This article/section contains information that was shown or released via an official source such as ARGs or extended media (video games, books), however it has no canonical merit to the overall Lost mythos.
|Clues · Comic-Con · Correspondence • Dharma booth video · Tests|
The Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project, also simply known as "the Project", was the third Lost alternate reality game taking place between Season 4 and 5 of Lost. It concerned an attempt by an unknown source to revive the DHARMA Initiative. The game was developed by the Lost writers[source needed], in conjunction with Australian marketing agency Hoodlum (who were also behind the Find 815 game). The game began on May 29, 2008, when an advertisement for Octagon Global Recruiting aired during "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2", and finished on November 18, 2008, when the assessment dossiers were released.
The game involved participants applying to join the new DHARMA Initiative at Comic Con 2008 and the website DharmaWantsYou.com, where participants took part in various tests. At the conclusion of the game, each participant received a Volunteer Assessment Dossier which contained their results and allotted job. However, due to financial issues the DHARMA Initiative was canceled. As a replacement, the Dharma Special Access website was opened as an exclusive to game participants.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse stated in an interview with Lostpedia that the purpose of the game was to foreshadow the arrival of Sawyer's group in DHARMA times in Season 5. Indeed, the only real direct canonical revelation was the Dharma booth video showing Pierre Chang being filmed. The unseen cameraman in the film is generally accepted to be Daniel Faraday. This scene has not been shown in the main show and, considering Daniel Faraday is now dead, and Pierre Chang has now lost one hand, the video is outdated and does not fit in with the main show timeline. Chang also found out the truth arguably too late in the course of the Season to have filmed the video with Faraday, and fans would expect to have seen this being filmed on the show at any rate considering it seems like such an important scene. Consequently the canon of this video, and the ARG as a whole, is highly questionable.
On May 29, 2008, at the end of the last commercial break of "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2" an advertisement for Octagon Global Recruiting aired. At approximately the same time, octagonglobalrecruting.com opened. Both the ad and the website announced that a recruiting session in San Diego would be held from July 24-27, 2008, the same time and venue as Comic Con.
The following video was shown at Comic-Con, and later "surfaced" on YouTube, of a fan being taken to the Dharma booth at Comic Con, secretly taping what he saw and running off just in time to show everyone at the Lost panel.
The Project was negatively received by the Lost fan community. Commonly disliked elements were the long wait periods between activities   (with some sites creating their own games to pass the time ), technical issues , a lack of storyline , the uninteresting and simplistic nature of the game , and the sudden and out-of-tone ending .
Revelations about Lost
- The Asian man in the orientation films' real name is discovered for the first time: Pierre Chang.
- Chang was killed in the Purge.
- Chang had some sort of contact with the present, as he knew of several world events from the 21st Century.
- The title of the ARG was not known at the start of its run. Initially, it was referred to as Octagon Global Recruiting to reflect the name of the original website. However, a Dharma release form given out to participants at the Dharma recruitment booth at Comic-Con revealed the true title of the ARG given by ABC, "the Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project". The form also refers to the ARG as simply "the Project", though it has remained unclear whether this is an actual abbreviation of the title or simply coincidental legal jargon on the form.
- The official title for the game failed to catch on with fans, with most referring to it as "Dharma Wants You" or simply the abbreviations "OGR" or "DWY".
- The new reconstitution of the DHARMA Initiative does not use the word Dharma as a capitalized acronym. This could simply be an oversight by the game's writers, or could be indicative that the project was no longer focusing on "heuristics and research on material applications", keeping the name Dharma for sentimental sake.
- The release form's arrangement of the trigrams in the new Dharma logo coincide with the arrangement of the classic logo. All other representations of this logo (Comic-Con, DharmaWantsYou.com) have had the arrangement rotated one quarter-turn clockwise.
- According to Carlton Cuse in the first Dharmaspecialaccess.com video, Dharmawantsyou.com had approximately 147,000 accounts.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project/Theories
- Who was running the Dharma Initiative, and are they still connected to the Hanso Foundation?
- Who was RuckusGuy?
- Why was Dan Bronson suspicious of the new Dharma Initiative?
- Ajira Airways mentioned in Damon and Carlton's 12.29.2008 transmission
- Dharma Wants You message boards - hosted at ABC's website
- The Project on DarkUFO
- The Project on DocArzt
- The Project forum on Lostpedia Forums
- The Project on The ODI