Game Developers Show Us Their Favourite Easter Eggs

You’ve no doubt stumbled on an easter egg or two in your time playing games, whether it’s the heavily co-ordinated storylines of the Call of Duty Zombies mode, or the more subtle inclusions like a dead assassin in a pile of hay in The Witcher 2, but there’s surely some that went amiss or someone to credit for these fun little inclusions.

“Today’s Easter,” Minit game designer Jan Willem Nijman tweeted, “Please respond with the best easter eggs you ever hid in a game!” Soon, plenty devs replied or quote retweeted with their stories, spawning a wholesome assembly of bite-size tidbits.

These vary from late-game bankruptcy in Game Dev Tycoon for playing with a pirated copy to a developer slipping their own name made out of sandstone blocks in the void outside a level in Hellboy: Science of Evil. Glitch out, and you’ll catch a glimpse of Nic Wechter.

You have to wonder what goes into designing games that revolve around driving, with a lively brood of AI meandering meaninglessly down long-winded roads leading to the next, to the next, and to the next. It’s not like a shooter or a platformer that can have tiers of enemies like a Goomba, Koopa, followed by a boomerang-throwing menace, so why not instead just amp up the violent tendencies of drivers behind specific cars? Henrik put forward his own idea to try and emulate reality, or at least, a quaint little stereotype that jabs at BMW drivers – turn signals off, more honking, and more pent-up aggression. Maybe next time you’re playing Need for Speed Payback, you’ll notice the onslaught of pissed-off robot-helmed BMWs.

Far Cry 4 got a lot of buzz for its opening back in 2014: the general gist of the story is that you are trying to return your mother’s ashes to Kyrat, but of course, a baddie kidnaps you. Sat opposite Min, you tuck into a meal prepared especially for you, but he leaves the room, and that long-winded wait time is a cue that you should skedaddle – that’s how you progress. I mean, sitting around waiting that long in a game is the bog-standard language for a case of dip, loot, and fight. Still, if you’re patient – or, as I was, accidentally AFK – for 15 minutes, then Min will return and take you to spread your mother’s ashes. Voila, you’ve beaten the game, and to boot, there’s no bloodshed.

Mixing Indiana Jones with a sprinkle of Lara Croft, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted was a huge hit when it debuted back in 2007;  it’s also a very busy, frantic game where you’re constantly dodging, rushing, climbing, shooting, or some combination of all four. However, if you’re still for a moment, you’ll find there’s an Assassin’s Creed easter egg in Uncharted 4.

To get it, you need to ascend one of the towers in the city and remain perfectly still for a few seconds, before the classic synchronisation animation appears.

Tterrab Industries is Barrett spelled backwards, Destiny awaits is a hint to Bungie’s next game, and Oryx is Christopher Barrett’s original username and Twitch handle. All neatly slipped into the Halo series, these easter eggs likely flew by your radar if you weren’t following the developers – as for the Destiny hint, this is something that even Elder Scrolls has done, as Morrowind blatantly referenced the next title, Oblivion. The big difference there, however, is that they are in the same series. “We believe that the gates of Oblivion will open,” Eno Romari – an NPC – opens, “And the multitude of daedra will roam this world freely.”

Dark Souls is a funny old game. I got into the series by mixing up Darksiders 2 and Dark Souls 2, and for a 14-year-old, that was a tough old chestnut. As with most people, one character truly stuck out for me, was Solaire of Astora. He’s the first character to give you a soapstone, the means to help other players, and he even helps you himself throughout the game. His praising the sun in World of Warcraft is a sight for sore eyes, and tempting me something fierce to try the MMO scene again.

One developer even hid a gigantic cheese wheel in Dragon Age 2, right behind the treeline, in the mountains, easily missable. But take a peek and you can see it, looking like a gorged Pacman, neatly resting. Is it a crossover with Elder Scrolls’ Sheogorath, the cheese-feasting mad-man from the plains of Oblivion, or was it left there by a hungry dragon?

There’s plenty of other easter eggs that were shared: Prey sound designer Ben Crossbones simply said, “Crew Quarters, Fitness Center, Pool. Diving Board.” Another developer said that there’s a one in 1000 chance that, in Injustice 2, the Flash will rock out with a Chicago hot dog in his intro. Ryan Benno divulged that the science exhibit in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is “themed after the extinct Epcot attraction, Horizons.” The Witchmist Grove – where you meet your to-be Hagraven wife – in Skyrim, is a homage to Baba Yaga’s hut “in the old Sierra game Quest for Glory.” One developer on The Last of Us 2 slipped their dog into the game, Murphy. A Borderlands dev hid their birthday on some pipes, and if you look in the mirror long enough in Uncharted 4, Drake does finger guns. The devs of these titles clearly had a lot of fun just slipping in whatever little quirks they could.

Next: After 15 Years, 2D Metroid Prime Fan Project Releases Playable Demo

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James Troughton is a writer at TheGamer. He’s worked at the Nintendo-based site Switchaboo and newspaper TheCourierOnline and can be found on Twitter @JDTroughton.

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