If you’ve played Undertale, you know it’s a cute story about a kid trying to escape from the Underground. Or, possibly, freeing a ton of monsters from the Underground. Or, maybe, murdering all the monsters. Or also possibly being possessed by multiple consciousnesses and hopping through multiple timelines while dealing with existentialism and forgotten memories and time travelers and souls while the repercussions of every choice echo through multiple universes. Who can say? The point is, there’s a lot more to Undertale than meets the eye, as most fans who have played the game through a few times and gone hunting through the game’s files for secrets can attest.
Now, Undertale creator Toby Fox has released the first part of a new game, Deltarune, and it shows that the mysteries in Undertale may go even deeper than fans thought. Even better, the evidence shows that Toby Fox was planning everything in this crazy, mind-bending adventure from the start, and that this wild ride has barely begun.
I won’t talk about the story of Deltarune much, so as not to spoil it, but this article will talk about some points revealed in the first few minutes of gameplay, such as the main characters, and will have big spoilers for Undertale.
First of all, what is Deltarune? It’s a currently incomplete game, with the portion of the game released on Halloween making up just the first chapter. It seems to be some kind of alternate universe or alternate timeline to Undertale, which isn’t surprising given that the first game takes place across a variety of alternate timelines itself. However, fans have known about Deltarune—or at least the words “Delta Rune”—since long before this chapter released.
Delta Rune is an anagram for “Undertale,” and it’s also a physical symbol, or rune, that appears in multiple places in Undertale. It consists of three triangles, a circle, and some wings, and characters throughout Undertale offer clues as to what it could mean, such as the wings belonging to the angel of death.
Deltarune.com is also a website, the one that’s used now to leave a message for fans and provide instructions of how to download Deltarune the game. However, the website itself has been around since 2015–showing that Toby Fox has been planning this at least since Undertale was launched. It’s gone through several iterations, as preserved by the Wayback Machine, but it’s been offering hints to players since long before Deltarune the game was a thing.
The first versions of the site seemed to be completely black, but actually hid an image that had to be lightened to see. This image contained a message in Wingdings font (a whole story of its own—if you want to be sucked into Undertale lore for days, just search up “Gaster”), which could be translated to read “THIS NEXT EXPERIMENT SEEMS VERY VERY INTERESTING.” In 2016, the site was updated again, with a new Wingdings message reading “THREE HEROES APPEARED TO BANISH THE ANGEL’S HEAVEN.”
In 2016, this meant nothing. We knew nothing about any heroes. However, the setup of Deltarune revolves around your three characters: Kris, Suzie, and Ralsei, who are specifically called to be heroes as part of the story. As for the Angel’s Heaven, a prophecy in Undertale proclaims that “The Angel… the One Who Has Seen The Surface… They will return. And the underground will go empty.” This works with multiple timelines in Undertale, both ones where you break the barrier and monsters leave the underground for the world above, and ones where you go full murderhobo and kill every single other person, leaving the underground empty. (The Angel’s wings are also the ones that appear on the Delta Rune symbol, tying this all together even more.) So, does that mean that the current timeline of Deltarune is the Angel’s Heaven, the best possible timeline? The worst? Will it be broken? Will we destroy it? We don’t know yet, but it shows Toby’s been planning the “three heroes” to appear for at least two years.
If you think that’s complex, it’s only the beginning of the machinations Undertale set in place that are now beginning to come to light. After the v1.001 patch, a new character named Clam Girl appeared in Undertale near Waterfall. What she says differs depending on what timeline you’re in and what you’ve currently done, but she makes multiple references to someone named “Suzy.” If you’ve killed Undyne, she’ll tell you to leave Suzy alone. In other timelines, she’ll say “In life’s grand scheme, she [Suzy] might be why you came here in the first place.” There’s no other character named Suzy in Undertale, but a central character in Deltarune is Suzie—and, given how much of Deltarune revolves around anagrams and things being not quite the same as they should be, that’s likely to be both a reference to Suzie set up years ahead of time, and some sort of meaningful difference in the misspelling of the name.
The rabbit hole doesn’t stop there, though. If you learn about Suzy from Clam Girl, the contents of other parts of the game change. Sans and Papyrus’s house has areas blocked off, unless you go to some very specific areas to collect the key, mess with your timelines a bit to get different parts of a code from Sans, and make your way there at very specific times during other playthroughs in order to enter Sans’ room and Sans’ workshop.
Sans’ room is initially barricaded with a border of flames seeping through the bottom frame, which is unique in Undertale. However, in Deltarune, these flame doors are used to for instantaneous travel around the world. Remember how Sans can travel around to places instantly and knows a lot more than he should about the resetting timelines? Yeah, it seems he’s using the flame doors from Deltarune, three years before any players knew about them.
If you’ve gotten into Sans’ room and have talked to Clam Girl about Suzy, a card appears in the workshop. According to the text, it has a picture of three people (there’s our three heroes again) and the words “don’t forget” written on it.
And what’s the name of the song that plays during the credits of Deltarune? “Don’t Forget.”
Yeah, Sans knows even more than we thought he did.
Finally, Toby Fox himself sent out a tweet in December 2015, only a few months after Undertale‘s launch, where he spoke about perhaps starting a new project. As he described, its nature is “shrouded in darkness”—something that, no spoilers, definitely comes in to play in Deltarune, but foreshadowed nearly three years ago.
“Its very nature is shrouded in darkness.”
— tobyfox (@tobyfox) December 31, 2015
At the point of writing, Deltarune has only been out for a day, so I’m sure there are many other connections I’m missing. Most of the story of Undertale can only be found in through people doing multiple playthroughs and digging through the files to uncover mysteries like Gaster, after all (seriously, if you’re into web mysteries or the story of Undertale at all, look him up). Still, it’s already clear that whatever is happening in Deltarune and whatever chapters are to come has been planned out for a long, long time. It’s looking more and more like Undertale was only part one of a gigantic unfolding interactive mystery, and I’m fully on board to go wherever that story takes us.