April Fools' Day 2018 round-up

Welcome to April Fools' Day, an annual hell for news writers everywhere. Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games has already gone all out, transforming the action RPG into a battle royale game for the day (no, really), but others are taking it more lightly, with fake reveals and a few genuinely funny gags. As is now tradition, we've rounded up the best of them here, and we'll add more as they pop up throughout the day.

Halo: Battle Royale

In a surprisingly detailed post that has me thinking 'what if?', 343 Industries took to Reddit to 'announce' the next Halo game—Halo: Battle Royale. Master Chief's search for Cortana has left him and his team stranded on a new Halo ring, and the USNC is training Spartan IVs to help him out. "To do so, a new Warzone Simulation titled Range, Ordnance Yield, Assault and Local Engagement has been issued." Get it?

The imagined game would see 100 Spartans dropped into locations from across the Halo universe, with the victor claiming plenty of cosmetic spoils to customise their character. New maps would be added every month, and the game would give you daily and weekly challenge. And best of all, it'd be free. We can but dream.

Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment becomes a coffee company

Remedy has been slow to drip feed details about its next game, codenamed P7, and now we know why. Its officially stopped making games and will instead make coffee from now on, former creative director Sam Lake (now creative drinker) has announced. Its Cauldron Lake blend sounds delicious.

Razer's mind-altering Project Venom v2

You don't need a fancy new mouse or a mechanical keyboard to make you better at games. What you need is nanotechnology that permanently alters your body—which is exactly what Razer's Project Venom will do for you. Take a shot and mini robots will get to work inside your noggin, giving you traits like 'Eagle Eyes' to give you perfect vision of the battlefield or 'Trigger Finger' to boost your click speed.

Razer are apparently looking for beta testers for the programme, and you can sign up here. Just remember not to take more than one shot every two hours, otherwise you'll go the same way as the test subject in the video above.

Nvidia's gaming university

Nvidia's GeForce Gaming Academy has opened its virtual doors, offering courses in esports management, hardware studies and—my favourite—gameosophy. All you have to do is go here, pick a course and customise your modules. I can't wait for Loot Boxes: A Socratic Seminar next week, followed by a lecture entitled: "What's a Fortnite?" Coping with the challenges faced by older gamers.  

It's actually not too far-fetched, considering that actual universities are offering esports courses. Gameosophy still might be a while off, I suspect. 

 Reddit's Cyberpunk 2077 review thread 

We still don't have a release date for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red's next sprawling RPG, but I bet a few people's hearts skipped a beat when they saw a review thread for the game pop up on /r/games this morning. 

Hats off to user ninjyte for the effort they put into this one: the thread is full of fake review quotes from a mixture of real and satirical outlets, with perfect scores across the board. Our Christoper, called Christoper Deadstun in the thread (I think he should immediately adopt the name), gave it 100 Bathtub Geralts out of 100 Bathtub Geralts. And thus, PC Gamer's new game review scale was created.

 Google's new handwriting keyboard

This one made me chuckle. In one sweep, Google has created a new technology that will make typing on keyboards redundant. Sort of. Detailed in the firm's Japanese blog, you'll now be able to just outline letters with one finger over the top of your keys, as if handwriting on a touchscreen. The result is that putting characters on the keys is no longer necessary: all you need is a blank slate. It's a simple idea, but I enjoyed the deadpan delivery from the actors in the video. Check it out above.

Smite adds Fenrir (again)

Smite's perennial next god Fenrir has finally arrived! Again.

Black Mesa adds loot boxes

Its a Black Mesa bonanza: not only will the Half Life remake add a battle royale game mode, called Last Freeman Standing (bravo!), but it will also add loot boxes in order to...ahem..."increase player choice in our game".

"As players play the game, they will occasionally be rewarded with a loot crate supply drop," the developers explain in a Steam post. "Players can then buy key badges to gain access to a random skin within the supply drop." Too soon?

Uplay admin console

If you launch Uplay today for a little Far Cry 5, you may notice an admin console option has appeared—helping you notice it, it blinks a bit. Click it and you'll see the console was 'accidentally' left active in the client, and using a help command will list the available functions, like 'list-unreleased-games' (which gives a corrupted block of text) and 'make-it-rain' which allows you to add Ubisoft credits to your account in a little shower of coins. Cute.

Payday: The Animated Series

Payday's animated series promises family-friendly (ish) criminal fun, provided you've still got a VHS or Betamax player lying around. It's not available in a long list of countries, and "especially not in Denmark". If it was real, I'd definitely watch it.

Giant hats in Rocket League

Rocket League's car toppers (like hats on four wheels) are temporarily massive thanks to an experimental "embiggened mode" that will last until the end of the day. It "appears to have been triggered by a specific numerical sequence found in the game's chronometer. We are working to address it, but our engineers seem to think that letting the chronometer run its cycle will likely clear everything up by tomorrow," Psyonix said. 

I quite like the idea of nodding in the winning goal while wearing a giant fez.

Blizzard adds 10-second micro-holidays to World of Warcraft...

Lots of games have short, themed events, but I've never heard of any as short as WoW's planned micro-holidays. The Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Uber-Nano-Holiday looks like the highlight: from now on, at 00:01:11 PST everyday, players will be granted a new title, The Unblinker, for ten seconds. Use it wisely.

Also planned are events that turns every race into an elf variant , the creation of a yes-fly zone and the ability to timewalk into the future. Read the full list of 12 here. How many would you actually like to see in the game?

...and unveils a new Dance Battle game

Don't stop 'til you level up. Check it out on Blizzard's Korean site.

Twitch Plays For Honor

For Honor's "new game mode" appears to be two buffalo juking it out with giant swords. One is a bot, the other is being controlled by Twitch chat, in the traditional Twitch Plays style. You can watch it unfold here.

The fact that For Honor's combat system locks onto your opponent means that the fight looks surprisingly coordinated, even choreographed at times. As I watch, Twitch is beating the bot 18-17 in a race to 99. Who will end up victorious?

Minecraft perfects its java edition textures

It's like chalk and cheese, right? The Mojang team reckon they can finally retire safe in the knowledge that they've perfected the default texture pack for the Java Edition of the game. The changes are so comprehensive, and so final, that the team is cutting off all communication with fans, too. 

"There are a couple of ways to get feedback on these textures to us. However, since we’ve objectively made the best textures possible there’s really no reason to bother - so you can just sit back, boot up Minecraft, and bask in this technicolour treat instead! No need to thank us. Or contact us in any way."

CD Projekt Red hiring a Designer Of Game Environments

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Belly rubs, unlimited treats and human language lessons for the successful candidate.

League of Legends April Foods cosmetics

This one is real: you can get some themed "April Foods" cosmetics in League of Legends for a limited time, including a pizza delivery skin for Sivir and a giant chicken outfit for Galio. There's lots of yummy icons and emotes on offer, as well as a customised map that will hang around through next week and a speedier take on the One for All game mode, where every player on a team uses the same champion. Read the full menu here.

Mute Kerillian in Vermintide 2's first DLC

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Plain teasing from Vermintide 2 developer Fatshark Games. In response to some fans getting annoyed at Kerillian's banter, they've released some hypothetical DLC—for just $1.99, you can mute the wood elf's quips entirely. I genuinely think some players would fork out for it.

Pocketsize Platinum Games president

You've finally played his games on PC, and now you can pop Platinum Games' president and CEO Kenichi Sato in your pocket thanks to eight new figurines. You can get them in different outfits and poses, including one of him power-napping in some striped pyjamas. Suitable for ages 15 and up.

Loot boxes and horse skins arrive in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

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More ways to outfit your trusty steed—huzzah!

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play. He's now a full-time reporter covering health at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. When he does have time for games you may find him on the floor, struggling under the weight of his Steam backlog.