411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 12.10.02

411 Games Now Hiring
Pankonin realizes that most of the staff sucks and is looking to change that. Just the fact that you are reading this column displays a certain sense of taste, so if you have writing skill to go with it, why not apply? No digging up message board rumors and being generally shitty though, that position is already taken.
“¢ Jason Masters (Final Continue 12.04.02)

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and don’t even THINK of trying to take my job!
Well the first snowfall of the season is finally over here in New Jersey. We got a total of eight inches combined with freezing ice slippery roads, bringing nearly every school in the Tri-State area to a shut down, cities into a state of emergency, and businesses to a standstill. So what does my loving company do when most of the roads are closed and no SANE person with half a brain cell should be out on the road? Force us to come into work risking the safety and lives of their employees, what else? They did let us off ONE STINKING HOUR early, so we could “beat the traffic going home.” What traffic? No one else had to go to work today!!
Let me calm down. Pretty soon this will sound like one of Ron Yip’s columns. An improvement I know, but still, you don’t read me because I like to rant and rave about everything. You read because I’m incoherent, self-loathing, and give Jason & Eric material to make fun of me. Oh yeah, and the rumors. We CAN’T forget about the rumors!
Behold the “┚¬1.29 billion” edition of the Down-Lo. For my first time readers, here’s the deal: the higher the DOWN-LO RATING the higher the chance that the rumor will taste more like regular Dr. Pepper (scale 1-10). As always these are just rumors (which is why you read me in the first place), so don’t get all huffy if these things don’t come true. Enjoy. I do.

This is the Down-Lo.
Let’s see if I can get all of this straight. So Electronic Arts and Squaresoft sort of merged together a year or so ago to become SquareEA. Now Squaresoft and Enix have merged in Japan to become Enix/Squaresoft or something like that, right? So does that mean that Enix and EA merged too? And does that mean that the final form of the company is now Enix/SquaresoftEA? And does that mean if I owned 100 stakes in Electronic Arts a few years back, that they’re now only worth like a third of what I had??? *takes two advil* Ok, no more heavy thinking for Bebito…
Anyway, Japan has “Merger Fever!” Not to be confused with “Jungle Fever,” which is what I have (I just love those hot Italian mommies *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing*). I’ve got the rumors on all the merger madness for your game gossip loving hearts, so listen up:
Courtesy of our friends at Off The Record from IGN.com, news is going around that several major Japanese publishers are looking to merge. Capcom is definitely in the process of merging with another major Japanese developer/publisher. The other possibilities are Sega, Namco and Konami.’ The strongest of these rumors could be the Capcom/Sega connection. In as short as the next few weeks we may hear an announcement of an alliance between these two, with rumors being that they’ve been in talks for a while now.
Just what IS going on with all these mergers? Well if you think the economy sucks over here lately, just go to Japan. With the way the economy is all jacked up over there, merging two companies to increase your strength now and in the future is making quite a bit of sense. I would never want any of these gaming giants to fall because of financial difficulties, so they can all merge into one super company for all I care. Just as long as I get my Street Fighters, my Metal Gear Solids, my Soul Calibers, and my Sonic The Hedgehogs.
Whoever shacks up with whom, it should be interesting so stay tuned…
Transformers! Robots in disguise!

EGM’s Quaterman has word that Takara is working on a Transformers game! I’m not talking about some crappy Beast Wars type stuff. We’re talking Autobots and Decepticons from the original series! As of now, no system has been announced. Also no word yet on whether Bumble Bee is a playable character, but expect for me to do cartwheels and make girly-like giggling sounds if he is.
A Japanese release will be coming some time in 2003 (yes, I know that’s vague but it’s a rumor so give me a break here) and we can look forward to a US version not long after as well. Woohoo!
Down-Lo devotees may remember a looooong time ago that I reported a rumor concerning Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution coming to the Xbox as an exclusive. Just recently, Sega announced VF4: Evolution for the PS2. Does this mean the rumored Xbox version is out of the picture? No. Look for the game to appear on the PS2, Xbox, AND possibly the GameCube.
It seems that Sega plans to go multi-platform with all of their big-name franchises such as Virtua Fighter and the Sonic The Hedgehog series in order to maximize their sales. Expect plenty of multi-platform game announcements in the future.
This is good news to those who may only have one system, and up till now may have missed out on many of Sega’s wonderful next-gen titles. Maybe you PS2 owners will even get your hands on a version of Panzer Dragoon Orta some time down the road. (Believe me you DO want this game. Famitsu has the stingiest reviewers in the world, and they gave it a 38/40 to earn their coveted platinum award.)
In any case, look for a VF4: Evolution announcement for Xbox (at LEAST the Xbox) in the coming months.
Ok… I’m the first one to admit that the rumors I report are not to be taken as gospel. I am adamant however, that these things have at least some sort of backing, whether it is a credible source, or some sort of relevant event within the game industry. Whether I give that information to you or not is another story, but I digress. Sometimes I come across something soo ridiculous, that I just have to share it with you guys regardless:
Everyone is curious about Nintendo’s “Megaton” announcement. I’ve speculated on this one quite often within the Down-Lo. One of the more interesting rumors being reported by more people than you would think, is (get a load of this) that Nintendo actually plans to reveal that in fact they Nintendo, not Sony, are the ones who own the PlayStation brand.
If only I were joking ladies and gentlemen. GamesIndustry.biz reports with equal skepticism that these four things will happen: 1) Nintendo will reveal that they own the PlayStation brand as their Megaton announcement. 2) They will announce that they plan on taking Sony to court over it. 3) AND that the court battle is a guaranteed victory for Nintendo and then Sony will have to hand over all the moolah it’s made through the sales of the Playstation brand. And of course, 4) the GameCube will then be renamed the “Nintendo PlayStation” boosting sales for the console immensely.
I should stop right here really, but it gets better. The story is valid because some of Nintendo’s lawyers were allegedly studying the original agreement between Sony and Nintendo to develop a CD drive for the SNES. All of a sudden they noticed after all these YEARS that they own the rights to the PlayStation brand. If I were Nintendo, I’d hire some new lawyers who pay better attention the FIRST time. I’m sure there are even more holes to poke in this story but I have another rumor left, so I’ll stop here.
I’ll keep you updated if anything else develops on this industry-shaking story! …ok no, not really, I can’t back that up.
GamesIndustry.biz is also reporting on Activision’s plans to buy-out a major game publisher. Seems as though the company has made moves which have secured them about ┚¬1.29 billion to go shopping with. With that amount of cash they could pretty much take control over anybody, and that’s what has the rumor mill churning. Let’s check out the list of hopefuls, shall we?
Eidos has forever been one of the usual suspects when it comes to buy-outs. Activision could be looking to take them over, but Eidos has been rumored to be bought out by everyone and their mommas and yet they’ve always remained untouched. Even though Eidos is doing quite well as of late (compared to other buy-out prospects) with their good release schedule, the possibility is still strong for a Activision coup.
Other companies rumored to be in negotiations are Take 2, makers of GTA, and THQ, makers of WWE everything. The former may be a bit too pricey now that GTA:VC is all the rage (yes even pricier than ┚¬1.29 billion). The latter is more likely to be a target, but it’s widely rumored that tentative negotiations between the two companies were broken off earlier this year.’
We might as well throw Sega in there just for fun. Everyone else seems to be buying them. Heck, rumor has it that 411 Games is looking into buying Sega.
There is no doubt, though. Activision IS buying out someone. They are the number two publisher, right behind Electronic Arts. That’s not bad, but who wants to be number two? Nelly doesn’t, and apparently neither does Activision. So expected to hear something from them that will help to challenge EA’s dominance soon.
And that’s the Down-Lo.

The response to this part of my column has been incredible. I got tons of emails with requests to do gamerviews with many different writers from the 411 staff. People asked for everyone from Scott Keith, to Chris Pankonin, to Flea, and one even asked me to interview myself. All of these desires will be taken into account… Just not this week. I already had somebody booked…
Let’s not waste any time, because I’m sure all of you want to know, just as badly as I, what games my fellow writers like to play. So let’s find out together. Enjoy. I do.

Lionel Bohbot works over in the 411 Movies section. The guy is a workhorse churning out column after column and he doesn’t even whine about it (*coughJasonMasterscoughHACK*), so show some respect to the man. Like all good employees that work for 411, Lionel likes videogames in one form or another. He was tough to get a hold of, but eventually he was nice enough to sit down with me and chat. Check it out:
This is the Down-Lo Spotlight.
Bebito: Hey Lionel, thank you for joining me.
Lionel: No problem. I had to re-install AOL IM just for you.
Bebito: I feel truly honored. Let’s get started. Where you from bro?
Lionel: I’m from Canada. Montreal to be precise. I wasn’t at the Survivor Series PPV in 97, if that’s what you plan on asking next.
Bebito: No, I try not to assume such things. So how old are you?
Lionel: I’m 20.
Bebito: What exactly do you do here at 411?
Lionel: I bust my ass three times a week writing a news report for the 411 Movies Zone and I read you every single day or whenever the hell you post so make sure to correct all of my typos.
Bebito: See, that’s why I love this guy. How’d you end up writing for 411? And why do you do soo many columns?
Lionel: When I saw the new 411 Movies Zone section I thought I’d be good at writing a report. So I just emailed Ashish with a sample and he gave me the gig. He replied within 20 minutes so I think all those stories about getting thousands of emails are false! The reason I do three columns a week is because Ashish asked me to. They’re hiring new people right now so maybe I’ll get a lighter schedule.
Ashish IS the boss of the 411 Movies Zone right?

Bebito: Um, yeah.
Lionel: If it’s Widro, I’ve been sending those reports to the wrong person. I never talk to Ashish. Can you tell?
Bebito: I talk to both, and ya know what? Ashish, Widro… they’re all the same guy. So don’t worry about it.
Lionel: Like Ed Norton in Fight Club. Wow. And I thought that plot was stupid and would never be seen in real life.
Bebito: *rolls eyes* Yeah… right. So what game systems do you own?
Lionel: I own a Nintendo, SNES, Playstation and I recently bought a PS2 because that’s what the cool kids have.
Bebito: What’s your favorite console?
Lionel: Well right now I’d have to say the PS2 because the other ones just gather dust. Ain’t no way I was buying an X-Box and I’m tired of Nintendo and their Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Mario Golf, and their Mario Baseball.
Do those games exist?

Bebito: Err… yes, for the most part. So in your opinion Lionel, what is the greatest videogame of all-time?
Lionel: Ice Hokey for Nintendo.
Bebito: Ice Hockey! Where the little guys beat the crap out of each other? I loved that game!
Lionel: Yeah. The key to winning is picking 1 little guy, 1 medium guy, and 2 fat Samoans. The fat boys might be slow but they have wicked shots.
Bebito: Man that brings back memories… So which games coming out soon, are you most looking forward to their release?
Lionel: I don’t know. What games are coming out soon?
Bebito: Um… ya know, I’ve stolen… err, reported on soo many rumors for games, that I don’t know what’s actually coming out and what’s only speculation anymore. Sorry. Disregard that question. Tell me… Do Toejam and Earl still got the funk?
Lionel: Christ, I have to follow Hyatte? I’m Ben Affleck to his Harrison Ford!
Bebito: You’re doing fine. Just answer the question.
Lionel: Umm, yeah. They still got the funk. Who are they?
Bebito: *sigh*
Lionel: Wait, that’s an Xbox game right?

Bebito: Nevermind. It’s time to do the word association thing anyway.
Lionel: What? That’s it? I’m not done yet. Is Toejam a Xbox game?
Bebito: No. It’s on the GameCube along with Mario Baseball, Mario Heavyweight Boxing, and Mario Pro Wrestling. Now like I said, nevermind.
You know how this works. I say a word, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

(Videogames) – Time killer
(Nintendo) – Old School
(Sega) – Crap
(Xbox) – Rookie Mistakes
(PS2) – It came in a really cool looking box
(Grand Theft Auto) – Getting Old
(Sonic The Hedgehog) – First real threat to Mario
(411) – Has everything
(Jennifer Lopez) – Box office disaster
(Star Wars) – Reputation tarnished by prequels
(Spider-man) – Overrated
(8 Mile) – Better than Crossroads
(Lord of the Ring) – Not as good as the original Star Wars trilogy
(Jason Masters) – Is he a cult movie icon?
(Bebito Jackson) – Makes me think of Benito Santiago
(Lionel Bobhet) Get my f*cking name right next time

Bebito: Whoops! Sorry for misspelling your last name in the Word Association. I am surprised though, that I kept spelling it right for this long. Anyway Bobefet, this is where I allow you to plug yourself. In other words, tell everyone why he or she should read your column and how great it is and all that jazz.
Lionel: Well if you want all the important movie news in one place, you’ve got to read me. I know who my readers are, so I always make sure to include heavy doses of Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man news. Julia Roberts will never be mentioned in my reports.
Bebito: That has me convinced!
Lionel: So you weren’t reading me before? You fn’ liar.
Bebito: What? Of course I was…
Lionel: Ron Yip rules!

Bebito: *puts head down* One more question and I’m getting out of here. A running gag around 411 Games (at least I think it’s a gag) is that I pretty much suck. Honestly though Lionel, do I really suck?
Lionel: Well you do use gimmicks like this interview to fill up your column, and you couldn’t name the big games coming out soon…
Bebito: Ok, that’s enough. This interview is over!
Lionel: You also have a D-Lo rating? You’ll have to explain that one to me.
Bebito: Why was I interviewing you in the first place? Nobody reads the Movies section!
Lionel: Oh wait, a Down-Lo rating… Nevermind.
Bebito: Go away
Well, before the interview (when we were on good terms), I promised to endorse Bohobit and convince you guys that his column was good. I guess a promise is a promise, so go on ahead and give Lionel’s 411 Movie Zone News Report a shot. He’s got the latest dirt on all the hottest movies coming out. After reading his column for just a couple of days I already know that The Rock wants too much do a Spider-man flick, I know that Eminem is being considered as the new Batman, and I know more than I EVER wanted to know about the third Star Wars movie. He’s a great read and a great guy (normally), so read him. I will.
You can email Lionel Bohbot at: 411lionel@mail.com
And you can check out his latest column: HERE.
(Man, this went even worse than the Hyatte interview.) Be sure to check out the Down-Lo Spotlight next week, when I’ll have the Scotsman from the Smarks@411 in the hot seat. Got any questions for the Scotsman? Email them to me now, and I’ll ask them in the gamerview next week.

That’s it from the column that is so bad, I need other writers to make it interesting. Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out Chris Pankonin this Friday and Ron Yip on Monday! Oh, and Jason and Eric too, if you’re into that sort of thing… Plus check out one of my favorite columnists, Robert Florence. I can barely understand what he’s saying in his 411 Bleep Street half the time, but lately the man has been on. I’ll be reading all those guys, so you should too. Peace and TTFN.