Inside Pulse 12

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 11.05.02

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 11-5-02: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Looks like your favorite videogame site, 411 Games *thumps up, smile with teeth showing*, is going through a bit of restructuring. This affects my column apparently, seeing as how I’ve been moved again (I know it’s a shock). No more Mondays. I’ll be on every Tuesday now in the News Reports section, which is kind of funny because I do not do actual news. This is IT though. *frustration vein popping out* This is absolutely the LAST time I’ll be moved, EVER. Period. That is until Pankonin makes me move it again next week. At least until then, when the clock strikes twelve on Monday nights you’ll know the Down-Lo will be up for your Tuesday viewing pleasure.

You know what? Maybe I shouldn’t mention what day the column is, and then just find out when and where it’s posted with all of you. *takes two Advil*

Continue sending me feedback. I take extreme delight in it, even if it’s you telling me that I “suck”. I’ve never got a statement as eloquent as that, but silly me just opened up Pandora’s box right there, so go on ahead. To my readers who sent rumor questions, I’m glad to be of service and ask again anytime. As for those I haven’t responded to yet, your letter may end up in the Down-Lo, so be patient. And to everyone who asked, NO, Super Mario Pro-Wrestling is NOT in development and will NEVER be released for GameCube, or anything else for that matter! I don’t know how that one got started… *looks at Jason Masters accusingly*

Someone please tell me, am I the redheaded stepchild of 411 Games? Jason Masters mocks me in his column; Robert Florence basically calls me ugly in his. Not to mention, my boss Chris Pankonin refuses to properly teach me html so that I can make actual links instead of crap like this:

>A SHREF_”“=@411Games<+a> ERROR

I tell ya, no respect. I get no respect.

Let’s get this over with. You guys should know the deal by now: the higher the DOWN-LO RATING the higher the chance that the rumor will become fact (scale 1-10). As always these are just rumors (which is why you read me in the first place) so don’t go getting all ghetto on me. Please enjoy. I do. I think…

This is the Down-Lo.

METAL GEAR SOLID GOING ONCE,…TWICE,… SOLD TO MICROSOFT!
Wow! That Bill Gates fella just loves to throw his money around, doesn’t he? Microsoft has set a deal to have the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 3 appear on the Xbox first! Of course by saying “deal” I really mean “ungodly amounts of money going into Konami’s wallet”. Solid Snake’s new adventure has been snagged for an undisclosed period of time to be a Xbox exclusive. Though this would mean the title could still appear on other formats, Xbox would host the title exclusively before any other platform could have it.

Sounds like a nice little victory for Microsoft right? Not as nice as they would have had it. The Down-Lo is that Microsoft originally tried to gain the title for Xbox outright, but the deal fell through. Just imagine, we were supposedly THIS CLOSE to having a Metal Gear game never appear on a Playstation console at all! In the end, Microsoft apparently shoveled out enough cash to ensure it still appears on Xbox first. *pat on the back* Good for you Microsoft!

I guess the big question is, how long is that “undisclosed” period of exclusivity? That’s going to make all the difference in the world through gamers’ eyes. If it’s over six months, which it may very well be, look for bitterly enraged PS2 gamers to begin randomly beating their Xbox owning neighbors. Because if there’s anything videogames have taught us, it’s that there is no problem that cannot be overcome by violence.
(*DISCLAIMER* 411 Games & Bebito Jackson do not promote or condone the beating, smacking, kicking, or flogging of Xbox owners.)
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

MEGA MAN,… MEGA MAN,… DOES WHATEVER A MEGA CAN…
I used to love the old Spider-Man cartoon song. As a matter of fact I think they have it on the Spider-Man movie soundtrack. No choice but to pick it up if that’s true, that along with the DVD of course.

Oh yeah, the rumor. Ever since there’s been gaming, it feels like there’s been Mega Man. Capcom’s blue bomber definitely has had his share of sequels and from the looks of things that will always be the case. The Mega Man Battle Network series of the franchise has stayed exclusive to the handheld Game Boy Advance. But it looks to keep the Mega Man sequel-a-thon going this spring, as Capcom plans on bringing a new adventure set in the Network universe to Nintendo GameCube. Details are scarce, I’ll keep you posted.

No I won’t. Honestly, how many people really care about this? Two, maybe three tops? One of them is my younger brother, and the other two are probably Capcom executives. I think we’re all just tired of Mega Man in general, but out of everything they could deliver, they give us the freaking Network series? Come on! Stop screwing around Capcom and bring out that new 3D fighter you’re working on with the Street Fighter characters, because this stuff ain’t cutting it.
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

WHAT’S GOING ON OVER AT RAREWARE? PART 1
So Rare, you’ve just been bought by Microsoft! What are you going to do next? Rare: “I’m going to… make Perfect Dark 0 cel-shaded!” Aw man… Couldn’t you just go to Disney World instead? Please?

Will Perfect Dark 0 wind up being cel-shaded? That’s been rumored for a while, even before Rareware’s deal with Microsoft came to blossom. Concept images have hit the web, and they’re certainly more cartoony than the style in the original. We couple this with the rumor that Nintendo, before they got rid of Rare, was looking into creating a Saturday morning cartoon based on the series, and it looks like the aforementioned rumor could be true. Rare and Microsoft may still be looking into doing the cartoon show in order to get the cel-shading gimmick accepted.

Personally, I will be happy when this whole cel-shading thing is over with. Some games it helps like Sly Cooper, Jet Set Radio, and the Looney Tunes games (the jury is still out on Zelda). But when it’s in every freaking other title, for no reason other than to cash in on the fad, it becomes played out. The Perfect Dark series doesn’t need it, and it looks to add no real value to the game. So even if the likely-hood of the title going that route seems low, let’s all cross our fingers to make sure it doesn’t happen.
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

WHAT’S GOING ON OVER AT RAREWARE? PART 2
There’s more Down-Lo coming from the house that Nintendo built, in the form of possible secret games under development. It’s been said that a Microsoft representative mentioned Killer Instinct and the early N64 title Blast Corps as future sequels arriving on the Xbox.

Hmm, sounds a little fishy me thinks. Killer Instinct is among Rare’s biggest franchises. I can see not mentioning Blast Corps, but wouldn’t they have brought up Killer Instinct with their other announced titles during Rare’s “coming out” party with Microsoft? I would have thought so. Hey, whatever, I’m all for that if it happens.
DOWN-LO RATING: 3

WILL NINTENDO BECOME THE NEXT SEGA?
You wouldn’t believe how many times this very question was poised to me in past weeks. Apparently it’s a very emotional topic. People I know are panicking, running into bomb shelters, and hurrying to lose their virginity before recent speculations become reality. All I can say is everyone please calm down, we will sort through this, you, me, and the Down-Lo.

Many of you have probably heard the rumor that Nintendo plans to phase out the hardware production of their home consoles, as Sega has done recently. Let me give you some history. It all started last June when Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, in a meeting with investors, said that, “…we’re reaching the limits of how far we can appeal to consumers by boosting the machine’s performance or providing more compelling graphics and sound.” Adding fuel to the fire is the Japanese video game magazine, “DenkiKidsGen” (REAL rough translation). Recently they interviewed Nintendo’s Hardware Solutions manager, and he confirmed that remaining hardware from the company would be targeted at the portable market (you know, Game Boys) once the phase-out of the home unit (GameCube) is completed, projected Q2 2004.

Ok, yeah, that sounds bleak but first let’s get some things straight. As far as comparisons to Sega go, don’t go there because Nintendo is successful. Sega lost millions a year, and their last two systems (Sega Saturn & Dreamcast) were financial disasters, unlike the currently prosperous Nintendo GameCube and previously prosperous N64. Sega HAD to give up the console race or else they would have suffered deathblow like losses to the company. Nintendo, on the other hand, has been making money for years and they don’t seem to be stopping. Bottom line, The Big N is actually able to continue in the console business if they wanted to, so out goes the theory of them being “the next Sega.”

Second, even though Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, made the above statement concerning reaching limits in hardware, we must not read too far into that. Fore in his next breathe he states that Nintendo plans to sell 50 million GameCubes by 2005. 50 million? Those numbers don’t sound like the projections of a company that wants to get out of the hardware business. If Sega had expectations of selling 50 million Dreamcasts by 2005, do you think they would have stopped making consoles?

But the sad hard truth is that Nintendo, while not needing to drop out of the hardware business, may actually enjoy some financial blessings if they go software only. As long as Nintendo kept their Game Boy line going, seeing as how they OWN that market, there is possibly not a need to continue making other consoles. You see boys and girls, game systems take ridiculous amounts of money to launch and advertise. Most companies sustain losses on each console they sell, relying instead on game revenue to pick up the slack. There’s a reason why we don’t see more than two or three game hardware makers in the industry at once, it’s not cheap. And lest we forget, Nintendo’s strength lies not with their hardware, but with their all-star game lineup. Do you really think Mario, Metriod, F-Zero, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda won’t sell because they’re on another system? Please! The money would keep flowing in from the games without the monetary burden of maintaining a console hanging over their heads.

Of course, many of you were probably going to email me with, “But Bebito, didn’t Gamespot and 411 Games report Peter McDougal from Nintendo as saying that they are in the software, hardware, and handheld business to stay? That official statement should stop all confusion right there, correct? You suck by the way, Bebito.” While it’s true that McDougal’s statement should calm a few fires, we can not let our guards down completely.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. *hops in WAYBACK machine* It’s Tuesday January 23, 2001 and rumors are flying around (yes I reported some too) that Sega was going to pull support for Dreamcast, get out of the console business, and make software for other platforms. Sounds similar to the Nintendo rumors right? Well who remembers the famous quote Charles Bellfield, Sega of America’s vice president of marketing and communications, made? “While the company has a policy of not commenting on rumors, it has not made any statement regarding ceasing manufacturing of Dreamcast or development of other video game platforms. Sega of America stated today that the company globally reaffirms its commitment to Dreamcast. In fact, Sega has more than 100 games worldwide coming out for the platform next year,” said Bellfield. Well, that statement should have stopped all confusion right there, correct? Sadly by June of that same year, only five months later, Sega had begun to abandon Dreamcast and the hardware business all-together. So much for that “official statement”.

Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying Nintendo will stop making GameCubes and cease all production of new consoles in as short as five months. And again, Nintendo is not in the same position as Sega was. But you have to ask, “Which is it, Nintendo?” Is “all remaining hardware from the company to be targeted at the portable market after GameCube,” or are you in the (home) hardware business “to stay”? Either someone needs to call a company meeting to get everyone on the same page, or there’s something up here.

So can it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Probably not (at least in my opinion). Should we worry? No. Nintendo games will always be around, so does it really matter if we play them on a Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo system? Thought not.
DOWN-LO RATING: 4

And that’s the Down-Lo. To tell the truth, I have a crap load of rumors here that I just don’t have the time to print. Some of them I may get to next week, but who knows. So much new dirt is streaming in on a regular basis that I’d be cheating my readers (all four of you) if I didn’t try to keep everything current. Whatever. You can always write me if you want to know more.

Final Continue is up next by the soon to be legendary Jason Masters (Have you read this guy? Funniest column EVER.). I’ll be back again next week right after Ron Yip’s SimColumn (possibly the only real news column in the News Reports section besides Chris’s). Or maybe I’ll be back before or after then, we’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we? Peace. *passes torch to Masters*

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)