No Man's Sky's entertainingly convoluted Waking Titan ARG appears to be back, and fans are picking apart its mysterious messages in a bid to work out what might be next for Hello Games' ever-expanding space game.
Waking Titan began meting out its carefully orchestrated parade of online and real-world enigmas soon after it was discovered in May last year. Before long, participants had linked it to No Man's Sky, and it eventually culminated, some three months later, with the release of the game's 1.3 update, also known as Atlas Rises. There's a great summary video of the whole ARG so far by YouTuber CobraTV below.
Atlas Rises added an enormous number of features and improvements to No Man's Sky, including a brand-new story, interstellar portals, a new alien race, improvements to exploration, flight, and trading, randomly generated quests, and even the beginnings of multiplayer co-op. It was a big 'un, and managed to rekindle my initially short-lived enthusiasm for the game into a 200+ hour obsession.
When update 1.3 launched, Hello Games called it "an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man's Sky", and fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new update - hopefully featuring further improvements to multiplayer - ever since.
Now that the Waking Titan ARG appears to have spluttered back to life, many fans believe that the release of No Man's Sky's next big update is, if not exactly imminent, being teased and on the way.
At present, as chronicled by the invaluable Waking Titan Wiki, investigations are largely focussed on the Waking Titan website. As of late December last year, the tenth of 15 glyphs has been unlocked; clicking the glyph at the bottom of the site brings up a password entry screen and a link to a Google Drive folder featuring a number of images reflected in mirrors. There's also the matter of Sean Murray's suspiciously timely Black Mirror tweet below too.
Neither the password or the relevance of the mirrors (interestingly, the titles of the photos, when strung together, also produce an anagram for "mirror" in hexidecimal) is yet known.
Better progress has been made on the command entry portion of the site. Prior to the launch of update 1.3, inputting specific commands on the terminal screen elicited certain responses. Since December, fans have discovered a number of tantalising new responses to old commands. Typing in "WhoIs", for instance, returns the value "#WhatIs1.5".
That's immediately intriguing, and slightly confounding, given that the next expected No Man's Sky update is 1.4. Some fans are convinced that Hello Games may be poised to surprise-launch a 1.4 update any day now (it's been roughly three months since 1.3 launched, and previous updates have released every three months or so, the thinking goes), while the ARG focusses on a major 1.5 update. Of course, "1.5" might refer to something else entirely.
As for what update 1.5 might include on its arrival, that's anyone guess right now. One theory though (based on the fact that the command "WhoAmI" returns a "not yet unlocked" value, rather than a generic error message) is that 1.5 might allow players to define an avatar-style presence for themselves in-game, ready for the expanded multiplayer - which could also explain the recurring "mirror" theme. Currently, other players are represented by simple floating orbs when together on the same planet.
The only other known puzzle piece at present is tied to the physical Atlas Passes that certain participants in the previous ARG phase have begun to receive. These include a series of hexidecimals which can be decoded to read "phoenix". Some have speculated that this implies No Man's Sky's universe is due for another reset come the next update.
With this latest phase of the Waking Titan ARG seemingly only just beginning, it could be a while before No Man's Sky's new mysteries are solved. It's exciting to watch unfold, though.
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