12 Inside Jokes You Missed In Famous Video Games
The best video game details are the most easily missed ones -- clever Easter eggs or in-jokes the vast majority of players won't even know to look for. These are the little references that are meaningless unless you're familiar with the previous games, lore, and fandom. Or if you have an article like this to point them out, I guess.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Turns A Funny Glitch From The First Game Into Tragedy
One amazing quirk of the original Red Dead Redemption was the "manimals" glitch. Sometimes the game would screw up and give us The Desert Of Dr. Moreau, loading an animal into the skin of a human. Thus we were treated to abominations like the Snake Man, Bird Men, and most famous of all, the Donkey Lady. She got enough attention that she became the subject of an easily missed (and horrifying) Easter egg in the sequel.
What you're looking at is a donkey's frame stretched into that of a woman, with a horse's snout emerging from her mouth. It was terrifying, but since she can be ridden like a horse, it was also hilarious. So for Red Dead Redemption 2, the developers figured, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we took this glitch and ruined people's days with it?" Hence you can stumble across this:
Hey, it's Donkey Lady, with the same blue dress and equine-sapien skull. Turns out she was captured and worked to death.
It's a tragic fate for the poor, misshapen donkey woman, and main character Arthur is so shaken that he comments, "What was this poor thing? Who could do such a thing to any creature?" He then goes off to murder hundreds of strangers.
Resident Evil 2 Shows That The Characters Still Can't Spell
In the police station section of 1998's Resident Evil 2, there's a party for Leon, offering him a warm but misspelled "wellcome," according to the banner pinned to the wall. Fast-forward 20 years, and the game gets a glossy remake. And this time, Leon still has his welcoming party, but the sign is spelled correctly. That's not much of a joke until you look closer:
See that random gap between the L and the C. What's that about? If you look on the desk below:
Ah, there's the extraneous "L," the illiterate decorator having gotten eaten by zombies before they could finish ruining the sign.
The Witcher 3 Will Send A Tax Man To Ask You If You've Been Exploiting Glitches
The Witcher 3 had some well-known money-making exploits that slipped through testing. You can slaughter respawning cows to pocket the cash from the hide (until the devs patched in The God of Cows to smite you). Or you can buy seashells from a merchant for a pittance, dismantle them to their component parts, one of which is a pearl, then sell the pearls back to the merchant for a big profit.
But in the Hearts Of Stone DLC, when your coin purse reaches a certain amount, a tax man will approach you about your newfound wealth to see if it's all above-board. And some of his questions seem oddly specific: "Have you, at any time, engaged in the wholesale trade of rawhide in the White Orchard area?" Or "During the current fiscal year, have you engaged in the acquisition of bivalves with the intention of selling the pearls therein?"
They're basically sending a representative from Novigrad's H&R Block to ask if you've overdone it with the capitalism. And if you admit to it, you have to pay a 1,000-Gold fine. Time to go stab some cows to recoup the losses you incurred from stabbing too many cows.
In Assassin's Creed, Altair Being Unable To Swim Was Declared An In-Universe "Bug"
It seems training in the arts of silently killing your political enemies doesn't extend to learning to doggy-paddle. If the player character in the first Assassin's Creed even touches water, he instantly dies. Um, I mean "desynchronizes," since you don't technically play as Altair, but a boring dude who is playing as Altair through some advanced technology. If you're unfamiliar with the series, yes, the game actually has you playing a guy who is himself playing a simulation. Kind of.
Anyway, in the sequel, the new player character, Ezio, can swim. So how do you explain that Altair was allergic to bodies of water? Easy -- just blame it on that simulation. The simulation in Assassin's Creed II uses the superior "Animus Version 2.0," which has been upgraded by the programmer, who also left notes in your instruction manual reading: "Make sure to fix that annoying bug in the Animus 1.0 software which prevents ancestors from swimming!"
That's clever, I guess, though it doesn't make up for the hours that people spent screaming "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" when their dramatic chase over the rooftops of Jerusalem ended in death by puddle. Still, the series would only get more defensive from there ...
Assassin's Creed IV Shows Market Research That Deems Assassin's Creed III Nonviable
Assassin's Creed III isn't quite as beloved as its predecessors. It switched things up by taking place during the American Revolution, when the nascent country had very few tall buildings to leap from but plenty of bushes to just kind of wait around in. Also, the player character Connor is pretty boring, even for a video game protagonist.
So to spice things up, the increasingly incomprehensible present-day section of Assassin's Creed IV sees you working for a not-Ubisoft trying to make a game about the Assassin's Creed. Very meta. You can even obtain in-game market research documents which include discussions on which protagonist they need for their game, and what they say about Connor reflects criticism of III. "Researchers came away unimpressed with his calm and stoic demeanor."
III also has you playing a portion of Connor's childhood, and this didn't go down well in the real world or the game's universe: "Unfortunately, our researchers found this young man's story deeply problematic as well." They also note that, sadly, only the "more educated" members of their audience would have interest. Guys, a 6.9 user score on Metacritic isn't that bad.
Fable 2 Brutally Killed Off An Annoying Character From Fable
In Fable, there's a character called the Guildmaster. And that dude sucks, as along with handing out quests, he'll offer you grating advice via voiceover, like "Your health is low, have you any potions? Or food?" That's nice at the beginning of the game, when you're still all like, "Wait, I need to press buttons?" But after a few thousand repetitions, you'll start hearing it in your sleep.
Fable 2 would comment on this subtly by just killing off the guy. How or why he was killed is not explained, but loading screens mention that his body was discovered with the words "Your Health Is Low" carved into his forehead. This would imply that he was constantly saying this to everyone he met, and also that video game characters don't like being reminded of their mortality.
Mass Effect 3 Explains Away A Glitch As A Character Being Stressed
The story options in the Mass Effect games are based on choice. Actions in the first will roll over to the next, and then to the third game. Take Conrad Verner, who is a fanboy of main character Shepard. He tries to join Shep's team in the first game despite having no training, and Shep can defuse the situation, either with words or by waving a gun. In Mass Effect 2, Conrad returns, and if you previously pointed a gun in his face, he'll say, "You shoved a gun in my face." And if you calmly talked him down ... well, he'll still say, "You shoved a gun in my face."
It's a minor glitch that many fans were annoyed by; one that would eventually look absolutely quaint compared to the Escape from Glitch Mountain that was Mass Effect: Andromeda. But in 3, Conrad pops up again, and after finding that he's joined a terrorist organization, Shep chews him out. Connor will then break down and start apologizing profusely, saying, "Just ... I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I ever accused you of pointing a gun at me when you didn't actually do that. I was really stressed out." See? It wasn't a glitch. He was just having those classic "Stop pointing a nonexistent gun at me!" mood swings. Problem solved.
Dragon Age: Inquisition Explains A Glitched Animation As The Character Trying To Look At Their Crush
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, there is a trans NPC called Krem, who represents a nice step forward for inclusivity in games, but with one strange flaw: He can't use a chair. The collision detection is wonky, and as such, Krem will approach the furniture as if the true fantasy in Dragon Age are such mystic, unknowable objects.
He'll stand on it, stand through it, or sit up on its back. The poor guy just can't get it right.
Then, in one of the DLCs, Krem gets himself a love interest, who happens to be a singer at the tavern he spends so much time in. After a little quest, he plucks up the courage to talk to her and reveals that he's always liked her, and he's watched her from afar. And he'd do that by ... standing on his chair to get a better look at her. Sounds like the exact kind of excuse someone would make to hide that they don't know how chairs work.
Fortnite Set Up A Memorial For A Failed Rescue Mission
Chaotic online multiplayer games like Fortnite are a joy mostly because of the spontaneous moments of slapstick absurdity that can occur out of nowhere. That's why it's so popular with streamers; watch long enough, and something truly stupid will happen. For example, one streamer, Muselk, decided to boldly attempt a rescue of a player called Chappadoodle, who'd fallen off the side of a map and got caught on a ledge, unable to jump high enough to return to the game. So Muselk tried to rescue him with a golf cart. To put it gently, it didn't go according to plan.
Yep, Muselk accidentally ran over the very person he was trying to save. This brings us to the other thing that makes Fortnite so popular, which is the constant stream of weekly new content (which isn't so great for the people who work at Epic Games). So when the game was updated the following week, the developers inserted a gravestone in the location of the golf cart mishap, complete with the tires of the tragic vehicle:
Gamers even held in-game funerals, and of course it ended in desecration and a mass brawl.
It Is Canon That Lara Croft Locked Her Butler In A Freezer
In Tomb Raider 2 for the PS1, a tutorial has you mess around in Lara's house, and it's honestly more fun than the "exotic" locations of the main story. Lara is also followed around by her slow butler, and since her mansion includes a walk-in freezer with a lockable door, there isn't a player alive who didn't trap the old dude in there.
Fast-forward some 15 years, and in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, you can find a letter from Lara's butler to her absent father from when Lara was a misbehaving child. In it, he references how Lara would lock him in the freezer. In fact, the butler complains that he remained there until another member of the staff came and freed him. Sure, it's a choice millions of players made on their own, but it's so much worse when it's backstory canon.
The Hitman Series Keeps Referencing Lost Placeholder Text
Hitman: Blood Money had a description for every item, with most of it being variations on "This is a gun." However, there were other, less murder-y items, and they too have descriptions, like a crate of food designed to stash a knife. So what does the game say about this crate? "Allan please add details." Clearly, Allan forgot, and it has since become a running joke in the series. For example, when the game got an HD remaster a decade later, they didn't merely polish the polygons:
It's been a decade, and they're still waiting on details. This little recurring Easter egg wisely skipped Absolution, but triumphantly returned in Hitman 2016. There, the title screen has fast-moving background computer code, and one such line is asking Allan to please remove the placeholder text. Come on, Allan. Get it together.
The PS4 Spider-Man References The Annoying Balloon-Collecting Mission From Spider-Man 2
2004's Spider-Man 2 featured a huge open world, great writing, incredible web-swinging mechanics, and a truly exhausting side quest wherein you had to rescue a kid's balloons. Over and over again, you'd find a kid who'd let go of his balloon and you had to go get it -- something that was apparently more important than stopping Dr. Octopus.
Almost 15 years later, Spider-Man for the PS4 includes a parade of goals, like photographing landmarks, helping Norman Osborn set up a spy network, and rescuing pigeons for the guy from The Walking Dead, which honestly seems like an even worse waste of time. Best of all, though, are Spidey's backpacks (dozens of which you must find, one by one), which contain many references, including a picture a kid drew for him:
It's a picture of Spider-Man rescuing the kid's balloon. Incarnations of the hero come and go, with the only constant being great responsibility and an undying need to waste his time saving elementary schoolers from a life of balloon-less-ness. Why not just give him a dollar to go get another one? You've got lives to save!
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