From 4Chan To Evil Dead: The Secrets Of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Revealed

From 4Chan To Evil Dead: The Secrets Of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Revealed
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As I mentioned in my review, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that comes to life in its details. The team at Eidos Montreal has shown a rare attention to detail and and willingness to engage in fan-service, filling the game with a nigh-on unprecedented number of hidden sight gags and easter eggs.

They’re found in notes and emails, books and videos, corporate symbols, obscure dialogue references, and often in plain sight. In this post, I’ve collected some of my and the other Kotaku editors’ favourites. A few of these contain minor spoilers, but nothing too major, plot-wise.

There are, of course, dozens more in the game, and so I hope you’ll share your favourites in the comments.

Image: Cherezoff/Shutterstock

Nigerian Email Scams
At this point, it’s become a cliché to put fake Nigerian email scams into in-game inboxes. But DXHR has some fun with the trope, introducing the fraud emails early in the game but later having an administrator come down furiously on his employees for possibly falling for them. Heh.

Thank You For Your Cooperation
One could almost call the entirety of Deus Ex: Human Revolution a shoutout to Paul Veerhoeven’s classic Sci-Fi flick RoboCop… A Detroit police officer gets his shit wrecked, is reborn and augmented to be part man part machine… fights evil corporations, lumbering robots…

This conversation, overheard in the Detroit Police Department, is a cute reference to the film.

“Look at this guy. I think we were just talking about you, pal.”

Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart.
In a nod to the game’s Michigan setting, the name of the convenience store in the gas station outside the LIMB Clinic in Detroit is “S-Mart”, the same store where Ash Williams works in the Michigan-based Evil Dead films. Sam Rami would be proud.

Welcome to Black Mesa
In one of the later levels (and one of my favourite levels), Jensen is tasked with infiltrating the Omega Ranch research lab and tracking down some important individuals. On one of the computers, the following message can be found:

A reminder to all Omega Ranch personnel: Regular radiation and bio-hazard screenings are a requirement of continued employment at the Omega Ranch research facility. Missing a scheduled urinalysis or radiation check-up is ground for immediate termination. If you feel you have been exploded to radioactive or other hazardous materials in the course of your duties, contact your radiation safety officer immediately. Work safe, work smart, your future depends on it.

– Omega Ranch Administration

Half-Life Fans will recognise that as a direct lift from the opening tram sequence in Half-Life, except with “Black Mesa” replaced by “Omega Ranch”. Good one, Eidos.

(Thanks Brendan Keogh for catching this one.)

Buy Now, Pay Later
It’s hard to miss the vague aseptic menace of the LIMB Clinics, and that menace is never clearer than in the LIMB Ad above: “Get Augmentations Now, Pay Later.”

Pay later, indeed…

This is #Chan. Smash the State!

In the midst of the missions in China are a couple of fun references to 4Chan. An informant from the LIMB clinic shows up wearing a #Chan hat, which without the shift key would be… 3Chan.

An email found shortly afterwards comes from [email protected] “Anonymous”, of course, is a reference to the now-infamous hacking group, and the “Chan” refers once again to 4Chan. “Smash the State” is a callback to the first Deus Ex–it’s the password that the NSF is using on the first level on Liberty Island.

Final Fantasy, Still Going Strong
One of the more well-known easter eggs is the poster for Final Fantasy XXVII on the wall in Pritchard’s Tech Lab.

Given that DXHR takes place in the year 2027, that means that there have been an additional 13 numbered Final Fantasy games in the 16 years between now and then.

Hmm… that puts Square Enix on pace to release almost one numbered FF game a year between now and then, with only a couple of years off for Tactics games and kart-racers.

Could this be a hint about the future of the franchise?

Well, no, probably not.

Forever Alone

Located on a number of post-it notes around the offices of DXHR are drawings of one of the characters from the meme-tastic web comic “Forever Alone”.

Someone Sure Had a Party
I found this one via Steam, and so was not fortunate enough to stumble upon it myself. But apparently, if you punch through a wall in the sewers near The Hive in China, you’ll find evidence of a fairly involved romantic engagement.

David Sarif’s Office
David Sarif’s office is one of the more detailed locations in the game, and a couple of small bits stick out. A book laying around is called “Daedalus Complex”, which is a not-so-subtle nod to Sarif’s tendencies to use his great mind to improve the world around him.

Of course, the mythological character Daedalus is perhaps best known for building wings for his son Icarus, helping him fly a little too high. Given the wing on Sarif’s company logo and the fact that he constantly refers to Jensen as “Son”, the symbolism here is pretty clear.

Also, Sarif has a groovy “DX” hat laying down by his desk, which I’m guessing looks like the actual Deus Ex hats that the team wears. And while I don’t know what “The Planet of the Cakes” is, the guy’s got enough copies lying around that it must mean something.

Working QR Codes
Strewn about the Sarif Industries warehouse in the first level are QR codes, which apparently actually work. I haven’t been able to get my phone to read them, but it sounds like they lead to a number of websites and online clues about various aspects of the DXHR universe. We’ll have to investigate this one further, but if you’ve headed down the rabbit hole, let us know what you found?

Mr Denton, I Presume
Among the references to the original Deus Ex (including plenty of emails from a certain FEMA official named Manderley) is an email found in the late game addressed to a “JC” in engineering. Poor guy has gone from being a vital cog in a plan for world domination to… a glorified Mr. Fix-it, reprimanded by his boss via email.

The bigger they are…

The Broken Mirror of Emotionally Tortured Protagonists
One of my favourite touches in the game is found early on in Adam Jensen’s apartment.

Jensen is a hard-to-read fellow, delivering his lines in an gravelly monotone and keeping his emotions close to the vest. But that gruff exterior hides unseen anguish regarding his involuntary augmentations, as evidenced by his smashed mirror and the sad note attached:

Call landlord re: replacement mirror. Again.

Oh, Adam.


  • You’ve missed the point with the mirror.

    He has to call again because his landlord is a prick. Not because he’s a tortured soul.

    There’s a later email at the reception desk that gives more detail.

  • One that got me was the email on Adam’s computer in his apartment saying that his dog had been put down as the person couldn’t look after it and didn’t know if Adam would be coming back. Made me want to find that person…

  • If you listen carefully you will sometimes hear music from the original game on radios, people whistling the original themesong as well.

    This I was impressed with. 🙂

  • There is a HUGE Easter Egg at the end of Singapore.

    Just before you leave you are in Hangar 18, this ought to be enough of a hint. There is a small crawl space covered by boxes behind the point you enter with a security level 5 terminal with a user account “Mstaine”. That took so many attempts even with every hacking augment – Every node is a random +2/-2 API with a strength of 5 (55% chance of detection), so sooner or later you have to hack strength 7,8,9 or 10 nodes that are guaranteed detection.

    The email on the computer contains excerpts of the lyrics and talks about Hangar 18. You get rewarded with the acheivement Hangar 18.

  • “Call landlord re: replacement mirror. Again.”

    Whilst this could be taken to mean he broke the mirror yet again, this is actually explained elsewhere in the game.

    The downstairs computer in the lobby explains the woman managing the building has been stalling getting the mirror replaced for him (4 weeks overdue for collection from the warehouse it’s being stored at), and when you talk to her she makes snarky comments about it.

    As for why the mirror is broken in the first place, if you decide to take on Taggart in front of the media later on, in one of the conversation options he goes on to say the first time he looked at himself in the mirror, he smashed it out of frustration and anger at what had been done to him.

  • Not to spoil the location or plot, but I laughed out loud when I found a long diplomatically worded email from ‘John Howard’ to the head of Tai Young Medical about many issues regarding Australia. I’ll let you find it and enjoy the read.

    For those outside Australia and not up to speed on Aussie politics John Howard was our Prime Minister from 1996–2007, a conservative right-wing politician who included Australia in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The details in this game are so enjoyable.

    • I thought I was the only person who noticed that email. Made me laugh. There must be an Aussie or two on the development team.

      Also, Civil War in Australia? We’re too lazy to give two stuffs about war, especially internal war. Riots don’t count. 😛

  • I get the feeling that the last easter egg, the one about the mirror, is a creative way of hiding the fact that Deus Ex’s engine can’t manage the mirrors, or that they were never programmed, as opposed to just being a nice touch.
    Seriously. There’s not one working mirror in the entire game.

  • RE: The mirror –

    If you hack in to the building’s reception in the later half of the game (when the riots are going on and the receptionist is missing). You’ll see an e-mail from the courier company, begging her to come pick up the replacement mirror because it’s been sitting in their warehouse for a month.

    I lol’d

  • Another Easter Egg that probably goes unnoticed is a Hackers (1995) Movie reference in the form of an email address in one of the storage areas in Detroit. The email address being [email protected]

    Zero Cool being the main characters online handle at the start of the movie and planet.hack as in Hack the Planet the hacker TV show.

  • Also in Omega Ranch is a large number of emails involving pranks played on an office worker named Dwayne. Hmmmmm.

    The “how the media works” emails in Picus are pretty fun too. You’d better Photoshop out the space station in the background of that shot!

  • Not really an easter egg but –


    Megan Reed’s Computer in Singapore has a nice email detailing progress on a new form of nano augmentation and project ‘D’. Makes you wonder if the little post-credits audio actually occurs after the events of the game or not. Well it did for me anyway. 😛

  • there was also an easter egg, on one of the computers you had to hack in either the police station or the manufacturing plant, i don’t remember where, which had an email between two employees talking about not wanting to queue up for Episode 9. of Star Wars, perhaps?

  • Upstairs in the Police Department two of the cops in one of the back offices were discussing RoboCop and how it was set in Detroit. It was absolute GOLD.

  • Not so much an easter egg, more of a cultural observation:
    I remember finding a pocket secretary in one of the rental pods in Alice Garden Pods, Hengsha. It was a diary entry by a tenant complaining about some children coming and bothering the person, calling names such as “hikikomori” and “shut in”, then at the end of the entry the person wrote something along the lines of “Their accents were horrendous”.
    This pokes fun at the social animosity between China and Japan.

  • I’m sure there’s a ton more Easter eggs written in Chinese as well. I just got into hengsha and found two.
    First was in English – Foxon Audio – looks like Apples manufacturer Foxconn finally took matters into their own hands 😉
    Second – a Chinese play on words on Nintendo – the electronics shops scattered in the first district is called chong

  • Chongtendo – which actually means recharging store.
    You can see the stores stock the psp/ds handhelds that you see people playing with in detroit.

  • The first keycoded door you encounter in Deus Ex is 0451. At the start of Deus Ex HR Sariff tells you to take his elevator the code is 0451

  • In a late game cutscene, shortly after the third boss fight, one of the stories on the TV news’s ticker is “Pirates sighted off coast of Tortuga”

    There’s quite a lot of jokes in the tickers, but that’s by far my favourite.

  • I’m still working my waY through, have just left the riots behind. Back in Jensen’s office during the riots he receives an email (and there’s a couple others on other computers) about all the “office thefts” that have been going on. I whistled innocently and walked away, totally hadn’t hacked everybody’s office and stolen their stuff.

  • At one point mid-to-late in the game, there’s an email exchange between ‘Brent Stuart’ and ‘Pat Spinner’.

    Almost certainly a play on Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner from Star Trek TNG.

  • Here are a few extras:


    when you go to Picus to find Eliza Casan the first room you find here is in room 404 where you discover she is not there and a hologram. – a refrence to the 404 site not found error.

    next you go to find her on a lower floor as you travel down the elevator prichart discusses that she is hiding in the broadcast room and makes a refrence to 802.11 -the broadcast frequency used in WIFI.

    in the White room you find megan in, there is a gramaphone that plays the original deus ex theme.

    the monitor rainbow in pricharts office is based on a photo that has done the rounds on the web countless times.

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