PlayStation trophies have been a staple of the platform since their introduction in 2008, with many trophy hunters seeking out the joy of hearing that little ding on their console. The titles, descriptions, and requirements to earn said trophies can range from the incredibly simple, to the ridiculously complicated. Some of the more creative developers like to have fun with the trophy system by creating names and implementing objectives that have hidden meanings or pop culture references beyond the game. This act of breaking the fourth wall adds yet another layer to many games and we are here to dig into some of these Easter eggs and references that developers have hidden in their trophy lists.
Game: God of War: Ascension
Trophy: No Drake. You can’t have these.
– Collect all Artifacts in the game
Sony Santa Monica have put this trophy in as a friendly jab at fellow Sony developer, Naughty Dog. This trophy name is a clear reference to Nathan Drake of the Uncharted series. Drake is a treasure hunter and a large aspect of each of the Uncharted games is collecting a variety of ancient artifacts. I don’t know about you, but I think I could easily give up an unhealthy obsession with treasure if it were Kratos telling me to back off, but Drake is as suave and carefree as heroes come and probably hasn’t heard a word that the God-killer has said. Or he’s heard and chooses not to care. Your move Naughty Dog.
Game: Borderlands 2
Trophy: Wilhelm Screamed
– Completed the mission “A Train To Catch”
The Borderlands games are no stranger to pop culture references and a huge variety of secrets, so finding one within the trophy list for Borderlands 2 was no surprise at all. This one is a story based trophy in which you must fight and kill a character named Wilhelm. It may be assumed that Wilhelm would scream when he dies, hence the trophy name. Why is it significant though? The Wilhelm Scream is an extremely famous audio track of a scream that has been used in hundreds of movies and applications since it was first recorded and used in the movie Distant Drums in 1951. Movies and games today still use it as an in-joke and homage to films of old, though Borderlands 2 takes on a bit of a divergent implementation.
Game: Rayman Origins
Trophy: Dr. Lividstone, I presume?
–You found ALL hidden cages.
Dr. David Livingstone was an explorer in Africa in the mid 1800s. In 1871, after having been missing for a number of years, the New York Herald reporter H.M. Stanley found him in a small town in Tanzania. His reported first words to him were “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”, which was an ironic phrase given that he was the only white man for hundreds of miles around. The legitimacy of these words has come into question but that’s a whole different article. The change to ‘Dr. Lividstone’ for the trophy name is in reference to the Livid Dead, which are 652enemies in the game. Finding the cages requires a lot of exploration, and ipso-facto, “Dr. Lividstone, I presume?”.
Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
–Mind Control an Ethereal. Single player only.
Ah, the awesome strategy that is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Ethereals are enemies that have telepathic abilities, even being able to mind control your characters to wreak havoc on your perfectly leveled squad from within. When you eventually gain telepathic abilities for one of the members of your squad, you have the opportunity to mind control enemies as well. Doing this will net you the Xavier trophy, which is a reference to Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-men. This trophy seems to be a reference to both Xavier’s high level telepathic abilities, as well as his knack for being an empath and connecting strongly with other mutants that share his same abilities. This trophy is about connecting with the only enemy that can control your mind and mind controlling them instead.
Game: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory
Trophy: Neptunia Victory Begins!
–“Ooh, looks like you started a new game! Think any game reviewers won’t get this one!?” -Neptune
As a game reviewer, this one made me chuckle a bit. Hyperdimension Neptunia is a series of JRPGs that depict the console wars, with each console represented by the characters in the game. The fourth wall is consistently broken and references are made about the game industry constantly. Each of the trophy descriptions is displayed in quotes as if Neptune, the game’s main character, is making a comment about each one. For this trophy, it simply requires that you start the game, meaning that any person who reviewed this game should have it. Western reviewers are notoriously heckled for having not even played JRPGs upon review, as they traditionally don’t score so well among that crowd, which makes the trophy calling reviewers out all the more funny. For the record, I did review this, and yes, I do have this trophy.
Game: Twisted Metal
Trophy: All sales are final
-Win at least 1 Ranked Online game per day for 30 straight days
The PS3 version of Twisted Metal traveled a rough road in development, eventually not living up to most fans expectations of what the latest Twisted Metal should have been. The departure from the large and storied cast of characters to only having three factions that drove the different cars didn’t help this any. Perhaps the developers saw this coming and created this trophy as an answer. Standard return policies at most stores are around 30 days. This trophy asks that you win an online ranked game for 30 days straight, which means that if you were to get it, you would be beyond most standard return policies. While seemingly simple in theory, between the terrible online servers and life in general preventing you for playing long enough to win every single day for a month, this trophy did not resonate well with many trophy hunters… until they discovered that you could cheat the system by changing the date on your PS3 that is.
Game: Metal Gear Solid 2 HD
Trophy: Who Ya Gonna Call?
–Take a clear photograph of the ghost image in Hold No. 2
When there’s something strange in your tanker hold… who ya gonna call? Solid Snake! Easy reference here from another game series that is ripe for the picking with Easter eggs, references, and secrets. This trophy has Snake taking a photograph of a projector screen in the tanker chapter. The saved picture then appears to have a ghostly negative image of Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear. The trophy name is a reference to the Ghostbusters theme song, which has caused mass waves of people to utter “who ya gonna call?” in response to nearly anything that has to do with a ghost. Honestly, it all gets a little old, but if there is anyone that can get away with putting it in their game, it would be the ageless man himself, Hideo Kojima (yes, I know he probably didn’t actually create the trophy list personally. I just… want to believe… ok?).
Game: Jak 3 HD
Trophy: Fait Accompli
–For Stamina and Time On Your Hands and insatiable need for completion
Platinum trophies are the ultimate trophy in a game, awarding for obtaining every other trophy. For such a grand achievement, many games have boring platinum names, with some games even just being ‘Platinum’. The developers of Jak 3 HD did not take that dull route however and opted to call theirs ‘Fait Accompli’, which has roots in French and ultimately means an accomplished fact, or something that is done and can’t be taken back. Even the description boasts more than the traditional ‘obtain all other trophies’ mantra that other platinum trophies are notorious for and opts instead for an awesome description of what it truly to to get to this point, though I’m a little unsure about the odd choice in capitalization (the description above is typed out as it appears in the trophy list).
Game: Dead Nation
Trophy: Romero Would Be Proud
–Collect All Trophies
Ok, so the description for this platinum trophy is extremely dull and lacking in any sort of significance whatsoever, but the title is where we want to focus our attention. When you platinum Dead Nation, either the original or the PS4’s Apocalypse Edition, you are presented with a trophy stating that Romero would be proud. Who is this Romero, this mysterious person that would be proud of what you have done? George A. Romero is the father of the modern zombie, beginning with his movie Night of the Living Dead in 1968. It could be argued that zombie culture as we know it would not exist without this man, so it is only fitting that the ultimate reward for completing a zombie filled game would be named with a reference to the master himself.
Game: South Park: The Stick of Truth
–You defeated the Meth Tweekers while wearing the Evil Cartman goatee and bald cap.
Leave it to South Park to have pop culture references. It’s kind of what their entire modus operandi is. So when a trophy showed up that has you putting on a bald cap and goatee while defeating the meth tweekers, it’s obvious that there is a deeper meaning than the simple enjoyment of wearing a costume while attacking meth addicts. The trophy is titled Heisenberg, which is the alter ego of one Walter White, of Breaking Bad fame. Walter White is of course a bald man with a goatee and the show centers around his cooking of crystal meth. While we may not have a Breaking Bad game, South Park does offer you this opportunity to perform some violent actions while role-playing as Heisenberg, and that’s good enough for me.
Trophy: Happy Birthday
–Sweet sixteen. Snuff said.
Anyone who played the reboot of Thief may have noticed that they received a trophy at some point titled Happy Birthday. The description doesn’t do much to tell you how the trophy is obtained either, but it does offer a hint in the form of its little pun. This trophy is unlocked upon snuffing out 16 candles, and the Happy Birthday title is referencing the age of the original Thief title that was released 16 years prior to this reboot. It is nearly impossible to play through this game well without snuffing out at least 16 candles, so this is a great way to ensure that players who are looking at their trophies are remembering the heritage and roots where the reboot got its start all those years ago.
Game: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
Trophy: Don’t I Know You?
–Team up Captain America with Human Torch (Co-op)
The trophy list for LEGO Marvel has a number of references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, some that are much more obvious than others. This trophy may seem odd to some, though there is a fantastic explanation for its significance. Before the official Marvel Cinematic Universe was conceived, Chris Evans starred in Fantastic Four as the Human Torch. Chris Evans also plays Captain America in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. Teaming the two of these characters up gets you the Don’t I Know You? trophy based on this case of very confused identity. Fortunately they are looking reboot Fantastic Four, so a new Human Torch can take Chris Evans’ place and we can all go back to being confused about the rest of the Marvel Universe.
Have you discovered any Easter eggs or obscure references within your trophy lists? Come discuss these hidden gems in our forums with the rest of the readers.