As Easter Sunday approaches, we decided to return to our weekly Devs Answer column with a quick question about Easter Eggs. Easter Eggs in games originated as a way to sneak information, such as developer credits or inside jokes, into games on consoles like the Atari. Today, they're used to hide anything from coded messages to wink-and-nudge nods to other developers, though as always, you'll need a careful eye and a sense of discovery to track them down.
Remember, if you're interested in participating in these conversations in the future, make sure to follow @Gamasutra on Twitter. The questions usually go out on Fridays in the late morning, Pacific time, alongside Tweets of our regular news, blogs, and original writing.
Here's what developers on Twitter had to say about their favorite Easter Eggs:
Our original query highlighted a few easter eggs covering the spread of games history, including the fabled first Easter Egg in Atari's Adventure, where Warren Robinett snuck his name into a hidden room, as Atari didn't credit developers at the time. Other sources put the Fairchild game Video Whizball as an earlier example of the 'hidden credit' Easter Egg, which credited developer Brad Reid-Smith.
Though most players have seen the Aperture Science turrets singing at the end of Portal 2, others may have missed the turret chorus accessible in one of the game's ventilation shafts---the video above shows where you can discover the robotic choir if you decided to explore it for yourself.
Here, Alex Rose specifically cites a giant Easter bunny you can discover in Saint's Row 2, and the secret crossover with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle in Phantasy Star Online for the Gamecube involving the "Chao" creatures---a lost use of the memory card and GBA link to create a small mechanical connection between two games.
@gamasutra "It's-a me! Mario!" - Mario, Assassin's Creed II— Not That Doctor Phil (@MSico) March 25, 2016
Arguablly less of an Easter Egg and more of a pop culture shoutout since it occurs along Assassin's Creed II's main storyline, this developer is referring to a brief line from Ezio's uncle Mario, after the player flees Florence near the start of the game.
@gamasutra Totaka's song is IMO the most fascinating and recurrent easter egg in video games history!— David Jaumandreu (@DavidJaumandreu) March 25, 2016
Totaka's song is a reoccurring sound file that shows up in many Nintendo games, frequently placed there by Nintendo sound designer Kazumi Totaka. Of all the Easter Eggs listed, it may be one of the longest-stretching ones, dating back to X on the Game Boy in 1990, all the way to the latest Animal Crossing game.
Here, Michel's actually pointing to a connection between F.E.A.R developer Monolith's own games---Shogo: Mobile Armor Division was released in 1998, taking a heavy influence from Japanese mecha shows, and its theme appears in the 2005 F.E.A.R, which itself takes influence from Japanese horror films. It's a nice throwback for a developer whose roots began in the first-person genre, and a subtle reference for longtime fans who got to see Monolith's games grow and change.
And while we should technically disqualify this entry, as Morte's "Easter Egg" skin was patched in to Planescape Torment and not a hidden secret within the game, we can't deny that, barring an inclusion of easter-themed creatures like Cottontail Teemo, he is literally one of gaming's classic "Easter Eggs." (If possibly the only one.)