Funcom seems to have gotten into the alternate reality marketing game for it’s upcoming title The Secret World, and I think they mean it when they say: “Dark Days are Coming”. The fan-site www.crygaia.com has turned to static, and the sounds similar to spy radio number stations (you may remember something similar in Lost).
The tradition of alternate reality games has been a long and exciting one. Be it the TV series Lost, or Dexter, movies like Cloverfield, or video games like BioShock 2, companies have been immersing fans into the mysterious world of ARG’s for years. The concept is simple: put clues and hints scattered on fan sites, ads, or anywhere really, that will lead you to more clues. Eventually you will unravel a deep, dark mysterious story. All ARG’s seem to start with a Rabbit Hole (The site or events that lead into the game world), and from there it is up to you, the player, to decipher the clues and follow the puzzle trail. A series of puzzles where one puzzle leads to another webpage that contains another puzzle and so on and so on. Sometimes they contain a brief hint of a story and they can provide a great distraction for people in between playing ARGs. Many times, players will create little puzzle trails for other players.
Now, I am not going to spoil anything for you, but if you are into, or fascinated by, ARG’s and want to give one a try, it looks like this one could be quite interesting. And with such an interesting game concept as The Secret World, I think this ARG could be quite fun, and I don’t want to talk any of the fun away from you. The official forums are all a buzz with ideas as to what is going on, and people trying to figure it all out, and you should too, it is fun!
My favorite ARG game was EA’s Majestic:
It completely blurred fantasy with reality by even calling, faxing, and IM’ing you. Sadly this game’s second chapter was about to start when 9/11 happened. Out of respect (due to game content) they stopped the game temporarily, it never recovered. I always wished they would start it back up, it was so cutting edge: Faxing ‘your’ medical records, phoning you with people screaming at 2am, and just playing you in general.
Have you ever played an ARG? Which was your favorite?
Give this one a try, you might like it. Down the Rabbit Hole I go.
The Secret World is being developed for the Xbox 360 and PC, with a tentative release window of late 2012.