As I mentioned in my review, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that comes to life in its details. The team at Eidos Montreal has shown a rare attention to detail and and willingness to engage in fan-service, filling the game with a nigh-on unprecedented number of hidden sight gags and easter eggs.
They're found in notes and emails, books and videos, corporate symbols, obscure dialogue references, and often in plain sight. In this post, I've collected some of my and the other Kotaku editors' favorites. A few of these contain minor spoilers, but nothing too major, plot-wise.
There are, of course, dozens more in the game, and so I hope you'll share your favorites in the comments.
Image: Cherezoff / Shutterstock
Nigerian Email Scams
At this point, it's become a cliché to put fake Nigerian email scams into in-game inboxes. But DXHR has some fun with the trope, introducing the fraud emails early in the game but later having an administrator come down furiously on his employees for possibly falling for them. Heh.
Thank You For Your Cooperation
One could almost call the entirety of Deus Ex: Human Revolution a shoutout to Paul Veerhoeven's classic Sci-Fi flick RoboCop… A Detroit police officer gets his shit wrecked, is reborn and augmented to be part man part machine… fights evil corporations, lumbering robots…
This conversation, overheard in the Detroit Police Department, is a cute reference to the film.
"Look at this guy. I think we were just talking about you, pal."
Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart.
In a nod to the game's Michigan setting, the name of the convenience store in the gas station outside the LIMB Clinic in Detroit is "S-Mart," the same store where Ash Williams works in the Michigan-based Evil Dead films. Sam Rami would be proud.
Welcome to Black Mesa
In one of the later levels (and one of my favorite levels), Jensen is tasked with infiltrating the Omega Ranch research lab and tracking down some important individuals. On one of the computers, the following message can be found:
A reminder to all Omega Ranch personnel: Regular radiation and bio-hazard screenings are a requirement of continued employment at the Omega Ranch research facility. Missing a scheduled urinalysis or radiation check-up is ground for immediate termination. If you feel you have been exposed to radioactive or other hazardous materials in the course of your duties, contact your radiation safety officer immediately. Work safe, work smart, your future depends on it.
- Omega Ranch Administration
Half-Life Fans will recognize that as a direct lift from the opening tram sequence in Half-Life, except with "Black Mesa" replaced by "Omega Ranch." Good one, Eidos.
(Thanks Brendan Keogh for catching this one.)
Do Police Officers Dream of Electric Sheep?
In the Detroit police station, the usernames at the locked computers include some great Sci-Fi references. "PDICK" is a reference to Philip K. Dick, author of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." "HELLISON" is noted Science Fiction author Harlan Ellison, and RDECKARD is, of course, a nod to Rick Deckard, the protagonist of Blade Runner, played by Harrison Ford. The password to unlock his computer? "Unicorn," of course.
Nice to see a Blade Runner reference in this game, since without that film DXHR's entire visual design would no doubt be significantly different.
Deus Ex Theme Gramophone
In a later level, the in-game gramophone plays a scratchy recorded version of the theme from the original Deus Ex.
High-Five to Titch for the tip.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
Who knew that Dwight Schrute would still be alive and kicking in 2027? This intra-office email is written very much in the tone of The Office's famous curmudgeon, despite the fact that it's signed "Dwayne." The postscript's attack of a coworker named "Jim" seals the deal while throwing in a nice nod to Milton from Office Space. Hope this "Dwayne" character doesn't burn the building down.
Up-top to Glix for the tip.
Buy Now, Pay Later
It's hard to miss the vague aseptic menace of the LIMB Clinics, and that menace is never clearer than in the LIMB Ad above: "Get Augmentations Now, Pay Later."
Pay later, indeed…
The Dopefish Lives!
This Commander Keen reference is a longstanding gaming in-joke; I remember seeing this guy on the wall in Max Payne, I think? I had completely missed that it turns up in the DRB area of Detroit. Thanks ranglad for the heads-up.
This is #Chan. Smash the State!
An email found shortly afterwards comes from Anonymous_X@SmashTheStateChan.Net. "Anonymous," of course, is a reference to the now-infamous hacking group, and the "Chan" refers once again to 4Chan. "Smash the State" is a callback to the first Deus Ex—it's the password that the NSF is using on the first level on Liberty Island.
UNATCO Theme on the Radio
On some of the in-game radios, the UNATCO theme from the original Deus Ex can be heard. I hope by now I've made it clear how much I love the UNATCO theme.
Chest-bump to Titch for the second tip.
And Only Taco Bell Remained
In what is now my single favorite hidden gag in the game, one of the bathrooms contains three seashells in place of toilet paper. This is a shoutout to one of the funnier bits in Demolition Man. I doubt Jensen knows how the shells work, so hopefully there's a ticket-dispenser located somewhere near by.
"Adam Jensen, you are fined five credits for a violation of the verbal morality statute."
Big ups to twitterer Havocks for the tip.
Final Fantasy, Still Going Strong
One of the more well-known easter eggs is the poster for Final Fantasy XXVII on the wall in Pritchard's Tech Lab.
Given that DXHR takes place in the year 2027, that means that there have been an additional 13 numbered Final Fantasy games in the 16 years between now and then.
Hmm… that puts Square Enix on pace to release almost one numbered FF game a year between now and then, with only a couple of years off for Tactics games and kart-racers.
Could this be a hint about the future of the franchise?
Well, no, probably not.
Located on a number of post-it notes around the offices of DXHR are drawings of one of the characters from the meme-tastic web comic "Forever Alone."
Someone Sure Had a Party
I found this one via Steam, and so was not fortunate enough to stumble upon it myself. But apparently, if you punch through a wall in the sewers near The Hive in China, you'll find evidence of a fairly involved romantic engagement.
David Sarif's Office
David Sarif's office is one of the more detailed locations in the game, and a couple of small bits stick out. A book laying around is called "Daedalus Complex," which is a not-so-subtle nod to Sarif's tendencies to use his great mind to improve the world around him.
Of course, the mythological character Daedalus is perhaps best known for building wings for his son Icarus, helping him fly a little too high. Given the wing on Sarif's company logo and the fact that he constantly refers to Jensen as "Son," the symbolism here is pretty clear.
Also, Sarif has a groovy "DX" hat laying down by his desk, which I'm guessing looks like the actual Deus Ex hats that the team wears. And while I don't know what "The Planet of the Cakes" is, the guy's got enough copies lying around that it must mean something.
Working QR Codes
Strewn about the Sarif Industries warehouse in the first level are QR codes, which apparently actually work. I haven't been able to get my phone to read them, but it sounds like they lead to a number of websites and online clues about various aspects of the DXHR universe. We'll have to investigate this one further, but if you've headed down the rabbit hole, let us know what you found?
Mr. Denton, I Presume
Among the references to the original Deus Ex (including plenty of emails from a certain FEMA official named Manderley) is an email found in the late game addressed to a "JC" in engineering. So before he became a vital cog in a plan for world domination, he was... a glorified Mr. Fix-it, reprimanded by his boss via email.
The Broken Mirror of Emotionally Tortured Protagonists
One of my favorite touches in the game is found early on in Adam Jensen's apartment.
Jensen is a hard-to-read fellow, delivering his lines in an gravelly monotone and keeping his emotions close to the vest. But that gruff exterior hides unseen anguish regarding his involuntary augmentations, as evidenced by his smashed mirror and the sad note attached:
Call landlord re: replacement mirror. Again.