The 6 Craziest Ways Creators Hid Themselves in Video Games
When we're playing video games, we don't really think much about the people who make them. If you hate a movie, you may say, "Curse you, Michael Bay!" and if you hate a book, you'll probably think, "Why did I buy Steve-O's autobiography again?" But if you hate a game, it's usually the company that published it that gets the blame. And they get the credit if it's great.
So maybe it's no surprise that game developers come up with devious and quite frankly insane ways to insert their faces in hidden spots of the game. What's surprising is that players managed to find them at all.
God of War -- Hit the Statues 400 Times and You Can Phone the Creator of the Game (and the Main Character)
God of War for PlayStation 2 follows a Spartan named Kratos who murders his way up the ladder until he can literally become the God of War, ending the game by climbing up Mount Olympus to assume the throne of Ares. There's a developer Easter egg here, but you sure as hell have to work for it.
As you walk to the throne at the end of the game, you may notice two statues standing on each side, but they appear to be nothing but part of the scenery: If you hit them, nothing happens. Well, it turns out that you're simply not hitting them enough times -- you actually can destroy them, it's just that it takes somewhere between 200 and 400 hits to do that. For each statue.
"Yes, this is absolutely the most worthwhile thing to do with my godly power."
And then, if you succeed in not getting bored with the mindless task and actually destroy both statues, the screen will show a code that, once decrypted, turns out to be a toll-free phone number -- the game is from 2005, but the phone was still working as recently as 2010 (although for all we know it might be a Taco Bell by now). So what happens if you call there? You get a recorded message from Kratos himself, who congratulates you for finding the secret:
Halfway through the message, though, the call is hijacked by the game's writer and director, David Jaffe, much to Kratos' confusion and irritation. Jaffe starts off praising you for wasting your time whaling on those statues for an eternity, but then decides you actually "kinda suck" if you simply looked the secret up online, or had it carelessly spoiled for you by some comedy website. Considering that most sane players are likely to whack the statues a few times, shrug their shoulders and move on to the ending, anyone who did find it on their own probably spent the entire game pounding on every piece of scenery for an hour.
Much like Kratos himself. Hiyooooo!
Finally, Kratos gets fed up with Jaffe's talk of "games" and "sequels" and murders him for experience orbs. Really, it was the only way that conversation could have ended.
Doom II: Hell on Earth -- The Real Boss Is John Romero
Doom revolutionized gaming back in the '90s by following a very basic formula: drop an unnamed space marine in the middle of a horde of demons and boom, instant classic. One of the architects of Doom's success was programmer John Romero, who also had a hand in creating classics like Wolfenstein 3D and Quake.
Not to mention hits like "Girl You Know It's True" and "Blame It on the Rain."
Apparently, Romero always had a bit of a reputation as an egomaniac: That might explain why either he or someone else at id Software decided to include him at a crucial part of Doom II in what is arguably the most important developer cameo ever created.
See, at the end of Doom II, the final boss is a bionic demon goat the size of a Walmart that you're supposed to kill by firing carefully timed rockets into his brain through the hole in his forehead that he was nice enough to leave open for you.
"You're welcome, asshole."
When you first enter the level, you can hear what sounds like a warped demonic chant, possibly the boss threatening to cut off your balls if you come any closer. However, it turns out that if you reverse that noise, it's actually a voice (presumably Romero's) saying "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero" -- which is exactly how you beat the boss. Right behind the aforementioned giant demon goat, in a place that's usually inaccessible, there's this:
"Duckface. We meet again."
Yes, that's John Romero's severed head impaled on a spike. Every time you fire a missile into the demon's brain-hole and it explodes, you're actually inflicting damage on Romero until he dies and the game ends. Or, alternatively, you can type the cheat code "idclip," run through the goat and punch John Romero in the face until the room explodes.
"This is how happy employees usually compliment their bosses, right?"
Even the demonic howls of pain you hear every time you damage the boss are allegedly Romero's, so apparently he was the real boss all along -- the whole giant goat face was just a front, and Doom II is in fact the most disturbing Wizard of Oz adaptation ever.
Chrono Trigger -- Win the Game Super Fast, Attend a Developer Party at the End of Time
One of the things that made Chrono Trigger for SNES a classic was the fact that there were multiple ways to finish it and multiple endings depending on how fast you did it. And if you beat the game fast enough, your ultimate reward was an ... interesting appearance from the people who made it.
See, another neat aspect of Chrono Trigger was that after you finished the game, it allowed you to carry your equipment and stats to a new one, thus letting you murder those early level enemies just by breathing next to them (probably). However, you could also use this to take on the final boss before you're supposed to, which is still incredibly difficult, since you're only playing with one or two characters instead of your whole team.
"It's a cash bar, though. Because screw you."
If you manage to kick his ass anyway, you'll reach a place at the "end of time" that's populated by what appears to be a bunch of characters and enemies from the game ... until you talk to them and find out that they're actually the developers, and this is some sort of huge endgame party.
"You won! Now go and fuck yourself!"
And then, after you've mingled for a while and talked to every single person (there are like 30 people at least), a final VIP room is unlocked, where you find these guys:
"Are you the prostitute we ordered?"
These turn out to be the heads of the development team, and they each have something important to tell you: Character artist Akira Toriyama sends a message to his kids ...
Messages that they'll never see because, ironically, they suck at video games.
Composer Nobuo Uematsu gives you a backward message that might make you reconsider your life choices if you've made it this far ...
And he's a floating mask, snapping fingers -- did we mention that?
Supervisor Yuji Horii leaves you with a riddle ...
Holy crap, he predicted the Olympics like 17 years in advance!
And finally, supervisor Hironobu Sakaguchi tells you that since you "blew through the game so fast," they've adjusted the credits to your speed -- next thing you know, the end credits scroll past the screen really fast and the game is over. Don't feel bad for the people listed there, though, because you just spent 10 minutes in an elaborate credits sequence.
MDK2 -- The Developers Are Hiding in the Stars, Literally (Also They're Insane)
MDK2 is an action shooter developed in 2000 by BioWare (a company best known for games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age) where the main characters are a janitor in a space suit, a mad scientist armed with a radioactive toaster and a cigar-chomping robot dog with four arms.
MDK2 also features one of the most intricate, impossible to find and ultimately ridiculous Easter eggs ever made. If you make it to the end of Level 7 and pay attention to the sky as you run around the boss arena (as opposed to paying attention to the huge spaceship dropping enemies on your head and trying to vaporize you), you may notice something peculiar: There appears to be something blocking some of the stars as you move.
Besides the big red circle, that is.
Most people would probably assume that it's just a glitch in the background and move on to fight the aforementioned space enemies. If some OCD-like compulsion drives you to try to reach the mysterious spot, though, you can search for a way to get there ... but good luck finding it, because the only existing path to that place is completely invisible. If you stand in a very specific out-of-the-way spot at the edge of the arena and walk forward, you'll step onto an invisible platform instead of, you know, falling down into the void.
It's basically that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ... IN SPACE.
Apparently, BioWare expected you to find this invisible path by firing madly into space until you saw the bullets hit something, which incidentally is also the only way to navigate it without falling down. If you manage to make it through to the end, which takes several minutes, eventually you'll reach what looks like some sort of large floating castle in the sky:
Otherwise known as "that thing that was blocking the stars a little while ago."
At no point does the game reference this castle or even hint that it exists. So what's inside? Um, nobody knows, because there's no way to get in. The only reward for your insane perseverance is this bizarre poster at the back of the castle ...
Still more satisfying than the end of Mass Effect 3.
... featuring three members of the development team, one of whom had his head superimposed on the body of Satan from South Park. But there's more: At another point in the game, if you use the sniper visor to zoom in on the sky, you'll see ... stars.
But zoom in even further and ... what the hell?!
Yep, the sky is full of pictures of members of the development team, with names like "Chocolately Shatner" and "Temporary Spastic." Apparently this game was created by the Wu-Tang Clan or something.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption -- Unlock the Secret Radio Messages from Nintendo's Headquarters
Metroid games don't tend to feature a lot of talking: Usually it's just you in some deserted space labyrinth shooting balls of energy at little monsters crawling on the walls or falling down from the ceiling to murder you. Traditionally, the closest thing our fearless protagonist Samus Aran has to a girlfriend to shoot the shit with is a purple space dragon that wants to kill her.
The game's use of a female protagonist would be slightly more progressive if it had, y'know, made any difference at all.
Recently, however, modern Metroid games have started getting more chatty -- like that time they hid secret messages from Nintendo employees in one of the games.
In Metroid Prime 3 for Nintendo Wii, a futuristic radio thing called the Transmission Console is added to Samus' ship, and it's used to enter security codes and receive messages in the main game. However, you're also free to go in whenever you want and mash random combinations of numbers into the console, if you have nothing better to do.
Like play with the video game that you bought.
Most of the time, all you'll get is gibberish transmissions in an incomprehensible alien language. But it turns out that a handful of these only sound like they're in an incomprehensible alien language: It's actually just Japanese. In fact, they're messages from some of the bigwigs at Nintendo:
For example, if out of all the thousands of possible combinations you punch in 2-7-5-1, you can hear Nintendo president Satoru Iwata complaining that nobody takes him seriously (in a message that he hid in a video game). 8-3-5-4 plays a message from Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto asking if you think Metroid games are fun. OK, we're starting to detect a theme of game developers working really hard to insert hidden messages but not actually having anything to say in them. There are also messages by Yoshio Sakamoto, co-creator of Metroid, Kenji Yamamoto, composer for many of the games, and producer Kensuke Tanabe. None of whom reveal anything earth shattering, like for instance that Samus has both male and female genitalia.
Hyperdimension Neptunia mk.2 -- The Creator's Face Is a Weapon
Keiji Inafune is the guy who designed Mega Man, besides having worked on many other Capcom games during his 23 years in the company, from Street Fighter to Resident Evil. In 2010, Inafune started his own company and launched a series of games called Hyperdimension Neptunia for PlayStation 3, which are basically about young girls in skimpy outfits fighting monsters with magic. They are the most Japanese thing ever.
All that's missing is for them to occasionally fall down into revealing poses and ... wait, nope, never mind.
At one point during Chapter 3 of the second game, a character will ask you a series of questions, and you only have one shot at getting them right. If the teenage girl you control answers "Yes" to everything this stranger asks, he'll grant you something called the "Inafune Brand" skills, which isn't named after Keiji Inafune ... it is Keiji Inafune.
Wait, is she shooting him out of her ass? Because it really looks like she's shooting him out of her ass.
You can literally bash enemies with your very own plaid-shirted, cross-armed Inafune. We understand that the screenshot looks like a bad Photoshop, but we assure you that it's a totally real thing you can get in the game. And if this is still too mundane for you, you can also summon Inafune's giant face to descend from the heavens and nuke the field with a laser that comes out of his mouth.
All this laser vomiting is exactly why he had to stop working at Capcom.
For all we know, Inafune had been pushing for Mega Man to shoot little Inafunes from his Mega-Blaster from the first game. If Inafune had had his way, M. Bison could have been defeated only by a well placed Ha-Do-Inafune from Ryu.
No, seriously, you have to see all of this to get the full effect.
Now that he runs his own company, he's finally able to unleash his insanity into the world.
For more from Codie, visit her site at Codiekitty.com. Her specialty is video games, but she also writes about books, movies and more.
For more insanity hidden within your favorite games, check out 7 Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs You'll Wish Were Never Found and 9 Video Game Easter Eggs That Took Years to Find.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Bizarre Dinosaurs You Didn't Know Existed.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover where we've hidden Brockway's mustache on the site.
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