Inside Pulse 12

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 11.12.02

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 11-12-02: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Hi. I’m Bebito Jackson, the least respected columnist at 411 Games! Well wait, maybe not the least respected. Robert Florence still works here right?

I’ve been wondering what the general response has been to my column thus far. So how about if before we get down to business, I take a second or two to read some of your letters? Besides, I never go right into the rumors; you should know that by now, babble babble babble…

(411 DOWN-LO-MAIL: WELCOME BEBITO! YOU HAVE 5 UNREAD MESSAGES…)

Just saying hey and figured I’d give a little feedback on your new rumor section. You still got it in you man. Keep up the great work.
“¢ James Connor

James is a long time reader from back when I used to do this at www.gaminginfinity.com two years ago, and he’s followed me here to 411 Games. Now THAT’S reader loyalty. Hope you get over your Phantasy Star Online addiction soon, James. Take it one day at a time. One day at a time…

Hello. Just wanted you to know that I think your column is excellent and you have good things to say, and you say them well (meaning intelligently), unlike some other columns on the site (something with the word BLEEP). I agree with you on the Dreamcast. It had so much potential and could have been a contender if they had released games with the quality of Skies of Arcadia, Shen Mue and Grandia II EARLIER in the product’s life. Best Regards.
“¢ Lee Baxley

Thanks Lee! Who would have thought that I sounded intelligent to anyone, let alone my readers? I have to disagree with you on Robert Florence’s Bleep Street. I happen to like his ramblings. Besides, I hold exclusive rights to all insults directed his way, so lay off. However, I can’t disagree with you about the Sega thing and about my column being “excellent” *thumps up, smile with teeth showing*. Still, not everyone shares your fondness of my work…

Bebito. Your column is the worst thing I have ever read from 411. Yes, even worse than anything Miles McNutt has done. Your lame attempts at humor and complete lack of actual skill makes my brain hurt. You lack even the most basic grasp of the basics of writing, and the fact that you take made up rumors and attempt to make them seem wacky would turn off even the least intelligent reader. I’m sure you see your lameness and poor grammar to be some sort of writing style, but very few people can actually get away with that kind of writing without looking stupid, and you are not Hyatte. Read a book, take a class, and quit 411 in the meantime, as it doesn’t need you %@!#$ up the page. Thank you for your time.
“¢ Eric Williams

Oh yeah? Yo momma! For the record, no, this is not our own beloved Eric Williams from 411 Games. How do I know? Simple, I asked him. Besides, if this were he, that bashing surely would have been written better, and much harsher, considering the guy’s razor sharp wit and talent. Go check out his new column on Thursdays for some good laughs and news. As for this guy here,… thanks for your feedback! I always enjoy getting mail. What? Did you think I was gonna blast him? The guy was just giving his honest opinion. That Myles McNutt thing hurt though. OUCH! (Just kidding Myles!)

Hey Bebito. I just wanted to point out that Konami and Microsoft announced back in May that Metal Gear Solid 3 would appear on Xbox first. This was in the June version of Official Xbox Magazine. And for some reason this is the first time I’ve read your column. I must say that you are the best writer of the bunch (in the video game section, anyway.) Keep up the excellent work.
“¢ Green Shampoo

Interesting name you’ve got there Mr. Shampoo. I’m not sure about that being an “official” announcement from Konami and Microsoft regarding Metal Gear Solid 3. Especially if it was said as far back as May. The game hasn’t really been announced at all yet, just rumored (although quite heavily by Hideo himself). I don’t get many gaming mags, so I’ll take your word on it. Oh, and don’t worry about not reading my column until just now. About 50% of my fan base hasn’t read me yet and probably never will, while the other 50% don’t exist. Thanks for the compliments, and again the word “excellent” rears its head. *look of humility*

you suck
“¢ Dread the Poet

Heh. Finally got one. Can’t say I didn’t ask for it. Confused? Read last week’s column.

(411 DOWN-LO-MAIL: SIGNING OFF…)

Let’s do this. I have to report on something soon, or else Chris will remove me from the News Reports section entirely. You guys know what’s up: 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 have a cow, man! *feels sooo lame after writing that* Please enjoy. I do.

This is the Down-Lo.

PARADOX & SONY SITTING IN A TREE…
Does anyone remember Paradox Studios? No, not ringing too many bells huh? Alright, does anyone remember the game Thrill Kill? Yeah, I saw at least a couple light bulbs brighten up above your heads. Paradox Studios is infamous for creating the “most violent videogame never released,” Thrill Kill. A game featuring a cast full of delightful characters, such as a crazed and violent postal worker, a ticked off and vengeful dominatrix, and of course your standard for every fighting game, the straightjacketed serial killer.

Well according to IGN.com’s Off The Record, Paradox is working as a second party company for Sony Computer Entertainment of America.

Whoop-dee-freakin’-doo. Most likely you still don’t care about them, because let’s face it, how many outstanding games have they released? Forget outstanding, how many games have they been allowed to release period?

Anyway that record may change soon, as Paradox has picked up some guys who were recently let go from Nintendo projects. And if you have to pick up any company’s rejects, it might as well be Nintendo’s, right? Several people from Left Field, who previously worked on a version of 1080 Snowboarding and ExciteBike, were merged into Paradox. Now they’re all working on “something” for Sony’s PS2. The report didn’t seem to know exactly what that “something” was, but let’s assume it’s a videogame. They expect it to have vehicles, and to incorporate the open design model used in Grand Theft Auto.

Well, I guess a Grand Theft Auto style game starring a ticked off, vengeful dominatrix could be kinda cool. Whatever. On to stuff I care about…
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

VISUAL CONCEPTS & SONY SITTING IN A TREE…
Wow! Sony is just a little whore these days isn’t it?

Sega recently reported quite a drop in profit projections, due to what they have called a total defeat of their NFL2K series to Madden. This wasn’t just some small drop in earnings. We’re talking about an estimated 13 million yen decline in profits. While Sega did not cite VC as the only reason for the profit drop, they did give them a measurable portion of the blame. Needless to say, Sega will not be throwing a party for Visual Concepts. In fact, Sega of American as well as Sega of Japan are both pretty pissed off. Reportedly, Sega executives are unsure of how to deal with the Visual Concepts equation.

It’s a true shame that Visual Concepts got whooped as bad as they did. NFL2K3 was their best football game to date. I admit that Madden 2003 was the superior game, but 2K3 was a close second, and it didn’t deserve the truly disappointing lack in sales.

Anyway, rumor has it that is that Sony Computer Entertainment of America is looking to work with Visual Concepts. As much as people are down on Visual Concepts right now, no one can deny they have talent. That’s more than what can be said lately of Sony’s own 989 Studios. The last time they released a decent game was probably around the time we were playing Final Fantasy VII. Thus, Sony wants to use the programming prowess of Visual Concepts to breathe new life into their 989 Sports line.

This sounds far-fetched, but yes, it can happen. Let’s just not put too much bank on this one.
DOWN-LO RATING: 3

FINAL FANTASY VII… PART 2?
Speaking of Final Fantasy VII

Here’s some interesting Down-Lo from Square-Land. A Japanese web-site named Quiter is reporting that Final Fantasy series’ producer Yoshinori Kitase mentioned a possible sequel to the series’ most popular installment, Final Fantasy VII.

Quiter reports that in the upcoming issue of Japan’s most popular game magazine, Famitsu, Kitase comes right out and says that he would like to make a continuation to FFVII. He also lets on that lots of other big dogs at Square do too, including character designer Tetsuya Nomura (he’s the guy who directed Kingdom Hearts). Kitase admits that since so many people are big fans of the game (a.k.a. “religiously obsessed”), they want to make sure the quality of a possible sequel lives up to gamers’ expectations. In other words, they have no idea of how they’re going to go about doing this.

No official plans have been announced, which is why you’re reading about this in my column. Expect this story to spread to real news sections (if it’s not already there) despite its speculative nature, because everyone and their moms wants to see the continuation to one of Square’s possibly most popular Final Fantasys ever.

I can definitely see this one happening. Squaresoft has a sure-fire hit on their hands, so expect them to go through with it. As it is now, they probably don’t even have to name it Final Fantasy for it to sell. They could call it Squall’s Big Adventure or some crap like that and I bet it’d still break six million. Hey, I’d buy it.
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

NINTENDO FINALLY GETS ITS ONLINE ACT TOGETHER
The rumor mill is churning at an alarming rate, with the newest speculation that Nintendo may be up to something BIG online-wise. All signs point to them dropping the biggest bomb they possibly have in their arsenal, in the form of Pokemon Online.

Oh, don’t act like you’re not interested. Pokemon may be the calling sign for gamers under three feet tall, but there is no denying the possibilities a title such as this could offer while playing online.

Here’s the Down-Lo. Not too long ago, Nintendo made an application with the Japanese Patent Office to register a server technology related to massively multiplayer online gaming. Couple this with the fact that Nintendo has promised a huge news announcement before the end of the year, one which will, it claims, boost the sales of GameCube hardware significantly, and we may be on to something here.

Everyone seems to think the announcement is some sort of partnership with Capcom, Namco, Sega, or another software company. While a partnership with any of these companies could be pretty big, it’s not the earth-shattering announcement that Nintendo seems to insinuate they have, especially considering that all of these companies already make GameCube games. Rumor has it that the big announcement is related to Nintendo’s online strategy, and one title in particular.

As of now, Sony and Microsoft seem to think that broadband is the way of the future. Faster connections mean faster gaming. So they model their online plans and games, toward that design model. Some say that these design models may even be ahead of their time, considering that the majority of the online user base are not using broadband services as of yet, and are still chugging along on their 56K modems.

Nintendo though, seems content to take what technology is readily available and make use of it. Anyone who has heard Shigeru Miyamoto speak on such matters knows that Nintendo only uses technology when the games themselves warrant it, not the other way around. So the “measly” 56K modem may seem more than adequate to pull off what Nintendo may want to do online. Odds are Nintendo is designing its online titles to work well over “slow” connections, and if so, there is one game that really doesn’t need to run very quickly to get the desired gameplay effect. That game is Pokemon.

We’ve all heard the rumors coming out of Japan that a serious update to the Pokemon franchise will be coming to GameCube for what seems like forever now. There is a strong likely-hood that this title could be Pokemon Online. Imagine a massively multiplayer online Pokemon game that doesn’t need to worry about issues with lag because of the game’s turn-based nature. The children would love it because of its ease of use, older gamers would love it because (whether you want to admit it or not) Pokemon is fun, and people with regular modems would love it, because the game would work well over their connections. The thing would sell millions. People who don’t own GameCubes would after this thing dropped.

Am I a true believer? Yes. Not only is this one very exciting, but it’s also very possible. I guess we’ll all find out for sure by the end of this year, eh?
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

And that’s the Down-Lo.

Everyone do me a huge favor. Buy Shenmue II for Xbox. It’s a great game and there’s nothing else out quite like it. This game needs to sell so they’ll make Shenmue III. Otherwise, as Ron Yip reported yesterday, there would be no more Shenmue and Yu Suzuki’s masterpiece will forever remain unfinished. We can’t let this happen people.

Drop me a line anytime because I love feedback. I’ll be here next week with more rumors and self-loathing fun. Until then, check out Final Continue up next. Peace.

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)