Video game Easter eggs have been around since the Atari 77’s Starship “Hi Ron!” message. In the 43 years since, they have truly taken on a life of their own. While we love immersive game worlds, that surprising break of the fourth wall nearly always brings a smile. While some publishers (looking at you Rockstar) take pop culture references and meta-comedy to Community levels, others are more subtle and only reward the hardcore adventurer or reddit forum followers dedicated to unearthing hidden secrets.
Final Fantasy XIV Easter Eggs – Blasts from the Many Pasts
The Final Fantasy franchise contains many allusions to pop culture, including Star Wars, The Big Bang Theory, and our personal favourite, the Simpsons “Stupid, sexy, Roegardyn”. Yet unlike the other games on this list, Final Fantasy XIV is best at alluding to earlier entries in its own franchise. By doing so, they expand the game lore and create a world that feels rich with history.
These Final Fantasy Easter Eggs range from ruined landmarks harking back to the original game; NPCs like Yojimbo from FFX, bosses like Genbu, Byakko, Suzaku, and Seiryu from FFXI, and weapons like the FFVIII gunblade. Below are two classic examples, however, that are more true to the type of Easter Eggs we all know and love.
Firstly, the Chocobo jam – everyone’s favourite rideable ostrich-eagle-chimera mount whistles (or “kwehs”) every time the player changes its stance. By rhythmically switching stance from Healer -> Attacker -> Defender -> Free, the player can make the chocobo sing the long-loved mount theme, The Chocobo Jam.
Secondly, whenever the slide puzzle is opened, there is a miniscule chance that the classic Final Fantasy I display will open instead. For long-time fans of the series, it’s a nostalgic blast from the past that will take them right back to their earliest gaming days. Top tip: for an easy shortcut to this screen, wait until December 18th (the anniversary of Final Fantasy’s I’s release) when the display will be permanent. Yes, we know it’s January.
Elder Scrolls Online Easter Eggs – Curiosity Won’t Kill This Cat
"M'aiq knows much, and tells some. M'aiq knows many things others do not."
M’aiq the Liar is a re-occuring Elder Scrolls character who has plenty to say about the franchise. He is also, as we say in the UK, a real pain in the arse. From Greek to Roman to Norse mythology, characters have always been created to symbolize mischief and lies. M’aiq is like if Loki was a self-aware cat that speaks in third-person.
He is a recurring source of misinformation and opinion. Oh, so many opinions! Whenever found, M’aiq will share his musings on everything from nudity to fish sticks to Colovian Fur Helms as well as plenty of thoughts on the quality of Elder Scrolls games – of which he has popped up in four – Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, and Elder Scrolls Online.
Fans of the series will be aware that this would make M’aiq over 1000 years old, far beyond the lifespan of a normal Khajit. Don’t worry, M’aiq’s got all his bases covered "M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, that is what his father said."
Like most annoying characters, he even has his own Twitter account (Don’t forget to follow MMOGames when you check out his tweets; we’re only occasionally annoying). Eagle-eyed fans have pointed out his similarities to another frustrating character, the Ultima series’ Smith the Horse who would pop up with really helpful advice…for the previous game in the franchise.
Fallout 76 Easter Eggs – “Therrrrre’s Johnny!”
The Fallout franchise is another series filled to the brim with references to all our favourite shows. The controversial MMO iteration is no exception; fans will be able to find hilarious and/or terrifying hints towards Breaking Bad, IT, Toy Story, and The Office to name just a few.
Our personal favourite is to the masterful psychological horror classic The Shining (a film itself, packed full of Easter Eggs and secrets). If Fallout 76 players venture to Overlook Cabin, then down the street to The Torrance House they’ll find all number of sinister allusions to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece.
Not only are players able to explore a hedge maze, but also the infamous red tricycle that Danny rides through the corridors and kid’s letter blocks that spell out “Redrum”. No reference to The Shining would be complete without the dull boy himself; on the ground near the maze lies the skeleton of a man with a fire axe.
Another fun reference that we see time and time again in Fallout 76 is to the Elder Scrolls series, more specifically to The Dark Brotherhood faction of assassins. Their infamous handprints can be found throughout the wasteland leading many fans to posit that the games inhabit the same confusing world.
GTA Online / GTA 5 Easter Eggs – The Last Hoorah of Thelma and Louise
Grand Theft Auto’s Easter Eggs are probably the most well-known out there, so we won’t dig into the most well publicized ones like the Bermuda Triangle, aliens, or Bigfoot. One that we didn’t hear about until recently is one that we absolutely adore – an homage to the classic ending of cult 1991 movie Thelma and Louise.
To discover the brilliant little scene, head to Raton Canyon near Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness between 19:00 and 20:00. We don’t think we’re giving away any spoilers that pop culture hasn’t given away long ago when we say that the ending is one hell of a cliff hanger.
Check out the videos of the film’s ending above and the game’s honouring of it in the video below:
Red Dead Online – Manbearpig & The Incredible Donkey Lady
Rockstar are renowned for their dark sense of humour. In a joke at their own expense, RDR2 (and by proxy RDO) make light of a notorious glitch in the original Red Dead whereby players would run across an NPC with a donkey’s head.
Life clearly hasn’t treated the Incredible Donkey lady kindly in the years between the games. Players who find their way to the horse mill at Two Crows will now find a female skeleton with the skull of donkey.
And as if one disturbing chimera wasn’t enough, players can climb into the upper floor of a seemingly deserted house near the Van Horn Trading Post. Inside, they'll come across a truly horrifying laboratory of body parts and what looks like satanic magic.
I found this Easter Egg by chance but was too spooked to hang out for long. Gamers who aren’t total yellow bellies, however, stayed for a closer inspection. Their post-mortem analysis of one of the corpses revealed it to be a rather disturbing splice of a man, a bear, and a pig – an allusion from America’s favourite subversive game publishers to America’s favourite subversive cartoon, South Park.
World of Warcraft Easter Eggs – Say Hello to Arnold Croman
Entire libraries could be filled with the pop culture references in World of Warcraft. Our personal favourite features a personal hero – the ever-mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of Arnie’s many cult roles, few are as iconic as the 1982 adaptation of Conan the Barbarian. In a crypt in the Badlands, southeast of Hammertoe's Digsite, players can find a skeletal figure sat on a thrown – an allusion to Conan finding the Atlantean sword of a dead king.
Furthermore, in Warlords of Dreanor, an NPC named Arnold Croman can be found who amalgamates Arnie and Conan. He’ll recite lines from other Schwarzenegger movies including Terminator "I'll be back", and Predator "If it bleeds, we can kill it.". He can even be added as a follower once he’s rescued from the Bloodhaul Slag Mines. And just because we can’t get enough Arnie content, check out this recent video of him casually wielding the sword of Conan while promoting unity and compassion. We don’t know about you, but we’re really starting to feel like we’re living a movie.
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