Many of Rockstar Games’ titles have become cultural phenomena in their own right, like Red Dead Redemption 2 did after its 2018 release. But every Rockstar game is also packed full of references to all sorts of pop culture, from movies to books to comics and more. For many game designers, it’s both a fun way to pay tribute to the influences which inspired these games as well as a way to give a shout-out to their favorites. Some of these references fit neatly into the worlds of their various inclusions. but others make no sense whatsoever. Red Dead Redemption 2 is full of Easter eggs, and some of them stick out like sore thumbs.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has many Easter eggs that are appropriate to the setting and the time period. RDR2 players can meet Civil War ghosts, discover references to movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, or even find an early flying machine similar to the Wright Brothers’, which was invented just four years after the year Red Dead Redemption 2 is set, 1899.
Despite those that fit right in, Red Dead Redemption 2 also features Easter eggs that don’t belong anywhere near the Old West or late 19th century America in general. And that’s OK. Not all of them make sense, but Red Dead Redemption 2‘s Easter eggs are definitely hilarious.
Technically, Cowboys vs. Aliens proved that cowpokes and flying saucers can very much share a universe, but UFOs are one of Rockstar Games’ longest-running Easter eggs. Red Dead Redemption 2‘s UFO can be found in a cabin near New Hanover. Inside the cabin, Arthur can find the skeleton of a UFO cult leader. Next to the skeleton is a note instructing Arthur to return at 2 a.m. Return to the cabin at 2 a.m. and an eerie green light from a UFO will filter through the rafters.
Around Red Dead Redemption 2‘s town of Valentine, sharp-eared players can hear one of the NPCs, a down-on-his-luck bum, singing a tune that’s eerily similar to Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” The bum struggles through the lyrics “La la la…get my…money right.” This is either an incredible coincidence, or proof that Kanye West is a time traveler in the world of RDR2.
The Old West may be no place for a mild-mannered hobbit, but RDR2 has a Lord of the Rings reference anyway. Look for it in the Grizzlies East region of Ambarino, where it will be reachable from Chapter 2 onwards. Nearby players can also find a barrel, which may be familiar to people who say The Hobbit movies in theaters.
While there is evidence that Viking explores reached North America during the 10th century, they only made it as far as Newfoundland, not the American Southwest. Despite this, Arthur can still find a viking tomb.
Red Dead Redemption 2‘s viking helmet can be found in an equally out-of-place tomb northeast of Beaver Hollow. It could be the archaeological find of the century, but for Arthur it’s just another cool hat.
This nightmarish hybrid between human, bear, pig, and some kind of bird can be found in a cabin near the Van Horn trading post and is one of RDR2’s grossest secrets. Inside the cabin is the failed experiment, as well as notes from the mad scientist who created it. Not too many westerns have featured mad scientists in general, but this specifically appears to be a reference to a South Park episode titled “ManBearPig.”
Those are just a fraction of the many Easter eggs found in Red Dead Redemption 2, and players who have found them all will have to wait for the next game in the Red Dead series to see what other surprises Rockstar is planning. Luckily the wait for Red Dead Redemption 3 shouldn’t be long – just a decade or so.