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Frictional, the Soma folks, are teasing their next game with an ARG

“I should go check on the Frictional website,” I thought to myself when I woke up this morning. I’ll call it a premonition, though I clearly wasn’t the first to have it. If you hadn’t heard, Frictional Games, developers of Soma and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, recently updated their website nextfrictionalgame.com with a spooky pulsating little symbol. It morphed once already, and has morphed again, beginning a merry chase of YouTube videos and hints presumably related to Frictional’s next game.

Three weeks ago, I speculated that the little white symbol on Frictional’s site looked a bit like a neuron. Only a few days later, you lot noticed that it had changed into something new. An embryo, maybe? Now it’s—well I’m not sure what really—but it’s changed again and more importantly there’s a new button on the page next to Frictional’s social media links.

Over on Resetera, user “Foxnull,” shares that while clicking the Egyptian-looking eye symbol doesn’t seem to do anything, hovering over it shows text that is the proper length for a YouTube video code. Using the text “suWaF-aIdV4” as part of a YouTube URL leads to this odd video of rocks. But ah, not just rocks, someone is trying to video some kind of odd symbol drawn on them.

Next, Foxnull inspected the HTML for the page, finding another YouTube code hidden in the page header. With the meta title “artefact,” the next string of text leads to another video. This one is audio-only. Headphone users beware, it’s a creepy monster scream.

Resetera aren’t the only ones following the loose threads Frictional have left for us to find. The Frictional Games Discord now has a channel “general_unannounced” dedicated to, well, whatever this unannounced game is. Folks are speculating what the text from each YouTube video description might mean and digging for more clues.

The leads so far seem to be as follows: in the video of rocks, titled “Box 52, Tape 16,” the description references “Shetpe, KSSR,” a small village in Kazakhstan. The audio track, titled “Box 7 Reel 2, Partial Success,” has the words “Triple Crown,” in its description. Speculation seems to be that the text references the Egyptian “Triple Atef Crown,” which would pair nicely with the Egyptian style eye symbol from the website and the village Shetpe. Kazakhstan isn’t exactly next door to Egypt, but it’s in the neighborhood at least. Shoutout to “partial success” as well. Science gone wrong is always spooky.

I’d originally suspected that the neuron symbol that first appeared on Frictional’s website could point to another Soma game, given how much Frictional’s underwater horror game focused on the mind and consciousness. The scream in the second video certainly sounds like the scream of the WAU creatures from Soma to me, but that’s just a guess. If you want to keep a close eye on clues as they’re uncovered, Frictional’s Discord seems like the place to be.

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Lauren Morton

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