Rumours are circulating that the sequel to the successful puzzle-based game Portal will be released today, a week ahead of its scheduled release date.
The rumours are based on dates deciphered from images released by VALVe Software’s president Gabe Newell to various gaming websites including Joystiq and MacRumours (see photo). In total 9 images were sent out and the pictures clearly formed a 3×3 tiled composite image. As hinted by the inverted picture, the numbers are translated to a message by inverting them also (bitwise inversion by subtracting from 255) to obtain an ASCII message.
XORing each number with 0xFF (or, equivalently, subtracting the number from 255) gives us ASCII character codes which seem to spell out a message:
| i rel | e4se | d/ ‘k | // i released ‘kick
| ick 1 | t’ a | head | // it’ ahead
| of sc | hedu | le. t | // of schedule.
| hat w | as a | test | // that was a test.
| . my | 9oal | / is | // my goal is
| 2 ema | ncip | ate s | // to emancipate
| 0meth | 1ng | else | // something else
| early | . bu | t the | // early. but
| y’re | on t | o me. | // they’re on to me.
| the | syst | am 1s | // the system is
| _ in | lock | down. | // in lockdown.
| i s7 | ill | have | // i still have
| acces | s to | thir | // access to thirteen
| teen | off- | site | // off-site
| chamb | ers | and A | // chambers and
| M= in | st4l | llin/ | // am installing
| a te | st 1 | n eac | // a test in each
| h one | . i | am go | // one. I am
| ing t | o ne | ed a | // going to need a
| lot m | ore | test | // lot more test
| 5ubje | cts/ | 2 m0 | // subjects to move
| ve fo | rwar | d. wa | // forward. Waiting
| 1t1_n | 9 an | d AM | // and am
| expec | ting | imme | // expecting
| diate | com | plian | // immediate compliance.
| ce. | | |
The 9th and final piece of the puzzle was discovered to be coded differently to the previous 8. While the meaning was not changed, extra letters in the message spelled out
4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM, which has yet to be given any meaning. However, in light of the decoded message, "emancipating something early" and given that April 19th at 7am PST is the official release time for Portal 2 on Steam it is likely to be hinting at an early release for Portal 2.
Adding momentum to this theory is a countdown clock which has been discovered through a hidden url on the aperturescience.com website. The countdown is set to end today at 5pm GMT or 9am PST with the message “The time is near, humans. But it is not here yet. Tomorrow you will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed.”
Portal 2 will be available from Steam on PC and Mac and will also be available on XBox 360 and Playstation 3 after its’ official release…….whenever that is!
Portal 2 Co-Op Trailer