"We send each other holiday cards": Meet the Battlefield megalodon hunters searching for the series' biggest secrets
Five years ago, the Battlefield Easter Egg Community believed they had stumbled upon something big. After discovering morse code hidden within the Battlefield 1 MCOM radios, a dedicated myth-hunting team went about attempting to decipher it, but struggled to make head or tail of the message inside.
"We had one last desperate hope," explains HotelMama, a leading figure within the Battlefield Easter Egg [BFEE] network. "The game's MCOMs are actually designed after [Italian inventor Guglielmo] Marconi's telegram machines, and because he also invented a code to go with it, we wanted to get our hands on a code book. There were only super rare hard copies available, so we bought one."
Unfortunately, before the pricey purchase had even made its way into the community's hands, DICE tweaked the morse code in an unexpected patch, and this time the translation was disappointingly clear: "Message corrupted, await further instructions".
"This basically meant that there was no functional Easter egg, and we had bought a super expensive code book just for the heck of it," HotelMama continues. "To not waste it totally, we decided to organise a world tour, sending the book not only to both DICE studios in Los Angeles and Sweden to be signed by the developers, but to select members of the community which had chimed in on the costs. We call it the Marconi Bible, but it's basically lore that never actually helped us in solving anything!"
Established in 2016, the Battlefield Easter Egg Community is now over 40,000 members strong, committed to solving and uncovering the series' ever growing number of secrets and ARGs. But while Battlefield has a long and storied history of hiding various Easter eggs within its multiplayer maps, it's the megalodons – giant, prehistoric sharks who roamed the oceans millions of years ago – that have offered the most visually memorable surprises of all.
People who've never even played Battlefield will likely have heard of the megalodons, showing up across multiple games since their first appearance in Battlefield 4, and making headlines every time a new sighting is discovered. There's a reason the Jurassic shark made the cut as the inspiration for the BFEE's official emblem, after all. "They're a recurring theme, and basically a mascot to DICE as much as us hunters at this point," says HotelMama.
Despite their gargantuan size, the megalodons have been notoriously difficult to summon, involving a multi-step process that can only be undertaken by groups of players working together in a private server. This is after the community has figured out how to summon the shark in the first place, of course, which itself takes a lot of collective deduction, time-intensive experimentation, and forensic scouring of the teasers that DICE's development team put out on social media.
"The first step is searching for anything out of the ordinary," explains HotelMama of the hunt. "This is especially the case with game updates, as anything that has changed is immediately suspect. Once someone has found a point of interest, we start throwing everything at it (literally and figuratively) until something goes click or boom. Usually, Easter eggs have a very strong 'this is it' feel to them: once you see it, it's undeniably on purpose and not just 'those four pixels look like an arrow'. Once you can predict how an Easter egg behaves, you've cracked its mechanics. Even these are to be taken with a grain of salt, though, as some are simply bound to random generation."
If this exhaustive process sounds like a slog, BFEE member KopaTroopa123 is keen to stress the contrary: "The experience of being involved in the hunt is a huge rush! Being there and finding pieces of the puzzle or putting them together is a genuine build of excitement and adrenaline. Figuring it out can get mundane, but when you're chatting and joking with friends, it isn't boring – you're just spending time hanging out with your buddies!"
"It's not just about the end result of finding the Easter egg, but the journey along the way," adds BFEE hunter PergySkeel. "The laughter and jokes shared, the frustration and the banter, the theories over the wild ideas of what the Easter egg could be or how to solve it, [and] the thrill of the chase. I've made many friends along the way, too. We send each other holiday cards and birthday gifts, use our real names, send text messages, and share about our families. Gaming in general is about bringing people together, and when you add in an additional passion for solving morse code, puzzles, chasing crazy Dan Brown-type conspiracy theories, you get bonded to one another."
Fish out of water
Indeed, despite the last Battlefield game releasing over two and a half years ago, the Battlefield Easter Egg Community is as active as ever, whether sharing stories and new discoveries on Discord, jumping into a server together to follow the latest leads, or just reactivating fan-favourite Easter eggs, helping newcomers obtain some of the exclusive rewards that come from doing so, such as special outfits or dog tags.
Dice continues to engage positively with BFEE, too, to the point where the community's achievements are now immortalised in some of the best Battlefield games with their very own Easter eggs inspired by its members. With Battlefield 6 set to launch later this year, the community is now anticipating a busy Holiday season, as DICE's next-gen title will no doubt come packed with a veritable basket of new Easter eggs to find.
Whether that basket includes a megalodon is anyone's guess, but given the shark's fondness for the oceans, puddles, and rivers of DICE's multiplayer battlefields, it's probably best to keep both eyes open when going for a dip in the upcoming game's digital waters.
"One of the best parts of Easter egg hunting is simply seeing what DICE comes up with next," says HotelMama. "I'm excited to just wait and see what happens!"