genesis and Game Gear, but not the Nintendo 64. Final Fantasy VIII? Well, we know what happened to Square. The only game from that list that actually came out was a Star Wars game, and it was just some stupid side story (not the full trilogy as mentioned in the rumor). Forget EGM and Quartermann, perhaps it's Die Hard Game Fan that we need to be paying attention to in these columns.
Rumor #4 - August 1995: Volume 3/Issue 8
"One Capcom insider told us: "The future of the company rides on it" ... it could be the most important sequel if all time. Where is it? Well, we can tell you Akira "Nin Nin" Nishitani, head designer of the original SF II and Champion Edition, is definitely working on it ... and it will arrive in arcades sometime in '96 ... and it will probably be on the all new hardware, CPSIII."
Believe it or not there's actually some truth to this rumor. After the talk of Shadow Lu and a PlayStation port it's hard to believe anything Game Fan says about Street Fighter III, but lo and behold there's some truth here. Although they got the year wrong (and will continue to get the release wrong from here on out), Game Fan managed to predict that the game would be built using the CPSIII board. But don't worry, because there's a lot that is wrong about this rumor, too.
Early into this rumor they suggest that the future of Capcom rides on this one game, which is almost comical knowing what we know now. In the post 2D world Capcom relied heavily on their Resident Evil, Onimusha, and Devil May Cry franchises. Even today they are doing everything they can to expand those games while completely ignoring Ryu, Ken and the rest of the World Warriors. If there was any game that Capcom was riding on it would have been Mega Man or Resident Evil, not Street Fighter III. And really, there's no universe where Street Fighter III could be considered the "most important sequel of all time." Talk about hyperbole gone wild.
And then there's the issue of Akira Nishitani, who indeed worked on Street Fighter II. The problem is that he's not credited as working on Street Fighter III. He went off to do other things while Tomoshi Sadamoto produced the game. You see, it's these little details that sound convincing at the time that will mess you up every time.
Rumor #5 - October 1995: Volume 3/Issue 10
"We've mentioned the elusive SF III several times in recent issues of Other Stuff. Now here's the news everyone has been waiting for and Team GameFan has it first (until its imminent re-print). Street Fighter III will debut in arcades with the 1st or 2nd quarter of '96, with a summer release expected for the home version. But this is where it gets really interesting. Sources at Nintendo have informed us that SF III will be available exclusively for the Ultra 64 for ONE YEAR, beginning with the game's NU64 release next summer. All other home versions will be released in the summer of 1997."
Remember a few issues ago when Game Fan suggested that Street Fighter III would hit the Saturn, PlayStation and Nintendo 64? Well, apparently now it's only coming to the Nintendo 64 ... because with that funky control there's just no better fit. Obviously this never happened, but then again we've already established that. Team Game Fan also got the date wrong, but that's just something you have to get used to when dealing with these rumors. Perhaps my favorite part of this rumor has to do with the timed exclusive, as if that lends some credibility to the whole affair. No matter how you word it this rumor is flat out wrong, kind of like everything else in this episode. But wait, this is just the opening act. In our very next rumor you'll see that Game Fan decides to kick this gossip up a notch ...
Rumor #6 - December 1995: Volume 3/Issue 12
"At the recent E3 show in L.A., Nintendo and Capcom met again, and the two companies worked out their differences. Capcom asked what Nintendo wanted, and Nintendo's response was: Street Fighter III, exclusively on the Ultra. Otherwise, no deal. Capcom gave in. The arcade version of SF III is being developed on the Ultra 64 hardware, NOT CPS III hardware. No joke. The reason is Capcom wanted to make SF III in 3-D, but the CPS III that was in development couldn't handle the game and designers wanted."
No words can explain how ridiculous this rumor is, it's so over the top that I simply cannot believe anybody took it serious. The only thing Nintendo wants is a Street Fighter III exclusive? Are you daft??? Judging by the Nintendo 64's line-up it felt like the last thing Nintendo wanted was a 2D fighting game. And besides, Nintendo had their own fighting game to trick (er, sell) their customers on (Killer Instinct Gold). I'm sure Capcom and Nintendo met at E3 and I'm sure Street Fighter came up, but you're expecting a lot if you think I'm going to believe that they agreed on a Street Fighter III exclusive ... or else.
And it's not just Game Fan wanting us to believe that Nintendo felt that Street Fighter III was going to be the most import game of that generation, it's that they decided to use the Nintendo 64 hardware to develop this 2D sequel! As we've already established, Street Fighter III was built using the CPS3 board, not the Nintendo 64. There's a line in this rumor that says that Capcom wanted to make the game 3D and that's why they ditched the CPS3 board, and if you believe that then I have a Super NES CD-ROM to sell you!
Rumor #7 - January 1996: Volume 4/Issue 1
"Reliable sources have verified that SF3 could start testing as soon as April '96 in Osaka, Japan. In America, testing should start sometime next summer with a release shortly thereafter. This time around the competition will be fierce. Will Capcom once again revolutionize the fighting category? I'm diggin' for infos like a golfer on steroids ..."
Reliable sources, eh? For some strange reason I doubt that there's anything reliable in Game Fan when it comes to Street Fighter III. I actually don't have a way of independently verifying whether or not these play tests happened, but given the game's 1997 release date I have a hunch that Capcom wasn't putting it out in the arcades a full year before its launch. As for the other question, unfortunately Capcom would not "revolutionize" the fighting category; those honors would go to Virtua Fighter, Tekken and Soul Caliber. This rumor has actually forced me to wonder about something I never thought I would contemplate, whether or not golfers get tested for performance enhancing drugs. And if golfers did do steroids do you think it would make the sport more fun to watch? It seems to be working for baseball.
Rumor #8 - June 1996: Volume 4/Issue 6
"On the subject of Street Fighter III, we have learned that Capcom's biggest fighting game will be the first title to run on their new 32-bit CPS III (get it, III) arcade board. SFIII is still a 2D fighting game, although the CPS III enables each sprites to be up to 256 colors and an in-game screen resolution twice that of the 16-bit powered CPS II. Street Fighter III was recently announced to be a winter arcade release (December 1996 - March 1997) for Capcom."
Wait a second; Street Fighter III is now using the CPS3 board? Just a couple of issues/rumors ago Game Fan was reporting that the game was going to use the Nintendo 64 hardware to turn the game into a 3D fighting game, and now we're back to the CPS3? C'mon Game Fan, make up your mind. Thankfully Game Fan finally got the board right, because Street Fighter III really did use the CPS3 board, but it wasn't the first game to use the board. Instead Warzard (aka Red Earth) used the board and then Street Fighter III (as well as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure). It's also worth mentioning that Game Fan is starting to get the dates right, the game actually did launch between December 1996 and March 1997 (it hit Japanese arcades in February of 1997). It's all starting to come together, which must mean that this episode of They Said WHAT?!? must be coming to an end. Not sure about you but I'm going to miss not making fun of Game Fan after this article is done and posted.
Rumor #9 - October 1996: Volume 4/Issue 10
"Rumor has it, though, that, with the exception of Ryu and Sagat, SF3 will have an entirely new cast of characters. Hmmmm, strange ... More on that as it develops."
We end where we begin, with a ridiculous rumor about the Street Fighter III line-up. This issue is only four months away from the Street Fighter III launch and it's still getting the characters wrong. I suppose I should be happy that they aren't still reporting that outrageous rumor about Chun Li's sister and Shadow Lu (or whatever his name was). Instead they talk about Ryu and Sagat, as if that two time loser is going to make it into Street Fighter III. Game Fan is 100% correct that only two characters would make the jump from Street Fighter II to III, but it was Ryu and Ken, not Ryu and Sagat. Some may include Chun Li, but she didn't make it into Street Fighter III until the second "expansion", 3rd Strike. That version of the game also reintroduced Akuma, but since he wasn't really part of the Street Fighter II cast we won't count him here.
For what it's worth Die Hard Game Fan was not the only video game magazine making wrong predictions about the fabled Street Fighter III; it was a hotly anticipated sequel that the whole world was excited about. But while EGM and other magazines also got the information wrong, there was nobody more vocal (and consistently wrong) about this game than Game Fan. They were wrong so many times that it might be worth exploring their other rumors to see if they were more or less reliable than EGM's gossip guru Quartermann. We love Die Hard Game Fan here at Defunct Games (we even love their spiritual successor Hardcore Gamer Magazine), but if we're going to be fair to everybody then we have to point out when everybody is wrong ... not just when EGM sticks their foot in their mouth.