It may not be Easter (unless, of course, it is), but we’re here with a basket full of delicious easter eggs. Digital ones, that is. Named for the annual tradition by which they should be hidden and you should find them, an ‘easter egg’ in this context is a secret hidden in a video game, most often an inside joke or a brief crack in the fourth wall.
We asked our community of seasoned video gamers to pick the best easter eggs in all of gaming, and we present herewith their discerning selection. Hidden in games such as No Man’s Sky, Morrowind, and Final Fantasy XIV, there’s something here for everyone. So from the witty and whimsical to the dark and disturbing, here are Just About Video Games’ choices for the best gaming easter eggs.
‘What if we’re the easter egg?’ Cameos in Cyberpunk 2077
As they pass through Stadium Market - the beating heart of Dogtown - most players would walk right by the two NPCs chatting in a foreign language and think little of it. @avrona, however, is from Poland, and instantly recognised their native language.
“It caught me off guard, but I really appreciate this one. They even have unique products that reflect life in Poland.”
It turns out the two men are none other than Marcin Iwiński and Michał Kiciński - the two Polish co-founders of CD Projekt Red.
Earth exists in No Man’s Sky
Be it Starfield, Mass Effect, or EVE Online, discovering what happened to Earth is always interesting in space games. For all of the wacky and wild planets in No Man’s Sky, though, you can’t visit the wildest and wackiest of them all: Earth. But it’s still been hiding right under your nose the whole time.
“When you activate a save point in No Man’s Sky, a little hologram of a planet pops out. I hadn’t thought anything of it until someone on Reddit pointed out that it was Earth, just tilted on an angle (almost upside down).”
‘Upside down’ is a matter of perspective when discussing spherical objects orbiting one another in a near-infinite galaxy of celestial entities. The discovery has left our community members from Down Under, like @DaSamCheck, feeling vindicated: “This is proof that I am not upside down here in Australia.” The jury is still out on whether we start calling it Up Over.
Ninja Gaiden Halo 3 armour
@scrbzy’s favourite easter egg is the Hayabusa Armour set from Halo 3, which can only be earned through the painstaking discovery of hidden skulls - collectibles that casual players won’t even know exist.
“I still remember being on comms with the boys when we all unlocked it, us all screaming in triumph. You could top it off with a katana by achieving a Gamerscore of 1,000. I still suck at Halo, but at least I looked cool ¯_(ツ)_/¯.”
The armour is inspired by both feudal-era samurai and by its namesake - Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden. It’s got some cool lore behind it too; it was developed independently from Master Chief’s classic Mjolnir armour by an Earth-based think tank. Finding all of those skulls would have been a lot of work, but it’s a small price to pay to slay while looking like this:
Now nobody tell scrbzy that the armour is unlocked by default in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Morrowind’s mumbling mudcrab merchant
@Schadsquatch found his favourite Easter egg as a young gamer playing Morrowind. While exploring a small island off of Azura’s Coast, he came across the richest trader in the entire game, who just so happens to be a mudcrab.
“It’s an absolutely legendary vendor to have in your back pocket. My younger self had a good laugh watching my little brother vaporise it with a fire blast, only to go loot his body to find a giant stack of gold.”
With their pile of gold and willingness to trade items at their base value, the mudcrab is arguably the most useful trader in the game for players with suboptimal mercantile skills. They also sell several alcoholic beverages and are one of the few traders willing to buy the outlawed drink, skooma. It’s safe to say that life hasn’t been easy for this lonesome crustacean who admits to “a serious alcohol problem”.
“Where doesn’t it hurt?” Indy games in New Vegas
Although Obsidian was entrusted with the development of Fallout: New Vegas, the game wasn’t short of the easter eggs that Bethesda - the owner, publisher, and usual developer of the Fallout series - is famous for. DaSamCheck’s favourite can be found near the town of Novac:
“Out in the wastes there’s a refrigerator with a skeleton inside, complete with a fedora and whip! This is a reference to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the scene in which Jones survives a nuclear blast by hiding inside of a lead-lined fridge.”
That scene was widely lambasted, so we’ll let you decide whether the easter egg was a tribute to everyone’s favourite archaeologist or a dig at nobody’s favourite Indy movie.
Final Fantasy XIV breaking the fourth wall in the loveliest of ways
The next easter egg comes from @lanah_tyra, but first, a little context. FFXIV Producer Naoki Yoshida - better known as Yoshi P - is one of the most beloved developers in MMO gaming. He’s widely praised for his dedication to his game and its fans. That dedication is a good part of the reason why FFXIV has such a friendly, welcoming playerbase. It’s not hard to see why when he does stuff like this:
“There’s an NPC in FFXIV called the Wandering Minstrel. He can be found at various locations and unlocks the Extreme/Ultimate version of certain fights. His appearance was based on Naoki Yoshida. During the recurring event The Rising, which celebrates the game’s anniversary, the Minstrel shows players a vision in which our beloved producer gives a message to the player. I think it’s a very nice gesture.”
GTA 5’s legendary ‘Ghost of Mount Gordo’
We’ll leave you with the easter egg that may have inspired more speculation and fan theories than any other, ever. This one is an event - one that you yourself can witness just before midnight on GTA 5’s Mount Gordo:
“At a specific time in-game, around 11 to 12 at night, you can go up on the mountain and see the ghost. You can’t get too close to her, or she’ll disappear. You can, however, look at her through your in-game phone camera or a sniper scope. Next to her, there’s a message written in blood which simply reads ‘Jock’ - a reference to Jock Cranley from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. The woman is believed to be his wife.”
That was submitted by @Jinxedjin, who concludes by saying “there’s so much more to this story!” And there really is. The mountain of research on the ghost you can find online makes Mount Gordo look like a molehill. You’ll find endless forum posts filled with amateur sleuths and ghost hunters piecing together ‘clues’ from GTA’s radio stations and side quests.
Perhaps the only easter egg to spawn as much player research and conspiracy are the UFOs of GTA 5’s Mount Chiliad, a mountain I’ve parachuted onto and dirt-biked down more times than I’ve walked up the stairs in my own house. But that’s a whole other iceberg that we’ll have to save for the next easter eggs bounty.
How many of these did you know already? What are your favourites? Let us know in the comments!
Some text has been amended for brevity. You can find the original wording at the bounty post.