Obscure Hidden Message In BioShock Re-Surfaces A Decade After Release

Obscure Hidden Message In BioShock Re-Surfaces A Decade After Release

More than 10 years after the release of BioShock, an obscure error message has popped up again thanks to an unlikely source — an anonymous developer, posting on 4chan, who says he or she worked on BioShock 2.

The 4chan poster, writing in a thread about game creators doing drugs, alleged that developers on BioShock 2 would use shrooms to “help the creative juices get flowing.” As way of proving his identity, the 4chan poster pointed to a hidden message in the first BioShock that nobody had discovered in the past.

“In BioShock 1, go to the second half of Hephaestus where you first encounter Ryan in person,” wrote the poster. “Use Incinerate to get you down to 1 HP, then use it again on the area where the cutscene triggers and walk into it. You’ll die right when the scene starts, but wind up in a Vita Chamber outside the map. Turn on Art Captions and you’ll see a developer message about Paul Hellquist not doing his job. No one has found this bug yet publicly, it’s in all versions. Cheers.”

When people tried this, they were met with a message: “Bug this. If you can read this Paul Hellquist did not do his job. Love, Kline.”

Via @janand89

Via @janand89

In conversations with Kotaku, people who worked on BioShock 2 disputed details of the 4chan poster’s comments, although the message, written by former Irrational Games technical director Chris Kline, is certainly real. Paul Hellquist, a lead designer who had conflicts with BioShock director Ken Levine over the course of development, acknowledged it on Twitter this morning:

In fact, as Hellquist alluded, someone first discovered this bug about a year and a half ago. It all does make you wonder: How many other messages are hidden in old video games, just waiting to be discovered? And how many of them are this mean?


  • 1. Random guy discovers not largely known Easter Egg.
    2. Guy makes up backstory for Easter Egg.
    3. Guy claims to be a dev on 4chan.
    4. ???
    5. Kotaku article.

    Pretty cool Easter Egg though!

  • Guru Larry has an entertaining series on YouTube of hidden developer messages in video games.

  • The big find would be hidden images/messages on the other side of textures that you would never ever see. Unless you pull all the data & visually scanned through it. But still. I seriously bet there’s a load of hidden imagary/text on the back of a bunch of in game textures…

    • While it might be cool, the chances of that happening is slim since it would most likely need another texture to hold the message on it or else it would be noticeable from both sides. Even then the game asset would have to have more polys and extra UV space to do this meaning if it was on 1 texture sheet it would still be found from datamining.

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