Fool Me Once – April Fool’s Day Round-Up of Developer Practical Jokes

If you spent any time online at all this past week, there’s a chance you had an opportunity to be part of one of the many, devilishly clever developer April Fool’s Day hoaxes. In case you missed them, here are a few of our favorites:

League of Legends

Whether you’re a mid, top or jungler, you’ll love Riot Games’ Infinite Mana and Energy. This one is not just funny; it’s for real, Son! All through this week, you can sign up to play in Ultra Rapid Fire Mode. It doesn’t exactly beat Warwick’s Manitee Skin from LOL’s inaugural April Fool’s prank, but it is more of a practical joke. This looks like it will be a permanent fixture next season too. Sweet.


Respawn Entertainment released a DLC trailer for–wait for it– Optimus “mother-effing” Prime! True story… I didn’t know this was fake. And, now, I am super sad. Check out this IGN video, and tell me you don’t also want to cry a little. “Standby for Prime.” Epic.

Guild Wars 2

I don’t play Guild Wars myself, but I have a few friends that do and were kind enough to tell me about this one. ArenaNet gave the gift of enormity, gracing every character with comically gigantic heads.


If, like so many other Americans, you’re getting a tax refund, you could apply it towards the $7,000,000.00 Collector’s Edition of Destiny, which is the “Get Your Ass to Mars!” Edition. For the 7 billion dollar price tag, players can literally undergo surgery, get their skin dyed and host implants. This edition will also come with a spiffy intergalactic-battle wardrobe and a hyper sleep cryo-freeze to preserve your body while Bungie prepares to/figures out how to… Look, you’re going have to just take their word for it that they’re really going to send you to Mars.

Bungie COO Pete Parsons said it’s all about catering to the player:

What better way to maximize the potential of our passionate community than to physically alter and augment their frail human forms and fire the bravest and wealthiest among them into the cold and unforgiving vacuum of space?”

Right? Sign my ass up.

Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished

As a huge Mortal Kombat fan, this had to be my second favorite spoof. This fighting game features Blizzard’s most notorious, nefarious and recognizable characters, and it is available on PC and Mac as well as arcade cabinets…except, not really. But, it should be a thing. Am I right? Check it out! There’re even combos!!! :( Elaborate, Blizzard. Elaborate and almost mean.

StarCraft 2: Herald of the Stars

Blizzard actually packed a triple punch and offered up this gem after the popular RPG series of the same name. Herald features “a revolutionary non-linear campaign that can be played backwards, forwards, with any mission in any order or not played at all, while still delivering the exact same life-affirming storyline.” This real-time strategy game is claimed to focus on the history and culture of the Protoss, which suggests anything goes. Live Twitch audiences would determine the fate of the characters; there’s a dance editor, new weapons and armor. Of course… It didn’t get too much more detailed than this, though.



Happy Reaper

Blizzard also released this hoax, which they touted as the next next chapter in the Diablo series.

In Happy Reaper, players take on the role of Malthael, the Angel of Death, who’s recently returned to Sanctuary with a vengeance. With a series of well-timed mouse clicks or finger taps, you’ll skillfully guide Malthael through a network of ancient Pandemonium ruins to collect human souls and obliterate all puny nephalem with your trusty Death Laser of Doom.”



Dark Souls II “Easy” Patch

According to the jokers at Gamespot, Dark Souls II released a fake patch to make the game easier.

“While the Dark Souls series may be known for its extreme difficulty, developer From Software is hoping to make the game slightly more accessible for players who want a more gentle introduction to the world of Drangleic. According to an update on the game’s official Japanese website, a patch later this month will introduce a new effigy: the Bonfire Sybaritic. Players who use the Sybaritic will receive fewer souls while playing, but they should find enemies easier to kill. They’ll also maintain full health while in a Hollowed state and use less stamina while blocking and attacking.”

Path of Exile

Grinding Gear Games is favored among players for its free-to-play titles and noninvasive, in-game micro transaction system. For April Fool’s, they offered a bluntly false “Pay to Win” campaign.

We’re always looking for ways to improve Path of Exile’s monetisation so that we can bring you more content more quickly. Thankfully, microtransaction design was a very heavily discussed topic at the Game Developers Conference in March. We asked many highly successful developers how we should improve our monetisation, and their answer was unanimous: allow players to Pay to Win.” Part of this was the creation of consumable fireworks, only purchasable for one special day in ten-packs for 15 points (so like, .15 cents per firework).

The irony? Grinding Gear made nearly $28,000 from that one day of joke sales, which is kind of impressive.

SteamWorld Dig’s Real World Mining Simulator

Image & Form announced an update to SWD in playful response to Coffee Stains’s Goat Simulator. Discarding Rusty the robot for Malcolm McSurly, “a real coal miner somewhere in north-east England,”  the team decided the game will now focus on the challenges of modern mining. McSurly battles a nagging wife, the threat of Black Lung, bitching with co-workers about mining life, procrastinates and occasionally handles the minutiae of the job like operating machinery and doing actual work.

For a long time, we had this silly, romantic notion about mining. Swinging that pickaxe was easy, almost effortless, even exciting!” reads a “statement” from CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson. “The new version will tell it like it is. Every dull chore in the mines will be questioned, every descent preceded by a negotiation, and quite often Malcolm will rather call in sick, which will lead to a standstill and a delightful pause. It’ll be very realistic. It’ll be great!”

It sounds amazing. Why isn’t this a real thing?

16 Bit Thief

Square Enix’s Japanese site has a 16-bit version of Thief available for play. Amusingly, among the items available to steal is a PS3 along with the traditional potions and gems.


Pokemon Challenge

Google Maps created a virtual geocaching map, inviting players to “catch ’em all,” and placed waypoints in the form of Pokemon’s all over the globe. Google updated their iOS and Android app to add little Pokémon sprites to locations all around the world; if you downloaded or updated Maps March 31-April 2nd, you have all the tools needed to collect all Pokemon. If you do, by some crazy chance, check in at all waypoints, Google will apparently hire you as Pokemon Master. And, not just for pretendsies. What a legit addition to your resume, right? (“I see here you’re a…Pokemon Master? Describe to me how this skillset might be communicable to our enterprise?”) And, if you found five or more creature caches before the 2nd, the challenge has officially been extended for you.

World of Warplanes

For four days (ending April 4th, 2 am PT), Wargaming will allow players to man UFOs in the Flight Combat MMO World of Warplanes. The Tier 5 German Kampfflugplatte Sleipnir, a UFO, is awarded two special medals for playing: the“Sleipnir Rider” and “Wrath of Odin”.


World of Tanks

Also from Wargaming, World of Tanks created a “survival tank slasher” mini game, called World of Tanks: The Crayfish.

World of Tanks The Crayfish Free to Play game from the creators of World of Tanks


Blood Dragon III: Vietnam War 2

Last year, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was announced around this time, so everyone has been buzzing that a recent series of Instagram posts surrounding a new release Blood Dragon III: Vietnam War 2 could either hint at a real development or just a cleverly time fake-out.

I mean…it kind of makes sense. Wasn’t Sgt. Rex ‘Power’ Colt created from the toxic ashes left behind after the Vietnam War? Either way, it caught our eye, and we’ll be checking for updates.

SEGA’s MEGAne Drive

Google Glass looks incredible for a runner like myself, and the Oculus promises to change gaming, adult film and online interaction in a very Total Recall kind of way, so why not use the SEGA MEGAne Drive as eye ware of tomorrow? “Megane” is Japanese for glasses; that’s apparently all these were slated to be. Kid Vid would be mad jelly.



GRID: Railroad

Codemasters, the developer that made the games GRID and DiRT, has announced on its blog the development of a locomotive-based racing game.

GRID: Railroad is set to take racing to a whole new level, with authentic forward, stop and go train movements”. Features include an in-train view, 1,337 miles of racing track,  a waiting room with a spectator view and true rail handling. It’s too cute.




Sometimes brevity is the soul of wit…as seems to be the case with PS3’s spoof follow-up art to Rain, which is entitled Snow…coming “never”. Touché.

Honorable Mentions:

Sony Power Food

Sony announced that it was releasing a line of power foods designed to fuel devices as well as people.

Sony Electronics, the leader in innovation, announced the latest in fuel gadgets, Sony Power Food, a new way to keep your Sony gadgets charged anytime, anywhere without being constrained by traditional power sources. Now, the same types of fuel you use to power yourself – cake, cereal and energy bars – can be used to power your favorite electronics without hassle.”


Portal Shirts

I love Think Geek, TShirt Hell, ShirtWoot; they all get me going. This “Portal Shirt” from Think Geek, however, is the best!

Unfortunately, during initial testing of the Interactive Portal Shirts, at least 128 testing subjects were injured or maimed while practicing the teleportation procedures. Therefore, it was decided to provide a visibly functional version of the Interactive Portal Shirts while forgoing actual teleportation. The finished product you see here uses two wireless 5.8 GHz video cameras mounted in the front of each shirt along with two high-res LCD TFT screens. The camera in the orange shirt transmits the image to the blue shirt, and vise versa. In this manner, it seems as if a fully functional portal has been created between the chests of both subjects.”


Phil’s Back and Fez II is on

A fake tweet from Philippe Poisson, better known as Phil Fish (the French Canadian former indie video game designer, best known for his work on the 2012 platform game Fez on his indie company Polytron) claimed he was back and so was Fez.

What was your favorite prank from April Fool’s Day 2014?

Mariah Beckman

Mariah lives in Seattle, and is really 3 midgets inside a lady suit.

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