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NonCanon Warning:
The following content is not canon to the ARG, or only affects it in a meta sense, and thus should be disregarded during gameplay.
AsteriskReturner

* holding a King Of Diamonds, claiming Tyler's finding of a similar card to be a deliberate move on his part.

Project Returner was the working title for a scrapped arc of John is Dead. It was inspired by RL!Tyler finding a vintage King Of Diamonds playing card by chance one day and thinking of RL!Mugen when he saw it.

Overview

At the time that Tyler found the King Of Diamonds, Mugen was away from the Internet Detectives due to being unable to keep up with the constant Skype Notifications while only able to use Skype on his old iPhone 4. As a result, he missed out on several key events at the end of the Lunar Children Arc.

Upon acquiring a MacBook Air and the respective Skype app, Mugen had been looking for the perfect time to return to the Internet Detectives, now that he had nothing to worry about on that front. Tyler's request to give him a shout-out via the King Of Diamonds finding ended up giving him more than that.

What Could Have Been

Mugen came up with a few ideas for the project:

  • The image above was based on a frame from a video of Mugen in a strange effect. Originally it was Mugen operating unrestrained, and thus broadcasting from another plane of existence, which implied that he was actually some manner of Ascended, like a Transcended Finitor, though the comparison, in RL!Mugen's own words, would be so inaccurate that it would be an insult to Mugen.
    • RL!Mugen got the idea from certain videos from TribeTwelve produced by Firebrand and the Observer.[1] Instead of using rotoscope like Adam Rosner and Tyler did, RL!Mugen uses the X-Ray filter in Photo Booth and iMovie to produce the other plane of existence that * inhabits.
  • Eventually, RL!Mugen retconned it so it was a character he'd created when the Authors of Trinity Of Truth asked him to bow out so the other players would stop using him as a crutch. This character was known as " * " (read out as "Asterisk") and was since expanded to be an alternate Mugen who was native to an entirely different layer of Creation than the Mugen we know.
    • However, Mugen retained the concept of being able to operate on other planes of existence.
  • Either way, * would have taken over JohnIsDead.Com which, during conception of Project Returner, was still in the hands of the Lunar Children. This would have been symbolized on the main page with Patrem's purple moon turning blue, and then obscured by a wall of azure blue stars. Later, the page "/returner" would be found, with a close-up of * showing his forehead, eyes, and upper nose, imitating the Twelfth Doctor Eyebrows meme, and captioned "I AM BACK" in made-up runes.
    • Segments of this song would have been used as back tracks for the two pages.
  • After JiD/returner was discovered, Mugen would have posted a video to his account, from the other plane of existence, where * would greet the Internet Detectives, call out those veterans that had forgotten him, insult Patrem, and throw down the gauntlet, saying that with his return, Patrem was screwed.
    • At the end of the video would be a freeze frame of * holding a King Of Diamonds, asking Tyler, "like my present?" which would mean that Tyler didn't simply find the King Of Diamonds that he has, but rather * deliberately sent it to him as part of his plans.
      • RL!Mugen has stated that this would have been as a sort of protective token, to keep him safe from further machinations by Patrem and the Lunar Children.
    • Some time afterward Mugen would be added back to the Internet Detectives Skype room.
  • Mugen's hope was for the Internet Detectives to make significant progress toward solving the game once the story arc was complete, but at the same time, he acknowledged that it couldn't break the game by literally handing them every single answer they would need to win.
    • He likened it to providing RPG players with endgame-level equipment and items; just enough to make victory happen, while allowing the players to earn the win; as opposed to just teleporting players to the Final Boss with its one weakness or otherwise how to utterly cheese the fight.

Downfall

Unfortunately, the project proved too ambitious due to Tyler's real life cutting into his availability, preventing him and Mugen from brainstorming additional ideas and how to implement each individual piece.

The ultimate nail in the project's coffin was Tyler's plans for what ultimately became The Truth Arc, which Tyler neither told anyone about, not even Mugen,[2] nor did he even initially intend for what he was planning to be part of JiD. That was retroactive, as a result of so many nods to JiD being placed in the story.

The reason the Truth Arc ended up killing Project Returner was because, when Tyler resurrected the original YSHDT as part of the story, Mugen was called back to the Internet Detectives anyway. As the purpose of Project Returner, indicated in its working title, was to facilitate Mugen's return to the Internet Detectives, the project was promptly scrapped, having been rendered redundant.

Legacy

Though Project Returner was scrapped, it had an influence on how Mugen would do things going forward. He pitched an * video as a way to convince the newly surging Spanish-speaking fandom that JiD gained in 2017 to join with the Internet Detectives to solve the mystery. This was harshly rejected, citing concerns that the Spanish-speakers would label him a gamejacker, prompting Mugen to record as himself and upload "Para El Pueblo Que Investigan 'John Is Dead' Y SilentDork" which got an authorized memetic version by Jos.

Mugen would eventually use an * video to taunt SilenceUnknownXXx for thinking she could escape the attention of those who decided to play her game by fleeing to a new YouTube channel. He later responded to one of her videos as * in the form of healing Link, giving him gifts, and sending him to the Great Bay Temple, which had been rendered safe by * driving Gyorg away, evidenced by the Termina Field music and the turtle already being awake when Link arrived to depart for the temple.

For (some) reason(s) unknown to him, Mugen was one day struck with the idea to upload a video of a certain unnamed female character from Megami Kōhosei,[3] opening her eyes and looking at the viewer, before a freeze-frame close-up of her face. Mugen chose to call out the absurdity of the video by adding a subsequent freeze-frame of * wondering who "the frack" the woman was.

Gallery

Notes

  1. Bit of irrelevant trivia, but his demon-eye-Infinity-Flower logo was inspired by the Observer Symbol.
  2. In Tyler's defense, this was to preserve immersion, which is seen as crucial to an ARG. -MK
  3. If anyone knows who she is, please edit it in. -MK
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General StoryCharactersVideosGroupsTerminology
Timelines YSHDT ArcDead ArcLunar Children ArcThe Truth ArcGreth ArcAstral Arc
Extras Helper's HatApril 1st UpdateProject ReturnerHope and the Survivors