Halo Easter Eggs
The Whacky Stuff Bungie Included
Level: Edit Profile Screen
In early October, in response to a question about whether all the easter eggs had been found in Halo, Matt Soell answered that he could "think of one that Myth players might be able to find." Fast-forward to mid-November... suddenly, folks notice this and decide they're going to find it, no matter what. Forum regular Elan Sleazbagano nicely summarizes the beginning of the hunt - and 2 days later, after some tricky clues from Miguel Chavez, Cunbelin and the rest of the Subnova Hotline crew pin it down; if you create a new profile (or edit an existing one) in Halo, and name it '.fortune', you'll get a random, hopefully interesting, adage. The origins of this are as old as the origins of Unix; the 'fortune' program has been around since the early 70's. Bungie included a version of it in the code for bungie.net, the online system that handled Myth multiplayer (which is where Matt's comment came from). Bungie.net contained a number of 'dot' commands that allowed you to get general information about your game or your connection... and one of these was the .fortune command. There are 10 included fortunes in the Halo variant of this egg; each time you type the profile name, you'll get a new one. These are:
Thanks to 2 and 2 make 5 for the documenting images, and to everyone on the HBO forum for making this hunt so enjoyable.
Level: Multiplayer Edit Gametypes Screen
Discovered on: January 21, 2002
One of the multiplayer options allows you to edit gametypes - create an all-vehicles version of Slayer, for example. The picture that pops up when you select this option shows what purports to be a technical drawing of the Master Chief, with a bunch of mostly unreadable text pointing at various parts of his body. However, closer examination shows that not ALL of the text is... um, technical. For example: the second entry down on the right side, pointing to MC's left chest plate, says 'All your base are belong to us'... and the second one down on the LEFT side (pointing to his right inner thigh) reads (in part) 'Sometimes I give myself the creeps'. How many more can you read? (Some, we warn you, seem to be legitimate.) Send us your translations today!
Discovered on: January 16, 2002
Mark Levin first mentioned the weird symbol on the butt of the pistol back in January, 2002. It was remarked upon a few times, both in our forum and via email, since then... but it wasn't until the Bungie offices quieted down after a chunk of the crew headed to E3, and some of the remaining people chose to browse the forum in May 2003 that the symbol was finally defined. Spec Ops Elite brought the image up again the day before E3, which meant it was still on the forum when Dave Candland went surfing. He passed the image around, and the consensus was that it was definitely deliberate... but nobody could remember what it meant, or why it was there. The remainder of the story is pretty funny, and comes from Lorraine Reyes McLees, Rob McLee's wife (and Bungie Artiste Extraordinaire):
Robert McLees put it on the Pistol (as he did design, model and texture the thing). Evil Otto asked him about it today when the question popped up on HBO. Robt looked at the picture, and doodled it on a sheet of paper and showed it to Shiek [Shi Kai Wang, another Bungie artist]. He even pointed out the post to Shiek. But Shiek couldn't make heads or tails of the picture or the drawing.
So there you have it... sort of. The symbol is the Chinese/Japanese character for 'Power' - but the exact reason for its inclusion on the pistol (beyond the obvious) is unknown. It's definitely a small egg, though, for those observant to notice it (and decipher it!). Thanks to BOLL for the image used above, and for the Chikara link.
Discovered on: July 1, 2003
Southpaw noticed a strange symbol on the top of the pistol - it's quite faint, but it's always been there. He was unable to decipher it, though, so he posted a note to our forum. Less than a day later, SketchFactor returned with word from Robert McLees, the creator of the symbol:
"so I was tryin' to figure out an 'obvious, but normally overlooked' area on the pistol where I had the res' to hide something - a se7en seemed the only real choice. but I didn't just wanna stick a #7 up on there... so I figured "hey, I'll stick a foreign '7' on there and it will take people longer to figure out what it is". but the only foreigner that we have here that uses a #7 that is different from the one that we're all familiar with is Shiek -- so it is the CHINESE '7' (that the Japanese adopted so many years ago). The ironic thing is that it looks like a hashed #7 rotated 180 degrees... oh well - the best laid plans, eh?"
More sevens... hidden in plain sight for more than 18 months after the release of the Xbox! Whoa. Thanks to BOLL for the clear shot used above.
Some serious hunting went into figuring out where a hippo might be hidden in Halo - on December 6, 2001, Matt wrote a long treatise on hippos, and why they should have been in Halo (and why they, for the most part, aren't) - but he finished with this teaser:
"...they may not hug walls anymore, but they're still in the game (thanks again to Robt.), and they're still extremely lethal. But you'll need excellent vision and a really nice TV to spot them."
Everything from the bottom of Warthogs to sniper rifles were postulated... but Frogblast finally saw them on shotgun shells. Nice going!
Amechwarrior noticed the letters on the bottom of the Master Chief's boot during netplay, with the help of a sniper rifle. (The picture to the left is actually a lightened chunk of an image put up by Bungie as part of their Legendary Walkthrough of Halo - thanks to Calbigbutt for suggesting its use.) They are, indeed, initials - those of Marcus R. Lehto, Halo's Art Director (and the man behind the Master Chief's skin).
Discovered on: May 7, 2002
Astounding, how long this egg has gone uncommented-upon... today is the first time we've received mail about it. SquirrelJam noticed that the numbers on the left front tread of the Scorpion looked suspiciously like a date... and, indeed, that's exactly what they represent.
It just so happens that Marcus Lehto, Halo's Art Director, was born on March 5, 1969. Hidden in plain sight... nice one, SquirrelJam!
Discovered on: N/A
It's been known for quite a while that Captain Keyes has a Marathon logo on his breast (B-Sharp noticed it on October 18, 2001, and TomeOne did a little enlarging), but nobody's noticed what else is on his shirt. The thumbnail to the left leads to a larger version in which his rather humorous tag can be read... (You can also read part of the 'Pillar of Autumn' running around the Marathon logo, but that's not really an easter egg; just consistency on Bungie's part.) The real question, though, is... why did Bungie leave the 'is' off? To find this egg yourself, you need to be close to Keyes with a sniper rifle; less than 10x magnification won't allow you to read the words. This pretty much limits you to the Truth and Reconciliation level, just after you spring him from the holding cell. (The problem is, he holds that needler directly across his chest, obscuring the view - takes some work to get a decent angle.)
Level: Pillar of Autumn
Easily the earliest egg found in Halo - one day after the release of the Xbox. Outside the bridge of the Pillar of Autumn (you head right towards it when you leave the captain), and repeated again in the Cafeteria, there is a bulletin board, full of posters. Some are silly, some are funny, and some are honest-to-goodness eggs.
The text, first transcribed on the Marathon's Story page on November 19, is as follows (left to right, top to bottom):
The first and last are most notable - the first contains references to Bungie's old digs, an old game (Marathon), and a jab at the 'OMG U R SELLOUTS' crowd, while the last tips a hat to Alien, a movie that provided a certain amount of inspiration to the Bungie crew.
Level: Pillar of Autumn
This was easily the most convoluted and publicised egg hunt in Halo history - eclipsing even the Hippo hunt in early 2002. Originally added to the game as a personal gift from Jaime Griesemer (designer on the Halo team) to his girlfriend, Pallor, it became the object of furious searching by hundreds of Halo fans in March and April of 2003. Many were disappointed with the results - but what was forgotten in the mad rush was that this was never MEANT to be public; it was a private gift from a man to his woman.
The egg itself was rather complicated; there were a series of actions that had to be completed in order to trigger its appearance. (These are outlined in the writeup referenced above.) Once triggered, if you were skilled enough, you could get into a heretofore locked room on the bridge of the Pillar of Autumn and see a red heart, created with blood, surrounding an 'M' (for 'Meg') created from bulletholes. For more information on this egg (and the frantic search for it), check out both HBO's Megg Mini-FAQ and Shishka's Megg FAQ at Subnova.
Level: Assault on the Control Room
This may not be the first easter egg found in Halo... but it's definitely one of the coolest. Snag a Banshee in the open area of Assault on the Control Room, and head up to the Control Center. There are three ledges that bracket the central pillar in front of the door; you want the middle one.
You can land your Banshee parallel to the walkway, facing the left (with respect to the door), and hop out the back. (Be careful - if you're not perfectly straight, you'll hop out to your death.) Walk to the right end of the ledge... and stand still. You should hear this. (It's the Siege of Madrigal, from Myth, another Marty O'Donnell/Total Audio masterpiece.) Nice find, THASF!
Level: Assault on the Control Room
The same piece of Myth music that can be heard at the very end of this level can also be heard at the very start of this level. SHARKZ discovered that if you drop down into the initial well (he used a Banshee, but Berzerk Fury found that it's easier to do with the initial Pelican), you'll find a spot at which the Siege of Madrigal plays through. Frogblast was kind enough to film it for the edification of those who come after. Interesting that this piece of music 'brackets' the level... one wonders what Marty had to do with all of this, and what it means?
Discovered on: March 8, 2002
When you arrive on the level Keyes, your goal is to reach the captain, and recover his neural implants. When you find him, he's become a giant blob, with some Covenant Elite content, as well. Even the face isn't wholly recognizable... but a small egg was left in the back of the blob, for those observant enough to notice it. Nobody did... so Dave Candland included a picture of it in one of his 'Closeup' collections, on March 6, 2002. The following day, ElectricSheep proposed this might be Keyes' pipe... but nobody could figure out where the picture had been taken. AmechWarrior speculated (from the color) that it might be near the Keyes blob... and Strykerwolf confirmed it soon after. We never documented this before, because Joseph Staten, the man behind this particular egg, suggested that we should leave its discovery for all who came after... but on January 9, 2003, Bungie's Tru7h and Reconciliation website put up their Legendary Walkthrough of this level, and a shot of the pipe was included. The cat's out of the bag!
Level: The Maw
During the final stages of the Maw, as you're driving at top speed towards the final Longsword and salvation, you'll find a side passage off to the right, which cuts a small loop off your trip. (It's faster to go around, normally... getting in takes up precious time.) It comes a bit after the failed meeting with Foe Hammer, at a point at which your checkpoint meter will show around 915 meters remaining. Head halfway through the tunnel, and jump out - there's another short dead end there, to your right... it's full of dead stuff, and a single spec-ops grunt at the very end. The music is quite loud here, so it took a pretty long time after this guy was discovered for anyone to effectively transcribe what he was saying... but thanks to a recent audio upload by Bungie, it's become clear that the actual text is as follows:
He won't say anything else, and he won't attack you... and he dies like any other grunt if you hit him. That Joe Staten's an odd one!
Level: The Maw
Discovered on: January 27, 2002
At the very end of the Maw, you have to make a rather insane jump in your Warthog... the trick is keeping the hog from flipping as you plummet to the tunnel below. If you make it, there's a shorter jump immediately following, as you exit the tunnel... but Space Cowboy decided to explore, rather than jump.
It's a little tricky to get up the side (I dumped the Warthog over the edge more than once... more than twice, even, trying to get it close enough to the edge to climb up), but once you've figured it out, it's not too bad. Once up, it's easy to drop down onto the bridge... and if you look in the left-hand room (with respect to the way you're walking), you'll see that the wall has been 'tagged' by Tyson Green (aka 'Ferrex', aka 'rex') , level designer extraordinaire. Spectacular!
I was a little short of time (on the countdown clock) when I got in here, so I only took a quick glance back at the jeep, to show where it was sitting... but that's what the frame advance controls are for, right? Give it a try... and while you're in there, check the pattern on the OPPOSITE wall - it's hard to tell if this is a picture, or just a random bloodsplatter on my dark screen.