Created By: TooBah on April 2, 2013 Last Edited By: TooBah on May 29, 2013

Hearing Your Own Generic Tale

In a video game sequel, the player hears of his/her character's exploits from the previous game(s).

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In Video Game Sequels, there is often a point where you hear someone tell a part of your experiences from the previous installment(s). Since there is (usually) no way for the developers to know what decisions you made in the previous installments, or even what gender or race your character was, this is usually a very generic version of the story.

If your character is the same person as in the preceeding game (like Commander Shepherd, or the Master Chief), this may be told to you by someone who doesn't realize you're the subject of the story. If not, and it's in the distant past, it's probably become a legend.

In any case, it's a little... odd to hear your own story in these terms. You "lived through it" in the previous game, and now you're hearing it from a different point of view. Done well, this is a nice Continuity Nod.


Examples:

  • Fallout 2 starts with the legend of the Vault Dweller being told to the "Chosen". You also meet characters who met the Vault Dweller and tell their stories.
  • Skyrim has the story of the Player Character in Oblivion take the form of a legend, since it was 200 years beforehand.
  • Due to the Multiple Endings of Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War just picks one of the endings as canon, and you are told JC's fate as you go along.
  • The Diablo games rely heavily on these.
    • Several of the villains from Diablo II are actually the heroes from the first game. The Rogue is now an undead harpy in the monastery graveyard, the Sorcerer is a mad summoner living in a Pocket Dimension in the desert, and the Warrior has been possessed by Diablo. What makes it generic is that you could have played the first game with any one of those characters or any combination of them in multiplayer. Yet the sequel still implies that all three of them were there.
    • In Diablo III, read any of Cain's journals that you can get your hands on, and he'll describe the events of the previous game, including a generic "band of heroes". However, there are some less-generic references here and there, depicting certain player classes as having been in that band of heroes:
      • Part of the opening cinematic has scenes from Cain's sketchbook, showing the Necromancer and the Amazon in a scene from D2.
      • You meet a necromancer who tells you about how his mentor defeated the Prime Evils twenty years ago. It's still a bit generic because the necromancer was only one of seven playable classes in D2.
  • In Magicland Dizzy, Prince Charming describes how the villain was previously defeated by a hero, apparnetly unaware that he's talking to that very person. (Since Dizzy is an egg with boxing gloves, you'd think that'd be remembered in the legend, but apparently not)
In Dragon Age II, you can use the save Data from the first game(if you got to the end) so you can hear from NPC's about your character and learn about what they're up to when you meet Alistar and the others. However, you can also use three generic scenarios provided where your character's either Wandering the Earth, Dead, or hated by all.

  • Cross-medium example: In The Witcher, an innkeeper tells Geralt the story of "Ciri and the witcher". Neither of them realizes that it is basically a summary of the novel series that the game is based upon--and Geralt actually was that witcher, except that he lost his memory since then.
  • Golden Sun: In the second game (if you beat Deadbeard and transferred data), you overhear two NPCs discussing Isaac (the hero of the first game, who joins you later) beating a legendary pirate.

Non-Video Game Examples:

  • Gypsy has a moment where the hero reads a comic book about a South American folk hero that is word for word what he went through in Russia earlier (an attempt to recreate Tsarist Russia), down to his sister being an annoying brat and shooting a frozen ship with a missile.

If it's the "legend" version, you're hearing about your character who's Legendary in the Sequel.


Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • April 2, 2013
    Megaptera
    • The Diablo games rely heavily on these.
      • Several of the villains from Diablo II are actually the heroes from the first game. The Rogue is now an undead harpy in the monastery graveyard, the Sorcerer is a mad summoner living in a Pocket Dimension in the desert, and the Warrior has been possessed by Diablo. What makes it generic is that you could have played the first game with any one of those characters or any combination of them in multiplayer. Yet the sequel still implies that all three of them were there.
      • In Diablo III, read any of Cain's journals that you can get your hands on, and he'll describe the events of the previous game, including a generic "band of heroes". However, there are some less-generic references here and there, depicting certain player classes as having been in that band of heroes:
        • Part of the opening cinematic has scenes from Cain's sketchbook, showing the Necromancer and the Amazon in a scene from D2.
        • You meet a necromancer who tells you about how his mentor defeated the Prime Evils twenty years ago. It's still a bit generic because the necromancer was only one of seven playable classes in D2.
  • April 2, 2013
    CobraPrime
    Honestly, wouldn't the vast majority of videogame sequels be examples of this? I mean, the only exception I can think of is games where the sequels are explicitely unrelated (IE: Final Fantasy games, the Tales series) and games who are a Spiritual Sequel (And even then I can think of exceptions).

    I mean, the whole point of a sequel is that it follows the events of the original. How many sequels do you know where you don't hear mention of the events of the original?
  • April 2, 2013
    TooBah
    @Cobra, the point isn't that there is a story, but specifically that the hero's own story is told to him, as a legend or tall tale. This rules out the general "there was a cataclysm" stories, or just a history of what happened in the last installment.
  • April 2, 2013
    Nemmington
    • In Magicland Dizzy, Prince Charming describes how the villain was previously defeated by a hero, apparnetly unaware that he's talking to that very person. (Since Dizzy is an egg with boxing gloves, you'd think that'd be remembered in the legend, but apparently not)
  • April 2, 2013
    Koveras
    Cross-medium example: In The Witcher, an innkeeper tells Geralt the story of "Ciri and the witcher". Neither of them realizes that it is basically a summary of the novel series that the game is based upon--and Geralt actually was that witcher, except that he lost his memory since then.
  • April 2, 2013
    Megaptera
    I think I'm a bit confused -- does it have to be the same hero character? If so, my Diablo examples don't count. I thought you actually meant that the player hears tales of the player's exploits in a different game, but in a generic way so as to include all possible versions of the previous game's playable characters.
  • April 3, 2013
    TooBah
    @Mega, no, you don't have to be playing the same character for this to apply--just the player. See the Fallout 2 example.
  • April 3, 2013
    Chabal2
    • Golden Sun: In the second game (if you beat Deadbeard and transferred data), you overhear two NP Cs discussing Isaac (the hero of the first game, who joins you later) beating a legendary pirate.
  • April 3, 2013
    Chabal2
    If non-video game examples count:
    • Gypsy has a moment where the hero reads a comic book about a South American folk hero that is word for word what he went through in Russia earlier (an attempt to recreate Tsarist Russia), down to his sister being an annoying brat and shooting a frozen ship with a missile.
    • Berserk: When Guts and co. come across recruiting mercenary companies, Isidro reveals that the entire reason he became a fighter was to match up to the legendary shocktroop commander of the Band of the Hawk, whose name he can't quite recall at the moment, and starts listing his Moments Of Awesome (slaying a hundred men alone, defeating an enemy commander in single combat...). It's all Guts can do to keep from cracking up at the gushing fanboyism.
  • April 3, 2013
    TooBah
    Thanks, @Chabal. I'm not sure about the Dark Dawn example, may be too far afield, and the Berserk one... hmm, let me think about it. Added the others.
  • April 3, 2013
    nitrokitty
    This seems to be very closely related to Legendary In The Sequel.
  • April 3, 2013
    unluckykillerchibi
    In Dragon Age II, you can use the save Data from the first game(if you got to the end) so you can hear from NPC's about your character and learn about what their up to when you meet Alistar and the others. However, you can also use three generic scenarios provided where your character's either Wandering The Earth, Dead, or hated by all.
  • April 4, 2013
    chicagomel
    Possibly Pokemon Black 2 And White 2...if you use the Unova Link feature to import your data from Pokemon Black And White, quite a few players will mention the hero from the previous game, sometimes by name. And some achievements from those games show up as trophies/awards in the Black/White hero's bedroom at their home in Nuvema Town.
  • April 11, 2013
    TooBah
    So, any name change suggestions? The Three Rules Of Three seem to be getting there. More examples?
  • May 29, 2013
    Synchronicity
  • May 29, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In the Uru games of the Myst franchise and in Myst V: End of Ages, you can find occasional references to the great deeds of "the Stranger", who is your character in the first four Myst games.
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