The Scariest Things That Happened In Gaming In 2022

The Scariest Things That Happened In Gaming In 2022

Activision Blizzard busts unions, Street Fighter’s custom characters are nightmare fuel, and more

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Start Slideshow
A fall guy, a crew mate(?), and Malenia stand near a "2022," spooky ghosts, and Gotham Knights for PS5.
Image: Warner Bros. / Devolver Digital / Bandai Namco / Innersloth / Kotaku / Mia Stendal / Bibadash (Shutterstock)

On an average day, my friends might ask me how my job is going. I’ll smile, tell them “It’s going great,” and then launch into a story about one of the most fucked up things they’ve ever heard of. And now I get to give the recap to you.

Spooky season is upon us, but the chronically online gamers at Kotaku know that terrifying shit is happening in our space all the time. It’s not just the games that are occasionally horrifying—it’s also how the industry grinds humans into dust, how giant corporations are increasingly looking to put the screws to the average consumer, and how abuse of power comes as no surprise.

Some of the spookiest gaming news stories this year are sad. Some of them are funny. Others will make you want to pull your hair out over the general state of the world. But hey, me too! Let’s be scared and [some other unidentifiable emotion] together!

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Lilith holds a horned skull.
Image: Blizzard

Imagine that you’re trying to unionize a small part of one of the biggest gaming companies in the U.S. Now imagine that you’re trying to do that while your company has allegedly spent hundreds of thousands to stop you. That’s what Albany Game Workers Alliance was up against when workers discovered that Activision Blizzard had hired a union-busting firm. Fortunately, the quality assurance testers were able to form a union anyway.

Read More: Diablo Devs Say Activision Back To Its Old ‘Union-Busting’ Tricks

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Mario winks to the FBI.
Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

It’s widely known that Nintendo likes to sue people for copyright infringement. But it’s another thing to read a press release thanking the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security for helping them catch a guy who enabled people to pirate Nintendo Switch games. Kind of fucked up, IMO!

Read More: Nintendo Thanks Feds For Sending Hacker To Prison For 3 Years

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Large Paras threatens trainer.
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

Paras was already nightmare fuel. Did you know that this Bug Pokémon is being mind-controlled by the parasitic mushrooms that grow on top of it? Now the Paras wants revenge. But not on the mushroom that’s been stealing away its livelihood since it was born. No, it wants to poison you to death for trying to capture it.

Read More: Pokemon Legends: Arceus Fans Agree: Paras Is Satan

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Gif: Warner Bros. / The New York Times / Kotaku

I laughed when I first read this blog. Then I put myself in Isaiah’s shoes and I felt bad. Having mist sprayed in my face and air puffed into my ears while my chair tries to throw me like a bucking bronco is certainly not how I want to experience any movie, never mind an action film like The Batman.

Read More: I Accidentally Watched The New Batman Movie In The Worst Way Possible

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A little girl tries to kill the turtle pope.
Image: Bandai Namco / Kotaku

Miriel is a beacon of all that is good and pure in Elden Ring, so I’m just thoroughly aghast that anyone would even think about harming him, never mind trying to kill him dead. Shame on you if you’ve ever attempted this cruel challenge.

Read More: Elden Ring Players Are Killing The Turtle Pope, Rejecting Their Humanity

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A murderer looking dude stares back at you.
Screenshot: Bandai Namco / Kotaku

Gatekeeper Gostoc is a creepy little dude whom you’ll find at the entrance of Stormveil Castle, and while he doesn’t seem that bad at first, you absolutely shouldn’t trust him. He steals runes from you every time you die in the castle, and sometimes he’ll even trap you in a room with a powerful enemy. His actions themselves aren’t that menacing. What’s unsettling is that he tries to act like your friend. Maybe altruism is fake, and you can’t trust anyone in the Lands Between.

Read More: Damn, Elden Ring Doesn’t Even Let You Die In Peace

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A horse crewmate floats in space.
Screenshot: Innersloth / Kotaku

No no no no no no no no, the horse crewmate just looks wrong. It looks like two crewmates were sewn together as one. Ever hear of the human centipede? Well, now we’ve got the crewmate centipede. I don’t know why Innersloth did this for April Fool’s day. It should have saved this one for Halloween.

Read More: The Best (And Worst) April Fools’ Jokes In Gaming For 2022

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A soccer player kicks the ball into a glass.
Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

We’ve already been through this with the Wiimote, people: The strap goes around your wrist! And yet, people are still causing hundreds of dollars in personal property damage while playing a sports simulation game. If you play Nintendo Switch Sports, please make sure this never happens to you.

Read More: Nintendo Switch Sports Fans Are Accidentally Smashing TVs Again

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Pokemon cards lay in a pile.
Photo: Kotaku / Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)

I live in a country where teenagers can be extrajudicially killed for stealing a few trading card packs and pizza. With guns.

Read More: Florida Cops Killed Someone Over Shoplifted Pokémon Cards

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Police cars surround the Tops store.
Photo: Libby March (Getty Images)

Mass shootings are already one of the most traumatic events that Americans can experience, even for those not physically present. So when Fox News blames video games for mass shootings, I can’t help but feel pessimistic about this country’s future. Not because of what it means for the gamers, but because there are very loud people out there who refuse to acknowledge that our problem is a political one.

Read More: Fox News Is Already Using ‘Violent’ Video Games As Scapegoat For Mass Shooting

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A bunch of computers sit at a World of Warcraft event.
Photo: Joe Scarnici (Getty Images)

This cop didn’t just allegedly stalk a World of Warcraft streamer over romantic rejection; the victim claims that he also tried to harass her partner and family members. Twitch content creator “Nali” had been using her platform as her primary source of income. She claims the cop tried to get her physical address. Once she blocked him, he allegedly spread fake porn of her. I’m so glad that he’s been convicted now.

Read More: World Of Warcraft Streamer Allegedly Harassed Off Of Twitch By Ex-Cop [Update]

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A demon stands in fire.
Image: Blizzard

I’m a Genshin Impact player, and I find myself quaking at these numbers. Due to how upgrade mechanics work in Blizzard’s mobile spin-off game, it could cost you up to $500,000 to max out the power of all your gems.

Read More: Diablo Immortal Could Run Your Wallet Way More Than You Thought

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Some zombies mill about.
Screenshot: MYTONA

The Day Before was the most wishlisted game on Steam, but that didn’t stop its development studio from asking for unpaid volunteers. But hey, it’s not really exploitative—it pays in participation certificates! I really hope these developers didn’t get many people to sign up, or I’d be really worried about the future of the industry.

Read More: MMO Studio Wants Unpaid Volunteers To Make Steam’s Most Wishlisted Game

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
An esports player gives a thumbs up.
Photo: VGBootCamp

This is a realistic nightmare scenario for me. Some asshole gamer knew that he was ill while the coronavirus pandemic was ongoing, and he decided that he wanted to attend a tournament anyway. I understand there are problems with blaming individuals for systemic problems, but it’s still viscerally distressing to know that there are people out there who don’t care about protecting immunocompromised people and their caretakers.

Read More: Smash Champ Apologizes For Attending Tournament While Seriously Ill

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A robot displays a sad face.
Screenshot: EA / Maxis

A robot broke a child’s finger simply for not waiting before making his move. Stuff like this makes me wonder: How far are the robots willing to go? How much trouble are we in if robo-tech gets any more complex than it currently is?

Read More: Chess Robot Breaks Seven Year Old’s Finger, Tourney Official Blames Kid

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A fall guy is threatened by an even bigger fall guy.
Image: Mediatonic

The developers behind Fall Guys wanted you to know that they’re very sorry about the bug that caused players to accidentally buy items with real money. They were so sorry, they gave away this “dick bean” for free. Yes, that is the official image that they used to announce the “dick bean.”

Read More: Fall Guys Threatens Everyone With Free Dick Bean

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
The player points a gun at a deactivated robot.
Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

This summer, Grand Theft Auto Online released a free update that many players found absolutely nightmarish. While skulking around in the dark of one particular level, these creepy robots with human faces will randomly twitch. Once you turn the power back on, all of them will try to attack you at once.

Read More: No One Expected GTA Online’s Latest Mission To Be So Terrifying

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A wolf has blood on its face.
Photo: Education Images (Getty Images)

I don’t think it’s possible to read this article without screaming a little bit. One NFT freak wanted to use people from developing countries as NPCs in a crypto game. No, I’m not joking around. Here’s the full quote.

With the cheap labor of a developing country, you could use people in the Philippines as NPCs (“non-playable characters”), real-life NPCs in your game. They could just populate the world, maybe do a random job or just walk back and forth, fishing, telling stories, a shopkeeper, anything is really possible.

Read More: NFT Zealot Advocates Turning Players From ‘Developing’ Nations Into NPCs

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
An AI generated woman stares at the viewer.
Screenshot: Cute Pen Games

I’m not convinced that AI games are ready to take off on Steam. Gamers already have a dim view of games that they think are “asset flips.” But AI technology is constantly improving, and not everyone will be as upfront about disclosing their game’s origins as these developers (who are already thinking about being less transparent on their next project). Interesting times.

Read More: AI-Generated Games Are Starting To Appear On Steam (And It’s Not Going Well)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
Batgirl stands in the background with a money symbol.
Screenshot: Warner Brothers / Kotaku

Games like Gotham Knights, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and God of War Ragnarök will have a higher sticker price than AAA games did in the past. You can debate whether or not these games are worth the price increase or not, but the real fear is whether or not this is a trend that will impact most games coming out next year.

Read More: The Era Of $70 Games Truly Begins This Fall

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
A weird dude is made in the Street Fighter 6 character creator.
Screenshot: Capcom / Arekkez Gaming

I’m not here to body shame. But there’s skipping leg day, and then there’s the character creator in Street Fighter 6. I’ve seen characters whose arm spans are longer than they are tall, and now you have to see them too. One little guy has a neck as thick as his entire torso. Another has hands bigger than his entire head. Who needs to beat their opponent with skill when you can just make them shit their pants instead?

Read More: Street Fighter 6 Players Are Embracing Madness With The Unhinged Character Creator

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
The Ilios map has T-posers in it.
Screenshot: Blizzard / Kotaku

These random models in the Ilios loading screen aren’t technically doing anything, but their presence is nevertheless kinda spoopy. Players found them back when everything was going wrong for the Overwatch 2 launch. The servers were being DDoS’d, and the characters had a lot of gameplay bugs. Fixing some scarecrows in a loading screen was undoubtedly pretty low on Blizzard’s list.

Read More: Overwatch 2 Loading Screen Is Full Of Creepy Little Dudes You Can’t Unsee

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide
An RTX 4080 hurtles forward.
Image: Nvidia / Kotaku

If you want to get the latest Nvidia GPU next month and you were hoping to snag the cheaper version for $900…you’re out of luck. The only RTX 4080 that will launch will be the one that will run you about $1,200. (On the other hand, at least that more expensive one has specs fitting for something labeled the “RTX 4080.”)

Read More: Nvidia Cancels Cheapest New PC Graphics Card, Leaving Only The Expensive Huge Ones


The next time someone asks you to tell a spooky story, you’ll have plenty of gaming-related ones to horrify, shock, and disgust them. But don’t just let me tell you what you should find spooky; what are some other stories from this year that you just wish had straight up never happened? Let us know below.

Advertisement