November 4th brought the final chapter to the 16-week Alternate Reality Game that became known as I Love Bees. A promotional game for Bungie’s eagerly anticipated game Halo2, Ilovebees caught the attention of thousands of gamers and media alike over the past few months. The journey culminated on November 4th, with a live event in four cities attended by hundreds of players (San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Austin). At this event, referred to in-game as a Combat Training Exercise, players got an exclusive chance to play Halo2 before its release on November 9th, and received a commemorative DVD and Ilovebees lanyard. What’s more, the lucky players in San Francisco got a chance to meet some of the Ilovebees Puppetmasters.
Ilovebees was developed by a team headed by Elan Lee and Sean Stewart, who headed up the first real Alternate Reality Game, The Beast, in 2001. Since then, they teamed up to form 4orty2wo Entertainment, and began production of Ilovebees in February. Ilovebees, which launched on July 16th, told the story of an A.I. from the future named Melissa who crash landed on a website server here in 2004. Over the 16 weeks of the game, players completed a series of web-based puzzles and realworld challenges to reveal a compelling story that formed a prequel to Halo2, following its characters through the weeks leading up to the invasion of Earth by an evil race of aliens known as the Covenant. The story was revealed in over 6 hours of audio drama using some of the best voice talent and post-production in Hollywood.
Ilovebees broke new ground in its innovative use of real world distributed puzzles, stellar writing and sheer numbers of players. At it’s culmination, the ilovebees site received as many as 500,00 unique visitors per day, making it by far the most followed Alternate Reality Game to date.
A post-game chat is scheduled with the Ilovebees Puppetmasters on November 7th at 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. You can have a chance to ask questions and get the inside scoop on what went on behind the game by stopping by #apocalypso on irc.chat-solutions.org (browser based access).