Portal 2 is officially scheduled to launch on April 19 in North America and on April 21 in Europe and Australia. Or is it? Following Valve’s release of The Potato Sack collection of indie games, fans have been discovering and decoding a series of cryptic messages tucked away via Alternative Reality Games (ARG) in the 13 titles included in the bundle, suggesting that Portal 2 may be ready to play as soon as April 15.
For example, since the release of The Potato Sack, BIT.TRIP BEAT received an update with a level designed by Portal’s GLaDOS and a message suggesting that playing more Potato Sack games could result in an early release of Portal 2.
Above: An image from Dejobaan.net, which chronicles highlights from the series of hidden messages released through the titles included in The Potato Sack collection
The message that accompanied the BIT.TRIP BEAT update:
Like the other 12 games in Valve's Potato Sack, it is rumored that playing BIT.TRIP BEAT between now and Portal 2's "scheduled" release date might increase the chances that Portal 2 is released early. Interesting idea...
It sure is! According to Kotaku, Steam users are reporting that Portal 2 is already ready to pre-load, which doesn’t usually happen until 48 hours before a game’s launch date. The most promising decoded message so far uses some creative math, which also supports the early release date theory:
One popular theory is that Portal’s GLaDOS has hacked Steam, infecting the Potato Sack titles and forcing an early release of Portal 2. So will Portal 2 release ahead of schedule on April 15? If it does, will the early release be exclusive to Steam users? We expect more clues to surface from the ongoing Potato Sack ARG investigation in the coming days, but we’ll know for sure at 9:00 am on Friday, April 15.
In the meantime, you can get an “official” summary of the cryptic clues and hints revealed by the Potato Sack alternate reality games on Dejobaan’s website and Twitter. We also think you’ll have fun poking around the Valve PotatoFoolsDay ARG Wiki.
Apr 13, 2011