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X-Box X-Posed! - Confirmed!

by Rick Powers - March 16, 2001, 9:54 am EST
Source: IGN Message Boards

The internet is a-buzz with the news that screenshots for the X-Box title "Amped" were faked. Rick Powers with the story ...

All of a sudden, the snowboarding title "Amped" for Microsoft's X-Box is looking more and more like Vaporware as screenshots are proven to be doctored.

The main screenshot in question is a close-up of one of the boarders. It looks incredibly detailed, as a matter of fact, a little too much so ...

Folks at the IGN Boards, namely one 0nimusha, dissected the photo, and proved it to be heavily altered. First, there is a lens flare seemingly added to the screenshot that can be duplicated PERFECTLY with a standard Photoshop lens flare operation. Second, there are white edges all around the snowboarder, and they do not appear to be caused by antialiasing. In fact, it's the same "edging" you find whenever you cut and paste an object into another scene. There is also a curious "green pixel" that is on TOP of the showboarder's face that shouldn't be there. It turns out that this is actually a pixel from the Photoshop lens flare overlay that was not cleaned up. Lastly, the snowboarder appears to be standing still, but the speedometer shows the speed as 51 MPH.

There's other curiousness that is more easily explained away, but still odd. The snowboarder is very high-res, very detailed. Yet all of the background elements and HUD overlays seem very pixellated and rough. While that kind of polish usually comes towards the end of the development process, it still seems strange. Also, at least two more screenshots appear doctored as well. Amped 2 and Amped 4 have identical backgrounds and interface overlays, again ... pixel accurate. And in Amped 2, the clouds in the upper-right-hand corner also look cut 'n' pasted (the blue halo around the bottom is the giveaway). Don't forget about Amped 5, where the Photoshop Stamp Tool is used to blur the snow into the ramp in odd places, and with no computer-generated consistency. Also, these "screenshots" taken early in development are more polished than the game video that was released, and apparently have more features (the clouds, lens flare, and shadows are missing in the video).

Microsoft has finally copped to the rumor, updating the Amped Freestyle Snowboarding page, saying "Some images enhanced to reflect end product." Microsoft has built up some incredible momentum with a well-executed push of the console, and their recent Gamestock festival. News that the X-Box imight not be all that it's cracked up to be, and that at least one game has had to post mock-up "screenshots" is sure to cause waves across the industry for the next few days.

Shout-outs to 0nimusha in the IGN Forums for his excellent detective work, and documentation.

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