Video game companies lie all the time. Usually, this upsets players around the globe, but the occasional lie escapes the wrath of the gaming world. Nearly every lie on this list is connected to an excellent game; if players like the game, they’re more likely to forgive companies for breaking some promises. However, some lies are not only forgiven but applauded. Any change can be either negative or positive, and the changes on this list were well-received with surprisingly little backlash.
For many of the following entries, companies lied midway through a game’s development. Features advertised at announcement didn’t show up in the final game, or the company canceled the announced game and replaced it. Sometimes developers announce a game for one console and move it to another, forcing fans to purchase a new console. Games change during development, causing truths to turn into lies.
Not all lies are accidental, though. Some companies intentionally lie about their products to trick players. This doesn’t always sit well with players, but the lies on this list tricked players in a positive way. By manipulating players’ expectations, companies surprise fans.
Even if some of these lies disappointed you, the games benefitted overall through thrilling surprises and improved design. The general public praised these games and their developers, allowing the companies to flourish despite their lies.
15 Snake’s Role In Metal Gear Solid 2
Players today associate Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with Raiden. Apart from the prologue with Snake, you play the entire game in newcomer Raiden’s shoes (figuratively speaking — Raiden has no clothes, let alone shoes, for part of the game). However, fans had no clue that Raiden would have such a prominent role before the game’s release. Konami went out of their way to deceive players: they not only featured Snake on the game’s cover and advertising but also replaced Raiden’s model with Snake’s in trailers. Although Raiden appeared in trailers, fans only saw Snake as a playable character — even during sections of the game where you can only play as Raiden.
Raiden’s had a mixed reception —particularly since he replaced Snake— but critics and fans nonetheless applauded Konami for the surprising twist. We may not have enjoyed playing as Raiden, but we loved the suspenseful search for Snake.
14 24 Colossi In Shadow Of The Colossus
Fumito Ueda originally envisioned 48 colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, but this number was reduced to 24 early in development. Team Ico advertised the game with 24 colossi, including shots of 24 colossus statues and footage of Roc (one of the unused colossi) in a trailer released seven months before the game came out.
The final product only used 16 colossi — although the other eight colossi were already well into development (based on the images we’ve seen of them). Some of the arenas for the unused colossi remain in the game as Easter eggs that contribute to the game’s mysterious world.
We would have loved to fight 8 more colossi, but Team Ico made a wise decision. As one of the most acclaimed games in the world, Shadow of the Colossus is an amazing game with a perfect length and a well-balanced set of colossi.
13 Dinosaur Planet
Dinosaur Planet was originally supposed to be Rare’s final N64 game. With trailers, demos, and years of development, Dinosaur Planet seemed ready for launch. However, Nintendo convinced Rare to redesign the game as a Star Fox title for GameCube — and we’re so glad they did. Star Fox Adventures kept most of Dinosaur Planet’s original design and improved it with amazing graphics. Fox’s fur moves beautifully, and water ripples gorgeously whenever you touch it.
Some N64 players were disappointed that the game switched consoles, and many Star Fox fans didn’t approve of the franchise’s changing gameplay. Fortunately for Nintendo, an equal number of fans loved that Star Fox changed both gameplay and console. Dinosaur Planet looked great, but the game was undeniably better and more popular by transitioning to a GameCube release with Fox McCloud as the protagonist.
12 Twilight Princess Exclusively For GameCube
Announced for a 2005 release on GameCube, Twilight Princess was supposed to come out a year before the Wii. Nintendo ended up delaying the Zelda game a year and releasing it for both GameCube and Wii — which pleased fans instead of angering them. GameCube players lost nothing from the lie, and Wii players gained everything. The GameCube game was great, and the Wii version was an amazing improvement we almost didn’t get to play. Apart from terrible (and thankfully short-lived) flying mechanics, the Wii offers wonderful motion controls. Whether you’re swinging your sword, blocking with your shield, or aiming your bow, the Wii allows you to physically interact with the Zelda universe. The most satisfying mechanics of the Wii version occur on your horse. You can simultaneously move your horse and your cursor at the same time, creating fluid battles across Hyrule Field.
11 No Fast Travel At Beginning Of Oblivion
A lot of game developers lie about their games at one point or another (and fans will forever speculate on whether those lies are intentional or not), but Bethesda is notorious for lying about upcoming games. Most of these lies are exaggerated opinions about how great Bethesda’s games will be, but some lies have to do with specific mechanics. Before The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion released, programmer Steve Meister said you couldn’t fast travel at the start of the game. Players would only be able to fast travel to places they’d physically visited.
In reality, you can fast travel to any of the nine major cities in Oblivion from the game’s beginning. Meister blatantly lied to us — and we are so glad he did! Oblivion’s fast travel opened new possibilities to the open-world genre, letting players explore any part of Cyrodiil thanks to the cities’ convenient locations.
10 Enter the Dominatrix For Saints Row: The Third
Volition originally announced Enter the Dominatrix as DLC for Saints Row: The Third. After developing new superpower mechanics for the DLC pack, Volition chose to develop an entire game around superpowers. Enter the Dominatrix became the DLC for Saints Row IV, an amazing game that may have never released if Volition hadn’t turned their announcement into a lie. Some players with Saints Row: The Third would have preferred having access to Enter the Dominatrix, but most fans were satisfied to have an entire game centered on superpowers. Whether you’re sprinting at inhuman speeds, jumping over buildings, or telekinetically throwing people, you can play around with a lot of fun abilities. Saints Row games already allowed you to do pretty much anything you want, but Saints Row IV lets you do even more.
9 Commando In Guild Wars 2
ArenaNet has always had a great sense of humor, but nothing beats their amazing 2011 April Fools’ joke. ArenaNet was in the middle of revealing the eight professions for their upcoming game, Guild Wars 2, when April Fools’ Day arrived. In contrast to the fantastical professions already announced, ArenaNet added videos for a Commando class that could easily fit in Call of Duty. With gas masks, sniper rifles, airstrikes, helicopters, and the perfect use of the Wilhelm scream, the Commando videos were an absolute pleasure to watch.
Despite their humorous use of modern weapons with the Commando, ArenaNet later announced an Engineer professions that uses turrets and grenades. Other professions can also use guns. Any players excited about the Commando still get to use firearms in Guild Wars 2.
8 Lightning’s Role In Final Fantasy XIII-2
Final Fantasy XIII-2’s first trailer solely features Lightning. The trailer highlights Lightning’s new weapon and outfit as she narrates. After Lightning looks at the camera, the trailer ends with her battling Caius. Square Enix continued advertising Lightning by featuring her in later trailers, going as far as putting her on the game’s cover and logo. That’s why fans were shocked when Lightning was only playable in Final Fantasy XIII-2’s prologue (and in one DLC expansion). Instead of focusing on Lightning and Caius as the trailers and logo do, the game follows Serah and Noel, the two playable protagonists.
Serah and Noel played a bigger role in later trailers, but nobody could have foreseen Lightning’s minor role. Even though we didn’t get to play as one of the best characters in Final Fantasy, the new characters were a fun surprise, and Lightning had her chance to shine as the only playable character in Lightning Returns.
7 Ocarina of Time 3D — Just A Tech Demo
The first footage we saw of Ocarina of Time 3D was at E3 2010, when Nintendo told us we weren’t seeing footage of an actual game. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, we were watching a tech demo for the 3DS. He said Nintendo simply wanted to explore the capabilities of the 3DS and wouldn’t be remastering Ocarina of Time for the 3DS.
Miyamoto’s announcement disappointed and surprised fans. Zelda’s been used for multiple tech demos that never developed into games, including a Wii U trailer and a GameCube tech demo.
Fortunately, Nintendo announced soon afterward that Ocarina of Time would be coming out on 3DS. Fans forgot Nintendo’s lie as they anticipated the remake of Ocarina of Time — a game that pleased players despite being a remaster instead of a genuine remake.
6 3DS Zelda Remakes
Knowledgeable gamers despise companies who advertise their games with false terminology. Misused terminology is sometimes a mistake but often a purposeful advertising technique to attract more players.
Despite the usual backlash found in the gaming world, few players attacked Nintendo for mislabeling Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D as “remakes.” The 3DS games are actually remastered versions of their N64 counterparts. Although some changes were made to the games’ original design, the 3DS games are ports rather than games with completely new mechanics and designs.
Nintendo uses correct terminology for Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD, yet for some reason, they label their 3DS ports as remakes. Most fans instantly forgive Nintendo: players love the 3DS games and appreciate that they aren’t legitimate remakes.
5 The Witcher: Rise Of The White Wolf
CD Projekt RED announced a PS3 and Xbox 360 remake to their PC game The Witcher in 2008. The remake, known as The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, was partially built before the co-developer, Widescreen Games, left the project in 2009. Because of disagreements with Widescreen Games, CD Projekt RED shifted their focus to a new game: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The game is absolutely fantastic, and it more than made up for the cancellation of Rise of the White Wolf. Released on both PC and Xbox 360 (as well as OS X and Linux), Witcher 2 incorporated a new engine and a live-action combat system that would have been used for Rise of the White Wolf. Witcher 2 exceeded fans’ expectations and introduced a new storyline to the franchise.
4 More Health In Super Mario Galaxy
Mario has 8 units of health in both Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, and he almost had the same amount of health in Super Mario Galaxy. Nintendo originally developed the game using an 8-unit health meter, as shown in the E3 2006 demo. Most of what we saw in the demo carried over to the final game, but Mario’s health was reduced to 3 units. This move greatly benefitted Super Mario Galaxy. 8 units are hard to keep track of, and having only 3 units of help makes the gameplay more exciting (and Coins, in general, much more crucial).
For players who have a hard time with only 3 health, Nintendo included Life Mushrooms to double Mario’s health and a co-op mode that lets a second player protect you from enemies.
3 Ellie Unplayable In The Last of Us
Because Ellie and Joel were both marketed for The Last of Us, fans speculated over which of the two characters we’d be playing. Naughty Dog quelled rumors by stating Ellie wouldn’t be playable — so we were pleasantly surprised when we stepped into Ellie’s shoes halfway through the game. After a suspenseful scene in which Joel nearly dies, the game jumps ahead in time. You hunt alone as Ellie, making players question Joel’s survival. Joel eventually returns as the playable protagonist — although you end the game as Ellie.
Through Ellie’s surprising role, Naughty Dog brilliantly advanced their storytelling. Playing as Ellie is a suspenseful and emotional experience: in addition to worrying about Joel, you experience Ellie’s power and vulnerability. Instead of telling us how Ellie changes during the game, Naughty Dog shows us that Ellie can handle herself.
2 Banjo-Kazooie’s Mystery Eggs And Ice Key
If you collect all 100 Jiggies in Banjo-Kazooie, you’re rewarded with a special ending. Mumbo shows you three animated photographs depicting the locations of two Mystery Eggs and the Ice Key. When Banjo asks how to get these secret items, Mumbo promises that players will “find out in Banjo-Tooie.”
Banjo-Tooie never revealed how to obtain the Mystery Eggs or Ice Key — even though the Ice Key taunted players from behind a wall of ice. A fansite named the Rare Witch Project hacked the game and discovered complicated codes that could unlock the secret items.
Even though Nintendo’s lie disappointed players, it also brought fans together to solve the mystery. With an Ice Key and several Mystery Eggs (Mumbo only shows two of six Eggs) hidden throughout the game, Banjo-Kazooie gives completionists an entertaining challenge.
1 Half-Life 2: Episode Three
Even though Half-Life 2: Episode Two came out over a year after Episode One, Valve Corporation announced that the third and final episode would arrive only two months after Episode Two’s release. Promising that Episode Three would release before Christmas of 2007, Valve built hype for their new game — and that hype’s survived to this day. Episode Three never released, leaving us with Episode Two’s dark, suspenseful ending.
You’d think no company could get away with such a devastating lie, but Valve’s pulled it off. Fans eagerly await Episode Three and hope for Half-Life 3. They trust Valve’s decision, believing the company will only release sequels when the time is right. With amazing games like Half-Life, Team Fortress, and Portal under their belt, Valve has a strong reputation. No matter when Episode Three comes out, the game is guaranteed to sell well.