Claims of Jet Set Radio, Shenmue PartnerNET Leak Disputed

Claims of Jet Set Radio, Shenmue PartnerNET Leak Disputed

by April 26, 2010

When Directly Questioned, “Xbox360Leaker” Gave “A Bunch of Crap”

Today and over the weekend, widespread reports surfaced that elements of both Jet Set Radio and Shenmue were found as part of yet another Sega related leak on Microsoft’s developer-only PartnerNET service.  But some independent detective work has shown things aren’t nearly as clear as some Sega fans hope.

It appears the purported leaks originated from someone under the handle of Xbox360Leaker, who established both an Imageshack account and YouTube page to allow the world sight of what should not yet be seen.  Xbox360Leaker first showed off a French menu with the JSR icon.  Today, he upped the ante, adding another watermarked menu with an icon of Ryo Hazuki and “ProjectBerkleyII” to the side–a reference to Shenmue II, which was an XBOX exclusive in North America. We’ve relayed both screenshots in our gallery below.

Both purported products, if true, are only listed as trials on the PartnerNET service and do not yet have achievements listed.  No additional in-game screenshots or video of either game were released by Xbox360Leaker.  That led to a lot of speculation–so those curious set out to find the truth.

“I’ve been talking to the “leaker” via PM on YouTube [….] and I’m now 99% sure that he’s lying,” wrote NeoGAFer Backflip this afternoon.  “I’ve given him easy ways to prove that his screenshots are real and his answers are just a bunch of crap in broken English.”

Backflip then explained how Xbox360Leaker claimed the materials came from a hidden component of PartnerNET called TestNet–which, as far as we know, does not exist.  Also hurting the claims is how Microsoft can limit access to specific PartnerNET material to specific Gamertags–without calling it anything different than what it is.

But here’s where it gets complicated–apparently, Xbox360Leaker does have access to some good games.  As of the time of this article’s publication, the leak source had on his YouTube page clean video of upcoming XBOX Live titles such as Hydro Thunder Hurricane (known in his recording as Hydro Thunder 2), and ACE Team’s Zeno Clash, a 3D first person fighter.  The latter had previously only been available via the Steam PC download service.

The bottom line is that while there’s much reason to doubt Xbox360Leaker‘s claim, he’s shown evidence he has access to other games through PartnerNET–and all of it is keeping us guessing.  What do you think?  Take a look at the screenshots in the gallery below, and tell us your thoughts in the discussion area.  We’re treating the story as rumor (and so should you), but of course, should we receive a cease and desist from Sega regarding the content of this story, we’ll know exactly where the truth lies.