Rockstar Games is known for hiding Easter eggs in its Grand Theft Auto franchise. In Grand Theft Auto IV, players could find "the heart of Liberty City" inside the game’s version of the Statue of Liberty, but you had to jump out of a helicopter to get there. In Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar has gone a step further. First, there was the search for Bigfoot, which was finally solved in January 2016. Recently, the search for more Easter eggs has been focused on something otherworldly. In the code of GTA V, dedicated gamers had found bits and pieces that indicated the game included models for an asteroid, an alien egg, and a UFO, but couldn’t find them during play. Was there some way to trigger an extraterrestrial mission?
Now we have the answer. After Rockstar released the Gunrunning DLC in mid-June, members of Team Guru, a group that searches for Easter eggs in GTA V, found updates in the game’s code that allowed them to solve the mystery. After hundreds of hours searching code and grinding in-game, they were able to activate an alien supply mission. Two of the members of Team Guru, known as Gramz and Kai, joined Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion on the latest episode of Achievement Oriented to tell their story. And while they were searching for aliens, they found something else: love.
"This DLC, the Gunrunning update, came out for GTA V at like 5 a.m., 4 a.m. our time," said Kai, who lives with Gramz in San Antonio. "Gramz woke up, downloaded the Gunrunning update, and then immediately went straight for the files."
"The files" is the back end of the game. The code. Team Guru looks there for leads. It’s no easy task.
"I’d say a third of the scripts are over 100,000 lines long," said Gramz. "And you have to read all of them, bit by bit."
"Not only that, the functions will weave in and out of other scripts like spaghetti," Kai said. "You’re literally reading spaghetti code. You’re following a function, and you’re tracing it across three or more scripts, and back and forth trying to trace it back to its origin or trace it back to find out what it does."
Gramz, who doesn’t have any background with coding but picked it up as a hobby, began searching, and what did he find? A model for a damaged UFO. The hunt was on.
"So we knew, OK, now we have a damaged UFO that’s just like the undamaged UFO that was in import/export files," Kai said. "So where is this damaged UFO?"
Soon, they were able to find the exact parameters a player needs to trigger the mission. Rather than do all the work, the team was able to force-activate the mission and then finally uncover the alien Easter egg.
But forcing the mission isn’t the end of the game for Team Guru. Now came the hard part: triggering the mission organically. To do that, a player needs to complete 600 supply runs, then run a mission in between very specific in-game hours. But the game doesn’t keep a counter for supply runs like it does for sales, and they didn’t know how many they’d done already.
"So we have to now guess, ‘How many supply runs have we really even ran in the game ourselves?’ And then we need to do at least 550 on top of it, so we can get to 600. And Gramz did that for three to four days. He sat and he grinded out those supply runs over and over and over again. We livestreamed for close to 12 hours a day, just grinding them on livestreams so that people could see this happen organically and naturally. … All of a sudden, I get up, I go outside to smoke a cigarette. He’s still sitting at his computer, and he’s like, ‘I think I did it.’ … So when it happens, I run back into the computer and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, you did it.’"
"The payoff was not worth it," Gramz jokes.
They had, after all, already seen the mission when they had force-activated it previously.
"We brought along some of the other Gurus and other members of our Discord server who had been helping grind these out who had not seen it before and they were absolutely ecstatic to see it," said Kai.
The kicker? They were doing all this on their honeymoon. The two were married in San Antonio last week.
"We actually met on Discord," Kai said. "We had a mutual friend known as Vertigo who is the Chilliad mythbuster on YouTube. He played cupid. He was like, ‘You need to go talk to Gramz.’ And he was like, ‘Gramz is single,’ all the time. It’s a really big hint, right?"
"I wouldn’t speak back [when Kai would message me]," said Gramz. "I was like, ‘OK, cool.’"
But eventually, the two started talking.
"I went to vacation in Mexico with a lot of my friends," Kai said. "And instead of walking on the beaches, I stayed in the hammock, on the phone with Gramz the entire vacation."
They started visiting each other. Sometimes in Texas, where Kai was, and sometimes in the U.K., where Gramz was. Finally, they made it official.
"So we get married, and neither of us have any family in San Antonio, it’s just us," Kai laughs. "And we come home, and he’s like, ‘Oh, what do we get to do on our honeymoon?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh no, you’ve got Gunrunning supplies still to go to, so that’s our honeymoon for the night.’ And that’s what we did: We sat at home, on our computers, on GTA V, and grinded supply runs on our honeymoon."
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.