If the Halo series has become known for something other than its dense mythology and unpredictable gameplay, it’s a sense of humor. It’s one of the things that distinguished the series from so many other ‘space marine’ adventures, and kept players scouring every nook and cranny for flourishes and inside-jokes.
It’s no surprise then that Easter eggs and hidden items are already being found within Halo 4, ranging from the mildly odd to downright hilarious. Saving humanity is important, to be sure. But the Forerunners aren’t going anywhere.
We’ve gathered up the latest ones to be uncovered, but who knows how many secrets are buried in Halo 4‘s campaign, multiplayer, and Spartan Ops. The order here is roughly chronological in terms of campaign acts, and bear only the smallest of spoilers. Those who are weary of even mission beats being revealed can steer clear, but you’ll be missing out.
Master Chief’s Service Record
The opening of Halo 4 has likely already been seen by most who intend to, and after the exploration of John’s childhood trauma, the Chief jumps into action like he’s spent four years asleep. Cortana’s sense of urgency – bolstered by the closing moments of Forward Unto Dawn – may not encourage exploration. Of course, that means passing by the first easter egg of the game.
Most players will run down the catwalk from Forward Unto Dawn’s cryo-chambers to the command center without hesitation, and completely ignore the set of stairs leading into the lower level. Simply approach the terminal placed below, and be treated to a complete detailing of John-117′s service record. In other words, a complete plot summary of the first three Halo titles up to Halo 4‘s opening scene.
We’ll bet most players will already be familiar, but it’s worth a listen for those who may have forgotten some of the finer points. And considering how much the ensuing campaign will forever change the Halo universe, a refresher won’t go amiss. It may not be one of the most mind-blowing terminals in the game, but it’s a start.
In-Game Limited Edition Halo 4
Halo 4 fans who sprang for the Limited Edition of the game instead of the standard copy already know how much extra content and collectibles were included. Apparently, the package was deemed so exquisite by 343, they had to place it within the game itself. The collapsing parallel universes at work in making that a reality make our heads hurt, but it’s still a quirky Easter egg.
The Limited Edition can be found in the control room where the first Covenant encounter takes place. When facing the main viewport, the game case can be found to the left. It’s fairly hard to miss if you’re familiar with its singular style (recreated with freakish accuracy, if we may say).
Requiem Crash Site Covenant Devices
The burning husks of Covenant Cruisers scarring the surface of Requiem make for one of the more stunning vistas in the game’s earlier chapters. In the mission of the same name, the Chief is immediately tasked with finding a way through the wreckage in the immediate vicinity. Players might walk by one of the somewhat-intact ships, missing the Elite and data log contained within.
Simply find the Elite and you’re in the right spot. There’s no need to take out the alien, since he’s on his way out anyway. It’s the glowing interface behind him that’s the real Easter egg. We won’t go into specifics, but the voice players will hear is none other than Dr. Catherine Halsey discussing the inevitability of AI rampancy. Or, in this case, how one AI might prove to be an exception.
The second device atop the center-most Covenant hull grants the player access to the Covenant Battlenet, hinting at the plot ready to unfold, and Master Chief’s role in the proceedings. The Covenant’s presence around the Forerunner Shield World is no coincidence, as Cortana astutely notes: “the Covenant are always looking for something.” Look they did, and when they found what they were after, they waited. For years, it seems – almost since the events of Halo 3 came to a close.
Until the Chief arrived, that is…
Next: Spartan Portraits
This Easter egg is one of the only ones (so far) that requires a bit of a challenge in accessing. Once the Chief exits the crash site and steps into the sunlight, a mountain path littered with Warthogs extends out to the left. Before players run gleefully towards the UNSC’s one-of-a-kind vehicle, take in the surroundings. On the right edge of the cliffs stands an outcropping of rock with a rather distinct tree and protruding metal framework.
A few death-defying hops and a drop between the boulders grants access to a lower ledge. From there, simply look up at what appears to be a series of burn marks and impacts along the underside of the structure. It may not be an image of Master Chief on a grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s darn close.
Double Rainbow All The Way
That’s right: even 343 isn’t immune to the double rainbow meme. This one is fairly straightforward, and those familiar with the source material will get the joke implicitly. After the first section of the ‘Reclaimer’ mission, the hulking Mammoth will cross a river next to a large waterfall. When the Mammoth stops, the double rainbow can be seen in all its glory.
343, unfortunately, still can’t answer the one question Halo fans will now be left asking: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Conan O’Brien & Andy Richter Cameo
Conan O’Brien and Master Chief may not seem a likely pair, but looks can be deceiving – they’re both redheads, after all. Yet O’Brien previously took a stroll down to the 343 offices to voice a clandestine role within the Halo 4 lore. And at the very beginning of the ‘Shutdown’ mission, the late night host’s work is on full display.
Tucked away in the corner of the UNSC warehouse are two soldiers moving crates; listen in for a few minutes and fans will immediately recognize the voices of O’Brien and perennial sidekick Andy Richter, discussing the finer points of the military lifestyle.
Next: Inverted Mechs
Another stroll through the UNSC ordnance displayed during ‘Shutdown’ will lead players to a pair of the new MANTIS mechs. But it’s the pair of soldiers putting the mech through its paces that’s the real star of this scene. Would 343 construct an entire Easter egg to simply re-ignite the debate over inverting the Y-axis? Oh, you better believe it.
We’ll go with 343 on this one; Master Chief’s view is controlled by his head, not a flight stick. Now that the UNSC appears to be on our side, hopefully this issue can be put to bed.
Next: Grunt Dance Party
Grunt Dance Party
Oh, those predictable Grunts. Sure, they keep in line whenever an Elite commander is nearby, but give them some privacy and a fat beat or light show, and they just can’t keep still. Halo: Reach featured the first secret rave, and Halo 4 keeps the tradition going.
This easter egg is exactly as it sounds, and is completely visible outside of the massive viewport during the ‘Composer’ mission. The Grunts aren’t the most skilled dancers, but what they lack in form they make up for in enthusiasm.
Next: Immature Holograms
It’s a practice that surely every Halo player is familiar with. Whether dealing out the ultimate humiliation to defeated foes, or facing the receiving end of poor sportsmanship incarnate, ‘teabagging’ seems to be here to stay. While many players may have moved on from the childish act, or prefer riddling a downed opponent with bullets to squatting over them, 343 clearly took more than practicality into their design of Halo 4‘s new Armor Abilities.
The method seems simple enough: take out an opponent in multiplayer, deploy a Hologram over their body, and let the disembodied Spartan IV do the rest.
Red vs. Blue Achievement/Caboose Chatter
The connections between Rooster Teeth and Halo are well known, beginning with the now-infamous Red vs. Blue web series. We’re still waiting to see if 343 has crafted as large and elaborate a tribute to the studio as they did for Reach, but Spartan Ops already includes one reference. And an attached achievement.
In the fifth mission of Spartan Ops’ first episode, a well-placed shot earns the ‘Roses vs. Violets’ Achievement. But the Gamerscore points and acoustic strums aren’t the only reward. The ensuing combat encounters include radio chatter from one of Blue Team’s finest, hopefully the first of many crossovers between the straight-laced co-op campaign and the machinima comedy.
Considering just how much action looks to be coming with Spartan Ops’ first season, we might get our wish.
Those are the hidden secret and Easter eggs that have been uncovered in Halo 4 so far, but they certainly aren’t the last. We’ll do our best to keep you updated, but the biggest and most elaborate secrets took serious dedication to discover. If any more surface, fill us in. Until then, happy hunting!
Halo 4 is available now for the Xbox 360.
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