Rumor Killers: New Zelda this year, New Epic game at E3, NeoGeo games for PSN

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..)

New Zelda for the end of 2010?

We all knew it was a matter of when rather than if as to the arrival of a new Zelda game. Nonetheless, finally there’s concrete evidence in the form of Cammie Dunaway of Nintendo’s interview with Wired, suggesting that we’ll be playing as Link once more sometime later this year.

The rumors had started back in June 2009 when everyone’s favourite visionary Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that a Zelda game would be on the way, but not until 2010 at the absolute earliest. At this point nobody had any complaints. After all, who wants a rushed and potentially botched Zelda game just because of an excessively optimistic release date? Several months later, exciting news is emerging that suggests the new Zelda really is coming out this year.

First up was Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, who at the start of the year announced that a new Zelda game was scheduled for release by the end of 2010. Now Nintendo’s executive vice president, Cammie Dunaway, has suggested the same thing in last week’s interview with Wired.

Could this finally be the year for the Wii’s enthusiast owners? 2010 already promises Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid Prime: Other M, so the addition of a Zelda game could make for an extremely exciting year of gaming.

As Dunaway pointed out in her interview with Wired, the Wii seems to have peaked when it comes to sales. Entering its fifth year, 27.6 million Wiis have been sold in the US alone. A staggering figure for sure, but surely everyone that wants one has got one by now? There’s no denying, however, that more experienced gamers have been disappointed by the overreliance on shovelware and the lack of stand-out titles on the system since the likes of Super Mario Galaxy, Resident Evil 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. So, the sort of lineup listed above could be just what Nintendo needs to encourage gamers back to the system in time for what’s traditionally considered the last few years of a console’s lifespan.

Will a new Zelda game come out in the tail end of 2010? I’m not so sure. My heart desperately hopes so, but it all seems a little sudden. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was known to be in production for 3 years before its eventual release. In the case of this Zelda game, we’ve heard precious little about any development period. I’ve no doubt that it’s not far off, but a 2011 release seems much more likely. Miyamoto won’t release it until it’s 100% ready.

It’s difficult to complain really as surely it’s better to have a high quality classic emerge on the Wii than a game that needed a few more months polish. For now, cross your fingers for Zelda in time for Christmas but don’t count on it. At least we’ve got Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid Prime: Other M to keep us busy.

Jen’s Verdict: False

New Epic game to be announced at E3?

Ahh Epic Games. Epic by name, epic by nature it seems. Around for nearly 2 decades, Epic Games has made the likes of Jazz Jackrabbit, the Unreal series and most recently the Gears of War games. Most crucially for the industry on the whole, they developed the Unreal Engine, the latest incarnation of which has been and is still being used in countless games as far reaching as BioShock, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect and – er – The Bourne Conspiracy. So when Epic Games president Mike Capps hints at a new game announcement at E3, we all rightly take notice.

VentureBeat interviewed Capps at the Interactive Achievement Awards recently and asked him if any possible new games are on the horizon. His cryptic answer was "we might have a new one coming. I think E3 is going to be really exciting for fans of Epic." So just what have fans got to be excited over? There are a few possibilities.

At the start of February, EA’s tentative release schedule for early 2011 was released listing an untitled "shooter from Epic TBA". Various sources suggested that this could be the so-called ’Bulletstorm’ project from Epic’s People Can Fly studio (previously known for Painkiller). This was leaked at the end of last year after it was noticed that People Can Fly had registered a software trademark for the term ’Bulletstorm’. Could this be what Capps is referring to? Or is it instead something entirely different?

Could it be a new Gears of War game? It’s definitely likely considering the phenomenal success of the series so far. Fans would no doubt lap it up and it’d make for a huge announcement at E3. An IGN interview with Gears of War 2 writer Joshua Ortega from last year suggested that the Gears of War sereis was a "ten-year plan" with a prequel being the preferred choice for Ortega. GamePro has also revealed that Gears of War 3’s rumored to be released in November 2010, featuring a 5-player co-op campaign and a female playable character.

What if it’s something else though? The Unreal Tournament series has continually received wide critical acclaim, although less so with the console versions. Shadow Complex did phenomenally well, especially for an Xbox Live Arcade title, with great reviews and over 200,000 sales in its first week alone. You never know, it could be a new Jazz Jackrabbit game! Yes, wishful thinking I know.

There’s a wealth of great options for what the announcement could be about. The most likely, I think, is either a set release date for Gears of War 3 or some news regarding the elusive ’Bulletstorm’. Maybe if we’re lucky it’ll be both. Regardless of what it may be, it seems a certainty that something big from Epic comes this way for us at E3.

Jen’s Verdict: True

NeoGeo titles coming to PSN?

Remember the NeoGeo? A brilliant arcade system that begat some of the best arcade games ever such as Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters and Metal Slug. Then it became an expensive home console that only the lucky few could afford to own. It was still brilliant, though. These days some of the best NeoGeo games are available on the Wii’s virtual console and on XBLA, but now it looks like they’re also winging their way to the PlayStation Network.

The ESRB, always a great source for revealing future game releases, has rated Alpha Mission II, Baseball Stars Professional, League Bowling and Super Sidekicks as individual PlayStation 3 and PSP games.

Is it time that we finally see these – er – great titles on the PSN? Sure, they might not be exactly what you dreamt of when you thought you’d see NeoGeo games on the PSN, but it’s a start, right?

Yes it is a little disappointing compared to the likes of XBLA’s Fatal Fury Special, Metal Slug 3 and The King of Fighters 98, but think of the potential. This could just be the start of Sony’s plan to introduce many more NeoGeo titles to the service.

I’d be extremely surprised if this doesn’t turn out to be true. The ESRB listings have always been very reliable in showing what’s to come, as after all everything needs to be rated by it first. Whether this will excite people is another matter, but I strongly suspect that this is a sign of future NeoGeo titles arriving on the PSN, which is a pretty exciting proposition to me.

Jen’s Verdict: True

Author: Jennifer Allen