On E3 rumors and Internet gullibility

Internet, we need to talk, heart to heart. There’s no easy way to say this: your BS-o-meter is broken. Every year some random guy with Photoshop whips up some “leaked” documents pulled straight off a fan-site wish list, and it circulates like wildfire. You get yourself worked up, and then it turns out to be fake, because of course it was. Sometimes you even get mad at companies for failing to announce the thing they never planned in the first place! But in the fervor over E3, you don’t really hold yourself accountable for the rumor-mongering, because the dispelling of all the rumors is drowned out by excitement and arguments over the actual announcements. Don’t remember what I’m talking about? Fine. This is your intervention.

2013

The bulk of 2013's torrent of fakery came from a single source: a tipster calling himself "Geno" and reported by Dual Pixels. Geno went all out, producing sixteen rumors all by himself. A few concerning company strategy were unverifiable from the start, but most of the others were pure bull. A few hindsight highlights include Devil's Third as a Wii U exclusive, Sony's VR device launching in September, and a projector system for the new Kinect. A few educated guesses hit the mark, like a new Mario game, but come on Geno. That's like predicting it will rain in Seattle. Nintendo is pretty often the subject of rumors, probably because it plays so close to the vest. Another source claimed Star Fox and Metroid would be getting a crossover. Meanwhile, Resident Evil 7 was "outed" with faked poster from someone who just learned how to use the gradient tool. Hey, hey, don't get so down, Internet. You had some good times too. That rumor about Batman: Arkham Origins turned out totally legit. Just keep in mind that was a tiny speck of reality amid a frothing sea of crap.

To be fair, RE6's logo was basically this in blue

2012

Remember that silly Star Fox rumor from 2013? Well, Internet, you really should have known better, because the year prior we had another Star Fox rumor that didn't pan out. This time it was purportedly Retro working on a Star Fox game. In fact, "Retro working on Popular Nintendo Franchise (TM)" is pretty much a constantly rotating rumor. And it's almost always wrong. But that wasn't even the strangest Nintendo rumor of that year. Another claimed Nintendo was developing a mature game called Acid Ghost that was all about terrorizing people on a boat. Oh, and it was in partnership with Eminem. Yes, family-friendly-obsessed Nintendo was said to be working with Slim Shady on a game about psychological torment, and for some reason this was given any degree of validity. Other hits of 2012 include the Aliens: Colonial Marines delay being misinterpreted as a Wii U timed exclusive, and Sony pitch character Kevin Butler appearing in PlayStation All-Stars.

The new face of Nintendo

2011

This was an uncharacteristically good year for rumors panning out. Word of a so-called Wii HD came true when Nintendo announced Wii U, and the rumors even correctly called the touchscreen interface. Sony's "NGP" codename did indeed get renamed into the Vita we know today. And though it was a tad early, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima did eventually announce two games: Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain. That has to count for a half-point, right? But even the most successful year didn't go by without incident, as Heavenly Sword 2 wasn't announced. Plus the Wii HD rumors weren't entirely on the mark, because many claimed it was a powerhouse to usher in the next generation. Instead, it's more-or-less on par with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Wii HD pad rumors: surprisingly accurate!

2010

A bit of an anomaly, 2010 was pretty short on rumors that gained mainstream attention. Of those that did, it was a mix of truth and lies. Tipsters correctly called the service now known as PlayStation Plus, but didn't foresee the Instant Game Collection aspect that has made it so popular. A huge list of games to appear, meanwhile, was filled with names like Fahrenheit 2, a sequel to Heavy Rain, and God of War 3: Afterfall. Neither of those materialized, and the legit games that appeared on the list had mostly already been hinted at.

PlayStation Plus was actually a good call too

The Future

Aside from some "leaked" lists that were correctly called out quickly, this year has been surprisingly short on rumors. Some, like the leaked footage for Battlefield Hardline, were clearly true and subsequently confirmed by their developers. As we barrel towards Monday morning, we might see some more gain traction, but just keep in mind how often those fizzle out. It will be more fun, and less frustrating, going into the press conferences without the inevitably dashed expectations.