Frictional Games, the team responsible for two instant-classic horror titles in Amnesia: The Dark Descent and SOMA, are gearing up to announce their new game, and they're using an elaborate alternate reality game (ARG) to do it.
If you're unfamiliar with ARGs, they are stealth marketing campaigns that unfold like online scavenger hunts. Typically they presuppose that participants live in the same story universe as the characters in the promoted media. The Cloverfield franchise has used ARGs to great effect, as have properties such as ABC's LOST, the indie game Oxenfree, and more.
For Frictional, the ARG begins on their website and is still playing out in real-time. Players who visit nextfrictionalgame.com -- an admittedly more blunt introduction to an ARG than players may be used to -- offers some hints as to what their next game will be. Eagle-eyed visitors will find a hidden YouTube URL at the bottom of the page hidden among the company's social links. Entering the URL gives players this video:
Further digging into the CSS code (thanks Bloody-Disgusting) of the site will give you a second video, which you can watch below.
The cryptic contents of these videos don't yet reveal much, but it's likely more breadcrumbs are already hidden in plain sight somewhere online, waiting for players to uncover them. It's only a matter of time and some solid sleuthing before players crack Frictional's code.
The studio helped alter the horror genre for years with their release of Amnesia: The Dark Descent on PC in 2010. Its hide-and-seek approach was just taking off at the time and has since become one of the more popular mechanics in horror games, as seen in recent titles like Outlast, Blair Witch, and their own follow-up, SOMA. That sci-fi sophomore effort kept Frictional's name in lights and cemented them as something much greater than a one-game wonder. For that reason, this ARG remains one to watch as the clues are collected, the mystery is unraveled, and the game, eventually, is revealed.