Well after dark Tuesday evening — exactly one month out from the release of her new album — Grimes posted a picture of what appeared to be a CGI baby angel on her Instagram account. She tagged a locked account called @warnymph. I’ve never hit the follow button faster.
At first glance, it's easy to see the account as a connection and further tease to Grimes' rumored pregnancy. Other outlets reported as much — to which Grimes reacted with what seemed like outright anger. When asked on Twitter if War Nymph was her baby, Grimes answered: “Technically this one is a de-aged clone but prob similar.”
Upon further investigation, it’s become clear that War Nymph could be much more than just an album tease or pregnancy stunt. Looking at the details, War Nymph might actually have a gaming tie-in — perhaps to Cyberpunk 2077, in which Grimes is featured. But perhaps more.
Looking over the War Nymph image in more detail while waiting for the account to accept my request revealed more. The cherub’s face bears a striking resemblance to Grimes’ visage, albeit with red eyes, no hair, and pointed, elfin ears. In its red-acrylic-nailed fist, the War Nymph holds a sword longer than its torso with a heart-shaped hilt. This begs the question: is the War Nymph enormous, or is the sword baby-sized?
In the upper right is a logo of sorts: the letters “WNE,” a long shard protruding from the bottom of the “N” and smashing through a darkened globe. A small fairy sits atop the logo.
Once War Nymph accepted my follow request, everything became exponentially stranger (and maybe clearer). On its grid are nine photos that make one larger picture: two war nymphs, surrounded by darkness, with an arrow flying between them. On the first day of War Nymph's existence, the account’s bio read simply “Beta Version 1.0,” and only a little more than a thousand people had been accepted as followers. Two days later, the account is at 11.6K and climbing.
But who the account is following is what's really interesting. Of the 23 accounts War Nymph followed as of Tuesday night, 10 were related to video games and three were virtual (CGI) influencers. And Grimes, of course. The rest appear mostly to be a mix of artists. By Thursday, the number of follows rose to 30, but the ratio still largely stands; at least 12 fall within the gaming space.
Based on these numbers, it's easy to speculate that War Nymph is related in some way to an upcoming gaming release or project. Certainly the gaming throughline cannot be ignored. Maybe it’s nothing more than a promo for Cyberpunk 2077 — many of the accounts it follows are related to the game — but my guess is there's more to this story.
A few details on some of the gaming accounts followed by War Nymph:
- @cyberpunkgame: Cyberpunk 2077, a much-anticipated, recently pushed game in which Grimes voices the singer Wizzy Lizzy
- @thegameawards: Grimes performed “4ÆM,” a single from Cyberpunk 2077, at The Game Awards last month
- @cdpreed: CD Projekt Red, Polish game developer responsible for Cyberpunk 2077
- @witchernetflix: a video game and TV series by CD Projekt Red
- @hideo_kojima: video game designer behind the Metal Gear series and Death Stranding.
- @blizzard; @rockstargames; @squareenix; @nintendo; @ubisoft: various game publishers and developers
War Nymph also had an Instagram story on its first day of life. In it, War Nymph narrates directly to the camera:
“This is the end of the world. The world stands on a ledge. Death. And the end is nigh. Emon emon emon. The next planet in the solar system, it’s called Death. The sun explodes and we all die. The earth is going deafeningly quiet. There’s the sound of the storm moving like a train in the sky as it approaches and it crashes and it goes very quiet. And then it moves again.
It’s on the verge of space. And our figures in green and white and they’re closing in and they’re coming on. Emon. Then we die! And it’s not much better. Less afraid of war than we thought. We were dead.
I’m getting sleepy. We’ll be back later.”
How epic. How very game-like. Three more photos of War Nymph follow, each with a caption: “Feed the WarNymph," “NymphAmphetamine,” and “2 ft tall.”
And now, here we are — Without any concrete answers, there’s no way to say with certainty what’s going on. But whatever the real story is, we’re definitely intrigued.
Input has made multiple attempts to reach Grimes’ team and will update this post if we hear back. Do you know something about WarNymph? Hit us up: firstname.lastname@example.org (Or even better — Grimes get at us!).