Ten Year Anniversary

Ten years ago a significant event occurred: A game and story was produced which joined a list of groundbreaking entertainment campaigns, winning awards and creating a community of fans that would forever remember its legacy.

Before Halo 2 was released, an Alternate Reality Game coined “I Love Bees” became a prominent name, ushering an era of mainstream ARGs. The first of its type within the mainstream video gaming genre, this promo campaign took the Halo storyworld to a new level by expanding on the story that at the time only existed within the scope of Halo: Combat Evolved and another relatively minor promotional project localized to the core Bungie community in their own forums – the Cortana Letters.

In 2004, ILB was launched by the flash of the URL “ilovebees.com” in the Halo 2 theatrical trailer, and also via honey jars filled with letters, mailed to select news outlets, such as ARGN.com. At this point, I would be remiss to fail plugging the special ARGFest taking place in Portland, Oregon over July 31-August 2, 2014. A significant portion of this ARGFest is dedicated to the 10 year anniversary of I Love Bees, and shouldn’t be missed!

But this post isn’t about I Love Bees…

:@)

Rolling back to 2009, a small band of people set out to create a grassroots ARG, an homage to I Love Bees. Actually, to create a prelude to an ARG which became a grassroots ARG itself:

This Was The Way Their World Ended, Prologue: Intimation

What became known to players as “Intimation” was an ARG created as a project we’d hoped would help bridge the gap between I Love Bees and other extended and promotional content, and the grander Halo storyworld which existed in the video games and the growing number of major additional supplemental Halo story content, such as those released in novels, comics, and animated shorts.

Observing over the years sentiments from Halo fans who never had a chance to participate in the I Love Bees ARG, I wanted to tell a new story, inspired by I Love Bees, as a tip of the hat to that experience, designed with those people in mind. The hope was to create a traditional ARG that would mirror some of the themes and experiences from ILB for new players, and provide some nostalgia for veteran ILB players, and also begin telling an epic tale that’s been brewing in my head since the days ILB concluded.

The result is an ARG we consider the Prologue – a shaky first-time production from a puppetmaster team of creatives, which had its ups and downs with tough lessons learned and wonderful memories made, on both sides of the curtain.

An Intimation…

With this year being the 10th anniversary of I Love Bees, these events categorized as the “Intimation” ARG are detailed out for its 5 year anniversary in a Case Study that will be released shortly here on 4dfiction.com. It is long and detailed, but should hopefully be an interesting read both for players of the ARG, and for creators of ARGs.

It was a beginner’s ARG, with a reach that exceeded its grasp, but carried out by a team that put every effort into its production and sustainability, seeing it through to the end. And this announcement has been under wraps for 5 years. It’s time the truth was known!

The events of Halo reach much deeper than we realize… As the SFTA can attest.

Intimation: A Grassroots ARG Case Study