Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
Celebrate Two Years of Diablo III With Undiscovered Easter Eggs

Joshua Vanderwall | 15 May 2014 15:00
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I'm very happy to say that the last Easter Egg they shared with me has apparently not yet been discovered by the community. Or at least not publicized very well. These are a nod to yet another franchise, StarCraft. Somewhere in Act 1, there's a goatmen event scene which features a slightly camouflaged, but still apparently visible Ultralisk skull. You'd think this would be fairly easy to spot, but apparently they blended it so well, that they have yet to see a picture of it show up online. Likewise, there's a Hydralisk head in a couple of event locations in Act 2, just waiting to be discovered. If you've seen either of these, be the first to post your screenshot in the forums. Heck, I'll even make you a special Skull Hunter badge if you do! Just PM me after you post, and I'll confirm it and get started on that badge!

Not every idea actually makes the cut, of course. Some are simply too esoteric - if nobody gets the joke, it's not a good Easter Egg - but others may be wildly popular, but just don't quite justify the resources required to actually implement them. One such case is the Wirt Monster. If you don't know Wirt, read this. Now that you're all caught up, the team was considering a legless, crawling Wirt monster as a rare spawn. "There were so many Wirt's legs floating around that we had the idea to turn that into the twist," the team explained. "The idea being that Wirt's legs had been the nexus of so many magical incidents that what was left of him was transformed, and the thing that was left from him could only feel like parts of him had been stolen." Perhaps you'd kick over a log, and out would crawl the Wirt Monster, crying "I want them! Give me back my legs!" Ultimately, though, it was just too involved a process to make the cut. There are already nods to Wirt throughout the Diablo universe, and this just wasn't necessary.

Some surprises are instantly recognizable by virtually anybody. Whimseyshire, for example, was clearly a throwback to the Cow level, and it'd take someone entirely unaware of the Cow level not to realize that, but what about the more obscure stuff. That's something the team actively tries to avoid, it turns out. "Basically any Easter Egg so obscure as to be confused with actual lore is kind of a failed Easter Egg, and just turns into an inside joke for the developers," the team said. But that doesn't mean that obscure Easter Eggs are strictly verboten. "An inside joke that only 15 developers understand is in some ways a waste of resources. But then other times it isn't. Sage Resko is a magical scholar that pops up all over our lore, and his name is a reference to our production director, Ray Gresko. In this case we get to make that nod, 'Ray, you kicked ass, we love you, buddy,' but we also inform the lore by creating this personality that fleshes out the world."

Power Overwhelming

If you've been playing Blizzard games as long as I have, you're probably familiar with a handful of the classics of Easter Eggs in gaming. When you're playing Warcraft II and biding your time while your new Town Hall is constructed, you might find yourself clicking on critters. Click them enough, and BOOM! They explode. Clicking on your Peons will initiate a quip, but clicking on them repeatedly will eventually annoy them to the point of humorous backtalk. Look at the StarCraft cheat code for God Mode; Power Overwhelming. You might recognize that as a Hearthstone card. How have Easter Eggs evolved, though? "There isn't a specific design philosophy around Easter Eggs at Blizzard as a whole but we love a great Easter Egg and how funny they can be," the team explained. The process, however, has become much more involved. Back in the day of Warcraft 2's exploding critters, a single team member can just slip in the Easter Egg, and wait for the rest of the team to discover it. With games becoming more and more involved, however, and working on larger and larger teams, "a developer can feel a little funny putting something into the game that is going to take 9 people to implement in the first pass." That's not to mention if there's a voice involved, in which case "we probably need to get voice-actors in studio to record the little joke that has to be translated into 12 different languages by 40 localization experts." Times have certainly changed, but Blizzard's dedication to subtle (and sometime not-so-subtle) humor has made it through unscathed.

There are even whole teams involved in working on some of the more in-depth Easter Eggs. When planning Whimseyshire, they had "fun, hilarious meetings" about how to implement it. "It wasn't like a little midnight throwaway like how Easter Eggs used to be," the team said, the planning for Whimseyshire took days, and that's not to mention the actual implementation. But there are still occasional last-minute, off-the-cuff Easter Eggs that make it into production. "That rare line that Zoltun Kulle where he says, 'But is it Zoltun cool?' was a random joke we made in a meeting, but we liked it, and said, 'screw it, localize that thing'"

Blizzard puts Easter Eggs throughout almost all of its properties, and we here at The Escapist aren't all that different. If you like Easter Eggs, try entering the Konami Code anywhere on site. Dig around profiles for the Spinning Button badge. Whatever you do, though, don't click the Red Button Badge! Our favorite web designer @thynameismud who is responsible for most of the Easter Eggs you'll find on site, even threw this little ditty together just for me.


Clicky clicky!

Finally, as I promised at the beginning, US and Canada residents can sign up for a chance to win one of two Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Collector's Editions right here!

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