April Fool's Day is a swirling maelstrom of obligatory humor that we can never escape, no matter how hard we try.
Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh.
April Fool's Day is a hectic day for gamers. Damn near every company in the industry releases fake news to make their fans laugh and maybe get a little publicity for their upcoming games in the process. Some fans and sites pitch in with jokes of your own.
A lot of the fabricated news turns out to be really funny. However, it also creates plenty of confusion because many publishers are also releasing real news, too. More than a few April Fool's jokes have been taken seriously by accident.
Here are a few examples of pranks you should watch out for this year.
From Software Acquired By Microsoft
Microsoft has purchased Japanese developer From Software for an unknown sum. The Studio will be renamed Microsoft Games Tokyo and focus on creating Xbox One exclusive sequels in the Dark Souls series. Dark Souls 3, currently in pre-production, will be the first game in the series to exclusively use Kinect controls.
"We're excited to see what From Software can do with Kinect 2.0.," said Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer. "Imagine being able to defeat bosses just by nailing dance moves with your friends."
Who doesn't love a good "scrappy upstart purchased by massive corporation" hoax? They prey on gamers' suspicions that their favorite company's just a hair away from selling out and losing all the qualities that made them admirable in the first place. This fear's probably at an all-time high thanks to the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook last week.
The reason these types of jokes are so common is that they're so easy to make, too. Just pick some developer with little drama and a good track record, and then pick a large publisher or tech company with plenty of controversies to their name. Then make up some completely awful idea based on stereotypes of that conglomerate. EA bought Valve and shut down Steam! Activision purchased CD Projekt so they can make a medieval-themed Call of Duty!
Fallout 4 Announced
Bethesda has announced Fallout 4 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and PC. The latest sequel to the post-apocalyptic RPG series will put players in charge of a Brotherhood of Steel enclave and allow them to build a custom base. Players can explore the wastelands formerly known as Massachusetts using driveable cars and aircraft. They can also import their saves from Fallout 3 to affect the storyline in dramatic ways.
"Fallout 4 is almost here," said Bethesda's vice president of PR Pete Hines. "The game will be out on all platforms on YOUR BIRTHDAY!"
There are a lot of overdue game announcements this year. Fallout 4 is just one of the more prominent examples. Others include Half-Life 3 and Doom 4. When gamers get too excited for a game, they sometimes become a little too eager to believe dubious rumors. In the case of Fallout 4, thousands of fans were misled by a supposed teaser website last fall. Then, a month later, many were fooled by an alleged announcement email.
You should be skeptical of every piece of good news released on April 1st. Be even more skeptical, though, of really good news like a long-awaited game being announced with every dream feature imaginable. There are people shitty enough to take advantage of your hope for cheap laughs at your expense.
Left 4 Dead 3 Is PS4 Exclusive
The Left 4 Dead series is going to make its PlayStation debut this year. Valve is developing Left 4 Dead 3 exclusive for the PlayStation 4 with second-screen features on the PlayStation Vita.
"It's weird that we'd develop a game exclusively for a console considering our long history as a PC developer," Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said. "Oops!"
April Fool's Day isn't just about unlikely game announcements. It's about unusual game/platform combinations. Gears of War 4 is coming to PS4, Uncharted 4 is coming to Xbox One, and so on. The forbidden fruit will finally be tasted!
These pranks aren't just capitalizing on fans' simple wishes that a game will come to their platform. There's often a competitive component. The jokes will leverage some of that console war hate, that desire to see the rival console lose out on a desired game, to make the hoax seem more believable. Gamers obsessed about arguing about the superiority of their console are grasping for evidence to prove their point and pranksters are happy to provide it.
Vivid Entertainment Unveils Dongtroller
Pornographic film company Vivid Entertainment has revealed that they're entering the console gaming business with a new peripheral. The Dongtroller is an attachment for Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One controllers that senses pelvic movement.
After attaching the Dongtroller's cable to their controller, the player can then clip the gadget to their crotch. The Dongtroller can detect the direction, speed and force of the player's pelvic thrusts. This allows for a new level of realism in sex games. The peripheral will ship with a brand-new game called Naughty Schoolchicks of the Sex Academy of Banging, also developed by Vivid.
There's always at least two or three April Fool's jokes about ridiculous peripherals. This April Fool's, I expect Razer will announce a glove controller for falconry games. SteelSeries will say they're making a pad for mouse pads or something to that effect. Their announcement will be accompanied by hilarious mock-up art.
It's not hard for us to believe stories about absurd controllers because, well, this is an industry known for producing absurd controllers. After the Power Glove, the Wii vitality sensor, and the uDraw, gamers now expect at least one ridiculous gadget per year.
Blizzard Announces World Of PeonCraft
Blizzard Entertainment has revealed their next great MMORPG. World of PeonCraft is set in the Warcraft universe. However, instead of becoming adventurers, players take on the role of orc peons.
At level 1, players will chop wood and gather gold. If they're lucky, they'll be allowed to help in the construction of a new Stronghold or Altar of Storms. Once they hit level 2, players can - oh wait, there is no leveling for peons. Hope you like chopping wood!
Good rule of thumb for April Fool's Day: believe nothing that Blizzard says. They're the most prolific company on April Fool's Day. Instead of just releasing one prank and calling it a day, they tend to announce a prank for each of their major franchises.
Their usual plan of attack is to announce a very mundane feature or spin-off for their games. In 2012, they revealed a StarCraft typing game and a mobile game starring a supply depot. Before Diablo 3's release, they tried to convince us that librarians would be playable characters.
If you like their joke, though, it's possible they'll make a real game out of it. When they were hyping up Warcraft 3, they announced the Pandarens as the fifth playable race on April Fool's Day. This race of martial artist Pandas were given a surprisingly positive reception by fans and ended up being the subject of a World of Warcraft expansion pack.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.
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