The Secret World’s major end of year event isn’t just another winter festival; it’s an alternate reality game centred around the upcoming “Mayan apocalypse”.
“Mankind has been warned. On December 21 there will be a cataclysmic event that marks the end of time as we know it. It is time to prepare,” Funcom has warned, inviting all comers to register for a new AR game “set in and around The Secret World universe” to “prepare you for this inevitable cosmic event” and give themselves “a fighting chance to survive”.
December 21 marks the end of the 5,125 year Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, otherwise known as the Mayan Apocalypse or 2012 Phenomenon.
Funcom hasn’t said how the AR game will play out, but it does note that such affairs typically involve using “aspects of the real world as a platform to tell a story”.
“Individuals and companies that may seem to be part of the real world are actually actors who have adapted according to a storyline that only you are aware of. Part narrative and part interactive, the ARG happens in real time and will interact with you via the channel of your choice,” it said.
The Secret World players who participate have a chance to unlock in-game rewards – an exclusive Monk outfit, experience potions, special items only available with Issue #6 such as an end of days survival outfit, and an invitation to an online end of days celebration event with members of the development team.
Visit the AR Game’s hub to opt-in, enlist your friends, and listen to a spooky sound file which is probably already being decoded by Funcom’s legion of extremely clever fans. Funcom optionally allows you to enter your phone number, Twitter handle, and enlist a friend, after which it ominously thanks you.
Game director Joel Bylos hinted at a new holiday event for the narrative-driven MMORPG in his latest developer update, delightedly distancing The Secret World from the usual faux-Christmas celebrations.
The Secret World is famous for its AR elements; Funcom set up dozens of fake websites for use in or just in support of the game, and ran puzzling teaser events years ahead of launch, building up the MMORPG’s fiction and community of sleuths. You can read about one such game on MMORPG.com.