Rumor Killers: August 1st, 2008

Shenmue 3 in Development?

If there are two games that all people agree were out of this world on the Sega Dreamcast, it would be Shenmue and Shenmue 2. Both created by legendary developer Yu Suzuki, the game had amazing depth, freedom, and interactivity, capped off with a gripping storyline and incredible characters, so it comes as no wonder that so many Shenmue fans want the story finished. This past week, hope rose from the ashes just to go up in flames again all in the matter of a couple of days. Below we explain what happened in one of the cruelest weeks for Sega and Shenmue fans.

The whole thing started of with the latest issue of British gaming magazine Edge. If you haven’t seen this yet, take a look here. Do you see anything? No? Look closer.

”It’s a blank page in Edge,” you say? Well center your eyes in the middle of the page. Got it? Now, angle your monitor and hey, would you look at that. Three words seem to appear out of nowhere: “Shenmue 3 Believe,” and at the bottom of the page, “Next issue.” When I saw this for myself my first reaction was “Holy s***!" The internet forums exploded with joy in hope that one of the most loved games would finally go to get the third installment that they fans always wanted.

That is, until this happened.

Over at that infamous gaming forum NeoGAF, a member came clean and told everyone that it was indeed a hoax and that he placed this image in the picture. How could one toy with the feelings of millions of gamer’s hearts with such a cruel act? But should we have gotten fooled so easily? How many times does Sega need to say, “There is no Shenmue 3 in development?” Speaking to Kotaku, Sega of America President Simon Jeffery said explicitly, “There are no plans for [Shenmue 3] right now.”

Looks like our hopes are dangling by a thread.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Killed

Microsoft to Buy Take-Two?

With the on-going saga of the EA take-over of publisher Take-Two, people trend to forget that more companies could actually be making a bid for the troubled publisher, and one of the most interesting names to be thrown into the hat is Microsoft. This could be very interesting if it does turn out that they are indeed interesting in buying out the company.

According to Seeking Alpha’s Stephen Frankola, Microsoft could indeed make a bid for the publisher:

“I think that Microsoft is a likely bidder for [Take-Two]. Microsoft already makes a video game platform, as well as independently publishes video games. Besides Halo, Grand Theft Auto, [Take-Two]’s signature game, is the other dynasty of the video game universe. Grand Theft Auto 4, the most recent addition, released earlier this year, broke sales records that were set by Halo 3 last year.

“For about $2.5 billion (25% over [EA]’s bid, or about $32/share), [Microsoft] could absorb that massive revenue- and profit-generating game along with the rest of [Take-Two]’s portfolio. [Take-Two] does make other games; Bioshock was a surprise success this year, and its sports franchises, covering basketball, baseball, hockey, and tennis, are ranked highly and sell well.”

If Microsoft were to make a bid for Take-Two, it would booster their first-party development ten-fold; having Rockstar and the 2K studios under their belt would be an incredible boost. Imagine Grand Theft Auto 5 as an Xbox 360 exclusive, Bioshock 2 exclusive, and then Microsoft having their own sports titles from the likes of the 2K range. Now lets think about this in an other perspective: EA has been a good partner for Microsoft and to jump in and nab Take-Two after countless tries from EA may spoil their working relationship. Other possibilities include developers like Rockstar breaking away and being independent so Grand Theft Auto goes away with them.

These rumors have come up before in the past and Shane Kim has repeatedly debunked them, saying “We could never launch an acquisition bid at a third-party publisher.”

TGR Verdict: Unlikely

Darth Vader and Yoda to be DLC?

By now, you must have heard that Star Wars characters Yoda and Darth Vader are playable characters in Namco’s latest fighting game, Soul Calibur 4. You should also know that each is exclusive to a console, Yoda being on the Xbox 360 and Darth Vader being on the Playstation 3. Ever since that was announced, fans of both consoles have been complaining that both characters should be on both consoles, so the ultimate off all ultimate match-ups can take place.

A story popped up in an issue of GameInformer, stating that the characters would be available on respective consoles at a later date. To bolster this even further, a video appeared on GameTrailers showing Darth Vader on the Xbox 360 battling with Yoda; the video clearly shows that it’s on the 360 with an Achievement popping during the match.

Of course, such a video could be faked, and Namco still says there are no plans for Yoda and Darth to swap consoles. Speaking to msxbox-world.com Soul Calibur IV director Katsutoshi Sasaki stated that:

“There is no plan for that so far. I can understand that the fans have interests in the dream battle… so we are trying to distribute appealing DL contents, but we want you to know that we have prepared huge volume of gameplay which will satisfy everyone who purchases the game.”

Will it happen? Of course it will: there is a lot of money to made from that DLC when they decide to make it available. Could it be free, though? Not a chance: people will buy it and Namco will charge, as there are loads of people wanting it. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

TGR Verdict: Very Likely

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