Valve is back up to its old shenanigans, it seems, giving fans another opportunity to ask: is this an Easter Egg or is Valve hinting at a sequel? What appears to be the start of an ARG was found on the map of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s new battle royale mode Danger Zone. This puzzle, both directly and indirectly, is related to Portal. Given Valve’s history for ARGs and its fanbase’s propensity for speculation, it’s all but inevitable that rumors are already swirling about a potential Portal sequel.
This past week saw the release of the long-rumored Danger Zone battle royale mode for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The map isn’t particularly large, given it’s a 16-18 player battle royale, so it’s no surprise that fans discovered this Easter Egg so quickly. On one side of the map is a hotel with four rooms along the top floor. The third room is boarded up and inaccessible from outside with the “3” room number lying on the ground. This would be a funny joke on its own, given Valve’s awareness of the “Valve Can’t Count to Three” meme, but a passage from the second room into the third room leads to something much more compelling.
In this third room are a dirty mattress on the ground and a desk covered with computer hardware. Players who wait in front of this desk for a couple minutes will then hear a secret message: some musical tones, a woman speaking out a code, then a different set of musical tones, with a woman speaking unintelligibly in the background throughout the message’s duration. That message, when decrypted, reads, “This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.”
The translation of the coded message in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s Danger Zone map marks the end of what’s so-far confirmed by fans as part of an ARG. The answer to the coded message being a Glados quote and room three of the hotel being blocked have pushed fans towards the idea that this is a teaser for a potential Portal sequel. Clearly, that’s an assumption, but evidence must be recognized for what it is.
Following that conclusion, it appears that there’s more to be found within the Danger Zone map. It wouldn’t be an ARG if it was just one Easter Egg, after all. Players are already poring over the map’s assets, exploring the map’s darkest corners, and while the next step of the puzzle remains undiscovered there are still very clear hints of more. For example, a bulletin board featuring an art piece of a bunch of rats had its coloring inverted to show a series of mysterious numbers.
In summary, within the map of Counter-Strike‘s Danger Zone mode, an Easter Egg referring to Valve’s past troubles with the number three led to an encrypted code containing a Portal quote. Internet sleuths are hard at work uncovering more material that may or may not be an ARG. Valve also ran an ARG leading up to Portal 2, leading many to suspect Valve is doing the same thing for a new Portal game.
Valve is known to be working on multiple games currently, including at least one single-player title and multiple VR games. Whether those games see the light of day