AUGUST 2006: That's right, EGM said that Army of Two was the coolest new game!
The look, logo, staff, and consoles may have changed, but there's one thing that has remained the same since the very first issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly nearly 17 years ago. And that is Quartermann, the man you call on when you want rumors, gossip, and speculation. Although his write up has gone under a number of different titles, a rumor section has appeared in every one of EGM's 200 plus issues. But what if I were to tell you that this rumor monger's facts were spotty, at best? What if I were to tell you that the rumors, while juicy, are often incorrect? Well ... that's precisely what I'm about to tell you, and to prove it we're prepared to look at his rumors one magazine at a time.
Here's what you need to know: In each episode we are going to take a different issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly and go through every single rumor the Q-Mann talked brought up. I'm going to write them up EXACTLY as they are in the magazine, and then explain the truth ... knowing what we know all these years later. We're not here to pull any punches, we're just curious to see how well the magazine holds up over the years. When we last checked in with the Quartermann he was making stuff up in issue 207. Just for fun we thought it would be fun to go back and see what crazy ass stuff he was saying one issue earlier, in issue 206. It may be an unorthodox approach, but I feel that it is going to speak volumes about the competency of the Q-mann. Enjoy this brand new episode of They Said WHAT?!? where we make fun of EGM's 206th issue, August 2006.
Rumor #1 - Another Mission to Mar?
"Now that the PlayStation 3 is mere months away, it's easy to forget about all of the PlayStation 2 games you played eons ago, especially back when revolutionary features like "destructible environments" were enough to propel
Why diss Red Faction? It was a perfectly acceptable Half-Life clone!
a game from "meh" to "alright." But if you happen to dig the futuristic first-person shooter Red Faction, then you might like this little tidbit: Red Faction will be blowing the bloated case off of the PlayStation 3 sometime next year."
Is the Quartermann dissing Red Faction? If I remember correctly Electronic Gaming Monthly gave 8s and 9s to the original PlayStation 2 game. But this article isn't about revisionist history, instead it's about the Quartermann getting his facts wrong. And boy does he get his facts wrong with this little rumor. He expected Red Faction 3 to be released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. However, in truth Red Faction 3 (or, as THQ is calling it, Red Faction: Guerrilla) wasn't even announced February of 2008. And not only that, but this game isn't expected to ship until sometime in 2009 ... two full years after the Q-mann said it would come out. Should we give props to the Quartermann for suggesting that eventually somebody would make another Red Faction game? No, that's not how we play this game. Moving on.
Rumor #2 - Does Square Enix Hate the U.S.?
"Japan's getting both the robo-strategy game Front Mission Online and a new version of obscure shooter Silpheed for the Xbox 360, but I hear Square
I don't know how obscure Silpheed is, it's by the creators of Thexder!
Enix has no plans to bring these games over to our shores."
There are actually two rumors here, so let's go ahead and address them one at a time. First up is the idea that Front Mission online was coming to the Xbox 360. At the moment (two years later) Front Mission Online has not been announced for the Xbox 360. Obviously they could still make the game for Microsoft's console, but the Quartermann makes it sound like Square Enix plans on releasing it in the next year or two.
The second rumor, while true, is not technically correct. It's true that Silpheed made it to the Xbox 360. It is also true that Square Enix had no desire to publish it in the U.S. However, that didn't stop it from making it to the United States. Only months after this issue Microsoft announced that they would publish it in the U.S. Unfortunately the game wasn't very good, the critics hated it and nobody bought it. Perhaps Square Enix had the right idea all along.
Rumor #3 - A Mother of a Rumor!
"Ever since Nintendo surprised fanboys at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) by including Pit from the cult classic Kid Icarus in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii), other beloved old-school classics are now showing up on the resurrection radar. One series in particular has been seeing recent releases in Japan - but next to nothing over here. Well, that may change, because I was told Nintendo will release an Earthbound compilation for the
Uh, no, not that Earthbound!
DS, complete with touch-screen functionality. Not bad, Nintendo, but now about something really obscure - like, say, New Balloon Fight?"
Every year or two we get some rumor about the Mother series coming to the states. Of the three Mother games, only one of them has made it to the United States. For various reasons Nintendo has kept the original Mother and Mother 3 from hitting these shores, which has infuriated some of Nintendo's biggest supporters. Regardless of the quality, there are a lot of gamers that want this simply because it's rare and unreleased. There's no doubt that the Mother series should be compiled on one DS card, ported to the Virtual Console, or released as a standalone Wii game. It's about time American gamers had a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
But in the last two years Nintendo hasn't done a thing to make this rumor a reality. For starters, there is no Mother/Earthbound compilation on the Nintendo DS, so there's no way for Nintendo to port it to the U.S. That doesn't mean they can't do it in the future, but so far Nintendo has been resistant to the idea of English Mother games. For what it's worth, the first and second game have been translated, so all Nintendo would have to do is translate Mother 3. How hard can that be? Either way, the Quartermann is wrong ... at least he's currently wrong. There probably will be a Mother compilation in the future, but if his rumor was right then the game should have shown up a long time ago.
Rumor #4 - World of Mana: Burning Crusades?
"Yet another Mana game is in the works, only this one's a little more social - it appears Square Enix is working on a massively multiplayer online Mana game. Think it's coming out for the PlayStation 3? Wrong - it's for the Wii."
Maybe if Square Enix spent less time on the artwork their Mana games wouldn't suck so much!
I wouldn't put it past Square Enix to try and jam a Mana MMO down our throats, but two years later there's no word (or even hint) that this is going to happen. Obviously this is something that Square Enix could be working on; they have mentioned that they wanted to make more MMO products and it certainly takes a long time to develop one of these things. But you would think that there would be some kind of information or something. Instead we got Dawn of Mana (PlayStation 2) and Heroes of Mana (Nintendo DS) in 2007, neither of which was a Wii-based MMO.
And what the hell was the Quartermann smoking when he said that the MMO would be coming to the Wii? As far as I know most MMOs require a hard drive, and I'm not sure the Wii's 512 MB flash drive is going to do the trick. And it's not just that, it's also the fact that the current Wii audience doesn't strike me as the MMO market. I'm not saying that they couldn't be roped into a fantastic new MMO experience, but there's no way that the game to do that would be part of the World of Mana. It's going to take something like Pokemon or Animal Crossing to bridge that divide, not some third tier Square Enix leftover. Not only is this rumor false, but it's downright bizarre.
Rumor #5 - The EyeToy of the Future!
"Sony may have a bad rap for stealing innovative ideas, but if you have to give the company credit for coming up with some wacky stuff, like the arm-slinging EyeToy. And now that Sony's having self-conscious gamers loosen up their limbs with the new motion-sensing PS3 control, I'm hearing a next-gen EyeToy for the PlayStation 3 will be available at launch. The new EyeToy titles won't all be kitschy mini-games, either. In fact, if you think about
I hate the EyeToy about as much as this woman hates demonstrating its uses!
Sony's push for online connectivity, I shouldn't have to tell you what things the company has in mind. OK, maybe I should, but I'll save that for another time!"
Oh shock; it's the Quartermann predicting that Sony would release a next-generation EyeToy. How could he have ever gotten something like that right? It's not like the EyeToy was a runaway hit in Europe and that Sony has openly said that they would continue to evolve the camera technology. Oh wait, it is like those things are true. So at best the Q-mann is just making completely obvious statements. Here are some more that he forgot: Nintendo will release another Animal Crossing game, the Earth will continue to rotate around the Sun, Halo 3 will see another map pack and the Quartermann will get something else in this article wrong. I would say bank on those predictions.
Had the Quartermann simply predicted the next-gen EyeToy and moved on to the next rumor he would have been in the clear, but he had to add a few extra details that proved that he was just making it up as he went along. For example, the Q-mann says that the new EyeToy would launch with the PlayStation 3. Of course, in truth it didn't even come close to launching with the system. Eye of Judgment (the game that came bundled with the PlayStation 3 EyeToy) was released nearly a year after the system launched. That's not in the launch window by any means, which is why he should have kept his mouth shut. He was right that the EyeToy game was not the usual "wave your arms" sort of affair, but the fact that he decided against giving any real specifics makes me think that maybe this was just his guessing again.
Rumor #6 - Dragon Quest IX for the Wii!
Maybe if Square Enix spent less time on the Dragon Quest artwork their Mana games wouldn't suck so much!
"Speaking of the Nintendo's new console, if the upcoming Dragon Quest game sells well on the DS and the Wii, I hear the 9th adventure will be a Wii exclusive."
Well of course Dragon Quest on the DS and Wii are going to do well, the Japanese will eat up just about anything that has the words "Dragon" and "Quest" in it. But just because Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors was well received, that doesn't mean that we'll see Dragon Quest IX on the Wii. In fact, it's official, we definitely won't be seeing Dragon Quest IX on the Wii ... because Dragon Quest IX is coming to the Nintendo DS. This was announced only four months after the printing of this magazine, which is really unfortunate timing for the Q-meister. Then again, you do have to give Quartermann credit, at the time of this rumor nobody would have thought that a true Dragon Quest sequel would go to a handheld, but that doesn't get him off the hook for getting this gossip wrong.
Rumor #7 - EA Returns to the Dark Knight!
"Most superhero games these days are tied to a blockbuster movie to ensure those extra dollars publishers love. But since the next Batman flick isn't hitting the silver screen for a good while, my dirt detecting skills have uncovered that EA is working on a next-gen Batman game that isn't based on a movie. And I wouldn't be surprised (not that I ever am) if the game has you donning the cowl of the aging crime fighter from Frank Miller's graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns."
At least the Quartermann didn't predict a Catwoman sequel!
Electronic Arts is a company not known for having a lot of patience. When their games get low scores and suffer from poor sales, EA will cut the game adrift and forget it ever happened. When was the last time you heard about Catwoman 2, Haunted 2: The Return of Poulterguy, or a sequel to the PlayStation 2 version of Sled Storm? You never hear about those games, because EA would never make them. This is a company that has gotten to where it is today by going after the sure thing and cutting the weak links.
Given this information, it's strange that Quartermann would suggest that EA would buck the trend and attempt a second Batman game. Their first Batman game, based on the popular Christopher Nolan movie Batman Begins, was a disaster; it underperformed with both critics and game players. Yet the Batman brand is strong and it might be smart for EA to bring in a new team and bang out something much, much better. There is that thought that they could try and redeem themselves.
But that's not what happened; Electronic Arts was not secretly making a second Batman game. In fact, they aren't even working on a new Batman game to go along with the upcoming film, The Dark Knight. Instead the only new Batman project in the works is Warner Brothers' Lego Batman, which hardly qualifies as the Batman game the Q-mann was talking about. This is just another example of a rumor that sounded good, but definitely wasn't true. But who knows, maybe if we wait long enough EA will give us another Batman game.