Has Square Enix cancelled a Final Fantasy game?
There are few franchises as consistently successful as Square Enix’s Final Fantasy line. Normally, any game featuring the FF tag is predestined for huge sales, and RPG fanboys are normally eager to line up to get their hands on whatever Square Enix has created next. With that in mind, we were mildly shocked to hear EGM report that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers had been canned without any sort of major announcement. What was set to be the next big FF game on the Wii was suddenly gone, and Square Enix hadn’t said a word.
As it turns out though, there was no reason for the company to make an announcement because the game was never cancelled. Almost immediately after the rumor hit Square Enix PR manager Sonia Im released a statement explaining that the game indeed was still set for completion and release.
"We have never announced that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers has been cancelled and have every intention of releasing it," said Im. "There may be some concerns as a firm ship date has not been set but rest assured there will be an announcement once we finalize the date internally.
"Although there are many Square Enix related rumors out there that we do not comment on, due to the feedback from the readers, we felt it was necessary to provide a statement to alleviate the worries of those who are looking forward to the game. The fan base that the Final Fantasy series has is appreciated by everyone at Square Enix (not only the developers) so we hope this statement will prevent any further spreading of the rumor."
I have no idea where EGM got their information that the game was being cancelled in the first place, but it sounds like whoever made that claim was either ill-informed or just wanted to make the magazine look silly. In any case, Wii owners who were looking forward to the next Crystal Chronicles game need not fear, the universe is as it should be.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Killed
Is Valve planning to release another class for Team Fortress 2?
Just in case you happened to have a moment during the Left 4 Dead demo to take a break from blasting zombies and enjoy a bowl of cereal, Valve has left an interesting Easter egg that seems to be hinting at a brand new character class in Team Fortress 2. It seems that players who are nosing around the kitchen during the demo can find a box of "Chocobits" cereal, complete with prize inside. According to the back of the box, the prize is a Team Fortress 2 collectible figurine, and the box implores you to collect all ten. Of course, any fervent TF2 player can tell you that there are only nine character classes in the game, at least for now. So from the sounds of things, this is Valve’s own sneaky little way of telling the world that a new character class is forthcoming.
While this may be surprising news for many, it isn’t a completely "out of the blue" annoucement. Indeed, the company has been hinting since way back in March that a new character class was on the way, so this may just be a gentle reminder that a new friend is coming to play with all the Spies and Medics and so forth.
We haven’t heard anything official from Valve about this, but since the teaser was hidden within Left 4 Dead we get a pretty strong feeling that this is gonna happen. But what is the new class going to be? I’m voting for Death Knight, look at what it’s done for World of Warcraft.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Very Likely
Did EA and the NFL Conspire to Ruin the 2K Football Franchise?
For years now, conspiracy theorists have been telling us that EA’s exclusive NFL license is a monopoly and that heads need to roll. The FTC even investigated the issue back when it seemed that EA and Take-Two were headed for a merger, but found no evidence of wrongdoing. That all may be changing however, as secret emails between members of the NFL Players Association seem to show that the body was working hand in hand with EA to make sure they were the only company who would have access to an NFL license.
Particularly damaging is an email from NFLPA executive Clay Walker to an attorney, detailing exactly how the two companies were working together to keep Take-Two boxed out.
"I was able to forge this deal with the [Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with 400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there.
…The per player price for most of these guys was tens of thousands of dollars less than what they were guaranteed by Take Two Interactive so it’s a real coup that we were able to pull this off so cheaply. You have to remember that EA’s total cost is only $200,000 per year. We know that Take Two offered six figure deals to several former NFL players so the total cost is millions below market prices…"
While this email alone doesn’t directly prove anything, it will definitely be used as ammunition in the argument that EA holds a monopoly, and may even show up in a current lawsuit which is accusing EA of engaging in "blatantly anticompetitive conduct." EA’s exclusivity rights with a number of governing sports bodies has long left a bad taste in many gamers’ mouths, now it seems like the company may be on the verge of getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Very Likely