Over more than a decade I have dedicated the first of April to reporting on what Blizzard had gotten up to, and it was, at times, a pretty fun and amusing series of posts to write.
There were times when people at the company went all-in on some pretty funny ideas, which often stood out as much for their relative quality as anything. If New Years is amateur hour for partying and St. Patrick’s Day is amateur hour for drinking, then April Fools can very much be amateur hour for humor.
But this year I am giving it a pass. Blizzard hasn’t been down with the idea for years at this point. I am sure we’ll get some secret release notes post to the WoW forums and maybe Googly Eyes in OverWatch, but that is about it. (Here are the patch notes, btw. So I have done my annual duty all the same I guess.)
So, instead of that I asked Google’s new text AI, Bard, to write me a history of April Fools jokes at Blizzard, and this is what it gave me:
April Fools’ Day is a day of pranks and jokes, and Blizzard Entertainment has a long history of getting in on the fun. Here is a look at some of the best April Fools jokes from Blizzard over the years:
In 2007, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new game called “StarCraft: Ghost” for the Nintendo Wii. The game was supposedly a first-person shooter starring Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades. However, the game was actually an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
In 2010, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new expansion for World of Warcraft called “Cataclysm”. The expansion was supposed to add a new continent called Azeroth, which would be destroyed by a cataclysmic event. However, the expansion was also an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
In 2012, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new game called “Diablo: Immortal”. The game was supposed to be a mobile game that would allow players to experience the Diablo universe on their smartphones. However, the game was also an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
In 2014, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new game called “Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft”. The game was supposed to be a digital collectible card game that would allow players to battle each other using cards based on the Warcraft universe. However, the game was actually an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
In 2016, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new game called “Overwatch: The Board Game”. The game was supposed to be a board game that would allow players to take on the roles of their favorite Overwatch characters and battle each other. However, the game was also an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
In 2018, Blizzard announced that they were developing a new game called “StarCraft: Remastered”. The game was supposed to be a remastered version of the original StarCraft game, with updated graphics and sound. However, the game was also an April Fools joke, and it was never released.
Blizzard has a long history of April Fools jokes, and they have always been able to keep their fans guessing. It will be interesting to see what they come up with next year
Now that actually made me laugh. There were a couple in there I kind of wish were not jokes, but that is just me.
And if you are interested in past coverage, here are posts I wrote in previous years about April Fools.
- April 2009
- April 2010
- April 2011
- April 2012
- April 2013
- April 2014
- April 2015
- April 2016
- April 2017
- April 2018
- April 2019
- April 2021
- April 2022
From that list I think things pretty much peak by 2017 and it gets pretty quiet after that.
Ok! So is the Bard response an April Fool’s response from Google, an AF joke from you, or a real response? I honestly don’t know!
@Ula – That is what Bard gave as a response last week when I wrote most of this.
After reading the post I gave it a try to see if Bard would at least show some internal consistency. I asked it to “Write a brief history of the April Fool’s jokes produced by the Blizzard gaming company.” and it gave me a lot of similar results to the ones above.
Bard produces multiple draft versions of every response, something I hadn’t previously paid any attention to, but this time I lookled at all three of its attempts to answer my request and they are all variations on the same theme. It seems to find a named product or service that Blizzard actually did launch commercially and just label it an April Fool. I got Diablo III, Burning Crusade Cataclysm, Overwatch and Diablo Immortal all as supposed April Fool’s jokes that never became real games or expansions.
There were some more creative imaginings, several of which I really wasn’t sure whether to believe. For example “In 2013, they released a fake patch for World of Warcraft that added a new feature called “Pet Battles.” Pet Battles allowed players to battle each other using their pets. The feature was so popular that Blizzard actually added it to the game in a later update.” That sounded so playsible I had to google it but I couldn’t find any confirmation.
The only consistent entry across all the drafts was the one you also got about Starcraft: Ghost. I looked that up and it turns out to be an actual game that Blizzard said they were making but so far have never released. It was never an April Fool’s joke, though. Warcraft: Adventure of the Clans, another unreleased project, also appeared as an April Fool in one of the drafts.
The more I see of Bard and ChatGPT’s output, the less inclined I am to trust any of it.
Wouldn’t it be fun if a load of blissfuly ignorant bullshite like Bard’s response became every other AI’s favorite “relevant answer” to the topic? All in all, AIs trawl the web for relevant associations (words so and so go together in sentence this and that which go together in paragraph more and more which also go together… mix and cobble together and presto!, another “relevant” answer to the input string!). Wouldn’t it be fun if AI-generated bullshit became both the “most relevant” content and and the yardstick of all future AI “relevance”? Like the current SEO wars but with thousands of robot bullshitters telling lies to each other…?
(Year 2030, Mother-Of-All-AIs answer: According to 67,32% of available sources* , the right answer to your query is that: “In 2012, Blizzard announced a new game called “Diablo: Immortal” that would bring the Diablo universe to smartphones but the announcement was an April Fools joke”
*hyperlinked: 105,392 sources located, average relevance score 7/10, trustworthiness >70%, human to AI ratio -estimated- >0.08).