"My favourite joke is the one played on the reader."Authors who get some (or a lot) of their kicks from yanking the audience's chain. Sometimes it's to prove a point, sometimes it's out of frustration, and of course sometimes it's for pure schadenfreude... mostly the last one. Note that in many cases their behavior has little impact on the devotion of fans, who sometimes expect it. See also Teasing Creator, Lying Creator, and The Walrus Was Paul.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Ken Akamatsu of Mahou Sensei Negima!. Just look at how he ended the manga after years of Ship Tease galore. Followed by messages on Twitter saying a sequel is probably coming...*
- Not to mention the whole "Zazie's identity" thing he pulled. For most of the series, the character of Zazie was a total mystery, with no development or backstory whatsoever, although something was clearly up with her. Akamatsu claimed he'd reveal the secrets around her in the final arc. Then she showed up in the Magical World out of nowhere as a demon lord on the side of the bad guys. Fans panicked, went nuts, and generally shat brix... oh wait, no, a few chapters later it's revealed that's actually her identical twin sister. Well played, Akamatsu, well played.
- Also, he resolved the plot with The Lifemaker possessing Nagi. (Hint: He didn't. Not in any satisfying way at least). Or the whereabouts of Negi's mother Arika. (That last one was actually him trolling the publishers. See Torch the Franchise and Run for details.)
- Tite Kubo's tendency for "Plotkai" as fans call it in Bleach has given him the title of trolling god via Memetic Mutation. For some, Kubo may be on his way to graduating from Trolling Creator to Magnificent Bastard, considering how many people complain or bitch about Bleach and yet they keep reading it no matter what. He also admitted in interviews that the reason he gave Hisagi a "69" tattoo on his face is because he wanted a double-entendre that parents would too embarrassed to explain to their kids.
- On the other side of the Pacific, Hideaki Sorachi of Gintama fame is seen as an even greater troll than Kubo. There are even terms stating that "Gorilla is playing with the crotch of the readers again".
- Ch 238 showed a bunch of dialogue that seems to imply Tae and Gin became a couple - but then at the last page it showed it was someone else who sounds like them.
- The Renho arc helped introduce Sorachi's trolling style to anime viewers. It started off with a tear-jerking scene of Elizabeth leaving his friends behind, with a longer credit song to mark it as a saga, making it greatly resemble the Four diva arc... Until the post credit scene, which shows that the Elizabeth that left is only a temp. Cue fans asking the Gorilla to return their tears.
- The Anime does it too. For example, they advertised a movie trailer of the fan favorite Benizakura arc... only to afterwards state that no one would be stupid enough to give them a movie.
- And then a real movie of the Benizakura arc came out!
- Followed by a trailer for the second movie that focused on Gintoki's past.
- Kyoto Animation got a reputation for trolling fans of Haruhi Suzumiya in relation to season 2 of the series—first they denied they were doing it, then they claimed they were just rerunning the first season—but then suddenly, new episodes in the middle of the reruns! And then they did Endless Eight—eight consecutive episodes with the exact same plot, adapted from a short story that only covered the final loop. And they were animated from scratch too, so it wasn't just laziness or budget issues.
- This looped into self-trolling when they damaged their own DVD sales and caused the lack of a third season.
- Hideaki Anno, though this may have been due to a Creator Breakdown. In fact, the entirety of Studio Gainax may count as this.
- Speaking of Anno...While it's unknown who came up with this, this trailer for the third Rebuild of Evangelion movie was definitely created to troll the viewers. It begins with clips from the first two movies, and when it finally shows images from the third movie it shows the internal workings of a Conspicuous CGI piano. Yes, this series is known for Mind Screw, but come on.
- The worst part is that the piano appears in official posters and theatre preview trailers.
- Seo Kouji, author of Kimi no Iru Machi and Suzuka, is quickly gaining this reputation.
- Gen Urobuchi, the healing-type writer of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. He even trolled the other people working on the anime. For example, he withheld the knowledge of the show's grim-dark setting from character designer Ume Aoki and neglected to inform Emiri Katou, the voice actress for Kyubey, of the character's true nature. The reactions of both were, in other words, priceless. Not to mention that he refused to bring Sayaka back even when the director Akiyuki Shinbo requested that he do it.
- And that was before the whole Akuma Homura situation tore apart the Madoka fandom.
- The strangest thing is that when he's not trolling he actually comes off as humble and polite.
- A case of Trolling Publisher can also be found in Madoka's English publisher Aniplex US. They witheld the info about Mami Mogu Mogu from Mami's voice actress, Carrie Keranen, and so as she described, she was walking casually for Episode 3, thinking that it's just a normal episode and then...
- Hiro Mashima added a character in Fairy Tail who looks exactly like one of the most popular characters from his previous work, with both of them being highly notable characters, and then did a crossover between the two stories. Guess which two characters never even get mentioned?
- That's nothing compared to his seven year time skip where none of his core cast aged. Let's not even get started with Chapters 261-263... after trolling the fans for 3 chapters in a row, he whips out Chapter 264 which treads into Magnificent Bastard territory. Generally, it has become somewhat of a fan meme on some Fairy Tail forums that Hiro trolls his readers, sometimes even stretching to Hate Dumb when he actually isn't trolling in the way the trope describes, but people insist he is.
- Mayu Shinjo, creator of Sensual Phrase and Haou Airen, seems to be one now. It helps that she's a friend of Tite Kubo.
- Hidekaz Himaruya, the creator of Axis Powers Hetalia has trolled the massive fandom a number of times, leading them up to believe that England was going to confess, America was going to confess to England, slipping his schedule for hours at a time, not really giving a clear answer on anything, not showing his face, and just keeping the fandom on its toes in general.
- In 2014, he finally showed his face in a panel after keeping it a secret for years. The catch? The panel consisted of multiple people, all claiming to be Himaruya.
- Some fans say this about the creator of Otaku no Musume-san, as Kouta, the main character and the woobie by default, is constantly trolled by everything that he's getting serious about. Consider that he became an otaku after Kanau's mother just left him and disappeared, as a form of consolation. So you can tell how woobie his life is.
- Kunihiko Ikuhara has to count. What with the happily mind-fracturing Utena fans by informing us that every interpretation of the series' symbolism is correct, giving "not sure if serious" answers to deep questions at conventions, and to top it all off "explaining" (for a given interpretation of the word) the biggest symbolism WTF of the Utena movie by cheerfully stating that he just wanted to have a pretty girl turn into a car at some point in his work.
- Eiichiro Oda, author of One Piece, was told by the voice actor for Franky regarding what hairstyles he doesn't want Franky to have. Guess which character inexplicably got a new hairstyle every chapter.
- Must we forget the week long break after the revealation of Gear Fourth?
- Masashi Kishimoto said, post-finale, that he already had decided that Naruto would end up with Hinata early on and that he put all the Naruto/Sakura references, parallels and comparisons (both out and in-universe) between Naruto's mother, Kushina, and Sakura specifically to troll shipping fans.
- He trolled the shipping fandom again (specifically the Sasuke/Karin shippers who suggested that Sarada was in reality Karin's daughter) in the Post-Script Season Naruto Gaiden, with the revelation that Sarada could actually be the daughter of Sasuke with Karin instead of Sakura, he even added scene of a DNA test to confirm this causing the fandom to explode... but then in the end it was revealed that Sakura was indeed Sarada's biological mother all along. With this, Kishimoto's status of troll is fully confirmed.
- When summaries and magazines announced that, after a long, long stretch or episodes, Ash and co. from Pokémon were finally in Nimbasa Town, people assumed that the "town" part was a mistake, as the gang were supposed to go to Nimbasa City for Ash's next Gym. When the episode aired, we learned that, yes, they were in Nimbasa Town, and still had a while to go before they reached Nimbasa City. Understandably, Ash and his friends are pretty shocked by this.
- Yoshiyuki Tomino once claimed that the infamous Zakrello was "the most powerful machine of the One Year War."
- Toei pulled one over the Pretty Cure fans concerning the identity of Cure Ace. Many fans were led to believe, when the existence of of the fifth Cure had been revealed, that it would be one of two options: it would either be the missing Marie-Ange, continuing the tradition of older people (Yuri) or royalty (Hikari and Ako) being Cures or it would be Regina, continuing the tradition of Heel–Face Turn Cures (Setsuna and Ellen). Turns out, it's neither of them - it's an entirely brand new girl taking up the role. Near the end of the series, it turns out that, well... it was all three: Regina and the brand new girl, Aguri Madoka, were the same person with Regina being an Enemy Without and the fairy Ai was Marie-Ange "reborn". Thus, the mysterious Cure Ace was an older person, royalty, a High-Heel–Face Turn AND a new girl!
- This isn't the first time it's happened. There was a leak of a Cure Symphony in Suite Pretty Cure ♪. It never came to be, and was intentionally made to throw off people who uncovered the identity of Cure Sunshine in Heartcatch a year earlier.
- Vampire Knight's Hino Matsuri seems to have a particular knack for trolling every inch of the story's Love Triangle. This becomes especially apparent towards the ending where she has the heroine finally admit that she's in love with Zero, and kisses him, only to then run back to Kaname and sleeping with him. And she soon amped up the trolling via sending Kaname into a decades-long coma, having Zero and Yuuki get married and live together until Zero dies of natural causes, and finally having Yuuki say goodbye to her kids (one is Kaname's child, the other Zero's) before pretty much killing herself to revive Kaname. Uhm, oh boy.
- Episode 15 of Kill la Kill ends with Mr. Exposition promising the long-awaited explanation for what the hell is going on in the show in the first place. Episode 16 starts with the secondary main character announcing it's time for a Recap Episode! He then breezes through the recap in less than a minute.
"And to those whose hearts sunk when I said the words recap episode, have no fear. Breakneck pacing is a hallmark of Kill la Kill. Even the recap only lasts as long as an intro! The actual story continues now!"
- The shipping crowd has also been trolled, since not even the ending of the last episode outright confirms or denies the status of the two most popular pairings. Is Mako in lesbians with Ryuko? Will Gamagoori finally confess to Mako? Who knows!
- Attack on Titan creator Isayama Hajime has become infamous for his various antics. Among his most famous were showing up to a serious interview wearing a Colossal Titan mask and talking about his favorite J-Pop group for 10 minutes, the comical fake previews in every volume, and teasing the fans with Shrug of God after Shrug of God. When asked to do an advertisement band for his assistant's first manga, a romantic series, he did it◊.
- Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin, who would tell deliberately unfunny jokes (and sometimes also So Unfunny It's Funny) or break off a story before the climax.
- Andy Kaufman would do esoteric or unfunny sketches if he thought he was becoming predictable, or audiences just wanted him to go over the same material again. There are even some people who think his death was faked in order to troll his fans and family.
- One of the most famous acts of the Dutch comedian Toon Hermans was a song called (freely translated) "what is it that rustles in the shrubbery", where he would build up to the reveal as to what it was, and then pretend to have forgotten and trying to remember.
- Infinite Crisis: Many believe Superboy Prime was specifically written to mock fanboys.
- Mark Millar (who licks goats, as you know) constantly writes cruel deconstructions of superhero comics in which he openly insults the readers for liking superhero comics and being pathetic drones wanting some action in their lives that they'll never get.
- To a lesser extent, there's Joe Quesada: after refusing to do so at first, he started explaining the Mind Screw-y Cosmic Retcon that was One More Day with the Mind Screwdriver-esque One Moment in Time storyline, right after the fans started getting over the former's Ship Sinking.
- Stan Lee specifically created Iron Man as a conservative, capitalist superhero to mess with Marvel's hippie fans. Tellingly, though, he only became really interesting when his life became a train-wreck or when (mostly through the influence of Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal), he gained a sense of humor.
- Lee has said he made Iron Man the kind of character the hippie audience would utterly despise at first blush, but then make him so sympathetic and interesting that they would like him in spite of completely disagreeing with his politics and lifestyle.
- Steve Ditko created Hawk and Dove, and characterized Dove as a total wimp, to screw with his hippie fans. It backfired though, as Hawk and Dove was the point at which Ditko started to lose his fanbase.
- Lee would also apparently troll Ditko. Ditko would draw Spider-Man swinging over some anti-Vietnam protesters, shaking his fist and an empty word balloon nearby for Lee to fill in. Lee would have Spider-Man voice support or solidarity for the protesters, which irked the conservative Ditko.
- James Roberts, writer of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, is known for messing around with fans over his Twitter account for kicks:
"Please save your tears for issue 21"
- When a preview for issue 12 showed fan-favorite characters Rewind and Swerve getting injured, he pulled a "From a Certain Point of View" on the fandom by claiming that issue 13 takes place entirely in flashback (it does, but said flashback is set after issue 12), just to trick the fandom into thinking the two would die.
- Before issue 13 was out, he deliberately used an out-of-context quote to make everyone think that a member of the Lost Light crew would betray or abandon the crew. No such thing happens.
- After the particularly intense issue 20 (which featured two major character deaths, several major reveals, and ended on a Darkest Hour cliffhanger), his first post was this:
- Howard Chaykin can be this, notoriously when it came to his 1986 miniseries for The Shadow. While some of his conceptions were interesting and clever, the series became notorious for deliberately pissing off what he considered comic fandom's "adult twelve-year-olds" or "juvenilists". He led off by killing all of the Shadow's original friends — in gruesome detail. He made the Shadow a sexual sociopath who defeated enemies with high-tech weaponry instead of intelligent deceptions. Today, these things are routine in comics, film and TV, but at the time even mature readers were shocked and angry. Chaykin stated in interviews that he didn't care about the Shadow or his traditional fans ("fuck'em") but was hired to do a job and did it.
- The vampire arc of Runaways, in which the fledgling team accepts a new member who turns out to be a vampire who tries to kill them all, was written for no other purpose than to troll Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a friend of Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan.
- Trebor117, of Stuck in a World of Fiction and the sequel Surviving a World of Fiction regularly admits to leaving cliffhangers just to troll people. He also tends to answer questions about the plot by either not responding, or not giving a serious answer.
- The author of Turnabout Storm, NeoArtimus, had a nice record of teasing, and occasionally lying to fans during the development of the series. This said, the ending of the rather long awaited Part 4/4 pushed her straight into troll territory. note
To be concluded...
In Part 5/4The reason there is a part 5/4 is because it simply got way too long. Heck, part 5 still is probably going to be the longest part even being split like this. I really want to take my time on this part as I've seen lots of stories be ruined by a sloppy ending.
- The writers behind Game Theory (Fan Fic) are fond of this. For example, early in the story the readers were worried that the Butterfly of Doom might prevent Quint from adopting Subaru and Ginga. The authors promptly released a segment on how Quint rescued them, and then it was mentioned in story that she was in the process of adopting them, alleviating those concerns. And then Power Games revealed that Subaru and Ginga were kidnapped while Quint was away.
- The author of Gender Confusion, Fly Free, and AK:PCO is known among her readers for pulling plot points out of thin air... that end up making sense anyway, along with proof that it was planned out long in advance. There's also the mass amounts of ship tease that she is prone to inserting, particularly in Fly Free, and the many times when she has led the audience to believe, with many assurances, a conclusion concerning one character... that is later proven to be very different from what she had actually planned, without ever having outright lied to the audience.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Michael Bay gives zero fucks what the fans and critics alike think about his movies. He's too busy counting their money.
- George Lucas is often believed to be this. Especially after his claim that "Greedo always shot first."
- In Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow's character starts dribbling a soccer ball before smashing it and saying, "No more soccer!" This is in response to fans of Shaolin Soccer who kept demanding a sequel.
- Iron Man 3
- During the 2012 Super Bowl, Marvel Studios released a trailer that promised "an extended look". The next scene was Robert Downey, Jr. staring for a whole minute at the camera.
- Any time the director, producer, and especially Ben Kingsley talked about the Mandarin, about his personality and motivations, they were completely trolling everyone with a straight face.
- Uwe Boll's video game adaption movies are far worse than his less known non-adaption films, like Dafur. Some people claim it's because he's actually a decent director and just loves pissing off video game fans. The man himself says as much.
- One of the trailers for Star Trek Into Darkness had a URL linking to a new poster for the film hidden in one of the frames. The frame they chose showed Alice Eve in her underwear, leading to not many people noticing it.
- Some fans were no doubt rolling their eyes when Abrams seems to setup a monster chase scene early in the film. The creature is instantly stunned and never seen again. Adding to the humor, it turned out that the monster was actually Kirk's ride, intended to help him escape from the horde of angry tribals pursuing him.
- How does Marvel show off the first trailer for Ant-Man? It reveals the "ant-sized" trailer... and the footage is ant-sized.
- In the first making-of documentary for Back to the Future Part II, Robert Zemekis said that hoverboards actually existed, but parents groups were keeping Mattel from releasing them. He later said it was a joke.
- Dragaera: Steven Brust writes his Vlad Taltos books out of chronological order. To frustrate his readers' attempts to arrange them in chronological order, he's written at least one book with parts that happen before and after other books.
- Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, has abused his author status so often, he's earned the nickname "Trollfer".
- Rick Riordan has a reputation for being this. His dedication in The House of Hades really cements it.
"To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys."
- Agatha Christie could count as one considering some of her works. Cards on the Table has every suspect be 'revealed' as the true killer at some point, only for the next to be revealed later. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has the narrator as the killer. And Murder on the Orient Express has EVERYONE be the killer!
- David Weber has a lot of fun with his fans on the forums, as they tend to pick apart everything in the books while waiting for the next one to come out. He sometimes jumps into a discussion, posts one thing ("this may, hypothetically and in unusual circumstances, be possible") and then disappears and presumably watches while fans roll with it, only for the next book to debunk their speculations.
- Jim Butcher creator of The Dresden Files, Codex Alera series, and The Cinder Spires series.
Nordling: It reminds me, do you like torturing your characters? Is it more fun to torture them a bit?
- He is very upfront about it:
Jim Butcher: I don't like torturing my characters, I like torturing my readers. It happens to be that torturing the characters is the best way to do that.
Abstruse: You and Joss Whedon are going to put me in my grave.
Jim Butcher: That's the idea. I want you to lose sleep and miss work and all kinds of thing.Due to readers' frustration with the wait between books, Jim Butcher and his editor at Penguin Random House are taking inspiration from one of their favorite film trilogies and declaring a temporary hiatus on publication of the Dresden Files novels.
"I think Peter Jackson had the right idea with the Lord of the Rings movies," Butcher explained. "The trilogy took eight years to make. You can't expect an audience to wait that long between installments. It made more sense to film all three movies simultaneously, then release them back to back. That's what I'd like to do."
Jim will be writing case books 16 through 20ish all at once, then releasing them six months apart. Then, taking inspiration from Jackson's treatment of The Hobbit, Butcher will split the final Apocalyptic Trilogy into fifteen books, also written simultaneously and released on the same schedule.
Look for "Peace Talks" on April 1st, 2027.
BigBentley15 [Ryan Bentley]: @longshotauthor what part of peace talks are you writing RIGHT NOW!
- This Twitter reply in July 15th, 2015:
longshotauthor [Jim Butcher]: @BigBentley15 Murphy's funeral.
- The best(?) part is that by then most the fans know better than just overreacting to anything Butcher says and suspect that some form of Exact Words was at play. Although, trying to figure out that one out is bound to delve into Epileptic Trees territory, meaning that the author gets his trolling done in any case. Well played, Trolling Creator. Well played.
Live Action TV
- Joss Whedon has gone on record that he likes to create lovable, happy, sweet characters that he knows the fans will love, then kill or crush them in the cruelest way possible just to see the reaction. It gave rise to the alternate meaning of "Jossed".
"People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy."
- It apparently came back to bite him when he wrote The Avengers (2012): According to his DVD commentary, Marvel told him that they wanted to kill off Agent Coulson; he immediately realized that he was going to get a lot of crap for this, and that no one would believe it wasn't his idea.
- Russell T Davies, former head writer for Doctor Who, has been described similarly with some affection by Steven Moffat: "He likes to make wonderful characters and then melt them."
- Steven Moffat, head writer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, has become known as a master troll within many online communities.
- And to his actors. Notably, he kept everybody (including David Tennant) Locked Out of the Loop on the topic of River Song - except for Alex Kingston herself. The Doctor's confusion when he meets her (and subsequently) is absolutely genuine: Matt Smith was in fact the last person of the main crew to learn her identity. And in series 6, just as the audience is finally given enough hints to figure out who River is, Moffat throws in a massive Ship Tease Red Herring just to screw with everyone.
- And again with the Ship Tease Red Herrings involving Amy, the Doctor and Rory. Especially regarding who fathered Amy's baby throughout her is-it-real-or-isn't-it pregnancy and even after the birth of her daughter. This culminated in a long speech by Amy to said baby daughter about her father which seems to be describing the Doctor to a T, but is actually about Rory (incidentally highlighting the many similarities between the two).
- Moffat outdid himself with the second last episode of season 8. Review copies of the episode reportedly cut off the Big Bad's identity and instead showed the words "Scene withheld". Trollface images followed.
- With how the Series 1 Cliffhanger was resolved in "A Scandal in Belgravia", he and Mark Gatiss are a Trolling Creator duo.
"[the three words] may be misleading, are not titles, are only teases or possibly clues, but might be deliberately designed to get you into a lather."
- Another related to Sherlock, the BBC approved series 2 and 3 at the same time. Moffat, however, was very vague as to whether there would be a series 3 at all. After the horrifically gut-wrenching series 2 finale, the fans were whipped up into a "please let there be Series 3, it can't end like this!!" frenzy, when Moffat rather nonchalantly mentioned there had always been a series 3, and they'd planned for that since the beginning of series 2. His fans came dangerously close to a full-fledged mutiny after that.
- Three Words. That's literally all it takes for him to make the Sherlock fanbase flip the heck out. And I quote:
- For series two, they were "Adler. Hound. Reichenbach." For the upcoming series three, they are "Rat. Wedding. Bow."
- In some parts of the Internet, "Moffat!!" serves quite well as a curse word.
- Ryan Murphy, memetically so. Especially with regards to Glee. Everything he says is either a lie, designed to piss fans off, or a lie designed to piss fans off.
- Chris Colfer appears to be Murphy's apprentice in the art. He is a lying little tease who is not to be trusted when it comes to show information.
- The Prisoner has one of the most classic and well-known examples of this trope. After its Gainax Ending "Fall Out" aired, series creator Patrick McGoohan had people routinely coming to his doorstep demanding to know what it was all about. His comment:
"I wanted to have controversy, arguments, fights, discussions, people in anger waving fists in my face saying, how dare you?"
- McGoohan had almost complete creative control, a budget 1.4 times as large as that of most other series, and no idea where the show was going from episode to episode. After what was broadcast as episode 11, the script editor, George Markstein, quit the series and was not replaced. Scripts and story ideas from that point on came from random people and places: a Western-themed episode was suggested by a video editor, and the infamous episode "The Girl Who Was Death" was an unused script from Danger Man (featuring characters, props and locations from said series).
- The series is also believed by many to be a sequel of sorts to McGoohan's previous series, Danger Man, with "Number Six" actually being Danger Man's John Drake. There is at least one shared character (or possibly just a character with the same name and actor), Number Six's "civilian" clothes are the distinctive outfit usually worn by Drake, and a publicity photo of McGoohan as Drake is X'ed out during the opening credits. Official Prisoner novels flat out name the Prisoner as Drake. For many years, McGoohan publicly maintained that the Prisoner was not Drake, but it is suspected that he was just being contrary.
- Game of Thrones:
John: Hey, George. How's the writing going?George: [on Skype] I just killed three of your favorite characters.John: What?! It's not Arya? It's not Arya, is it!? George, it's not Arya? Please tell me it's not Arya! GIVE ME A CLUE, DAMN YOU, MARTIN!George: [shrug]
- In a commentary for Season 1, the producers talk about the difficulty of adapting certain things from the books, and specifically tell us not to get our hopes up that white ravens will be included. In episode one of Season 2 (filmed before the commentaries were made), we do get a white raven.
- Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) is fond of obliquely spoiling future plot developments on Instagram. She also messed with people's expectations when she posted a heart-shape made of stones, which teased that Lady Stoneheart would appear in Season 4. She didn't.
- In an appearance on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver George R.R. Martin has this exchange with John.
- After the implied death of Jon Snow in the Season 5 finale, who faces his fate a lot earlier than in the original book series, HBO has clearly been having too much fun on whether or not he is actually dead. Almost every single commercial for Season 6 leaves the question ambigious, with teases that he really is dead, or not even focusing at all on the subject.
- After LOST concluded, leaving an untold number of unanswered questions, the creators were asked who built the enormous four-toed statue of Taweret. The response: "I assume the Egyptians did it."
- Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural, released spoilers that Sam would have a new waitress Love Interest named Kristy in Season 4. He was kinda telling the truth (Sam had sex with a "Kristy" in the fourth season premiere, but she is actually the demon Ruby lying about her identity to cover up their involvement from Dean and Bobby), but he admitted that he was just saying it to rile up the fans. It worked.
- There's another for Supernatural, in s07e14 'Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie' there's a timestamp that reads "Right friggin' now!".
- In the 9th season finale Dean is turned into a demon with black eyes. Jensen Ackles had given an interview not long before it aired saying that finale would be "...a bit of an eye-opener," and mugging for the camera
- Grimm: The season 2 midseason finale ended with "To Be Continued ... Sorry". The season finale continued this trend with "To Be Continued .... Come on, you knew this was coming."
- Bones: Executive Producer Stephan Nathan's response to being told that dangling an engagement between Booth and Bones in front of the viewers, and then having his pet Villain Sue Pelant tear it to pieces, was not cool? "Hahaha! That was so much fun to do!" Cue the fanbase wanting his head alongside Pelant's.
- On the January 21, 2014 episode of Wheel of Fortune, during the closing segment, host Pat Sajak pulled out a phone and stated that he would tweet something. As the episodes are taped in advance, he decided to have fun with this the day the episode aired — presumably sitting at his home in Maryland, he proceeded to tweet "Vanna looks hot tonight" at the approximate time that the show's closing segment would've aired in each time zone before deleting it.
- In a possible example of the creators trolling the cast rather than the audience, Dexter seemingly ramped up the level of Brother-Sister Incest between Dexter and Debra after the two actors, who were previously married to each other in real life, had divorced.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: When Joel Hodgson was replaced by Mike Nelson as the show's main character, online communities were abound with flame wars between two halves of the fandom arguing over which of them was better. Joel later admitted that he occasionally for fun added fuel to the fire by anonymously commenting in these forums that he thought Mike was better than his own character to see people bitch about it.
- After the premiere of the first season of Sense8, several months went by without any word of whether there would be a second season, causing a hugely worried fanbase as Netflix tends to share news of renewals within a week or two of the release of its new shows. In fact, the announcement was simply being held back until August 8th, the birthday of all the show's protagonists, with their actors releasing a video singing Happy Birthday and casually revealing the renewal at the end.
- Kanye West admits he is one of these on his song "I Am A God" from Yeezus.
- Bob Dylan. Seriously, Bob Dylan. Notoriously opaque about his creative process, constantly changing what he says his songs mean, abandoning each style he's found once people start liking it, and famous since his debut in the 60s for his love of twisted mind-games. If you asked any serious Dylan fan to describe the man, "troll" would be a very high on the list.
- The Buoys' "Timothy" was deliberately written with the most gruesome topic they could think of because the record label would not promote whatever song was written. It worked, somewhat.
- Kurt Cobain came to hate the Nirvana song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to the point that he'd play part of its opening riff, before segueing into "Rape Me", which had a similar-sounding riff. At the Live At Reading concert, the band seemingly begins to play Teen Spirit, only to segue into a hilariously bad cover of Boston's "More Than a Feeling". They did play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" afterwards.
- Faith No More at a certain point decide to break the audience's expectations of a cover of "War Pigs" by launching instead into "Easy" (and a straight version!). Bassist Billy Gould even said that “It feels really good to have a couple of thousand of people flipping you off. Just to see the number of middle fingers go up when we went into ‘Easy’ was amazing."
- Cult of Luna told journalists that Eternal Kingdom was based on a diary they found in an old mental institution. They later revealed they were just trying to expose lazy journalism.
- Berkeley Breathed said in a 2007 interview that he was going to kill off Opus the Penguin. Two months later, he recanted it after getting the desired rise from fans. Then a year later he drew a strip where Opus is told that "the end is near." At the end of the series, Opus doesn't die — he transcends his reality and becomes a character in Goodnight Moon.
- In early 1996 in WCW, The Four Horsemen, specifically Brian Pillman, started a feud with the Dungeon of Doom. Pillman was doing his "Loose Cannon" gimmick. This led to the infamous Pillman-Kevin Sullivan Worked Shoot "I respect you, bookerman!" incident at WCW SuperBrawl VI, which was Pillman's final match in WCW. Right after this, he went on TV and cut a promo about how he wanted to be released from his contract. The whole angle, fully planned out by Sullivan and Pillman, had required them to work everyone, including the office, and it ended up working out too well, since, by the time Sullivan realized that the office wasn't in on the joke, Pillman had his release and had headed to ECW. Reports conflict if he was ever meant to come back after an Invasion type storyline, or if the release was just what Pillman wanted in the first place.
- Hideo Kojima, owing to the surely intentional fan-bashing in later Metal Gear games.
- Kojima took his trolling to a new level with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, with trailers misleading players into believe they'd be playing Solid Snake, only for players to discover that they'll be playing as Raiden instead for most of the game.
- Kojima has continued to play what can only be described as a Kansas City Shuffle with English fans surrounding the voice acting of Metal Gear Solid V, since the announcement of Kiefer Sutherland replacing David Hayter as the voice of Big Boss.
- The sheer fact that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance even exists is proof to Kojima's troll status. The first four games in the franchise were touching character dramas, full of philosophical dilemmas about the tragedy of war and, hey, here's a game where you play as a badass cyborg ninja slicing through watermelons while fighting giant robots with your electric sword!
- Let's just say he's earned the title "The Man Who Trolled The World" for a good reason.
- Notch once announced that Minecraft contained one recipe which nobody had ever found and that didn't appear in the recipe-finding Recipe Book mod. This was all he ever said on the matter.
- Valve, though they walk the line between this and Teasing Creator, especially with Team Fortress 2 - intentionally obfuscating the Pyro's gendernote , the whole business of crates, the infamous Mystery Treasure episodenote ... Then there's Gabe Newell never answering any questions about Half-Life 2: Episode 3 and instead focusing on randomness such as Team Fortress 2's hats and Counter-Strike updates.
- Yoshinori Ono of Capcom (the man in charge of Street Fighter) is slowly gaining this status. He did declare he wanted to see the gamers suffer with the constant inclusion of Seth and he tops himself by fooling the audience of Street Fighter X Tekken by bringing Dan Hibiki—who had already been killed off within the SFxT timeline because Ono and the dev team didn't want him in the game—to a wishlist poll, and when he saw Dan winning by a far margin, he declared the winner... by replacing Dan with Sony's mascots Toro and Kuro.
- Ono has even admitted that trolling the fanbase is part of his job.
- Let's face it, the man is clearly enjoying himself.
- In in inversion, Ono intended to use the original Mega Man for Street Fighter X Tekken, but Keiji Inafune kiboshed that by saying it had already been done before and challenged him to try something unique. Off the top of his head, Ono suggested taking Bad Box Art Mega Man and making him obese and middle-aged as a joke at how 25 years had passed since Mega Man's creation. Inafune loved the idea, but Mega Man fans hated it and accused Capcom of rubbing the salt in following the cancellation of Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3.
- Ono and the whole Street Fighter team reached new heights during the reveal of the 5th brand new character of Ultra Street Fighter IV. As the hints said that this character is female and hasn't been in a fighting game before, people were actually expecting someone seriously brand new. Who did they reveal? Decapre, one of Bison's Doll assassins based on Cammy, who looks like Cammy with a sinister mask, has a charged moveset variations of Cammy, and—technically speaking—was in Street Fighter Alpha 3 prior. Rubbing the salt further, her intro video features M. Bison, drawn in his Alpha 3 sprite, facing off against fan-favorites that people liked quite a bit, Rainbow Mika and Retsu... and brushing them away easily. Again, for the fans, the day they get trolled was the most outrageous thing in their life. But for Ono and the SF Team... it was Monday.
- In a case of Ono trolling that could have been, during the buildup to a new Street Fighter V character, Ono had released a couple of screenshots of Brazil and Ryu getting shocked by electricity. Fans took it and immediately assumed it was Blanka (who is well known to be one of Ono's favorite Street Fighter characters), and Ono was going to keep the teasing going all the way to the Brazil Game Show, completely with dressing up as Blanka at the event to get people assuming things. It would all turn out to be a Red Herring for an actual newcomer named Laura (Sean's older sister) who was also from Brazil and had electricity powers. But then, well, Famitsu leaked pictures of Laura a couple weeks before the show, ruining the reveal altogether, and made worse by Sony releasing Laura's reveal trailer a couple days early too, so all potential trolling plans were flushed down the toilet.
- Square Enix when it comes to Bonus Boss Absolute Virtue. Every time the players find a way to beat him, the dev team goes out of their way to squash the methods used to beat the monster. Square Enix seem to either want to make Absolute Virtue unbeatable or they enjoy watching players cry as Absolute Virtue's weaknesses gets changed every time people find a way to weaken him. This has since been subverted with expansions increasing the level cap to the point players can beat Absolute Virtue by sheer force, and they seem to be content with thatnote .
- With Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, Director Motomu Toriyama is seen this way by much of the fanbase. His statements in interviews paint him as either naively unaware of the fandom's opinions, or he knows and is purposefully invoking this trope. Such statements include that Lightning is the first female protagonist of the series (what about Terra?), that the sequel will answer the question of "is Lightning happy" (her presence turned out to be Wolverine Publicity and this question was never addressed), and he requested a hotter and sexier design for Lightning in the third game (which fans and critics reacted negatively to). Furthermore, in both games fans have criticized the stories for not making sense, and he's an advocate for the interactive movie design model that fans hated in the first game. The Memetic Mutation "Toriyama'd" is now shorthand for this trope when it comes to Final Fantasy.
- Square Enix also shows infinite amounts of trolling regarding Final Fantasy VII, forever denying fans any remake of the game. The apex of this came in December 2014, during a gaming panel, the lights dimmed, the screens started showing letters and the announcement: "Final Fantasy VII is coming to the PS4." The whole room (and whoever was watching the live stream) burst into applause and cheers, only to fall silent a few seconds later, as it was revealed that it was just a port of the version available on PC, without any difference. Take a guess at the reaction of the fans on Twitter.
- Less than a year later, Square Enix finally announced the remake at E3. And that it had already been in development for over eighteen months. That's an epic level of trolling right there.
- David Gaider, a BioWare employee and the chief writer of the Dragon Age series, is very fond of telling the story of how he came up with the idea to kill off Alistair in the end if he was romanced. According to him, when he first told it to the other writers, the entire group shared an Evil Laugh, foreseeing the fangirls' reaction, and he still smiles fondly whenever a player is devastated by that event.
- Takeshi's Challenge announces on its title screen that it was created by a man who hates video games. Much of what the player is supposed to do in the game falls under Violation of Common Sense.
- For April Fool's Day 2012, Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, hyped up to a new champion release. On the day of his release, they released a story about how the day before, the new champion had been murdered. However, rather than the fandom being trolled, they went with it and trolled the trollers.
- Blizzard had to put up with constant complaints about how "cartoony" and "colorful" Diablo III is compared to its predecessors. As a pisstake to that section of the fanbase, they put this level into the game.
- Prior to that, testers for the Cataclysm expansion complained that their visit to the Maelstrom wasn't "epic" enough. Shortly after, Blizzard added Epicus Maximus.
- On a related note, Blizzard gave their two newest playable characters in World of Warcraft trollbait dances: the male Pandaren has the Party Rock Shuffle, and the female Pandaren has the Caramelldansen.
- These are the people who date their releases and patches as either "Soon," "Very Soon" or "Soonish," all of which they define as any time between now and the end of time with Very soon being most likely to be closer to now and Soonish to be closer to said end of time.
- Taro Yoko of Drakengard and NieR fame earned a reputation for this with a streak of Playing the Player. The most infamous cases are the final endings of previously mentioned games that you have to go through hell just to reach.
- In Dark Souls, there is a starting item you can choose at the very beginning called "the Pendant". It has no obvious use, but many players assumed there had to be some significance behind it, because why would it be in the game otherwise? The game's director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, would repeatedly hint that there was some great secret behind this item, but no matter how hard the fans looked, they couldn't find anything. After years of this, Miyazaki finally revealed what the Pendant does: absolutely nothing. It was a Red Herring from the start.
- Kayin, creator of I Wanna Be the Guy, delves into this occasionally. Perhaps not surprising, considering the game itself trolls the player at every opportunity. Best exemplified when EG Floe premiered I Wanna Be The Guy Gaiden at EVO 2012; Kayin logged into the game session and proceeded to either help Floe with particularly hard sections or spawn random death traps and Interface Screw, whichever was funnier at the moment.
- ZUN has developed a habit of subverting the Moe personalities fandom attributes to the cast of Touhou. First in Double Spoiler he revealed that Momiji is more of a "lone wolf" type than the Genki Girl portrayed by fandom, and actually hates Aya, the person she was most shipped with. Then in Symposium of Post-Mysticism, he did this to about half the cast of Mountain of Faith and Subterranean Animism: Nitori (the "shy kappa") is a shameless racist, possible murderer, and Insufferable Genius, Kisume ("bucket loli" who is also treated as really shy) is depicted as a Creepy Child... and Tenshi, who spent much of her fighting game being a gigantic, destructive asshole (even by Touhou standards), just needs a hug after being bullied by the cast.
- Hideki Kamiya uses Twitter to troll his English-speaking fans mercilessly. A reoccurring troll is when he's asked when we'll hear new info on his latest project, and he'll say "Next week... in game magazines/Nintendo Direct/Other event" and news sites will report on it not realizing what Kamiya was doing.
- Yager's Spec Ops: The Line falls into the "to prove a point" category without any ill intent on the dev's part. The game frequently and harshly criticizes the player for fulfilling a Power Fantasy by way of gruesome virtual war crimes. The devs have stated in interviews they wanted the players coming in with a certain set of expectations, kept the initial part of the game very familiar to players in order to foster that feeling, then set up their shots at the player. Even loading screens get in on the act, mocking the players with phrases such as, "This is all your fault." "How many Americans have you killed today?" and "To kill for yourself is murder. To kill for your government is heroic. To kill for entertainment is harmless."
- Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat, likes to troll his fans quite a bit — everything from misleading tweets about possible characters in MK games to teasing at a crossover with Street Fighter. While Injustice is warmly welcomed, there's just some things that Ed Boon had to do about trolling the fans. For instance, Raven from Teen Titans looking more adult? Good enough. Distorting her voice to demonic/mannish level that even if it's Tara Strong voicing her, it's kind of unrecognizable? It Makes Sense in Context about Raven, but still, damn it Boon. Promote Dick Grayson/Nightwing a lot and then only have him appear in 2 small cutscenes, have his alias get taken over by Damian Wayne (who by the way, gets a very bad case of Adaptational Villainy) who killed him, and not even giving Dick a classic Arcade Ending? Dude!
- When announcing names for Rune Factory 4, XSEED Games tweeted that they had changed Vishnal, one of the characters fans were more anxious about name changes in localization, to Vance. The tweeted again several minutes later announcing that they were only kidding, and his name had made the transition to the US intact.
- Tameemi Antoniades became this when his team, Ninja Theory, rebooted the hit action game series, Devil May Cry. The reboot made controversial changes to the series' hero, Dante with Tammeni commenting in the interviews he did not find the classic Dante appealing or cool. This angered fans a lot of course. Even though he stated he did not care what fans thought, the reboot's Dante was modified during development to act like Dante and even look like him. Tameeni's trolling status went even further when in the reboot Dante threw away a wig that made him look like the classic Dante.
- Every single Arc System Works employee probably have a special wing waiting for them in hell solely because of the smug goddamn shit the company has pulled off. We can begin with pointing out that the That One Achievement page was inspired by the way-past-the-hardest-difficulty-setting-the-game-can-offer difficulty of BlazBlue Continuum Shift's Score Attack Mode and the two achievements one got from clearing it with every single character. Which is still much better than Parace L'Sia, the Score Attack Final Boss of Arcana Heart 3, who might very well put all of SNK Playmore's entire boss library to shame. Which is still much better than the appropriately named "You Want Me To WHAT?!" achievement from Battle Fantasia which involves flawlessly blocking the final boss's 22 hit super move and then winning against him with full health.
Fans circa Continuum Shift: When's Kokonoe?
- It finally culminated with Zen United and Arc System Works Europe opening a site with a Continuum Shift II News Countdown. In the Source Code of the site there was a ultimateblazbluenews.html link which led to a page showing a YouTube video with a Hazama-styled Trollface and a flashing NICE TRY caption set to Eduard Khil's "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home", a.k.a. the Trololol Song. We shit you not... Well, at least the bastards have openly admitted it.
- Furthermore, remember how fans always wanted Kokonoe to become playable? Well, they (especially Toshimichi Mori) kept refusing, which could be summed up with...
Fans circa Continuum Shift II: When's Kokonoe?
Mori: No, but here's an extra story where she's the star. Enjoy.
Fans circa Continuum Shift Extend: When's Kokonoe?
Mori: No, but here's some new omake segments where she complains about it. Enjoy.
Fans circa Chronophantasma: When's Kokonoe?
Mori: No, but here's a bunch of never-heard-before characters for you as new characters and a teaser after the endings. Enjoy.
Fans circa Chronophantasma Console Version: When's Kokonoe?
Mori: LOL, here's Hazama 2.0 and another story-related NPC made playable. No more DLC, folks!
Mori: Wait, I Lied. Here's Kokonoe. By the way, no 360 version.
PS3 Fans: YES!! ...Wait, she's on-disc DLC?! And tournament OP?! Goddamnit MORIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!
360 fans: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
- Then Mori does it again. In a tournament interview, he was asked about certain characters becoming playable, to which point he shut down the possibility of Celica being playable, mainly because she cannot fight. A while later, it is revealed that Celica is in fact playable, but the fighting is done by the artificial weapon Ex Machina: Minerva, which was issued to her by the aforementioned Kokonoe.
- With Kokonoe now playable, in spite of the problems above, it seems that the fandom accusation to Mori is that he's doing the same ever since the earlier days, except this time to her father Jubei. Indeed, this Badass cat has yet to see the light of playable even as Mori also teased on how he might be playable in the future through several Omake segments. Up until now after the announcement of Central Fiction... there hasn't been signs of him being playable, or being in such condition as well. His last appearance was being gravely wounded by Nine.
- Masahiro Sakurai has frequently been swamped by fans speculating who would be in the next Super Smash Bros. game and begging him to put this or that character in. In a Nintendo Direct video promoting the fourth game, he happily notes that the Wii Fit Trainer is a character that no one had guessed or asked for. (Though he did finally put Mega Man in the game. And he is awesome.)
"Once again, Waluigi's Assist Trophy joins the collection!! ...Which also means he’s not a playable character. Just because you try hard doesn't mean you'll make it into the battle."
- A Nintendo Direct webcast promoting the fourth Smash game involved a lot of playful trolling (as most of the teased characters made it in after all):
- After revealing that Samus' Zero Laser no longer causes her to change form, and in fact no characters would change form in this game, he followed it up by saying that because of this, Zero Suit Samus would no longer be returning... right before showing her updated appearance, saying he was just kidding.
- The Direct had multiple "What character is this?" trophy segments, where a trophy is briefly displayed before its name and origin are given. One of these segments opens with the camera behind what appears to be a trophy of Palutena from Kid Icarus: Uprising. Then it cuts to the trophy's hideous Nightmare Face with a Scare Chord, revealing it as the boss Pseudo-Palutena. To make it extra-trolling, Palutena was a popularly-speculated and -requested character, so until the reveal it seemed like Sakurai was shooting down chances of her being playable. (Palutena would later be confirmed at the next E3.)
- One of Sakurai's pics of the day revealed Waluigi as an Assist Trophy - with his caption rubbing in the fact that "Assist Trophy" means "not playable". And then the above Direct added insult to injury, as he started its segment on Assist Trophies with a Waluigi plushie in the frame.
"Out of the blue, here's a new stage — the Pyrosphere from Metroid: Other M! An enemy from Samus' past may appear at any second...""Remember, no matter how big you may be, there is always someone bigger." [accompanying a picture that has nothing to do with Ridley, but can be taken as a reference to the "Ridley's too big" meme.]
- Sakurai had occasionally dropped hints about Ridley, but in a roundabout way that neither confirmed or denied that he's even going to be in the game at all, to the frustration of fans who wanted him playable. Even after the Direct all but directly confirmed his inclusion as an NPC boss on the Pyrosphere stage, he had a few jabs at the fans who still believed he was going to be playable
"I, Takamaru, have waited many years to appear in Super Smash Bros.! Link, Samus, Pit, and I debuted the same year! Multidirectional Pinwheel Knife Rook Attack! (FYI, I'm an Assist Trophy)"
- It was announced that on July 14th, 2014 there would be a big character announcement. But hours before the big event, Sakurai casually (emphasis casually) posted his usual Pic of the Day...that had Rayman on itnote . This confused many a fan who saw it as he whipped out the true character reveals: Robin (Both male and female), Lucina and the return of Captain Falcon. Needless to say, everyone was hyped.
- There's also a bit of a "take that" to the many, MANY people who wanted Chrom in the game, as he was shown lying unconscious on the ground in the trailer. He eventually says "I guess I'll get my chance another day", before promptly passing back out.
- Sakurai's Pic of the Day comment for July 28th, 2014:
- A Nintendo Direct webcast promoting the fourth Smash game involved a lot of playful trolling (as most of the teased characters made it in after all):
- Cryptic Studios likes to pull one over on its fans concerning Star Trek Online. They even go so far as to make fun of their own bugs: when one update caused the location Deep Space K-7 to disappear, the next patch revealed that it had returned as it had been cloaked by a Klingon. Go into the Admiral's office in DSK-7 and you'll find Starfleet Officers interrogating a Klingon on how he did it.
- Another interesting incident happened during testing of Season 9 on the TRIBBLE Server: players had accidentally found out that you could shoot inside the newly redesigned Earth Spacedock (it's usually disabled) and people decided to have fun with doing so. Cryptic's response? Drop an army of Demonic Spiders on the players and let the Curb-Stomp Battle begin.
- An inversion of sorts happens with Level-5 in the form of the Inazuma Eleven japanese fanbase, who have a tendency to rig character polls left and right (notably picking as Level-5's most influential character an airplane from the obscure iOS game Aeroporter). The creators themselves are no better on this matter though, especially about their Periphery Demographic fanbase...
- Atlus had quite a bit of fun driving its fanbase crazy on November 24th, 2013. Everyone in the fanbase was demanding that they show off the fifth installment in their popular Shin Megami Tensei: Persona franchise, and they eventually did... after about an hour of having characters from Persona 3 and 4 talk about a spin-off crossover RPG for the 3DS, details on the sequel to their fighting game spin-off, and of all things, a Persona 4 Rhythm Game developed by the creators of Hatsune Miku Project Diva. Those are by no means bad announcements on their own—most of the fans would end up looking back on the announcements and decide to get hyped—it's just that at the time, everyone wanted Persona 5 and they didn't get it, so they went ballistic. Truly, Atlus does get off on our tears.
- Or perhaps they were just waiting a little longer to make SURE that we wanted a Persona 5
- When The Legend Of Zelda Wii U was revealed during E3 2014, Eiji Aonuma, director of The Legend of Zelda, was asked a question about Link's appearance in the footage. His reply was "No one specifically said that was Link." This, combined with the somewhat feminine appearance of the character in the trailer, spawned loads of Wild Mass Guessing who it could be, whether it be Zelda, Link's sister, a Reincarnation of Link who was female, or some new female character. A day later, Aonuma admitted that he was joking, and that it really was Link in the footage.
Aonuma: "It’s not that I said that it wasn't Link. It’s that I never said that it was Link. It’s not really the same thing, but I can understand how it could be taken that way."
- In a small interview about Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Uchikoshi says there's "something very important hidden throughout the entire game", vaguely implies that the ending doesn't wrap it up, and encourages internet discussion. While it's true that there are several moments of Fridge Brilliance throughout the game, who knows what that very specific 'something important' is.
- Sierra On-Line is notorious for their sadistic adventure games. Having a multitude of ways to fail is only the tip of the iceberg: how about dying on the very first screen? Or unforgiving Copy Protection? Bizarre puzzles? Worst of all are the copious yet inconspicuous ways to make their games unwinnable, of which there's an entire page for the worst offenders. Needless to say, their rival company, LucasArts, showed disgust at their design choices.
- Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada responded to a tweet complaining about Tekken 7 character Lucky Chloe, stating not to worry about it since characters can be deleted and replaced for the American market, and she would be replaced by a muscled skinhead with powerful attacks. News sites reported Lucky Chloe was exclusive to Japan and Europe, until Michael Murray, designer at Bandai Namco responded on Twitter, "It's amusing how many [people] are [taking] Harada’s trolling about Chloe seriously. He’s good at getting free publicity."
- Final Fantasy XIV has the relic weapons that can get powered up more and more, but each step gets more and more ridiculous. One step involves collecting 12 items with absurdly low drop rates and another involves binding materia whose success rate gets lower and lower each time you succeed. At the end of the quest chain (as of patch 2.45), the NPC involved in the quest suggests that you find 50 of the low drop rate items to finish the last step and your character gives a You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! look before another NPC wisely suggests that you use the relic itself as materia to get your Zodiac weapon. You're then told several times that you only have a 1.4% chance of success to meld the materia and failure will destroy the relic. Most players' hearts probably skipped a beat before realizing that Square was just screwing with them since the success rate is actually 100%.
- While developing Five Nights at Freddy's 3 , Scott Cawthon got hacked and cancelled the game after the culprit posted the game online. Except not really - the game in the link is merely one of Scott's earlier games (There is No Pause Button!) with Freddy's head pasted over the player's sprite and the "Trololol song" playing on loop through the whole game.
- Scott Cawthon in general has been guilty of trolling fans, though not with the intention of insulting/ridiculing them. Five Nights at Freddy's 2 was released just hours after the demo due to complications with uploading it (it would have taken a few days for it to be verified and made available). Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was released nearly three months before expectations, with Scott himself admitting that he was "bad with release dates".
- As an example of him trolling fans, he was once asked if Mangle was a boy or a girl. His answer was yes.
- Scott Cawthon in general has been guilty of trolling fans, though not with the intention of insulting/ridiculing them. Five Nights at Freddy's 2 was released just hours after the demo due to complications with uploading it (it would have taken a few days for it to be verified and made available). Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was released nearly three months before expectations, with Scott himself admitting that he was "bad with release dates".
- Ryukishi07, creator and head writer of the When They Cry sound novels, LOVES to troll his audience whether it's introducing text that no one understands or making the plot even more confusing than it already is! And is loved for it.
- Andrew Hussie of Homestuck fame is a big fan of psyching out the readers, especially during Act 2. "Andrew is the best troll" has become a meme among the fandom. He prefers, however, to call it "doing jokes", which is an alternate name for this page, to emphasize that he isn't doing this out of malice, but just a sense of fun.
- A great example is in Act 6 Act 1 when Jane was caught in an explosion and apparently died. A few pages later, Hussie's Author Avatar expressed surprise that there were still characters he hadn't killed off yet, and then proceeded to laugh manically. And then, of course, it turned out that Jane hadn't even died after all, anyway. Many a Skyward Scream in his name was yelled on those days.
- Also, from the book 2 commentary:
The previous book ended on a cliffhanger. Was John killed really by a meteor??? You didn't know what to think, did you? Here we find out he not only survived, but his clown-riddled house became enshrouded in pure evil. Try to bear in mind though that sometimes I say things which are not true.
- The man not only deliberately wrote a Base Breaker whose status as Creator's Pet is heavily disputed, he then went on to show his Author Avatar proposing to her, apparently just because he could.
- And then there was that time he posted a big, dramatic-looking flash animation that took ages to load... only for it to turn out to be a gif which laughed at the reader and said 'You spend no less than 90 seconds staring at this fucking gif image before you realize that the actual Flash animation is on the next page.'
- Brian Clevinger of 8-Bit Theater fame, noted for his love of the Anti-Climax. He wrote two separate fake-out endings to his webcomic, and admitted to doing the second one solely to see the readers' angry reactions. The fanbase was onto him by that point, though, and thought it was a hilarious and fitting ending. Clevinger was disappointed.
- RK Milholland of Something*Positive does this a lot. The more he abuses his fans, the more they love him (to his eternal bewilderment).
- Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content has a rather unstable relationship with his hardcore fans. When asked if he had ever written a story arc deliberately to piss off the 'shippers, he replied "see my entire comic". One of the strips is even titled "Suck It, Shippers".
- He has basically stated (probably in a lost Formspring entry) that this is the reason he spells his name with "ph" instead of "ff".
- One of the later stripsnote epitomizes the Ship Tease seen in previous strips with its commentary: "I am trolling you guys pretty hard".
"The first dance! The cake! THE HORSE STUNTS!"
- Gunnerkrigg Court
- Tom Siddell has been riding on the unexpected plot twists that seem to be the complete opposite of what the readers were hoping. Examples? Nearly every author comment is a sarcastic response about the comic. Every time something completely unexpected happens to shed some light on a previous question while simultaneously raising more questions, he says "Mystery Solved!" MANY ships have been burned, as exemplified by this strip. There's basically a Take That directed to those specific readers in EVERY CHAPTER.
- The epitome of this trope, however, is the mystery of Jones. After a long time of speculation from the readers, and a Running Gag about her most definitely not being a robot, Tom finally writes a chapter where Annie just directly asks Jones what she is. This leads to a series of flashbacks that keep going back further and further in her backstory and basically tell us that Jones is a Time Abyss who has been on Earth since before it could support life. Then we return to the present and Jones says: "And to answer your previous question... I do not know what I am." This is bad enough, but in the author's comment section there's a flashing GIF banner◊.
- Chapter 55: The Break-Out. Antimony psyches herself up to get Renard back from her father. Tony hands the doll over without a word, and asks if there will be anything else. They exchange good-nights, and Annie leaves. End of chapter! Next page: Coyote, laughing.
- Kailin and Richard from Samurai Princess have been known to joke around with their fan base but their ability to troll becomes apparent with their April Fool's day joke for 2011. They teased a spin off featuring a fan favorite character, and when fan favorite Jacquline slipped off a cliff and was falling to her doom Kailin mentioned she had just finished watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Richard claimed all he had written for the next page's script was SPLAT!
- The creators of Las Lindas are rather infamous for their habit of interrupting the story (usually at a suspense point, or important plot point about to be revealed) and doing a page that has nothing to do with the story.
- Slave.In.Utero, author of Tower of God, loves to surprise his fans, especially with raising expectations and predictions on his blog, just to give them something completely unexpected in the next chapter. He also loves to confuse his readership about the gender of his characters and frequently alludes to that.
- Creative Release has a character eventually state that "The author is a troll."
- MegaTokyo's Visual Novel fund had an absurd $500,000 stretch goal to add "excessively romantic content". Turned out it wasn't so absurd, because they raised almost $300,000; so the author announced he would honor the "secret" $300k stretch goal... whatever that means. He tends to do this in general, too: most of his hints about upcoming plot twists are completely false, but the story is such a Mind Screw that almost anything seems plausible.
- Tom, creator of Twokinds, plays increasingly elaborate - and epic - April Fools Day pranks, the latest "revealing" that two characters were being possessed by characters killed off in previous chapters. He has since apologized and, sadly, promised not to do it again.
- David Willis, author of the Walkyverse, is well know for screwing his audience at every opportunity, mostly through drama bombs. There's a reason the fandom's catch phrase is "DAMN YOU WILLIS!" (which, of course, he turned into his twitter handle).
- If people are clamoring for Yahtzee to review a particular game, he will deliberately review anything but.
...Given options, I'll go for the one that infuriates tosspots.
- Averted when he actually gave in when everyone demanded that he review Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Of course the review was overwhelmingly negative, partially due to his own dislike for the series and partially as a screw you to everyone who bothered him to review it.
- Rooster Teeth seems to have lapsed into this with their ''Halo: Reach Achievement Horse series. Despite people clamoring for the original best-of-five rounds, they've steadily decreased the number of rounds to 3 (Achievement Pig) to seemingly 1 (Achievement P), all the while claiming it's what the fans want and that they want to go back to the original 5.
- LittleKuriboh isn't usually this, but he does like his April Fools' Day pranks! A good example is episode 7.5 of Marik Plays Bloodlines, with the official description 'In which all your questions are answered.'
Marik: Okay, listen everybody, listen this is very important stuff I'm about to tell you, okay. A lot of people have been theorising about whether or not Bakura and I are in a relationship and I wanted to put those rumours to rest right now, okay. You see, technically KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOUR FAMILY. KILL YOF AMILY. KILL YOF AMILY. (Yes, this goes on for the entire 13 minutes...well, kinda, there's some other things said.)
LK: I'm not sorry.
- He also posted a remix of "Pharaoh's Throne" (a parody of Lady Gaga's "Telephone") entitled "Pharaoh's Circus". It's actually kind of interesting how well Circus Afro matches up with the beat of Telephone.
- Fraser of Video Games Awesome! absolutely loves to make fun of his viewers every chance he gets.
- The Fine Brothers are usually this in React towards the Youtubers in their react shows, having shown them the Knife Game Song, Rickrolling them and showing them Don't Hug Me I'm Scared.
- After being pestered by fans over not beating the key boss in Mario Gives Up, Let's Player raocow uploaded this, then trolled a couple more times as well.
- In-Universe, A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin is parodied as this in the College Humor video "George R.R. Martin Responds to Game of Thrones Backlash". After several important characters are rather unexpectedly killed off in season 3 of the TV adaptation Game of Thrones and some fans start complaining, he lashes out. "Martin" says he revels in upsetting his fans, and proceeds to bash their hopes for his own joy.
Martin: Your sorrow is my playground! Your tears are the fountain I frollick in!
- Sonic The Other Movie, an abridged series, follows the source material very closely until about two minutes from the end, then violently abandons it for an additional ten minutes of Mind Screw Gainax Ending goodness. It does all makes sense, according to the writers, but this is open for debate.
- Ultra Fast Pony's creator put out a bonus video, "A Very UFP Christmas Special", on December 25. Aside from the introduction and conclusion, it consists entirely of Twilight saying "I'm not making a video on Christmas!"
- Wildbow, the author of web serials Worm and Pact, enjoys toying with his readers with creative use of cliffhangers, to the point that most of his chapters end on one cliffhanger or another. At one point in Worm he teased readers with an unpaid bonus chapter...only for said chapter to be exactly four words long.
- MatPat of Game Theory (Web Show) has recently been fond of poking fun at the fact that his viewers are starting to get frustrated with the fact he hasn't made a part 2 of his Watch_Dogs game theory, preferring to jump to Mario, Zelda, and even claiming its what the fans want with an alleged poll.
- Inu of Inu And Friends Gaming often purposefully cuts their Let's Play videos for maximum troll-y cliffhangers. This is apparently a result of watching through the infuriatingly troll-y cliffhangers from Code Geass.
- Team Starkid make a video for April Fools almost every year about puppy-kittys to the chagrin of the fans who keep an eye on their page
- Vinny of Vinesauce fame enjoys messing with his fans in general, but nowhere is this more obvious than in his Tomodachi Life series. While it's present earlier on, it really becomers apparent near the end of the first series with the Jahn invasion arc starting around Episode 47, which involves him deleting many islanders offscreen, adding "new" ones without any explanation, and generally acting Not Himself on-stream. What does this build up to? Absolutely nothing, as the plot is wrapped up offscreen. He lampshades this at the end of Episode 49, during an art showcase:
Vinny: I wonder how many people fucking hate Jahn after today. (Beat) You know what? Let's ask the right question. I wonder how many people fucking hate me after today.
- Director Kerry Shawcross and head writer Miles Luna love trolling the RWBY fanbase. When the Volume 3 finale, "End of the Beginning" was released to all on February 14, 2016, Miles posted on Twitter "Happy Valentines Day!" knowing full well that it would be anything but, especially since it utterly sunk the popular "Arkos" (Jaune Arc and Pyrrha Nikos) ship. Even more, during an AfterBuzz livestream of the finale, one of the hosts asked Miles if Jaune would end up dying as well later on down the line, Miles broke out into a wide grin, sending the fandom into a panic.
- The creators of The Venture Bros. can be like this. They admitted to doing things like intentionally giving the Murderous Moppets more screentime and bringing back the Ghost Pirate (who isn't a Scrappy, but no one cares about him) at every opportunity. The episode The Revenge Society was a playful Take That, Audience!. It took the long-awaited return of the most competent villain on the show, Phantom Limb, and turned him into a raving lunatic (he got better), and also revealed that the entire ORB MacGuffin hunt from the previous season was completely pointless.
- In this video, Doc Hammer admits the only reason he keeps the Moppets around is because people hate them. Before he knew they were The Scrappies, he would often forget to write them in scenes and story-lines. He also said to a Triana/Dean shipper that they would get together in season 4 which also makes him a Lying Creator.
- While Michael and Bryan have a history of Sure, Why Not? and Ship Tease in Avatar: The Last Airbender, they crossed into what must surely be mastery with the "Book IV: Air" convention video.
"Gimme some sugar, baby!"
- A high point was the "School Time Shipping" super-deformed skit, a High School A.U. which mocks the fandom's Ship-to-Ship Combat between Aang/Katara and Zuko/Katara. (Katara ends up being paired off with the Blue Spirit, who in the main show was Zuko's alternate identity.)
- They have continued their evil, trolling ways into The Legend of Korra. Case in point? This line from the very first episode, which they later acknowledged was "100% trolling".
Jinora: Gran-Gran, I've been reading all about your old adventures; I've been dying to ask you: What happened to Zuko's mom?
Katara: Well, Jinora, it's an incredible tale-
Ikki: Gran-Gran, you look old! How old ARE you? Why is it so cold in the South Pole? Can we sit around a fire and play games and make snowmen? And then could you make the snowman move with waterbending and chase us? Wouldn't that be fuuuun?
- They had a nice little warm-up at Comic-Con 2011, when showing off their designs for the Metalbending Police of Republic City.
Dimartino: And then, so, Toph's uh...this is Toph's daughter. Chief Beifong... And she's uh, she's the Chief of Police of Republic City and uh, in charge of all those Metalbenders.Crowd: Who's the father?Dimartino: I have no idea what you're yelling, but we gotta keep moving.
- Taken Up to Eleven when her father is revealed it turns out it's just some guy named Kanto. A nice guy but things didn't work out.
- Back at SDCC 2013, the crew shared some upcoming teasers, including a storyboard for a future scene. Completely out of context and with no explanation, it was revealed to be the sketch for the last scene of season 3, a very dramatic and heavy Wham Shot.
- Trolls to the end, they managed to close out the series finale with one last jab at the shippers. Heavy spoilers to follow: During the wedding reception, Korra and Mako have a close conversation (as one analyst put it, the characters were 'bowing out' and closing their storylines.) The two discuss how it's been a rocky road and while they're now Just Friends, Mako will still follow Korra in battle. It then cuts to a heart-to-heart with Tenzin, until they're interrupted by word Varrick wants to borrow a glider and jump off a tower. Asami then comes and sits with Korra for her heart-to-heart. After discussing the loss of her father, the two discuss the future, and decided to go on vacation in the spirit world. The two of them are next seen walking to the spirit portal, and then entering it hand in hand and looking deeply at each other, all but out right stating the fans were right.
- An FAQ based on the Gainax Ending of Total Drama World Tour and how things ended with so many loose ends were answered by the season directors as:
"What loose ends? Ha ha ha!"
- The dismal quality of Total Drama All-Stars and the negatively-received twists of its final act have further cemented the staff's trolling status.
- Seth MacFarlane, all-time master of "Dude, Not Funny!"-ness, has admitted more than once to be proud of the hate mail he gets.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Meghan: Will Shining Armor and Princess Cadance ever have a foal? Maaaaaybe...
- Tara Strong, who voices Twilight Sparkle, uses her Twitter account as a means to troll the brony fanbase with great dedication. Not long after this began, she actually recorded a little ditty (which was later animated) in which she boasts that "ain't no other pony trollin' down like me." Her Twitter exploits wasted no time in embracing the resulting "Twilightlicious" trend.
- Lauren Faust herself it would seem. Especially seeing how she continued...
- Meghan McCarthy likes to troll the fans, from tweeting fake episode titles for season 4 to calling writer Amy Keating Rogers in the middle of her panel at Everfree NW to remind her that she is not to tell that Pinkie Pie is becoming an alicorn.
- M.A. Larson just revels in trolling the more... emotional bronies. His response to the anger about Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn was this. There's a reason the more rational side of that fandom claim those first two initials stand for "Motherfuckin' Awesome" and tag such antics on Derpibooru with "Larson You Magnificent Bastard".
- G.M. Berrow is getting in on it too—shortly after the synopsis for one of her books was revealed that heavily spoils the ending of season 5 (it involves Starligt Glimmer), she took to Twitter saying "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet."
- Pretty much everyone at the Hub has taken a playful pot shot at the bronies at one point or another. They went on record assuring people that Twilight would not become an alicorn and that "Equestria Girls" was a false rumor. Needless to say when they happened, brony rage shook the planet itself.
- Jhonen Vasquez occasionally◊ enjoys prodding his fans.◊
- The first season of South Park ended on a cliffhanger as everyone waited to learn who Cartman's father was. The reveal was promised to come on April 1, but after teasing the answer with "Now, finally, the shocking truth about Cartman's lineage…" Trey Parker and Matt Stone threw in an April Fools Joke at the public with "Not Without my Anus", an episode starring Terrence and Phillip, the boys' favorite Canadian TV stars. Cartman's "father" was not revealed until several weeks later. Many viewers were not pleased. It actually is said during "Not Without My Anus," but it's almost completely drowned out by Terrence and Phillip's laughter, so it's extremely easy to miss. Oh, and the identity of Cartman's father was subject to a Retcon years later anyhow.
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast famously had the episode "Fire Ant", which was a special half hour long episode (in a show where most episodes are about 11-15 minutes). Except that only the first 15 minutes are an actual episode. The last half of the show is just Space Ghost silently following an ant for ten minutes. It's deliberately made to be as slow, tedious, and annoying as possible. There's one last joke at the end, if you're willing to sit through the damn thing.
- In a YouTube recap of Star Wars Rebels, Rebels Recon, for the episode "Idiot's Array", Pablo Hidalgo is asked who Fulcrum is. He begins to explain only for the video to become corrupted and cut to a "please stand by" image. And it goes straight to the preview for the next episode, leaving the question unanswered. At all.
- Teen Titans Go!:
- The creators have shown Robin and Starfire's relationship very differently from the first series, even dubbing over a scene from the Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo movie for a daydream.
- As many people note, "The Return of Slade" is one long Take That, Audience! that tried to sucker fans into watching and talking about the episode by promising an appearance by Slade, only to discard him about a minute-and-a-half in and focusing on a thinly-veiled response to the people who've criticized the show. Whether they've succeeded is another story.
- Gravity Falls: Alex Hirsch went to the trouble of creating a fake spoiler image, leaking it to the fanbase, and then tweeting about it◊ a few days after it was deemed to be inaccurate. The hoax was revealed over a year later when an episode aired that disproved the leaked image, and Hirsch himself admitted up to the gambit◊. He later explained that he did this because the fanbase prematurely put together the clues to one of the show's biggest mysteries, and he wanted to lead them off the trail while figuring out how to deal with such a problem.
- He stated that at least one character would not survive Season 2. These turned out to be the mayor, who only appeared in a single episode and was clearly not far from death, and Bill Cipher, who being the Big Bad was near-certain to either die or be permanently sealed in his home dimension.
- These instances of misleading came back to bite him when he was trying to warn fans that a then-upcoming character named Tad Strange was just a short gag and not a surprise new villain like the fans expected him to be. He later went into detail about the situation here.
- In the show's final episode, we finally get the reveal on the ten symbols that appear at the beginning and end of every episode. It's suitably grand and epic...and also completely pointless to the story.
- The writers of The Simpsons occasionally tease the audience by making it look like they're finally going to reveal which state Springfield is in. Examples include Lisa about to point it out on a US map just before Bart walks in front of the camera and a celebrity cameo flying to Springfield by going to the airport and buying a plane ticket to "the state where Springfield is located."
- [adult swim], listening to fan demand for a new season of Metalocalypse, decided to indulge their fans by giving out a fax number and asking fans to send their requests to the AS offices... where they were then fed straight from the printer into a shredder. On a live stream.