Developer John Romero, who created the port of Red Faction for the Nokia N-Gage, has told a Russian site that he has already seen a prototype of the successor to the game deck, which addresses many criticisms about the original console.
Romero - who is currently working for Midway Games, and previously ran his own mobile development company, Monkeystone Games, which created the N-Gage Red Faction title - was speaking with Russian game site Compulenta during the Moscow Game Developers Conference last month.
He told the site that the N-Gage 2 is smaller and thinner than its predecessor, and that Nokia has fixed two key issues - with the game cartridge slot still located under the back cover, but not under the battery, and the case designed to allow phone calls to be made by holding it up to the ear (presumably without looking like an idiot).
It makes sense that Nokia would have shown a prototype of the console to Romero, who worked on games such as Doom and Quake (as well as Daikatana, but let's not talk about that one eh?) and was wheeled out onto Nokia's stage at E3 last year as a celebrity developer to expound the virtues of the N-Gage.
If prototypes already exist, it seems possible that Nokia could launch the next version of the device at E3 this year - or even beforehand, at a dedicated event, as was the case with the original N-Gage launch.
Earlier this month EA president John Riccitello described the current N-Gage console as a "dog", but expressed his belief that Nokia "will figure it out" - with this first update to the N-Gage hardware presumably being the first step along that path.
Updated: John Romero has denied making any comments of this nature to Compulenta, stating that he was misquoted and that a simple statement was blown out of proportion by the site. [Read more].