There's no way of truly knowing if this marketing mystery detailed on The Vault (and Joystiq) is truly related to Fallout: New Vegas, but I suppose there is enough evidence to summarize it in a newsbit. Apparently various websites have received a Richard Wright-stamped envelope containing a flash drive with two files and.... well, Joystiq tells it better:
Today, we received an unmarked USB storage device in a mysterious, unmarked envelope. The drive held a simple text file, with the following words: Cryptography; Isotope; Philanthropy; Hydrogen; Ember; Rebirth. Oh, this one's easy! Cryptography; Isotope; Philanthropy; Hydrogen; Ember; Rebirth. Cipher! But for what? Bravo, video game journalists! So what do a couple of coded messages and a bizarre and somewhat scary website have to do with Fallout: New Vegas? Ausir details the evidence:
An audio file embedded on the same drive offered only some electronic voices, a sequence of letters and numbers read by a female voice -- M O D [sound of 3 chimes] Z Z Z J N Q R Y D 3 F R P -- and some words spoken by a man: "What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also," followed by, "Don't believe everything you see."
The identity of the man speaking may be impossible to determine, but you might recognize the person he's quoting initially: Julius Caesar. Using a Caesar cipher, and assuming that "mod" and the sound of 3 chimes signaled a shift of 3 letters, we ended up with "W W W G K N O V A 6 COM." That led to a mysterious website, featuring a small, adjustable television set.
More codes and quotes! As best as we and our partner Google can determine, the quote emanating from the television is from Francis Bacon and -- yes, that's right. Bacon Cipher. It's less delicious than it sounds.
The audio message on the website simply spells out "Nova Six" over and over, but some of the letters are spoken by a male, whereas other are spoken by a female. Bacon's method of steganography is used to hide messages within plain sight, usually with different type faces. We assumed that the male and female voices offered a similar method of obfuscation, and converted each male letter to "A" and each female letter to "B."
At the very end, a voice utters, "Hell is purple." Et voila: Purple Hell offers an automatic converter for the "Baconian Cipher." After plugging in our converted string of letters, we received this confirmation:
"APRIL WEEK TWO."
The evidence almost entirely suggests Fallout: New Vegas. However, it is possible that much of the evidence is coincidence. The evidence is: I'm not convinced, but I suppose we'll know for sure within the next several days.
- The Maryland postal stamp, indicating it came from Maryland,
- The audio defects in the audio messages that can be associated with 50s era technology
- Slot machine noises can be heard in the background of the audio messages
- The nuclear themes on the website along with most of the other imagery and the style it is presented