MAY 2005: It's hard to believe that there was a time when people were excited about Phantasy Star Universe!
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 20 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.
Now that some time has passed since the untimely death of Electronic Gaming Monthly, I feel that it's time we go back to our regular schedule of making fun of their fradulant rumor section. After all, if we let this change who we are, then we are letter the terrorists win ... or something like that. So put the Kleenex away and wipe the tears from your eyes, because we're about to lay the smack down on EGM's gossip guru, the Quartermann. This is the May 2005 issue and boy is it a doozey. We're debunking rumors about an iPod-style hard drive for your Xbox 360, the resurrection of True Fantasy Live Online, a PSP Resident Evil and much, much more. Find out more when you scroll down and read each and every rumor from EGM's 191th issue.
Rumor #1 - True Fantasy Dead Online?
"Normally, I'm not the kind of person who gets real emotional, but when Microsoft canned its massively
Four years later and Final Fantasy XI still has very little console competition!
multiplayer True Fantasy Live Online, even I went for a Kleenex. Now I hear that the game might be making a triumphant return, as another publisher is extremely interested in bringing TFLO to a next-gen console (probably Xbox 2). Sah-weet!"
It's easy to understand why so many people were excited about True Fantasy Live Online. For one thing, it would have been the first (and only) MMO on the original Xbox. It was also being worked on by renowned developers Level 5, who have created some of Japan's best adventure games (Jeanne d'Arc, Dark Cloud 2, Professor Layton, etc.). And
Forget about Final Fantasy Tactics, Jeanne d'Arc is the tactical RPG to get on the PSP!
we can't forget the gorgeous graphics; beautiful cel-shaded visuals that put the PS2's Final Fantasy XI to shame. It looked like True Fantasy Live Online had it all (except for a cool name). And then just like that, Microsoft canceled this gem.
There were a lot of reasons why Microsoft put the lid on this project, chief among them being the fact that the original Xbox was nearing the end of its life. How stupid would it have been to release an MMO on a console that had less than a year of support left? Another reason was clearly cost, which had spiraled out of control thanks to the game's many delays. It's easy to understand why Microsoft would be weary of bringing this game to fruition.
But that doesn't answer the rumor, which is that another company was "extremely" interested in bringing True Fantasy Live Online to a next-gen console. While that may be true, the reality is that no company was interested enough to spend the money and get the game out to the masses. As it is True Fantasy Live Online remains the one and only canceled Level 5 game. If there is anybody harboring the belief that this MMO may still see the light of day, I assure you that True Fantasy Live Online is as dead as disco.
Rumor #2 - Resident Evil PSP on the Way?
"Man, I still have the shakes from playing the terrific horrorfest that is Resident Evil 4. And it seems Capcom really gets a kick outta hearing me scream like a little schoolgirl, as I've gotten wind that the series is now headed to PlayStation Portable. Expect this one to play a lot like RE4 and -- get
This ... only portable!
this -- star a grown-up Sherry Birkin, who first appeared in RE2 as a lost kid wondering [sic] the zombie-filled streets of Raccoon City, searching for her father."
As a PSP fan, I would have been first in line to play a Resident Evil 4-inspired portable game. But alas, the Quartermann doesn't know what he's talking about. Not only has there not been a single Resident Evil game released on Sony's portable, but the only recent handheld installment was a remake of the first game for the Nintendo DS. We've seen a Silent Hill game on the PSP, but Capcom doesn't seem very interested in fast-tracking a portable Resident Evil game.
And since there isn't a new Resident Evil game, one has to wonder where the Q-mann got that crazy story about Sherry Birkin. Not only does that seem out of character for a Resident Evil game, but it also doesn't fit in the ultimate story laid out by Resident Evil 5. That's not to say that Capcom wouldn't be able to make it work, but I have to wonder how real this story is in the first place. This sounds like the type of thing you might hear in a pitch meeting, not as a description to a real game. With no PSP game and an outlandish story that doesn't seem to work into the game's mythos, I'm left with the feeling that the Quartermann just made this rumor up. Just like when he suggested that Devil May Cry was coming to the PSP. C'mon Quartermann, stop getting my hopes up only to have them dashed by Capcom.
Rumor #3 - They're Talking About Killzone!
"OK, so Sony's overly hyped first-person shooter didn't exactly make us forget about Master Chief. Perhaps the sequel can do the trick: Look for Killzone 2 to blast a few holes in
Okay, so Killzone 2 didn't look as good as the target video, but nobody is complaining about the final product now!
your PlayStation 2 this holiday season -- and apparently, the developer is addressing several of our complaints by making the enemies a lot smarter, the voices less repetitive, and the online mode much more robust."
Oh Quartermann, had you simply waited a month or two, you would have never printed such a misguided rumor. This is the May 2005 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, which means that this gossip page was written at least a month before it hit store shelves. As luck would have it, at that year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (which also took place in May), Sony unveiled a too-good-to-be-true trailer for the PlayStation 3 version of Killzone 2. For almost two years the debates raged on about how the controversial video wasn't real gameplay and how there was no way the real game could look that good.
Killzone 2 was a real bone of contention for a lot of people, all the way up to the game's 2009 release. That's right, it didn't come out until this year, a full four years after EGM suggested it would be a holiday 2005 release. Of course, one month later the Quartermann would have seen the error of his ways. He would have realized that suggesting that this would be a PS2 game would sound ridiculous after the world caught sight of that potentially phony trailer. You're wrong on both counts, buddy. But don't worry, there's still plenty of time in this issue to save face.
Rumor #4 - A Reason to Ditch Your iPod?
When I think Zune, I think fat guys with tattoos (I don't know why)!
"Many believe that when Microsoft launches Xbox 2 (which remains on track for a fall '05 release), the company will offer hard drives in different sizes. Now there's a new twist to this tale: It looks like these storage units will be multifunctional portable devices, meaning they will also let you listen to MP3s (like an iPod) and watch movies on them on the road. Very nice."
Now how cool would this have been? When you buy an Xbox 360 you not only get a fine game-playing machine, but also a brand new iPod-style music/movie player? Talk about a selling point, who wouldn't want to use their compact hard drive as a portable music player? And it doesn't stop there, imagine being able to hook that into your stereo without worry, you would never need to pack your CD collection anywhere. This feature alone would have made the Xbox 360 worth the $400 at launch.
But, like everything else that comes out of the Quartermann's keyboard, this idea is just too good to be true. In
I have never hated my regular old Xbox 360 hard drive as much as I do right now!
fact, about the only thing the Q-miester gets right is the console's release date. The Xbox 360 does not have a detachable iPod-like hard drive. You can detach it, but it's not going to do you a lot of good when it's not plugged into the console. You cannot hook it to your stereo or watch movies on the go. It does not have a screen or do anything fancy. Instead it sits in your Xbox 360 and allows you to save files to it. You know, like a regular hard drive.
Of course, Microsoft did eventually come out when an iPod-like device that does this very thing, only it has nothing to do with the Xbox 360. The Zune was Microsoft's failed attempt at biting into a chunk of Apple's lucrative market share. Then again, one can imagine a different future with the Zune as an Xbox 360 pack-in. Sure people would still hate the Zune, but not nearly as much as they do now. Oh, and for what it's worth, the Xbox 360 didn't offer optional hard drive sizes until a full year after the launch of the system.
Rumor #5 - A Disruptor Sequel?
"So developer Insomniac is churning out yet another Ratchet & Clank game for PS2 -- no surprise
Q-mann went out on a limb and announced a game that had already been hinted at!
there. Yet according to those in the know, that ain't the only project the studio has in the works: Apparently, a different team is burning the midnight oil on a PS3 first-person shooter, which should be ready to go at the console's launch."
The Quartermann FINALLY gets something right. Yes, the good folks over at Insomniac were working on a first-person shooter, it was called Resistance and it has already spawned both a sequel and a portable prequel. But let's not give the Q-mann too much credit for this scoop, since Insomniac had been hinting at a first-person shooter game for years. After all, their very first game was the 1996 first-person shooter, Disruptor. Sure it's not the scoop of the century, however after the disastrous results of the other four rumors, I'm inclined to give EGM's gossip guru the benefit of the doubt. It may not be the most mindboggling news, but this Resistance rumor is certainly better than suggesting that you will be able to watch Fight Club on your portable Xbox 360 hard drive. Seriously, who would believe something as crazy as that?