Story Branch Favoritism
There are multiple story branches but one is better developed by the creator than others.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-28 16:00:08 sponsor: Clarkarius edited by: Koveras (last reply: 2013-04-29 03:50:06)

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Formerly known as Creator Preferred Story Branch.

In a story that allows for some degree of Story Branching, a character is presented with a clear number of choices each with their own viable outcomes. However, one of these options sometimes appears to be substantially more developed then the others or appears to coincide better with the plot as a whole, as if the author wanted the players to follow this path and added all others as mere diversions. This is an example of Story Branch Favoritism on the developer's part, where a particular branch of the story features more content or is better developed than others--but does not render any of the other branches as non-canon.

One common variation is the Golden Ending, which is considered the best overall ending a player can achieve from the creators' perspective. Alternatively, some games employ Relationship Values to let the Player Character pair off with any of the cast member they choose, but one particular Love Interest seems unfairly promoted over others.

Cutting Off The Branches is a Sister Trope, which can be an ultimate expression of Story Branch Favoritism, wherein the author outright removes the unfavored branches from later continuity. Related tropes also include Railroading and Follow the Plotted Line, where the writer forces a character to follow a specific path regardless to what other options are available.

Not to be confused with But Thou Must scenario, where only one option is viable. Does not apply to Fan Work for obvious reasons.

Examples

Comic Books
  • Played with in Marvel Comics' What If? series, where writers were able to print several stories based on Alternate Histories of the established canon. Although most of these were stand alone stories, popular entries such as Spider-Girl gained there own series in time.

Film

Literature

Video Games
  • King's Quest 6 has a branching storyline. Although there are many variables that dictate who shows up at the finale wedding, the choice of taking the "short path" or the "long path" is the most important. As the "long path" is happier, just about everyone (and the official novelization for that matter) chooses that as the "real" one. See the entry at Golden Ending.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Shepard is often portrayed in the default Soldier class, which by the games own lore makes the most sense in explaining his prowess in combat. This is particularly true in the first game where it is hard to justify how Shepard can match an Asari in biotic power or a Quarian engineer in Tech skills.
    • Liara T'Soni is the only Love Interest who can be romanced in all three games, by both genders, and cannot die under any circumstances except for low-EMS ending of the final installment.
  • In Persona 3 and, to a much lesser degree, Persona 4 the characters representing the Lovers arcana are suggested to be the preferred love interests over the other female cast members, who only will only show a romantic interest in the PC during their Social Links and in specific in-game events.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog plays this trope straight, where although the game features up to 11 different endings ranging from Evil to Neutral to Good; only the hidden Neutral ending against the obvious Big Bad is considered to be the games Golden Ending from the creator standpoint.
  • Where themes of Law vs Chaos are concerned, the Neutral endings in Shin Megami Tensei where humanity takes a stand and does not commit to a specific faction, are considered to be the best endings from the creator perspective. To say the least the alternative endings are not that desirable...
  • The Witcher splits into three distinct paths mid-game, one for the Order and the Scoia'tael and a neutral one. The latter features more content and is actually harder to unlock. This is justified by the eponymous Witchers' code, which forbids them from taking sides in conflicts--so the neutral path makes the most sense in-story.

Tabletop Games
  • Inevitable in most Role Playing Games where the GM will attempt to steer the party towards the story branch they want the game to follow, regardless as to how the party may have handled earlier encounters.

Live-Action TV
  • In the British sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps the ending to the Series 8 finale was decided via an online poll where viewers were encouraged to vote for the preferred conclusion to a love triangle. In time both endings would be broadcast, but following the release of Series nine, the winning conclusion became the preferred Branch.

Will go under Interactive Storytelling Tropes.
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