Have a look at this blog: Sam Krieg Sightings.
It’s a fan site devoted to best-selling horror author Sam Krieg. While a little rambling, its months worth of posts cover just about everything you could want to know about Sam Krieg: a complete listing of his published works, cover art and ISBNs for his more popular novels, even details of his personal life. Perhaps a little creepy, but a useful resource for fans of his books.
The Sam Krieg Sightings blog and all its vast wealth of information on him were created simply to be used as a clue in just one mission within TSW.
One mission. Compare that to the work that goes into your average “kill ten rats” quest you find in other MMOs.
You might have heard me say before that The Secret World is a game that likes to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, but it occurs to me I haven’t done a good job of explaining what that means. So let me show you a taste of the kind of mind-frackery Funcom is engaged in, because Sam Krieg is just the beginning.
From Tokyo to Maine:
Sam Krieg Sightings is just one example of the Secret World leaking into the real world.
This is the official website for the town of Kingsmouth, Maine. Being a small town whose main economy is tourism, most of the site is devoted the singing the praises of Kingsmouth’s natural beauty and fascinating history.
This is the website for the Orochi Group, a Tokyo-based multi-national conglomerate with fingers in pretty much every pie imaginable.
A few of the links are down at the moment — no doubt due to that tragic terrorist attack near their headquarters in Japan — but you can still find a lot of information about the Orochi Group.
As you have probably guessed by now, the Orochi Group isn’t real, either. It’s one of the main villain factions in TSW. The tutorial mission for all players deals with an occult incident near their Tokyo headquarters, and they will no doubt play a pivotal role in the upcoming Tokyo Exclusion Zone.
It keeps going.
Here’s Tyler Freeborn’s blog. It has all kinds of information on the bizarre creatures that lurk in the wilderness outside of Kingsmouth.
This is where it really starts to mess with your mind. There are a lot of people commenting on this blog, but who’s commenting? Are they Funcom employees trying to add a sense of realism, are they dedicated role-players, or are they actual conspiracy nuts who got it into their head this thing is real?
Particularly vexing is one comment on this post. It’s from someone named “Hayden” who believes Mr. Freeborn is spouting nonsense.
One of the main characters in Solomon Island is Hayden Montag, the eccentric Illuminati headmaster of Innsmouth Academy.
Is the comment on Freeborn’s blog meant to be from the same Hayden? I checked their profile, and they’re also following a blog that seems to have nothing to do with TSW, so that indicates they’re a real person, but the name and the fact that he discourages Freeborn from his research — something the Illuminati are said to have done frequently — seems too odd to be a coincidence.
If you think this is as weird as it can get, you underestimate Funcom.
INITIATE – The Twitterverse experiment. TRANSMIT – The #hivehum:
Funcom’s efforts to blend the real world and the Secret World have reached a new height with the Twitterverse experiment.
A number of TSW’s more memorable NPCs have accounts on Twitter, including Said (@PrunePrince), Kirsten Geary (@CorporateBlues), and the Bees (@The_Buzzing). They regularly tweet new story arcs and mysteries to interested role-players with the hashtag #hivehum.
There’s at least one new/story activity every week. The NPCs — usually Said or Geary — will set players a task that often involves research in both the game and the real world, and those who complete the tasks are given a modest reward of cash store points.
For instance, one mission had players learning more about Orochi experiments with time travel, something from which no good can possibly come. A less dire incident had Nassir (@BoomBoom_Man) tweeting compromising photos of an intoxicated Kirsten Geary.
Since this incident, Nassir has been referring to her as “Kikilove.” One can speculate on the reasons for that…
Funcom has been claiming that they didn’t create The Bees’ Twitter account, nor did they create the Bees at all. Supposedly, the Bees told them to make the game to prepare people for the coming apocalypse.
At this point, I can almost believe that.
* * *
So where does the Secret World end, and the real world begin?
I don’t know.