For those gamers who love nothing more than getting insider information before all of your friends, this years Spike VGAs award show is shaping up to be a must-watch. Whatever your feelings on the award show itself, you can't argue that it will be chock-full of breaking announcements. A new BioWare project is already set to be revealed, with the latest details on the super-secret project only adding to the mystery.
Now rumors have begun circling around the latest message hidden inside commercials for the show, leading viewers to a website connected to Activision bearing a single image and one message: 'Murder Your Maker.' The site could mean anything, and the internet community has already come up with a few ideas, and so have we.
The previous messages hidden in the ads via QR codes and flashed images have seemed to point to BioWare's secret game and some sort of zombie title, but the Activision connection to the website means that 'Murder Your Maker' is something new entirely.
It may be easiest to simply look at what projects Activision is currently working on or have previously announced, but where's the fun in that? While there are many rumors circling on what kind of game, movie, or viral advertising the site is connected to, a few stand out.
We've taken a look at the facts, the site, the publishers and developers to try to find some substantiated possibilities, and here's what we've come up with:
#1. Hitman 5
This one doesn't take much imagination. The website depicts a man, bald-headed, staring at a wall full of images, news clippings, and what looks to be a set of maps: all would be right at home in the next Hitman project. The most telling feature of Hitman's protagonist Agent 47 is the barcode tattooed on the back of his head, conveniently cloaked in shadow in the website's image.
There hasn't been much news on the upcoming Hitman 5 since it was first announced, aside from the lay-offs at IO Interactive that were rumored to put the project in jeopardy. David Bateson, the voice actor for Agent 47 recently commented on the game's production in light of the downsizing, claiming that "[t]here have been delays. However, like I said earlier, if the artwork is anything to go by… brace yourself!” If this is one of the images he was referencing, it's hard to disagree that this would be something new for the franchise.
Agent 47's history with his employers, competitors, and those who shaped his perfect genetic makeup is well-known to anyone who has played a game or two in the Hitman series. The relationship as been rocky to say the least, and the concept of a game being built around Agent 47's quest to take out the last of his masters or enemies would bring a level of personal drama to the story, which would be good news to fans.
The main problem here is that the Hitman series is under ownership of Square Enix, not Activision. While some may immediately dismiss the rumor on these grounds, it can't be forgotten that in this day and age profitable enterprises make strange bedfellows. Activision has previously worked alongside Square Enix to release Quantum of Solace to Japanese audiences, and partnerships are becoming more and more common. So for now, Hitman fans can still hold out hope for a fifth installment sometime soon.
There has been little known about the Activision game entitled 'Bloodhunt' since it was revealed by the Australian Ratings Board in September of last year. No details about the game itself leaked, just that the content was dark and adult enough to warrant a MA 15+ rating due to "strong violence." This was around the same time that Activision had only begun to dream of a studio called Sledgehammer Games, so it is strange that the project has stayed quiet this long.
The connection is obvious: 'blood' and 'hunt' are both things that can be brought to mind by the word 'murder' and a map of specific destinations. Looking at the ad objectively, this project would probably be the most likely given the time in development and lack of specifics in the advertisement. But that begs the question of whether or not Activision would go to these lengths to build hype for a game nobody has ever heard of. 'Bloodhunt' could have been the working title of any of the other candidates, so it's possible it could be true in the end.
#3. Prototype 2
Here we hit the mother-load. The rumor that the 'Murder Your Maker' is an announcement of the sequel to the divisive third-person-action game Prototype has been picked up with the most conviction in the past few days, with some convincing evidence.
The game did well enough to warrant a second installment, considering that in the minds of many gamers it went toe-to-toe with the similar open-world superpower action game inFamous. Sucker Punch is getting a sequel, so why shouldn't Radical Entertainment get their shot? If that is the case, the competing publishers will make the choice easier for fans since it would almost surely mean completely different release windows.
The biggest evidence to support a second Prototype might be the phrase itself, considering the themes of genetic experimentation and infection leading to the creation of the mutant Alex Mercer. Mercer ended the game more or less resigned to surviving, although stating that his work was not yet done. The man in the image is not Mercer, but could be his nemesis, the shape-shifting Supreme Hunter that seemed to be defeated in the game's climax.
He may not be bald, but both the Supreme Hunter mimicking 'Specialist Cross' and the mystery man share a penchant for high necklines. There aren't too many examples of hoodie-wearing protagonists in games that would be announced at the VGAs, and Alex Mercer's hood was one of his most distinguishing features. The collage of photos and news clippings is also reminiscent of the advertising for Prototype.
Crank up the brightness on the teaser image, and something appears on the mystery figure's board:
Anyone who has played through Prototype will concede that Alex Mercer would have quite a few people and government agencies chasing after him after the events of the first game, personal vendettas not included. Mercer was infected unintentionally to become something beyond human, so is it possible that the Supreme Hunter turned into something entirely different after its confrontation with Mercer? If that's the case, then the 'Murder Your Maker' makes perfect sense.
We would love to see a new game in the same vein as Prototype, and giving the developers a chance to improve the technical faults with the original game is an opportunity that we hope to see more of. Assassin's Creed 2 improved on many of the same issues that Prototype suffered from, so it would be exciting to see just how much better a second crack at the formula would turn out.
Our money is most likely on Prototype 2, due to both the lack of a sequel at this point and the hidden figure reminiscent of Alex Mercer. The truth is we could be nowhere near the truth, so if you have any further insights into the image, or your own theories to share, please do so in the comments.
And before you ask, it is completely possible that the game in question gives players the ability to step into the shoes of Lex Luthor, and concoct a master plan to bring about the fall of Superman. Possible, but we wouldn't advise you make any bets on that one.
We'll finally be able to put this, and many other rumors to rest when the Spike VGAs 2010 airs December 11, 2010.