Video game Easter eggs can serve a variety of purposes. From hints about the setting to cheeky acknowledgements of the folks behind the scenes, Easter eggs are pretty much always an exciting discovery. It should come as no surprise, then, that developers sometimes utilize Easter eggs for nefarious purposes. Some Easter eggs are just plain creepy.
The secrets that follow dive into the dark underbelly of beloved games. Some reveal hidden pockets of terror in titles that don’t seem the type to feature such elements. Others add unsettling layers to stories already plenty spooky on their own. In every case, these haunting Easter eggs enhance the experiences these games provide.
Turn on all the lights and maybe grab a buddy or two: it’s time to take a look at the creepiest Easter eggs in games. Mild spoilers ahead.
James’ doppelgangers – Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is an undisputed classic of the horror genre. Beyond the eerie visuals and haunting storyline, part of its longevity stems from the secrets players continue to discover. Most fans know about the infamous “dog ending,” which seemingly reveals the canine mastermind behind all of the terror; however, there’s another hidden scare in the game, one much more subtle and upsetting.
Throughout Silent Hill 2, James finds corpses strewn about town. Some have been beaten to a pulp and are barely recognizable. Others are purposefully turned away from James (and the audience), preventing you from making out the faces of the dead. A close examination of the character model for these corpses reveals a terrifying truth.
The corpses use the same character model because most of the bodies in the game are, in fact, James’ corpse. Without fully giving away the ending of Silent Hill 2, this revelation makes the psychological implications of the story all the more haunting.
The Cask of Amontillado – Fallout 4
The Fallout series is full of creepy Easter eggs that pay tribute to classic literature. Fallout 3 and 4 famously featured the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Dunwich House and Dunwich Borers locations, respectively. Fallout 4 also contains another eerie Easter egg that pays tribute to Gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe.
After raiding the armory and disarming all manner of booby traps within the settlement known as the Castle, you will stumble upon a disturbing scene hidden within the fortress. A dead Minutemen general lies on the floor with two empty bottles of wine next to his body. On the desk near to him is a crate of Amontillado wine. Across the room from the general’s corpse, you’ll find a skeleton chained up behind a large hole in the wall.
This morbid tableau is reminiscent of the tragic fate of the character in Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado.” In the tale, a man is tricked into getting too drunk and his “friend” seals him behind a brick wall to die. It looks like this version of the story ended tragically for both parties involved.
The hotel ghost – Hitman: Contracts
Over the years, Agent 47 has sent more than a few targets to an early grave. Though the Hitman series isn’t known for its supernatural elements, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that 47 has a few ghosts following him. They just don’t usually make an appearance.
During the mission “Traditions of the Trade,” Agent 47 finds himself hunting his quarry in a hotel. You can encounter a ghost in multiple areas of the hotel, but it most notably appears in a bathroom mirror, seemingly standing behind Agent 47. It will disappear if Agent 47 stares at it for too long, but that’s not the weirdest part. If you come across the ghost in the hotel’s corridors, you can actually take it down by choking it with fiber wire. In other words, 47 is such a badass he can literally kill opponents who are already dead.
The haunted room – Call of Duty: Finest Hour
The horrors of war are already scarring enough, but Call of Duty: Finest Hour takes things further. This game features a haunting hidden in one of its maps.
In the level “Underground Passage,” you can find this room by tossing two grenades at a seemingly locked door. Once inside, you’ll notice that the room appears to have no ceiling, but candles float in the air like a demonic version of Hogwarts. A small toy car flies around the area, which presumably belongs to the ghostly child that waits in a cradle at the center. This child will walk through midair if approached, though it seems to be unaware of the player’s presence.
There are a few weapons in the room, as well as an abnormally large rat in a cage, but there’s no explanation offered for the room’s existence. All in all, it’s a deeply bizarre spot in a game that is otherwise relatively grounded within reality.
An ill-fated sports team – Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption is another game series that’s full of Easter eggs, dark secrets, and unsolved mysteries. While there’s no shortage of macabre discoveries waiting within Red Dead Redemption 2, perhaps the most disturbing involves a missing team of athletes.
While wandering through the game, you may stumble upon a pile of bodies in athletic uniforms. Some of the deceased appear to have been bound before their untimely deaths, with bags placed over their heads. If one of the many, many newspaper articles within RDR2 is to be believed, this is the Blackwater Athletic Team, who went missing on their way to a group athletics run.
Who (or what) murdered and disposed of the group so callously is unclear, but no one would blame you for moving along as quickly as possible after finding this grisly scene. Unless you’ve read the one newspaper article that clues you into the tragedy, this is a completely baffling situation to stumble upon.
Ra’s al Ghul lives – Batman: Arkham Asylum
Ra’s al Ghul is one of the most persistent supervillains in DC’s library. Beyond always cooking up some new scheme for world domination or ecological destruction, the guy just won’t stay dead. By using a mystical pool known as a Lazarus Pit, Ra’s al Ghul’s followers in the League of Assassins have managed to resurrect him time and time again.
If you were unfamiliar with Ra’s al Ghul’s backstory when playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, then this Easter egg almost certainly freaked you out. While investigating the Asylum’s morgue, the Riddler gives Batman a riddle to solve. Using Detective Mode to take a snapshot of Ra’s al Ghul’s corpse in a body bag reveals the answer. If you return to the morgue at any time after this sequence, the body will be missing from its slab. Ra’s al Ghul doesn’t pop up as an enemy until the sequel, Arkham City, so this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment is simply an eerie nod to the character’s comic book history.
“You’ll float, too!” – Far Cry 5
If you thought the members of the fanatical cult that act as Far Cry 5’s antagonists were scary, you should probably stay far away from the city’s sewer systems. While wandering around the game’s open world, you may stumble upon a reference to the horror novel and film series It. This particular Easter egg appears in the form of a single red balloon left at the entrance to a sewer drain pipe.
In the original novel by Stephen King and the film adaptations, Pennywise spends a good amount of time stalking the sewers around Derry, Maine. He’ll occasionally lure his prey to the catacombs beneath the city. Conjuring illusions of red balloons is one of the ways the creature accomplishes this, and they have a habit of appearing out of nowhere, foreshadowing It’s imminent arrival. Nobody would blame you for backing away slowly at the sight of this lonely balloon.
The witch is coming for you – Payday: The Heist
Payday: The Heist is yet another game that doesn’t seem like it would go into full-on haunted house mode. Sure, it has its share of over the top moments, but this one spooky Easter egg is still a total surprise.
During the mission “No Mercy,” players are tasked with stealing a virus sample from Mercy Hospital. Fans of team-based shooter Left 4 Dead will recognize this as a location from that game. What they may not expect is the appearance of one of Left 4 Dead’s most disturbing characters within the hospital.
When cutting the power during the heist, there’s a chance the terrifying Witch may appear to the player. If you don’t happen to look in the right window at the right time, you may miss her entirely. Folks “lucky” enough to catch a glimpse of her will be in for one heck of a jump scare, as the Witch lunges at the window and lets out a horrifying shriek before vanishing. This is one heist that doesn’t seem worth the payday.
P.T. transmissions – Metal Gear Solid 5
One of the biggest bummers in recent video game history was the cancellation of Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills a few years ago. Everyone got a tantalizing taste of what could have been through the demo called P.T., which featured a character portrayed by Norman Reedus attempting to evade an otherworldly presence. Though Silent Hills never came to fruition, Kojima managed to sneak a few unsettling Easter eggs related to it in another game.
During Mission 20 of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, players can stumble upon a radio playing a disturbing news broadcast. The newscaster describes a horrific scene involving a man who murdered his entire family. Sharp-eared gamers will recognize this as the same broadcast heard in P.T. This is likely just a sly reference for those in the know, but it might indicate something much darker. Whether or not this means Snake needs to glance over his shoulder to check for the spectral Lisa is up to you to decide.
Jolene haunts Mt. Gordo – Grand Theft Auto 5
The Grand Theft Auto series is no stranger to creepy Easter eggs and bizarre urban myths. There may not be a spookier example of this than the ghost of Jolene Cranley-Evans in Grand Theft Auto 5.
On the edge of Mount Gordo, you can find a rock with the word “JOCK” scrawled on it, seemingly in blood. If you return to the spot between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., you’ll spot the ghostly figure of a woman floating by the rock. While she won’t interact with you directly, players have reported hearing screams and backwards speech in an abandoned campsite nearby.
A newspaper article in the game identifies Jolene by name. The article explains she was murdered by her husband, a man named Jock Cranley, who pushed her from the cliff side. Though she only appears for one hour a day, it makes sense that she keeps returning to this site: it’s the place where she met her untimely end.
Late night alien broadcasts – Animal Crossing: New Leaf
One of the reasons people love the Animal Crossing franchise so much is that it’s so low stress. Who doesn’t enjoy making daily life work with a cast of adorable critters? That’s why the presence of this unsettling message in Animal Crossing: New Leaf is so unexpected.
If you happen to be watching the in-game television at exactly 3:33 a.m., the usual static will be interrupted. After a few moments of the screen flickering, you will be greeted by an odd sight. A red-eyed alien figure appears on the screen and utters several garbled sounds before vanishing again.
Why does this happen? What is so significant about the time of day? Why does it look like that alien is about to either leap out of the screen or blast you with heat vision? It’s such an intimidating image for a game that’s normally so chill and adorable.
Better run faster – Runner2
Slender Man has become the subject of a great deal of controversy in the years since he was dreamed up by users in the Something Awful forums. Since then, the character has been adapted to movies and video games with varying degrees of success. One thing everyone can agree on is that the very image of Slender Man is enough to send chills down the spine.
That’s why it’s honestly so unexpected to see Slender Man make a cameo appearance in a game as innocent as Runner2. The levels in this game move extra quickly, so it’s easy to miss ol’ Slendy hanging out in the background of various parts of the level called “Bush Wacky.” He doesn’t seem to have any intention of harming the player character, but you can see him stretching his tentacles out and generally just being entirely out of place and disturbing. Running is exactly the right response to this creepy Easter egg.