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How A Wild Video Game Rumor Races Around The Internet Before Getting Shut Down

It’s almost summer and gamers are starting to lose it. In the midst of a renewed console race frenzy and video game industry consolidation, fan speculation about future game releases and company deals is at an all time high. It’s an exciting time for new announcements as we head into not-E3 showcase season, but also the perfect set of conditions for bullshit rumors to circulate online at lightning speed. That’s how CD Projekt Red ended up recently being forced to respond to random chatter on a Destiny 2 Discord while fans got hyped for a Days Gone 2 that’s not currently happening.

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There’s no shortage of rumors in the gaming industry, ranging from complete fanfiction to credible but unverified claims from well known social media accounts with established track records. Recently, however, it feels like a pseudo pipeline for propagating and boosting video game rumors has increased its frequency and escalated the noise around. Message boards like r/GamingLeaksAndRumors now aggregate everything from random guesses to actual reporting from a supporting cast of “insiders” at record speed, while clout-chasing accounts on YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter race to re-post, rip-off, or misinterpret the alleged insider info.

CD Projekt Red isn’t about to become a PlayStation studio

And so a bonkers rumor that read somewhere between a meme and shitpost traveled from an obscure Destiny leaking community to CD Projekt Red’s official Q1 2023 earnings call. A Discord user who goes only by Liz seemingly posted the following message over the weekend like a 1920s telegraph being sent across the Atlantic: “Playstation plans on buying CD Projekt Red Days Gone 2 in development.”

On May 27 the rumor popped up on Reddit. On May 28 it got picked up by some gaming accounts on Twitter. “PlayStation new rumors,” tweeted longtime industry-watcher, Paul “NextGenPlayer” Hunter. “Take with a massive grain of salt.” Salt did not stop the rumor from spreading far enough that by May 29 a rep for CDPR was openly commenting on it, saying the whole thing was nonsense.

Not everyone fell for the bait or played into it. “Bend Studio is not making Days Gone 2,” wrote gaming news account Okami13. “In all likelihood, Sony acquiring CDPR is false too.” Popular Witcher content creator LastKnownMeal tweeted he wouldn’t even react to the rumors on his channel because they were obviously baseless. “Yah, we’re not in such talks with Sony,” responded CDPR rep Ola Sondej.

Still, the rumor made its way to analysts’ questions during the company’s May 29 earnings call. “Nothing has changed on our end,” said CEO Adam Kiciński flatly (via VGC). “So, I can repeat what we have been saying throughout the years—CD Projekt is not for sale.” He continued, “We want to remain independent. We have, I believe an excellent strategy. Not easy to execute, for sure, but it’s very exciting to follow our own path. So it’s a pure rumor.”

And what about Days Gone 2? The Sony studio behind the original game already confirmed in a blog post last year that it was working on a new IP that would use similar gameplay systems but take place in a completely different world than the third-person zombie action game. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier previously reported that Sony had pushed Bend away from making a sequel, initially having the studio’s teams assist Naughty Dog with its projects. The first Days Gone’s director, Jeff Ross, even recently tweeted that Days Gone 2 would have been due out around now, but only if things had gone differently. Even popular leaker The Snitch literally typed “wtf” after seeing the rumor in another Discord.

Where did the Days Gone 2 rumor come from?

“So I usually post Destiny stuff,” Liz, the source of the rumor, told Kotaku in a Discord DM. Part of what gave it a whiff of credibility initially is that Liz has also been the source of some giant leaks for Bungie’s massive sci-fi MMO, now technically a PlayStation first-party game post Sony acquisition. It wasn’t just some random internet stranger throwing darts at a rumor board, at least not entirely.

“I go through a pretty thorough process to confirm/deny information sent to me,” Liz said. “Someone who I was speaking to sent me some stuff, which I posted to my Discord. Since it was general Playstation info and not Destiny, I didn’t really go through the effort I usually do. I definitely underestimated the reach I had, especially coming to non-Destiny related stuff. I expected it to kind of sit in the channel I posted it in, and that would be the end of it, fake or not.”

While the rumor was baeless, it’s also easy to see why it was the exact right type of rumor at the precise moment to breakout of the Destiny leaks containment zone. Specifically, some diehard Sony fans came out of the company’s latest PlayStation showcase feeling underwhelmed. Questions were raised about what the rest of the company’s first-party studios are working on besides Spider-Man 2, an epidemic of “hopium” that took over some quarters of the PlayStation community.

Some players no doubt want to believe that big secret moves were in the works. Long-standing fan dreams about what a Days Gone sequel could have been like and a perennial rumor that Sony will buy the company behind one of the most beloved open world RPGs ever. It’s not even a particularly outlandish set of claims, which is probably also part of why they bubbled up to the surface this past weekend despite almost everyone involved knowing better. With Summer Game Fest and the Xbox showcase just around the corner, it won’t be the last time either.

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