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Hi! My name is Will and I’m one of the designers for Shots Fired and today I want to share with you all a very exciting topic: the references in the game!

Adding references to your game is a nifty way to make it more interesting and colorful. In a way, it’s like adding a part of yourself to the game and giving a wink to the players who get them.

In my case, I want to share with you some of my favorite references that we’ve snuck into the game. Some of these references come from a mix of fond and mundane memories as well as nods to several pop cultural icons that managed to influence our lives.

 

5. Ragtime Dandies

If you know me in real life, then you’ll know that I am a big fan of progressive metal and djent (if you consider that to be a genre). There’s a band in the game called The Ragtime Dandies which is based from this short track from a real band called Periphery.

While we were designing some of the content in Shots Fired, I decided to sneak these guys and pay tribute to them for just being downright awesome! If I were to describe them, I’d say they’re a bunch of guys just having fun on stage.

I saw these guys live a few years back and even until now, it was the best show I’ve seen in my whole life.  I went with a former band mate of mine since the tickets were pretty cheap ($22 and you’re already in the pit). Next thing I knew I already became one with the mosh pit (I think this is where my stiff neck started to become more annoying. Ouch.) After the show, one of the guitarists, Mark Holcomb, even went down the stage to hang out with us for a bit. Really awesome guy! We had a little bit of chit chat and some pics taken. After a few fist bumps here and there, we were on our merry way.

Ever since that night, they’ve become my second most favorite band of all time. If you ever want to give them a listen, here’s a video of the band doing an instrumental set. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they’re the best damn tea I’ve ever sipped.

4. Building a PC

The origin story behind this image is rather heartwarming. I was watching an episode of Hot Ones featuring Terry Crews and I was at the part where he mentioned the story of his PC building escapade.

He wanted to connect with his son more so that he can be play a bigger part in his life and what better way to have some father-son bonding time than to build your own PC from the ground up? If I ever have a kid in the future, I hope we can do something awesome like. I also hope my kid won’t hate me because I already have enough dad jokes up my sleeve to pay for his college tuition. Mr. Terry Crews if you’re reading this, please buy our game I salute you good sir.

3. Happy Bee, Bee Happy!

In the Philippines, we’ve got this fast food chain that’s quite popular (more popular than McDonalds I think? Fite me). It’s called Jollibee and they make bomb-ass fried chicken that could give KFC a run for it’s money.

2. Thyme’s Square

I love this place so much. It’s probably my favorite map in the whole game! The entire place is a reference itself to the legit New York City’s Times Square but inside the map there are a bunch of homages to other references as well.

At the lower right there’s the Huntr billboard which is a reference to the dating app called Tinder. In the game, you use the Huntr app to select missions by swiping left to cycle through the mission pool or swiping right to accept a mission. Once you swipe right, you are then matched with a client who will briefly brief you about the mission.

On the left you can see an ad for Wicked which is basically a mash-up of the hit Broadway musical Wicked and the action flick John Wick. One of our artists thought it was a good idea to combine the two into one Wicked (heh) pun.

Perhaps my favorite reference in this map would be “The Place” located at the upper-center part of the map. The Place was a social experiment launched by Reddit back in 2017. It was basically a large blank canvas where every Reddit user can edit the color of one pixel within it. The end result was a masterpiece. Different works of art, memes, images and drawings could be found in the canvas.

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Someone even wrote an article documenting the whole ordeal from start to finish, narrating it in the most eloquent prose a netizen can muster. It kind of resembles the rise and fall of societies throughout history. Man, the internet is one crazy place.

1. Cult of Personality

We’re finally down to my top 1 and my most favorite reference out of this list! This one’s a 2-in-1 reference from two very different sources.

The first one is from H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu”. The whole theme of the mission is that you are hired by your client with the username CraftLoverPH (H.P. Lovecraft) to assassinate a cultist named Phil Howard (Howard Phillips) who are (obviously) both references to H.P. Lovecraft.

Moving on, the second one is a reference to Living Colour’s hit song “Cult of Personality“. I heard this song from a friend back in high school. The song became an instant jam for me due to it’s awesome instrumentals and deep lyrics. It discusses the concept of the cult of personality which arises when an individual is glorified to the point of “cult-like” worship. This is achieved through the use of mass media, propaganda and other forms of social engineering. With social media being rampant these days, modern day cults of personalities go from 0 to 100 real quick.

Aaaaaand that’s it! Those are my top 5 references in Shots Fired! There’s a lot more that we snuck into the game but those are for you guys to find out! Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far!