Soulstorm ARG Summary

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First phase: Establishing communication with Ed

Step 1: Soulstorm is announced

Oddworld Inhabitants announced their new game Oddworld: Soulstorm during GDC 2016. Along with the announcement the oddworld.com/soulstorm page is launched. Upon closer inspection of the Soulstorm page the community stumbles on some weird HTML comments, a hidden picture (reveal1.jpg) and a encrypted code in a video. At this point there was no doubts anymore, the ARG had officially started!

Date: 14 March 2016

Clues:

Messages:

  • Pictures:
    • CAN YOU S- HARD TO K- IF BREAKING- THROUGH HA- ON NEED A D-
  • HTML Code:
    • Far too many video game characters were harmed extremely badly in the making of this experience. In a sane world this would never have happened. We're sorry.
    • <<< TRYING TO BRE===== -lostqmwaittypo- >>>
    • <<< CAN ANYBO============================================ NEED TO TREYR ====== so thirsty need brew fol==== -->
    • <<< listen. >>>
    • are you l/os/t ?
    • message INTERCEPTED -->
    • there's got to be a wa_
  • Video:
    • Listen for me

Step 2: Dialog Box

Finding the message in the video seemed to have triggered and update on the oddworld.com/soulstorm page. The main update on the page was the apprition of a dialog box in which users could input messages and get answers, sometimes encoded, sometimes in plain text.

Date: 23 March 2016

Clues:

  • Weird dialog box to communicate with an unknown entity

Messages:

Query Answer New Responses Alternative Responses
hello *** HELLO? *** *** HELLO *** *** HELLO! YES, FINALLY!***

/ *** HELLO! BUT NOT HERE***

hi *** HI? *** - -
follow me *** I WISH I COULD BUT I CAN’T GET OUT *** *** I WISH, I REALLY WISH *** -
who are you *** IT’S BEEN SO LONG, I CAN’T REMEMBER *** - -
abe *** PLEASE FIND ME *** *** ABE? *** *** ABE? YES - ABE. ***
molluck NOT MY BOSS ... -
alf JUST ONE MORE DROP OF DELICIOUS BREW JUST ONE MORE DROP ...
slig GET DOWN! - -
elum JUMP, ELUM, JUMP! - -
rupturefarms THE SPIRIT OF 1029 LIVES ON. ... -
soulstorm *** DRINK MORE BREW *** ... -
necrum I CAN’T SEE YOU ANYMORE. [OUT OF SIGHT] -
mudokon OH, BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? - *** OF COURSE, RIGHT? ***
brew DRINK MORE, WORK HARDER *** SO GOOD. SO TASTY. *** -
feeco CHOO CHOO! [OUT OF SIGHT] -
barracks SNEAK! [OUT OF SIGHT] -
bonewerkz WAIT, THERE ARE BONES IN THIS? [OUT OF SIGHT] -
brewery JUST ONE MORE DROP [OUT OF SIGHT] -
brewmaster TWICE ZE FLAVOR, RIGHT? - -
scars COOL INK, BRO. - -
new n tasty MMMM, TASTY BREW… ... -
mudomo FANGS, LEGS, WEBS - THEY'VE GOT IT ALL - -
mudanchee BEWARE THE GUARDIANS - -
oddworld WHO ARE THESE GUYS? ... -
portal WHERE?! ... -
chant YOYO-YOYO-YOYO-YOYO ... -
1997 SAVE ME TOO! - -
1998 DON'T LEAVE ME TRAPPED AGAIN ... -
2001 WOAH, ANOTHER DIMENSION ... -
2005 THINGS ARE GETTING STRANGER... ... -
squeek WHO IS SQUEEK? - ...
quintology LET'S PLAY ANOTHER GAME SOON LET'S PLAY A GAME -
scrab cakes NOW WITH EVEN MORE BITE. - -
paramite pies TURNING UP THIN - -
meech munchies THIS CAN'T STILL BE MADE WITH MEECHES... - -
mudokon pops HEY, GET AWAY FROM ME WITH THAT MEAT GRINDER. - -
1029 *** TRY AGAIN *** [TRY AGAIN] -
fangus OH WHAT A BRUTAL BALLAD WE COULD SING TOGETHER - -
goodbye GOODBYE *** YES, NO DOUBT, BUT FOR HOW LONG? *** -
what is soulstorm *** SOULSTORM? *** - -
can you hear me *** YES, FAINTLY *** *** YES, FAINTLY - COME CLOSER *** -
healing WE NEED MORE FUNDING FOR MODOKAID - -
get me outta here NO, REALLY, GET ME OUTTA HERE - -
big-face NICE MASK, BOZO! - -
how are you *** HOW DO YOU THINK? *** *** HOW DO YOU THINK? - CAN'T YOU SEE? *** -
open sesame WRONG MYTHOLOGY, SCHMUCK - -
shrykull WHO IS YOUR CURRENT ENERGY PROVIDER? - -
tears SO MANY TEARS, SO MANY MEMORIES - -
intercepted FIND MY MESSAGE, HEAR MY VOICE - -
dripik THAT'S GENERAL DRIPIK TO YOU - -
glukkon PLEASE, NO MORE - -
fart HEHEHE - -
ed *** FIND ME, HEAR ME, SAVE ME *** - -
exoddus WHERE ARE WE GOING? WHO WILL TAKE US THERE? - -
oddworld inhabitants WORKING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF ODD - -
moolah NOW THERE'S AN ADDICTION - -
director phleg USERNAME UNKNOWN, PLEASE TRY AGAIN - -
vice president aslik SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR - -
hand *** YES! HIM! *** - -
chest *** SO CLOSE. SO CLOSE. *** - -
face *** CAN YOU SEE IT YET? WE'RE TRYING TO SHOW YOU. *** - -
are you alive BARELY, CAN YOU SAVE ME?
addicted YOU TOO? - -


Step 3: Ed?

The dialog box revealed a weird picture after the user inputed 75 messages in a row. This picture allowed us to find multpiple clues hidden behind [magic eye stereogram], morse code and weird text formatting]]. The clues ultimately all to pointed to the same message: Ed.

Date: 24 March 2016

Clues:

Messages:

  • Pictures
    • findme
    • hear me
    • rescue me


Not long after we find out a misterious page called Ed with one single message.

Date: 25 March 2016

Clues:

Messages:

  • i can hear you, just. it's faint, but i can hear you.


Step 4: Finding Ed

The Ed page changed multiple times in the days following its discovery. The final message had a block of 140 '/' characters and had a lot of '#' in it. It was telling us to look for a Twitter account, note that at the time Twitter had a maximum of 140 characters per message. This ultimately led us to the @edmudokon twitter account which was full of criptic tweets.

Date: 4 April 2016

Clues:

Messages:

  • Hello
  • Did somebo-------
  • Is anybody listening
  • Where am I?
  • Can you hear me
  • One Zero Two Nine
  • I can hear you, faintly.
  • Yes! Yes! You are getting closer
  • If I could just… I can’t… Find me.
  • Where are you? Can you hear me?
  • We’ve stopped the progress… I need to show you the truth about this place.
  • You can hear me! Just, please, listen.


The tweets also contained partial codes that once put together and inserted in the Dialog box ultimately unlocked the next major phase of the ARG.

Date: 4 April 2016

Messages:

  • *** IT WORKED! IT WORKED! OK, NOW I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION - LISTEN, THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU SOMETHING. SOMETHING IS WRONG. VERY WRONG. YOU NEED TO LISTEN. YOU NEED TO HELP ME. I NEED TO HELP YOU... ***