Plans for a disc-free Xbox One? Halo 5 in 2015? A Halo 2 remake this fall?
A massive dump of rumors posted on NeoGAF last night hints at all that and more: a new Forza Horizon this fall; a game called Shangheist that was cancelled when the studio Black Tusk started development on a new Gears of War; a widespread white Xbox One launch later this year.
This all comes from someone with the handle ntkrnl, who hasn't identified himself but has been posting details and tidbits about Microsoft's future plans for the past 24 hours. Some of the info is vague—like an alleged deal between Microsoft and the cloud processing company Cloudgine—while other snippets are more specific, like details about the upcoming Xbox One game Sunset Overdrive. Ntkrnl adds that Halo 2: Anniversary is scheduled for November 11 and Fable Legends will be out in the summer of 2015.
So how valid is this stuff? Well, thanks to a reliable source, I've been able to confirm that ntkrnl is indeed connected to Microsoft, although I haven't been able to verify any of the poster's claims. Just because the leaker is in a position to know this information doesn't mean this information is true. (When I reached out this morning, Microsoft declined to comment.)
But adding some veracity to ntkrnl's posts is The Verge's Tom Warren, who has a very good track record with Microsoft-related leaks and rumors. Warren says he's been able to verify a few of ntkrnl's claims, including the white Xbox One release and a major dashboard update scheduled for this March that will reportedly fix some of the system's big interface and party chat issues. Warren also says he confirmed Microsoft is testing out builds of the Xbox One without a disc drive—floated by ntkrnl—although neither knows whether that version of the console will actually make it to the market.
On top of all that, according to one person familiar with the situation who spoke to me under condition of anonymity, Microsoft is currently trying to track down and identify ntkrnl. According to that person, Microsoft executives are looking to take legal action against ntkrnl, which, again, doesn't mean that everything he says is true.
Ntkrnl also posted a mock-up of what appears to be a Titanfall-themed Xbox One bundle:
Two industry sources have told me that this bundle is real, although the image is not 100% accurate.
UPDATE (5:37pm): It's worth noting that just because the bundle is real doesn't mean it will make its way to store shelves. Frequent NeoGAFfer Pete Dodd, who has been correct about some gaming rumors in the past, says he heard the bundle was cancelled.
Titanfall comes out for Xbox One, PC, and 360 on March 11.
That's all we know at this point, and we've reached out to more sources and contacts in an attempt to verify more of this information.
For a full compilation of ntkrnl's posts, check out NeoGAF.
If you're joining the thread then this Bish-verified insider ntkrnl has been UNLEASING THE BOMBS.
Here's all the stuff so far he's said in this thread:
I'm heading out so people update this list accordingly...
- Forza Horizon: "Fall 2014, probably September. Super sexy weather system and... **** tons of co-op/social stuff. 1080P and open-world, so you can road trip with your bros."
- White Xbone incoming.
- Why all the leaks? Scared you might get caught? "I am incapable of fear. Plus, this is such exciting stuff, and me talking about it ahead of time isn't going to hurt anything, truthfully. We're all chomping at the bit for it to come out. This is not bad. "
- Halo Anniversary 2 will be 1080p, iffy on the 60fps, maybe not.
- Quantum Break is Holiday 2014
- Multiplayer confirmed for HA2, same devs as Halo Anniversary.
- Sunset Overdrive is Fall 2014
- Is not Phil Spencer
- Black Tusk cancelled project was called "Shangheist." May have involved stealing stuff from the Chinese (though I think that may have been a reference to the name and maybe not the gameplay? Not sure...)
- Fable Legends is Summer 2015
- Halo 2 Anniversary includes beta for Halo 5
- Gears of War will probably need a 2.5 year dev time.
- First Titanfall DLC is 45 days from release, then another one 120 days from release.
- No Crackdown 3 news this year most likely, since it's a 2016 title.
- A list w/dates of the rest of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 countries that Xbone will release in this year.
- No info/idea on what Rare's up to, sadly.
- $399 XB1 this year? "Maybe one without an Optical Disc Drive."