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Michael Plant

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The sound of padded envelopes falling on to editorial desks is a regular occurrence at The Independent, but it isn’t everyday that one piques the imagination of everyone on the team.

That’s exactly what happened upon the arrival of an innocuous looking orange envelope, marked with a South Maryland postage stamp. Containing nothing but a black, unmarked, USB stick upon which a text file and an audio file were loaded. Just six words were written on the text file: Cryptography; Isotope; Philanthropy; Hydrogen; Ember and Rebirth, while the audio file was nothing but a man reciting a series of letters and numbers followed by a quote: "What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also," followed by, "Don't believe everything you see."

Not being slouches when it comes to Google we soon ascertained the quote to be one made famous by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and that a Caesar Cipher existed for decoding random strings of letters. Alas we also discovered that most of the legwork had already been accomplished by dedicated sleuths on various gaming websites and cheated on the rest of the clues by reading their workings out. One puzzle still remains however as no two sites seem to have reached a consensus on exactly what game is being revealed or hinted at.

After beavering away on the encoded message with a variety of ciphers – of which the Caesar cipher was just the first – We Play Call of Duty has come to the conclusion that the code points to Call of Duty 7, the next in the hugely popular first-person shooter series – a game which is undeniably in development. Their theory goes that the ciphers point to a Vietnam themed Call of Duty which would make sense given that Vietnam is an as of yet unexplored war as far as Activision’s series is concerned. on the other hand contends that the ciphers reveal Fallout 4 or even Rage, id Software's latest. Both are to be published by Bethesda Softworks who are based in (you guessed it) Maryland, USA. Coincidence? Possibly, but the style of the video clues in particular seem to scream Fallout, as do words such as Isotope, Hydrogen and Rebirth as quoted in the original text file.

If your interest has been piqued and you want to delve a little deeper the links above are a good place to start. If you know anymore then let us know, in the meantime we wait patiently for the second week of April when, perhaps, we might find out more.


dogsolitude_v2 wrote:
Wednesday, 7 April 2010 at 12:43 pm (UTC)
I'll be happy to take a look at this...

Upload the text files and audio file to an FTP server, PM me the link via LJ or something, and I'll see what I can find out.
mplant wrote:
Wednesday, 7 April 2010 at 01:14 pm (UTC)
The audio file is hosted on Joystiq's site (link in the article), the only difference as far as I received was the stamps used on the package. I've got a US flag stamp and one picturing the Rockefeller Building, no idea of the significance of that though.

Another game which people have now started to think this might be a viral for is Singularity, an upcoming FPS. Definitely a weird one, let me know what you come up with.




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