As the world heads for its inevitable doom on December 21st, tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists are working around the clock to unlock the mysteries of Funcom’s latest alternate reality game (ARG) set in and around ‘The Secret World’ universe. Since pre-registration began on December 3rd, participants have spent over 30,000 hours working side-by-side solving riddles, cracking puzzles and unlocking rewards in the deep, complex ARG experience which focuses on the imminent end of days and how we can prepare ourselves for what is to come.
The ARG takes place online (and outside the actual ‘The Secret World’ MMO) in the Situation Room, a main hub where participants can live chat with each other, see updated video briefings and access several intricate puzzles that are being made available over the course of the ARGs lifespan. Among some of the tasks participants encounter are situations where they must ‘hack’ (obviously not the illegal kind) computer terminals to access information, investigate strange websites, and go through other challenges and mini-games that will put their mental capacity to the test. Players accumulate points, and they have access to a special profile page where they can track their progress.
The ARG builds on one of the core pillars of ‘The Secret World’ – the investigation missions – and fans of this unique gameplay will find much to enjoy in the alternate reality game. The ARG will continue until the end of days on December 21st and after that, well, nobody really knows.
It should come as no surprise that the end of days is heavily influencing everything that is happening in and around ‘The Secret World’ this month. In addition to the ARG, this week the developers are also introducing a special ‘end of days’ event in-game which include the rise of undead Mayans all over the world as well as the sudden arrival of giant monsters – known as harbingers – which players must battle.
Also worth mentioning is Game Director Joel Bylos’ descent into madness. Convinced the world is about to end, Joel is currently chronicling his final days on earth in a YouTube video log.
If the end really is coming – are you prepared?