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."
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:
Sonuva! I am reminded of this about once every 6 months. Seems this will ultimately be my BioShock legacy. I should convinced @korkyplunger to put in a message somewhere saying, “If you are enjoying this, Paul Hellquist did his job.” ????
— Paul Hellquist (@TheElfquist) January 9, 2018
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?