Online fans of real-time strategy developer Relic Entertainment have discovered evidence to suggest that at least two high profile members of the Company of Heroes
team have left to form their own company, following clues left on a viral marketing website.
A short press release was issued yesterday by PR agency Freeform Communications with the title: “From the producer of the most critically acclaimed real-time strategy game of all time [according to Gamerankings.com] comes a new force in games development”. The rest of the press releases consists of a single sentence: “To confirm the first clue and break the puzzle visit www.exoriare.com
Access to the website is limited by a simple password puzzle (the answer to which is “QUO”), with entry simply highlighting the longitude and latitude of the PC accessing the website, with the implication that once 112,112 users have accessed the site further information will be revealed.
The highest rated real-time strategy game on Gamerankings.com is Company of Heroes
, which implies that producer John Johnson is behind the new studio. A post on the Relicnews fan site forum
by a Relic Entertainment employee named “Buggo” appears to confirm this, with others fans discovering that the domain name registration details includes references to both Johnson and former Relic employee Drew Dunlop.
Fans on the website’s forum have also discovered two additional domains using the same contact information, in the form of smokinggungames.com and smokingguninc.com – although these websites are currently blank. Fans have therefore inferred that Smoking Gun is the name of the new studio and Exoriare (Latin for “to rise”) either the name of the company’s first game or somehow related to its story.