Rumor Killers: August 26th, 2008

Gearbox making Halo 4?

Gearbox Software is no stranger to high profile games, particularly those of the shooter variety. The company behind the Brothers in Arms series has been hinting for a while now that they’re working on something big, something huge, something so mind-blowing if they dared speak its name we would all prostrate ourselves and weep uncontrollably for weeks. The only problem is that we had no idea what this project was, until now.

According to Joystiq, who is in turn relying on the spies at OXM, the new double-secret game coming from Gearbox is none other than Halo 4, the next true sequel in the franchise. Furthermore, this latest edition of Master Chief’s saga would be a launch title for the next Xbox, meaning that if the game faces a normal development schedule then we should be expecting Microsoft’s next console to drop sometime in 2012.

So how realistic is this one? Gearbox is one of the preeminent FPS developers in the industry, so the idea of them doing a Halo game is completely reasonable. Also, Randy Pitchford, the head of the studio, is directing this game personally, and he has gone on record saying that he "can’t oversell this one." With all that in mind, this seems like a nearly done deal; we’ll go ahead and wait for official confirmation, but in the meantime, you can go ahead and pencil Halo 4 into your calendars for the same time as Microsoft’s new console.

TGR Verdict: Very Likely

Home to finally make its debut this year?

PS3 owners have been looking at Home much the same way the rest of us look at Duke Nukem Forever: it’s the sort of thing that is constantly promised, but the lack of any substantial new info relegates it to the reality where unicorns exist and the awkward nerd actually gets the girl because of his "personality." It seems like Sony is ready to pull Home out of that Utopian fantasy and bring it into the cold, hard real world, as the company is promising that it’s going to be done and ready by the end of the year.

Sony’s Martijn Van der Meulen gave a 100% guarantee that Home will launch this year, no doubt about it. Therefore, a lot of people were surprised when Sony, the console manufacturer with the largest presence at the Leipzig Games Convention, didn’t seize on the opportunity to make any Home-related announcements. Some assumed this meant that things had gone awry and that Home wasn’t going to make its end-of-year launch after all, but Sony Europe president David Reeves quickly squashed those rumors, telling Videogaming247, "I can look you in the eyes and tell you everything is on track."

There is a pretty extensive preview of Home available over at IGN, detailing what users can expect both in the open beta and the eventual full launch of the service. Perhaps the most important revelation is that Home will remain a free service at the basic level, with the only costs being associated with premium content. So it looks like the long wait for Home is nearing its end, as Sony has given us every reason to believe it make its debut sometime in the next four months. However, we continue to wait for the existence of leprechauns, unicorns, and Duke Nukem Forever.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Confirmed

New Xbox Experience and Grand Theft Auto 4 DLC Coming in November?

We got to see a brief glimpse of the new Xbox 360 dashboard (dubbed the new Xbox Experience) at E3 and ever since, Microsoft has been kicking the PR machine into overdrive to convince users that this really is an improvement over the current Blades system. It looks like the company better hurry, because the latest reports have the release date for the new feature pegged for November.

The new dashboard is a radical departure from what gamers have grown familiar with over the past few years, introducing party groups and Avatars and completely reworking the whole feel and presentation of the Xbox 360’s menu screens. It remains to be seen if this will truly be an improvement over the current system, but at any rate, it seems to be proceeding full speed ahead, so be expecting your major Fall Update to land in November.

Accompanying this rumor is another from the same source that says the new Xbox Experience will be arriving alongside the first batch of the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto 4 Xbox 360 exclusive DLC. The story, originally posted and then quickly pulled from RPG-TV, states that the DLC will clock in at 15 hours, longer than some new-release retail titles. Unfortunately, this is all the info RPG-TV had, and they were unable to discuss any new characters, plot points, or areas. With that in mind, we can’t really confirm or deny a now-pulled story, but the leak does give us something to look forward to and a jumping off point for when we finally get actual confirmation or denial down the line.

TGR Verdict: New Xbox Dashboard Very Likely, GTA4 DLC Possible

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