Rumor Killers: LotRO for 360? Kojima Working on New Metal Gear? PS3 Redesign at E3?

Rumor Killers

Lord of the Rings Online for Xbox 360?

Due to a very recent online survey, the internet rumor mill has begun to churn. The survey quizzed people on their desire for future console MMORPGs. Specifically, with regards to one MMO in particular, Turbine’s critically praised creation, The Lord of the Rings Online.

This move is not without precedent as we have seen these types of surveys before. The last time I remember this type of thing popping up was a survey asking consumers if they had any desire to see BioShock come to the PS3, and obviously that one came true.

Also, the Xbox 360 is no stranger to massively multiplayer titles. For years it has played host to players of Final Fantasy XI, and the game also enjoyed a relatively healthy critical reception so we know that it’s certainly possible to create a good product.

The only issue I see with this move coming to fruition is the potential conflict of interest between Turbine’s need to create a long-standing community that consistently pays monthly fees, and Microsoft’s desire to eventually end the console generation and move on to a new generation of Xbox. It’s virtually impossible for an MMO to make money within the first year. There is constant maintenance and tons of costs that cut into profits. Therefore the only way this move makes sense is if Turbine knows that it stands a chance at at least three solid years before consumers start shoving their 360s into the closet in favor of Microsoft’s latest concoction.

Given Microsoft’s track record for ignoring developer’s wishes and moving on to new hardware preemptively, I don’t think that’s a risk that EA and Turbine can afford to make. This generation is different though in that Microsoft is experiencing a sizeable market share, and a tanking economy. It doesn’t make sense for them to release a new console within the next three to four years, so theoretically Turbine may have time to let LotRO gain a fan base on the console before its put out to pasture.

TGR Rating: Possible, but unlikely.

Kojima Working on New Metal Gear?

Ever since a new teaser site popped up within the last couple of days, the rumors have been rampant that Konami, and indeed Kojima himself are hard at work creating a brand new Metal Gear game. Apparently someone happened to notice that in the page information in their browsers tools the following keywords came up for the site: Hideo Kojima, MGS, METAL GEAR, NEXT, game, konami, kojima game, KJP, Kojima Production.

Now, I refuse to say as others have that this is part of an elaborate breadcrumb trail that leads us to the inevitable conclusion that Hideo Kojima will be making a new Metal Gear Solid game. There are two components of this mystery that need to be examined. First of all, taking the keywords alone as evidence may not be the best idea. On the one hand, it’s very likely that those are just the keywords that Konami wanted to use in order to draw the people who would be searching those words to their site. But on the other hand, things are seldom an accident when it comes to Konami, and especially when it comes to Metal Gear. I still remember when they released a pamphlet years ago at E3 and it turned out to have encoded information about the game encrypted inside.

In my mind, its hard to take that little bit as evidence as it could easily just be an innocent use of keywords to draw the right kind of traffic. On the other hand, we do know that every single title in the Metal Gear Solid series has received rave reviews from critics, and sold millions of copies at retail. That’s really all you need to know. Konami isn’t going to leave money on the table and not make another installment in a series that so clearly still has legs.

However, whether or not this teaser site has anything to do with a Metal Gear Solid game is still unknown, though my gut reaction is that it will be. Kojima has been quoted as saying he was done with the Metal Gear franchise three times now. Right when he was nearing the completion of each game (MGS2, 3, and 4). To put it frankly, I just don’t trust what he has to say about the future of his own career anymore. If past events are any indication, he’ll get homesick after a while and come back around to another MGS game.

TGR Rating: Likely

PS3 Redesign in the Works? To be Announced at E3?

Yeesh, how many versions of the PS3 have there been already at this point? Like, nine? But yet, here we are again discussing yet another possible PS3 SKU. There is no speculation at this point though that the product will be any different, just that the outer design will be.

I actually think this rumor has a chance. As much as the Sony fanboys would like you to believe otherwise, the PS3 is not in good shape right now. They’ll feed you that hogwash about how the PS3 is selling faster than even the PS2 did, but that’s irrelevant considering they’re getting smashed by both of their major competitors. Regardless of how many PS3s they’re selling, most people who go to the store to buy a video game console are choosing one of Sony’s competitors over them. I don’t care what business you’re in, that’s not good.

Sony needs to do something drastic in order to place themselves back in the public eye and make themselves a viable competitor again. Whether its correct or not, recent polls in both Japan and the United States have shown that most people view the PS3 as the expensive console that’s for hardcore gamers. Sony needs to reinvent that image.

The first step in doing that is obviously a price drop. But they also need to time that price drop with a redesign, and I think they will. They need to make the console more friendly looking. Something that doesn’t look so serious. Gaming is actually cool right now, but taking gaming seriously is so not cool. It also needs to be smalled and look less like its going to harm me when I turn my back on it. It’s sharp, dark and menacing. It should be cheerful and fun.

TGR Rating: Likely

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