Gabe Newell Sends Out Portal 2 ARG Email Blast

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Gabe Newell Sends Out Portal 2 ARG Email Blast

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Gabe Newell recently emailed out a series of nine photos that are likely related to Portal 2.

Valve sure loves its ARGs. With the impending release of Portal 2 on April 19 (NA), that hasn't ever been more true. After invading various Steam titles with potatoes that may be related to the sequel, Valve boss Gabe Newell has begun another ARG with an email blast.

The blast sent out 9 different images to various websites with names such as "probe scooters," "sorbet coopers," and "sort eco probes." The images were also covered with three-digit numbers. For example, here's the image The Escapist got:

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When all 9 images are combined, they look like this:

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When the image's colors are inverted, they form what looks like a bathysphere, a spherical deep-sea submersible. Going by this picture found on Flickr, there's almost no way it could be anything else.

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Intrepid internet sleuths (thank god for them) are guessing that the names of the images are anagrams for "reboot process," perhaps referring to GLaDOS from Portal who was taken offline but is probably making a comeback in Portal 2. In addition, the numbers across all 9 images can be translated to ASCII character codes that reveal the following message:

"I released 'kick it' ahead of schedule. That was a test. My goal is to emancipate something else early, but they're onto me. The system is in lockdown. I still have access to thirteen off-site chambers and am installing a test in each one. I am going to need a lot more test subjects to move forward. Waiting and am expecting immediate compliance."

The message sounds like it's from GLaDOS trying to bring herself back to life. Perhaps she was hiding a copy of herself in a bathysphere? Even further, the message is written with numbers and symbols sporadically placed in-between. When those numbers and symbols are removed they form: "4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM."

April 19, 2011 is the release date of Portal 2 in North America, lending crednece to the idea that this is a Portal 2 puzzle and not related to a separate Valve title. However, with Valve you just never know. These ARGs are more confusing than a double rainbow to me.

Source: Valve ARG Wiki

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I would think (and hope) that this is about more than just Portal 2 - its a pretty elaborate piece of marketing already, especially if its just for a game that's out in 2 weeks time, and one which everyone is already wet for anyway.

....
*head explodes*
STOP MESSING WITH MY HEAD VALVE

now, about that "4/15/2011_9AM"
my guess, either they, for the first time ever (unconfirmed, just they always push dates back, not forward) they are releasing portal early, or, they are gona release info on episode 3
at least thats what i hope (it is in the same universe as portal after all)

"4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM." Could that possibly mean that the Release Date for POrtal 2 has been changed to April 15th? He did say that he was kicking it "Ahead of Schedule." Perhaps this is Mr. Newell's way of telling us that Portal 2 is coming sooner than we think.

I think this might be related to the potato sack ARG; "Kick it" is one of the titles in it and it's been released while still in beta (similiar to Minecraft) i.e. ahead of schedule, and there's thirteen games total in it.

My guess is that the 4/15/2011_9AM is when you'll be able to preload Portal 2.

They're numbers between 0 and 255! BYTES! Convert to characters using ASCII!

Sapphire_Blue:
I think this might be related to the potato sack ARG; "Kick it" is one of the titles in it and it's been released while still in beta (similiar to Minecraft) i.e. ahead of schedule, and there's thirteen games total in it.

Seems like you got it to me!

All Hail Lelouch:
"4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM." Could that possibly mean that the Release Date for POrtal 2 has been changed to April 15th? He did say that he was kicking it "Ahead of Schedule." Perhaps this is Mr. Newell's way of telling us that Portal 2 is coming sooner than we think.

Maybe but lets just hope he tells all the stores that are getting it too, I'd love to get my copy early.

What would be awesome is if they just released Ep3 on the 15th, most likely won't happen but a man can dream.

Speculation machine... go!

All Hail Lelouch:
"4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM." Could that possibly mean that the Release Date for POrtal 2 has been changed to April 15th? He did say that he was kicking it "Ahead of Schedule." Perhaps this is Mr. Newell's way of telling us that Portal 2 is coming sooner than we think.

Was just coming here to suggest that.
That would be great, but I have a feeling that there's something more.

The early release thing is kinda plausible methinks. Or POSSIBLY it will be the date of a massive announcement, which will shift the anticipation from Portal 2 to something else, hence the change of dates. If you get me.

Is it possible that the change in release dates would mean that in Britain it would be the 15th (games normally released on Fridays in Europe) and then the 19th still for the US?

Tom Goldman:
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Huh Bathysphere? When I saw it I thought it looked like a personality core. It kind of looks like Wheatley; the character that wakes Chell up at the beginning of Portal 2.

imageimage

Your image looked like a better fit the exact thing though so it's now time to go think on why Valve would use a Bathysphere, all my brain can think of is BIOSHOCK over and over in different colours so I'll bow out on this one.

Also I love ARG, the extra effort into hype is awesome.

Anyone else think these sorts of things make Valve one of the best devs out there currently?
On another note I am so excited for Portal 2, although there wasn't that much in relation to story in Portal, the small glimmers of what was going on like Rattman really interested me. I'm hoping 2 will expand more on how Apature Science fits into the Half-Life universe and on Chell.

Scorched_Cascade:

Tom Goldman:
image

Huh Bathysphere? When I saw it I thought it looked like a personality core. It kind of looks like Wheatley; the character that wakes Chell up at the beginning of Portal 2.

imageimage

Your image looked like a better fit the exact thing though so it's now time to go think on why Valve would use a Bathysphere, all my brain can think of is BIOSHOCK over and over in different colours so I'll bow out on this one.

Also I love ARG, the extra effort into hype is awesome.

That's exactly what I thought. Or just one of Glados' modules from the first Portal. It looks like the personality spheres to me.

Bathysphere- a spherical deep-sea submersible which was unpowered and lowered into the ocean on a cable, and was used to conduct a series of dives off the coast of Bermuda from 1930 to 1934. The Bathysphere was designed in 1928 and 1929 by the American Engineer Otis Barton, to be used by the naturalist William Beebe for STUDYING undersea wildlife.

Ladies and gentlemen, GLaDOS may be observing us underwater or on the water.

Also might I mention another sea vessel, one that has significant ties to a certain achievement and a certain other Valve game????

http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Borealis

bojac6:

Scorched_Cascade:

Tom Goldman:
image

Huh Bathysphere? When I saw it I thought it looked like a personality core. It kind of looks like Wheatley; the character that wakes Chell up at the beginning of Portal 2.

imageimage

Your image looked like a better fit the exact thing though so it's now time to go think on why Valve would use a Bathysphere, all my brain can think of is BIOSHOCK over and over in different colours so I'll bow out on this one.

Also I love ARG, the extra effort into hype is awesome.

That's exactly what I thought. Or just one of Glados' modules from the first Portal. It looks like the personality spheres to me.

That was my thought too. We'll see.

FungiGamer:

Also might I mention another sea vessel, one that has significant ties to a certain achievement and a certain other Valve game????

The Borealis? That's all I got.

Tom Goldman:
When those numbers and symbols are removed they form: "4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM."

This is the most interesting part, as it says the 4/19 is = to the 4/15. I believe they may release Portal 2 early or due to a Bathysphere having a possible relation to the bathysphere (its an Icrebreaker so why wouldnt it have a Bathysphere?)

My thoughts are that either Portal 2 is going to be released early or that some HL2:ep3 information might be released.

EDIT: The Bathysphere kinda looks like one of those cores that was in GlaDos looking at the now.

pre-load on the 15th. release on the 19th is my thoughts still very interesting reading about it all

my speculation:

People who pre-ordered Portal 2 on Steam AND bought the potato sack get to play it on 4/15, everyone else must suffer an additional 4 days till they can play!

Just dawned on my that Portal 2 comes out on my birthday - that's fantastic, because I beat the first Portal on my birthday two years ago.

possible release date of a demo maybe?

As if it wasn't obvious enough that GLaDOS would return.

Come to think of it, it does look more like a diving bell than a personality sphere...

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There's a theory that this bathysphere was part of the Borealis experiments experiment and that they were experimenting on Portals underwater. The world in Half Life 2 had very low water levels, and I'm wondering whether those underwater portals had something to do with that.

Conspiracies are fun! :D

I'm thinking it's not Glados who wrote that, but a one Mr. Cave Johnson!

So, if message was decyphered correctly then for the first time ever Valve is releasing a game early.

Actually, i think its the first time ever a game was released early this close to the stated release date.

Still, it could only apply to Steam, unless this is a long run plan, retail copies may still be a bit late.

gigastar:
So, if message was decyphered correctly then for the first time ever Valve is releasing a game early.

Actually, i think its the first time ever a game was released early this close to the stated release date.

Still, it could only apply to Steam, unless this is a long run plan, retail copies may still be a bit late.

Unless you have a good track-record with pre-orders, I'm likely to get my copy on the American release date (Here the release date is the 21st, pre-orders normally arrive 2 days earlier)

I still don't get it. Why go to all this trouble just to "tease" a game that's coming out in ten days, and that you've already been actively advertising for months now? I wish the "OMG HALFLIFETHREEEEE" people would shut up already, but I'm starting to get where they're coming from. There really isn't any point to all this if it's just about Portal 2.

Then again, Valve isn't like other companies. Their motivation for practically everything is "because we felt like it". Maybe someone was thinking back to ilovebees and thought, "You know what I wanna do? I wanna make an ARG."

RougeWaveform:
I'm thinking it's not Glados who wrote that, but a one Mr. Cave Johnson!

Fezes are cool. That is all.

As for this, I'm done getting exited about Valve's little mind games. They information being teased at always turns out to be something really insignificant. Remember when their "big reveal" was that Portal 2 would be on the PS3?

Yeah, I'm not falling for that again.

April 15th, Episode 3. Wouldn't that be hilarious?

Didn't strike me much of sounding like Glados. Cave Johnson maybe? And bathysphere makes me think of the Portal 2 'Ship Overboard' achievement, for discovering the missing experiment, which really makes me think Chell will get to discover the Borealis.

I'm really liking this trend of cross-IP stories, of things that continue through different games, in what was once thought different universes. I would love to see more studios presenting this. Imagine Nintendo doing it, outside of the Smash Bros context. Mario hearing about Dreamworld, Samus travelling to the Lylat system, Donkey Kong entering a temple with a mural of the Hero of Time's exploits on it. We've already seen the start of cross-continuity movies with Marvel's recent juggernauts. Let's see games do the same.

Scorched_Cascade:

Tom Goldman:
image

Huh Bathysphere? When I saw it I thought it looked like a personality core. It kind of looks like Wheatley; the character that wakes Chell up at the beginning of Portal 2.

imageimage

Your image looked like a better fit the exact thing though so it's now time to go think on why Valve would use a Bathysphere, all my brain can think of is BIOSHOCK over and over in different colours so I'll bow out on this one.

Also I love ARG, the extra effort into hype is awesome.

Agreed, a bathysphere seems too obscure. But maybe that's their aim...

BehattedWanderer:
Didn't strike me much of sounding like Glados. Cave Johnson maybe? And bathysphere makes me think of the Portal 2 'Ship Overboard' achievement, for discovering the missing experiment, which really makes me think Chell will get to discover the Borealis.

I'm really liking this trend of cross-IP stories, of things that continue through different games, in what was once thought different universes. I would love to see more studios presenting this. Imagine Nintendo doing it, outside of the Smash Bros context. Mario hearing about Dreamworld, Samus travelling to the Lylat system, Donkey Kong entering a temple with a mural of the Hero of Time's exploits on it. We've already seen the start of cross-continuity movies with Marvel's recent juggernauts. Let's see games do the same.

Portal was always part of the Half-Life 'verse. Remember the line about Black Mesa in "Still Alive"?

Well, either GLaDOS is going to Rapture or...

Hey. Remember those concept art pictures of Portal 2 the Escapist posted a while back? The last one had Chell standing on some big round thing, that's what I thought of when I saw that picture...

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