In 2015, a Kickstarter-funded game took the world by storm. It was an RPG called Undertale, which has graphics that wouldn’t look out of place on the Super Nintendo. In it, you play as a young child who falls into an underground kingdom full of monsters. It is up to the player whether they want to befriend the denizens of the kingdom or to kill them and take their stuff.
Undertale is a game where you never have to take a life and the story is about questioning what it means to be a video game character, as well as the kind of person you have to be to play as one. The game is finally leaving the PC and making its way to home consoles, soon to be available for PS4 and PS Vita this summer.
The time has come for us to explore the bizarre story behind the creation of one of the greatest indie games of all time.
We should start things off with a SPOILER WARNING for the game. Normally we wouldn’t need to do this for a two-year-old game, but since it will soon be enjoyable to a vaster audience, we feel it is our duty to warn you that Undertale is a game which is best experienced without any prior knowledge. Proceed at your own discretion.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Undertale.
15. Undertale Came From The EarthBound Halloween Hack
The creator of Undertale is Toby Fox. His inspiration for the game mainly comes from EarthBound– the cult Super Nintendo RPG that has found a new audience in the modern era of gaming, and there are several references to EarthBound and the other MOTHER games in Undertale. Toby Fox first made a name for himself as the creator of The Halloween Hack of EarthBound, which was made for a competition.
In The Halloween Hack, you play as Varik from the Brandish series. The game is set in the timeline where the Chosen Four of EarthBound are sent into the past to defeat Gigyas, and Dr. Andonuts loses his mind, believing himself to be responsible for their deaths.
A lof of elements from The Halloween Hack made their way into Undertale. Things like the Amalgamates, the ability to be trapped in the Game Over screen, a creature that is similar to Flowey in Magicant, and “MEGALOVANIA” all first appeared in The Halloween Hack.
14. The History Of MEGALOVANIA
The most well-known track from Undertale is “MEGALOVANIA“. It is played during the final battle against Sans on the Genocide route. However, the song actually predates Undertale and originates from the Super Nintendo.
“MEGALOVANIA” was inspired by a song called “Megalomania” from a Super Nintendo game called Live A Live– an RPG that never left Japan, where you played as several different characters throughout history.
The song “MEGALOVANIA” first appeared in the EarthBound Halloween Hack. Toby Fox had intended to recreate “Megalomania” for the final boss theme but was unable to do so. In the end, he created a new song to use in its place, which became “MEGALOVANIA”.
The song would reappear in the webcomic Homestuck, which often included gifs, animated segments, and songs as part of its story. “MEGALOVANIA” was heard in several animated Homestuck videos and can be found on the Homestuck Vol. 6: Heir Transparent album.
13. The Bikini Ending
Undertale has lots of different endings. These are mostly variations of the Neutral ending, which change depending on who you killed throughout the game. Sans will call you as you pass through the barrier and tell you the results of your actions.
Your actions can determine the future of the monster kingdom and decide which character ends up as the ruler. There are also alternate variants of the Pacifist Route ending that can be seen if you sell your soul to Chara at the end of a Genocide run.
Toby Fox had originally planned for a special ending that could be seen by completing the game as quickly as possible. Your reward for finishing the game would be seeing the Annoying Dog in a bikini. This is a reference to the Metroid series, where completing the game quickly would let you see Samus in a skimpy outfit. Unfortunately, Toby Fox didn’t have time to implement this ending into the game, though he did record a special track for it.
12. Bonetrousle & The Mother 3 Music
One of the most praised aspects of Undertale is its soundtrack. This is something that has been mentioned in almost every review of the game. The fans of Undertale can make a strong case for the game having the best soundtrack of all time, with songs like “MEGALOVANIA” and “Battle Against A True Hero” rivaling anything that has come from the Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda series.
When you first encounter Papyrus, the game will play a song called “Bonetrousle“. This song borrows heavily from a track from MOTHER 3, called “Unfounded Revenge“. If you are a fan of the Super Smash Bros. series, then you have likely heard this song, as it was played during Lucas’ announce trailer.
The reference to MOTHER 3 is one of the many uses of leitmotifs in the Undertale soundtrack. A lot of the songs contain parts that come from other tracks in the game, which may have been sped up or slowed down depending on the mood.
11. Chara’s Debug Reflection
In the world of Undertale, the first human to fall into the underground had a malevolent spirit. Should you choose to kill all of the monsters in your path, you risk awakening a demon from his grave and unleashing him upon the world once more.
When going through the files of Undertale, the fans discovered an alternate sprite for Chara that was less defined and lacked a face. It is possible to see this sprite if you manage to activate the Debug Mode and make your way to the Waterfalls.
When Frisk walks through the puddles on the ground, you can normally see his reflection in the water. However, if you press the spacebar when walking, the reflection will change to that of Chara. This may have been an addition that was planned for those who played the game after selling their soul to Chara in the Genocide route. It may also have been planned for the main game but was removed because it gave too much away.
10. Toriel’s Suicide
The battle against Toriel is the most significant moment during the early parts of Undertale. You are forced to fight a motherly figure, whom you have likely developed a genuine affection for. This is the point in which you may have to kill the one character in the game that you may actually love.
There was once going to be another solution to the Toriel battle. She has a wounded sprite in the game which is labeled “suicide.” This may mean that there might have originally been a way to cause Toriel to kill herself, instead of trying to kill you.
This could have possibly been dropped for being too dark. It is possible for Asgore to kill himself in the final version of the game, which can happen if you killed Flowey in a previous run-through. So the suicide may have been switched from Toriel to Asgore at some point in development.
9. The Sensory Patch
When Undertale was first released, it had several significant bugs that were discovered by players. One of these actually made it easier to perform the Genocide route. Player’s discovered that it was possible to move up and down on the spot, which vastly increased the enemy encounter rate.
There was a patch released for Undertale that fixed a lot of the initial bugs. It also introduced a few changes which were intended to help players with visual and hearing disabilities.
In the v1.001 Undertale patch, the hue of the blue attacks was made darker, as some colorblind players were unable to distinguish between them and the regular white attacks. A solution was also directly given for the piano puzzle, as players with hearing problems were unable to tell if they were hitting the right notes or not. It also helped the other players who were left stumped and had to go check online for the solution.
8. Flowey Stole Ronald McDonald’s Laugh
Flowey is one of the creepiest characters in Undertale. The fight against him at the end of the Neutral route is reminiscent of the nightmarish climatic battle against Giygas in EarthBound. He is the architect of much of the suffering in the world of Undertale, yet the player is still able to show compassion towards him at the end.
If you reach the end of the Ruins during a Genocide route, then Flowey will actually have a voice line. He will say “that’s a wonderful idea” in response to his plan to destroy all life on the planet. The clip of Flowey speaking actually comes from a McDonald’s commercial from the ’60s. Ronald McDonald asks a group of children what they want to do and they say “party.” This prompts Ronald to respond with “that’s a wonderful idea,” which is the clip used in Undertale. The pitch and speed of the clip are altered so that it sounds much freakier when Flowey says it.
7. The GameFAQs Voting Controversy
GameFAQs has been known to hold contests in order to determine what the best video game of all time is. They also occasionally hold best character contests as well. The results of these polls are divisive, to say the least.
There are some fans who accuse them of being slanted towards certain games, as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VII, and Chrono Trigger seem to always acquire the most votes. This has occasionally caused protest voting, as irate fans once allowed the L-Shaped Block from Tetris to win the Best Character contest, in order to shake up the results.
In 2015, GameFAQs held a “Best. Game. Ever.” contest. Undertale quickly began sweeping the competition, despite the fact that it had only been out for a few months. This caused a backlash amongst the fans of the defeated games, as they accused Undertale fans of cheating the vote.
The final round put Undertale against Ocarina of Time and fans on both sides were trying to rally support. In the end, Undertale took the vote, in what would become one of the most controversial polls in GameFAQs history.
6. The Kickstarter Character Backlash
When the Undertale Kickstarter was first launched, it came with several tiers that allowed players to create characters and enemies that would appear in the game. Three of these were purchased and became Glyde, Muffet, and So Sorry.
Muffet has the biggest role in the story, as she is encountered as a mandatory boss battle in Hotland. Glyde will only appear if the player waits outside the Mysterious Door before they fight Papyrus.
The most controversial of the Kickstarter creatures is So Sorry. This is because his creator is known for creating fat fetish artwork on Deviantart. The fans of Undertale saw the character’s inclusion as something disrespectful towards Toby Fox and the game, which led to the creator receiving abuse online. Toby Fox actually spoke on the matter and asked his fans to stop harassing him, as So Sorry was as much a part of Undertale as anything else.
5. The Never Changing Life Of Burgerpants
When the player reaches the MTT Resort in Undertale, they can enter the Burger Emporium, where the most powerful healing items in the game are sold. The server at this store is Burgerpants, who considers his life to be over because he is still working at a fast food restaurant.
This character quickly became a fan favorite, especially as his plight resonates with so many people who feel unhappy at their jobs and consider their lives to be over. Burgerpants is also one of the characters who cannot be killed in the Genocide route, due to his status as an NPC shopkeeper.
Toby Fox has released some concept art for the Undertale characters. These images were primitive and from a very early stage in development. The exception to this is Burgerpants, who has always looked the same throughout the development of the game. It seems that Toby Fox always had a clear idea in his mind for the suffering of Burgerpants.
4. The Demo Knife
Undertale was funded by Kickstarter. Toby Fox had a leg up over most other Kickstarter projects, as he had a demo of his game already made. The Undertale demo covers the beginning of the game and allows the player to explore the Ruins.
Everything is still in an early state, which means that the graphics are less detailed and there are more bugs. The demo ends after the confrontation with Toriel, where you speak to Flowey before leaving the Ruins.
You can also find a Toy Knife in the Undertale demo. This led to a rumor about the existence of a Real Knife, which could be only be acquired by players on the Genocide route. Toby Fox actually addressed and debunked these rumors in a Tumblr post.
However, it seems that these rumors actually inspired Fox to add a Real Knife into the game. You can only find it at the end of the Genocide route and it is essentially useless by the time you get it. Its inclusion into the game is nothing more than a reference to the urban legend that spawned its creation.
3. The Hacker Request
When the emulation scene first exploded in the late ’90s, several fans created programs that allowed them to replace the text and graphics in old games. This is what allowed games that never left Japan to receive an English translation for the first time.
You could also use these tools to replace the graphics, which would allow you to make your own hacked versions of the game. If it weren’t for tools like this, then The Halloween Hack would never have been made. It seems that Toby Fox was aware enough of their existence to warn against their use in his opus.
Toby Fox wanted to avoid spoilers as much as possible. As such, he included messages in the game’s files that were intended to deter people from sharing the sprites from the game. There was also a recorded message that directly asked people not to share the game’s secrets. These were replaced with joke messages in later patches when the game had been out for a few months.
2. MEGALOVANIA Has A Sequel
Undertale has one of the most dedicated fanbases when it comes to creating artwork and videos. It didn’t take long for YouTube, Deviantart, and even Miiverse to become filled with Undertale fan works. This has led to numerous fan animations of Undertale that take place within the game, such as theoretical fights against Sans during the Pacifist route or what a battle against W. D. Gaster would actually look like.
One song that appears a lot in these videos is the sequel to “MEGALOVANIA”, which is called “Megalo Strikes Back“. This was created in 2012, for an EarthBound fan music album called I Miss You – Earthbound 2012.
This song has been used in several Undertale fan videos, as the battle theme for characters that are connected to Sans and Papyrus. There are some fans who expect it to appear in a future update of the game, or perhaps in the upcoming console releases.
The Undertale soundtrack has another unused track, called “Song That Might Play When You Fight Sans“, which fans hope will officially make it into the game someday.
1. Gaster and The Screaming Ghost Of Claus
One of the most well-known Undertale secrets involves a character called W.D. Gaster, whose existence is only hinted at throughout the game. It is likely that Toby Fox got the idea for a character that exists outside the boundaries of regular gameplay from the series that inspired Undertale‘s creation – EarthBound/MOTHER.
When MOTHER 3’s ROM file first leaked online, the Japanese fans quickly tore through the game. They discovered that there is a mysterious boss battle that cannot be accessed through normal play. The backgrounds used during this contain some disturbing images– Claus’ naked body and his screaming face with wide open eyes. Claus’ face turns red at one point and his body transforms in a manner similar to Giygas at the end of EarthBound.
We know that Toby Fox is a huge fan of the EarthBound/MOTHER series, so there is a strong possibility that he is aware of this hidden battle. Was the W. D. Gaster character his attempt to recreate the intrigue and interest that the original final boss battle of MOTHER 3 had inspired among the fans? There are certainly a lot of similarities between the two.
Can you think of any other Undertale secrets? Let us know in the comments!
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