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Trolling Creator
"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.


Examples:

    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".
    • Example: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 movie, 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.
  • 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.
  • Though not nearly to the extent of Akamatsu, Naruto's Masashi Kishimoto seems to be trolling the shippers a lot over the last couple of years: Sai bluntly stating Naruto's feelings about Sakura, Naruto not giving an answer to Hinata's love confession, Sakura confessing on Naruto, Naruto refusing believing she was over Sasuke, Kushina's vague dating advice (telling Naruto to find someone like her), coupled with the revelation that Karin is an Uzumaki. This is also not a series where a Third-Option Love Interest is very popular with the fandom, illustrated by the loathing that Shiho gets for having a crush on Shikamaru.
    • Then there was the identity of Tobi. First it was said he was Madara. Then it turns out that the real Madara IS dead. This is when the Obito theory was finally put to rest, but came back with a vengeance, and it appears that it really was Obito behind the mask, although Tobi has been implying that he stole Obito's sharingan. Turns out Tobi is actually a fusion between Obito and something that Madara created from the Gedo Statue. Oh and Madara is The Man Behind the Man for Obito so technically he IS the Big Bad after all. Cue the entire fandom going cross-eyed.
    • Chapter 631 could be summed up (spoiler free) this series just got a whole lot weirder and doubled down on the shipping wars.
  • When summaries and magazines announced that, after a long, long stretch or episodes, Ash and co. 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 sleeps 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.

    Comedy 
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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 protestors, 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:
    • 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:
    "Please save your tears for issue 21"

    Fan Works 
  • 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 5/4
    The 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 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.

    Film 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When movie critic Roger Ebert called The Powerpuff Girls Movie "a nasty, nasty little movie," it was reported that creator Craig McCracken tooled the dealer room of San Diego's Comic Con International in a black T-shirt with "a nasty, nasty little film" in white letters.

    Literature 
  • 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!

    Live Action TV 
  • Joss Whedon has gone on record that he likes to create loveable, 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."
  • 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).
    • With how the Series 1 Cliffhanger was resolved in A Scandal In Belgravia, he and Mark Gatiss are a Trolling Creator duo.
      • 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:
      "[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."
      • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • 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.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Hideo Kojima, owing to the surely intentional amount of Fan Disservice in later Metal Gear games.
    • In the first Metal Gear, Big Boss tells the player to turn off the game system. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake refers to a radio frequency on a package, misleading players into thinking it's in the game when in actual fact it's the game package. In Metal Gear Solid, during the Psycho Mantis battle, the screen goes blank with "HIDEO" appearing, as a pun of the "VIDEO" sign that appeared on analog televisions.
    • 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.
  • 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 speakingwas 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 LMFAO 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.
  • Everyone in charge of releasing Namco Bandai's Tales games appears to be either this or just plain bonkers. They have a habit of releasing Updated Rereleases of their games on entirely different platforms before even a year has passed (to the point that their latest game always being an Obvious Beta has hit Memetic Mutation among the fandom). Of course, they will make damned sure that there's no way for people with the first version to download all this stuff despite massive DLC expansion packs not being unheard of. They also like to talk about how something is too costly to bring to the west... and then complain that they have no money. That's not the end of it, though. They'll also wait two years, give or take, after the Japanese release of a game to announce that they'll bring it to the west... in another year and a half. Longer for Europe. By which time, the entire fanbase has already bought imported versions of the game and won't buy the English titles either because they've already played the game or just out of sheer fan outrage... and then Namco Bandai will complain that nobody buys their products. What.
  • Yoko Taro 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.
  • The creator of Dark Souls, after a year of hinting at the secret origin and use of the starting item that was the pendent and a year of fan theories finally revealed what the pendant did. NOTHING!
  • 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 a rampaging serial killer... 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. Tameemi was also shown to be act really rude online.
  • 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.
    • 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: When's Kokonoe?
    Mori: No.
    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!
    Fans: NOOOOOO!!!!!
    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-
    Mori: ROFLMAO
    • 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.
  • 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.)
    • A Nintendo Direct webcast promoting the fourth Smash game involved a lot of trolling:
      • 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 is 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.
    "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."
    • Sakurai has occasionally dropped hints about Ridley, but in a roundabout that neither confirms or denies that he's even going to be in the game at all. His intentional vagueness is incredibly frustrating towards fans who want him playable.
    "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..."
    From the Direct (again): "Boss characters may appear in other stages, not just [Wily Castle]." [while showing a very Ridley-like shadow in the Pyrosphere stage]
    "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.]
    • 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:
    "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)"
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
    • 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).
    • And in-universe, Davan, whom Milholland modeled on himself, starts his own Comic Within A Comic, only to grow bored with it. However, rather than abandoning the project, he decides to use it to troll his fanbase. Hopefully, this will turn out better for him than for Davan (Catgirl rampage!)
  • 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
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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.)
    • 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.
    LK: I'm not sorry.
  • 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!
  • 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.

    Western Animation 

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