Happy Easter, mates.
Because it’s Easter, we thought we’d take a moment to dig through the Kotaku Australia archives for something thematically appropriate for the weekend. We came up with Easter Eggs because, if there’s one thing developers love, it’s hiding in-jokes in their games. We’ve collated just a few of our favourites from across the years in one handy location for you. We hope you enjoy this little trip in the way-back machine with us.
This is one of those easter eggs I love because it was clearly created by a developer, and only for themselves. A Gearbox Software developer hid his initials, off-camera, in Half-Life: Decay and it went undiscovered for almost two decades until an especially crafty YouTuber pieced it all together. To see the initials, which were written in the sparks of a broken computer, you had to mod the game such that you could view the game’s final cutscene from the POV of the game’s second protagonist. I love this one because it’s nothing more than a talented artist signing their work, and in a way that isn’t obtrusive.
I legitimately wept with happiness the first time I stumbled upon Sea of Thieves‘ Monkey Island easter egg. It’s a beautiful moment, and you don’t realise what you’ve stumbled into until the familiar theme begins to play. The moment gives you just a little skerrick of story, strung together across five journals found in the area, about Guybrush and Elaine escaping LeChuck’s clutches to live out their days on the Sea of Thieves. SoT composer Robin Beanland’s take on the classic theme song is a gentle and loving tribute to a beloved pirate series.
Titanfall 2, a game I think most of us would happily consider a spiritual successor to Half-Life 2, hid a Half-Life easter egg in plain sight. During the game’s time travel level, its possible to find yourself in a recreation of HL‘s famous locker room, complete with HEV suits.
Like its predecessors, Hitman 3 is a game that rewards thorough exploration and paying close attention to small cues. Because of this, developer IO Interactive love to hide easter egg “moments” in the game that only players in the right place at the right time will be able to find. The talking hippo is just one example. My Agent 47 once walked in on a guy being abducted by aliens, I swear to God.
This was a bit of a strange one, proving not every easter egg is a slam dunk funny gag. After revelations about the severity of crunch conditions within Naughty Dog during the production of The Last of Us Part II, players were able to find a collectible card in-game that depicted a super-villain version of the game’s director, Neil Druckmann. The card, titled Doctor Uckmann, details a man ostracised by the scientific community for “questionable experiments in the realm of pushing human limits.” What may have read as a tounge-in-cheek joke internally didn’t fare quite as well in the real world.
This one honestly just made me smile, because it’s so specific. In Insomniac’s Spider-Man for PS4, it is not uncommon to see Jewish pedestrians milling around the game’s digital New York City. Because the game has access to the PlayStation’s internal clock, programmer Elan Ruskin made it so that the game’s Jewish NPCs observed the Sabbath. If you played the game on a Saturday IRL, the Jewish NPCs would not appear, mirroring the real-world Jewish custom of not working or leaving the home on the Sabbath.
GTA Online has many easter eggs, some of which remain the object of conspiracy theories and hearsay to this day. This particular easter egg, however, was rather easy to obtain. When Rockstar added a new drink to the game’s club menu, the Macbeth Whiskey shot, players began using it as a teleport. Upon drinking one of these heady shots, the character would quickly pass out and wake up somewhere else in the game. Most commonly, you’d wake up in the club bathrooms. But sometimes, you’d end up on the other side of the map, a useful way to get about without fast-travelling. However, if you were very lucky, your character might get so drunk they joined Epsilon, GTA‘s in-canon version of Scientology. Players that woke up in the Epsilon building would unlock the group’s logo t-shirt. The shirt couldn’t be obtained any other way.
So there you have it, just a few of our favourites from over the years. We have so many more. Maybe we’ll do another one of these soon? Perhaps … tomorrow? In the meantime, what are some of your favourite video game easter eggs? No egg too small or obscure, you can be as niche as you like!