Oh you, games industry. However much of a risk-averse corporate machine it might appear to be for 364 days of the year, it’s not afraid to let its hair down and toss it playfully from side to side on this, the most hallowed day of the Gregorian calendar, April 1st. Here are the best gags from across the world of videogames in the past few years.
When Ubisoft told all its investors to sell all shares in the company immediately
“Psych!” read the final line of the press release.
That time Cliff Bleszinski DM’d you on Twitter saying he was literally inside your house right now
Prominent industry spokesperson and Epic Games cofounder Bleszinski played a wicked prank and made you genuinely fearful of your surroundings when he claimed he was inside your home on April 1 2011. Committed to the gag, Bleszinski never once contacted you again to confirm or deny the valitidy of his claims. Only a thorough inspection of your premises revealed it to be a side-splitting prank.
When Microsoft announced a limited edition Xbox Controller with 11 analog sticks instead of buttons
The Xbox One Elite Elite Elite Pro generated tens of thousands of preorders before Microsoft came clean and revealed the hilarious jape.
Gearbox banned the use of the word “badass” in their offices
Studio head Randy Pitchford took a momentary break from distributing SHiFT codes on Twitter to string us all along last April 1. “It’s become an epidemic, and it’s affecting our creativity. There’s more to videogame development than things just being ‘badass'” said Pitchford, before later revealing it all to have been said in jest.
When Wargaming put forward an antique VK 45.02 (P) AUSF. A tank to run for British prime minister
The seventy-year-old German relic caused furore in the politics pages in 2015 before Wargaming came clean on their seasonal gag. The historic tank hit headlines again in 2016 for its aggressive #brexit campaigning.
Epic games announced their next game wouldn’t feature oversized shoulder pads
The game was up for this 2012 April Fools routine when several fans of the Unreal Tournament and Gears of War developer pointed out on Twitter that the company’s own website cites big shoulderpads and stompy boots as the core tenet of the entire organisation.
EA’s Pete Moore had full facial reconstruction to resemble Rich Uncle Pennybags for Monopoly Slots on mobile
Following on from the EA Sports boss’s publicity stunts in which he exhibited temporary tattoos of various titles, Moore claimed to have gone one further on April 1 2013 to publicise mobile hit Monopoly Slots, undergoing numerous expensive cosmetic procedures to look exactly like the classic board game’s iconic Rich Uncle Pennybags. Later EA revealed that it was in fact simply a low-level intern who’d undergone the disfiguring procedure.
That time Bandai Namco successfully obtained exclusivity rights to load and save functionality
“It’s a landmark moment for the organisation,” The publisher said, “that allows us to offer our passionate fanbase the opportunity to pick up and leave their gaming experiences wherever they like. A real game-changer.” Only hours after the cheeky prank, Bandai Namco revealed that in fact their pursuit of load/save rights were still ongoing.