Created By: Koveras on March 6, 2013 Last Edited By: Halen on June 21, 2013
Troped

Merging the Branches

Parts of mutually exclusive story branches are retroactively merged into the new canon.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A specific form of Cutting Off the Branches where events from several story branches or endings are declared canon by a later installment, even though it is impossible for all these events to occur in the same playthrough of the previous game.

Overlaps with Third-Option Adaptation (which is about Taking A Third Option when adapting interactive works to non-interactive media). See also Broad Strokes.

Examples:

Real-Time Strategy
  • Installments of the Dawn of War series set after Winter Assault imply that the latter's true ending contains elements of both Ork and Eldar campaigns (Taldeer survives the Orks, Chaos and Necrons on Lorn V but is taken out by the Blood Ravens on Kronus in Dark Crusade), while Crull is defeated and his skull taken by Gorgutz 'Ead'unter (the Chaos faction takes it back from him in Dark Crusade).

Role-Playing Game
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall had seven mutually exclusive endings, but The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind revealed that all of them took place at the same time due to a rare cosmic event called Dragon Break.
  • In Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, you have eight possible party members but you can never recruit the one of the same class as yourself. Nevertheless, all eight are regarded the Companions of the Avatar in later installments.
  • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, several characters were only recruitable in gaiden chapters that required several playable characters to die to access them. In New Mystery of Emblem, however, all returning gaiden characters except Nagi are treated as if they joined Marth's army despite the fact that every playable character from the previous game survived to see the sequel.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War uses a combination of the three possible but mutually exclusive endings of Deus Ex.

Simulation Game
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher fights five out of eleven elite Belkan squadrons in any given playthrough (which ones depends on your Karma Meter). However, the in-game Assault Records and later lore implies that at the branching points, Cipher faced all three respective bosses at the same time.

Visual Novel
  • Melty Blood, a sequel to Tsukihime, declares a combination of two endings (Ciel's and Kohaku's) plus events that never actually happened in any route canon.

Wide-Open Sandbox
Will go under Interactive Storytelling Tropes.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • March 6, 2013
    thewriter
    Related to Arc Welding?
  • March 6, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Not really, I think. Arc Welding is about a series building a Myth Arc out of earlier unconnected episodes. This is about how to deal with Story Branching canon-wise.
  • March 6, 2013
    Apep
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, several characters were only recruitable in gaiden chapters that required several playable characters to die in order for the player to gain access to them. In Fire Emblem: New Mystery of Emblem most of the returning gaiden characters are treated as if they joined Marth's army even despite how every playable character in the earlier game survived to see the sequel. The exception is Nagi, who did not join Marth's army.
  • March 7, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Videogames

    • The upcoming Shadowrun Returns will feature a kickstarter-exclusive story that will tie the storylines of the SNES and Sega Genesis Shadowrun games together.
  • March 7, 2013
    Chabal2
    Dawn Of War: Installments after Winter Assault imply that the true ending contains elements of both the Ork and the Eldar campaigns (Taldeer survives the Orks, Chaos and Necrons on Lorn V but is taken out by the Blood Ravens on Kronus in Dark Crusade), while Crull is defeated and his skull taken by Gorgutz 'Ead'unter (the Chaos faction takes it back from him in Dark Crusade).
  • March 7, 2013
    henke37
    • Fate/Stay Night has a sequel that apparently does this.
  • March 8, 2013
    Koveras
    @Chernoskill: I need a bit more details... Do SNES and Sega Genesis Shadowrun games have separate and incompatible canons?

    @henke37: Ditto, need more details. The current write-up borders on Zero Context Example.
  • March 8, 2013
    StarSword
    Wide Open Sandbox:
  • March 8, 2013
    KJMackley
    Related to Broad Strokes.

    The main ending in Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within has the Prince killing Kaileena and escaping the wrath of the Dahaka while the true ending (achieved by getting all upgrades and receiving the water sword) has you confront the Dahaka itself with Kaileena assisting you, leaving the island with you. Either ending has you returning to Babylon finding it under siege and decimated by war. Because some players did not catch the true ending in the opening of Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones they acknowledge rumors that Kaileena died on the island, suggesting it was misdirection from the Prince when retelling the story.
  • March 8, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ But that example sounds like Cutting Off The Branches: the main ending (where Kaileena dies) is declared canon by the later game.
  • March 19, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • March 20, 2013
    henke37

    As for Fate/Stay Night, I don't have details to offer. Help?
  • March 20, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ But... how exactly are those branches dealt with?
  • March 21, 2013
    MetaFour
    Regarding A Stitch in Time: The first story, Hard Reset is about a Groundhog Day Loop and it has two endings. In the main ending, Twilight saves Canterlot from a Changeling invasion and uses magic to escape the time loop. In the alternate ending--initially presented as a non-canon "what if?"--Twilight goes mad from despair and deposes Queen Chrysalis to become the new Changeling queen. The sequel, A Stitch in Time, reveals that both of these endings actually happened, albeit splintered into separate universes. The Twilight who's still sane discovers that this splintering will eventually destroy all of reality--so this alternate timeline needs to be fixed.
  • March 22, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ I am still uncertain, since this looks more like Alternate Timeline than most of the examples above. If the sequel postulated that Twilight remained sane but saved Canterlot by becoming the new Changeling queen as the single new canon, then it would be a clear-cut example, as there would be a single universe with elements of multiple canons merged into one.
  • March 29, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • April 5, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • April 6, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • April 7, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • April 7, 2013
    MetaFour
    Yeah, Hard Reset and A Stitch in Time pretty explicitly deal with Alternate Timelines.
  • April 7, 2013
    Koveras
    So I guess, not an example, sorry. :(
  • April 8, 2013
    Bionicman
    Deus Ex: Invisible War uses a combination of the three possible endings of Deus Ex, which seemed mutually exclusive.
  • April 10, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • April 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • May 7, 2013
    arromdee
    The Genesis and SNES Shadowrun are unrelated games that happen to be based on the same game system, and the SNES one is only very loosely based on it.
  • May 8, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Thanks.
  • May 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • June 10, 2013
    Koveras
    In case you're wondering, this YKTTW is still on my radar, even though it's Malzen who keeps bumping it up.
  • June 14, 2013
    TheTitan99
    What if this is done in a single installment? Like, for instance, a game that has 5 endings, and the 5th one counts the previous ones too, even though, they can't all happen?
  • June 16, 2013
    Koveras
    @TheTitan99: It's a weird case, but I am leaning towards the opinion that it fits the definition. Do you have particular examples?

    @morenohijazo: You have removed my request for review from the YKTTW title, so maybe you will be so kind as to review this YKTTW yourself now? :)
  • June 19, 2013
    bwburke94
    Does Metal Gear Solid 4 count? I'm not familiar enough with the series to know.
  • June 19, 2013
    Koveras
    Neither am I, so you'd have to provide more details...
  • June 21, 2013
    Koveras
    Bumping for last hat.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=528bqjqt7jf9ft04063goahb&trope=MergingTheBranches