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EGM Holiday. '04 - The End of GTA?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 07, 2008   |   Episode 17 (Show Archive)  

   

HOLIDAY 2004: Metal Gear Solid 3 may not have been as wildly popular as Halo 2 or San Andreas, but it certainly had cooler artwork!
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. Over the last couple episodes we've focused our attention on some of the 2006 issues, which was a refreshing change of pace. This week we decided to start working our way back to the 1990s. But before we get to the Clinton years, let's check out this issue from December of 2004. Wait, it's not from December, it's from ... Holiday 2004? I guess EGM thinks that Holiday is the month that comes after November. Either way, we're making fun of EGM's 186th issue, Holiday 2006.

Rumor #1 - Memory Matters
"Hot damn - that new trimmed-down PlayStation 2 unit is definitely gonna be on my wish list to ol' St. Nick this holiday. And after hearing the following bit of gossip, I quickly moved the console up that rather long list: Sony plans on releasing a memory card that can store a ton more data than today's current

There are larger memory PS2 memory cards ... just not from Sony!
crop. The company also hopes to make the card large enough so that you can download beefy content like new SOCOM II maps or play the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XI without having the expensive hard drive. Sounds good to me."
Reality: It's not hard to see why people would get excited about a cheaper, slimmer version of one of the most popular consoles of all time, but that doesn't mean that you can just make stuff up. To the Quartermann's credit, this larger memory card would have been a really good idea. Especially in light of some of the additional content they made available for some of their bigger online titles. But sadly it wasn't meant to be. The only memory card Sony released was their standard 8-meg size, the same unit that they launched with the unit back in 2000. Those looking to get extra SOCOM maps or play Final Fantasy XI had to track down the original PlayStation 2 and pick up a hard drive, an expensive proposition that really wasn't worth it. This would have been a really great idea, but either the Q-mann was wrong or Sony had started, but ultimately cancelled this project.

Rumor #2 - Xbox to Support Online Tournaments?
"Xbox Live - it's the best thing to happen to online console gaming since ... well, it is the best thing to happen to online console gaming. And the improvements just keep on

When Nintendo beats you to the online punch you know something is definitely wrong!
coming. Word around Bill Gates' camp is that Microsoft is looking to add a spectacular mode to the online service so you can watch tournaments and games in progress even if you aren't participating. There's also gonna be a ticker on the bottom of the screen featuring high scores and tourney results. Very nice."
Reality: As you can tell the Quartermann was really thinking ahead when it came to Xbox Live innovations. While it's true that Microsoft has dabbled in online tournaments, I don't think anybody would say that it is anything like what the Quartermann suggests. So far the only tournaments have come from games like Project Gotham Racing 3, which actually had the spectator mode built into the software. The idea of game tournaments on Xbox Live seems to have been thrown out the window, as these days you rarely hear anything about it and there aren't many games allowing spectators to just watch. This sounds like an amazing innovation for the Xbox Live service ... but it didn't quite happen the way Q suggests.

Rumor #3 - James Bond Coming to the PSP?
"It seems like every day The Q hears of another title in development for Sony's PlayStation Portable. So what's the latest game in the works? Supposedly,

Actually, on second thought the PSP was probably better off dodging the GoldenEye bullet!
EA will release a GoldenEye game soon after the handheld's release here, and unlike in Rogue Agent, 007 will be back as the leading man."
Reality: Oh Q-Meister, this is yet another time when you almost got the information right. Almost. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent managed to come to the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Nintendo DS ... but not the Sony PSP. In fact, the first (and only) time James Bond has appeared on the PSP was when Electronic Arts decided to port From Russia With Love. Electronic Arts never made a follow-up to GoldenEye where you play James Bond, and considering that Activision currently holds the 007 license, I suspect we never will. But maybe that's a good thing, because GoldenEye: Rogue Agent wasn't an especially strong title, and certainly not the kind of thing that should be associated with Rare's phenomenal GoldenEye 007 game for the Nintendo 64. But none of this information is important, all you need to know is that EA only released one James Bond game on the PSP, and it wasn't GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.

Rumor #4 - Are You Prepared for a PSP Delay?

The Sony PSP totally showed up on time ... Gran Turismo 4 Mobile totally didn't!
"And speaking of PSP, there's been talk of pushing back its launch from next spring to the fall. Please, say it ain't so, Sony ..."
Reality: Just for the record, the "next spring" he's talking about is spring of 2005. So when did the Sony PSP launch in the U.S.? Was it spring or fall of 2005? The answer is surprisingly simple to find, the PSP hit store shelves on March 24, 2005 ... right in the middle of our spring season. That's right; the PSP didn't get delayed until the fall. Heck, even the European PSP hit shelves before fall of 2005. Then again, had Sony launched the system a few months later people probably wouldn't have been complaining about the software drought right after the console's launch. Either way, there is evidence showing that the PSP didn't get delayed and the Quartermann was (yet again) wrong.

Rumor #5 - Halo 3 Is Just Around the Corner!
"OK, so the most anticipated Xbox game of all time has finally invaded our planet, and thankfully, Halo 2 was well worth the wait. But your time with Master Chief and "friends" is far from over: Apparently, the

Part of me really hopes that it takes more than three years before we see a Halo 4!
next game in the series (whether it be Halo 2.5, Halo 3 or Halo: Championship Edition) will arrive much sooner than this one did and it'll be for Xbox 2."
Reality: Oh goodie, this is one of those rumors we can either prove or debunk by using science. No wait, not science. This is a rumor we can prove by looking at the calendar ... yeah, that's the ticket. So let me grab my trusty 2001 - 2007 calendar and see if Halo 3 arrived "much sooner" than Halo 2 did. Okay, so here are the facts, Halo 1 was released November of 2001. Halo 2 was released a full three years after the first game, in November 2004. By my count that's a 36 month gap between Halo games.

Now here is where it gets tricky, because Halo 3 was released in September of 2007, two months shy of being exactly three years since Halo 2. So what are we left with here? Is 34 months "much sooner" than 36 months? This is a judgment call, but I'm going to have to say that this rumor is easily debunked. When somebody says that something is coming "much sooner" that implies that it could be coming out a year or two sooner, not two months. The Quartermann may argue it, but this is one time where it seems clear that this is yet another faulty rumor.

One last point, I suspect that there will be people who write in suggesting that maybe he was talking about the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack, which was released on disc not even a year after the game hit store shelves. He did mention Halo 2.5 in his write-up, after all. But I don't consider this the "next game in the series," since this is nothing more than just a boxed version of downloadable multiplayer maps.

Rumor #6 - The End of GTA?
"San Andreas: The last GTA? Now, now. Don't get your felonious panties in a bunch - what I'm trying to say is that I have it on good authority that San Andreas will be the last game in the Grand Theft

D'oh!!
Auto series to appear on the PlayStation 2. So where does the next installment in the mega-popular franchise land: PSP or PS3?"
Reality: I'm going to do something that I never expected to do, I'm going to defend poor old Quartermann for a minute. When he wrote up this rumor I suspect he was right, Rockstar Games was likely suggesting that they had wrapped up their GTA III trilogy and were ready to move on to the next big thing, which became Grand Theft Auto IV. That's true, especially back in late 2004. However, things didn't work out the way Quartermann suggested.

In 2005 Rockstar Games decided to release Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, a fully 3D action game for the PSP. Rockstar managed to cut costs by reusing the Liberty City we knew and love from Grand Theft Auto III. One year later Rockstar Games returned to the PSP with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which offered a completely new story set in the world of Vice City. Seeing a way to print free money, Rockstar Games decided to port both of these titles to the PlayStation 2, which means that San Andreas was NOT "the last game in the Grand Theft Auto series to appear on the PlayStation 2." It's a shame that the final two PlayStation 2 chapters had to be ports, but it's clear that this is yet another rumor that the Quartermann fumbles.
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