Disclaimer: Rumor Killers is a speculative opinion piece and is by no means intended to disclose as fact whether a rumor is true or false – even though the Rumor Killers team are usually right (usually…)
Sonic Adventure for XBLA?
Ah the Sega Dreamcast, the console that everyone loved but not until after Sega pulled the plug on the whole thing, only three years into its life. One of the saddest things about the console’s premature demise was the loss of so many great titles, the likes of Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi and Chu Chu Rocket. While there’s no sign of the latter two re-emerging, the chances of a reincarnation of Sonic Adventure are looking toasty.
A Dutch Sega fansite recently posted an image displaying the Xbox Live Marketplace’s dashboard listing Sonic Adventure as a Featured Download, suggesting an imminent arrival for Xbox 360 owners. The image also suggested that a free ’Extend Package’ would be available to download which presumably would include the bonus content that came with Sonic Adventure DX for the GameCube. The actual source of the image is unknown; shortly after news broke of this fansite’s discovery, Sega Europe requested the story be taken down. Noticeably, Sega didn’t refute the statement.
There’s no denying that there’s still a lot of love for Sonic’s past adventures even despite the suffering fans have had to go through thanks to the likes of Sonic Unleashed. The recent Mario & Sonic at the Olympics titles have done particularly well with the original achieving cross-platform sales of 10 million, and the newest title currently riding high in the UK Charts. The Sonic XBLA titles currently available are doing well too. The latest addition, Sonic & Knuckles, is doing particularly well with roughly 27,000 players presently on the online leaderboards.
Sonic Adventure was the best-selling game for the Dreamcast with sales of 2.5 million worldwide – and rightly so. This rumor would also tie in nicely with the leaked minutes of a meeting that Sega had with SCEA back in August 2009 which, amongst other juicy titbits, suggested that Dreamcast games would be available on Sony’s PlayStation Network in the future.
I can see this being quite likely to occur soonish. There’s no denying that Sega are doing a great job of porting Megadrive/Genesis classics such as the Sonic and Streets of Rage series, so why not start pursue more work on the Dreamcast era, like Rez and Ikaruga? Presumably it’ll take more work to implement, but with no sign of the infamous XBLA size limit as was the case in previous years, this is looking a lot more likely. Sonic Adventure should have aged quite well, it may look slightly dated but the enjoyable game mechanics should still be there providing the port goes well which has certainly been the case with Sega’s previous conversions. Expect a more official announcement from Sega in the near future.
Jen’s Verdict: True
New Japanese RPG for the 360?
For the Japanese role-playing game nut with a 360, 2010’s release schedule must feel a little quiet, well excluding that little niche game Final Fantasy XIII, of course. However, that’s about all there is available to capture my JRPG-loving attention, although the quiet does give me some time to finally gain all the achievements in Lost Odyssey. Talking of everybody’s nearly-the-best-JRPG-of-this-generation, there’s a chance that we might see a sequel to Lost Odyssey, or at least something just as good. FeelPlus, the developers of Lost Odyssey, has placed an advert on Japanese language job site DODA looking for a game designer with 3D motion experience. The advert then goes onto mention that FeelPlus is currently working on a "large-scale RPG for Microsoft".
From our experience in 2009 here at Rumor Killers, online job adverts have been brilliant at uncovering previously unannounced games, so this certainly looks promising. But just what could it be? Besides Lost Odyssey, FeelPlus has also worked on the Ninety-Nine Nights games as well as Blue Dragon Plus for the DS , not forgetting some visual work for Infinite Undiscovery and Star Ocean: The Last Hope, so there are a lot of options here. However, in terms of what would be defined as a "large-scale RPG", surely follow-ups to Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon are the most likely candidates, along with a whole new IP, that is. Despite mixed reviews, Blue Dragon broke sales records in Japan at the time of release with over 200,000 units sold – no mean feat in a market focused on the PlayStation brand. Lost Odyssey fared slightly worse in Japan with sales of around 100,000. However, it did much better in the West making it an overall success both commercially and critically.
As a slight fly in the ointment, there’s no mention of whether this project is in conjunction with Mistwalker or not. If it is a matter of FeelPlus going out on their own then it looks quite likely that a new IP is on the cards. This would make a lot of sense considering the trend of FeelPlus switching from project to project rather than sticking to the same franchise consistently. There’s no foundation to why sites are considering it to be Lost Odyssey 2 other than simple optimism and hope. The very fact that Lost Odyssey didn’t fare as well in Japan as hoped also makes a new IP seem more likely. As a big JRPG fan, I’m nearly salivating at the thought of another JRPG exclusive for the 360, regardless of whether it’s a sequel or new concept. It’s time for another killer 360 JRPG, and FeelPlus has the pedigree and experience to make it happen. All that’s left is to wait and see just what emerges.
Jen’s Verdict: True
New Lionhead Game Imminent?
You’d think Lionhead already have their hands full with development of Fable III under way and the increasingly =-creepy looking Milo & Kate, but you’d be wrong. Rumors are abound that work is taking place on an unannounced title. Yet again these rumors have been started due to a job listing, this time on Lionhead’s site. The advert is for a network programmer to develop and maintain the network code of an unannounced title – or at least unannounced according to the site. Experience with the Xbox 360 and PC is requested, but just what could it be?
It’s tricky to really have a clue as to what it could be. Lionhead, in case you didn’t know, is run by madman/visionary (delete as appropriate) Peter Molyneux, a man well known over the years for coming up with some pretty great ideas which he then advertises to anyone listening, but ultimately the ideas never actually see the light of day. I’m still waiting to be able to plant a seed as a child in Fable and see it fully grown as an adult, damn you Molyneux! Ahem.
Lionhead are an extremely hard working bunch so juggling three projects at once seems pretty plausible, especially when you look at how many job listings are on their site at the moment. But what could the mystery game be? Possibly a whole new IP or maybe it’s a reboot of an old classic? How about Populous or Dungeon Keeper? Even better, one of my all time favourites: Theme Park? We all know that Molyneux is practically obsessed with the forthcoming Project Natal functionality, with both Fable III and Milo & Kate offering Natal support, so perhaps it’s linked to that. A network programmer would be needed for multiplayer functionality so perhaps some sort of Natal-based game centred around online multiplayer. Although, how this would tie in with the need for PC experience is uncertain. Lionhead recently announced that micro-transactions would be implemented in Fable III so perhaps this new game has a connection to that. In which case it could even be a smaller game connected to Fable III, more akin to Fable II Pub Games.
It’s difficult to say for certain yet. Molyneux seems to be keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to anything other than Fable III or Natal. However, with the unveiling of Fable III next month, hopefully Lionhead will see this as a great opportunity to tantalize our gaming taste buds with an announcement of a new title to boot.
Jen’s Verdict: True, but not anytime soon.