Is Home coming out next week?
I know, you’re probably as sick of hearing about Home as we are about reporting on it, especially since there hasn’t really been any news on the service for nearly a year. Still, the social networking space is a big deal for Sony, and it looks like the company may be finally, finally ready to launch the service for the PS3 community sometime next week.
According to a story from the UK’s Times Online dated Dec 7, Home is slated to release "in the next 10 days," meaning that we should be expecting the service to hit sometime between now and next Wednesday. It’s interesting that the Times should toss off a statement like that so casually, especially since Sony hasn’t ever given a specific date but only keeps confirming that they’re planning a launch before the "end of the year." Makes us think maybe they gave the Times a firm launch date but made the outlet promise not to print it in exchange for the story.
Strangely enough, Sony is actually speaking out about this story for once, instead of feeding us the old "no comment" line. Home director Jack Buser commented that, "We’ve been saying it will launch by the end of calendar year 2008, and that’s getting very, very close." He also added that "Launch is imminent," without giving any specific details on a date.
So taken together we pretty much have to assume that the "open beta" phase of Home is going to be coming your way very, very soon. Our early assumption is that you’ll be able to download Home next Wednesday, when the PSN updates arrive. Either that, or Home won’t arrive for another 5 years. One or the other.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Very Likely
Is Microsoft working on a Crackdown sequel?
I have to admit, Microsoft did a brilliant thing with the original Crackdown, giving owners a sneak peek of Halo 3 in a game that otherwise likely would have simply fallen by the wayside without much attention. Instead, lured by Master Chief’s siren’s call, gamers decided to check out the futuristic cop game and many found it to be a highly enjoyable affair. The sandbox gaming and constant hunt for upgrades gave the title a ton of playability, and many declare it to be one of the unappreciated gems of the modern console generation. It may be unappreciated no longer though, as it would appear that Microsoft is strongly considering a sequel.
The latest tease came on the Major Nelson podcast, when the good Major told Microsoft General Manager Phil Spencer about his undying love of Crackdown. "I’m here to tell you on behalf of the community, I want — we need — another Crackdown. That’s all I’m going to say, so you don’t have to confirm or deny anything. I’m just saying we want it." Spencer’s response? "Yes, Crackdown‘s one of my favorites, I’ll leave it at that."
So the Xbox Live community manager and the company’s general manager both agree that Crackdown is a great game and needs a sequel eh? Well I guess that doesn’t particularly prove anything, but you can bet that Nelson wouldn’t have brought the game up without any sort of pretext with his boss; you just don’t do that. Oh no, there’s something going on there, now it’s just a matter of waiting to hear who’s going to develop the game and when it’s coming out. For their part, original developer Realtime Worlds is up for doing another Crackdown, but only after they get through current project, APB. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but from the sounds of things, superpowered cops will once again be leaping tall buildings in the not-too-distant future.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Likely
Is Dragon Quest IX heading to the Wii?
Dragon Quest is easily one of the most well-recognized and widely respected RPG franchises in all the land, and the series is so big in Japan that Square Enix has had to start launching the games on the weekend because kids were skipping school and adults were skirting work just to stay home and play the latest entry. Therefore, there was great rejoicing when Dragon Quest IX was announced, but also great sadness as we learned the game would be a Nintendo DS exclusive, with no console to call home. Oh sure, there’s nothing wrong with handheld gaming, but the series has a rich console history, and for the game to not make an appearance is somewhat disheartening.
Turns out we may not need be crushed after all, as EGM’s Quartermann seems to believe that the game will be appearing on the Wii as well. Apparently, the game is looking to follow the blueprint of Final Fantasy’s Crystal Chronicles series and introduce some sort of Wii/DS connectivity. The question then becomes whether the games will be identical, or if the Wii version will get some sort of presentation upgrades to fit the more powerful hardware.
While old Q Mann seems to be pretty convinced that this is legit, we still haven’t heard any comment from Square Enix. Such a move would make a lot of sense, considering the huge Dragon Quest market as well as the fact that given the popularity of both the franchise and the Wii, Square Enix would be pretty dumb to not put their second-biggest franchise on the current generation’s biggest system. Who knows though, this could be one of those things that just makes too much sense to be true.
TGR Verdict: Rumor Likely