Subject 16 has been part of the 'Assassin's Creed' series since 2007. Photo: AFP
Commemorating the passing of a key character from the Assassin's Creed series were a series of tweets from the game's official account, teasing fans about the messages' intent and authorship.
Each of the three messages were bookended by hyphens and underscores -- "_-_-_" -- and read:
"He is gone. #16 is no more. And now they begin. To search for 1 more"
"THEY are responsible. Abstergo's to blame. They play with our lives. Like it's only a game"
"They search for the 'prophet' They're grasping at straws. Their ill-conceived plans, are riddled with flaws"
The Assassin's Creed wiki site chipped in with another line, this time in morse code -- ".. .- -- .- .-.. .. ..." -- which translates to "I am alive."
In Assassin's Creed canon, Subject 16 was an Assassin who died while part of an experiment run by the rival Templar Order; he uploaded himself into the virtual world used by Templar company Abstergo (and by players) to explore historical cities such as Jerusalem, Florence, Rome, and Constantinople.
Members of the Assassin's Creed forum set about unpacking the messages. Who's still alive? Is it Clay? Or did the morse code refer to Lucy Stillman, an Assassin defector who received a fatal injury at the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood? And who sent the messages - was it Clay, from the Animus's virtual world, or a hacker group called Erudito?
Fans of the series might like to look out for more unusual tweets on October 10, the date when Lucy Stillman's life was supposed to have drawn to a close.
Maintaining a high level of community engagement will remain a priority for publisher and developer Ubisoft, as this year marks the first time that an Assassin's Creed game releases prior to the season's traditional juggernaut, Call of Duty.
The historical action game had previously opted to launch a week after each annual Call of Duty title, whereas this year's week of October 30 for Assassin's Creed III comes a fortnight before Call of Duty: Black Ops II on November 13.