What do Overwatch, Spider-Man for PlayStation 4, and The Sims 3 all have in common?
Well, not much really, but they do all have a little logo called Greentooth hiding somewhere in them. Game artists have slipped the creepy smiley faces into dozens of games. The little guys are the official logo of a website called Polycount, an online community of 3D artists. From the looks of it, the icons are incorporated into games by artists who are familiar with, or a part of, Polycount. It’s kind of like an Easter egg, but for game artists.
The members of Polycount document Greentooth sightings on a forum thread. The posts show dozens of games where the logo has been spotted. Some are reported by the artists who worked on the games themselves, but most screenshots come from Polycount community members who happened to spot it while playing. Sightings on the thread go back years, the earliest coming from Battlefield 3 in 2011.
Polycount serves as online resource to learn 3D art, develop a portfolio, and connect with other 3D artists, which means it can be a vital resource in a career as a video games artist. The variety of games that have Greentooth speak to the prominence of Polycount and the Greentooth logo within the video game artist community. It has appeared in popular games like Spider-Man, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Overwatch, The Sims 3, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Halo 4.
There isn’t a standard way to hide them, since artists have added them in all sorts of ways. Some are part of a fixture in the environment, like graffiti on a wall, whereas others are incorporated into a character’s design. Many would be hard to find if you weren’t looking for it. It’s fun to see at screenshots of those that were carefully hidden, like this Greentooth in Wolfenstein: The New Order:
It seems like it has become a generic punk symbol. Greentooth was paired with the Anarchist symbol in its use in Overwatch and Spider-Man.
Roadhog from Overwatch has one on his standard skin:
The punk skin in Spider-Man has one as well:
Here is another from The Sims 3:
It’s fun to know these are out there. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out as we play games in the future.
You can view the full list of Green tooth sightings at Polycount.
Update: Polycount reached out to Polygon stating that in case there is any ambiguity, they “entirely encourage the Easter egg,” and that the logo is free to use by any game developer. Polycount has “no intention of ever suing anyone over Greentooth, the only time we assert trademark is if you try to make say physical goods for profit. To date it’s never been an issue though a few studios have asked us for explicit permission (which we’ve always given).”