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Above: A 3D "missing scene" in the game's trailer. Below picture: The 2D game itself.


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  • A variation in the Ace Attorney games:
    • If the opening cinematic of a case shows a relevant conflict to you, it will usually be composed of various case-relevant events and screenshots chopped together in a way to mislead the player. Notable examples include cases 4-1 (where we're led to believe that Phoenix was the one who freaked out and swung the juice bottle), and AAI-5 (which makes it look like Kay Faraday is responsible for setting an embassy on fire).
    • Both playable demos of Investigations 2 and Dual Destinies turned out to be vastly different from the actual first cases of those games. The former cuts to the case's first cliffhanger after John Doe's first testimony, making him look like the prime suspect leaving out several testimonies that point to someone else entirely, while the latter, among other things, implies the case is Phoenix's first trial since getting his badge back. The case that actually fits that description is a DLC bonus case.
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    • Dual Destinies also had this trailer, implying Phoenix himself was the victim of one of the cases. This actually turned out to have been a scene created purely for demonstration purposes that isn't in the final game at all.
    • The reveal trailer for Dual Destinies, as well as the entire first episode of said game, is one huge example of this that's shoved right in the player's face in a reveal later in the game. You thought the courtroom bomber was Ted Tonate? Well, you're wrong.
  • Aion was regarded as a new wave of video gaming featuring beautiful environments and characters flying freely...only to be shot down when you learn the game was a typical Korean grindfest, most of the world is hideous past the one or two areas shot specifically in the trailers, and flight is limited to certain areas in the game, and timed to one minute base, after which they'll disappear and send you plummeting to your doom. Granted, the character customization is one of the best out there, but that doesn't really make it better.
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  • The first gameplay trailer for Aliens: Colonial Marines is infamous for being so different from the actual game that Gearbox and Sega were both sued for false advertising — the fact that the game was largely derided as an awful mess only adding fuel to the fire.
  • In the trailer for American McGee's Alice, Alice and the Mad Hatter are shown having a tea party together, Alice glaring daggers at him as she grips her knife - just as the Hatter pulls on a lever and a circular saw comes out behind Alice to cut her in half. It's a dramatic and frightening scene, but there's nothing in the actual game that resembles it.
  • Horror indie game Anna has quite the flamboyant, carefree trailer, depicting a scenario where the player investigates the room he's in while apparitions begin to assault the camera. Intense events pop up one after the other — like the distortion effect, which doesn't appear in the game. The trailer totally forgets to tell the consumer that the game is in the puzzle genre, not adventure. The player will spend most of their time trying to solve Moon Logic Puzzles in the smallest and darkest of places, while some event may pop up per 30 minutes of gameplay.
  • One of the KCL Productions' Nintendo Commercials for Animal Crossing mentions a "walrus villager." The only walrus in the game is Wendell, a special character that appears in town to give wallpaper. The same commercials also have gags about Interspecies Romance, in a game that is strictly No Hugging, No Kissing (though these scenes are Played for Laughs), and they make it look like the characters can all play at once (such a feature wouldn't be realized until Wild World introduced multiplayer).
  • The gameplay trailer for Anthem has no actual gameplay whatsoever — because it was made before the game existed. It was originally designed as a proof of concept trailer for what the game could look like, before being passed off as footage from a game that in reality had spent years stagnating in Development Hell with nothing to show for it.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The CGI trailer for the first Assassin's Creed I game had Altair using a crossbow to dispatch a crusader. He uses throwing knives, not a crossbow; that would not appear until Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, two games down the line.
    • The launch trailer for Assassin's Creed II. While none of the visual content is missing from the final game, the trailer is narrated by a much older Ezio with a rather different voice. Even after two additional games of Ezio getting older and Vocal Evolution, we've yet to hear him sound anything like that.
    • The trailers for Assassin's Creed III portray The American Revolution as a black and white struggle between the British and the Americans, respectively. The game's protagonist, Connor, spends a lot of these trailers making grand speeches on the virtue and righteousness of the American fight for freedom. In the game itself, the war is a morally grey affair and Connor is fully aware of this, though he is a bit more sympathetic to the Americans. Note that the developers flat-out told fans that the trailers were lying, possibly to make sure non-American fans weren't alienated.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. See the official trailer (which is in the game) in all its shameless glory here:
      • Blackbeard never makes any kind of recruitment pitch for Edward Kenway. The four ways Edward gains crewmen are rescuing shipwreck survivors, recruiting sailors from captured ships, saving pirates from soldiers, and hiring in taverns. In every case, they're happy to join his cause; they don't need to be sold on it.
      • Edward's flag has a small skull and nothing else for nearly the entire game. The iconic pirate flag with the Assassin logo doesn't appear until the very last Sequence (by which time Blackbeard is long dead). Even then, he hasn't actually joined the order, he's just agreed to help it.
      • Edward can't fire two guns at once, doesn't use any blunt weapons, and doesn't swing-kick from ropes. (A rope swing takes him high above the deck, or, if it's a man-'o-war, into the side of the hull, so there's no way he could hit anyone while holding onto it.)
      • There are no nude women in the game, in bed or otherwise. And even if they were, Edward is intensely devoted to his wife.
      • There's no mystery to Edward. He left Britain to become a privateer so he could make his fortune and build a better life for himself and his wife Caroline. After the wars ended, he, like numerous other privateers, turned to piracy. He doesn't make any secret of this, and there's no indication at any point that he has any secrets.
      • The part where a Spanish gentleman is walking arm-in-arm with a lady, and Edward kills the gentleman and takes the lady? Yeah...nothing even remotely like it happens in the game. No, forget it, don't even bother looking.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was notoriously first teased with the implication that the game would be a 3D collect-a-thon platformer like it's predecessors. The final game was based around constructing and using vehicles to perform various tasks to the chagrin of many fans.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum;
    • The Harley Quinn trailer ended with Harley turning flips towards Batman leading into a kick, and shouting "Die, you big ugly bat!", implying a battle between the two. In the actual game, that cutscene continues with Batman immediately grabbing Harley out of the flip and throwing her to the floor, and she never appears in the game again after that point.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins was built up as Bruce Wayne becoming the Bat by fighting off 8 assassins that Black Mask sicced on him, as well as having the deal with the Joker for an unknown purpose. While anyone observant enough could have figured it out with the clues left by the game's developers, the game starts off this way, until midway it's revealed that "Black Mask" was really just the Joker in disguise, who had kidnapped Black Mask days or even weeks prior to the game, and in reality it's Batman, trying to stop Joker from setting off several bombs on Christmas morning with most of the assassins being Demoted to Extra sans Firefly and Bane.
    • Deathstroke was heavily advertised as being in the game as one of the Assassins, as well as Lady Shiva and Deadshot. In the main game, Deathstroke's the first real boss fight, and after you beat him, the next time he appears is in prison at the end of the game. Shiva and Deadshot are both side missions, one being a group boss fight and the other a predator challenge.
  • The initial release trailer for Battlefield Play4Free included a scene showing combat on the Operation Road Rage map from Battlefield 2, yet the current playable map roster only includes the Karkand, Sharqi, and Oman maps (again from BF2).
  • The Attract Mode trailer for BioShock has Jack fighting a Bouncer Big Daddy and acquiring the Bee Bee Gun Plasmid in the Welcome to Rapture stage. In-game, the first Plasmid you get is Electro Bolt, the first Big Daddy is fought in Medical Pavilion, and you can't get the Insect Swarm until the Arcadia level, which does not include any Bouncers.
  • BioShock Infinite
    • A TV spot shows Elizabeth about to hang in a park in Columbia through a sniper scope before Booker rescues her. In the game itself, Elizabeth is practically a messiah to the people of Columbia.
    • The first gameplay trailer for Infinite is infamous for featuring story beats that don't happen in the final game, a more free-form style of combat than what we actually got, and Elizabeth and Booker fighting with powers they definitely don't have in the final product, like Booker stopping cannon shells with his mind and Elizabeth summoning storm clouds to power up Booker's electric attacks. There's also been complaints that the mood and atmosphere itself was much different than the real game.
    • This later gameplay trailer is a little more indicative of the final product, as Elizabeth now pulls things in from other dimensions, just like how she does in the real game. Unfortunately, it still features free-form combat that isn't in the finished game at all, and none of the story beats happen, either.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Subverted in this trailer. The trailer makes it look like Mortanius is stabbing Kain in the back when he's actually pulling the sword out of him. But it turns out he's the one who arranged for him to murdered in the first place.
  • One of the reasons Brütal Legend didn't sell as well as hoped was because of this, the trailers, commercials, and demo made it out to be Devil May Cry or God of War in a heavy metal setting, when actually only the introduction mission is like that. The game itself is an RTS with hack-and-slash elements, which turned off a lot of people.
  • The 1996 game Bug Too!. Compare this to the actual game and you'll see why.
  • The Caligula Effect: Overdose had the Japanese pre-release trailers introduce the new characters, and show Eiji Biwasaka as calm and mature, with a very gentleman-ly personality. Turns out that he's actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing with quite a sadistic personality. Note that the English trailers had no problem showing this off.
  • The early trailers for Catherine implied that it was a bird's eye view horror-adventure-puzzler. It turned out to be a terrifying-speed-puzzle-platformer. Yes, a platformer, one with vertical platforming about a guy running and climbing for his life in his underpants, all while trying to evade gluttonous demons and rack up a high score. Yes.
    • A TV spot for the Full Body remake shows the game in a Persona 5 screen layout, which is nowhere in the real thing.
  • Conan Hyborian Age official trailer and promotional screenshots feature a protagonist which is a look-alike of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan, implying that the mod's player character is canonically supposed to be Conan himself. It's actually not the case, because Conan appears as a (ghost) NPC.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour. The box art shows an American aircraft carrier being destroyed by a particle cannon. Cool? Yes. But completely implausible, as the Americans are the only ones with particle cannons in game. In fact, a GLA mission has you take control of an American particle cannon and destroy it in the game.
  • Early Crash Bandicoot commercials made Crash seem like a typical '90s Mascot with Attitude. He's more like a zany, goofy Looney Tunes character.
  • According to an article on Bloomburg, the 2018 gameplay trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 was almost entirely fictional — the developers hadn't completed the basic code for gameplay yet, which is why many features in the trailer were nowhere to be found in the final product. Some felt that they had wasted months on a glorified ad that could have been spent actually making the game, citing it as a further example of CD Projekt RED focusing more on marketing the game then actually making it.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Both Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair do this to prevent spoilers. The trailers show all fifteen/sixteen students in the "Class Court" scenes to hide which one(s) are murdered, not only that, but the cases shown in trailers are never really used in the final game, for example, the trailer for the second installment had Hinata using the evidence "Potted Plant" to break an argument about about "Nothing changed in the room", in the final game, neither that evidence, nor that argument were used in any case. The free demo for the first game went so far as to change the victim of the first case to someone who ultimately survives in the actual game.
    • Promo material for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony builds up Kaede to be the protagonist of the game, even having the demo feature her talking to Naegi and Hinata, the previous heroes. However, she gets offed pretty early in the game itself, leaving the true main protagonist to be Shuichi Saihara. Similar to the first two games, the victim of the demo trial is different from the first victim, and doesn't even appear in the final gamenote .
  • The white masked enemies that feature prominently in the trailer for Dark Souls 2 don't appear in the game. They were cut during development and replaced with similar but headless enemies that don't look nearly as interesting.
  • In an infamous case, the first trailer for Dead Island. The trailer implied a tense, heavily emotional story line thanks to its tragic tale of a young girl and her family being killed by zombies. Then the actual game turned out to be a brainless zombie kill-fest, with none of the emotion or dramatic scenes the trailer had. The resulting product does have its share of sad and serious moments, but many fans agree it did not live up to the trailers' hype. The sequel pulled the same shenanigans, meaning the developers are doing this to A) recreate the hype from the first game's trailer, B) didn't learn their lesson, or C) are just trolling us.
  • This trailer for Dead Space 2 portrays the game as an Action Shooter with mild horror elements, when it's actually closer to survival horror.
  • The original trailer for Deus Ex was surprisingly accurate in terms of representing the plot, but had a few elements exaggerated for dramatic effect:
    • The trailer implied that you could pilot a submarine to and from an ocean base. In the final product, the journey happens entirely offscreen, and the shot they used to showcase this "travel" in the trailer is someone using no-clip commands to travel to the ocean lab with their flashlight turned on.
    • Lockpicking and hacking was shown to be near-instantaneous, with lockpicks cracking the doors and computers being hacked in less than a second. Even at Master level, neither lockpicking or hacking occur that quickly in the game.
    • The fight between the Triads is played up as a major moment, but it's a minor instance in the Hong Kong section, and is over fairly quickly.
    • Both this trailer and ones for the PS2 port Deus Ex: The Conspiracy heavily hype up combat with robots, and show scenes like robots being blasted away with a GEP Gun or multiple robots blowing each other up with missiles. While this does make up some part of the game, the focus is on the human enemies, and the level it showcases (Vandenberg) is hard to do in normal gameplay, as the building with the friendly security bots won't open up until you've taken out the enemy bots out front. And getting in a fight with a sentry bot usually results in a swift death unless the player has missiles or LAMs.
  • Some of the scenes from Deus Ex: Human Revolution's trailers:
    • The riot happens in the game, but you never see the Tyrants actually appearing on scene to crush the rioters. This is because two of the Tyrants are killed off long before the riots, and the actual event is quelled fairly quickly.
    • One of the trailers for the game is done up like a propaganda video for the Purity First movement, portraying the game as a straightforward fight against an evil corporation (Sarif) and it's twisted technology which has enslaved the world. In truth the game is far more ambigious with the main cast all working for Sarif (who turn out to not be so bad afterall.)
    • One trailer shows a confrontation with Sarif that seems to be a preclude to a fight. While there are some tense moments with Sarif, he has the interests of his company and the employees at heart, and he never really turns on you.
    • The trailer also shows an aircraft being shot down by a missile that take out one of its engines. In fact, the missile in the game never hits the aircraft, instead emitting an EMP burst that temporarily downs it.
  • Continuing the trend, the trailers for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided greatly misrepresent the plot. The announcement trailer uses Anachronic Order to show a self-contained story about Adam Jensen saving an augmented youth from being beaten by a group of policemen in Golem City, said youth pledging loyalty to Viktor Marchenko in an old theater, and then detonating a bomb inside a bus as Jensen unsuccessfully chases after him. Very little of this happens in the game proper — the bombing happens at a train station at the beginning of the game, and you never encounter the bomber (Ivan Berk) besides a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo as he walks by the player during a conversation. Viktor Marchenko is not the charismatic figurehead he's portrayed as in the trailer, nor is he ever encountered or fought in the Prague theater. There is also no sequence where Jensen must fight off a group of cops assaulting Berk in Golem City's Stedry Market district, although a similar sequence occurs when the player can rescue an informant, Dusan Sokol, from a cop who's roughing him up in an interrogation room.
  • The reason why some concepts from the 2010 Tokyo Game Show trailer of Dm C Devil May Cry were cut from the finished version of the game, is because Capcom had to step in and address the negative fan backlash. From the said trailer, Dante's appearance is more rugged, he had a smoking habit, and one scene has him bound and being interrogated. In the game's released version on 2013, Dante appears to be much younger, no longer has scars, and drops the smoking. The "interrogation scene" was also totally scrapped.
  • The Diablo III preview footage shows the Siegebreaker Assault Beast eating the player, and the player climbing, jumping and teleporting to bypass terrain in the Forgotten Tombs dungeon. These features were either not implemented or watered down in the final release.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness both lampshades and subverts this trope within the game itself. The main storyline of the game is broken up into fourteen different episodes. At the end of each episode, Etna narrates a ridiculous trailer for the "upcoming episode," where each one is for a different off-the-wall series starring her as the main character. Examples include "Hyper Dimensional Demon Gal Etna," "Space Detective Etna," and "Fire Chef Cooking Gal Etna."
    • It subverts the trope when one of the crazy trailers is, of course, an entirely accurate preview for the upcoming episode.
    • This tradition was resurrected for Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, with a different character voicing each 'Next Episode' spoof, each of which was declared to be the 'Final Episode' of the imaginary series. And, as traditional, the ACTUAL Final Chapter had a completely honest trailer, right down to being declared as the Final Episode...
    • Continued in Disgaea 4, with each segment (Save for the last one) having little to do with the next chapter, and always involving Valvatorez's sardine obsession in some form or fashion.
    • Another example would be the game's introduction movie, which ends with a Team Shot including Axel, which might lead you into thinking he's a part of the team. He doesn't officially join until the post-game, and mostly plays a supporting role until then.
    • And in Disgaea Infinite leave the game on at the title screen and the demo will show a trailer for... Disgaea: Hour of Darkness! Laharl and Etna are not happy with the trailer, stating some things were lost in it...
  • The Sacred Ashes trailer for Dragon Age: Origins has a few:
    • The Warden can be played with using a variety of voice options, however s/he does not actually have dialogue, just combat/action quotes.
    • Leliana looks nothing like how she appears in game, with much redder hair and armor unavailable playing. Modders have ported this look over.
    • A casual playthrough with the highest level bow may get a One-Hit Kill, but they are rather weak.
    • Spiders are just nasty in game, but even Morrigan's corrupted form cannot do what the trailer suggests.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! is a game starring a female protagonist, an established, popular character whose name is in the title. There is basically no way you could try to hide the fact that Dixie Kong is the main character short of either describing the game in the vaguest possible terms, or outright lying to the audience. And yet that's just what American TV spots for the game did, focusing entirely on Dixie's new sidekick Kiddy Kong—they were apparently written and scripted in whole by executives by with a firm belief in the Girl-Show Ghetto. Advertisements depicted a manly badass gorilla riding a motorbike through the desert, in-game footage consisted almost entirely of Kiddy Kong with Dixie's screen time relegated to quick cuts, announcers proclaimed "Donkey Kong Country 3, starring Kiddy Kong!", and the box art was blurred out to obscure Dixie Kong's name. The entire campaign reeks of desperation to an almost humorous degree.
  • In Dragon Age II's "Destiny" trailer, Hawke is fighting the Qunari Arishok and uses a powerful spell where he sticks his arms in a portal and two ginormous energy-hands appear behind the Arishok, at which point Hawke proceeds to kick his ass. No spell remotely similar to that appears in the game. The trailer also made it look like the Qunari would be the main antagonists, when there isn't really one. The spell Hawke uses on the Arishok is the animation that plays if you kill an ogre with the Crushing Prison spell. However, ogres are extremely rare enemies, and the animation still can't be used with the Arishok.
  • Duke Nukem Forever, being the 15-years-in-development and several-times-restarted game that it is, had plenty of trailers; only 3 of those trailers show the game that was released. Joe Wieder, an ex-employee of 3DRealms, has broken down and described the most famous trailer, the E3 2001 trailer. Most of what was shown was in fact playable, but even then, there were sequences scripted just for the trailer.
  • Nintendo's ads for EarthBound pushed the Toilet Humor harder than anything else with the infamous "this game stinks!" ad campaign; it memorably declared its subject to be "the first RPG with BO", which it... isn't. As anyone who played the game will tell you, the humor is much more intelligent and subtle, with only a few potty jokes here and there. Financial reports indicate that Nintendo put millions into this misguided campaign. It backfired spectacularly and the game became a financial disaster for Nintendo, to the point where they had been highly reluctant to take another chance on the franchise. It wasn't until June 2015 (nearly two decades after EarthBound's release) when the game in question ceased to be the only official English release in the series, since that was when EarthBound Beginnings got an official English release, and even then it was based on an initially-unreleased prototype.
  • The music used in the trailer for Eldritch makes it look far more comedic than it actually is. Eldritch is NOT a spoof of H. P. Lovecraft's mythos, and it's pretty tense at times; it just has a low-poly aesthetic that is not played for laughs.
  • Evony infamously featured a busty woman in its ads. It's actually a strategy game with hidden malware, not fanservice.
  • The ad for EZ PZ RPG shows the player ignoring the game as if the game runs itself like Progress Quest. The game requires just as much attention as any RPG. Auto-combat stops when the player must do a boss battle to level up further, and there are plenty of menus for inventory management and upgrades that must be accessed manually.
  • The "Blue Moon" trailer for Fallout: New Vegas featured a gorgeous view of New Vegas itself in the background of the scene. The city is completely illuminated, giving the impression that the game would include a completely intact pre-war setting which had survived any decay or damage from the apocalypse. In the actual game, however, only four buildings in the entire city are lit up, and the rest are in the same lack of repair as anything you would find in Fallout 3. It is revealed that the city, while surviving the nukes, went through hundreds of years without any maintenance until 6-7 years ago when the casinos were fixed up and made pretty again.
  • The Final Fantasy series has several examples:
    • Final Fantasy VI: A claymation ad from the 90s had Mog as a casting director interviewing monsters auditioning and getting zapped (and implicitly rejected) by an increasingly frustrated Mog. Most of the monsters are in the game (although the ghost is actually a temporary party member), and while Mog can learn lightning spells, it's not really his signature move.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • This trailer describes the Shinra Corporation as an "evil empire", and implies that the Meteor is being used by that "evil empire" to drain the planet's life energy. This trailer mentions that Aeris and Cloud's romance is doomed, however there isn't any romantic lake scene. The clip is in the game, but it's from Aeris's funeral scene.
      • Ads showed pre-rendered cutscenes without showing gameplay, while stating the game has "a cast of thousands". There are dozens of NPCs, hundreds implied to be offscreen, and there are lots of monsters, but there is no indication this is a game with RPG combat and not some interactive movie.
      • The 2020 Remake was billed as an expanded retelling of the game's first arc with modern graphics and gameplay, which many fans had hoped for. Then the Twist Ending hits, revealing that following installments are set to diverge from the original game's story.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: One ad shows a pre-rendered cutscene of Quistis firing a machine gun while the narrator says your thumbs will be really sore, implying the player has some control of the weapon during the scene or that this is an action game and not an RPG. There is no button mashing aside from the GF Boost ability.
    • Final Fantasy XIII:
      • The game was in development for years. What little gameplay snippets were shown in the earliest trailers made it look like a button masher action-RPG. Compare the early trailers to what the game turned out to be.
      • It also continues with the later trailers that make a very large deal about the villain characters of Jihl Nabaat and Yaag Rosch, but together they have something like maybe half a dozen scenes in the actual game. Jihl and Yaag were given their own section in the official website before any other non-party character, making them the fanbase assume they were more important than they actually were. Jihl is also never even fought by the party.
      • Also, Dysley, one of the major antagonists, is only shown briefly in the trailers.
      • It goes even further in the promotional material for Final Fantasy XIII-2. The trailers and commercials heavily featured the protagonist of the previous game, Lightning. She even appears as the sole character on the game's boxart. However, in the game itself, she is only briefly playable at the very beginning (as well as in a short DLC campaign) and appears briefly and sporadically throughout the remainder. The game's real main characters, Serah and Noel, were advertised significantly less. Then the next game was subtitled Lightning Returns, just to make sure people knew they weren't fooling this time.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • The trailer for the Stormblood expansion pack shows a key character using a magical barrier to fend off an attack from the antagonist. Said antagonist overpowers her and gravely wounds her, complete with blood coming from her mouth to imply that she would die. While the scene does happen in game, she doesn't actually die. Similarly, the trailer for patch 4.4 showed heavy implications that someone or multiple people were going to die; one of the main characters tears up over not being able to bear losing someone again, another scene shows some characters writhing in pain, and a different scene shows a character stating that the spark of someone's soul is gone. In actuality, nobody actually dies. The key characters in question simply had their souls called away to another world (and in so doing, setting the stage for the next expansion), thus no one actually died from it.
      • Shadowbringers has its trailer showing the poster boy getting a beatdown by a Sin Eater before changing his job to Dark Knight and blasting his enemy with the power of darkness, which also breaks up the light in the sky and restores the night. The voiceover states that the Warrior of Light must become the Warrior of Darkness. Likewise, Thancred is shown fleeing with Minfilia while Y'shtola and Uriagner are trapped in a burning forest. In the actual game, the player character doesn't harness the power of darkness, but they absorb the excess Light to restore the night to each region. The scenes showing the Scions in the trailer actually does happen, though off screen and before the events of Shadowbringers. Likewise, the teaser website states that the Warrior of Light must become the "villain" and change to a Warrior of Darkness. Unless you look at one of the antagonists from their perspective, you never actually become a bad guy or even an Anti-Hero. You're still doing the same heroic deeds you've always done. Finally, the poster boy is shown being taunted by a gremlin while fighting a particularly large sin eater that resembles an archangel, which is played up as a key villain. In truth, the sin eater shown is, at best, a dungeon sub-boss, and while the player does contend with spiteful gremlins as an enemy in that dungeon, they never say what they did in the trailer. Rather, Emet-Selch says the exact lines near the end of the MSQ.
    • The Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer shows the Armiger ability in a battle scene in a much different context than in the final game. The character Stella was replaced with Luna, and the man in the white robe became Ravus.
    • The Final Fantasy XV E3 trailer shows a series of hallway battles with a Take Cover! mechanic and a grappling mechanic used on the exterior of collapsing buildings, a different model for the king, and a cinematic Leviathan battle that was changed to a quick time battle.
    • Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is a clone of Game of War: Fire Age with a Final Fantasy XV skin. An ad shows the four characters of the main game fighting Leviathan in a city in an action sequence resembling the main game, which has nothing to do with the game's strategy gameplay. A Facebook ad shows the characters of Final Fantasy XV divided into light and dark sides, with Aranea and Titan representing the dark side, and Leviathan representing the light side. There is no such faction selection system in the game, and the characters are mostly confined to giving generic text in the game menus, as there is no real story to focus on. The official website describes the game as if it were an interactive story driven RPG where you will be heavily involved in playing as the characters: "Play with Noctis, Cindy, Lunafreya, and many more of your favorite characters in the largest open-world MMO in the series." Further, it says "Play for free in the most interactive Strategy MMO game" while a video plays of the characters in a 3D city as it is being built and attacked. In the game, the story and characters take a back seat to the rest of the strategy interface. There is a rudimentary combat system for defeating monsters, but it is nowhere near as in-depth as a Final Fantasy RPG. Another ad shows a character powering up while equipping armor from inventory and fighting monsters like an action RPG, ignoring that this is a strategy game. Another ad shows the characters running and driving, approaching a battlefield and engaging enemies with action RPG moves, suggesting the gameplay is much closer to the console RPG, despite having no action RPG elements. Ads that do attempt to show the game as a strategy game, either as a cinematic 3D battlefield that changes perspective, a full 3D strategy game, or a 2D isometric strategy game with detailed sprites and combat animations, still manage to misrepresent the actual combat of the game.
    • Notably averted by one of the first trailers for Final Fantasy XVI, which was all done in the game's engine. The game's director noted that it was done since most of Square's prior trailers had been all-prerendered, which meant they didn't say very much about the state of the game—and predictably, fans had begun cynically claiming that an all-prerendered trailer meant "we have no idea when this game is coming out or what it'll be like, so have an animated short which may or may not have anything to do with the final product."
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The ad for Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (or simply known as "Fire Emblem"), which also unfortunately happened to be the very first ad for Fire Emblem in the west. A bunch of what seem to be knights are sitting around a table eating supper, and one who is presumably the leader tells the group to "trust no one", only for one of the men, named as "Dorcas", to drop dead, apparently poisoned by the leader. Then they all proceed to laugh... for some reason, cutting to game footage with the Tag Line "Build an army, trust no one". The game (and if fact most of the games in the series) itself? A Turn-Based Strategy game with Relationship Values as a core and staple game mechanic, loads and loads of recruitable enemy units (including the former ace assassin for the enemy and someone with a grudge against one of the main characters), and featuring two out of three extremely trusting main characters, where the tactician is a random amnesiac found by one of said main characters and a benevolent Mysterious Waif plays a prominent role in the plot. Riiiiggght. On top of that, Dorcas is a name of an actual character in the game, but not only does "Dorcas" not look like the character at all, none of the actors remotely resemble any of the characters at all, so it's logical to assume that they basically picked his name out of a hat. This is the commercial reenacted by the characters. Naturally, it makes even less sense.
    • The Conquest route of Fire Emblem Fates suffered from this. Promotional materials said its story would focus on "reforming an unruly kingdom from the inside" and promised it would not be the game's "evil campaign". In the actual Nohr route proper, you spend most of your time following the villains' orders, are constantly guilt-tripped for choosing their side, end up decimating Hoshido in order to expose the Big Bad, and keep the siblings in the dark about their father's true nature until the very end and the promised "reformation" doesn't occur until the last two chapters of the game, by which point the damage has already been done. (Hell, the names of the two countries involved can literally be translated as "black and white.") They also promised "a more complex story", but the plot can be summed up as "standard Fire Emblem plot, except you're playing as the 'bad country'." Perhaps in response to this, the route's marketing outside of America focused much more on invading Hoshido.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Most promotional materials and trailers heavily marketed the Black Eagles house as the ideal starting point for newcomers, and made out Edelgard to be an Implied Love Interest "waifu" character in the vein of Lucina and Azura. In reality, the Black Eagles route has a major twist that was never hinted at in the marketing: it splits into two distinct routes at the halfway point based on your choices, one similar to the other two routes and the other being radically different, and Edelgard, while still an Implied Love Interest with many endearing Not So Above It All moments, is also a very brutal Well-Intentioned Extremist and one of the game's primary antagonists on three out of four paths.
      • Initial trailers and marketing focused on portraying Claude as The Sneaky Guy, implying he'd be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. In reality, Claude is overall the least violent and most stable of the three Lords, his dark secrets aren't nearly as dramatic as those of Edelgard and Dimitri, and his hidden goal is, of all things, ending racism. On the other hand, the timeskip trailer's focus on his Friendship Speech made it seem like his path would lead to the Golden Ending where you make peace between the three house leaders. In the final game, Claude gives that speech to the route's Final Boss, and both Dimitri and Edelgard have died by that point. The speech doesn't refer to them, but to the people of Fódlan opening their borders to the outside world.
      • Played with in the case of the game's E3 2019 trailer, which showcases a huge battle between the titular Three Houses after the Time Skip and frames the player character in such a way they could be seen supporting any of the three factions during it. In actuality, only the Blue Lions and Golden Deer paths get the chapter where said event happens, while in the case of the Black Eagles branch, Byleth is prevented from participating in it due to plot-related reasons.
      • An official tweet from Nintendo UK indicated that the Church of Seiros would be a major enemy faction. This is only true on the Crimson Flower route; on all other routes, the Church is firmly on your side.
  • Forsaken, a 3D space shooter, was heavily marketed as a post-apocalyptic tale about some girl and her tattooed face.
  • Mobile game Gardenscapes and its various sister games are a series of house-sim Match-Three Game hybrid mobile games, but for whatever reason, they are advertised as interactive story games where the player has to help its mascot characters either repair houses or farms or escape/survive dangerous situations (while the people playing complain about how hard the games are as they make extremely bone-headed choices like pouring gasoline onto a burning stove). Given the games already have a fairly unique gimmick, one has to wonder why they don't just advertise that instead of presenting the games as entirely different ones.
    • Starting from late 2020, another kind of ad for those games appeared, showing soap opera-like dramatic plots with broken marriages and things like that. Not only there is nothing like that in the actual games, but the ads show characters in completely different roles than the ones they actually have in the game (one of them shows a man who is apparenty the owner of the home from Homescapes that is having a secret relation with his housemaid: the two characters in the proper game, called Jason and Jane, are respectively a mechanic and a scientist, and the house is actually owned by the parents of main character Austin)
  • The teaser trailer for the very first Gears of War was set to the song "Mad World" and opens with Marcus Fenix brooding over the destroyed remnants of a statue, implying a measure of melancholy and introspection that is nowhere to be found in the blood-pumping, chainsaw-wielding action of the real game.
    So re-watch the cinematic trailer that used the ''Donnie Darko'' song to trick you into thinking these games would have emotional depth — then chug a Surge and turn your hat backwards for three homoerotic bro-fest pain-trains that are about as subtle as a curb stomp!
  • Golden Sun didn't fare very well. The commercial has absolutely nothing to do with the game, aside from two seconds of gameplay footage tacked on at the end in a sequence that seems more about showing off the hardware. It actually managed to become an Ascended Meme, with Dark Dawn making the "Chandelier Dragon" a summon.
  • The commercials for Grand Theft Auto III included a gorgeous white Banshee (a sports car based on the Dodge Viper) with a black stripe down the middle. However, the Banshees you steal in the game only have white stripes. Cue minor bitching from fans.
  • The teaser for Half-Life 2: Episode Two at the end of Episode One shows Alyx Vance hanging from wreckage over a bridge followed by a Vortigaunt carrying her lifeless body, implying that she dies in the train crash at the end of Episode One. Alyx actually escapes the train crash unscathed: the scene of her hanging from the wreckage isn't in the final game, and the Vortigaunt carrying her occurs after she is wounded by a Hunter. Valve was so bothered that their trailers ended up showing scenes cut from the games that they never released a trailer for Episode Three — which became a moot point when it was rendered Vaporware.
  • Done on purpose in the trailer for The Halloween Hack. Radiation explained on his site that he only put in the humorous beginning scenes in the trailer to make everyone think it was going to be a silly hack.
  • Halo:
    • Trailers for Halo 2 implied you would be defending Earth, when in fact you spent all of two missions on Earth, and the rest on another Halo ring. And nobody was prepared for the Arbiter's introduction. The Broken Base had mixed opinions about this. Either Bungie was great for doing something different than having a generic "defend the Earth" storyline, or they felt incredibly betrayed by the "lies" Bungie gave. You can't even trust the back of the box, which also gears you up to save Earth from an alien invasion.
    • Halo 3 seemed to be going this route, but you actually did spend nearly half the game fighting the Covenant invasion on Earth and most fans knew the game would take place on the Ark in some fashion. That said, it's played straight with the cutscene showing the opening of the Voi portal: the first ever Halo 3 trailer showed Master chief looking at the structure from a cliff, while a huge Covenant fleet flies over his head and moves into position around it as the gateway fires up. In the actual game, the same scene is re-enacted with Master Chief looking from the cliff, while a human bomber wing flies to blast the hell out of the Prophet's ship as Lord Hood calls in an attack with several starships' MAC guns.
    • Halo 5: Guardians effectively lied totally about the main conflict of the game. The trailers indicated that Master Chief had gone rogue from the UNSC and that people considered him a traitor to humanity. It also played up a battle between the Chief and Spartan Locke, who had been charged with tracking him down, explicitly having two trailers of Master Chief about to kill Locke (or vice versa), with Locke's trailer outright stating that MC had betrayed humanity and had caused mass destruction to a colony. The announcement trailer featured Master Chief walking in a desert in a cloak before a guardian emerged from the sand. Most of the pre-release novels showed that ONI had become more authoritarian and that the series was headed into Grey-and-Grey Morality. Master Chief "going rogue" boiled down to everybody holding the Conflict Ball and him going AWOL for a short while, at which point Locke and his team tried to simply track him down. Locke and Chief fought once in the whole game; a fistfight that ended up having no impact on the plot whatsoever. After that, they become allies. Nothing even closely resembling the latter trailers occurred, and not once did a single character believe that MC was a "traitor to humanity". ONI ended up having a minor role at best, despite being the main antagonists of the accompanying ARG.
  • Trailers for Haze told of Shane being born in an anarchist hell where one of the highlights involve the Olympics being bombed. Turns out he was living comfortably with both parents alive and was dropping out of College to join Mantel.
  • The trailer for Howard Glitch, which goes out of its way to introduce all of the passengers on the ship as well as the pilot, could easily be mistaken as a trailer for the YouTube game and not the project as a whole. The game itself is actually about escaping reality in the midst of a hopeless situation, and the only character you get you interact with in any path is the pilot. Only not really. However, the characters do hint at the various endings of the game.
  • Hunt Down the Freeman had nearly every trailer and prerelease still involve this shot of Gordon Freeman attacking the protagonist. In the released game, it's this shot, with Gordon's helmet conspicuously on. This seems to have been an attempt to make the game's main plot twist (that wasn't Gordon Freeman under that helmet, it was a guy disguised as him) less blindingly obvious.
  • The mobile game Hustle Castle is infamous for this. While the game itself is a fairly standard Fallout Shelter clone, the ads have all sorts of sexual content that most certainly is not in the game itselfnote . What doesn’t help matters is that its artstyle heavily resembles that of Seth MacFarlane's cartoons, causing some people to accuse it of copying his style of humor as well.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, the list of items in the game fulfills this trope. Most of it is in the game, just not as items.
  • The four animated trailers of Infinite Space (including the one that is used as the opening in the game) spoil quite a number of major and minor events in the game, such as Kira's erasure from existence. However, some of these events appear differently from the game, both in the chronological order and how they happen. Some characters are also given different roles, most notably Valantin and Eremon.
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. None of its trailer is included in the game. It's as if it was a project proposal for the unique aesthetics and graphic style of the game.
  • Parodied and lampshaded in Kagetsu Tohya with the Imogirisou trailer and side story. The side story is unlocked with a bizarre dreaming involving a fake Shiki, murders, Akiha's ex fiance and numerous other things, and when the game starts it has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the 'trailer' dream. Shiki gets irritated at how the story he's in now is even less interesting than the one he had a dream about. For clarification, the side story is something of a Take That! to another series of games that hasn't been released outside Japan, called Otogirisou, which is made by Chun-soft, a rather friendly game maker to Kinoko nasu (he made a side story to their visual novel later too).
  • Trailers for Kid Icarus: Uprising seemed to imply that the game's story could be compared to Zelda or other such series, featuring scenes such as Magnus and Gaol's confrontation. Instead the game is filled with Leaning on the Fourth Wall and Casual Danger Dialog. Additionally, the trailers made it look like Medusa would be the game's Big Bad. Before the game is even two-fifths finished, it's revealed that Hades is the real Big Bad. This particular lie is continued by the game itself, which even rolls a fake credits sequence before the revelation.
  • In King of Avalon: Dragon Warfare, the game is played in isometric 2D, while an ad shows an Ultima Online style game in 3D with cinematic animations.
  • Knockout City became notorious for this when its reveal trailer aired during the February 2021 Nintendo Direct. Said trailer depicts a series of interviews with pastiches of characters from various video game genres, all with unique art styles and distinctive personalities, making it look like it's going to be a wacky Wreck-It Ralph-esque crossover. Then the gameplay portion of the trailer began and revealed it to be a generic multiplayer battle royale game that didn't actually have any of those characters in it. Consensus on the Internet was that the characters from the interviews - particularly Princess Charm, a spunky, tomboyish Princess Peach Expy rendered in pixel art - were much more interesting than Knockout City itself. Justified when it turned out that the trailer had been outsourced to a separate company who knew absolutely nothing about the game they were meant to be advertising.
  • While everything in the Lands of Lore 2 trailer technically was in the game, it's still deceptive. That's because everything the trailer shows is from the cutscenes, which look much better than the ingame graphics.
  • Last Empire War Z: One ad has zombified versions of Batman, Iron Man, a Ninja Turtle, and Luffy. They do not appear in the game, and it is not made clear this is a strategy game, not a straightforward survival horror game.
  • The Last of Us Part II. All of the advertising heavily implied that Dina dies at the beginning and Joel is the main 'companion' character of the game, when actually the reverse is true. This was clearly done to preserve the surprise and a bunch of the in-game footage was digitally edited to make the deception work. And that's not even getting into the fact that Abby is kept out of all but one of the trailers despite her being the player character for nearly half of the game.
  • Last Shelter: Survival is a mobile game with advertising that strongly suggests that it's a zombie-themed Tower Defense game, when in fact it's yet another Clash of Clans clone.
  • This trailer for The Legend of Dragoon is mostly accurate, except for the fight bit at the end. The game is mostly serious, without any zany humor of that sort - certainly no Losing Your Head jokes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time SpaceWorld tech demo was very different from the actual game, included a shiny knight enemy and a different combat system, and had convinced many this was footage of the actual game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games ads had footage of the GBC games coupled with amazing prerendered footage.
    • Early trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess featured a ton of content that was either removed or heavily altered in the final game. These include enemies, locations, scenes, and even a boss nowhere to be seen in later versions. In fact if you count aesthetic changes as well, it isn't an exaggeration to say that every scene in the first two trailers contained at least one thing not in the finished product.
    • The first footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shown at E3 2014 had a scripted scene where a Guardian attacked Link by smashing the bridge he was trying to cross. In the final game, Guardians can do no such thing.
  • League of Angels II is a 2D RPG with ads that would make it seem like a full 3D game. Ads show the player appearing to fly as different angels in 3D, a 3D character select screen, characters walking through wilderness and dungeons in third person 3D, the UI of Dark Souls and World of Warcraft, realtime 3D avatar customization, Diablo III gameplay, and 3D characters riding mounts through 3D landscapes. These videos are made specifically for the ad.
  • Left 4 Dead 2:
    • The opening cinematic plays out much more like a trailer than its predecessor's, showing played-up versions of scenes from the campaign. (Oddly enough, unlike the original's, it is not available on Steam's trailers section.) It features a scene in a mall with the Survivors descending an elevator into a massive flood of zombies. That elevator is in the game, but the flood of zombies is not. They're also shown getting caught in the middle of a bridge bombing; in the game, they call it off at the beginning of the chapter.
    • The trailer also shows a piecemeal account of how the first campaign begins with the survivors on top of a hotel having missed the rescue, with the characters seeming to have already been traveling together with enough familiarity between them to make jokes, share supplies and so on. Yet in the game it's presented that the survivors just met, not even knowing each others' names, and the gradual trust and familiarity that gets built up over the campaigns was to be a major gameplay element.
    • The trailer showcasing The Sacrifice DLC is fairly accurate except for the end part. The trailer shows Bill activating a generator that is next to the bridge which raises it and you can see the other survivors quickly jumping on before it gets too high. When 3 Tanks appear to attack, Bill runs off to fight them with a molotov. In actuality, there's three generators that the survivors have to turn on to get the bridge to move and while one of them is near the bridge, it's next to a generator room, not the bar. The bridge also won't move up until all players are on the bridge and one of the players climbs up to flip a switch. When the bridge gets stuck, the person performing the sacrifice has to restart a generator and they don't have to fight the gang of Tanks at all (trying to do so would quickly get them killed and the game throws in more Tanks anyway if you killed some).
    • The Passing DLC shows Rochelle by herself having some friendly banter with Francis until she insults his vest, causing him to walk away in disgust. While the scene can happen in the game, there's dialogue with other survivors besides Francis and Rochelle and if the scene from the trailer plays in the game, Francis gets upset that Rochelle insulted his vest but he also tells her to go fill up the generator with gas.
  • LEGO Adaptation Game
    • LEGO Star Wars III's first trailer, shown at E3 2010, implied the game would have had all the main six movies from the saga, instead it was only based on The Clone Wars.
    • LEGO Indiana Jones 2's trailer said the game featured the four Indy movies and a Level Editor, and that was true, but the trailer also stated the game was for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, and it didn't make clear that the Nintendo DS version didn't feature the classic adventures (Raiders, Doom and Crusade) nor the level editor.
  • Ads for the mobile gardening game Lily's Garden have nothing to do with the game itself. One shows Lily telling her boyfriend that she's pregnant, only for the boyfriend to run off. The ad then cuts to Lily crying, followed by the title of the game. This is only the beginning in a series of soap opera-esque ads that only escalate from there.
  • The TV ad for Lost Odyssey, primarily because of its use of the Jefferson Airplane song, "White Rabbit", but also because of the generally misty appearance of the game's FMV's, makes it appear to be a trippy, exotic experience, when in actuality it's a fairly solemn story.
  • The mobile game Mafia City has this down to a point of parody and Memetic Mutation. Such examples involve a Level 1 Crook casually robbing a bank like something out of Grand Theft Auto and leveling up in a flash to Level 100 Boss with the tagline “That's how mafia works.” In reality, it's a resource management game that heavily relies on Microtransactions and Bribing Your Way to Victory.
  • Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64. In one ad found in the Archie Comics and in magazines, a tennis judge has a plunger shoved onto his mouth, with the words "When Plumbers Lose" overscoring that. Then little text at the bottom mentions "exploding baselines", "a couple of angry plumbers", and that "you don't play it. You survive it." This is probably a more accurate description of Mario POWER Tennis, its GameCube successor, but the N64 game is pretty tame. The "exploding baselines" bit is a reference to the Bob-omb baseline judges that blow themselves up when you fault or go out, but they don't appear on every level. Some levels have Koopas that wave flags, similar to baseline judges in real-life tennis. The game did utilize The Power of Rock at times in its soundtrack, but that was about as extreme as the game got.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect had a scene where "Hard decisions had to be made" and the Normandy not helping out the planet Noveria that was under attack and going to a different planet instead. This...never even remotely happened.
    • Used amusingly in the advertising for Mass Effect 2 in the promo showing a geth wearing Shepard's N7 armor with text indicating Shepard's status as Killed in Action. People assumed this referred to the end of the game, since it was well advertized that the character could die, or that it was just using this trope to get attention. When in reality Shepard dies at the very start of the game and is resurrected. And the geth in the armor? Appears in the game...as one of the good guys, who found pieces of Shepard's armor when he/she had been killed and welded them on its frame as a form of tribute and honour.
    • In one specific instance, a trailer for the second game includes a geth aiming a sniper rifle at Shepard, with the line "We do not experience fear, but we understand how it affects you." In the actual game: the geth is friendly, and uses its rifle to shoot down enemies approaching Shepard. And the "fear" line, while it is spoken, is in a completely different scene and context. Rather than a taunt, the geth is sadly lamenting how fear has been the root cause of unnecessary conflicts between the geth and organic races.
    • Used less amusingly in the launch trailer for the game, in which Shepard gave his now famous "Fight For the Lost" speech. Despite this being quoted everywhere, it's not actually in the game at any point, technically making it Beam Me Up, Scotty! as well.
    • The "Dirty Dozen" trailer is by far the worst not only with several inaccuracies, but several different kinds of inaccuracies:
      • It shows Miranda and the Illusive Man trying to figure out why Shepard is going to various worlds recruiting a team of hardcore specialists, and wondering what or who it is he plans on using them to put a world of hurt on. In reality, that mission is given to Shepard by the Illusive Man, who also gives him the information on the specialists so he can find and recruit them and Miranda is part of Shepard's team from the beginning.
      • The scenes with the specialists themselves are wrong, like Grunt being on Tuchanka, whereas in-game, Grunt has never even been to Tuchanka, is recruited somewhere else entirely, and isn't even on the original list of specialists.
      • A lot of small scenes in the trailer are in the game but don't go the way they appear: Thane's debut is close but is much more cinematic in the trailer, and Grunt never kills a Thresher from inside its mouth.
      • The Illusive Man's holographic/haptic displays are extremely detailed, but in-game, none of these displays ever shows actual information and act as placeholders so the characters have computer screens to look at.
      • Finally, the trailer shows Shepard tackling Horizon with Thane and Grunt. While it originally would have been possible to do this, the final game doesn't let you recruit Thane before Horizon.
    • One of the trailers for Mass Effect 3 showed Shepard manning a turret on a Geth craft to shoot down a Reaper Destroyer. This plays out a bit differently in-game: Shepard jumps off the hovercraft, grabs a targeting laser, and goes head to head with the Reaper. You can fire the turret at it during the initial chase scene, but it does nothing.
  • Taken to a science by Metal Gear director Hideo Kojima. Hideo Kojima claims he hates making trailers, because Trailers Always Spoil. He says the only way out is to make deliberately misleading trailers - hence his embracing of this trope.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2, the main character was going to be the new character Raiden, but the general expectation of the audience, furthered by very selective news releases, was that it would be Solid Snake. Konami released extensive gameplay information and footage, but only from the game's prologue segment, when the player really does control Snake. When video was shown from later in the story (when Raiden would be the main character), footage was edited together, using out-of-context clips and dialogue, to almost completely hide the real main character from the audience — except for a few teasing flashes of his face behind the mask of a ninja. One scene showing Snake fighting the boss Fortune was footage from a hypothetical sequence serving as a metaphor for the Mind Screw the main character was suffering, and the real battle was fought by Raiden.
      • The trailer for Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance ups the deception to eleven. It interweaves clips from the main game with clips from the VR missions, where Snake moves in flat-shaded environments that form and unravel around him. A scene shows a soldier disintegrating into polygons; another even shows the included Evolution Skateboarding demo, with Snake as a player character. Meanwhile, characters say lines like "Don't worry, it's a game, just like usual", "Whether this is real or a bad dream, I'll keep watching you till it's over", "Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between reality and a game", "It's like being in a nightmare you can't wake up from". The entire trailer seems deliberately made to suggest that, during the game, Snake will realize that he is a video game character living in a virtual world, and he will first have to escape the boundaries of the game, then get out of the console or computer itself.
    • The Metal Gear Solid 3 trailers do this trick again, but portray final boss The Boss as a heartless Big Bad, nearly killing Snake and shooting out his eye, causing him to wake up in a cell from a terrible nightmare. In game, the Big Bad was Volgin, who was only shown in the trailer once; the eye was not shot out by The Boss (instead, by Ocelot, who wasn't even deliberately aiming at Snake.) — she merely pointed a gun at him; and the nightmare wakeup was from a near-comedy sequence resulting from a Dream Sequence minigame.
      • The deceptive editing of the trailer of MGS2 was parodied in the very beginning of MGS3, where when you first land in the jungle (after selecting "I liked MGS2" from the New Game menu), Naked Snake is wearing a convincing "Raiden" mask, likely causing more than a few fans' hearts to skip a beat.
      • It gets more blatant during the opening theme song! Just take a good look at Snake, and you'll realize a few scenes are basically Solid Snake with facepaint. The MGS2 Sneaking Suit is even visible briefly, though it never makes an appearance in game.
      • An American commercial listing the reviews the game got ended with the line "Snake is back", tricking people into thinking that they'd be playing as Solid Snake, when really they'd be playing as Naked Snake (Big Boss).
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers showed Snake in the Middle East, quietly committing suicide. The scene in the finished game was - modified. The most hilarious example is the so-wrong-it's-awesome 'Summer Blockbuster' trailer, which cuts the gameplay footage together to make it look like a testosterone-pumping action flick. "Evil is powerful - but courage is Solid", booms the narrator, before Snake proudly proclaims to the narrator, begging for one man to save us all, "Sounds like the perfect job for me". In context, he was responding to Meryl saying that the only person who'd go on a specific mission is someone who wanted only to die. After playing the game you'll either find the trailer sick or squickily hilarious.
    • Played straight with the trailer marketing for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, except for one instance: Pretty much a lot of the trailers have tanks and other vehicles going through areas when they weren't actually present in the game (eg, the line of Tanks and APCs crossing Los Cantos), although Miller's speech with Snake in the Tactical Espionage Operations trailer was indeed in the game itself. In addition, there was a scene where Big Boss walks by some soldiers on Mother Base's deck with Kaz looking down ashamed that, although the scene itself doesn't actually appear in the game, it was hinted at in the second Stinger ending where Snake has to make a speech to his soldiers announcing the formal creation of Outer Heaven.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was shown at first as a separate IP entirely; however, plenty of hints in the trailer were caught by savvy gamers, and when it was revealed, I Knew It! was a common thought.
  • Metroid:
    • The American commercial for Metroid II: Return of Samus says that "One life-sucking Metroid survived the first Metroid adventure, and it's multiplying rapidly." In actuality, the Metroids are all the offspring of the Metroid Queen, who was presumably born on the planet SR388, and there was no indication of her existence in the first game. It also says the game's subtitle is "The Return of Samus", right when the logo displays the correct title.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had one trailer showcasing the Galactic Federation troopers using Phazon as a part of their arsenel due to the Space Pirates becoming more dangerous with Phazon and the Federation needed to fight fire with fire. The trailer shows a soldier's hand twitching as he shakes it off trying to ignore it, which would foreshadow that the use of Phazon would corrupt the troops like it had done to all other lifeforms in the previous games. The actual game does not show any of this happening and none of the troopers suffer any corrupting effects from Phazon. The only time you see a trooper that succumbed to the corruption is in an endgame area and he's been dead for a while anyway. There is one person that does get corrupted from Phazon and it's Samus herself if the Phazon in her body is not kept in check.
    • The US TV Commercial for Metroid: Other M briefly retells Samus's backstory, including a part where a younger Samus is being attacked by Ridley, implying that the game would explore the K2L incident in more detail. This doesn't show up anywhere, even scenes where it would make the most sense.
  • Mobile Strike has several trailers that would suggest it is a fully 3D action game, a first person or third person shooter, a first person VR game, a Tower Defense game, or some other fully 3D military game instead of a 2D isometric strategy game.
  • Modern Warfare 2 has a bit of this. Quite a few quotes from the Infamy Trailer are never heard in the game (too bad, considering how cool they are) and while Makarov is focused on the trailer, he has very little face time in the actual game ("No Russian" being the most).
  • In the official launch trailer for Mortal Kombat 11, it looks like Raiden about to take Geras down with his "Flying Thunder God" move. In the game proper, Geras stops this attack by grabbing Raiden by the throat.
  • An ad for the Mobile Phone Game Ninja Girls features a 3D dress up mode with Senran Kagura characters, and includes Kan'u Unchou from the Ikki Tousen DLC. Though the characters do equip clothing as armor, the game is in 2D and does not feature these characters.
  • The debut trailer for Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm showed Konoha as a battle stage. It didn't make it in.
  • No Man's Sky could have its own sub-page just for this, combined with Lying Creator as many of the trailers were narrated and 'played' by the lead developer. Many of the features shown in the trailer provided on the Steam page aren't in the game or were added in much later, with general aesthetics also being toned down. The trailers show worlds teeming with unique but pseudo-realistic life, including gigantic mega-fauna, in large forests. It shows factional combat between large fleets of ships, and a promise that you can join in and take sides. Neither of those things are in the released game.
  • Oblivion:
    • Bethesda's "Radiant AI" trailer is partially an example; the trailer showed off a diverse use of “Radiant AI.” However, in the final game, Radiant AI is noticeably limited, due to the original version of the system causing... interesting results to simple inconveniences.
    • An unintentional example: early trailers for the game prominently showcased the player exploring the city of Sutch, which was removed from the final game due to time constraints.
    • For Skyrim, pretty much every advertisement featured a badass Barbarian Hero decked out in an imposing suit of armour and a horned helmet going toe-to-toe with a massive dragon. The equipment the hero is using is available in the game...but it's some of the weakest low-level equipment around that most players will probably replace by the time they're ready to face a dragon head-on without help.
  • The trailers for Omori had the premise about a monochrome and depressed boy named Omori, who lived in the simple-yet-lonely White Space, and must make a decision of "which world is real" by either staying in there or leave it and go out to live in the crazy and technicolor Dream World. This is a Red Herring. The actual plot is that you are a boy named Sunny who is moving out of his town in four days, and you have to help him reconnect with his friends in real life while discovering what caused everyone to scatter in the first place by going into his dreams.
  • The opening trailer for Oneechanbara Vortex shows clips from the game, including a rather cool scene of Aya saving Saki from an attacker by running into him with a motorcycle. Except that in the actual game, it's not returning Token Mini-Moe and Heel Face Turned ex-Big Bad Saki, but newcomer Anna who is saved in this manner.
  • The E3 2018 trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps featured a Minecart Madness area called the Gorlek Mines, which unfortunately was Dummied Out late in development. The trailer also ends with Ori watching a school of Will O Wisps headed toward the restored Spirit Willow, with Seir, the Golden Light, back in their/her place, whilst in the final game the Willow is too far gone and Ori must leave behind their life as a guardian spirit, becoming the new Spirit Tree and keeper of the Light.
  • This ad for Onmyōji discovered by a Twitter user portrays the main characters Seimei and Hiromasa with the caption "Which one is your type?", making Onmyōji look like an Otome Game even though it's clearly not.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star's trailers made the game look like a return to the styles of the first two games in the series. The final game was very different from them. This is justified in interviews which cited Executive Meddling as the reason for the changes.
    • Trailers and advertising campaigns for Paper Mario: The Origami King would bizarrely brag about how many "minigames" the game had. There's an incredibly simplistic fishing game you can play at three points, and shuriken-throwing and deep sea diving that are required to beat the game, and that's about it. Most seemed to confuse the battle system for a minigame instead.
  • The trailer for the original Phantasy Star Online showed a scene where characters had to work together to push a large object. That never happened in the game. Also, two large enemies, one that looks like a mantis and another a giant ape, were seen in what would be the first Forest area of the game. The mantis-like enemy never appears in the forest (you wouldn't see it until the cave level), and the ape-like mob didn't appear until the second forest area.
  • Almost every PlayStation game that contained CGI cutscenes was made to look like that's what the gameplay would be like. While this wasn't exclusive to PS1, the storage capacity of the CD compared to the relatively weak real-time rendering power led to this happening a lot. This problem was bad enough to the point where several game companies got in trouble for deceptive advertising (leading consumers to believe the CGI scenes was how the game would look during play) and now have to show at least one in game screenshot.
  • Pokémon:
    • Early Nintendo Power ads showed Wes, the protagonist of Pokémon Colosseum, to be an outright villain. He's actually an Anti-Hero.
    • Trailers and commercials for Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon keep showcasing the Pokémon: I Choose You! hat Pikachu with no explanation on what it is, giving the implication that it's available in regular gameplay. It's actually available only by scanning a QR code that came along the promo card given to those who saw the aformented movie in cinemas.
    • One of the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon shows an Alolan Vulpix and Lillie, which led many to believe that Snowy from the anime was becoming a Canon Immigrant. The Vulpix actually has nothing to do with Lillie.
  • The trailer for Poker Night at the Inventory has a scene in which Tycho's eyes glow red like they do in the comic he's from. This animation was made without the game engine, his eyes never glow red in-game because the game engine does not support it. (Here is a link to the trailer, skip to about 0:39 for the scene)
  • Portal's reveal trailer shows a short bit with a Descending Ceiling and a fire pit. This scene does not actually appear in the game. However, the Portal: The Flash Version MapPack in Still Alive and on We Create Stuff's site has similar locales
  • Portal 2:
    • None of the test chambers from the trailers showing game mechanics appear in the game unmodified, though many do appear in some form (either with a different visual style or with some elements changed or removed):
    • One feature for Portal 2 in the trailers, the "Pneumatic Diversity Vent," was never used at all (at least, not in any puzzles). In the trailer, Chell shoots a portal underneath a pneumatic tube to suck up turrets, loose wall tiles and other things. This proved too difficult to balance for gameplay purposes, so in the final game it only gets used for scripted scenes.
    • Highly pedantic, but this trailer implies that ATLAS and P-body both use blue/orange portals, when in actuality ATLAS uses blue/purple and P-body uses orange/red. Then again, they were both using an ordinary portal gun in that trailer.
    • If you watched the trailers of GLaDOS reawakening, you were probably one of many who were freaked out when claws descend from out of nowhere to grab you and Wheatley, since that part wasn't in said trailers. The dark atmosphere and music, also absent from the trailers, didn't help.
  • Psychonauts was marketed as a gross-out platformer. Aside from the brain-sneezing scenes and the Meat Circus, the game isn't gross at all. As well as spoiling what happens to the campers, trailers also implied that the camp counselors were responsible. In the game, only Coach Oleander actually has anything to do with the scheme.
  • Trailers for the 2014 Rambo: The Video Game make it look like a normal first-person shooter (with some "kill cam" sequences), and completely hide the fact that it's in fact a "light-gun" style rail shooter (where the player doesn't even control the camera or the movement at all).
  • The trailer for Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time showed a good-quality shot of a rip in the space-time continuum DESTROYING EVERYTHING IT TOUCHES, PLANET OR SPACESHIP. While the rip is shown in the game, it's disappointingly shown in a "flashback" video from Orvus, eons before the series. The video is also shown in a grainy quality. On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, the old "What a Wonderful World" commercial for Tools of Destruction gloriously averts this trope for the most part note  the majority of the commercial showed you exactly what you'd be doing in the first level of the game: shooting stuff, getting shot at by Tachyon/Tachyon's forces, grinding on the mag-train rail (and, by extension, avoiding running into mag-trains), lobbing fusion bombs at drophyd troopers, and freefalling. And blowing stuff up. Definitely blowing stuff up.
  • This trailer of Record of Agarest War makes it like the game is a naughty eroge on a home console and a turn-based strategy being its second purpose. While the game do features sim dating system and suggestive CG, the main plot of the game is a regular no-nonsense war and politic genre. There isn't even a full nudity in the game like how the trailer implied by using pixelization.
  • The trailer for RuneScape. It shows a warrior, an archer and a mage having an epic duel with a villain. Once the villain has been killed, they fight off a skeletal horde followed by an intimidating skeletal dragon eating the camera. The armor the heroes wear? Not available in the game. The evil villain? Never mentioned. The skeletal horde? Not a quest. The skeletal dragon? Not an enemy.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police:
  • This trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV showed the party using an instant kill attack against the Frosts Horde, killing them all. In the final game, they are inmune to that kind of attacks, and using an ineffective attack against a boss in this game isn't a smart move.
  • Sword of Chaos has an ad featuring the pre-rendered intro cutscene. Another ad shows gameplay of the intro level, which isn't indicative of the primary gameplay.
  • One of the TV commercials for The Sims 2 included a lady sim with a whip and very little clothing. Needless to say, this is not in the game. And most of what was in this trailer was not in the game. The trailer included a lot more PG-13 content that wasn't included.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The game.com commercial for Sonic Jam featured sped up footage. The actual game is an extremely slow compilation of levels based on the Mega Drive games.
    • Game trailers for Shadow the Hedgehog all show extensive footage of Shadow riding that snazzy motorbike of his. In the game, the bike is only available in one level, is a hidden item, and has probably got the worst handling of any vehicle in the game. It also lied about the quality of the cut-scene graphics. 90% of the trailer is from the intro-sequence of the game. Worse, a few other seconds were taken from other cut-scenes mid-game, but upon playing the game, they are the only ones with high-quality CGI. That's right; the cut-scenes that were in the trailer were better animated than the cut-scenes not in the trailer.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) had trailers showcasing lots of features and animations the game was supposed to have, but thanks to the game not being thoroughly tested and being rushed out the door for the holiday season, many of the features shown in the trailers are not present in the actual game. Even several pieces of animations are missing in the final build while the trailer showed them off.

      A rather infamous case is the playable demo for the Xbox 360 version of the game — a much more polished version of an earlier PS3 demo, with many glitches and problems corrected. Unfortunately, that demo was made only for advertisement purposes — the game was actually being made for the PS3, and would be ported to the 360. As a result, this more polished, glitch-free version was discarded by Sonic Team, who never got around to implementing the demo's bug fixes in the final game.
    • There's also these two early trailers of Sonic Unleashed, which only shows off Sonic's speedy daytime gameplay, with the nighttime Werehog gameplay nowhere to be seen.
    • Sonic Boom has gotten accusations for having earlier trailers with graphics that rival almost anything else on the WiiU, compared with the pre-release gameplay footage that... doesn't.
    • Sonic Mania has promotional material for the game which suggested Dr. Eggman created the Hard Boiled Heavies. In the game proper, he sends a squad of normal Eggrobos to seek the mysterious gemstone, which is what actually transforms them into the Hard Boiled Heavies.
  • Press material for Iguana Entertainment's South Park game said that it would feature the boys going up against the son of Scuzzlebutt. In the actual game, you fight evil Living Toys instead. Additionally, the press mentions Cartman's mom being kidnapped by the alien visitors as part of the plot. During the actual mission against the visitors, she serves no plot importance, instead merely serving as a background character trapped in suspended animation along with other townspeople.
  • The reveal trailer for Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion shows Agent 8 emerging from a subway tunnel and spotting Inkopolis Square in the distance. The subway tunnel is actually part of a station where one of the "thangs" is found, and the scene of Agent 8 looking at Inkopolis Square from a distance was made for the trailer. In the actual game, Agent 8 instead emerges from an underground testing facility and is picked up by Marina and Pearl via helicopter.
  • This self-playing demo for Star Trek: Judgment Rites featured quite a bit of material (mostly 3D Animations and sprite poses as well as away team members) that, in this constellation, simply did not appear in the final game.
  • Suikoden V had you thinking that Queen Arshtat was the main villain of the entire game. She gets killed a few hours in, and it's actually one of the saddest moments of the game.
  • In the Taipei Game Show demo for Super Robot Wars X, which showed the second stage of the game, Shou Zama fought along side Wataru and Shibaraku. In the official gameplay footage of the second stage, however, Shou is nowhere to be seen, and the original protagonist takes his place. This implies that Shou from the demo was only a placeholder for the then-unrevealed original protagonist.
  • Commercials for Super Mario RPG erroneously referred to Exor as "Smithy the Sword." Combined with the fact that he was the most visible villain throughout most of the game and you didn't actually learn his name until the Boss Battle with him late in the game, he inadvertently became a Red Herring, making most players assume he actually was Smithy. )
  • The promotion for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U made it seem as though Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening is part of the core fighter roster, when in truth she was actually a Secret Character the whole time. At least Sakurai was honest about Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog being unlockable in the previous game...
  • Trailers for the second episode of Tales of Monkey Island, Siege of Spinner Cay, explicitly show a scene with Elaine commenting on Guybrush's clearly infected hand. In the actual game, she's commenting on his lack of a hand, as he instead has a hook there — the hand gets chopped off in the first two minutes of play. Presumably Telltale deliberately lied to keep this twist as a shock.
  • Partial example: the trailers and opening for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Emil, Marta, Alice, and Decus all fighting, hanging around, and doing innocuous things like the main characters from the first game did in their opening, and generally giving you the false impression that the latter two are (or at some point would become) allies instead part of the game's Terrible Trio. Weirdly, they're also treated the same way in the closing animation even after they both died fighting Emil and Marta. According to Word of God, Alice and Decus were originally supposed to have a Heel–Face Turn but ultimately stick to their guns as antagonist until it kills them. The animations were likely made before the story changed their intended role.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The trailer for "Mann vs. Machine" game mode depicts the RED and BLU teams working together in an Enemy Mine situation to defeat the robots that act as the antagonists of the mode. In the actual game, the players play as the RED team and the robots are the BLU team controlled by the AI. (Word of God says that the original intention was that both teams would work together in-game, but the playtesters found it too confusing.)
    • Some people speculate that eventually there is going to be a Mann vs. Machine mode where you play as the BLU team and you attack instead of defend, after all, in the main game, RED defends and BLU attacks.
    • On a similar note, in the TF2 short Meet the Pyro, the enemy team is seen as cherubs in Pyrovision. When playing the game with Pyrovision on, everyone looks the same as they've always have, except now they sound like they're on helium.
  • Telltale did this a lot. The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us both lie in their trailers as well as "On the Next" episode teasers to keep character deaths and alliances as twists.
  • The Tekken 5 trailer. Four words: "Heihachi Mishima... is dead." Needless to say, he isn't.
  • The trailer for Time Hollow on the DS culminates with one of the main characters falling seemingly to her death, only for the main character to dramatically grab her hand mid-air, still falling. In-game the scene is never used, and while the girl does fall, all the main character does is reach out through a portal while time is stopped and pull her through.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron's opening depicts Optimus Prime and Megatron facing off while two Humongous Mecha (yes even compared to Transformers they are this) Trypticon and Omega Supreme prepare to fight. In the actual game, Optimus and Megtron never meet in person, nor do Trypticon and Omega Supreme, though they do still appear as the final bosses of both campaigns.
  • Undertale:
    • Jokingly used in the trailer, which at one point shows a shot of a really cheesy-looking 3D Toriel being slammed into a pile of blocks, with her head (in realistic detail) in the background saying "My child, you are breaking my heart.". Even the trailer is confused by this.
      PROBABLY NOT ACTUAL GAME FOOTAGE?
    • Its PlayStation 4 trailer showed the same scene, now captioned "PROBABLY STILL NOT ACTUAL GAME FOOTAGE?"
    • When the figurines came out, Fangamer (the distributor) made a trailer showing the figurines in scenes that did not resemble Undertale (Sans being knocked off a stack of cups "Just like in the game!", characters riding vehicles, etc.), including parodies of the aforementioned scene from the game's trailer (Toriel's figurine smashes through a pile of blocks, and is again depicted saying the "you are breaking my heart" line.)
    • The Nintendo Switch trailer, after opening with a Trailer Spoof of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, takes it even further with the 3D Toriel scene. This time, instead of crashing through blocks, she's flying after Mew Mew, firing lasers from her eyes that cause explosions, while the realistic Toriel in the background now has red eyes and wears a Slasher Smile as she says "My child, I shall break your heart." There's also some random trees and blocks in the background, one tree of which has Flowey's face, as well as a monster truck driving past. And the note now says "TOBY WHERE IS THIS FOOTAGE EVEN COMING FROM??"
    • In late 2018, the first chapter of Deltarune, which is related to Undertale in some way, was made available to download for free. In February 2019 it was announced that the first chapter would also be available on the Nintendo Switch for free, with a trailer that shows a few scenes from the game... but with dogs everywhere, and the characters commenting on it. Some of the words on the battle interface also have "Dog" in them, including the character's names.
  • In an unusual twist, you shouldn't trust the demo of the PC port of Wipeout 2097/XL. It supported both the newfangled Direct3D thing and regular ol' software emulation, although the latter was a lot slower. Still, given that this was the era when only high end gaming rigs had a "3D accelerator card", this was a good trade-off. The release version however lacked the software emulation mode despite being identical in every aspect other than having more content. The game did not sell well compared to the PlayStation version, but leaving people stuck with a working demo and an expensive frisbee couldn't have helped.
  • World of Warcraft has had a few, mostly due to content being cut at the last minute:
    • "New dances" for the players were cut from Wrath, yet still played in the early advertisements. Lampshaded in the 2010 April Fools prank.
    • Don't even mention them taking out aerial combat...
    • Cataclysm showcased the new Path of the Titans system, which would, with the help of the new Archaeology profession, help streamline the character by adding new sidequest-only glyphs. It was converted into the Medium Glyph system, at least for the moment.
    • The cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth heavily implies the Alliance are the aggressors in the coming war and that Sylvanas laments that the peace couldn't last. When the expansion came, it became clear that Sylvanas started and escalated the war with the Alliance and has made it clear she won't be satisfied until they're wiped out completely. During the announcement of the trailer the presenters presented the Burning of Teldrassil as an unexpected event and implied the person behind it was not the obvious Sylvanas. Come the game and it was Sylvanas.
  • The Action Prologue of X-COM: UFO Defense is very misleading: your soldiers don't jump out of the roof of a cool-looking spaceship, they don't start off with Personal Armor, basic rifles and auto-cannons are about as effective against Mutons as chucking rocks, and there is no red Muton commander.
  • Promotional material for Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma outright lies about one of its characters in order to preserve a Tomato Surprise: one character is known as "Q", but while the game tries to lead you to think that this character is the young boy with a weird helmet on his head, it's revealed late in the game that his name is actually Sean, while Q is actually an old man who accompanied Q Team and was always conveniently off-screen. While the game gets away with this by never having anyone actually refer to Sean as Q (and including numerous subtle Rewatch Bonuses hinting at the twist), some pre-release material DID explicitly attach the name "Q" to Sean.
  • There are several advertisements online showing what appears to be puzzle-solving games where you have to pull certain pins or pull pins in the correct order to achieve the desired outcome (defeat the monster, get the treasure, etc). In actuality, the actual games are completely different and have almost nothing to do with the pin pulling puzzles that were advertised. The pin puzzle mini-games are actually in the game, but they aren't seen until much later, which seems to be a deliberate design to get players to spend money on microtransactions to progress faster and reach the advertised puzzles. This caused a number of complaints to rise with false advertising being the main complaint.

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