Is There A Valve-Related Alternate Reality Game Going On?

And so the speculation continues! The other day, we wrote about a Half-Life 2 update that featured Korean audio. It was a mistake according to Valve, and they fixed it — but that didn't stop fans from freaking out. Now fans found something else that looks suspicious in a different game, Surgeon Simulator 2013.

Earlier today, a neoGAF thread went up with the picture above. If you recall, last Friday, Surgeon Simulator received a Team Fortress 2 related update — it now allows players to perform surgery on the Heavy. You get access to the item in the picture above after you perform said surgery...and if you look at the bottom right corner, there's Korean. (I've seen people suggest that it says the word "time" in there, but if you can read Korean, let us know what you read!)

Hmm. Korean update to Half-Life 2, and a puzzle that includes Korean in a game featuring Team Fortress 2 characters. The former was supposed to be a mistake, but still, this all looks a little suspicious, no?

The Surgeon Simulator developers, meanwhile, seem playful about the puzzle over on Twitter:

We've contacted them to ask if it's an ARG puzzle of some sort, and if it's related to a Valve product — we'll update if we hear back. For now, popular theories around the web have to do with Half-Life 3 (obviously), a new Team Fortress update, if not something giving a nod to an eventual Steam Summer Sale. What do you think? Do any of these seem likely, or is it just the internet getting out of hand again?

UPDATE: False alarm, folks! Bossa Studios, the developers behind Surgeon Simulator 2013, issued the following statement to Kotaku:

Indeed it's an ARG, but I'm afraid it doesn't have anything to do with a Valve game. It's a key piece of an upcoming update to Surgeon Simulator, and the info found there is relevant to the puzzle — we just had no idea it could have been read in such a broad way to fit so many theories! Hope this helps, and sorry for the trouble.

There's Korean writing in Surgery Simulator... OMG HALF-LIFE 3 AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!11!1!1! [neoGAF]


    well the middle part is clearly the solar system and the arrow to ? is coming out of saturn. thats all i got.

      So Surgeon Simulator is coming out on the Sega Saturn. It's about time!

      nah the arrow is not coming from Saturn its coming from URANUS!

      next surgeon simulator update = anus surgery.

    The first two letters of saturn are s and a, so that's probably what they want, since Saturn fits nicely into the spaces above.

    Maybe it wants us to translate "sa" into Hangul (the Korean alphabet)? That'd be "사", Which appears to be the first Korean character at the bottom right of the paper.

    Why do you do this to us, Valve? WHY DO YOU DO THIS?!

    I just want HL3. :(

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