Kings and Conquests. It’s just a video game. Or is it?
By the time most people have heard of the newest multiplayer fantasy role-playing game Kings and Conquests, developer Fairly Unusual Games has been overwhelmed by a $200 million crowdfunding haul.
Founders Accounts are going to six-figure contributors. There is talk of an augmented reality mobile accessory app and 3D printable treasures that can be sold for real money. The hype is beyond belief. Gaming fans go berzerk.
With contributors and the media eagerly anticipating a release date announcement, Fairly Unusual’s stock suddenly and inexplicably plunges. CEO Garrett Wyland, once a darling of both Silicon Valley and Wall Street, is indicted by a federal Grand Jury for insider trading the day before his company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Less than 48 hours later, Wyland is shot and killed by officers of the Mississippi Highway Patrol attempting to execute a fugitive warrant. A briefcase full of cash, a fake ID and an airline ticket are found in his car.
With accusations flying, lawsuits being filed nationwide and revelation after revelation rocking the online and offline media, a fourth-rate host of a little-known game streaming channel receives an e-mailed gift marked “Kings and Conquests News” from one of his subscribers.
Thinking it’s some kind of prank, Jordan Hall opens it and discovers a Founder’s account login to a fully functional Kings and Conquests server, a 100-year pre-paid subscription and map coordinates marking a dangerously isolated in-game location labeled “Safekeep.”
The e-mail is from Garrett Wyland.