“They’re coming.” That was the short and cryptic message thousands of people received around the world earlier this week when they checked their mail. On a black and green postcard with no return address, a series of enigmatic symbols, shapes, and numbers arrived in the mailboxes of countless strangers on Monday, and since then, a community of web sleuths has committed itself to cracking the code of #TheyreComing.
As people started asking questions about the meaning of these mysterious cards, a few popular theories rose to the top. Some have pondered whether it’s Coldplay marketing a new album, as the band has done something similar in the past, but many who received the cards are not Coldplay fans.
Others noticed an overlap between those who got a card and those who have shopped at iam8bit and thought it was the label teasing a new vinyl release or even a collaboration with Starfield, since Bethesda and the record label have worked together in the past, but like with Coldplay, not everyone on the list has shopped there and some have even changed their addresses since they last did. So far, there seems to be no singular common attribute among the countless recipients, but whether people have a card in hand or not, a community has formed to get to the bottom of it, and now Fortnite is emerging as a popular theory.
First, Fortnite does suffer the same issue as other leading theories, in that not everyone who got a card plays Fortnite–some have said they don’t even have an Epic account, which would seem to hurt the theory. However, those who have dug deeper into the ongoing alternate reality game (ARG), have found several ties to suggest the campaign is linked to alien fiction, so it’s at the very least a coincidence that this all began within 24 hours of Epic’s first teases of aliens coming to Fortnite by way of the game’s new Foreshadowing Quests.
While there are several different postcards people have received, and most only received one, a few people received as many as three, though it’s been hard to determine whether that was simply an out-of-game shipping error or another clue. Others have even spotted the symbols plastered on public property. Regardless, the rabbit hole revealed itself to be much deeper when the ARG’s players discovered more meaning behind the numbers on their cards: It’s a phone number.
Calling the number over the past few days has returned increasingly detailed messages. What was simply static over the weekend was later replaced by a message hidden within it, with someone’s voice saying “there’s something weird going on here.” Most recently, the message now includes new distorted audio that is currently unintelligible. Furthermore, the number links back to Roswell, New Mexico, the site of the famous Area 51 and alien crash site conspiracy theory.
Since then, the sleuthing community has gone full tinfoil-hat mode, with one keen observer determining that the symbols and numbers are actually coordinates, and when mapped, form a hexagon. On top of that, the audio from the phone is sampled from a video about the planet Saturn, a gaseous planet in our solar system which features a persistent hexagonal storm at its north pole.
All of this brings us almost to present day, where we’re still no closer to really figuring out what’s going on, but you may be wondering why then people suspect this is a Fortnite stunt. Beyond the alien connection, there would seem to be no hard evidence to suggest it’s connected to any one particular property, including Fortnite. That was the case until last night.
Fortnite streamer AussieAntics tweeted to his audience that he had received a rather dated-looking portable DVD player accompanied by a burned disc labeled in permanent marker, “They’re Coming!” He later revealed that Fortnite streamer Loserfruit also received the same package, though Loserfruit hesitated to share hers as the origins of the package rightfully spooked her. What at first seemed like playful piggybacking off a viral trend was eventually supported with the evidence sleuths were looking for. AussieAntics streamed the contents of the DVD. On it, included “panning drone shots of a forest with random symbols.” You can watch that stream including parts of the cryptic video here.
While AussieAntics is now convinced it’s viral but “creepy” marketing for Fortnite’s incoming alien-themed season–he repeatedly jokes it may otherwise be a stalker or serial killer who is following him–he isn’t the only content creator to get one, with others already revealing they have different footage on otherwise identical DVDs.
Epic is toying with crop circles in the lead-up to Fortnite Season 7, with one of its NPCs mentioning them by name in next week’s second part of the Foreshadowing Quests. Players will need to put up warning signs around Farmer Steel’s crops to help fend off aliens or other “pranksters,” as the ornery green thumb says himself. The many clues pointing to Saturn in the ARG would right now be the smoking gun players need to really confirm the ARG’s ties to Epic’s massive game. It’s also worth mentioning that the current season’s map features six spire towers, with a seventh, grander tower in the middle, and the six exterior towers form a hexagon around the central Spire location, which currently houses The Foundation, one of the game’s masked figures who may himself be an alien.
If Fortnite starts to feature mentions of or allusions to Saturn, that would seem to seal the deal once and for all, but because of that, it’s safe to assume that will be one of the last clues revealed in this ongoing saga. If you’d like to follow along more directly with the ARG, there are already lively subreddit and Discord channels revolving around #TheyreComing, and you can find plenty of chatter on Twitter using the hashtag as well. We’ll monitor the story and continue reporting as more details emerge–at least until it’s revealed this is all just a Coldplay gimmick.
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