The Trials Evolution Riddle Has Been Solved And It Is Truly Unbelievable

The Trials Evolution Riddle Has Been Solved And It Is Truly Unbelievable
Image: Steam

After helping reveal and solve the original Trials Riddle, Brad Hill, AKA Professor FatShady, and an entire community of Trials fans have been hard at work trying to solve another riddle: the Trials Evolution riddle. This is the end result: a story that spans countries, continents and — crucially — time. Prepare to be amazed.


I’ve written a number of articles about the Trials Evolution Riddle. In 2013, in May and again in here.

I described the progress the Trials community had made in solving this most epic of riddles and have done my best to guide you through this crazy journey. It’s clear from the response that many of you are interested in the riddle. This is the last article I plan to write about this and I want to quickly recap what I have reported to date then share with you what happened next. The conclusion of this story is to some controversial and to others unbelievable.

Let’s get started.

Previous articles cover this in more detail, but for those new to this story, Trials Evolution was a game released on Xbox Live Arcade in April 2012. Soon after release, players started to discover hidden clues to a riddle that took over a year to unravel.

Gamers always expected that there would be a riddle hidden within Trials Evolution based on the previous game in the series, Trials HD, which also including a complex riddle. In Trials Evolution, there were a series of wooden planks found within the game. When pieced together they created this jumbled text.

Through a bit of luck and brute force, gamers were able to decipher this message and discover that it lead to instructions to performing a secret in-game manoeuvre that unlocked a hidden song.

The lyrics within this song actually invited you to take a closer listen/look (alluded to within the lyrics ‘You might have to transform it into a visible form’) and using a technique known as Spectral Analysis, hidden morse code was discovered.

The Morse code lead riddle detectives to a website created specifically to reveal the next part of the puzzle.

In late 2013 things started to get really interesting. Images as shown below, started appearing daily.

It wasn’t until the end of the drop of images that one keen observer realised each of these images was a clue to an individual, a scientist to be specific, and that their names spelled out the alphabet. After all 26 letters were revealed, we were presented with this image and a box asking for the answer.

Using a simple substitution cypher, we were able to quickly determine that the answer needed was ‘BIG FREEZE WITH NO COMPLETE END’, a reference to one of the possible theories of the end of the universe.

On the 9th of October 2013, the correct code was entered and the following screen was revealed:

This was the first time that the Trials Evolution riddle entered the real world. These were very real instructions to very real locations. All we had to do was find what was located there.

The screen showed four locations, using longitude and latitude to provide exact locations of the hidden packages. They were hidden in four locations across the globe. To date it is not known who hid these or how long they were buried. Some had clearly been there for some time.

Here is a map of the world showing the locations of each hidden package.

Those investigating the riddle, myself included, reached out to anyone we could to get to these locations. This 2012 XBLA game had become a real life treasure hunt and no-one really knew what to expect.

Sydney, Australia

I actually live and work in Sydney. Unfortunately I was working from a different location on the day so I was unable to get this package myself. The location was discovered about 6pm local time and I recall sitting on a train frantically sending the clues out on twitter in the hopes that someone was around and could assist. Batguy, who is a Trials Fan, Sydney resident and Kotaku Australia reader was still at work and ready to lend a hand.

Batguy spent about an hour looking where he thought the package was hidden, only to discover that the site was inaccessible to the public. He went home defeated and with a plan to perhaps attempt this again the following day. After having another look, it turned out he was at the wrong location. Obviously unable to sleep, he went back to the city at 9.30pm to find it.

What he found was a hole in a sandstone wall, right under the harbour bridge exactly where the website suggested it would be .

Batguy was the first to find one of these boxes, a mere four hours after the location was revealed.

Here is what he found:

The box revealed a key and a metal plaque that read “It seemed like forever ago”.

This was found to be from a John Green quote:

“It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

There was another message on the other side of the plaque but we’ll get to that at the end.

Bath, United Kingdom

L0RD Melchett, a Trials Community regular was the person that recovered the hidden package in Bath, UK. The coordinates led him to a cemetery on the outskirts of Bath. Clearly whoever hid these packages had a thing for pretty locations.

The clue directed him toward the grave of Henry Herbert Hale.

Eventually, hidden under a tree was this:

And behind the gravestone was the hidden package.

Although L0RD Melchett went out of his way to recover this hidden package and has been a Trials regular and follower of the riddle, there was another forum member who the good L0RD decided was more worthy than him, so he gave the package to Morfyboy, another Trials regular and True Fan.

San Francisco, United States of America

This was my favourite story of all. This one was the hardest to find, some of the markings were removed that indicated where the package was and it’s generally the story I laugh at the most when considering the lengths that poor Maurice — who recovered the package — went to.

Maurice made a ton of mistakes when looking for this hidden package. He took very clear GPS coordinates and thought they were only a guide, decided not to print any reference material and then was unable to read the messages on his phone when on site.

Maurice went back and forth to the same location on four separate occasions, each time getting updated instructions and each time he went back he was digging in different, yet equally incorrect locations. On the fifth occasion, with GPS coordinates, printed images as a reference, a photograph of the package and a pickaxe in hand, he once again ventured into public determined to locate a hidden package he was assured was there.

On his final visit, triumphantly he discovered the hidden chest, hidden underground with little to no physical markers.

Clearly happy with his eventual discovery, he took a selfie with the chest and became part of Trials history.

Once Maurice was done, he shipped the box to IFTHISTHENTHAT for safe keeping.

The boxes from Sydney, Bath and San Francisco all contained the exact same contents including the key and plaque.

Helsinki, Finland

When the locations were announced, Helsinki was in the top centre of the page in larger font. It is also the hometown of the Redlynx team and the package hidden there was a little more interesting. Danil, a newcomer to the Redlynx forums set off on a memorable journey across Helsinki.

The address turned out to be the office of the popular Finnish gaming magazine Pelaaja (translation: “Gamer”). There he was handed a metal plate and three pieces of paper:

The documents were apparently over 300 years old. The documents were French and relate to a land sale and loan money for a French property from the 1700’s. The first line on one of the legal documents starts with: “Today 25th of April, one thousand seven hundred forty before midday (or noon)”.

One of documents was obviously a map to help find the next clue, as was the metal plate. The coordinates led here:

It’s a small cemetery. Here’s what the area looked like.

The clue was “Under tussock where rock meets grass”. After moving some straw, there it was.

The Helsinki box contained a more impressive collection of items.

There was also an antique pocket watch found that had an engraving from 1916.

The Answer*

The base game of Trials Evolution consisted of a number of clues that revolved around the Past.

Clear examples of some of the carvings found at Gobekli Tepe, a structure built at a time when scientists believe humans were still nomadic tribesman.

Examples of the earliest known writings from the Harappan or Indus civilisation dated to approximately 3,000BC.

In the first DLC, Origin of Pain, all clues revolve around the Future.

There was the 10,000 year old clock (also known as the clock of the long now).

Riders of Doom, the second DLC however revealed the final pieces of the wooden planks that revealed hidden boxes containing the message: “it is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time”.

This was discovered to be an Ernst Mach quote:

“It is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time. Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction, at which we arrive by means of the change of things; made because we are not restricted to any one definite measure, all being interconnected.”

This refers to a discussion of time as an illusion, how it’s just a series of ‘nows’. It also suggests you are only aware of the illusion of time because things around you change. I’ve been assured this makes a little more sense in the context of Julian Barbour’s book entitled ‘The End of Time’.

In all four packages, however, on the reverse side of the metal plaque, was the following:

Midday in Year 2113. 1st Sat in Aug One of Five keys will open the box Underneath the Eiffel Tower

In December 2014, I had the opportunity to interview the creator of the riddle, Anttil ilvessuo, in the exact spot where the final piece of this puzzle will be revealed, to hear from him what this is all about. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right audio equipment — apologies in advance for the terrible wind noise! Subtitles added for your viewing pleasure.

This riddle started life within a video game and expanded to a website, where it eventually led to various real-world locations. Now it is continuing through time. We have recovered four keys and one of these will unlock something at the base of the Eiffel Tower in the year 2113.

Antti has been very clear. This is happening. He has made very specific arrangements to ensure there will be something to open when the key holders arrive in August 2113. This story will be passed down through the generations and there will likely be four to five people gathered beneath the Eiffel Tower with keys in 2113. There will likely be a man in a hat and umbrella standing there in the rain, eerily similar to the scene from Back to the Future II where the postal worker delivers a letter to Marty in 1955, from 1885. There will be excitement, uncertainty and curiosity like very few people will have ever felt.

I won’t be here to see this final piece of the puzzle revealed. I will be a small pile of bones buried deep underground. My atoms will have returned to the earth and become a million other things, but this story will remain, hopefully the recipients of these packages have made arrangements to ensure that this is passed to their descendants and this all ends as Antti has planned.

This is far more than a video game easter egg. This is a gift to future generations. Grandfathers can sit their grandkids on their knee and tell the story of this silly little video game from 2012 where you had to use your hands, that left a legacy far greater than the game itself. I can imagine years from now the kid sitting on their grandfather’s knee hearing this story and not believing him, only to have the Grandfather pull out the golden key in response. I hope the conversation plays out like the Flying Hellfish episode of the Simpsons.

When wrapping this article up, I asked the creator of the riddle — and Creative Director on Trials Evolution — if he had any final words for our readers. His response:

“We may all look back and see Portrait of a Young Man on old images. I outlived Raphael. Next step is to be there. Probably not. Make most of your End of time.”

I’ll let you figure that one out! I have no idea what he’s on about this time.


  • Sometimes I feel like the Redlynx team didn’t find the right calling. They should have been comic book supervillains.

    • hehe I think in an earlier cut of this article I did include that but trimmed it out for time as it was already stupidly big. At least good to hear he has not forgotten about sending out that package 🙂

    • YOu could have probably just used a phillips head screwdriver and undone those 2 screws on one side. 🙂

    • and what if the final box actually has 5 locks on it and needs all 5 keys to open it. 🙂

      • Maybe his plan is that every single key can open the box, he just want to make sure that one of the keys will be in Paris in 100 years, anyway the text says “One of the five keys”, so it will be one.

        • Yeah genius, but WHICH one? If you don’t have all five keys with you, how can you be sure which ONE is the RIGHT one? 😉

          • all the keys were/are the same, they only have one notch. so any of the keys will work. like the previous guy said its to make sure at least one of the keys will be there.

            a very amazing adventure and riddle unlikely to be surpassed. to bad everyone that knows whats in the box will be dead before too long lmao.

    • This is quite literally the best thing I have ever seen in my life.

      No sarcasm intended.

      Also, do you intend to keep it, or sell it?

      • Keep it, pass it on, etc. I guess I should probably put some sort of provisions in my will, maybe a savings account, etc. All still seems a bit weird and abstract, but definitely not going to let it go if I can help it.

  • This is like the world’s most elaborate geocaching puzzle. Just amazing.

    The answer is both frustrating and perfect.
    Congratulations to everyone involved in solving the mystery.

  • Holy crap! That’s insane. A real shame none of us will be around to see the lucky person unlock the box and find what’s inside.

    Congratulations to @batguy, hope your descendants are lucky enough to have the right key.

  • The level of intelligence, attention to detail and ambition possessed by the RedLynx team in order for them to plan out this entire riddle leaves me in awe. It also leaves me feeling like I am the evolutionary equivalent of a cheese-stick when compared to these guys.

  • Anyone else feel like RedLynx should make a mystery/puzzle game along the lines of Professor Layton? Loved this!

  • So damn cool. Meanwhile, what do you think the final reveal will be in 2113? Im guessing a redeem code for the next DLC lol.

  • They should get everyone to take a photo of each of their keys laying flat on the table like the one above.

    Line all those photos up and I’m sure we’ll know which one is the correct key based on extra groves etc on the key.

    • You are assuming that the other 3 keys will be the same. They’re probably all completely different.

      • The keys all look the same, but I believe all are slightly different, so no cheating that way….. The real question is the fifth key…………… I am sure the location to that is buried in fusion somewhere, but it will be buried deep…..

      • The real question is will the eiffel tower still be there in 100 years and if it is what if its shut for construction on the unboxing day

        • Perhaps that’s all part of the plan? Maybe the eiffel tower is something more than just a monument? Midday 2113, a man brings a locking cylinder to the key bearers. Each try their key and fail, then a person from the crowd walks toward and says ‘the keys together unlock it’s secrets’. They hold their keys close by and they fuse with incredibly magnetic force. The new key enters the lock and turns. The man holding it is no longer there, just dust in the wind as the lock hovers in place. The tower splits into four pieces and moves outward at each pillar. The sound of grinding gears fill the area as the crowd disappears just like the cylinder man. The sky turns grey and clouds hang low. Thunder sounds when the gears stop and lightning flickers like a strobe in the sky. A square stone podium rises from the ground in front of the key holders, with a small, red felt box. Which clicks open and reveals its treasure…

          …the pick of destiny

  • If ‘time is an abstraction’ does that mean that the date in 2113 is irrelevant and the box is already there?

    • Well, if you take into account Ernst Mach’s quote and Julian Barbour’s book (End of Time) the box is technically already there, the world just has to change enough such that it is there in the “Now”.

  • Does anyone know what Spectral Analysis software was used to get the morse code from the song??

      • Thanks… that’s the one I have installed already. There is a song I suspect might have something hidden in it and have been trying to see if I can find anything.

        • I got lucky with this song. I stumbled upon the Morse code on the way to work one morning. As I had headphones on and it loud to block out Cityrail noise, I could hear this faint beeps and there it was. The lyrics told us to do that anyway, but that was what I needed to hear to dig deeper.

          I also found a few articles of songs that had images embedded within the spectrum and the images appear when you have a look at it. Crazy.

    • It’s the spectrogram visualization from GoldWave, there should be a free version for download on

  • Make an ARG, have dedicated player fanbase spend extensive time, money and effort working it out, then delay the result for a century.

    That’s a fail. Who gives a crap about a hypothetical grandson getting the benefit of a community working and playing and supporting the game now?

    • The whole journey through the riddle promised a to be a deeply philosophical thing. The result is absolutely the most appropriate outcome.

    • It benefits you by having a sense of wonder, being a part of something bigger than yourself, it rarely happens in life now. Cathedrals used to be designed, knowing they would take more than a century to build. Effort that pays off beyond your lifetime is a lovely thing.

      • Cathedrals designed for the masses. This is an ARG in a specific game for that specific community. Thoroughly different situation. I mean, are you really saying that people who play Trials and participate in ARGs are going to be happy with solving a riddle………… for nothing?

        • Most people who participate in ARG’s end up with very little, or nothing, to show for it.

        • I think you’re missing the point. It’s objective seems to be somewhat poignant and romantic. Something perhaps bigger than the player base.

    • Someone who wishes the generations that follow them a better, brighter future. Someone that hopes their children and children’s children (etc) have a better life than they do (and a sense of whimsy and magic too). Someone who isn’t a self centred SOB. Do you have kids? Maybe it’s only something you feel once you have kids and get a bit older. It sounds like you are still living just for you and thats fine for now, but I hope you also grow to change in time.

  • This is goddamned outstanding. But two things;

    1. I didn’t watch the video, so perhaps it explains if the treasure is already beneath the tower now, and just should not be opened, or if it’s not there, and won’t be for 98 years?

    2. Gross, I can’t believe they used a John Green quote in this otherwise amazing game, haha.

    • Watch the vid, but I was there with him and we didn’t see anything. it will be there in 98 years but not now.

  • The journey of the keys will also be interesting. I’ll be 128 years old so will probably be dead

  • Pretty fantastic.
    Unfortunately I hate not knowing things, so I guess I’m just going to have to be 125 years old to find out what the deal is.

    See you guys there!

  • Awesome, I hope that my descendant will be there seeing the moment when secret reveal…

  • This is complete insanity, 100000% above and beyond what I’d expect from a 2d physics based motorcycle game, take note people THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE FANBASES.

    Massively anti-climactic but at the same time, so good. I just hope that trials or redlynx’s descendants are relevant in 2113 because the thought of this awesome quest fizzing out is depressing.

  • Wait a second. The plaque said ‘five’ keys. We got the GPS co-ordinates for 4 and all 4 have been recovered. Where’s the 5th? EDIT: Nevermind, just watched Shady’s video on the matter –

    I’ve been following this for YEARS and even back then when it was all in-game it was still something very special. To see it expand like this… just incredible. And RedLynx have ‘taken steps’.. holy shit, who does that?

    But more correctly;


  • Does anyone else think its weird that the sealed latches on those little boxes are attached with Philips head screws which could be easily undone simply by unscrewing them and not breaking the seal?

    Have any of the key finders actually attempted to remove the latch that way? Perhaps it was intentional, maybe there is something written on the underside of the latch or something?

    As someone else mentioned “time is an abstraction” leads me to think there is something else that has been missed… amongst other things, abstraction can mean: “secret removal, especially theft.” “the act of taking away or separating; withdrawal”

    • Yes, I did that with the one found in San Francisco: took out the top two screws to open it up so I could send it without the seal broken. Thought it would be fun for the guy who sent me on the quest to break the seal.

  • They’d hope that the prize is better than the dud reward Peter Molyneux gave out with his Curiosity Cube bollocks.

  • 1) Now knowing the answer to the Trails HD riddles, I calling it now: the box will just say, “Congratulations! You did it!”

    2) This is a goddamn motorcycle game…

  • Sometimes I wonder if the Redlynx developers were all bunch of genius people or just mentally retarded people suffering autism at the same time.
    However after reading this article, I conclude it’s the latter.

    • Knowing Ilvessuo, he’s a bit weird, funny, and has a very active imagination, and lots of resources to do fun, and occasionally stupid, shit.

  • As elaborate as this is, the ending should not be a century after it’s conception. How anti-climactic and unrewarding for those who have participated in cracking this riddle. The people who were involved in solving the riddle should be alive to see what lies at the end of it.


    • Thanks man. I know it was mostly old news but got enough attention that I’m glad I took the time to finally finish this up.

  • Nice follow-up for the riddle. I’m just left wondering, has anyone still figured out the moneyball easter egg, or where in the game the decoding key for the planks is actually hidden?

  • This is awesome. I just finished reading Ready Player One where pretty much this same thing goes on. Very cool. Too bad I won’t be around for the end.

  • This is awesome.
    Half of me is hoping that the secret box plays a haunting @blaghman “Oooooooh, @fatshady!” upon opening.

  • IF we are not restricted by any measure of time, then why must you wait for a specific hour, day and year to open the box?

  • His beard needs to be longer and he needs to adorn some sort of head dress, preferably with goats horns or the like.

  • I guess the meaning of the fossil picture is “preservation through the ages”… of the keys off course.

  • The best part is when they open the chest in the year 2113 it’ll just be a message that says “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”

  • Wow, just wow.
    I had no idea the riddles in this game ran so deep!
    Major respect for Redlynx now.

  • i think that:
    in 2113 the box will be open and inside will be a code for a new motorbike for the game xDDD

  • 2113 rolls around, we open it, and “never gonna give you up” starts rolling.
    Fade to black.

  • Hey glad to see the riddle was solved in the end. Man, I sound like a bumbling buffoon in this telling so let me clear the air just a bit: GPS coordinates to a guy whose GPS was served by his work provided BlackBerry at the time meant that thing could have been anywhere within a 15 yard radius buried on a pretty bald hill.

    Was it under the rock pile I first checked? Noooo… Nothing so easy as the others. Was it under that cute little 6″ high rock cairn? Nooo… That was an actual dig and a fairly tense moment when I got rushed by a loose pit bull who luckily turned out to be pretty nice. Or maybe humble by the shovel I raised in defense. Ha ha! No it was actually buried in a non-descript patch of dirt with no marker at all. In the end it took three pictures that triangulated the location to finally get it. With those three pictures in hand I lined myself up on each axis and literally just scraped the ground with my foot to reveal the box. It was probably 2″ deep.

    The other funny thing about this for me was how it turned out to be involved with the one video game I play – Trials. At the time I had logged over 1700 hours on the Trials 2 PC version (screen name MMeyer, rank 144 or so) and I had played it since the first PC version. Hooked because I have a long history with BMX bikes. Anyway, I was contacted by one of my wife’s relatives in Idaho asking if I could help him find something on this hill in San Francisco. I said sure and once he explained what was going on and that it had to do with the one video game I played my mind kind of warped.

    Anyway, I had a lot of fun going up there and digging for treasure and eventually finding it. I too was completely amazed at the complexity this riddle involved.

    • Hey man.. really sorry if I portrayed you in a poor light. I really enjoyed your posts and discovery and think you did a good job locating it. Hope I didn’t damage your reputation too much 🙂

      • No worries! I had a blast with the whole thing and have told this story to others. Just tonight to a friend who coded some of the first Easter eggs in early 80’s video games. He was pretty blown away at this story. No my reputation is pretty hard to damage any further in the condition it’s in! Ha ha.

  • Hello, probably won’t get an answer here but it’s still worth it, when you guys opened the 5th box, there were the watch, the plate, and another box. Was there anything on the 5th wood box? I’m aware of the ‘5th key’ achievement in Trials Fusion, but i don’t get it. Is the 5th key real? or at least, what was in that 5th wooden box?

    • Hey (author of this article here).

      There were only 4 keys in 4 identical boxes. The Helsinki one had a few extra things but the same key. From what I can see, there is no 5th key. The 5th key was probably just a cool way to let everyone feel like they found a key and were part of this also… I only just realised that when writing this so I could be way off but that seems to make some sense.

  • Imagine if some random guy had found one of those that had no clue about that ARG. His kid shows up to the Eiffel Tower one day thinking that he’s about to get some rich Guy’s inheritance or something. lol

  • “it is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time”.
    Just go find the box and open it right now you don’t need to wait for the right time.
    “In all four packages, however, on the reverse side of the metal plaque, was the following:
    Midday in Year 2113. 1st Sat in Aug One of Five keys will open the box Underneath the Eiffel Tower.”
    Which is obviously a lie. Only ONE key will open it, and it is not one of the keys from the four packages with the above message. The answer is clearly what is contained in package from Helsinnki, so the correct instruction is to go under (basement?) of Eiffel Tower and instead of using a “key” “enter 5994 on keypad to right of door” “Inside go to staircase E and press second button down on left” when you see a metal plate, speak to it and say: “you come to find me.”

  • Can I just throw something out there in the hope we don’t have to wait 96 more years to figure this all out. In the 5th key song, could there be more the lyrics that just the riddle inside the song. It says something like “bring it out of the shadows and into the light to reveal it” and find the treasure “before your time has come” Can those of you with the keys, boxes and especially plaques, put them under some sort of light or maybe a microscope to see if you can find anything hidden? Maybe we could solve this “before out time has come”

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