February 17th, 2012 | By Chris Priestman
Die hard fans of horror meisters Frictional Games have been hard at work chasing all of the clues that the developers have left for them since unveiling the teaser site for their next Amnesia game. Here’s the story so far…
We reported on the unveiling of nextfrictionalgame.com just the other day – it featured a blurred out image, the words “something is emerging” and a link to a Google Map of China. The press and excited players all scurried around it and then it was forgotten. Well, almost. A thread in the Frictional Games forums is full of people hard at work chasing up clues, investigating and finding out some more potential details; they seem to be on to something.
Before we get on to that, you will notice that the image on the teaser site is no longer blurry. It shows a bloody tunnel with what seems to be a mangled corpse hanging around. Looks gory, creepy and is the kind of thing we expect from Frictional. Some fans have surmised that the lanterns indicate that the game may be set in the 1900s as they could be oil or electric based. This would place it after The Dark Descent which is set in 1839 – if this next game is set in the 1900s it’s safe to assume that Daniel from The Dark Descent won’t be a part of it.
Now, on to the even more exciting stuff! So far, three locations have been linked to from the teaser site. The first was China, the second was Boreray Island (which has some gruesome history) and the third was a very specific location in Seattle.
Upon investigation, the fans found out that the location is actually called the Smith Tower, which just so happens to have a Chinese Room – a merging of the first and third location. This is a quote from Wikipedia about the Chinese Room in the Smith Tower:
“The Chinese Room is on the 35th floor, which also has a wraparound public observation deck. The furniture and the hand-carved ceiling were gifts from the Empress of China. They include the famous Wishing Chair. It is said that a single woman who sits in the chair will marry within a year. The legend came true for Smith’s daughter, who married in the Chinese Room itself.”
Interesting, right? The Smith Tower wasn’t built completely until 1914, which indicates that the game may be set in the 1900s as the lanterns may indicate in the teaser image. The other thing to consider as one forum user pointed out, is that thechineseroom is also the name of the Dear Esther developers. Boreray Island also looks quite similar to the setting of Dear Esther, so are these three clues pointing to thechineseroom? On their official website it says that they are developing a survival horror for release in Q4 2012 – are they working with Frictional Games? It’s probably just a complete coincidence but it’s fun to get excited about these things.
This is only half the story though. One fan prodded around the HTML version of the teaser site some more and came across what seems to be a hidden ARG. It didn’t take the fans long to work out that typing USER THOMAS (protagonist?) seemed to activate a few things in the ARG (alternate reality game). They then went on to promote this user by typing in PROMOTE THOMAS – this was considered to be leading to a dead end at the time.
They kept at it though, promoting Thomas through the levels until they reached 100, at which point an image was downloaded. Now, that they have unlocked this, you can type USER THOMAS into the ARG and you will also download that image – fragment_ebola.jpg
No one has worked out the significance of “ebola” yet, but we presume that as it is a “fragment”, this is not the entire image. There is probably more to discover in that ARG then. In that image you can see a bunch of numbers amongst the swirling mass of whatever that is. Those letters are as follows:
P F C I N C M I O I S G G
These letters are presumed to be an anagram of sorts but no one has worked out what it could be and what it could lead to. One theory is that it makes GIF PICS COMING – indicating that some moving images are on the way. Another is that the letters will help to unlock more clues through the ARG, hopefully with another fragment of the image.
At the moment, that is as far as the fans have got with the clues left for them. You should definitely check up on their progress if you’re interested though over in the forum thread. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes on them!