Over the weekend, the teaser site that was purported to be referencing a new addition to the Fallout saga has been updated, and now leaves no doubt that this is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) designed by Bethesda to promote the announcement of a new Fallout title.
The site went through a number of changes over the weekend, firstly to fix the time stamps and the clock to ensure that the site would update at the same time for anyone in the world visiting it. At the same time, mirror sites that are currently empty were discovered and all redirect to a support e-mail address for an administrator working for Zenimax.
The Morse code was changed again on the morning of 28 November (more on this below) and now carries the following message:
“Calling all stations, this is overseer 119 emergency enemy unknown, SOS. Vault 119 Quabbin 7667, repeat, SOS, Vault 119 Quabbin 7667 enemy unknown.”
The site also carries a message that was encrypted using a cipher and the passphrase “VAULT TEC.” The main message now reads:
“THE INSTITUTE IS SEALED. THEY WON’T HELP US. I’M HEADING TO BLACK ROW. -NGQHT 5120.”
Later, another Morse code was uploaded to the site which says the following:
“Calling all stations, this is Vault Overseer 119, anybody near Quabbin? SOS Vault door breach, repeat, SOS Vault door breach, enemy unknown, level 1, 2, and 3 gone, survivors on level 4.”
On 2 December, a third new Morse code was uploaded to the site and says the following:
“Calling all stations, this is Vault 119, SOS, Level 4 is under attack, Overseer is dead, repeat, SOS, Level 4 is under attack, Overseer is dead. We want Mark I. We won’t make it.”
The teaser site is now clearly a game designed to give Fallout fans a glimpse of the story they’ll be playing through. By the Morse code updates, it appears that players will be thrust into Vault 119 located near Quabbin, a region inside the town of St. Bare in the state of Massachusetts.
The vault will be attacked by an outside enemy and the Overseer will be murdered. Its possible that the protagonist in the story (the survivor?) will be tasked with facing off the enemy and exiting the vault to brave the war-worn wasteland.
In the week prior to the reveal, it was also discovered that the site had previously been updating its Morse code messages frequently. One fan created a script to take snapshots of the contents of the website every time it was updated with timestamps, and has posted it on Github for posterity. Below follows the various messages that were left for fans on the site, as well as the days they were updated.
14 November – “11.12.13, 12.11.13” (This is confirmed to be the date that the site reveals its final secret and is reversed for EU visitors who put the month in front of the date.)
14 November – “Calling all stations, this is Vault Overseer 119, anybody near Quabbin? SOS Vault door breach, repeat, SOS Vault door breach, enemy unknown, level 1, 2, and 3 gone, survivors on level 4.”
14 November – “Calling all stations, this is overseer 119 emergency enemy unknown, SOS. Vault 119 Quabbin 7667, repeat, SOS, Vault 119 Quabbin 7667 enemy unknown.”
15 November – “Calling all stations, calling all stations, calling all stations, this is Vault Tec 2510730 one six emergency Vault Tec shelter for survivors in Quabbin, no.119, repeat, emergency Vault Tec shelter for survivors in quabbin, no.119, over.”
15 November – “OZ(BGP), this is SZ(CNC), msg EF(QBN) is hit, repeat, EF(QBN) is hit.” (still needs to be transcribed properly)
25 November – ““NCRA UNIT BST 314 7 EMRG MSG NEW YORK STAGE 7 WASHINGTON STAGE 7 LOS ANGELES STAGE 7 AUSTIN STAGE 7 CHICAGO STAGE 7 NEW ORLEAN STAGE 7 LAS VEGAS UNKNOWN MIAMI STAGE 7 DALLAS STAGE 7 DENVER STAGE 7 SAN DIEGO STAGE 7 SAN FRANCISCO STAGE 7 BOSTO-…””
20 November – “Calling Any Station, Calling Any Station, Calling Any Station, This is From OZ (Oscar Zulu?), Please Wait.”
27 November – “Calling all stations, calling all stations, calling all stations. Boston is gone, I repeat, Boston is gone. No Hope. Frequency 3450 Return Transmission. God Bless America.”
For reference, Stage 7 is the highest alert level on the Nuclear Event Scale, used to categorise disaster levels for areas hit by a nuclear blast. This is the first indication that the events of the game may also include parts of the story dedicated to telling how the war began and the aftermath of the bomb drops.
The NCRA (National Catastrophe Relief Auxiliary) is referenced in Fallout: New Vegas, a group of volunteers dispatched to emergency locations the day before the bombs were dropped.
There is now no doubt about the site’s authenticity, but the wait for 11 December is certainly going to be a long one.