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Is There A Valve-Related Alternate Reality Game Going On? [UPDATE: Nope.]

Illustration for article titled Is There A Valve-Related Alternate Reality Game Going On? [UPDATE: Nope.]

And so the speculation continues! The other day, we wrote about a Half-Life 2 update that featured Korean audio. It was a mistake according to Valve, and they fixed it—but that didn't stop fans from freaking out. Now fans found something else that looks suspicious in a different game, Surgeon Simulator 2013.

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Earlier today, a neoGAF thread went up with the picture above. If you recall, last Friday, Surgeon Simulator received a Team Fortress 2 related update—it now allows players to perform surgery on the Heavy. You get access to the item in the picture above after you perform said surgery...and if you look at the bottom right corner, there's Korean. (I've seen people suggest that it says the word "time" in there, but if you can read Korean, let us know what you read!)

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Hmm. Korean update to Half-Life 2, and a puzzle that includes Korean in a game featuring Team Fortress 2 characters. The former was supposed to be a mistake, but still, this all looks a little suspicious, no?

The Surgeon Simulator developers, meanwhile, seem playful about the puzzle over on Twitter:

So, we hear there's some puzzle you're trying to figure out...

— SurgeonSimulator2013 (@SurgeonSim2013) June 27, 2013

We've contacted them to ask if it's an ARG puzzle of some sort, and if it's related to a Valve product—we'll update if we hear back. For now, popular theories around the web have to do with Half-Life 3 (obviously), a new Team Fortress update, if not something giving a nod to an eventual Steam Summer Sale. What do you think? Do any of these seem likely, or is it just the internet getting out of hand again?

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UPDATE: False alarm, folks! Bossa Studios, the developers behind Surgeon Simulator 2013, issued the following statement to Kotaku:

Indeed it's an ARG, but I'm afraid it doesn't have anything to do with a Valve game. It's a key piece of an upcoming update to Surgeon Simulator, and the info found there is relevant to the puzzle — we just had no idea it could have been read in such a broad way to fit so many theories!

Hope this helps, and sorry for the trouble.

There's Korean writing in Surgery Simulator... OMG HALF-LIFE 3 AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!11!1!1! [neoGAF]

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DISCUSSION

The Korean can roughly be translated to 'The time is,' which also happens to be an opening line of Half Life. 'The time is 8:47'

The going theory is that the dots correspond to the planets in the solar system, so the arrow is coming from Saturn. If Saturn is what you're supposed to put in the blanks, then the first two letters are 'Sa,' which could be... any number of things, really. Theories start to spiral all around after that point.