If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Forget the Flood, Halo’s Real Secret is Right Out of Super Mario Bros.

Halo: Infinite with Master Chief holding a rock in his hand.
Base Image: Microsoft/Bungie. Photoshoppery: GameSpew

What is Halo’s true secret? Is it the Flood? The ring’s devastating power? The connection it has to the other rings around the galaxy? No, the real secret of the original Halo is that, taking a leaf out of Super Mario Bros.’ book, it has only the one rock.

You read that right. The vast ring you explore in Bungie’s original shooter has only one rock design, duplicated many times throughout the game. It might be rotated, scaled, half buried in the ground, but it’s always the same rock.

We have Halo modder RejectedShotgun to thank for sharing this forbidden knowledge, and as resource-saving hacks go, it’s really something. The team at Bungie, who have since moved onto Destiny, didn’t even bother with a second rock, they just went wild with the one they had.

And yet, from a lore standpoint, it makes a weird kind of sense. Halo’s rings are, after all, artificial. If you’re building a massive network of galaxy-annihilating superstations, you might as well save a few space bucks and use all the same parts. Let’s face it, Flood or not, the Forerunners probably went with the lowest bidder, as with most government building projects.

Halo isn’t the first game to pull these kind of secret, resource-saving shenanigans, either: Super Mario Bros did something similar. It’s easy to miss when you’re headbutting bricks, but that game’s bushes and clouds are exactly the same shape. Nintendo just changed their colour, saving a little space in memory.

Did we notice? No. It wasn’t until someone pointed out that we really saw it. And you can bet that, replaying the Halo Master Chief Collection, we’ll be paying closer attention to its rocks. We’re going to be eyeing all the Halo games, right up to Infinite, just in case the trick has carried through to later titles.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.