Endgame: Ancient Societies ARG Wrap-up – It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been…
So, it has taken me awhile to write this article. Longer than it should have, but I’ve been in denial. I wanted Stella and Robyn and all of the gang to continue on, telling their story and leading me along on a merry journey. But that is not to be. Alternate Reality Games (ARG) usually serve one of two purposes: they are introducing a specific person, place or thing in a storyworld and they serve as a bridge, to get you from one place to another, one season to another, and so on. They are meant to start and then have a “finish”. Sometimes the finish is a completely contained story and sometimes it is a chapter in a much larger story. Such is the case with Endgame: Ancient Societies.
On July 31, 2015, Stella Vyctory AKA Sophie posted a farewell to her students on her blog; a picture of Stella made from images of player’s avatars. The week before there had been hints the ARG was coming to an end as a countdown theme was woven into many elements (changing the time the challenges were posted, putting in countdown measures in some of the challenge solutions). Also, the puppetmasters behind the curtain began to post candid shots and behind the scenes pictures from the ARG production. The farewell was a nice hat tip, but it was bittersweet in many ways. Many had thought the ARG would at least run through the end of the year as well as until the Endgame: Proving Grounds mobile app debuted. At this point there is still no word of the app’s debut and the next book, Endgame: Skykey, is set to be released in October.
So how did Endgame: Ancient Societies wind down? Honestly, it was a bit awkward rushed, missed opportunities and felt half finished; but maybe I just didn’t want it to end. The last month the story had been slowly trickling out and sometimes it would progress with a coherent storyline, but other times the story would dwell on subject breaking it up into very small bits and then skipping other story points completely. An example was the meeting between Angela Sanning and Stella. This was built up over many months and then, somehow the meeting happened and we moved on to other story without even a text recap of what happened between the two. I can understand if there was no video, but you can still do a lot with text and images.
And then there was the last big reveal. I am sure this plot twist sets up the second book and is a major piece of what the ARG was designed to do, but again, it felt half-realized. The last week sets up with planning a raid on the Vyctory Casino (for some reason not really understood, but hey, we all were having fun and so played along, right?). It is Graduation Day and time to go after Wayland. The setup was actually very nice, a mult-tiered puzzle starting with finding a directory on the Wayland Casino site. Looking through the directory reveals many fun items. There are some nice Easter Eggs in those files, I encourage you to spend a little time going through them. There are also nods and credits to those involved in the ARG.
The found files lead to a raid on the Casino with help from RIMA (did we ever find out who the bleep RIMA is?). This was followed by a “shocking” revelation. The last challenge starts with an altered challenge page image as a sinister face flashes occasionally. Who is this flashing face (I think the player suggestion of Voldemort’s lost twin was my favorite)? The story page for the day leads to a potential answer for the mysterious flashing face; it’s Ea. No, it’s Jake. No, it’s Wayland. No, it was Mr. Green in the library with the lead pipe. It seems the suit that was being pressed we kept hearing about was Jake; or was John as Wayland, or was…
So, Ea, a potential alien, has ditched being Wayland and is now Jake (are you following? I’m struggling a bit too). We had a message earlier between James Hawkins and Wayland/Edward that James knew Wayland was really Ea. Who is Ea? Well that is a question many have as it is one of the unanswered ARG questions, hopefully to be answered in the upcoming novels. Anyhoos, goodbye Stella and thanks for everything, I did enjoy following your crazy story and hope maybe to be your Student again sometime. TTFN
Thank you for sticking with me through these recaps. Feel free to give me a holler anytime. I am already off chasing other stories, other research and other fun and I will be sure to keep you updated on all the fun and story.
Jojo – so long and thanks for all the fish 😉