It’s been a long and often arduous wait for Grand Theft Auto 5. After early indicators pegged a release in Winter 2012, fans endured long stretches of time without updates – only to see the highly-anticipated title pushed to September 2013. However, in recent months, Rockstar Games has been steadily ramping up marketing for their next installment in the fan-favorite open world crime series – releasing screenshots, promo images, and even the game’s box artwork.Â Rockstar claims that the lack of available Grand Theft Auto 5 information is to protect consumers from spoilers that might otherwise undermine their enjoyment of what the the studio claims is the biggest GTA title yet.
That said, with only five months left before release, the developer appears ready to open the flood gates, starting with a recently unveiled viral marketing campaign – one that is teasing larger revelations in the near future (specifically individual character trailers).
A few days back, we got wind of a Grand Theft Auto 5 viral marketing video – specifically one that takes a stab at the Church of Scientology (along with religion in general). The video, which details the goals and tenets of “Epsilonism,” is updated regularly – so the only way to see the most recent version is to head over to theÂ official Rockstar Games’ site.
You can check out the original version of the Epsilonism video below:
The tenets and goals scroll by pretty quickly – and currently the video is incomplete. Fortunately, information onÂ Epsilonism hasÂ been compiled over at an “official” Epsilon Program website. To give you an idea, here are the 12 tenets of KIFFLOM – key beliefs inÂ Epsilonism:
- The world is 157 years old – FACT!
- Dinosaurs are a lie that people believe because they are weak – FACT!
- You are happy, you just donâ€™t know it – FACT!
- We all come from the same tree – FACT!
- Everyone is related to everyone else, except for people with red hair – FACT!
- Sperm does not exist – it is a lie spread by biology teachers – along with everything else you have ever been told – FACT!
- Men are supposed to lie with nine new partners a week. Women are supposed to lie with six, except for in July, when they must lie with five men a day – FACT!
- Aliens exist and are present on earth. If you have a birth mark, you may be descended from Kraff, the famous Emperor of the 4th Paradigm – FACT!
- Trees talk, but only some people hear them – FACT!
- People who believe in something live much longer than atheists, and they have eternal life thrown in for good measure – FACT!
- If you believe this and turn your hands and wallet over to EPSILONISM, youâ€™ll live a happy life. Otherwise you are doomed – FACT!
- KIFFLOM – HAPPINESS IS YOURS! KIFFLOM!
At this point, it’s unclear what partÂ Epsilonism will play in the larger Grand Theft Auto 5 storyline – especially since the irreverent series, which allows players to sleep with prostitutes and drunk drive, has been relatively careful about its portrayal of religion in the past. Still, given the role of Scientology in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, it’s certainly possible that at least one of GTAV‘s protagonistsÂ Trevor, Franklin, and/or Michael might heed the call of a higher power.
In addition to typical Grand Theft Auto series satire, the video also offers a sneak peek at in-game environment footage – specifically ocean and coastline shots (along with day and night transition effects). Aside from the brief appearance of a man in religious dress, presumably the founder ofÂ Epsilonism, superimposed over the looping scenes of sea and sky, no principle characters are shown.
The video had been making the rounds for a few days – after first appearing as, mentioned, in a dizzying looped stream over atÂ Rockstar Games. In addition to a free screensaver, the official post also included a tease that further goals and tenets will be revealed over time – along with “directions” in “one week’s time.” At this point, it’s unclear what will happen in the next stage ofÂ Epsilonism viral marketing, which based on the post date, would be Monday, April 29th.
Regardless, the campaign is only one part of a much larger marketing push for the game.Â A recent update to the official Grand Theft Auto 5 siteÂ indicates that fans can also expect new character trailers forÂ Trevor, Franklin, and Michael on Tuesday, April 30th.
Check out the screen-grab below or head over to the official Grand Theft Auto 5Â siteÂ to see for yourself:
Of course, this is only the begging of the Grand Theft Auto 5 marketing build-up. Considering E3 2013 and other major game events still sit between the public and the title’s September release window, fans can expect that Rockstar Games still has plenty of information to share – including a flashy live-action trailer for the game.
The live-action trailer was recently filmed in Mexico and includes the same mayhem and destruction gamers would expect from the series. You can check out images of the filming over at Reddit – and while no actors are seen on the set, it’s possible that the live-action trailer will eventually showcase some familiar faces (considering the increasing number of celebrity cameos in video game marketing). As for when gamers will see the footage, it’s likely to serve as either the E3 or final launch trailer for the game.
We’ll keep you posted as more information on Grand Theft Auto 5, andÂ Epsilonism, as details surface.
Grand Theft Auto 5Â releases September 17, 2012, for Xbox 360 and PS3.
Follow me on TwitterÂ @benkendrick.