Rather boringly, rumours of Viewtiful Joe for the PS2 continue to rattle around mags and the Internet with no sign of absolute clarification. When contacted recently with regard to a report in the UK Official PlayStation 2 Magazine that Viewtiful Joe could be on its way to PS2, Capcom Europe dismissed it as conjecture, and when contacted today about this 'street team' marketing exercise, which states in no uncertain terms "Viewtiful Joe will soon be released on PS2," the publisher declined to comment.
So, is Viewtiful Joe coming to PS2? Let's think.
What happened to the team? The game's producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi and the Production Studio 4 team responsible for the original Cube Viewtiful Joe now seem to be hard at work on Panic Maker, so that raises the issue of who is handling any undercover PS2 port. On the surface it certainly seems to rule the original team out, although it's entirely possible that Kobayashi is commanding a different group and the original team is working on a PS2 port - or, heck, completed one yonks ago. It might even seem likely, thanks to this street team business.
And, yes, just what is this 'street team' business? As those who frequent our forum probably know, street teams are voluntary marketing monkeys tasked with promoting things in real life and over the Internet. Remember Nokia's much-lampooned attempt to hire potential N-Gage evangelists and set them to work on crowds in shopping centres? That sort of thing still goes on, and this Whiplash campaign actually prompted a couple of identikit "Whiplash looks fab" threads on our forum, which were ridiculed and then discarded. This latest "Fanpimp" effort may look like some ill-conceived fanboy-driven assault on the senses, but as Fanpimp's main page will happily tell you, it's all geared towards viral marketing and very much sponsored by the companies in questions. Low and behold, the clients page lists Capcom second from top, alongside the likes of BBC America and Universal Pictures...
In other words, Capcom USA is definitely aware of the Viewtiful Joe Fanpimp page at the very least, even if they don't directly control the content, and given that the game has been out for ages and the page is still very much active, you have to wonder if there isn't something more to the rather flippant comment that "Viewtiful Joe will soon be released on PS2". We've asked Capcom Europe to kick their American colleagues, so hopefully we should know for sure or at least obtain some measure of clarity later in the week.
For the record, incidentally, we are very much in favour of a PS2 port of Viewtiful Joe. As one of the best games on GameCube full stop, not to mention the best mostly-2D game released in years, it deserves a far greater audience than the three or four of you who bought it last October. However therein lies our main concern about all this PS2 excitement: we're just not convinced VJ did well enough commercially for Capcom to put all this effort into resurrecting it on PS2, and now we think about it, it seems extremely odd that the game wasn't announced at the publisher's recent event in Las Vegas too. Hopefully though time will vanquish the spectre of doubt, because more of you deserve to learn the true meaning of "HENSHIN-A-GO-GO-BABY!" than actually have. At the moment though it's just too tough to call. Bah.