The new DLC for the chill lifestyle-sim Cozy Grove has some lightly hidden BTS references. The Animal Crossing: New Horizons-esque game is packed with critters to catch and donate to the island’s wildlife expert, Captain Billweather Snout, and the DLC introduces butterflies to the mix — a handful of which reference the K-pop superstar group, pointing to BTS’ enormous cultural imprint.
Developed by Spry Fox and published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Cozy Grove sets players on a haunted island where they are a spirit scout tasked with ushering ghost bears through the process of remembering their past. A steady stream of free updates has expanded the core idea with more content, including adding catchable critters in June 2021.
Released on April 26, the New Neighbears is the game’s first paid DLC and adds four new ghost bears and a new type of critter, butterflies. There are 10 butterflies total, and five of them shout out the cultural behemoth that is BTS: “Adorable representative,” “ARMY recruiter,” “Bang wool,” “Fan of butter,” and “Fluttering fanatic.” Each of these butterflies contains the description “Some parasocial relationships are bulletproof,” which names the unshakeable bond between BTS and their “ARMY” fanbase.
Some of butterfly names are specific: The “ARMY recruiter” butterfly references BTS’ loud and proud fandom known as ARMY. “Fan of butter” points to the K-pop group’s recent number one English-language single “Butter,” released May 2021. And the “Bang wool” butterfly references BTS’ unabbreviated name, Bangtan Sonyeondan, translated as “bulletproof boy scouts.”
“Someone in my family is a baby ARMY and the fandom has brought her a lot of joy,” Spry Fox chief creative officer Daniel Cook said in an email to Polygon.
BTS’ presence in video game culture isn’t new. The web variety series starring the group titled Run BTS has occasionally revolved around video games, including an episode where they played League of Legends with professional players. In the first season of In the Soop, a series that follows BTS going on a trip in a reality-style web show, one of the rooms is filled with gaming PCs, and the band members are seen playing games during downtime.
There have also been a number of brand collaborations. In 2020, Epic Games released BTS-themed skins, dances, and content packs for Fortnite. More recently, BTS entered a “global collaboration” for another battle royale game, Free Fire, and each member of the band designed an individual skin (Jin’s audacious pink suit with wings was by far the best, in my opinion). The skins were released in an event last month.
Everything BTS currently touches turns to gold because of their dedicated fan base, and the BTS-related critters in Cozy Grove are a wholesome example of their far-reaching influence.