Hidden Bats Promo
Image: Spike Chunsoft

Update [Mon 9th May, 2022 14:30] Spike Chunsoft has now officially announced that Hidden Bats is actually an alternate reality game (ARG) where people online need to solve a missing persons case.

An ARG is a kind of interactive game that uses the real world to help tell a story across multiple platforms. Hidden Bats asks people online to follow three different Twitter — the official Hidden Bats account, and the accounts for both missing people, Aine Ichirai and Binato Tohara.

Here are the details Spike Chunsoft shared with us:

Solve the Mystery: Hidden Bats
Communicate with two missing persons to save them.

Missing Persons
The missing persons have access to smartphones. These can only be used at a set time, once every two days for 11 minutes. The missing persons will be able to provide information and codes via Twitter. Once the information is provided, players must respond via Twitter with the proper password within two days to proceed.

1. Follow the official Twitter accounts of Hidden Bats and the two missing persons.
The official Twitter accounts of Hidden Bats and each of the two missing persons will provide information about the case, the missing persons themselves, and the mysterious images that serve as a code.

2. Refer to the Sunaiku Foundation website for information on the missing persons cases.
The Sunaiku Foundation is an organization that provides support to bring missing persons cases to their resolution. The site includes information on cases involving Hidden Bats. The Sunaiku Foundation Official Site: https://sunaiku-foundation.com/en/3. Decipher the code based on a hint video to obtain a password.
Using video from a certain source as a hint, decipher the code presented by the missing persons.

4. Reply with the password to the missing person on Twitter
Send the correct password as a reply to the missing person on Twitter.

Two puzzles have already been released — one from Aine and one from Binato — and they were both solved within seconds by dedicated fans. Both AI: The Somnium Files and Zero Escape fans have banded together to solve these quickly, though the ARG is likely tied to the upcoming AI sequel, nirvanA Initiative.

Let us know if you've managed to solve any of the puzzles, and check out the original story below where we dug deep into the Sunaiku Foundation website.

Original story [Fri 6th May, 2022 10:45 BST] Spike Chunsoft is the king of the countdown website. Overnight, the developer has launched a brand new teaser website which has got fans' tongues wagging.

This new site is called 'Hidden Bats', and features 9 CRT TVs stacked, with the middle one letting you play a pretty bizarre video titled 'Bats489', which is an unlisted video on the Hidden Bats YouTube channel. Try watching this before you've had your morning coffee!

So, those of you eagerly awaiting AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative might have noticed a few things. These strange images might look weird without context, but many of the visuals and images from the above video are actually also in a similar video featured in the game's announcement trailer. What's more, the teaser site that led to the sequel's announcement features nine eyes. We expect nine is going to be a key number in this follow-up, then.

As well as this bizarre website, there's also an "official" Hidden Bats Twitter account, with a sole tweet that simply says "48:00:00" and links to another website called the Sunaiku Foundation. And there's plenty to gleam from this site, which presumably represents an in-game company.

On the "News" page, there are a number of posts, with one from 1st April announcing the appointment of a new company president, Kagura Iwato. Other posts establish the president's disappearance just days later and setting up a company task force to search for him.

Then, the top post, dated 6th May, details two more missing persons with photos — Aine Ichirai, a high-school student, and Binato Tohara, a university student. Both students live in the Saitama Prefecture.

The "About" page is a typical company information page, detailing in simple terms what the company does, when it was established, and where it's based. Interestingly, while the company is based in Tokyo, it has a branch out in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Clicking the "Patrons" button takes you back down to the countdown.

This isn't the first time Spike Chunsoft has used elaborate means to promote its games or stir up chatter among fans, as the company did something unusual for the original AI: The Somnium Files. It opened up a Lemniscate YouTube channel — Lemniscate being an in-game media office and talent agency. Many of the videos on this channel feature Iris (A-set) in a vlog series, with four different story arcs taking place. In some of them, Iris is doing a "Let's Play", while in others, she directly discusses the "Cyclops Case", the main case in the first game.

Thanks to Greatsong1 for sending us the tips on this website launch! We'll be keeping an eye on it over the weekend to see what other juicy details we can pull from it.

Share your theories with us in the comments down below!