Rumor Killers – July 7th, 2008

Halo 4 to be announced at E3

E3 is drawing ever closer and with that come all the rumors about what the Big Three have up there sleeves. The Halo franchise is one of the biggest franchises out there in the gaming world, and in the end, Halo 3 broke many sales records during and after its release. With Bungie flying independently, announcing that they want to make games other than Halo, with Ensemble Studios doing Halo Wars, and with Peter Jackson and Co. doing Halo Chronicles, no one really expected there to be an announcement on an other Halo game, right?

Not the case, according to Sarcastic Gamer. A source tells that Halo 4 is deep in development, and guess who’s behind it? Bungie. This is what they wrote:

“A very good and anonymous source tells us that Halo 4 is already in full development over at Bungie. I wish to God She/He/It had more details to share, but at this point, all She/He/It can confirm for sure is that Halo 4 is an official project being developed by Bungie, at this very moment.”

They published another story shortly after claiming the game will be announced at E3.

Am I surprised? Yes. Am I shocked? Hell no. There is no way Microsoft was just going to walk away on the one franchise that brings in more money than most games out there. What would surprise me most, if this rumor turns out to be true, is the fact that Bungie will be developing it. They publicly stated that they wanted to work on other games that didn’t include Halo in the title. Does Microsoft’s money talk more than words? Or is it that Bungie just can’t leave the Halo franchise alone? I think it’s the latter.

TGR Verdict: Likely

New Ratchet & Clank game for PSN

The Playstation Network, with no file size limit like Live Arcade, holds a few big games already. Warhawk and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue are all downloadable straight from the PSN store without the hassle of going out to the high street. Future big PSN games include the tactical shooter SOCOM: Confrontation and Siren: Blood Curse, the horror game from Sony Japan. With Sony wanting to show how far the Playstation Network has progressed and the flexibility of an open network compared to Microsoft’s closed Live, it comes as no surprise that more big PSN games are in the works to help boost the content on PSN.

Do you remember a while back the leaked PSN release schedule photo? If you do, you should remember that there was a certain game up there that no one had heard anything about. This was Ratchet: Quest for Booty. No one really knew what it could be: was it a brand new PSN game or was it downloadable content for Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. According to NeoGAF, it was in fact DLC for Tools of Destruction. Case closed right? Wrong!

After a couple of month’s silence, Ratchet: Quest for Booty has once again re-appeared. This time, gaming website Siliconera reports that Ratchet: Quest for Booty has been given an rating of12 by the USK (German ESRB equivalent). They also point out the fact that this was rated as a separate entity and is therefore unlikely to be DLC for Tools of Destruction. When you put both stories together, the leaked PSN release list and that said game been rated as a separate entity there is only one conclusion: there will likely be a bite-sized Ratchet game for the Playstation Network. When do we expect an announcement you ask? E3 is just over a week away, and I firmly believe that Sony will announce this game there. Be sure to keep an eye out at E3, Ratchet fans.

TGR Verdict: Likely

Minority Report Style Dashboard for 360

Many of you, like me, were disappointed that Microsoft didn’t release a dashboard update this Spring. No real reason was given for the lack of an update, other than “we are concentrating on getting the DRM tool for our users.” That’s good that they were finally sorting out that problem, but that shouldn’t stop them from updating the bland looking Dashboard and Marketplace, should it? With Sony’s XMB and PSN store looking rather sexy and with new features being added, many people are staring to wonder: what has Microsoft been up to?

It seems Kotaku has been wondering that same question and have gotten some very interesting answers from unnamed people. The first story that popped up on their website reported that the reason the Spring Update never hit was the fact that Microsoft has something much bigger and better in place for the Dashboard. Taken from the site:

“We’re now hearing from a number of sources that the Live Dashboard is going to be getting a second interface option, one that will use the yet-to-be announced motion controller to navigate. This new user interface, we’ve been told, will recreate the increasingly cluttered dashboard "blade" system in a 3D environment that will be something more akin to the Minority Report than a filing cabinet. The motion controls will allow users to sort of slide through the different levels of this floating menu system.”

The news doesn’t stop here, either. The next day, Kotaku published a follow-up to that rumor with even more information. Taken from their report:

“We’ve since heard from sources a little closer to the matter that the GUI (graphical user interface) parts are around ‘95% correct.’ They tell us that design agency Schematic are working on the project.”

What is Schematic, you ask? They have been doing GUIs recently for mega-publisher EA Sports. Also, and add this to the “one hell of a coincidence” category, Chief Creative Officer at Schematic Dale Herigstad was one of the guys who actually helped with creating the motion-controlled interfaces that were featured in Minority Report. I, for one, certainly don’t mind if this is the reason why Microsoft skipped the Spring Update, as this would put Live into a league of its own. Microsoft’s E3 press conference is going to be interesting indeed.

TGR Verdict: Likely

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