During the live event for the IDEAS Festival ARG, I came across a laminated cipher reference card made by a company calling themselves Studio Cypher. After the curtain was lifted, I got the chance to speak with the Puppetmasters behind both the IDEAS Festival ARG and Ares Station. Ian Pottmeyer, Will Emigh and Nathan Mishler have formed a company dedicated to the production of ARGs called Studio Cypher.
Their website describes Studio Cypher as a company that “creates multi-player novels: stories that place you in the middle of a mystery you can help solve.” Mishler and Emigh explained that they use the term “multi-player novel” rather than ARG to avoid alienating potential players who aren’t familiar with the term. Studio Cypher is going to use a partial pay-to-play model for their ARGs. Players will be able to play along without paying a fee, but won’t be able to access some of the premium content in the game. Although they haven’t announced an official price, I was told that the cost will be less than $10 per adventure. The first episode is due to launch sometime over the next month.