Though video game developers, publishers, publications, and event organizers undoubtedly love the communities they’ve cultivated, they’re not above joking around with their fans every now and then. For example, there was a particularly cruel joke at Evo 2019 where a video played that a Tekken 7 Snake DLC reveal was around the corner. Well, it wasn’t and here some of the other cruelest gags gaming companies have invented so far. Please note that spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Ghost ‘N Goblins may be found below.
Cruel video game jokes | The false Evo 2019 Tekken 7 Snake tease
Tekken 7 fans went wild when Metal Gear Solid‘s protagonist, Solid Snake, appeared in a Codec call video with series producer Katsuhiro Harada during this year’s Evo. The mascot comments “That was some Good Ass Tekken” before exiting the conversation, leading many to believe that he would be appear in the game as an upcoming DLC fighter. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, as guest characters like The Walking Dead‘s Negan and Final Fantasy 15‘s Noctis Lucis Caelum are already available for purchase in Tekken 7. That’s not to mention that Snake is already a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Unfortunately, the organizers behind Evo admitted that the video was their idea of a “little joke” and wasn’t an official announcement or tease of any upcoming brawlers from Bandai Namco. In fact, the studio had nothing to do with the gag. It was hilarious, especially to David Hayter himself.
Cruel video game jokes | Breath of the Wild‘s Korok seeds
Collecting all 900 Korok seeds scattered throughout The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s expansive open world is difficult, to say the least. Puzzles, races, and other challenges frequently stand between the player and another beautiful golden kernel. Fans that manage to accomplish the seemingly impossible task are rewarded with an item that bears a shocking resemblance to, well, poop.
According to the in-game description, Hestu’s Gift signifies the friendship that the user has formed with the big forest kid. It also “smells pretty bad.” When asked about the item during an interview, director Hidemaro Fujibayashi stated that he and the team thought it would be funny to reveal that Korok seeds are actually small pieces of Korok feces once players are done picking up each one of them. Though the joke might hurt, players should rest assured knowing that Hyrule is a little cleaner than it used to be.
Cruel video game jokes | Metal Gear Solid 2‘s replacement of Snake
When Metal Gear Solid 2 released in 2001, stealth action fans everywhere were excited to step into the shoes of Solid Snake once more. Though players get to play as Snake initially, they’re forced to control a new character called Raiden for the remainder of the game. Since this other FOXHOUND field operative was hardly featured in promotional materials or the title’s cover, players felt like they were duped by Konami and series director Hideo Kojima. In response, the latter stated that the joke was in line with his artistic vision for the sequel. Some people may still be a little upset over the bait-and-switch, but there’s no refuting the title’s profound impact on the medium.
Cruel video game jokes | Street Fighter 2‘s Sheng Long
Sheng Long may be one of the most infamous jokes in fighting game history. In Street Fighter 2, one of Ryu’s early victory quotes is “You must defeat Sheng Long in order to stand a chance.” This led many fans to believe that Sheng Long was a secret boss. Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) jumped in on the bandwagon with its April 1992 issue, detailing the character’s alleged move set. Other publications picked up on the information from here, convincing everyone around the world that Sheng Long existed.
Months after their April issue, EGM admitted that Sheng Long was really an elaborate joke that it fabricated and that the term was really a mistranslation from the Chinese version of the game. In reality, Ryu was supposed to say “You must overcome the rising dragon” — a reference to the character’s uppercut move. While it’s easy to see why Street Fighter fans were angry, one has to admit how well done the joke was. Though Capcom has yet to introduce an official character named Sheng Long, Street Fighter 4‘s Gouken is heavily inspired by the fighter’s supposed characteristics.
Cruel video game jokes | Ghost ‘N Goblins‘ ending
Ghost ‘N Goblins is a tough game. Acquiring the right arsenal to defeat an army of demonic creatures requires excellent knowledge of enemy spawns and traps scattered throughout each level. On top of impaling trolls and blasting zombies, players will have to confront Satan head on in order to win a chance to date Princess Prin Prin.
Those who manage to topple Beelzebub may think that Ghost ‘N Goblins concludes there, but that’s far from the truth. When Sir Arthur walks up to the princess, she tells him to go back to first stage in order to beat the title all over again. Fans are only able to see the game’s true ending after completing its grueling levels twice. Considering how unforgiving its difficulty and mechanics are, this may be the cruelest joke ever conceived.
While the jokes above may sting a little, it should be noted that the people behind them had good intentions. All of these gags were hopefully done in the name of good fun.