Freshers in retrospect
It’s nice to finally show you the case video of Freshers (Feuten), the most successful transmedia project we’ve seen in the Netherlands, and I’m proud that I’ve worked on this project from the beginning to the end. Check out this casevideo:
I’ve described the app in an earlier post, and now i would like to take you through the Alternate Reality Game (ARG), since that was one of the most immersive parts of the whole project.
This storyline starts on television, when freshman Jeroen Beeksma is accused of a theft he didn’t commit. On Twitter and on his blog, which is published in the app, he says he is determined to find out who framed him and he asks for the players’ help.
When somebody tells him this might be the work of Filius Septimus, the online search begins. Players could find various websites, blogs and video’s we’ve created to make this secret society seem real. The history of this society, that has connections with Skull and Bones, seems to go back to the Golden Age. Could it be founded by admiral Michiel de Ruyter? And is Olivier de Ruyter, one of the main characters of Freshers, his heir? Is it a conspiracy? Or is it the truth?
Weird things start to happen. The videoblogger that had no doubts about the existence of Filius Septimus, now posts a video confession that he made it all up. And an old manifest is found in a dead mans attic and sold on eBay for 12.000 euros. Scraps of that exact same manifest daubed with letters are sent to players by e-mail or Twitter, when they put the pieces together they find a website of a whistleblower who leaks information about Filius Septimus to the players. He uses his website, passwords, encrypted codes, video’s with hidden messages and at one point even a pizza delivery service to hand out new information.
The players, with Jeroen in the lead, follow the breadcrumbs of the whistleblower to a live finale. The players were invited in, one by one. Blindfolded they had to swear loyalty to the society. After a moment of reflection during a piano concert the whistleblower reveals himself. He is a member of Filius Septimus and he tested his new crew. These few players who made it to the end are now in on the secret, and part of the mighty society.
This ARG was played by a small group of members, because it was not very easy to find this game in the first place and to keep up with the story that developed every day. It was nice to see the players cooperate and become true friends. I guess next time we would like to make something more accessible for a larger group of people, because this type of storytelling is awesome. We want more people to realize that.