The ‘Cloverfield’ Viral Marketing Game Just Released the First ‘God Particle’ Clues
The third movie in the Cloverfield franchise was supposed to open last February… and then last October… and then in two weeks, and now it’s set to open April 20. But that date still seemed questionable in my mind – is this damn movie ever going to be released? Today finally brought assurance that the third installment in the sci-fi monster universe is actually coming: the first viral clue has officially been dropped.
We didn’t get a trailer or a poster, no no; this is Cloverfield folks, a franchise known for its surprise and mystery-laden marketing campaigns. Back in 2007 Bad Robot and Paramount launched the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) for the first movie, a series of websites full of fictionalized information, news coverage, and email exchanges that carried details of the Cloverfield movie’s backstory. They did it again in 2016 with 10 Cloverfield Lane, scattering a series of puzzles and clues across the web for devoted fans to piece together. All of the Cloverfield ARG websites have been down for some time now (except one, which remained live until yesterday), but last night, on the 10th anniversary of the original movie, the ARG launched again.
Before we get into that, let’s refresh on what we know of the third Cloverfield movie, which may or may not be called God Particle. The Julius Onah film stars David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Zhang Ziyi, and Chris O’Dowd. The original synopsis (which may have changed since) follows a team of astronauts and scientists who “make a startling discovery that challenges the fabric of their reality.”
Yesterday, fans on Reddit decided to drop by Tagurato.jp, the well-known website of the (fictional) Japanese oil drilling company that links the first two Clover movies. (For a quick refresher/explainer on all the connections in the Cloverfield ARG, check out my handy Easter egg guide.) The website, previously down since shortly after 10 Cloverfield Lane opened (trust me, I’ve been checking it repeatedly for weeks), is now up and running with a mysterious page, and it’s packed with clues. A faux error message appears on screen, but if you look closely (like really closely and have a pair of Catherine Keener’s magnifying glasses from Synecdoche New York) you’ll spot garbled, pixilated text on screen. Here’s what it looks like as is:
But I took a screenshot, then lightened up the image. With that, I was able to spot a handful of clues. First the Tagruato name and logo is on the top of the page.
You can slightly make out the text below the error pop-up, and the weird greenish images along the sides of the page look like some type of alien or creature. Is it just me, or does it look an awful lot like the Cloverfield monster?
But that’s not all. Realizing there was more text hidden behind the page load pop-up, redditor Movieguy225 came up with the idea to view the page source and discovered three images, one of which shows the full page without the pop-up. If you play with the contrast and brightness you can make out what appears to be a memo from Tagruato. Here’s a screenshot I took:
You can just barely make out the Tagruato motto at the top of the page, “Exploring our world, ensuring your future.” Most sites have just been copying and pasting the decoded message from one reddit thread, but that’s not the whole message. It’s been decoded in part by various fans on the Cloververse subreddit, but as of now there’s still some chunks missing. Using what some redditors already figured out, I tried my best to verify it and fill in the gaps myself. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
TOKYO – January 18, 2018, Tagruato has begun development on a revolutionary new energy technology company scientists believe could not only compete with but possibly completely replace (?) experimentation with Tagruato’s most patented and proprietary technology the last year (?) resulted in what CEO Ganu Yoshida called a technological great leap forward for our planet.
This renewable technology will take the next six years to complete along with another four years of stress testing and research on integration (?) power grids. Tagruato is working with international regulatory bodies to bring this powerful revolutionary energy source to (?) by April (15, 16 or 18) 2028.
OK, so what’s it all mean? Well my best guess is that this “revolutionary energy technology” is something being developed by Bold Futura. We learned in the 10 Cloverfield Lane ARG that Bold Futura, one the subsidiary companies owned by Tagruato, specializes in designing and manufacturing tech for the military and space exploration programs (bingo!). Bold Futura made the satellite that crashed into the ocean at the end of the 2008 movie, and was the company Howard (John Goodman) worked for in the second movie. This new energy source is likely a part of the space exploration mission in the third movie.
Early leaks for God Particle – and although this is on the Wikipedia page, I’ll warn you with a spoiler alert – revealed that the plot revolved around a Higgs Boson “God” particle accelerator being tested by a group of American astronauts in space. When one character turns on the device, “Earth seemingly disappears,” the leaked plot reads. They’re then forced to find a way to survive at a space station when a threatening crew of European astronauts arrive. It’s worth noting though, the Onah film has reportedly undergone reshoots, so that leak may no longer be true, if it ever was in the first place.
This is just the beginning; keep an eye out on the Tagruatu and related websites as we get closer to the third film’s release on April 20. My best bet is Paramount will surprise drop the trailer once again about two months before release. The only other films the studio has on the calendar before the Cloverfield project are Annihilation (February 23), Sherlock Gnomes (March 23), and A Quiet Place (April 6), so I bet we’ll see the first teaser in front of Annihilation, another sci-fi mind-bender.
Gallery – All the Easter Eggs in Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane: