Christmas — err, Halloween — came early to Overwatch fans yesterday, when Blizzard Entertainment launched the game’s latest special event, Halloween Terror. But within the walls of its new cooperative brawl, players are hoping to find something more than the disturbed Dr. Junkenstein. They’re looking for clues to what could be Overwatch’s next big alternate reality game, or more hints about its next hero ... and the answers, they say, lie with those purple crows flying around the level.
The point of the new “Junkenstein” horde mode isn’t murdering seemingly harmless birds, but some heartless heroes have been picking them off anyway. They’ve discovered that doing so turns them into purple mist and elicits a squawk from them — which is unsurprising, considering the birds have just been shot with high-powered guns. But these squawks seem curious, players say; especially since, sometimes, they don’t die when they’re shot.
To the Overwatch player not steeped in the online community, those birds may seem like innocuous decoration, even if they don’t always die like they’re supposed to. But on Reddit, fans are taught to question everything, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
“Does killing the purple crows do anything in Junkenstein?” asked one player earlier today. “Just wondering. Thought it might be an Easter egg or something.”
“Anyone tried shooting ALL the crows?” suggests another. “Maybe it’s the inner [Easter] egg lover in me but the crows disappear when shot. Has anyone tried shooting every crow?”
Indeed, some have, with varying degrees of success.
“I’ve tried killing them all but I always seem to find one more so I assume I’m missing some,” someone admits in yet another post.
Earlier threads have posters gently rejecting the idea that this is some Call of Duty: Zombies-esque hunt, where the birds will only unlock something after completing a long, specific set of requirements. But as the day’s worn on, some are convinced that, yes, those crows are not what they seem at all.
“You get [a] small series of beeps which then refer to the bricks in the wall on the bridge as the beeps are in binary,” said one player, called ajagur, who claims to have shot every single bird. “Me and a couple people heard ‘the wall’ being said by a croaky feminine voice so we then associated it, we just need to figure out the next step and what it leads to.”
There’s no video proof of this, though, although other Redditors are corroborating this user’s story. Still, ajagur is so committed to his story that he had to take it to its own thread, which is now one of the most upvoted posts on the Overwatch forum today. He’s offered six edits and an addendum to keep the rest of the Overwatch conspiracy theory faithful apprised of his hunt for an Easter egg, but many remain skeptical.
“Where the fuck is the proof OP,” a poster asked, criticizing the lack of video evidence for this supposed alternate reality game. “This is like, ‘You can unlock Sonic in [Super Smash Bros.] Melee’ levels of shit.”
“[1,000] upvotes of something with no video proof,” another user wrote. “Good god, guys...”
Even the Game Detectives, who have been digging through every inch of Overwatch for secrets, have doubts about this purported Easter egg. As popular as their thread is, there’s little else to go off but ajagur’s word that killing the crows produces something more. Without concrete proof, it appears that Overwatch players are just making waste of those little birds for no reason.
The once-peaceful Overwatch subreddit, a haven of Witch Mercy fanart and Play of the Game memes, has seemingly been torn apart into two groups: those who believe and those who don’t. We’ve asked Blizzard whether they can offer any guidance here, but the true answer of whether or not there’s a major mystery under foot lies with the birds for now.
Update: Bad news for people who believe in the crows — Blizzard confirmed to Polygon that there’s nothing special about these glowing purple birds.
“This appears to be a false easter egg,” a representative told us. “The Overwatch team did not include any easter egg within Junkenstein’s Revenge involving the crows.”