So the other day, I posted a few thoughts from my WtNV re-listen. As of today, I have a full-blown theory. If anyone else has proposed this already, my apologies. I don’t go into the tags much.
In any case, I propose that the Desert Otherworld is actually what is left of Nulogorsk. That is why it and Night Vale have such a peculiar connection - after the nuclear bomb detonated and obliterated the sister city, diverging the time lines of the two, Nulogorsk turned into a desert wasteland existing in a very slightly separate segment of space and time.
Incidentally, this also explains why Simone Rigadeau said back in year one that the world had ended - she was conscious of the split in time-space (see [Best Of?]), and somehow got stuck thinking in Nulogorskian time.
Furthermore, I would go as far as to suggest that it could have been Strexcorp itself that dropped the bomb, and it was Strex employees who vandalized the Nulogorskian ruins on the mountain near the light house, which Dana almost got trapped in (in WALK, I think).
After Old Oak Doors, Night Vale and the ruins of Nulogorsk are existing in closer temporal relation than ever since the divergence, and the gap closes all the time. That would explain why it was such a struggle for Dana to get back to Night Vale originally, but Cecil expressed no such difficulty in returning from his vacation.
I think many of us probably suspect that this lost city could be a significant component of the year three arc, ever since its reemergence in [Best Of?]. If it is indeed the Desert Otherworld, then are Carlos and the Masked Army actually rebuilding Nulogorsk as we speak? And if so, I have a few more predictions.
First, that the year three arc will culminate in the collision of the two time lines. Perhaps this is the rumbling - perhaps the rumbling is the two almost colliding, as they did with the opening of the old oak doors.
Second, that if indeed Strex was somehow complicit in Nulogorsk’s destruction, that Kevin’s presence in the Desert Otherworld is no small degree of ominous. I predict character development, which could end either in Kevin renouncing Strex and siding with Night Vale, or plunging him deeper into Strex’s control.
Third, that we have not seen the last of The Man With the Tan Jacket and the Erika’s respective influences.
Tl;dr, this is squaring off to be a story arc that could surpass the year two story, and I canNOT HANDLE IT.