AUGUST 2002: Apparently 2002 was a great year to own a GameCube!
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 almost 200 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. In our seventh episode we decided to look at EGM issue 157, August 2002.
Rumor #1 - The End of Sonic's Adventure?
"... Sega's blue, attitude-filled, sneaker-wearin' mascot has gone on his last Adventure. But dry those eyes and buck up, lil' camper. He's not gone for good. Sonic Team is reportedly hard at work on a brand-new Sonic that will take the 'hog back to his roots. That's right -- no more freakin' searching
Can you believe there are still people who claim that Defunct Games has an axe to grind with Sonic the Hedgehog?
for jewels as Knuckles (gawd, I hated that). The game play will return to the tone of the original series, focusing on fast platforming action with no B.S. And to reflect the change in design, the game will reportedly drop the Adventure moniker it has clung to for the past few years. While a release date remains sketchy at this point, we could see the first fruits of Sonic Team's labor by the end of the summer ..."
There comes a moment in these They Said WHAT?!? articles where Quartermann steps over the line and proves to the world that he's just making stuff up. In this episode the Q-Mann stepped over that line at the very first time up. This Sonic rumor isn't just wrong, it goes a long way to show everybody that EGM's gossip guru is just pulling this stuff out of his ass.
So here's the deal, the "next" Sonic game that was released was Sonic Adventure DX, the directors cut of the original Sonic Adventure. That was released a full year after this rumor was printed. Considering that the Q-Mann mentions on numerous occasions that Sega would be dropping the "Adventure" moniker (and going back to the game's classic roots), it seems odd that the very next game would be a remake of Sonic Adventure. Unless that's what he meant by "takin the 'hog back to his roots."
So maybe Quartermann wasn't talking about Sonic Adventure DX, perhaps he was talking about Sega's other Sonic game, Sonic Heroes. That game wasn't released until 2004, and even though it didn't feature the "Adventure" moniker, it used the Sonic Adventure engine. The game played almost exactly like the previous Sonic Adventure games, and in no way was it a throwback to simpler times. In the mean time Sega has managed to release Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Riders, neither of which I would exactly call going back to the roots.
Quartermann proves early on that he doesn't know what he's talking about. It took the next generation game systems to prompt Sega to re-invent Sonic the Hedgehog, but surely that wasn't the game the Q-Mann was talking about four years ago.
Rumor #2 - Perfect Dark on the PS2?
"... Something smells fishy in GameCube land, and it's got Rare written all over it. Their suspicious absence from E3 only served to further fuel the fire around rumors that the developer is leaving for more flexible surroundings. Recent buzz indicates that we may learn the truth about their multiplatform future, here's the latest reconnaissance: The first games in their lineup are rumored to include a PS2 version of Perfect Dark Zero (can you say online play?) and an Xbox sequel to Conker's Bad Fur Day. Current speculation
Perfect Dark Zero was a fun game, but anybody hoping it would be the Xbox 360's Halo was surely disappointed!
indicates that publishing duties will go to a major third party (to be announced) with GameCube-exclusive titles handled by Nintendo. Those may still include Kameo: Elements of Power and Donkey Kong Racing. Other Rare series may get divided up as well, so if you're a fan, you may have to buy multiple systems. Stay tuned ..."
Perfect Dark Zero on the PlayStation 2?? Donkey Kong Racing?? A Conker sequel?!? Oh man, where do I even start? Okay, perhaps it should be mentioned that while some of what the Quatermann is saying seems crazy, the overall idea of his comments ended up coming true. Soon after this magazine was published Rare was bought by Microsoft and all of those mentioned games ended up hitting the Xbox instead of the PlayStation 2, GameCube, or whatever.
But while the overall rumor is correct, Quartermann ends up getting a lot of these facts wrong. Perfect Dark Zero, for example, didn't make it to the current generation at all; it was one of the launch games with the Xbox 360. The game goes for Kameo, which saw builds on more than a few game systems. Donkey Kong Racing was never made. That Conker game wasn't a sequel, it ended up being an Xbox remake with online play (you can read my full review on Gaming Nexus). And in retrospect, that PlayStation 2 online comment seems downright silly. Ah the optimism of 2002.
While the overall rumor is true, Quartermann makes more than enough mistakes in this prediction to prove yet again that he's just guessing. Perfect Dark Zero on the PlayStation 2, eh?
Rumor #3 - The Q-Mann is a Loser
Compared to the Doom movie, Doom 3 was a masterpiece!
"... When the Q laid his eyes on id's latest baby at E3, I could hardly keep from tearing up. But it wasn't because I couldn't wait to play it on PC. It was with the fear that I wouldn't be able to play it on a console (as some have claimed, it "couldn't" be done). After some questioning, id programmers said that indeed, the Xbox is powerful enough to run Doom II [sic]. It wouldn't be without some sacrifices to the jaw-dropping PC visuals, but when a game already looking hella amazing, I can settle for just "amazing." Can't you? I knew ya could ..."
Alright, I'm willing to accept that he meant to say Doom 3 and not Doom II, but either way, why not just play the game on the PC? The Q-Mann had plenty of time to upgrade his computer to run the beast; the game didn't end up coming out until two years after this writing. And the Xbox version? That came out THREE years after this writing! How much respect should I have for a guy who would rather wait a year longer to have an inferior version? And Doom 3 wasn't that good of a game anyway, what's wrong with this guy?!?
Quartermann loses a lot of respect by telling the world that he would rather have the inferior Xbox version than the PC version. And worse still, he's willing to wait an extra year for it. What a loser. But the idea that Doom 3 could be done on the Xbox was true, although this wasn't really a rumor more than a confirmation.
Rumor #4 - No Time for Virtua Fighter 5?
Ever get the feeling that this is the only picture you ever see of Virtua Fighter 5?
"... First a tale of two Virtua Fighters. One, an upgrade to the recent VF4. The other, an online-enabled VF5. And word has it that creator Yu Suzuki, tied up by Shenmue and Virtua Fighter Quest duties, may not be as hands-on with the fifth installment as he was in the past ..."
I think a certain Q-Mann is getting a little ahead of himself. The only truth in this rumor is that Virtua Fighter 4 would be getting an upgrade (or two, if we're talking about the arcade version). Of course, at that time this was not a secret, Sega had all but announced the upgrade before Quartermann went to press. But Virtua Fighter 5??
Now here's a game that is STILL not out, four years later. While Yu Suzuki and team may have been starting the project back in 2002, this rumor makes it sound like it was just around the corner. The Quartermann also suggests that Yu isn't as involved because of Shenmue and Virtua Fighter Quest. Even that is hard to swallow, since Shenmue is nothing more than an afterthought and Virtua Fighter Quest is, well, what it is. Neither of these projects are keeping him from working on Virtua Fighter 5, a game that has STILL not been released. I cannot stress that enough.
This is another example of Quartermann predicting a likely sequel, but to ultimately be proven wrong by the game's release date. Here we are four years later and we're still waiting for Virtua Fighter 5, so you have to wonder what the Q-Mann was talking about way back in 2002.
Rumor #5 - Another Star Wars Game?
"... Psst, there's a new Star Wars game just
Oh Star Wars, maybe someday you will be cool again!
around the corner that no one's heard anything on yet. (Well, except for me and the programmers.) The third installment of a popular console series. Oh no, I've said too much. Can I take it back now? ..."
I thought about what this game could be and decided that he must be referring to Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, which was released in 2003. Or maybe he's talking about Star Wars Bounty Hunter, which was released only a few months after his rumors were printed. I suppose it could have been Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, but that isn't the "third installment." And then there was that Star Wars: Clone Wars game, that was part of a trilogy. You know what, there are entirely too many Star Wars games released each year, so while I believe he knew of one nobody else did (at the time) I simply don't care! The real news would have been if the Q-Mann had predicted that LucasArts would stop milking Star Wars for all it was worth.
We'll give this rumor to the Qartermann, but only because we don't care enough to fight. Seriously, with all the Star Wars games released each year the Q-Mann was bound to know of one we didn't. Why he would brag about that is beyond me.
Rumor #6 - Wait, The Xbox 360??
The Quartermann predicted the Xbox 360 ... Four years ago!
""... And who didn't expect this -- M$ (that's Microsoft to you laymen) is working on integrating Xbox into its home network strategies so that it would become the device in the chain that hangs with your entertainment gear. MP3 audio and MPEG4 videos could sit on the hard drive on your main computer (your "server" as it were) and be played by passing them across the network and caching to the Xbox hard drive. The network will work such that you can browse your media using the Xbox controller. Neat, huh?"
Okay ... the Quartermann just predicted the Xbox 360! I suppose what they say is true, if you wait long enough eventually everything will happen. Quartermann makes it sound like streaming your movies and music to your Xbox was just around the corner, but it would be enough three years before Microsoft got around to doing anything like that. You could also use your original Xbox as an MP3 player (assuming you ripped the MP3's on the system yourself), but the idea of streaming music and movies was just an idea back in 2002. On the other hand, I do have to say that this is one of the best features on the Xbox 360. I love being able to listen to the music on my PC while playing Ghost Recon.
The Quartermann is technically right about this prediction ... but it took Microsoft three years to finally do it. And even when they finally got around to letting you stream your music and movies it wasn't on the Xbox, but rather the Xbox 360. You could say that the Q-Mann is right, but we might question your credibility.
Rumor #7 - Grand Theft Auto Online?
"... It's something I get asked about a lot (thanks for the E-mails, guys -- you know who you are). It's Grand Theft Auto 4, and prepare yourself for a whopper of a rumor, folks. Here goes: The just-announced Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is just the beginning of
"I told you for the last time, repeat after me: There is no such thing as Crime Online!"
what will become known as the GTA Universe. After Vice City, the next Grand Theft Auto game will be dubbed "Crime Online." And if you haven't guessed by now, it's going to be the first console-networked title in the series. There will be a new stand-alone GTA as well, but that's still a ways off ..."
Um, no! The "online" Grand Theft Auto game has been the Holy Grail video game journalists have talked about for years. But it's not going to happen. The GTA MMO is just not a very good idea, and Rockstar knows it. I have been told flat out by Rockstar on more than one occasion that they have no interest in making an online Grand Theft Auto game and honestly don't even know how you would go about it. But it's people like Quartermann who perpetuate this silly notion that we could have a world wide GTA Universe. Bah.
After Grand Theft Auto: Vice City it took Rockstar two years to develop San Andreas, the next installment in the GTA series. There was no online Grand Theft Auto in between. There was no talk about a GTA Universe. The closest thing you got was a 2D GTA for the Game Boy Advance! Instead gamers had to wait for San Andreas; a game released two years after this article was printed. Quartermann was wrong in every way possible. This is the kind of rumor EGM should apologize for.
Crime Online?? Now that's just embarrassing. Thankfully Rockstar didn't do this and had no intentions of doing this. Shame on you Quartermann for even suggesting such a ridiculous idea.
Rumor #8 - Stop Monkeying Around!
"Monkeys, monkeys everywhere. The sequel to Sony's primate-capturing action game Ape Escape is coming to the U.S. Now if
You would think that there would be a bigger market for the cute antics of monkeys. I'm pretty sure everybody loves monkeys!
only we could have gotten the Japanese Ape side game where you vacuum the pants off of the lil' buggers. Then we'd have something."
You would think that this prediction would be a no-brainer, after all the original Ape Escape was one of Sony's flagship titles. But believe it or not, it took Ape Escape 2 another year before it managed to hit these shores. What Quartermann forgot to mention (because he didn't know, since he was just guessing it was coming out) was that Sony didn't want to have anything to do with it. So after much negotiation, Ubi Soft ended up publishing the title. Apparently Sony had a change of heart afterwards, because they ended up releasing Ape Escape 3 earlier this year (you can read my full review on Gaming Nexus). Either way, what seemed like a solid rumor at the time ended up being delayed by a lot of business.
While Quartermann was technically correct, a lot of time passed before Ape Escape 2 hit this United States. But is this the kind of prediction you expect from Quartermann? I bet there will be a sequel to Daxter. I bet Nintendo will launch their next system with a Mario game. And I bet EGM does another Top 100 list at issue #250. Those aren't predictions, they are simple facts ... just like it seemed when Q-Mann said Ape Escape 2 was coming to the U.S.!
Rumor #9 - Scribble This!
You can make some really amazing art in Graffiti Kindom, too bad most of my works ended up looking like a mud puddle!
"Taito's wacky Japanese RPG Scribble Kingdom, where you draw beasties (or anything else you'd like ... sickos!) to use as warriors in the fight against evil, is set for a U.S. release."
We must be getting to the end of this issue because these rumors are starting to blow. Oh look, Quartermann predicts Scribble Kingdom will come to the U.S. Yay! Or something like that. Yup, Quartermann was right, Scribble Kingdom did end up hitting the U.S. ... under the name Magic Pengel: the Quest for Color (you can read my full review on Gaming Nexus). It wasn't a bad game, but probably not the type of thing you would still be playing after a couple of months. And while Quartermann doesn't mention it here, the people that brought us Magic Pengel also gave us a sequel, Graffiti Kingdom (you can read my full review on Gaming Nexus). Yeah, I know it feels like this is just one giant advertisement for my writing on Gaming Nexus, but it's not my fault all of these games we are talking about I reviewed.
Scribble Kingdom ended up coming to the United States under the name Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color. I reviewed that game for Gaming Nexus ... because apparently I have reviewed every game ever made on Gaming Nexus.
Rumor #10 - No More Warhawk?
"Ding-dong, the Warhawk sequel for PS2 ... is dead"
The PlayStation 3's Warhawk sequel is one of those games I can't wait to play at E3!
There was going to be a Warhawk game on the PlayStation 2? Yeah, I guess it IS dead because that's the first I've heard about it. On the other hand there's the very not dead Warhawk sequel for the PlayStation 3!! Have you seen the videos? Folks, this thing is just gorgeous, and it's going to be playable at E3. Of course, this game isn't what the Q-Mann was talking about, but it's good to see that this version isn't dead. I suppose there are still a few more months to go before Sony releases their PS3, they still have time to cancel the game.
Warhawk on the PS2 may be dead, but the PlayStation 3 version is very alive and very beautiful! E3 can't get here fast enough.