UnderTale is a visually simplistic game in the style of classic RPG titles, such as EarthBound,
and was developed independently by Toby Fox. In early May of 2013, Fox sent a short demo
of the game to the site Fangamer and they streamed the event on Twitch. The demo was
met with mostly positive reviews and a public demo was then later released as well. In June
of the same year, Fox decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to get some additional
funding to make a full game out of this demo. The campaign ended up receiving over 10 times
as much as the $5000 goal. Initially, the game was supposed to be around 2 hours long
with each area taking roughly 15 minutes to traverse, but the final game ended up being
over 3 times as long. He's stated that he did basically everything on his own except
for some of the artwork, as he did not want to rely on anybody else. Fox anticipated a
mid 2014 release but soon realized that that would not be possible so the game had to be
delayed. He spent an additional year and a half working on the game and on September 15, 2015
UnderTale was finally released and subsequently met with critical acclaim across the board.
While the story of the game is entirely told via text just like the classic RPG's the game
was inspired by, two characters could be said to have an actual speaking voice of their
own. If you choose the Genocide Route and fight and/or kill everyone you encounter,
you'll soon run into Flowey. After a short conversation this voice clip is played.
[FLOWEY] Hmm... That's a wonderful idea!
The only other character to have any sort of audible speech is Mettaton and it occurs when he's
transforming into Mettaton EX.
[METTATON EX] Oh yes!
During a stage in Waterfall there's a puzzle in which you have to build a bridge using flowers.
If you ignore the puzzle and instead take the flowers to the bottom right of the
screen, it's possible to access a hidden area. Here you'll find a bench with a quiche laying
underneath which seems to be a reference to a a couple of tweets made by the creator of
Homestuck and his brother. What's interesting about the flower bridge puzzle tough is that
there's another abandoned area known as "room_water13" which also requires you to build
a bridge of flowers. And if you do, you're taken to yet another abandoned stage with these
strange-looking red things. Was this intentionally left for us to find or...? It's all very clouded in mystery.
When you encounter the enemy Lesser Dog, the easiest and most common strategy is to simply
pet him once and then spare him. However, it's possible to continue to pet him for several
minutes until his neck has stretched across the screen twice, at which point the screen prompts:
"Lesser Dog has gone where no Dog has gone before."
Doing this will also erect these long-necked lesser dog sculptures.
In Hotland, Sans can be found selling Hot Dogs and Hot Cats which you can buy.
If you attempt to purchase a hot dog when your inventory is full however, he will start stacking them
on your head. This continues until you're balancing a tower of 29 hot dogs.
If you go to Papyrus' and Sans' house, you'll find Papyrus standing to the left side of
the living room. If you walk into the kitchen, he will come over to ask you what you're doing.
When you exit the kitchen again, he'll walk back to his usual position. However, if you
walk in and out of the kitchen repeatedly at a rapid pace, he starts moving back and
forth in an attempts to keep up with you. If you then talk to him again, he will mention
that he can't feel his legs because of it.
If you play the Pacifist Route and reach the end credits you'll get to play one last minigame
in which you have to dodge the names of all the Kisckstarter backers. Doing so will grant
you access to the Mysterious Door in Snowdin Forest. The room beyond the door doesn't have
any clear purpose and is likely nothing more than a fun easter egg as a reward for completing
the game. For example, we know that the dog is meant to represent Toby Fox and the items
in the room jokingly reveals that the dog accidentally programmed the entire game by
barking. But then again, this game is known to be infested with secrets and hidden clues
so I feel like we're missing something...
Wait a minute... How could we miss this? It can't be!
𝅘𝅥𝅮 IL-LU-MI-NA-TI! 𝅘𝅥𝅮
𝅘𝅥𝅮 You've come to take control! 𝅘𝅥𝅮
What's really interesting about the character Sans is that he's one of the few characters
who seems to be aware of the existence of different timelines as well as you, the player,
or at the very least the player's actions. When he tells jokes he doesn't look at the
player character, he looks directly at the screen. At the player. In fact, he may even
realize that he's inside a video game as indicated by the so called Dirty Hacker ending which
occurs when you've modified the game too much.
Then there's the final battle with Sans at
the end of the Genocide Route in which this conversation takes place.
The very first word is interesting because he says "our reports". In other words, he
is or was working with someone who may know just as much as himself. He also realizes
that you are responsible for the anomalies in the timelines caused by you saving, loading,
and even restarting the game entirely. Once he understands that his life and everyone
else's are in the hands of someone else, he feels so utterly powerless that he seem to
develop a sort of nihilism which other characters, like his brother, simply misconstrue as laziness.
He also exhibit strange abilities like teleportation during this scene.
Or it could also be that he's able to freeze and/or manipulate
time which he seems to be doing in this scene.
He frequently skip several areas by using shortcuts and his brother Papyrus makes
a few comments regarding his abilities.
Then there's also the fact that the shopkeeper
in Snowdin tells you that the two brothers just showed up one day and that the town has
gotten more interesting since. At the end of the day, it's really anyone's best
guess as to how Sans fits into the overall story.
If you check the official website for the game and then inspect the website's HTML code,
you'll find a hidden message that reads:
In a similar fashion when looking trough the game files you can find a sound file which has this to say...
[abc_123_a.ogg] Hello. Ha- Ha- Ha- Have some respect and don't destroy the game.
[abc_123_a.ogg] It's impossible to have mysteries nowadays.
[abc_123_a.ogg] Because of nosy people like you.
[abc_123_a.ogg] Please keep all of this between us.
[abc_123_a.ogg] If you post this online I won't make anymore secrets.
[abc_123_a.ogg] No one will be impressed.
[abc_123_a.ogg] It will be your faaauuult.
[abc_123_a.ogg] He he he he he he he he.
Oh... Good thing I kept this between "us" then. If by "us" you mean you, me, and my viewers.
That's an "us". You can define "us" that way. So yeah, this is not my fault. I didn't upload this file.
I kept the secret between us.
Isn't that right Frisk?
[FRISK] You done fucked up now!
W. D. Gaster. If you play the game normally, you're probably not familiar with this name.
It refers to a mysterious character which is almost never seen nor mentioned until you
edit the game files. His only appearance occurs within a well hidden room.
You can't interact with him and it's unclear if this truly is Gaster because the sprite of this character
is only known as "mysteryman".
Then there's 3 other characters known in the game files as "g_follower_[#]" 1, 2, and 3.
From these encounters we learn that Gaster was the Royal Scientist
before Alphys who replaced him. We also learn that he created the CORE and
then presumably disappeared as he fell into this creation. This brings us to the True Lab.
Within this laboratory you can find these entries written by Alphys. They range from 1-21,
but entry number 17 seems to be missing. That is until you, yet again, modify the game files
to gain access to a hidden section containing this message written in strange symbols.
The symbols comes from a font known as Wingdings
and once transcribed into plain English reveals this message:
This all but confirms that W. D. Gaster stands for Wing Dings Gaster. However, some prefer
to believe that his full name is Wing Din Gaster as there is another font known as Aster,
thus creating a portmanteau of the two font names. And when Sans falls asleep at the end
of the Genocide Route, the letters appear to be using the Aster typeface. Furthermore,
there's a family of flowers known by the name of Asteraceae, more commonly referred to by
the abbreviation Aster. This family includes daisies, sunflowers, and buttercups which
could be relevant given how important yellow or golden flowers are to the main storyline.
Coincidence or not? Who knows.
Anyway, why Gaster's full name is so important, is because of the two characters Papyrus and
Sans, who get their names from the two typefaces Papyrus and Comic Sans which they also use
to communicate. This likely means that they are related in some way and could indicate
that the "two" mentioned at the end of the entry number 17 message refers to
Papyrus and Sans. But there's more. At a specific area in Snowdin, it's possible to receive
a call with the unknown caller asking for someone whose name begins with the letter G.
That someone could possibly be Gaster. There's a hidden stage called Sound Test in
which you can play four different loops. One of them is called Gaster's Theme.
None of these four melodies are included anywhere else in the game nor in the official soundtrack.
If you name your character "GASTER" in the beginning, the game will restart for some reason.
When you gain access to Sans room, you'll find a silver key that unlocks a door
hidden behind the house. In this room, there's a blueprint on the wall with strange symbols
that seem to relate to some kind of machine. The symbols could be Wingdings written by
Gaster but it's had to tell. In a room known as "room_water_redacted" you'll find a character
that simply says "* [redacted]" in Wingdings. And while it's important to consider all of
this, let's not forget that it's not even clear if Gaster is really important to the
story or not because, after all, you will only access most of this information by manually
modifying the game. You can play through the game several times over without ever knowing
that there's a character by this name. I know this, because that's exactly what I did.
I played trough the game four times to try all the different routes and before doing any
type of research and not once did I encounter any of the things I've mentioned regarding Gaster.
Isn't it quite likely that this Gaster character was cut from the game and we're
only finding the leftovers? I mean, that games contain hidden information that's been forgotten
during development is nothing strange, it happens all the time.
For example the entry number 17 message left by Gaster is not the only entry numbered 17.
If you search trough the game files you will find another entry with the number 17,
likely written by Alphys, that reads:
This piece of dialogue seems to have been cut from the game as it's never displayed
during normal gameplay and is similar, but not the same,
to what Alphys says at the end of the True Lab stage.
With all of this said, what still gives Undertale such credence is
that it continually breaks the forth wall and things like saving and loading game files
can actually have an effect on the in-game storyline. Normal game mechanics that are
normally meant as tools for the player are in this game used as important plot devices.
So it wouldn't be the biggest stretch of the imagination that digging trough the game files
could actually a part of the gameplay.