Easter eggs are still going strong in 2021. It isn’t just the indie games that are piling on the mystery — seemingly everyone, from big publishers to solo developers are throwing around hidden Easter eggs for the collective video game audience to devour. Easter eggs make the world of video games feel more alive while simultaneously taking you out of the reality of the setting. The appeal of Easter eggs is just adding mystery and discovery to games, and sometimes that requires breaking the rules a little bit. Easter eggs just encourage even more careful play — and we’re going to honor the developers that put in the extra work right here with our 10 favorite Easter eggs of the year.
Even if, technically, there are more than 10 on this list. Check out the Easter eggs we loved from previous years with the best Easter eggs of 2020.
The Best of 2021:
Abducted By Aliens & Talking Hippo Conspiracy [Hitman 3]
For some reason, Berlin is the hotspot for Easter egg activity in Hitman 3. One of the first games of the year also gives us two weird Easter eggs that feel like a product of gaming’s past. We don’t get irreverent Easter eggs like this anymore. In the Berlin map, you can meet a Pink Hippo and escape the level via UFO abduction.
To summon the UFO, you need to take a picture of a specific piece of graffiti, then use a payphone and input the code 1-9-9-3 — the same year the X-Files began. Then you’ll escape in style, tractor-beamed up into space. And that’s an Easter egg I absolutely understand. I have no idea how to explain the Talking Hippo. To summon him, you need to find a hidden Golden Idol item, throw it onto a specific chair near a pond, and presto! Talking Hippo. Why? I don’t have a clue.
An Entire Game Made Of Easter Eggs [Inscryption]
Here’s a game that was criminally under-covered here on Gameranx, and I only have myself to blame. Inscyption is a weird indie card game that’s topping the year’s best-of game lists, and you might’ve never heard of it until now. It is purposefully obscure, and making any progress at all is basically breaking through a secret barrier of Easter eggs — if you want to reach later acts, you have to break all the rules.
There are secrets in the cards you play, secrets in the room you’re in, hidden ciphers players are still trying to decipher, and an Augmented-Reality Game (ARG) that players have finally solved. You can learn all about the many, many secrets of Inscryption on this useful community doc. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Play this one for yourself.
Joining The Secret Society [GTA Online]
GTA Online is still getting fresh updates in 2021, and inquisitive players are always on the lookout for new Easter eggs. Rockstar is the type of company that obliges, adding new Mt. Chilead secrets even after the initial release — but this is still my favorite Easter egg so far. You can become one of the New World Order by tipping a restroom attendant 575 times. Seriously.
After tipping him 575 times, you’ll gain a set of Epsilon Program robes. That’s the outfit of the Scientology parody you’ll find all over San Andreas if you look close enough. If you wear the outfit into stores, the vendors will greet you with a cheerful “Kiflom!” No, there are no other benefits. Why would there be?
The Hidden Room & Cipher Code [Five Nights At Freddy’s: Security Breach]
Five Nights At Freddy’s: Security Breach is a series built off a legacy of weird Easter eggs and hidden mysterious lore. And the Easter egg we’re spotlighting here is all about lore. Right at the start of the game, players can return to an out-of-the-way passage using upgrades earned in the endgame. There’s an empty wall with a mysterious note — and using the flash camera on the wall makes a door appear. The door leads into a room with a CD-Player. This is where you can use doubly mysterious retro CDs that can only be seen with an eye upgrade for Freddy Fazbear.
The room also has another big mystery. The back wall is covered in strange codes. Naturally, this is a cipher that fans are working on solving — you can find their progress here. The hidden room, the cipher message, and the retro CDs with spooky messages. They’re all vaguely disturbing. Like falling down a rabbit-hole you can’t quite escape from. And these are kids games.
Secret Cow Level Returns [Diablo 2: Resurrected]
An old favorite is back. Is this even worth discussing? Everyone knows about the Secret Cow Level! The Secret Cow Level is so famous there are references to it everywhere. There are Easter eggs about an Easter egg! In recent memory, it was referenced in a hidden Minecraft Dungeons biome. Diablo 3 couldn’t launch without a Secret Cow Level or players would riot.
The Secret Cow Level is exactly what it implies. By combining the right items in Diablo 2, players can open a portal to a hellish realm ruled by a cow king. There are upright cow monsters rampaging around the fields to fight. It’s the kind of fun secret that gets talked about for years and years, and now new players can experience it in fully-realized 3D in Diablo 2: Resurrected. It is worth the return trip.
A Really Big Sandwich, Nuking Mission 3, The Return of Craig & The Xbox OG [Halo Infinite]
Halo Infinite pulled out the stops. The gameplay is sharper than ever, and the open-world design perfectly fits the Halo gameplay loop. Halo Infinite feels like a victory lap — and all the weird Easter eggs reinforce that. You can find Craig the meme brute’s greatest hits on the tower rooftop, or a really big sandwich praised by grunts, or an original Xbox, or a method to rain bombs down on the third mission. The game is packed with weird little secrets that shows how it was a labor of love. Why a giant sandwich? Why not!
Halo Infinite also has the customary 12 skull cheats, because it has to. If only you could play coop without glitching out the game. Here’s hoping for 2022.
Boulder-Punching Bastards & RE Merchants [Resident Evil Village]
Resident Evil Village is only a bloodcurdling horror game on the service. Beneath the veneer of shocking terror, it’s really a very silly game — and two characters provide all the Easter eggs. Heisenberg the quipping villain hiding in his factory, and the Duke. The Duke is the resident merchant of RE8, and he has a few things to say for RE fans to recognize. Revisit the Duke enough, and he’ll say “What’re ya’ buyin’?” — and then talk about how his old friend used to say the same thing. Apparently the Duke and the trench coat wearing merchant from RE4 knew each other.
The weirdest Easter egg comes in the form of Heisenberg’s taunt; he calls Chris Redfield “that boulder-punching bastard” — referencing the infamous cutscene of Chris pummeling a giant rock from RE5. And even weirder are references to the leader of Umbrella himself. Late in the game, players can find notes about Orzwell E. Spencer’s visit to the village. He liked the village’s symbol so much he stole it for his own company. And that’s how Umbrella came to be.
The Ghost Of The Broken Father [Far Cry 6]
The spookiest Easter egg of the year goes to Far Cry 6. In the Santo Amaro Cemetery, players can find a note about a ghost that appears in the cemetery at night. Returning after sundown, you can actually find this ghost pointing out his crime — following the trail, you can find evidence that the ghost killed his wife long ago. Just follow the steps in the video above and you can see just how creepy this Easter egg can be. And since when does Ubisoft put actual ghosts in their games? Far Cry games usually have a supernatural edge, but never like this.–
Defeating Kraid The Easy Way [Metroid Dread]
Maybe my favorite Easter egg of the year. Samus can absolutely destroy Kraid if you sequence break and unlock the Bomb upgrade early. Normally, you won’t get bombs until well after Kraid — but if you follow a very specific path through the game world (check out our guide for all the details) you can reach the bombs before the big Kraid boss fight. If you have the bombs, you can launch yourself with a Bomb Launcher directly into Kraid’s gross stomach-hole. Once Samus is lodged inside, all you have to do is bomb the heck out of Kraid’s guts to defeat him instantly. This is the most stylish way to defeat an old recurring enemy.
And there’s even another subtle Easter egg related to Kraid — a skull-shaped symbol on the environment that bears a striking resemblance to the face that appears in previous games.
F*&k The Oscars & A Way Out [It Takes Two]
The director of It Takes Two — the cooperative platformer that just won The Game Awards — didn’t hold back on his love of video games. And his little rant appears in It Takes Two with a tongue-in-cheek Easter egg. During the level where you explore space, you can find a radar dish and point it at the stars to find different transmissions. One of those transmissions comes straight from the game’s director, as he says “F*&k the Oscars!” — he just adores games so much, he has no time for a movie awards ceremony!
My other favorite little Easter egg appear before that. While exploring daughter Rose’s room, you can find a pair of foul-mouthed dolls from the developer’s previous game A Way Out. Leo and Vincent reappear in all their angry masculine glory. Leo is just as hot-heated as always, blaming Vincent for what happened to him. Vincent is cool-headed, reminding Leo that he’s a doll now. And with the original actors reprising their roles!
That’s our 10 favorite Easter eggs of the year. What did we miss? There’s a lot of hidden stuff out there — and we might not even know your favorite Easter egg exists!