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MIDA's logo

We Are MIDA Twitter

We Are MIDA's Twitter profile

The Marathon ARG was an alternate reality game created to generate hype of the new Marathon game when the announcement trailer launched at the PlayStation Showcase on May 24, 2023.[1][2][3]

The following is a condensed version of the Game Detectives Discord's Google Doc.[4]

Social Media[]

Marathon Announce Press Kit Larg Silkworm QR Cod

A Silkworm from the announce trailer displaying a QR code

Throughout the trailer, a few websites were discovered: https://sekiguchigenetics.jp[5] (via a QR code) and https://traxus.global[6] (via a URL).

WE ARE MIDA

WE ARE MIDA

Cone and wall graffiti

Venice Beach's structures covered in MIDA graffiti (pictures by JoySlip[7])

The @MarathonTheGame Twitter account was discovered shortly after the launch of the trailer.[8] Fans noticed that it followed @We_Are_MIDA.[9] This account hadn't posted anything yet, but did include a link in its bio to https://hearoursilence.com/.[10] The website contained an image that contained EXIF data pointing to 33.986753, –118.4749 coordinates,[11] prompting fans to visit Venice Beach, Los Angeles, CA, to find MIDA graffiti encompassing the beach's concrete cone-shaped structure and walls.[7][12]

A page was discovered within the site,[13] leading to a PDF "Zine" full of manifestos called the "ANTI:REV+." On May 27, the pages were replaced with a UESC (United Earth Space Council) domain seizure message[14] due to being found "damaging to the security and safety of our solar system."[15]

From May 24 to 26, the Twitter account posted many cryptic messages in all caps to help fans use the overlap image,[16] unlock information for a Traxus purchase order,[17] a video containing a spectrograph containing a keyword to a Traxus email,[18] "leetspeak" code to create passwords and keywords,[19] and a thread referencing the Traxus IV incident where a rampant AI attacked Mars.[20] The account also updated its bio with ITHTAW (repeating with no spaces) before the account was deleted on May 26 at 5:50 PM UTC.

Four Bungie developers,[21][22][23][24] the MIDA account[25], Marathon The Game on Facebook[26] and Twitter,[27] posted similar images shortly after the trailer was revealed. The Marathon announcement website[28] also contained an image, along with a username and password to unlock the UESC directory listing. The Bungie developers included a message of code that included their initials and override numbers:

<CYACTerm disrupt seq start>-> (partial relay); {CASS+override_ = 1 }; CB.qterm-> init_ (+!) struct *grp_init; initiated…[21]

<CYACTerm disrupt seq start>-> (partial relay); {CASS+override_ = 3 }; CG.qterm-> init_ (+!) struct *grp_init; initiated…[22]

<CYACTerm disrupt seq start>-> (partial relay); {CASS+override_ = 4 }; EG.qterm-> init_ (+!) struct *grp_init; initiated…[23] <CYACTerm disrupt seq start>-> (partial relay);   {CASS+override_ = 2 }; JC.qterm-> init_ (+!)  struct *grp_init;  initiated…[24]

ARG Message

The message revealed after overlaying the cards

Content creators were also sent packages that including a card of the images that the developers posted.[29][30][31] An image was also found in the YouTube upload of the trailer.[32]

Fans gathered the images together in Figma and overlaid them.[33] The final result was a cipher cover punch card that highlighted the following text:

  • ANY UNAUTHORIZED
  • DISTRIBUTION OF THIS
  • ASSET IS SUBJECT TO
  • QUESTIONING AND/OR
  • DETAINMENT PER UESC
  • [
  • [
  • [ CODE 77 7.0904

Interpreting the punch card as an IBM punch card, a link to secretsarewaiting.com was revealed,[34] which redirected to a Bungie site[35] that then redirected to a live stream of video called "COLLECTING INPUTS..."[36]

ViDoc[]

Marathon-stream-from-bungie-need-7777

Marathon stream requiring 7777 inputs

Fans had to wait until there were 7,777 viewers before unlocking the "Somewhere in the Heavens" ViDoc.[37][38] While waiting, the stream displayed the following text:

LINK TRANSMISSION IN PROGRESS; TRANSFER UPON UPLOAD COMPLETION TO EXTERNAL URL "MARATHON_VIDOC.NEW"

The ViDoc featured members of the Marathon development team talking about the game's story, gameplay, environment, and shown concept art. Marathon will be a player-versus-player, team-based extraction shooter in which squads of cybernetic "Runners" compete to retrieve mysterious artifacts, implants, and weapons from a hostile environment on Tau Ceti IV. Players will be able to make a wide range of aesthetic and gameplay modifications to their Runners.

There’ll be a narrative, divided into seasons, that will be furthered by the actions of players in persistent gameplay zones. In the video, game director Christopher Barrett gives the example of one crew being the first to find an alien key that opens up the next zone. They’re memorialized for the feat in the game — and they have to figure out how to unlock that zone for other players.

Artifact pieces will combine into bigger and more powerful artifacts, so there’ll be a continuous risk/reward balance in choosing to stay longer and risk one last battle to try to improve your haul.

Bungie is committing to dedicated servers, disconnect recovery, and tight security to guarantee the integrity and fairness of Marathon. There’ll also be fog of war implemented in the game. “Without those elements, none of this matters,” said general manager Scott Taylor.

Marathon is just about to begin internal alpha testing at Bungie. Taylor said that now the game is revealed, the development team will go dark “for an extended period.” When it resurfaces, the game will be much closer to launch, and the studio will be ready to share gameplay.[39]

Traxus[]

Base64 Japanese Marathon

In the ViDoc, the Base64 (0:53) and Japanese text (4:29) appear.

Within the ViDoc, a Base64 and Japanese text was shown. Decoding these revealed the term "SERPENT," which is the name of a chat room on the Traxus website.[40]

Serpent Chat Room[]

The chat room appeared to reference the Titan Arcology in Destiny 2, several memos and lore of Traxus acknowledging the UESC leak and that the UESC refuses to give up sovereignty to Marathon and TCIV and begins to pursue an independent mission instead, and revealed the username and password for the Sekiguchi Genetics website (YOSHITO_TAMURA / charon), leading to an Inbox of Yoshito Tamura.[41]

Traxus Website

Traxus Website

Traxus Website[]

The Traxus website displayed a central dial that let visitors access three pages, “Commitment to Humanity” had audio logs with their company values, “History” had the history of the company, and “Research & Innovations” was about an asteroid discovery.[42] Also on the website displayed an email to infosec@traxus.global in the bottom-right corner. Sending an email to the Traxus email with a keyword found sent an auto-response of the following:

Subject: Input phrase accepted. Thank you for your collaboration.

As promised, please use the following code to access the Interorbital United Shipping database. We look forward to hearing your findings and progress.

01110101 01100101 01110011 01100011 00101110 01101001 01101111

This is an automated message from Vulcan.

Decoding the binary code revealed a website: UESC.io[43]

Keywords:

  1. arcology (from chat, unused)
  2. anonymity (from page 11 of the Zine, unused)
  3. axion (from MarathonTheGame's website, used as the password for the UESC website)
  4. charon (from the ViDoc, the password for Tamura's Inbox)
  5. daedalus (from Tamura's Inbox, unused)
  6. imbue (from chat, unused)
  7. infinity (from @We_Are_MIDA's tweet, the password for the Traxus Purchase Order)
  8. serpent (from Tamura's Inbox, the chat room name)
  9. simulacrums (from chat, unused)
  10. titan (from chat, unused)
  11. trance (from chat, used to unlock a memo)
  12. radiant (from chat, unused)
  13. resist (from page 27 of the Zine, unused)
  14. united (from the spectrograph, unused) (note: this is not actually an email keyword, but is used in the password)

The first letters of these are an anagram for sic itur ad astra, a Latin phrase often used by Bungie. In combination with a hint (↑!↑!↓↑↓@↓@↑↑↓@, from one of @We_Are_MIDA's tweets[19]) to replace some characters with !, some with @, and some upper or lowercase, this decodes to S!C!tUr@d@STr@, the password for the UESC's Futurum area of their website.

Sekiguchi Genetics[]

Sekiguchi Memo

Traxus Purchase Order

Yoshito Tamura's Inbox[]

Using the login information from the ViDoc (YOSHITO_TAMURA / charon), 17 emails appeared in the inbox.[44] The emails contained references to the Traxus purchase order's importance to Sekiguchi, a conference taking place on 22-27 Lynx 680 (Mars Calendar for October 15-20, 2888), a discussion about the potential unethicality of fulfilling the Traxus purchase order, password-locked attachments, a bathroom closure, details about the Mars accident, a legal demand bt the UESC to investigate the purchase order, that the purchase order had been approved and is being processed, and that Tamura is no longer working for SekGen. As of May 27, all emails had been deleted from the inbox.

Birth-pod

A "Birth" pod from the announce trailer

Traxus Purchase Order[]

The purchase order was discovered in Tamura's fourth email and the Traxus Chat Room using a password from the @We_Are_MIDA Twitter account.[17]

Based on the email, the chat room, and what appeared at 0:38 of the announcement trailer,[45] the purchase order in question are "Birth" pods.

UESC[]

UESC login page

UESC Login Page

UESC Website

The UESC website unlocked

Login Screen[]

When visiting the United Earth Space Council website on May 24, fans noticed that the site looked as though it wasn't connecting properly, displaying terminal code at the bottom of the page.[43] The next day, the site updated, connecting to a server and UESC login screen.[46] On May 26, the site was locked down by the UESC,[47] and, on May 27, access to the website was lost.

UESC Directory

UESC Directory

Futurum

Futurum Login Page

Directory Listing and Futurum[]

Using the login information from the Marathon website (admin49912112cpsb@uesc.insec / axion) led fans to a graphic directory listing[47] where wallpapers of MIDA, Cyberacme Systems, Sekiguchi and Traxus could be downloaded. Clicking ROOT>PROTEUS>PLUTUS>DEMETER and then FUTURUM led to a password input page. The password found from the Traxus binary code (S!C!tUr@d@STr@) could be used to download more wallpapers, evidence videos,[48] and UESC documents.[49]

ARG End and Revelations[]

The ARG was completed in a few days, and Bungie officially announced that the community had completed it on June 1, 2023.[50]

A video from Christopher Barrett was found, who spoke about the story of the new Marathon game.[51] Players will attempt to discover what happened to the Marathon colony ship that was cut off from communication from Earth after attempting to colonize Tau Ceti IV. The corporations want to buy the valuable artifacts that players (Runners) are finding in the zones on the map.

Gallery[]

Trailer Images

We Are MIDA Images

Overlay Cards

ViDoc

Traxus

Sekiguchi Genetics Website

UESC Website

Wallpapers

External Links[]

References[]

  1. YouTube - Marathon | Official Announce Trailer (May 24, 2023)
  2. Bungie.net - Bungie Unveils PlayStation Showcase Surprises (May 24, 2023)
  3. PlayStation - PlayStation Showcase recap: everything announced at today’s show (May 24, 2023)
  4. Google Docs - Marathon ARG
  5. Sekiguchi Genetics (archived)
  6. Traxus (archived)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Imgur - Marathon Graffiti
  8. Twitter - @MarathonTheGame
  9. Twitter (archived) - @We_Are_Mida
  10. MIDA (archived)
  11. HereOurSilence.com (archived) - WE ARE MIDA.jpg (May 24, 2023)
  12. Photogrammetry scan of the graffiti
  13. https://hearoursilence.com/4673c
  14. HereOurSilence.com - UESC Seizure (May 28, 2023)
  15. https://hearoursilence.com/4673c (May 28, 2023)
  16. Twitter (deleted) - We Are MIDA (May 24, 7:44pm EDT)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Twitter (deleted) - We Are MIDA (May 24, 9:57pm EDT)
  18. Twitter (deleted) - We Are MIDA (May 25, 4:00pm EDT)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Twitter (deleted) - We Are MIDA (May 25, 6:14pm EDT)
  20. Twitter (deleted) - We Are MIDA (May 26, 12:52pm EDT)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Twitter - Christopher Barrett (May 24, 2023)
  22. 22.0 22.1 Twitter - Carrie Gouskos (May 24, 2023)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Twitter - Elliott Gray (May 24, 2023)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Twitter - Joseph Cross (May 24, 2023)
  25. Twitter (archived) - We Are MIDA (May 24, 2023)
  26. Facebook - Marathon The Game (May 24, 2023)
  27. Twitter - MarathonTheGame (May 24, 2023)
  28. https://www.marathonthegame.com/
  29. Twitter - DrLupo (May 24, 2023)
  30. Twitter - DeejayKnight (May 24, 2023)
  31. Twitter - Darkness429 (May 24, 2023)
  32. YouTube trailer image (May 24, 2023)
  33. Figma - Marathon ARG
  34. SecretsAreWaiting.com (archived)
  35. https://bung.ie/SIHliv (archived)
  36. Reddit - The ARG for Marathon bungies new game was just cracked leading to a livestream that needs 7777 people to start! (May 24, 2023)
  37. Reddit - Marathon stream from Bungie needs 7777 viewers to unlock the VIDOC/ARG video (May 24, 2023)
  38. YouTube - What is Marathon? | Somewhere in the Heavens - ViDoc (May 24, 2023)
  39. Polygon - Bungie reveals more about Marathon after fans solve ARG hidden in trailer (May 25, 2023)
  40. Google Doc - Marathon ARG: A1: Traxus Chat Room
  41. Google Doc - Marathon ARG: 2.1 Yoshito Tamura's Inbox
  42. Traxus.global (archived) (May 25, 2023)
  43. 43.0 43.1 UESC.io (archived) (May 24, 2023)
  44. Good Doc - Marathon ARG: A2: Yoshito Tamura's Inbox
  45. YouTube - Marathon | Official Announce Trailer at 0:38
  46. UESC.io (archived) (May 25, 2023)
  47. 47.0 47.1 UESC.io (archived) - Site Lockdown and Graphic Directory (May 26, 2023)
  48. YouTube - Evidence Videos: Director Deposition, Unknown Presence, Site Survey, Colony, Runner Threat Assess
  49. MEGA - Archive of UESC website for download
  50. Bungie - Bungie community completes cryptic Marathon ARG, unlocking new secrets (June 1, 2023)
  51. YouTube - Christopher Barrett (Game Director) talking about Marathon lore (May 25, 2023)
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