EGM Retrospective on Quarterman – January 2008

Quarterman’s not making this easy for me. There’s a few rumors that were difficult to substantiate or deny, but let’s take a look.

January 2008 (Issue 224)

Rumor #1: PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 4 creators are working on the next Bond game. This title will have a heavy focus on racing.

Result: FALSE and FALSE.

In July 2007, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, while discussing Activision’s acquisition of the James Bond license, stated that, “We have our best development studios working on the product, we have a second team working on another Bond product and we’re putting great resources against it.” But since Activision’s acquisition of PGR4 developer Bizzare Creations didn’t take place until September 2007, it seems unlikely that Kotick was talking about them.

So, PGR4 developer Bizzare Creations has yet to work on a Bond game. But if you have a Xbox 360, you can try out the beta for their latest creation, BLUR.

Eventually Activision did release QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but it was developed by Treyarch (for the Xbox 360 and PS3) and there was not much racing to be found. Nor gameplay, according to some of the reviews. But I digress…

Rumor #2: EA Chicago was working on a GUITAR HERO-inspired action game before its closure.

Result: APPARENTLY FALSE.

According to a 1up article from the time of EA Chicago’s closing, “[t]wo of the three games coming from EA Chicago were apparently based on licensed properties — we already knew about a new Marvel fighting game — but said ‘all of them showed promise and were never given the opportunity to make any money.’” Some information about that canned Marvel fighting game can be found at Kotaku Australia (though the original article that they cited now appears to be dead).

So that leaves us with two unreleased games, one of which is a licensed title. Unfortunately, without any additional verification, I have to call this rumor FALSE. If any ex-EA Chicago folks want to reach out and provide some information about this alleged GUITAR HERO-inspired game (which wouldn’t necessarily be that far off from their DEF JAM fighting game), please feel free.

In the meantime, we’ll always have FRET NICE.

Rumor #3: The next FRONT MISSION game will be exclusive to the Xbox 360. To even things out, an unannounced Square Enix sequel will be exclusive to the PS3.

Result: FALSE and FALSE.

FRONT MISSION EVOLVED will be the first FRONT MISSION game for the current generation of consoles and it’s currently being developed for both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

To date, the only sequels that Square Enix has released for the PS3 are STAR OCEAN: THE LAST HOPE and FINAL FANTASY XIII, both of which have also been released on the Xbox 360 nearly simultaneously. And no, I’m not going to count STAR OCEAN: THE LAST HOPE INTERNATIONAL as a separate game.

Rumor #4: Nintendo canceled a first party developed Wii game because the developers insisted on allowing players to customize their Miis.

Result: I DON’T KNOW.

Well, you beat me, Quarterman. Three weeks in and you’ve thrown a rumor at me that I can’t verify in any form.

To date, the only known canceled first party Wii game is PROJECT H.A.M.M.E.R. Shown only at E3 2006, it was a beat ‘em up where you hit enemies with a giant hammer. Rinse and repeat.

Was this game canceled due to developer Nintendo Software Technology’s desire to pummel the Miis? I have no idea. And neither does the rest of the Internet, apparently. Therefore, this particular rumor earns our first IDK.

Rumor #5: NEED FOR SPEED will alternate each year between being a simulation style racing game and an arcade style racing game.

Result: TRUE.

EA hasn’t released an official statement confirming this rumor, but a look at the NEED FOR SPEED releases since 2008 tells us everything we need to know.

2008 saw the release of NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND, the arcade style racer. 2009 saw the release of NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT, the simulation style racer. An arcade style NEED FOR SPEED is rumored to be the 2010 main console release (developed by Criterion, the fine folks behind the BURNOUT series), which will then be followed by a simulation style release in 2011 (likely a sequel to SHIFT). In any case, I think it’s safe to mark this one as TRUE.

(And no, I didn’t forget NEED FOR SPEED: NITRO, the Wii and DS side project. But I’m keeping this rumor confined to the Xbox 360 and PS3 realm of releases.)

Rumor #6: THQ will be making an action game based in the Warhammer universe.

Result: TRUE.

WARHAMMER 40,000: SPACE MARINE is an upcoming 3rd action/RPG for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Even though Quarterman didn’t specify which Warhammer Universe he was talking about (Fantasy Warhammer versus 40K), I’ll still give him credit for this one.

Remember: in the grim darkness of the far future, there is NOTHING BUT WAR.

Rumor #7: The latest Wii installment of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES appears to be in trouble.

Result: TRUE.

First announced in 2005, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: THE CRYSTAL BEARERS seemingly disappeared from both Square Enix public events and the Square Enix website. In fact, FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: ECHOES OF TIME (the Wii companion to the DS game of the same name) was announced and released before THE CRYSTAL BEARERS ever saw store shelves!

At the Game Developer’s Conference in February 2008, Square Enix staffers offered “No Comment” about the then-current status of the game. Then in November 2008, Square Enix responded to another EGM rumor of the demise of THE CRYSTAL BEARERS by denying it via press release. And in late 2009, the game was finally released.

So was development of THE CRYSTAL BEARERS ever “in trouble”? It’s possible. Given the extensive time between announcement and release, not to mention all of the radio silence in-between, it’s safe to assume that things were not quite running smoothly. Since this rumor only alleged “trouble” and not outright cancellation, our inferences are enough to earn a gold star for Quarterman.



QUARTERMAN ACCURACY INDEX

With a total of 6 FALSES, 3 TRUES, and 1 I DON’T KNOW, Quarterman drops back down to 2 Carnacs out of 5. A low batting average, but he gets bonus points for totally stumping me with one rumor.

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