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Trolling Creator

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"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, or feel that it's funny.

See also Teasing Creator, Lying Creator, and The Walrus Was Paul.


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  • Agent Ali: On 29th Februaury 2020, the official Agent Ali YouTube channel posted a video titled "ejen ali the movie FULL 2019." Instead of the actual film, however, the video is an animated loop of Comot dancing to the movie's "Mamak Maju" song for the same duration as that of the movie. The title itself is similar to that of pirated movies uploaded to YouTube.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Akira Hiramoto of Prison School with respect to that manga's ending. The final serialized chapter was released on December 2017 with an abrupt Downer Ending, with the author promising a "much improved" epilogue on the release of the final volume (April 2018). Fans eagerly waited four months only to find that this epilogue was nothing more than a few panels of the boys dreaming about the Wet T-Shirts Contest with neither background explanation nor conclusion. In retrospect, this may also double as Torch the Franchise and Run for the author.
  • Ken Akamatsu of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. 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. He's also said that he responds to online character-bashing by increasing the page time for the characters being bashed.
  • 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 Devas 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.
    • For months, the Gorilla kept saying the manga would be ending in Jump at chapter 698. He kept his word... only for the very last page to have Gintoki say it's jumping ship to Jump Giga, with a note on how it was impossible to end it at that point. Also at the end of episode 367, Gintoki explains how Gintama ending will end up as a scam. Well played, Sorachi. Well played.
    • It got even better: even with the 3 bonus chapters it got in Jump Giga, it still won't stay dead: the last leg of its run would be played out in the manga's own app, but who knows how long that would take.
  • 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 CGI piano. Yes, this series is known for Mind Screw, but come on. In addition, the piano appears in official posters and theatre preview trailers.
  • Speaking also of Gainax, the Gainax Ending and Sequel Hook made the fanbase beg for more Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, only for no second season to occur, despite many teases. Though, the staff of the show and leaving to make their own studio, and that the show didn't sell well may have played a part in this.
  • Seo Kouji, author of A Town Where You Live 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,note  sometimes even stretching to Hate Dumb when he actually isn't trolling in the way the trope describes,note  but people insist he is.note 
  • 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 Hetalia: Axis Powers 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.
    • Most of his week-long breaks occurs whenever something crucial happens in the story. A well-known example is him revealing Gear Fourth at the end of Chapter 783. Other nasty examples included Chapter 900 where it looked like the Straw Hats died (obviously they didn't) and Chapter 1043 where it looks like Luffy has awakaned his Devil Fruit ability.
  • Naruto:
    • Masashi Kishimoto explains in this 2017 Jump Festa interview that he already decided that Naruto/Hinata would be the main Official Couple since the early stages of the manga, and he inserted all the Naruto/Sakura Red Herrings 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 Sasuke and Karin's daughter and not Sakura's, he even added a 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.
    • A non-shipping example would be the fight with Pain. Several characters, even Kakashi, end up dying in the fight (with the latter even meeting his father in the afterlife), then Hinata gets a chapter that plays out like A Death in the Limelight. Then Kishimoto plays with Hinata only having a mortal wound instead of being fatal, playing a B-plot during Naruto's fight with the other Ninja's trying to reach and heal Hinata before she completely bleeds out. Hinata is saved shortly before Naruto wins, then Kishimoto springs the trap: Pain gives his life to resurrect everyone he killed in the battle, making nearly all that drama pointless. Very few moments, mostly in story structure, hinted at what he was about to pull off.
  • When summaries and magazines announced that, after a long, long stretch or episodes, Ash and co. from Pokémon: The Series 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 has a habit of this, though he seems to like trolling Sunrise more than the actual fans:
    • He once claimed that the infamous Zakrello was "the most powerful machine of the One Year War."
    • Many of the more ridiculous looking Mobile Armors or battleships (especially the Zanscare machines in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam) were Tomino's response to Sunrise wanting toy models to sell. He'd see just how stupid looking he could make them and still have them accepted. Apparently something similar was going on with the names of the machines as well, which is why you have Mobile Suits named things like "Gouf", "Hamma-Hamma", "Zssa", and "Birkenau".
  • 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!
  • 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 sleep 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.
  • Bkub Okawa, author of the Yonkoma Pop Team Epic pulled a particularly dramatic example: He ended the manga and announced that he would be moving on to a new manga called Hoshiiro Girldrop, which promptly began to be promoted by his publisher. Then the first chapter of Hoshiiro Girldrop was published... and after a few pages the protagonist reveals herself to be the main protagonist of Pop Team Epic, and announces that Pop Team Epic will return.
    • He repeated the trick on a wider audience when Pop Team Epic was animated, both in promotions and in the first episode. Then Hoshiiro Girldrop was announced to have an anthology manga. By then, everyone was in on the joke: they expected it to be a Pop Team Epic anthology instead with a fake cover. When it came out, of course, it was 100% Girldrop.
  • Code Geass demonstrates that this doesn't just happen to fans: In the audio commendary for Episode 4, Ami Koshimizu (Kallen's voice actress) says she was told that Kallen's older brother Naoto died some time before the start of the series. Ichiro Okouchi (the show's co-creator and head writer) replies "Really? I wonder about that..."; Koshimizu is naturally surprised by this remark and demands an explanation which, of course, Okouchi never gives. Neither the show nor supplemental materials ever revealed anything further about Naoto, suggesting that it really was just trolling.
  • Cygames and Avex Pictures engaged in this trope during the initial promotion for Zombieland Saga, as they made it look as if it was going to be your typical Zombie Apocalypse and NOT the idol Horror Comedy anime it turned out to be, with all of the footage suggesting a violent and gritty series coming from a five-second video Kotaro shows the girls what would happen if they are caught.
  • Horikoshi Kohei seems to positively delight in tweaking My Hero Academia fans about the "UA traitor" subplot. After the idea was introduced, it went untouched for such a long time that some readers wondered if it had been abandoned entirely; allegedly, when asked about it during an interview, Horikoshi claimed he'd forgotten about the plot thread, which very few readers believed. Then in Chapter 241, Kaminari (the fandom's #1 suspect) seemingly performed the Paranormal Liberation Front's hand gesture during a mock interview, driving the Epileptic Trees through the roof...and in the very next chapter Horikoshi took an axe to them by having Principal Nezu very definitively state "Whoever the traitor is, it's not one of the students" after reviewing all the information they'd gathered.

  • 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.
  • In his early stand-up career, Steve Martin would often build a long and complex story, repeatedly making it seem like an epic punchline to everything was about to come, only to keep going, only stopping when some of the audience would start laughing just at how much they'd been had.

    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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 played Metaphorically True on the fandom by claiming that issue 13 takes place entirely in flashback (it does, but the 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"
  • 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.
  • Brian Michael Bendis has become infamous for his use of Twitter and other social media outlets to screw with fans, often by posting out-of-context panels and rough artwork while noting how much it will upset the fanbase. That his remarks have veered into outright insulting elements of the fanbase has become part of what makes him so divisive.
  • Batman writer Tom King posted a half-serious Batfamily combat rankings list that enraged fans to no extent, prompting other writers to get in on the fun as well. Some of the controversial picks included ranking both Cassandra Cain and Dick Grayson over Batman himself, and putting Jason Todd and Tim Drake below some notable female characters. To add insult to injury, he also jokingly ranked Jason below Ace the Bathound in terms of intelligence.
  • Robert Kirkman, in various interviews concerning The Walking Dead, had kept mentioning that he had plans for the title for 200 and even 300 issues. The title ended with July 2019's #193, to the shock of the fanbase, especially since he had covers for #194 and 195. For bonus points, the fake covers rather unsubtly teased the death of a major character.
  • When Jonathan Hickman was interviewed about his then-upcoming X-Men run (specifically House of X and Powers of X), when asked about the characters of Rasputin and Cardinal (specifically, "Are we interpreting things correctly by assuming those are familiar X-Men who have undergone some radical changes, or are they all-new characters?"), he answered, "I feel like you're using the royal 'we' there, and I'm not sure how down I am with your aristocratic bent. I will tell you that 'we' are not telling an Alt-Universe story." When asked whether Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Magneto, and Wolverine each come from different eras or their costumes just signify how iconic they were, he again unhelpfully answered, "I'm not telling a story that deals with time travel." Finally, when asked point-blank if Krakoa is involed in the story, he admits, "Okay, so this is the third question in a row that I'm ducking because I'm just not going to spoil the story for everyone who's looking forward to reading it." Then he goes off on a tangent about how he used to talk about his stories until he realized how it might spoil people's personal interpretations of them, before finally adding, "Anyway, that's how you duck a question."

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • The author(s) of Daring Do and the Journey to the Center of the Earth initially posted this story as a single 20,000 word long chapter. Fimfic users complained about the length and asked to split the story into smaller chapters. The result is that it was split into three chapters... by word count, so each chapter had exactly the same number of words, even though it resulted in chapter breaks happening in the middle of sentences.
  • Nimbus Llewelyn, best known for being the creator of Child of the Storm, is a master of this. He has enough Chekhov's Guns to rival JK Rowling, but has explicitly stated that the difference between a hint and a red herring largely depends on his mood. He also teased Harry's Animagus form being revealed, and indeed put in a scene where Harry gains his Animagus form... and turns into Captain Jack Harkness. Readers were then informed that yes, it was a joke, and no, they shouldn't be surprised.
    • He also teased in an author's note that Tonight, Someone Dies...then resurrected them and cheerfully added, "I never said it would stick."
    • In addition, another author's note mentioned that he considered calling Chapter 70 (in which Luna Lovegood and Arthur Weasley get killed off) 'Yes, I Really Am A Bastard.'
    • As the author is a big fan of Spider-Man, readers were wondering when Peter Parker would get bitten, gain his powers, and join the story. In Chapter 29 of the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, Peter Parker does indeed get a vampire.
    • In Chapter 41 of Ghosts, Nimbus justified his changing the nature of the First Task by noting that "Harry would quite literally walk over any normal dragon with ease." As it turns out, the key word there is "normal", and Harry winds up fighting an Elder Wyrm, which is indeed a kind of dragon, albeit one far more badass than a mere Hungarian Horntail.
  • The author ofThe Digital Domain, a Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad fanfic, received an email by someone demanding the insertion of gay sex, with the recommendation to "make it hot". The author replied that the next chapter would feature something really hot. Cue a chapter where a Megavirus monster causes a car to crash into a gas pump and catch fire.
  • FoxOnPie, the author of Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku! loves to yank readers' chains during periods of Wild Mass Guessing. In the midst of speculation of the identity of the mysterious socialite who appears in Chapter 7, he jokingly said that she was related to Kite Man. In another case, he said that Kim Possible was a previous holder of One For All. In both cases, users responded as if he were completely serious.
  • Transwiththeplans, author of Of Gemstones and Watches releases Chapter 34. On Christmas Eve. In the chapter, Max Tennyson dies. One reviewer made a review that simply said: "I hate you."

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • George Lucas is often believed to be this. Especially after his claim that "Greedo always shot first." And then he was photographed during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wearing a "Han Shot First" T-shirt. And in response to the negative reception of Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, he gave its sequel Attack of the Clones the Working Title "Jar Jar's Great Adventure", even though Jar Jar had a greatly reduced role in Episode II.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • 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.
    • Ant-Man: How does Marvel show off the first trailer? It reveals the "ant-sized" trailer... and the footage is ant-sized.
    • Taika Waititi comes off a this for some Marvel Comics purists in regards to his MCU contributions. He went as far as saying he barely opened a single Mighty Thor comic book, didn't like what was in it and decided to make Thor: Ragnarok without taking any inspiration from it, and that the film was "written by a 6 year old". Then a couple years later he trolled further by pretending Thor: Love and Thunder has been written by a 10 year old.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: The trailers and promos were basically trolling fans since day one. Apart from shots that weren't even in the film (such as Hulk fighting alongside the Avengers and the Wakandan Army), and fake scenes being shot to protect the secrecy of the real plot of the film, almost every trailer baited the audiences into thinking that the Avengers and Guardians were going to resolve the threat of Thanos' quest for the Infinity Stones by the end of the film, despite the apparent increased stakes. And we all know how that turned out.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): In January 2019, Sam Jackson did an interview in which he said that Carol can time travel. The week the movie came out that March, he finally revealed that it was something he just made up because he was tired of people asking him for spoilers.
    • After the release date for Deadpool 3 was announced, packaged with the reveal that Hugh Jackman would be reprising his role as Wolverine from the X-Men Film Series, Ryan Reynolds released a video where he and Hugh apparently explain how Wolverine's still around following his death in Logan. Except a few seconds after they start explaining, all their dialogue gets covered up by Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".
  • Uwe Boll's video game adaption movies are far worse than his less known non-adaption films, like Darfur. 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.
  • 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 and wanted to get a rise out of kids. He even faked "test footage" of the hoverboards in action with special effects to sell the gag.
  • The opening of Fargo says it's based on a true story, but the Coen brothers revealed that they just said that to mess with the audience.
  • Promotional press material of Zack Snyder's Justice League showcased a new look for Jared Leto's Joker. A trailer involved the meme "We live in a society" associated with the Joker and an interview showed Leto donning a Crown of Thorns to resemble the crucifixion, both of which caused internet outcry. But neither the line or the crown actually appear in the movie, and given the close proximity to release was likely done just to have fun or stir things up a little. It's not the first time Leto has made headlines with "outrageous" film set antics, those from the filming of Suicide Squad were already notorious (though according to himself, a good part of these were just urban legends).

  • Dragaera author 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.
  • Jim Butcher, creator of The Dresden Files, Codex Alera series, and The Cinder Spires series.
    • He is very upfront about it:
      Nordling: It reminds me, do you like torturing your characters? Is it more fun to torture them a bit?
      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.
    • His April Fools' Day's prank in 2015:
      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.
    • This Twitter reply in July 15th, 2015:
      BigBentley15 [Ryan Bentley]: @longshotauthor what part of peace talks are you writing RIGHT NOW!
      longshotauthor [Jim Butcher]: @BigBentley15 Murphy's funeral.
      Fans: O_O
      • 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, Jim Butcher. Well played.
  • 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!
  • Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, has abused his author status so often, he's earned the nickname "Trollfer".
  • Mick Herron initially promoted 2023 spy novel The Secret Hours as a standalone book, not part of his Jackson Lamb series. In an interview with the Guardian he stated that although it's in the same shared setting, "Jackson Lamb’s name is never mentioned". Lamb is one of the main characters, but it's mostly set in 1994 Berlin, not the present day, and he was using an alias at the time.
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 

By Creator:

  • 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 her 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).
    • When River Song became a Base-Breaking Character, especially as a love interest to the Doctor, Moffat announced that an upcoming episode would be titled "The Doctor's Wife". River didn't even appear in the episode; the titular character was in fact the TARDIS. Then the Doctor actually does marry River by the end of the season.
      • Several years later, Moffat brought River back for a romantic storyline, "The Husbands of River Song" that aired three weeks after an epically romantic storyline involving the Doctor and companion Clara Oswald reached a bittersweet conclusion. Fans on both sides (River and Clara) were not happy at being trolled like this.
      • Basically, Moffat seems to dislike the idea that sympathetic characters can have only One True Love Forever, and loves trolling monoshippers.
    • Moffat can even troll fans with an obscure Continuity Nod! The Doctor's reference in "The Doctor Falls" to Marinus as one of the planets on which Cybermen have developed is to the 1980s Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story "The World Shapers", which is wildly unpopular Fanon Discontinuity because of its over-complicated attempt to give the Cybermen an origin (and its particularly grim depiction of Jamie's fate after "The War Games").
    • 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 series three, they are "Rat. Wedding. Bow." And for series four, they were "Thatcher. Smith. Sherrinford."
      • In some parts of the Internet, "Moffat!!" serves quite well as a curse word. Usually accompanied by shaking a fist at the heavens.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Dan Schneider: He used his livejournal account, and later a self run blog and then twitter to troll fans during the run of iCarly and Victorious era. His trolling was mostly aimed towards shippers, particular of the fandom dominant Slap-Slap-Kiss couple of Sam & Freddie. He would post vague statements that the shippers would interpret in their favour, do episode rundowns where he would concentrate on discussing & pushing pairings that weren't the focus of the episode, post pictures from set involving characters kissing or other interactions while also casting doubt upon what those pictures were showing, only for them to be exactly what they looked like. The most obvious example of going from teasing to trolling is when he posted a script fragment that he quickly took down but not before it was widely reproduced in the fandom. It started a firestorm of shipping and general fandom drama, which resulted in him deleting his livejournal account, destroying a significant amount of their interaction with him and creating another wave of drama, starting his new blog and being angry enough at the fandom that he wrote an entire episode poking fun at shippers. That script fragment, nor anything remotely similar to it was ever filmed.
    • When the Les Yay ship fandom of Jade & Tori exploded on Victorious he started trolling them as well, although it was never as harsh as with iCarly for the sole reason that no-one seriously expected Nickelodeon to greenlight a lesbian relationship in a live action comedy back in 2013.

By Series:

  • 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 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.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: Viewers of the teaser thought one line sounded suspiciously similar to the title character of The Mandalorian, even though he didn't appear onscreen. Articles and videos began crediting it to Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal, treating it as confirmation that either his series would cross over with The Book of Boba Fett, or (since the captions attributed the quote to either "Alien 1" or "Translator" rather than "The Mandalorian") Pascal landed more than one Star Wars role. It turned out that Boba Fett showrunner Robert Rodriguez recorded the line himself, but he didn't correct any of those articles or videos right away. Instead, he let the rumors that Pascal said it circulate for over a month, before he finally revealed the truth to The Hollywood Reporter. (Pascal couldn't credit Rodriguez because filming The Last of Us (2023) prevented him from finding time to post about the teaser.)
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lovers Walk" has Cordelia get impaled through the stomach with rebar after falling through the floor of an abandoned building. While the others try to rescue her, the background music and dialogue heavily imply that Cordelia is dying, right before a Funeral Cut... to someone else's funeral. Cordelia survived and is in hospital.
  • Dan Harmon, creator of Community, is quite fond of trolling his audience, especially in regards to shipping. He's been known to drag out UST for years, with plenty of lampshading to make it clear he knows exactly how much the audience is hurting for a resolution. One of the most notable examples was in season 2. The entire season was filled to the brim with Annie/Jeff Ship Tease, with plenty of Held Gazes and longing looks. At the end, it's revealed that Jeff was completely unaware of any of this, as he was having secret sex with Britta the entire time. And for bonus points, Jeff and Britta broke up when their relationship was discovered, as it wasn't fun anymore, thus flipping off Britta/Jeff shippers too.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: As well as all the Moffat examples in the "creators" section above, the publicity for the 2021 New Year special "Revolution of the Daleks" heavily featured the introduction of a new Dalek design, which was hugely controversial the last time and caused quite a bit of online debate this time. In the episode, the new-design Daleks are denounced as "impure" and massacred by standard Russell T Davies-era-design Daleks.
  • 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.
    • In the interviews before and during season 1, Martin was saying of Sean Bean's character Eddard "Ned" Stark that he was the character the books follow, and thus much of the limelight for every season would be on him. All the readers of the books (and Sean's fans) laughednote , but the non-readers sure didn't and reacted with shock and quite a bit of anger.
    • 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.
      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]
    • 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.
  • 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."
  • Horrible Histories: Toward an actor rather than the audience — Jim Howick suppourts Tottenham, but the writers often have his characters mention being Arsenal fans.
  • Season 3 of How to Get Away with Murder opened with Annalise's house burning down, with one person found dead inside and another in critical condition, and then as per the series' standards, it flashed back to an earlier time, with the show finally catching up with the "present" at the winter finale. The fans were promised that each week, the creators would reveal who wasn't dead, and sure enough, each episode ended with a flash forward to the day of the fire showing at least one character whose status was unknown to be alive and well. Except one week's scene failed to show any of the characters who had previously been shown to be alive, and furthermore, was set entirely indoors in a windowless room. Come the winter finale, the scene turned out to have taken place during the daytime, hours before the fire, and the character shown to be alive in that scene was the corpse.
    • Not content to merely be a Lying Creator, however, the show then proceeded to drop hints that the character in question had merely faked their death, possibly with the help of their alleged killer, only to repeatedly snuff out the fans' hopes over and over again, with the WMGs seemingly quashed for good when all of the alleged co-conspirators were dead by Season 5. Nope. Season 6's winter finale showed that the character was alive all along.
      • The series finale in all its advertising asked "Who Killed Annalise". No one "killed" her. The scene in the winter finale that appeared to show a dead character alive and attending Annalise's funeral was in fact a hint that she lived a long life—long enough for the character's son, who wasn't even born until six months after he died, to grow up to look just like his father.
  • 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."
  • The trailers for Season 5 of Lucifer indicated the whole season would be about Lucifer's twin brother Michael posing as him and completely fooling all the other heroes while Lucifer himself was still stuck running Hell, after the show's fans had long gotten sick of the human characters being Locked Out of the Loop and made to look increasingly idiotic for not noticing the clues in front of their faces. In the actual season, his deception lasts a grand total of one episode before being uncovered and the show moves on to a much better story.
  • 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 for fun, he would occasionally add fuel to the fire by anonymously posting comments that in his opinion Mike was better than Joel to see people bitching about it.
    • During a panel discussion at a convention that took place sometime after Mike became host, Kevin Murphy screwed with the crowd by pointing to the back of the room and yelling, "Oh my god, it's Joel!"
    • When the Netflix revival was confirmed to be getting another season during the 2017 Turkey Day marathon, many fans suspected the crew knew for quite a while beforehand, given the amount of time that goes into choosing which movies to feature on top of the actual writing and filming process.
  • The Prisoner (1967):
    • This series 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 it).
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • An interesting example happened with The Shield around Season 5's finale. Some spoilers leaked that said Ronnie would die and Lem would leave and go to Mexico. These spoilers mentioned a lot of things that came through in the episode, but were totally wrong about the ending. That's because the creators themselves put those spoilers out.
  • Supernatural:
    • Eric Kripke, the creator and original showrunner, 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. Kripke also wrote quite a few meta episodes lampooning obsessive fangirls.
    • There's another 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
  • An example where the person involved came to regret it, Paul Bettany teased an appearance by an actor "he wanted to work with since forever" in the finale of WandaVision. Given the rampant speculation, he apologized on Good Morning America as the actor turned out to be himself as the white version of The Vision.
  • 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.

  • 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. The band also once trolled an audience in Buenos Aires, Argentina who had insulted their opening act. Kurt Cobain was so angry that he nearly left, but the band played their b-material and teased "Teen Spirit" twice without playing it instead. One of the only hits played was a rendition of "Come As You Are," with Cobain replacing the opening section of the song with repetitions of "Hey."
  • 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."
    • Faith No More have also picked up on the trolling of other artists. At one famous 1995 show, noise rock band Steel Pole Bath Tub played an opening set for Faith No More consisting of nothing but "Paranoid" and "Surrender" over and over again, making the audience incredibly angry as a result. When Faith No More came on stage, they opened their set...with their own version of "Paranoid" and teased the audience with its opening riff multiple times throughout the show. For their encore, they brought Steel Pole Bath Tub back on stage to play "Paranoid" for the seventh time in the show.
  • 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.
  • After Liturgy released The Ark Work, multiple reviewers accused the band of trolling their audience (and metal fans in general). This has been a popular interpretation of the band since Hunter Hunt-Hendrix released his "transcendental black metal" manifesto, in fact, but The Ark Work seems to have taken it to a new level.
  • Serge Gainsbourg was said to have been a master at pushing the buttons of Moral Guardians with his sex-riddled songs. Perhaps the most (in)famous example would probably be his song "Lemon Incest", which featured a shirtless Serge in bed with his pantsless 12-year-old daughter Charlotte.
  • The Beatles' deliberately nonsensical "I Am the Walrus" was inspired by a letter John Lennon received about how his former high school were analyzing the lyrics to Beatles' songs in the classroom. According to legend, after recording the song he quipped "Let's see the bastards figure that one out!"
    • The Beatles did this frequently. "Glass Onion" is Lennon trolling fans — particularly everyone who came up with elaborate conspiracy theories about Sgt. Pepper's — with a cavalcade of meaningless Continuity Porn references to older Beatles songs. "I thought I'd confuse people who read great depths into lyrics," he later admitted.
  • Aphex Twin: The man loves messing with the audience and anyone who tries to interview him. For example:
    • The amount of Nightmare Fuel and Sensory Abuse to be found in some of his music and videos.
    • His multiple unconfirmed pseudonyms.
    • The time he titled a number of tracks after malware programs to troll anyone who tried to find them on filesharing services.
    • His anecdote, whether true or not, about giving a band a random track he had lying around the studio as a commissioned remix.
    • The time he persuaded a journalist that he lived in the windowless building in the centre of the Elephant and Castle roundabout in London (it's actually an electrical substation for the London Underground).
  • Lil Nas X is rapidly becoming hip-hop's answer to Aphex Twin:
    • In response to the Satan Shoes controversy, he put out a video of himself apologizing for the shoe...or not; as he's about to do so, the video then cuts to the lapdance scene from the "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" video.
    • Shortly after releasing the video for "Industry Baby", which includes a scene of him and a group of men dancing naked in a shower with pixelated censorship, he released the uncensored version of the video...which pretends to buffer right before the aforementioned scene and continues buffering for the entire song.
    • In a similar vein as the Satan Shoes video, he took to Twitter to promote a response video to Boosie and T.I., who had made homophobic comments about the "Industry Baby" video, offering a presumable thumbnail and link...which went directly to the "Industry Baby" video.
  • Just about everyone agrees that Don McLean wrote "American Pie" as a lament about what he saw as the music industry moving in the wrong direction after the deaths of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. The specific imagery in the song is another matter. McLean has been notoriously unwilling to discuss it, and when asked what the song means he replies, "It means I never have to work again."
  • In 2017, one Weezer fan's twitter campaign to get the band to cover "Africa" by Toto became memetic - a year later, the band responded by covering "Rosanna", a slightly lesser-known Toto hit from the same album (Toto IV), and announced its arrival by tweeting it directly at the fan's account (Though they did release an "Africa" cover days later). A second level of trolling involved the date they chose to release the "Rosanna" cover: While promoting Pacific Daydream, the band spoke of another album, The Black Album, that they had been working on beforehand, and gave it a tentative release date of May 25, 2018; the "Rosanna" cover was released on May 24 of that year.
    • Rivers Cuomo's twitter account can be confusing because of a habit he has of copy/pasting messages fans sent to him, sometimes changing pronouns so it still sounds like he's speaking for himself. Mostly it's purely humorous, but he's done things like quote a fan asking about when the next Weezer album would come out in a way that made it sound like he was teasing a release date.
  • The Tom Lehrer song "My Home Town" implies some horrible secret about a man named Parson Brown, with Lehrer pausing the song to note that the line is so shocking he can't say it on the recording, much to the audible disappointment of the crowd. In fact, he never actually wrote any line for it.
  • No, your copy of Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 isn't damaged. "It's All Tears (Drown in This Love)" is supposed to make you think so, with the way it ends - cutting off abruptly after apparent issues with one of the stereo channels. The joke worked so well people actually brought their copies back to where they bought them, thinking they'd gotten one that was damaged. They take it to another level in concert: Playing on the obvious innuendo already in the song, they really throw any and all subtlety out the window to close out this particular number as Valo screeches some raunchy lyrics from "Wall of Fire" to the rest of his band playing "TV Eye".
  • SOPHIE often tried to play herself as an anonymous producer early on in her career before she publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2017, resulting in a very interesting Boiler Room liveset in 2014. While the show was advertised under her name and was playing her music, the DJ on stage wasn't actually her, but a Drag Queen she hired to mime a performance while she stood near the set as a bodyguard. Fortunately this was a one-off incident, and would eventually come around to properly doing live performances as herself.
  • A lot of the initial shock value of Punk Rock came from the way bands like the Sex Pistols would deliberately antagonize live audiences, often to the point of inciting riots.
  • Eminem started his greatest hits compilation album with "FACK", a grossout comedy non-hit that he wrote under the influence of an Ambien addiction, widely considered to be the worst song he ever wrote. Its badness became enough of an injoke within his fandom that he started selling "FACK TRUMP" tshirts and even began performing parts of the song live (where it always gets an extremely positive reception). He also uses it to signal him making mistakes in his career, such as sampling it for the goofy cartoonish beat under the spoken monologue at the beginning of "Kamikaze".

    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 
  • On January 22, 2021, a day before Brawl Talk, Brawl Stars's social media accounts posted a picture which heavily implied the arrival of a cat brawler, complete with the caption "Meow?". Brawl Talk starts with Ryan and Dani talking about the new season, "Space Cats", and are about to introduce us to the "first cat brawler", Kit. Then the screen cuts to black, a cat scream is heard, and we learn that Kit was replaced by Colonel Ruffs, a dog brawler. This could have actually been a great surprise, had the Korean YouTube channel not not accidentally uploaded the Brawl Talk the day before.
  • 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 believing they'd be playing as 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.
      • Well, you do get to play the Big Boss who was first introduced in the very first Metal Gear... until you find out that he's actually a doppelgänger. That means not only did you not get to play as Big Boss for the entire game, you never fought Big Boss the first time around either.
    • The sheer fact that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance even exists is proof to Kojima's troll status. The other 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!
      • Well, there is some philosophy in that game... it's just a simple "If you believe in your philosophy, bash the other guy who doesn't agree with you."
    • Let's just say he's earned the title "The Man Who Trolled The World" for a good reason.
  • Europa Universalis IV: Since players complained that the "comet sighted" event only showed one possible choice (which caused a -1 stability drop), the developers added many new choices, but they all result in the same outcome as the original one.
  • 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 Treasurenote  episode... 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 an 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 Mega Man from the original game's infamous American box art 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.
      • This was ultimately a problem of timing however as neither Universe nor Legends 3 were cancelled yet when they came up with the idea.
    • 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 was 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 assassins based on Cammy, who looks like Cammy with a sinister mask, has a charged moveset variation 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 got 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, complete 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. However, when the Arcade Edition of the game was released, Blanka was one of the characters included.
  • Square Enix when it comes to Superboss Absolute Virtue in Final Fantasy XI. 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 get 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 that.note 
  • 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.
  • Doom's Nightmare difficulty owes itself to this trope. People on Usenet were talking about the game's highest difficulty, Ultra-Violence, being too easy. In response, John Romero and John Carmack threw together a new difficulty mode as a joke, with the specific intent of it being as frustrating, unpleasant, and unfair as possible: aside from all the benefits of Ultra-Violence, enemies are vastly more aggressive and attack more frequently, projectile speeds and the movement speeds of some enemies are increased (with pinky demons in particular becoming downright ridiculous), nearly all slain enemies will respawn at a random time after being dead, and just to throw the player a minor bone for all of the above, ammo pickups are doubled. The mode was barely playtested, and what testers they did use couldn't even get more than a few levels into the campaign before giving up. It was declared perfect, and released in version 1.2. To their pleasant surprise, Nightmare was welcomed happily, as it provided a sort of "ultimate challenge" for players.
  • For April Fools Day 2012, Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, hyped up to a new champion release, a manatee named Urf. On the day of his release, they released a story about how the day before, Urf had been murdered by Warwick, to whom they released a skin featuring Urf's carcass. However, rather than rage, the fandom just went with it and turned Urf into the unofficial mascot of League. Riot Games noticed, and eventually turned Urf into the official go-to for gags, such as Ultra Rapid Fire mode which they insisted was "the future of League."
  • Blizzard Entertainment 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. The developers of the game also took to wearing shirts to conventions featuring a colorful "Diablo III" logo complete with unicorns and rainbows.
    • 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 the end of time.
    • Downplayed in Starcraft I: the cheat code "there is no cow level" is a reference to an urban legend regarding a supposed Easter Egg in the first Diablo, involving an alleged cow level with murder cows as enemies. It was not true, but the fanbase was high on it.
  • Yoko Taro of Drakengard and NieR fame earned a reputation for this with a streak of Tomato in the Mirror. The most infamous cases are the final endings of previously mentioned games that you have to go through hell just to reach, with each new ending growing more strange and generally unpleasant. As an added gut punch to players, some of these games require players to sacrifice their save data and unlockables in order to achieve the final ending.
  • 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? It helps that Dark Souls is a game in which even the tiniest of details can be extremely important for understanding the story or the gameplay, making fans even more on the lookout for such things. 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. And just to rub it in, the key item for accessing the game's DLC is a Pendant... a different Pendant with no relation to the first.
  • 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 Project. 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 events" and news sites will report on it not realizing what Kamiya was doing. He will also drop some vague hints to a possible Switch port of or project related to The Wonderful 101, but without directly confirming or denying anything.
  • Leading up to the release of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Bethesda released social media promotions and posts that throw shade on the growing "alt-right" movement, including one post that pays homage to the famous video of Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.
  • 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.
  • 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. They tweeted again several minutes later announcing that they were only kidding, and his name had made the transition to the US intact.
  • Tameem 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 Tameem 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. Tameem'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 shamenote . 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 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 Trolololo 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!!!
      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.
    • With Kokonoe now playable, in spite of the problems above, it seemed that the fandom accusation to Mori was that he was doing the same ever since the earlier days, except this time to her father Jubei. Indeed, this badass cat had 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. Jubei would eventually be announced as a DLC character for Central Fiction.
  • Masahiro Sakurai has this reputation among fans of the Super Smash Bros. series:
    • Due to being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Sakurai is frequently swamped by fans begging him to put this or that character in. To counter this, one of the first new characters revealed for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U was the Wii Fit Trainer, a character he happily noted no one had guessed or asked for.
    • One of the Nintendo Directs promoting for 3DS and Wii U involved a lot of playful trolling:
      • After revealing that Samus' Zero Laser no longer causes her to change form, with transforming characters in general no longer being a mechanic, he followed it up by saying that Zero Suit Samus would not be returning as a result... 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, a reveal that would dash the character's chances at being a playable character. It cuts to the trophy's hideous Nightmare Face with a Scare Chord instead, revealing it as the boss Pseudo-Palutena. Palutena herself would be confirmed as a fighter at E3 that year.
    • 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."
    • The reveal of Takamaru seems to be in the same vein as Waluigi, building him up before dragging him back down again with the fact that he's not 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.)"
    • Sakurai had occasionally dropped hints about Ridley, but in a roundabout way that neither confirmed or denied that he was even going to be in for 3DS and Wii U at all, to the frustration of fans who wanted him playable. Even after he 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.
      "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.]
    • It was announced that on July 14th, 2014 there would be a big character announcement. But hours before the big event, Sakurai casually (emphasis on 'casually') posted his usual Pic of the Day... that had Rayman on it. Considering that this was the first time a non-Nintendo universe character was introduced with a trophy, fans wouldn't be blamed for thinking that was the announcement... until later that day, when: both male and female Robin and Lucina were announced as fighters. 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. Then the trailer cuts to some gameplay footage promising that no, he's getting his chance now... as Robin's Final Smash. His actual chance as a fighter came four years later in the fifth installment, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • In the full reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 2018:
      • After taking a minute to recap the game's premise (while showing footage from for Wii U) he then shows the message "THE END", only for the words "(just kidding)" to show up seconds later. During the time period between the March 8, 2018 teaser and the full E3 reveal that featured that joke, many people assumed that whatever Super Smash Bros. game was coming for the Nintendo Switch would just be a port of the Wii U game with a smattering of extra content (such as the unique content from the Nintendo 3DS game), as was the case with Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
      • He also trolls Waluigi fans again, not only showing that he's still an Assist Trophy but using him to demonstrate that Assists can now be KOed.
      • At the end of the reveal, Sakurai explains that their main focus was making sure every fighter from the previous games returned, "so I'm kind of hoping you aren't expecting too many new challengers" (at this point, the only new characters unveiled were the Inkling and Daisy) — immediately before revealing that Ridley had finally been Promoted to Playable. Plus Ultimate featured a total of eleven new characters (six brand-new and five Moveset Clones) and twelve more in DLC (one stand-alone, five in one pass, and six in a second pass), so your mileage on how much of a cheeky statement that was depends on how many characters one expected.
    • King K. Rool's reveal trailer had a Bait-and-Switch on both the Kongs and the audience by making it seem like K. Rool's appearance was just King Dedede was playing a prank... before the actual K. Rool shows up to knock the laughing penguin out of frame. Doubly an example of this, as Dedede is voiced by Sakurai himself. In the same Direct that revealed K. Rool, during the My Music segment, the announcement of the total number of music tracks included came with a tally counter that seems to slow down at around 481... only to regain speed and abruptly stop at the actual total: 800.
    • And in the final Nintendo Direct before the game's release, Sakurai announced a free extra DLC character for early adopters... the Piranha Plant from Super Mario Bros. That's right, kids — forget the badass protagonists, musclebound fighters, or world-shattering beasts, the bonus for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a potted plant.
    • The Nintendo Direct at E3 2019 was a double whammy. Sakurai had told fans on Twitter to expect a (as in one) new character reveal, and the Direct started with the reveal of the Dragon Quest Hero. People thought that was it, until halfway through the Direct, Sakurai posts another tweet, hinting at a second reveal. It ended up being a shot-for-shot remake of the K. Rool reveal, only now K. Rool is with the Kongs and the Duck Hunt duo was the pranksters, posing as a different mammal/bird pair and the Kongs' old Rareware buddies Banjo-Kazooie.
    • The colossal trolling in the September 4th, 2019 trailer involved a single Running Gag of various SNK characters reaching for the invitation, only for it to slip from their fingers. Starts out innocuous enough with Kyo, Ryo, Andy and Joe, but then it causes Geese Howard to fall to his death (again), mocks the everliving hell out of Nakoruru and Mamahaha, and leaves Iori laughing yet again before it rests in a spotlight where Terry Bogard, the actual pick, snatches it up.
    • While it came out that Sakurai wasn't the one that chose to make Byleth playable, the reveal trailer did poke fun at Fire Emblem's reputation in the Smash community when Sothis quips "Too many swordsmen, are there?" It mocked the memes further by having Byleth abuse Exact Words: He turns into his female counterpart, therefore becoming a swordswoman.
  • 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.
    • And yet again in the Mirror universe event. The Mirror Universe was originally established in Star Trek: The Original Series as a universe where the relatively peaceful Federation were bloodthirsty conquerors (And Evil Spock had a goatee). It reappeared on Deep Space 9 where rather uptight Kira Nerys was a manipulative ruthless Depraved Bisexual with power. In the latest season it is revealed The Mirror Federation is lead by a ruthless emperor. Who is the Emperor? Only the most hated and complained about character on Star Trek. Wesley Crusher.
  • 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 sixth installment in their popular 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 yet, so they went ballistic. Truly, Atlus does get off on our tears.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax had a character referred to as "P5Protag" internally. This character would be eventually released as Sho Minazuki, a redheaded convict with split personality issues... who turned out to have absolutely nothing to do with P5 aside from sharing a motif color. And to top it all off, his only appearance in P5 would wind up being as DLC for its dancing spinoff.
    • From the same game, we have the Malevolent Entity, a creature whose ability to take on other Shadows' forms, use of false memories, and plan to get the characters to fall into despair make him look like the oft-requested comeback of Nyarlathotep, villain of the first two and a half games. Who does he turn out to be? Hi-no-Kagutsuchi, a completely unrelated deity.
    • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth marked the return of the Persona 3 Portable female protagonist. Fans were sure she'd finally get a Canon Name like the other featured protagonists, since her only other name came from the one continuity where both male and female protagonists were siblings. The Q series doesn't name any of its protagonists, instead calling them "Persona [X] Protagonist" where applicable on canon material. FeMC was no exception.
  • Eiji Aonuma, director of The Legend of Zelda, almost never does this. But he has had his moments:
    • When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was revealed during E3 2014, 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."
    • When Aonuma made a presence near the end of a Nintendo Direct in February 2021, he was aware that his presence alone would excite fans longing for news and updates pertaining to the then sequel to Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom. So he went on to say that he had nothing from the game to show in that presentation. Aonuma had assured fans in 2020 (during the presentation of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity) that they only needed to wait "a bit longer" for a new preview on the new mainline game, and when delivering the bad news in the later video he used those same words to ask fans for patience. He did promise that information would be presented for real in 2021, and presented a trailer for the remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Switch to compensate the wait:
      Aonuma: "I'm sure a lot of you saw me and thought there might be news about the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game. Unfortunately, we don't have anything to show right now. We apologize."
  • 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 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."
    • That's not even getting into the tweet itself. To the user loudly proclaiming that Lucky Chloe should be removed from Tekken 7, he only had this to say:
  • 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%.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • 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".
    • 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.
    • As an example of him trolling fans, he was once asked if Mangle was a boy or a girl. His answer was yes.
    • After information regarding the voice actors for Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location was supposedly leaked, the next teaser image on Cawthon's website stated the game was "cancelled due to leaks". Brightening the image, however, reveals an In-Universe news story about the cancellation of Circus Baby's Pizza World's grand opening due to gas leaks.
    • And, on the eve of the release date, he was at it again with a "kid friendly" version of Sister Location due to the actual game being "too dark". Much like the "hacked" version of 3, it's actually his earlier game, Sit and Survive, with the protagonist wearing a Freddy mask.
    • He struck once again as he claimed the next game in the series, Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, was just a spin-off, similar to FNAF World. Everyone believed him, as Sister Location was considered by fans to be the final game. It turned out to be Five Nights at Freddy's 6, and he may have just pulled off one of the greatest trolls ever.
  • 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.
  • One of the subgenres of Super Mario Maker and its sequel are the troll levels, in which many troll level creators employ these tropes in the levels themselves. These troll levels also subvert conventional norms in the Mario series.
  • Fans of the dinosaur game Saurian kept requesting Spinosaurus in the game, despite the dinosaur not being found any place or time near the Hell Creek Formation where the game is set. As a response to this, the game devs during a livestream claimed that a new unpublished Spinosaurid called "Montanaspinus" had been discovered in the formation. Poe's Law ensued, however, which resulted in the devs having to explain this was just a prank and that "Montanaspinus" was not a real dinosaur.
  • Happens in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Thought there was an in-game evolution trade that would allow the player to receive a Haunter that will immediately evolve into Gengar? Turns out the trading NPC had the Haunter hold an Everstone so that Haunter wouldn't evolve after trading it over to the player.
  • Landfall Games, creators of Clustertruck, can do this if your game is integrated with Twitch where they can use a set number of commands only for the game's creators, and mess with you while you stream the game. Things like stopping you in midair, changing your truck's colors, stopping the trucks altogether, or better yet, Rickrolling you.
  • In Bioware's Neverwinter Nights, there existed a popular player-made server called Path of Ascension. In it, the server's creators added a script that would trigger whenever a magic-based character cast the spell Time Stop in the hub town. After an instance of Time Stop was cast, anyone attempting to rest in town would immediately die. High-level players would often invoke this script on purpose to troll other players on the server. Lowbie player responses would always be "WTF, why am I dead?" with more knowledgeable players retorting with "Lol, TS." On the upside, the script would reset resting back to normal after another Time Stop spell was cast.
  • Kensuke Tanaka, the lead producer for KanColle, is often regarded as one, and it's more than just for the truckloads of salt-inducing seasonal events and RNG-dependent outcomes. One of his first acts was to affirm that ships do sink at orange (i.e. 50% health or lower, aka "medium damage"), which was in direct contradiction to information provided in the tutorial (i.e. only heavily damaged ships are at risk of being sunk), and in at least two to four events, he intentionally withheld key information regarding the events, such as the existence of the sixth map in the Summer 2014 Event which bars all AL/MI participants, the precise location of the debuff nodes for the final map of Summer 2015, the air-raid debuff at E5 for Spring 2016 E6, on top of the boss having an Achilles' Heel that can only be struck during the initial airstrike, as well as understating the number of Saiuns needed for the Winter 2017 Event. Many Admirals consider him being the resident Misblamed creator of the game completely justified for this reason.
  • Similarly to Takeshi's Challenge, Kid Klown In Crazy Chase feels like a longform attempt by Kemco to troll the player with intentionally aggravating design decisions. Hurt animations are painfully long to waste time, there is absolutely no indication of which balloons contain the card symbols you need to beat each level and which ones just give coins and health or even damage you, certain hazards are secretly warps to bonus stages to collect coins (again, with absolutely no indication which ones are warps) and beating the bonus stage awards you with a unique power-up... that only serves to screw you over in different ways, such as making you jump constantly, and the normal and good endings are locked behind a Luck-Based Mission at the very end of the game. Oh, and you take damage at the very start of the game before you can even do anything.
  • Naughty Dog trolled fans about The Last of Us Part II since before the game even was announced. In Uncharted 4 (which came out in Spring 2016, roughly six months before TLOU was announced), there's a poster in Cassie's bedroom of a TLOU comic that features a pregnant woman who looks like Ellie. Speculation was that the woman was either Ellie or her mom, Anna. At that point in time, their public position was that they would make a sequel when they knew they had a good story, but that they were focused on wrapping up Uncharted. The thing is that they were actually in very early development on TLOU at the time. When the game went into full production in 2017, one of the writers said in an interview that she went home at night and talked to her husband about getting someone pregnant. There was also a picture posted to ND's social media from a motion capture session that had a baby doll in the background. When the first video made from the production (the initial 2016 announcement video was made when the game was in the writing phase) came out in October 2017, it featured a woman whose name they would not reveal, but was four letters long, like "Anna". The woman was in the process of being hanged by an Apocalypse Cult, and the cult leader put a knife up to her stomach and said she's "nested with sin". The internet went wild thinking it was Anna and that it was a flashback to when she was pregnant with Ellie, though she was not likely Anna, as she would have been pregnant with Ellie five years after the outbreak and the trailer takes place on a main drag place of an interstate in Seattle, WA, which is way too overgrown to be only five years later. The cult was also shown doing the same to men in a later trailer. In June 2018 at E3, they finally confirmed that someone was pregnant. When creative director Neil Druckmann was asked if the woman on the poster was Ellie's mom, he replied something to the effect of "she's someone's mom." The woman who was being hanged ended up being the second Player Character whose name is Abby, she wasn't pregnant. There actually ended up being two pregnant characters, Ellie's girlfriend Dina and Abby's friend Mel.
  • In a 2017 interview with Denis Dyack regarding the game Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, he was asked about the HMCS Bitter, a location that had been found by hackers who were looking through the game code regarding a conversion of the locations to 3D, and was considered to be Dummied Out content. Dyack instead claimed that there was a legitimate way to reach the Bitter by flipping four invisible switches located around Nosgoth, but he refused to elaborate further on the matter, saying he would never talk about it beyond this confirmation that it existed.
  • When players of Untitled Goose Game started creating left-wing narratives in which the goose was not just being a jerk, but disrupting capitalism, the creators jokingly claimed that in their canon the game was set in a socialist utopia, and everyone the goose harrassed was a good Marxist.
  • Toshihiro Kondo, president of Falcom is gaining traction among the fanbase in general where half of his interviews for promoting the next game in the Trails Series has him outright troll the fanbase or lie about one thing, only for the opposite to happen in-game. The most infamous example usually cited by fans is that the character named George Nome isn't part of the gnome faction before Cold Steel III came out. And then there’s the screenshots of Cold Steel IV released while the game was still in production- Kondo really wanted the audience to believe that Olivert, Toval and Victor had perished onboard the Courageous, with one screenshot released to Famitsu showing Princess Alfin grieving at the site of Olivert's old home in Alster, implying that he was buried there. And the biggest one to date was how Cold Steel IV will railroad first time playthroughs of the game to a bittersweet ending before suddenly telling the player to reload the game to get the golden ending, even if you have done everything to unlock the golden ending from the get-go.
  • Not the audience per se, but those independent coders who submitted their games to British Telecom's Telecomsoft division through their Firebird label when the games were included in a satirical compilation entitled Don't Buy This, whom Firebird released to mock the worst video game submissions they received. And it gets better: they outright disowned all copyrights to the game, encouraging people to pirate them at will to further humiliate the developers in question.
  • During the development cycle of Total War: Warhammer II, Creative Assembly spent almost the entire cycle proclaiming there would be only three main races released with the game and that there was absolutely no chance there would be a fourth race of giant talking rats because Rat Men obviously do not exist in the Warhammer Fantasy universe the game is based onnote . This while sneaking rat motifs into practically all of the early teaser material. The cat-and-rat game between the fandom and creators basically boiled down to how close to release the game could get without an official Skaven reveal, with "Skaven confirmed!" becoming a Running Gag on the game's forum and subreddit. Eventually, the Skaven did get a proper reveal and addition into the game.
  • Terraria's creator Redigit gave some bizarre "lore reveals" on Discord, namely that the Guide is the brother of the ninja inside King Slime, the son of the Moon Lord, the great grandson of a Nymph, and the same entity as the Wall of Flesh. Also, the Dryad's "Garden Garment" isn't an outfit but just vines that are part of her body and she apparently goes around naked. Fans are unsure how seriously to take any of thisnote  and even the official wiki is undecided.
  • A Tomb Raider promo video from the '90s concluded with one of the developers, seated at his workstation, responding to a burning fan question: What does Lara look like without her clothes on? He turned to his computer, which had Lara's in-game model open in a modeling program, and after a drawn-out moment of anticipation, he.... turned the texturing off, reducing her to a wireframe.
  • Even the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, is given to this at times, most notably when he claimed Mario's line when he throws Bowser a long distance in Super Mario 64 as "So long, King-a Bowser!"note  when the actual recording has one syllable less, and when he claimed to have rerecorded Wario's "So ein Mist!" line for Mario Party as "D'oh, I missed!" when that game was the clearest indicator of what the line really was.
  • One cutscene in Gun Gun Pixies has an instance regarding a character's age. Misa Torii is called out by her sister Kira for wanting to add a specific kind of character into the eroge she's making. Misa responds with the line "All characters depicted are eighteen years of age or older", only for Kira to then remind her that she's only 17.
  • After the Community Challenge Pack for Batman: Arkham Knight was released, people quickly found an easter egg that seemingly had a date on it (4-25). The developers never addressed this, and people made all kinds of theories about Remaster announcements, Origins 2 announcements, Season of Infamy 2 announcements, More skin packs releases, etc. The date came and... a moderator posts a "Happy birthday Joker" thread on the forums. (Joker first appeared 76 years ago that day). Some predicted this, some found it disappointing, some were demanding free content that was "promised" by the easter egg and some were telling how their dreams and hopes were crushed. However, this Easter Egg might've been a Prequel Hook for Batman: Arkham VR, as "425" is an Arc Number throughout the game, it involves the Joker's blood infection, and part of the easter egg involved Bruce suspecting a murder victim was killed by someone they knew and VR was a nightmare about a Jokerified Bruce killing Nightwing.
  • Coffee Stain Studios are practically run by trolling creators, given how much they favor this trope. Then again, they are the creator of Goat Simulator...
    • For Satisfactory
      • Currently this is best exemplified by the Update 3 reveal stream; most of which consisted of Jace and Snutt, the community managers, sitting in a cinema playing random other games that were not Satisfactory, followed by a countdown, a distortion cut to a Rickroll, followed by a fake Youtube end-of-stream screen before the actual Update 3 trailer played.
      • The entire pipe dilemma is also the result of trolling of epic proportions by CSS. They dropped hints since Early Alpha that there will be pipes, but then kept flip-flopping between denying that there will ever be pipes and hinting that pipes may be added in the future when asked. Come Early Access Update 3 (which was delayed almost 6 months), pipes finally made its way to the game, but not before the above mentioned update 3 reveal stream trolling. The entire CSS team eventually revealed in an interview that the reason for the denial was because they were initially unsure of how to implement pipes and rebalance the game to work with it and didn't want to disappoint the early access backers, and it took them a while to come up with the solution seen in the game today.
      • An issue in post-Update 3 Satisfactory was that coal was improperly capitalized in the resource scanner, being all lower-case, as opposed to all other resources being properly capitalized. This was... 'fixed':
      • Version "Fixed the capitalization of coal in the Resource Scanner." It had been changed to say "cOAL".
      • Version "Actually fixed the capitalization for Coal in the Resource Scanner." Coal was now properly capitalized. Everything else wasn't.
      • Following Update 3, They also trolled about drones (another heavily requested feature) in an interview, with the same flip-flopping of answers when asked to clarify. Sure enough, Drones dropped with Update 4 in March 2021.
      • Before Update 4 dropped, the last few videos prior to the release kept warning pioneers to not go forward with Aluminum production, warning that there will be big changes to the process that will wreak havoc on any working aluminum factory. Come Update 4, the only fix pioneers have to do is to reset their aluminum scrap production refineries- everything still works untouched, assuming that the alt aluminum scrap recipes have been unlocked and both recipes are being used. However, they were not kidding about supercomputer, radio control unit, turbo motor and battery production also being wrecked by changes, although the latter can also be fixed by just unlocking an alternate recipe (aptly named "Classic Battery") and resetting the manufacturer.
      • For a while prior to Update 5, a community-requested feature that had been gaining a lot of traction was the ability to play golf in the game (which started with a post by Snutt asking fans to post to the Q&A site if they want to see it happen). To reference this, the Update 5 Patch Notes video was edited around Jace and Snutt at a golf course. At first, Jace flat out said Hahaha No where it came to golf, but then Snutt put forth a wager - if he won, they would add golf. Jace winning would release dedicated servers (which were possibly the only more requested feature, but considered a forbidden meme due to how hard they were to implement). Cue Snutt racking up a hefty lead throughout the course... right up until the last hole, where he fluffed over seventy shots and eventually lost due to a lizard doggo sneezing Jace's ball into the hole. To add insult to injury, the last clip of the video showed the Q&A site, going on to the request in question and setting it to 'rejected'.note 
      • Also related to update 5, they noted that the Northern Forest biome will be reworked for that update, but only factories in the Northern Forest will be affected. People who logged in upon Update 5's launch found all the flora regrown, even in factories in different biomes. How much of this is a bug and how much of this is intentional trolling remains to be seen, but thankfully this is a quick fix involving chainsaws and explosives.
  • Astroneer: In a more direct example than most, LordMinion777 and BreadHeroDan livestreamed the game together in late 2016. During their game, they found a large zebra-striped orb, whose purpose or use they couldn't fathom. When the guys found out that one of the game's devs was in the audience, they asked him what the "zebra egg" was supposed to be; the dev acted like he didn't see anything.note 
  • The Stanley Parable's developer kept changing the unlock criteria of the achievement titled Unachievable over several patches, driving the community into confusion and anger when they couldn't figure out a reliable way to unlock it. The truth wasn't discovered until he revealed his move in a forum post.
  • StepManiaX is full of this, mainly on the step artist names. Before the song's gameplay plays, you will see the message Steps By ___ either on the left or right side depending on what side the player is playing on. Often times, it will show who wrote the steps for the song's difficulty as respected credit. Sometimes, you will see names that "don't seem right", indicating that the name of the step artist(s) who wrote the chart hidden to the public. There's quite a number of them that it has its own page. This is likely done to avoid bias against certain step artists.
  • SNK performed a 20-year long con on fans of The King of Fighters: first they introduced a Captain Ersatz of AKIRA character Tetsuo Shima named K9999 in 2001. Then, beginning around 2003, they went to great extremes (such as introducing Nameless and editing K9999 out of XIV's gallery) to make it appear as though he never existed, osteniably for legal reasons. And then, they reintroduced him as "Krohnen" in 2022's XV, confessing that the whole fiasco was intended to create numerous Epileptic Trees of what happened to K9999. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist." indeed.
  • The creators of Advance Wars gave us the infamously Harder Than Hard Bonus Level Rivals! Whether the level itself was made as just a mean joke at the expense of players is anyone's guess, but Nell's "advice" when you yield definitely is: rather than give you hints on finishing the level, like what you get if you yield on any other level, she literally just tells you to "use your head."
  • When Gearbox showed off the graphics engine for the then-upcoming Borderlands 3, a character model was seen, but the camera was angled so that the pauldron on her arm covered her face. Gearbox teased that this character wasn't worth worrying about, and fans naturally speculated who she was. Said character ultimately turned out to be Moze, one of the player characters, and someone who had absolutely no presence in the series before.
  • When the hololive fangame HoloCure announced the game's release to Steam, the announcement was dressed up as a formal letter, which many in both the video game and Hololive fandom associate with bad news (such as a game cancelation or idol graduation/termination), which isn't helped by the wording of the first half of the letter implying bad news.
  • Genshin Impact: miHoYo has their moments, especially when it comes to chests. One of their favorite things to do with them is have them dump their contents directly off cliffs and steep hills, sending it into deep holes and valleys for the player to try and quickly grab. Then there's the infamous Precious Chest in Komore Teahouse that only gives 180,000 Mora, 3 Raw Meat and 3 Onikabuto, but no Primogems and doesn't count towards the "Lightning-Riding Treasure Hunter (I)" achievement.

  • 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-Breaking Character 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.'
    • Hussie still has it in him as three years after the Grand Finale and the official end of the story. When The Homestuck Epilogues finally dropped the first page linked to goes to a fake title page for an Archive Of Our Own fanfiction, complete with character list and content warnings! Even better? the format change make complete sense.
  • 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 (one where Garland sets a computer to blow up the universe, and one where Fighter wakes up as a real-life woman and dismissing the apparent dream as "80% filler"), 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
    • 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 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.
  • Cybersp0nge of NSFW Comix got tired of fan requests to draw Becky nude, so he finally did so - and gave her a penis. When it turned out that the fans actually liked that, he immediately had her get rid of it. And then he wrote a short arc in which he flip-flopped on whether she did or not - both surgery and All Just a Dream were involved. He finally decided on yes, she still has one.
  • 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.
  • Unsounded:
    • Occasionally Ashley will pop in anonymously on fan conversations in which therories are being tossed about and post actual spoilers as theory. Like the fact that Mikaila used the sharpness aspect of the broken glass to attack Bastion, six years before the pages revealing the fact were published.
    • On her Q&A tumblr Ashley posted a response claiming Mason would still be crowing about being saved by "Ssael" when he was a grandpa, right before the update in which Mason messily died, ensuring he would never be a grandpa.
  • 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).
    • When "Season Two" of Dumbing of Age started, Willis put up a silhouetted cast picture, with characters "appearing" as they got reintroduced. Since some of the characters have distinctive appearances even in silhouette, Assumptions Were Made. Then Walky mentions in passing that Mike (last seen in hospital) is dead, and the next strip introduces Booster, who doesn't even look much like Mike, but has a hairstyle that lets them fit in the "Mike-shaped" space on the cast pic.

    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 CollegeHumor 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, Pact, and Twig, 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 it to be exactly four words long. Four very plot-relevant words, mind you.
  • MatPat of Game Theory 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.
  • Every time Nostalgia Critic references Pokémon, you can tell this is what he's going for. Ever since his Pokémon: The First Movie review, he's only been finding new ways to piss of Pokémon fans. Lampshaded in his Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over review.
    Nostalgia Critic: Oh yes, Pokémon fans, bring me your comments of anger! They nourish me! Om nom nom!
  • RedLetterMedia's Mr. Plinkett "review" of Transformers: The Last Knight consists on him talking for thirty seconds about how awful the movie is before saying that he shouldn't waste any more time on it and saying "Bye!", leaving a black screen with Transformers' sounds that runs for about 58 minutes. It should be mentioned that in the original video the length of the black screen was of 20 minutes, then after they received backlash for it in the comments they increased it to its current length in response.
  • Greg "Jreg" Guevara is fond of being this, particularly with obfuscating jres actual political beliefs. Jre uploaded 6 videos within an hour proclaiming that jre was 6 contradictory political ideologies in a completely earnest tone, made jres discord server publicly accessible for anyone on the internet which effectively turned it into a warzone, made a very serious video about how unsure jre is about the future of the channel, and released a video a week later stating jre's going to quit Youtube, only to upload another video an hour later stating jre's just suddenly changed jres mind and then guilt trips the audience because of how tired jre is of making videos. A few months after the discord dilemma, jre made a livestream where he singlehandedly "purged" individual members of his server, before deleting it altogether.
    • When, practically over night, Jreg blocked an entire subcommunity of fans shitposting on Twitter, it became a meme, however when a few weeks later several fanartists who had been dedicating their time to making Centricide fan conent and had never gone out of their way to harass Jreg were also blocked, the fandom found that jre'd taken things too far. When asked about it, Jreg explained that jre simply wanted to distance jremself from other people's reinterpretation of jress work as to not copy their ideas, and that jre'd done it because internet fame was slowly becoming too much for jrem to handle.
    • Jreg also uploaded a video claiming jre was stopping the Centricide series before it was completed...only to reveal in the final minute of the video that this was all just a set up to drop the trailer for the final installment.
    • The entire The Mental Illnesses series is technically a Bait-and-Switch. The original “The Mental Illnesses” video came out directly after the last Centricide video. The video portrays the concept of personified mental illnesses as flawed and possibly harmful due to how simplified they are. Some took it as a satirization of Centricide’s concept. At the end, Neurotypical declares the series a very bad idea and states “there should not be any more of this.” On Twitter Jreg posted the video and made a poll captioned “Should this be the next series” with both answers of the poll being “no”. Three months later? It’s an actual series.
  • Bennett White thinks the anime/manga fanbase really needs to get over Nina TuckerExplanation  and makes crude jokes about her every now and then just to rile people up.
    [from his Twitter] It's amazing how much glee I get by joking about Nina Tucker. Never change, AniTwitter.
  • Wilbur Soot is infamous for being this for the Dream SMP, from proclaiming that ridiculous things are canonical (such as his canon counterpart banging a literal fish, among other things) to posting updates on how Ghostbur was doing in the Afterlife, seemingly just to watch the fandom weep and question "what the fuck is wrong with [him]". Just a day or two after the latter incident, he updated his flair on the Dream SMP subreddit accordingly to "Dream SMP Member (Enjoyer of Tears)".
  • Game Grumps
    What the hell are you doing, Nintendo?! You can't, you can't — you're making video games, not waterboarding people!
    • And speaking of, Ross's Super Mario Maker levels are this trope. Pure distilled vintage 190 proof spite. His #1 goal in making levels is to make Arin and Dan suffer, his #2 goal is to make the rest of the world suffer, and his #3 goal is to have dance parties.
    • During Steam Train, Ross utterly revels in doing things to annoy, irritate, and wind up Dan, such as saying hilariously weird things, constantly interrupting him, stroking his leg or shoulders, and the like. Such as when they are playing King's Quest V during a rather tense moment when Dan must sneak into a bandit camp and steal a staff:
      Dan: Shhh...
      Narrator: Graham reaches out and takes the staff into his possession—
      Ross: HEY COOL!!!
      Dan: Goddammit Ross!!! Aaaagh!!!
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 viewers didn't care much about) 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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...
    • 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".
      • Following the show's Grand Finale in 2019, he announced via Twitter that he was returning (having left the show at the end of Season 7) to head Season 10... which had already been revealed to be coming via the comics team.
    • 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 Starlight 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 enjoys prodding his fans, with the jokes ranging from the obvious and over-the-top to such thinly-veiled sarcasm that they've sometimes been mistaken for actual fact or news.
  • ND Stevenson enjoyed having fun with the fans of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, namely by posting a series of emojis on his Twitter at the start of each season that actually detailed the exact events of it. But the most notable example would have to be when a co-worker asked fans to give wrong answers to what they wanted to see in the fourth season. ND himself responded with some fake spoilers. Well, fake spoilers for season four. All of his ridiculous statements turned out to be accurate descriptions of plot elements in season five.
  • 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's identity is mentioned 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, and was not properly revealed until several weeks later. Many viewers were not pleased. 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. A shorter version was later made to fit within the regular timeslot that cuts down the scene.
  • 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 until the first season finale "Fire Across the Galaxy".
  • 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 to focus on a thinly-veiled response to the people who've criticized the show.
      • Some episodes are entirely dedicated to the writers tackling criticism lobbed towards the show or just teasing the massive Hatedom. In addition to the above, there's "Let's Get Serious", "The Fourth Wall", "Finally a Lesson", and "Squash and Stretch". There's even an episode called "The Cape" that's a Gag Dub of the first episode of the 2003 series, with the Go! Titans proclaiming that it's "just as good as they remembered".
  • 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 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. Ironically, the Red Herring may have helped fans get closer to the full picture, as even those who weren't fooled started paying more attention to the character shown in the fake "leak", leading to many correctly guessing the actual role the character played in the show's mythos.
    • He stated that at least one character would not survive Season 2. Note that he didn't say main character. The character who died turned out to be the mayor, who only appeared in a single episode. Technically, there were two other deaths in that season as well, but they were Big Henry and Time Baby, the former of whom died in the same episode he was introduced in and was a minor character with only a couple minutes of screen time, and the latter of whom was mentioned in a cryptogram to eventually manage to regenerate himself and come back anyway.
    • 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 learn the importance of the Zodiac Wheel that appears at the beginning and end of every episode. Its purpose is suitably grand and epic... and also ends up completely pointless to the story. Hirsch later revealed that it was conceived purely to be a piece of intriguing imagery for the opening sequence, with the symbols being chosen randomly from the episodes they had completed at the time. It was only when they saw fans speculating about them online that they retroactively attached each one to a character and even considered the idea of giving it any narrative importance.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The writers have occasionally teased 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." In the episode "Blame It On Lisa", Lisa remarks that you can figure out which state Springfield is in by looking at the "clues" which has lead to fans trying their hardest to look out for them and gradually eliminate states to reveal the one that matches the "clues" but to no avail - Springfield is impossible to exist in any state based on the geographical evidence presented in the show (in fact, in the show, every state has been mentioned as being the one they're not part of at some point).
    • It is said that some episodes, like the infamous "Saddlesore Galactica", were made bizarre and alienating on purpose to annoy the kind of fans who would complain about them online. "Saddlesore Galactica" even includes Comic Book Guy, a caricature of the show's negative online critics, complaining about the plot.
    • Hans Moleman supposedly became a recurring character solely to annoy viewers complaining about his Gonk design. (Ironically, he ended up becoming an Ensemble Dark Horse.)
  • [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. And that's not even starting on mocking fans on adding live-action shows to the channel starting in the late 00's.
    • The channel is notable for pulling April Fools' pranks on viewers. Perhaps the most (in)famous example was in 2017, where they aired the season 3 premiere of Rick and Morty completely unannounced, and they ran it not once, but eight times straight. Most of the shows this preempts were rerunsnote , but this also happened to be the night new episodes of Dragon Ball Supernote  and Samurai Jack's fifth seasonnote  were supposed to air, causing them to get delayed until the week after. Not very many people were amused by this.
      • Of course, Genndy Tartakovsky himself had been pulling this for all of Season 5, and nowhere was it more obvious than the series's penultimate episode. The preview of the episode showed nothing except Jack coming across a large group of ruined robotic warriors, many of them giant, and remarking on how he knew that place, which many fans also recognized as the lair of The Guardian from Season 3, who protected the time portal that Jack was apparently destined to use. Then we find out that that portal was destroyed as well, and the Guardian is nowhere to be seen; only his red sunglasses in front of the destroyed portal, which are cracked. And that's not even mentioning the cruel cliffhanger at the end of the episode, which he complements by not showing so much as a second from the next episode. What makes this worse is that The Guardian's voice actor was credited for the season, but he only provided voice work for the sixth episode, in which he reprised some returning characters he voiced before (none of which were the Guardian) and provided the voice for a member of a trio of dogs that ruin Scaramouche's attempt to contact Aku, meaning that Tartakovsky had been stringing fans along in the cruelest possible way.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In November 2016, series creator Daron Nefcy sent out a context-less "Sorry not sorry" tweet that left her followers baffled as to what she was talking about. Two hours later, the episode "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown" debuted, enraging many shippers.
  • The Super Bowl LIII halftime show playing "Sicko Mode" instead of "Sweet Victory" while also giving the SpongeBob SquarePants cast little screen time might have been the NFL attempting to troll the notoriously-unsatisfiable SpongeBob fandom, who requested the song in honor of Stephen Hillenburg's death. Originally, fans gave Nickelodeon heat for this, but they clarified that what little tie-in to SpongeBob that did occur was the best that could be done given that the NFL's plans for the show had be finalized months prior.
  • DuckTales (2017) showrunner Frank Angones revealed on his Tumblr that at least one character shown on the season 3 poster would not survive the season 2 finale, and they would be a major character to boot. Fan speculation ran wild... until the finale aired, and the deaths were shown: one of the Lil' Bulbs, two of Gyro's clones (technically fulfilling the "major character" criteria, particularly since Gyro had long forgotten which one of him was the original), and Watermelon!Mickey Mouse. And yes, all of them were on the poster.
  • Thomas Astruc, the creator of Miraculous Ladybug qualifies as one. He teased his viewers that Chloe would never get a Miraculous (she got the Bee Miraculous in season 2), Felix won't ever appear (he made his first appearance in the 23rd produced episode of season 3), Mayura will be Hawkmoth's boss (she's treated more like his ally), there will be a zombie apocalypse in Paris (there was one in Zombizou though), and that Gabriel will use the Peacock Miraculous to save the city, but he will be too ashamed to wear a dress, so he will let Paris die instead, and there is a rumor he lied to his audience by believing Chloe will never get redeemed post-Battle of the Miraculous.
  • The creators of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles promised that while Raphael was currently the leader, Leonardo would eventually step up to become the leader of the team like in every other incarnation. Splinter teased that he may become the leader during the last few seconds of the series finale. In Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, set after the series, Raphael is captured and Leo must step up to become the leader in his absence.

  • Yang Soon is the owner and head chef of the restaurant Father's Office, and this is his way of running the business. He makes it intentionally difficult to get a seat by not having seating service; he makes it intentionally difficult to keep your seat once claimed by requiring you to place your order at the bar while telling the bartender your table number meaning you can't order, then get a table; the waitstaff is encouraged to be snarky and verbally abusive to the customers; and if you claim a dietary restriction, such as allergies, Celiac disease, religion, or vegetarianism, Soon will make sure to give you a free extra helping of whatever you're not allowed to eat. (He's also savvy enough to know when someone's doing this on purpose.) The restaurant is also a completely ketchup-free zone despite there being many burgers and fries on the menu to where it's confiscated if found, though ketchup appears to be a genuine Berserk Button of Soon's rather than him trolling his customers.
  • IHOP changing their name to "IHOb"note  in 2018 caused quite an backlash, since their most famous menu item up to that point was pancakes (they aren't the "International House of Pancakes" for nothing). IHOP took this backlash to heart, and the following year they announced they were changing their name again, making their customers think that the "P" would mean something different. Then on June 3, 2019, they revealed that the P stood for...pancakes, except they used it as an excuse to add new burgers to their menu (one of them having an actual pancake in it) and call them "pancakes", in addition to being a jab towards the aforementioned backlash.

Alternative Title(s): Joke Doing Creator