Leading up to the original AI: The Dream Filesthere was an ARG that took the form of the in-universe character, netidol A-Set (Iris Sagan), who would post weekly videos.
They were a lot of fun, really complemented Iris’s personality and had their own sequence of lore around them, leading to some great community moments where people were trying to figure out what was going on.
Since the announcement of the sequel, AI: The Dream Files – Nirvana Initiative, fans hung out for another to pass the time. The original announcement had a puzzle, but that was all, until a Famitsu article for the sequel there was a QR code in it, which led to a strangely cryptic video called ‘Fray To Free’. This QR code also made its way into the next trailer that featured something called “bats four ninety.”
And then a mysterious ARG was officially announced, complete with press releases even.
The in-universe website for the Sunaiku Foundation, a group of former police officers dedicated to solving missing persons, has a collection of articles for their founding, most notably their own founder missing, in addition to reports for two teenagers, Aine Ichirai and Binato Sotobara.
It also includes a
Here’s what it says on the about page:
This is a case, a plan, an experiment.
with Ichirai and Binato Sotobara are locked in hidden rooms.
Posted in every room is a smartphone that is activated for just 21 minutes, at a fixed time, once every two days and a box with a 9 digit lock.
The phone cannot be used freely.
The box cannot be opened without solving a riddle
Please help us save them both. With your help we can solve this as best as possible.
To compare missing person information and the Bats489 video †
The Answer is the Nirvana spell.
If the Nirvana spell is correct, a 9 digit number will be exhibited.
When that number is passed directly to the missing person, the plan continues.
For each day of the past six days, with Ichirai and Binato Sotobara‘s bills have posted for help, along with a puzzle they need to solve. The answers to these can be worked out with clues in the video ‘Bats489’. These posts are later amplified by the Hidden Bat’s Twitter account and by Iris herself.
Wasn’t this part of that weird site, the one with the 9 TVs? Counting down one more day… https://t.co/03auemDr96
— A-set (@Lemniscate_Aset) May 7, 2022
Even without us having much time to get to know these two inmates, fans got excited about them very quickly. With lots of memes about what the answers were, or Binato’s visual similarities to Rindo from NEO: The world ends with you.
If you haven’t been paying attention and are now curious, feel free to take a look before I dive into what I call spoiler territory.
Today Aine didn’t have a puzzle, just a sheet of paper with STALKER on it.
Another remark. This one says “stalker”? However, there are no more boxes. Is this the last? pic.twitter.com/IpYuPjPEnm
— Aine Ichirai / Aine Ichirai (@Aine_Ichirai) May 14, 2022
Posting STALKER in the answers section of the Hidden Bats website, it was found that the answers to Binato’s puzzles, Test, Escape, and Game, together made up the twitter handle @TESTGAMEESCAPE, an alt account that Binato had, asking people to to be aware of TRUE nature when the time comes.
This twitter account is, well, someone who is very candid about his stalking habits. It’s a lot, but feel free to run through it.
I don’t have a perfect track record, some girls reject me, but you just have to wear them. run into them a few times and you’ll get a chance. it’s easy if you know where they live
— ooaaiao (@TESTESCAPEGAME) Apr 20, 2022
And also apparently they killed someone?
I pushed her and she fell
— ooaaiao (@TESTESCAPEGAME) May 2, 2022
These tweets end just four days before the Sanaiku Foundation’s article about them is missing.
At the same time, Aine said there were photos behind the stalker magazine, and she wasn’t too nice about it.
What does the kidnapper want from me?! Get me out of here! You gotta get me out!!!
— Aine Ichirai / Aine Ichirai (@Aine_Ichirai) May 14, 2022
However, what works for Binato should go both ways, right?
So if you combined the answers for Aine’s puzzles, they would end up with @PANCAKESHOES
Which belongs to someone with a severe case of kleptomania.
The first time I visit a house, I plan what to bring. I don’t want them to know I was there. Books or cosmetics maybe. It shouldn’t be too obvious. And if you try to sell something unique, it can be traced back to you.
— Pacpac (@PANCAKE_SHOES) Apr 23, 2022
And apparently killed someone too.
I screwed up and woke whoever was inside. Luckily I had a hammer. Hit them right on the head. Don’t think they saw my face.
— Pacpac (@PANCAKE_SHOES) Apr 30, 2022
These tweets end just four days before the Sanaiku Foundation’s article about Aine and Binato goes missing. Does this mean the photos are of Aine being caught red-handed?
So it’s more than likely Binato’s post tomorrow will be something along the lines of “Thief” or “Klepto.” Which will get us a link to this.
And then we’ll find out what the hell this message means.
There will be an announcement about Aine Ichirai’s future on 5/15 19:00 PDT#HiddenBats
— Hidden Bats / Kakure Bat (@HiddenBats) May 14, 2022
In two days there will be an announcement about the future of an apparent killer, probably a day after we ‘officially’ learn this information about Aine. And even before that, Binato can post tomorrow.
Will he find out about Aine, or will he see photos of those who caught him in the act of murder or stalking?
And what the hell is Hidden Bat’s case/plan/experiment?
It’s a gamble.
And how does it connect to Nirvana Initiative†
what the f
AI: The Dream Files – nirvanA initiative depicts an event where the right half of a corpse was discovered, but the left half was not discovered until six years later. However, the body shows no signs of decay, as if it were only a day old. New special agent Mizuki and her AI partner Aiba are tasked with solving the serial murders on Half Body. Kotaro Uchikoshi has been confirmed to be the screenwriter. Hardcore fans can pre-order the Collector’s Edition of the game, which contains a ton of goodies.
AI: The Dream Files – nirvanA initiative will be released on June 24, 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC in the US and Japan. In other parts of the world, the game has been delayed until July 8.
However, the title will launch globally on Steam on June 24.
AI: The Dream Files is currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.
If you missed it, check out our review of the game’s first release.