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1-858-WHEN-KRZ (1-858-943-6579), or the Kentucky Route Zero Development Status Hotline, is a phone hotline by Cardboard Computer dedicated to providing callers with the release status of Kentucky Route Zero, including Act V and the game's console ports. It features the voice of Will.

Online as of October 15, 2018, Cardboard Computer stated in their announcement tweet and Instagram post that "if you find it reassuring, you may add it to your 'speed dial.'"

On January 28, 2020, the number switched to operating as the hotline for the Department of the Real.

Development Status Hotline[edit]

Recordings of the messages heard on the hotline at different dates are listed below.

"In production"[edit]

Dates used: October 15, 2018 – June 2019.

"Quality assurance testing"[edit]

Dates used: June 2019 – January 4, 2020.

"Preparing for publication"[edit]

Dates used: January 4 – 28, 2020.

This recording played a countdown, in minutes, to 9:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, January 7, 2019 (seven years since the release of Act I). A transcript can be read here.

As the countdown reached zero, the recording played the following message:

Department of the Real[edit]

Dept of the Real.jpg
Dept of the Real - dream journal.png

On January 28, 2020, Cardboard Computer announced a collaboration with iam8bit on a physical releases of the game for several systems, in addition to vinyl releases of Ben Babbitt's music related to the game. The hotline was rebranded to the Department of the Real and Cardboard Computer began advertising it using the numerical phone number.

"The number you have dialed is not real"[edit]

Dates used: January 28 - February 18, 2020.

The hotline's "today, the following things are not real" item listing changed roughly every other day:

  • January 28–29: Discarded snakeskin, empty buildings, music from a passing car, silence, frogs, the house you grew up in, the house I grew up in.
  • January 30: Software, felt, empty beer cans thrown in the woods, moths, moths, mice.
  • January 31: [Unknown]
  • February 1–2: Desktops, heartbeats, magnets.
  • February 3: Goat's feet, rain, the em dash, the bat circus, your first set of tires.
  • February 4: Weight, glory, brunch, stories written on rabbit skins, comedy.
  • February 5–6: [Unknown]
  • February 7–8: The wind in your hair, the air in your tires.
  • February 9–10: Wednesday, Sunday, Tuesday.
  • February 11: Nostalgia, discomfort, mittens, thirst, the 1996 Ford Taurus.
  • February 12–13: Chemicals.
  • February 14–17: Thunder, your favorite song, the sound in your ears just before you fall asleep, a child's drawing of a building complete with a chimney and smoke, residual lacquer, snow.

"Please open your dream journal and turn to page 81"[edit]

Dates used: February 18 - March 3rd, 2020.

"Please open your dream journal and turn to page 92"[edit]

Dates used: March 3rd - March 23rd, 2020

This segment includes an interactive quiz, asking the caller the question, "How many grooves are on each side of one polyvinyl chloride circle?" If the caller dials any number other than the correct answer of "1", the quiz will loop indefinitely until the correct answer is chosen.

"Please open your dream journal and turn to the first blank page"[edit]

Dates used: Since March 23rd.