People who play video games are wickedly curious. Whether that’s testing outlandish strategies for beating a difficult boss or piecing together bits of a game’s lore, gamers are expected to investigate and ask questions of the games that they play.
Developers love to have fun with this and cater to the curious minds with Easter eggs; inside jokes or small references that are a wink and nudge to the playe rbase. Plenty of games have tried to include Easter eggs over the years, and modern games continue that trend, so here’s a list of those from more recent times that do it best.
Battlefield 4‘s Giant Shark
Despite otherwise being a very serious game about war, EA and DICE’s first-person shooter Battlefield 4 still managed to have a bit of fun with its giant shark Easter egg. Players are able to summon the humongous fish from a pile of blood, seeing it chow down on any unlucky soldier that happens to cross its path at the worst time.
The giant shark is so popular in fact, that DICE brought it back for its World War 1 shooter, Battlefield 1.
Destiny‘s Haunted Loot Cave
When players discovered the original Destiny loot cave, developer Bungie chose to patch it out of the game. But the developer took the exploit in its stride. So later, when players returned to the site of the original loot cave and disturbed its ruins, a creepy voice would tell them, “A million deaths are not enough for Master Raoul,” which is a reference to the Cryptarch who decodes Engrams.
Pokemon GO‘s Pikachu Starter Pokemon
When players first begin Pokemon GO, the game gives them a choice of starter Pokemon to choose from. But while Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander appear to be the only options, players are actually able to select Pikachu instead.
Pokemon GO players can do this by continuing to walk away from the default trio of starter Pokemon, and doing this enough times will see Pikachu show up, becoming available for capture. Pokemon GO has a variety of Easter eggs, including the Eevee naming trick, but the Pikachu starter selection is one the highlights.
Diablo 2 Cow Level
When the original Diablo was first released, a rumor began to circulate that the game had a secret cow level that could be accessed by clicking a certain cow in Tristram several times. The myth wasn’t true, but it was enough for Blizzard to make an actual secret cow level in Diablo 2. It can be accessed using the Horadric Cube to craft the red cow portal, with the Secret Cow Level also including its own bovine quest.
Grand Theft Auto 4 The Heart of Liberty City
Grand Theft Auto 4 is inspired by New York City, and includes its own take on the Statue of Liberty, called the Statue of Happiness. But the key difference between the two statues is that the Statue of Happiness contains a giant beating heart, held up by chains.
Complete with veins and arteries, shooting the heart will not destroy it. However, players can use a rocket launcher in the heart’s room to collect a Flying Rat which is required for 100% completion of the game. A helicopter or a parachute is needed to access the heart room, or in The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC, it’s possible for the player character to get drunk, pass out and wake up in the heart’s holding room.
Just Cause 2‘s LOST Island
As a game based on a tropical island, it was only fitting that Just Cause 2 would include several references to the hit television show LOST. The game includes a location called Hantu Island which has electromagnetic pulses that destroy ships and planes in the area. Hantu Island has several nods to LOST, including the smoke monster and a hatch.
Borderlands‘ Minecraft Makeover
Gearbox Software’s Borderlands series may be well-known for its cel-shaded aesthetic, but in Borderlands 2, players can give the game a bit of a Minecraft makeover. Players unlock the Minecraft character skin by picking up the “Not Mine But Yours” loot.
There’s also a Minecraft-style mine that allows players to mine, and it also features an appearance by iconic Minecraft enemy, the Creeper.
Halo: ODST‘s Destiny Awaits Teaser
Proving that it truly it is one of the best developers for gaming Easter eggs, Bungie teased its current shooter franchise Destiny all the way back in its 2009 release of Halo 3: ODST. Players were able to spot a poster of the Earth that read “Destiny Awaits,” a clear reference to the then-unannounced series.
Unfortunately, the Halo 3: ODST remaster removed the Destiny Easter egg from the game. But for fans who want to see the reference for themselves, this could be a good excuse to go back and play the original.
Uncharted 3‘s The Last of Us Newspaper
Before its action adventure game The Last of Us was officially announced, developer Naughty Dog chose to include a reference to the game in one of its existing releases. The opening level of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception features a newspaper reading “Scientists Are Still Struggling To Understand Deadly Fungus.”
The Easter egg wasn’t spotted until after the game was announced, but Naughty Dog later revealed that it worried it almost spoiled its own surprise. The Last of Us became a phenomenal success, and fans were none the wiser, so Naughty Dog didn’t need to worry at all.
Uncharted 4‘s Crash Bandicoot Game
Showing once again that Naughty Dog likes to keep it in the family, the developer also included a reference to Crash Bandicoot in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Nathan Drake says that he can beat Elena’s high score on a classic video game machine – which turns out to be Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation One – allowing players to actually play an homage to that game. A video of the Easter egg (which includes spoilers for those who haven’t played the game) is above.
All in all, there are myriad Easter eggs for gamers to find in a plethora of titles in this day and age. So, it will be interesting to see how detailed developers continue to make the secrets as the years press on.