It's been two years since Relic staffers John Johnson and Drew Dunlop (producer and lead programmer on Company of Heroes, respectively) left the company to set up their own, Smoking Gun Interactive. As we reported back in May, the studio has teamed with cyberpunk trailblazer and author Douglas Rushkoff to create an array of multimedia products based on its yet-to-be-revealed premiere franchise. This week, we get a look at what they've been up to with the first of four sneak previews of X, a graphic novel launching next year that lays the foundation for Smoking Gun's new IP.

Hidden within the preview (on page 13, actually) is a link to a tie-in ARG that borrows the opening of the classic text adventure, Zork. This Easter egg is actually pretty appropriate, given that Rushkoff coined the term "viral media." We've gotten as far as "decoding" the Declaration of Independence, which, at least in the conspiracy-filled universe of X, contains warnings of aliens among us and a coming global tyranny. (As opposed to more modern government documents, which warn of a steep fine for filing your taxes late.)

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

Easy Piano easing into North America next year