Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – Raiden Replaces Snake
For as long as the internet has existed, there have always been trolls online. One can witness them in forums and comment sections across all areas of human interest, changing the tide of conversation away from the subject at hand for the sake of the precious “lol.” Lo and behold, no one is above trolling, not even the developers who make the video game industry what it is today. The following is a list of the best moments when creators clearly trolled their fan bases all for the sole purpose of pulling a fast one on us.
Hideo Kojima can perhaps be considered the gaming industry’s best troll. From Moby Dick Studio to repeated claims that he’ll never make a Metal Gear game ever again (though at this point that seems certain), Kojima has fooled us time and time again. His best trick has to be in the form of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, however, a title in which the genius trolled everyone before trolling was even a thing.
Marketing materials and the cover of the game itself advertised the return of Snake to the series, a gaming icon who established himself well on the original PlayStation. When fans booted up the title for the first time and got through the first mission, however, they soon found out that the game was mostly centered around the story of a new protagonist named Raiden. Needless to say, players were quite surprised and even a little annoyed that a trick had been played on them. What’s more is that towards the end of the game even more features were introduced to purposefully troll the player, like a loss of all equipment and a fake Game Over screen. Well played Kojima. Well played.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels – Poison Mushrooms
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, otherwise known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan, was created by Nintendo after witnessing the huge success of Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was meant for seasoned players of the original title, those who had mastered the ins and outs of the game’s intricacies, thus turning a lot of things they had learned on its head. This logic was applied to the game’s healing items, mushrooms, birthing the existence of a new menace known as the poison mushroom as a consequence.
The poison mushroom trolled fans well in that it looked virtually identical to the regular mushroom. Instead of supplying Mario with additional health, the fungus’ poisonous counterpart either made him smaller, took away his fire power-up, or outright killed him. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels provides a challenge for fans even today, as most people don’t associate mushrooms as having detrimental effects, at least when it comes to video games. Nintendo deemed the game unsuitable for immediate localization in North America due to its difficulty, and the poison mushroom serves as great evidence to back their reasoning.
DmC: Devil May Cry – Dante Wears a White Wig
Devil May Cry fans really hate Dante’s redesign in DmC. From his skinny jeans, tank top, crew cut, and more, this emo version of Dante didn’t mesh well with expectations, to say the very least. Despite the negative reaction, developer Ninja Theory’s creative design boss Tameem Antoniades told VG 24/7 that Dante’s original design was “…caricatured and over-the-top and very ‘Japanesey’” and that that wasn’t his vision for the character in the reboot. Instead he wanted “new music, new ways of cinematography, new fashion.”
In fact, Antoniades and the rest of his team at Team Ninja didn’t yield to fan pressure at all, in the end releasing the version of the game they had planned for. As a tongue-in-cheek way of playing off the negative reception, the game shipped with a scene in which the new Dante puts on a white wig to resemble himself in past iterations. He looks at himself in disgust and quickly throws it away, thus letting the developer have the last say when it comes to all the naysayers. Unfortunately it turns out that DmC sold quite poorly against Capcom’s projections, making one wonder if Ninja Theory ended up winning the argument after all.
Grand Theft Auto V – The Submarine Mission
Rockstar is another developer that loves to troll its fans and has absolutely no qualms about doing so. Even Grand Theft Auto V, which included scenes of intense graphic violence and makes players torture and brutalize people just as part of the story, was evident of this, as the studio managed to sneak in one especially infuriating albeit hilarious side mission that played off every gamer’s addition for collectibles.
In the submarine side mission, players were tasked with clearing a person’s reputation by supplying 30 pieces of evidence scattered across Los Santos. The feat took hours to complete, as the player was obligated to explore every nook and cranny lest they had to revisit an area again. Upon investing a couple of days worth of time in doing the deed, one was rewarded with a measly sum of $10. Indeed, all that work yielded next to nothing in-game, meaning players were pretty much doing it out of kindness while Rockstar continued to laugh all the way to the bank.
Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior – Sheng Long
Capcom quite possibly trolled the entire world when Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior released as the successor to cult arcade phenomenon Street Fighter in 1991. It in itself became just as popular as its predecessor, seeing arcade cabinets house plenty of foot traffic every day just so players could get a chance to try it and maybe uncover some rumored hidden features in the game.
Upon using Ryu and defeating an opponent with him, the character said, “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.” This led people to believe that a mysterious seventh fighter lay somewhere in the title, with Capcom hiding away any method of unlocking him for the sake of players finding out how to get him on their own. This drove fans crazy, scouring Street Fighter 2 for hours on end.
When the hype died down it was later revealed that what Ryu stated was actually a mistranslation of what he said in Japanese arcades, which is “You must defeat Shoryuken to stand a chance.” Capcom knew the error had existed, but seeing fans clamor to find a character that never existed in the first place was an accidental stroke of trolling genius.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem – The Sanity Meter
The Nintendo-published psychological horror game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem stands today as a classic among video game horror fans mostly for the interesting ways it trolled players into thinking that the game was broken. It lives up to its name in that players felt as though they themselves were going insane as they progressed through it and realized the true potential of the sanity meter.
This tool rose depending on how much contact the player had with the game’s monsters, flipping the game’s world upside down, making enemies appear and disappear suddenly, and altering controls so that one didn’t know what they were doing. Aside from that, the sanity meter tried to troll the player further by cutting the audio completely, cutting the video so that it appears as though one has switched over to another input, and making it appear as though the game has frozen and crashed completely, falsely rebooting to indicate that all save data has been corrupted and lost. It was quite an agonizing experience to get through, but all in the good trolling spirit.
South Park: The Stick of Truth – Getting Called a D-Bag
As if firmly establishing itself in the world gaming, South Park: The Stick of Truth trolled everyone right from the outset. During the character creation process, one is tasked with customizing their own personage as they see fit as in any good RPG. A wide range of options are at one’s disposal, including outfits, hairstyles, skin tones, and more. There was a lot of freedom to be had when designing one’s own South Park character, except players just couldn’t choose their own name.
Cartman asked for a name, which then prompted one to type in what they want to be referred to for the rest of the game. No matter what one typed after they’re done, Cartman always referred to one’s character as D-bag until the credits rolled. It was a testament to Cartman’s signature unapologetic personality and stayed true to the show’s brash nature, so fans can’t say they didn’t see that troll move coming. In any case, most others referred to one’s character as “the new kid” for the sake of not offending people too often.
Dragon Quest – Saying “Yes” to the Dragonlord
The original Dragon Quest included a morality test that could have trolled players should they be unwise enough to choose the wrong option when prompted. Towards the end of the game, players got through a sizable dungeon and encountered the Dragonlord, who offered the hero a place at his side and a chance to rule of the entire world. Sounds pretty enticing, right?
Should they say no, the game continued as is, but should they say yes, the Dragonlord seemingly stayed true to his word, saying that half of the world now belonged to the hero. Shortly after that, however, the evil character states, “Thy journey is over. Take now a long, long rest. Hahahaha …” causing one’s screen to go black and all the text a blood red color. There’s nothing one can do at this point, leaving the player no other option other than to hit the reset button and lose everything one may have gained adventuring through the dungeon. This was implemented presumably to teach children to never choose the evil choice, but remains today a classic trolling.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Romancing Both Triss and Yennefer
A modern RPG that trolled players was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a franchise that for years has divided fans among two camps: those who prefer Triss and those that prefer Yennefer. As the final iteration of the saga, the game really wanted fans to choose to romance one or the other, but if one couldn’t decide and wanted to romance both, they winded up paying the consequences.
Should one pursue the path of a womanizer in The Witcher 3, the game rewarded one with a special cutscene in which both women escort Geralt to bed. They stretch him out on the mattress, then spread his arms out above him so that his arms could reach a pair of shackles, to which the women later bind the man to. Each girl leaves Geralt alone to grab a cup of wine in the corner, with Geralt asking whether or not he can have some. Triss and Yennifer reply that he’s getting exactly what he deserves, and both leave the room promptly.
If you needed any more reason as to why CD Projekt Red is one of the best developers in the industry, look no further.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Collecting All the Korok Seeds
Who can forget this year’s modern classic The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Zelda, a game that trolled hardcore enthusiasts hard, regardless of whether they were at home or on the go? With countless things to do in the game, from side quests to exploring shrines to defeating over one hundred mini-dungeons, something in Breath of the Wild was bound to draw anyone in. This included collectibles, which came in the form of Korok seeds.
To be more specific, there were 900 Korok seeds to be gathered in the game. Should one have the bravery and/or mental capacity to pull off such a feat, one is rewarded with exactly what one deserves: literal feces. As evidenced in the screenshot above, players who return to Hestu after retrieving all the seeds are given a special golden gift that, although smelly, symbolizes a special bond of friendship. Just who could put a price on that?
What are some of your favorite moments where developers purposefully trolled you? Let us know in the comments below and please don’t get inspiration from this post while you’re down there.