Blizzard Wins April Fools’ Day with a Pair of Pranks
Some companies do April 1st better than others. The one publisher that might just be the best at it is Blizzard. They used April Fools’ Day to have a little fun at their expense while poking fun at free-to-play games. Who says that April Fools’ jokes can’t be used for good.
First, in a news item titled “Hitting on the Selection of a Name,” Blizzard announced that they were changing the name of the third part of StarCraft II from Legacy of the Void to Herald of the Stars. That would make for Blizzard’s third major release with the HOTS acronym, alongside SC2: Heart of the Swarm and their Heroes of the Storm MOBA.
Blizzard took the opportunity to make fun of the HotS acronym that they’re so fond of. Their article included a paragraph about the name change.
“One thing that has unexpectedly come to our attention is our audience’s love for the acronym HotS. With recent successful titles Heart of the Swarm, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearth (of the) Stone, we took notice of players’ absolute love for this particular string of letters. This caused us to reconsider everything, and the results were nothing short of spectacular.”
Funnily enough, if you check the source code for the Herald of the Stars website, it includes a message that Blizzard is hiring as well as an ASCII drawing of the Blizzard logo. I thought that was a nice little touch.
In other Blizzard news story, they also announced a Blizzard universe-wide fighting game featuring a bunch of Blizzard characters who didn’t make the cut for the Heroes of the Storm.
The game, titled Blizzard Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished, isn’t so much a self-parody in the way that Herald of the Stars was but a commentary on free-to-play games in an April Fools’ Joke. There are various map packs on offer, items to be purchased to tip the scales in your favour and a matchmaker that can be bribed to give you an easy opponent.
The best part was the controller for Outcasts which just happened to include a built-in credit card machine. All your in-game purchases can be completed with the greatest of ease. It’s just so fitting.
Not to be outdone, /r/StarCraft had their own little fun slightly at Blizzard’s expense yesterday. The subreddit was turned into a shrine for Protoss with all the username flair appearing as Protoss icons and replaced Snoo (the Reddit alien) with Protoss player PartinG. Toss imba. Unless you’re playing as toss.