->''"It seems our silly stork has delivered the babies to the wrong house!"''
-->-- '''''[[VideoGame/YoshisIsland Yoshi's New Island]]'''''

The BigBad to end all Big Bads has been brought to a crushing end at the hands of TheHero, his RagtagBunchOfMisfits and his trademark {{BFS}}. The NegativeSpaceWedgie that was threatening all of creation has been un-wedgied, the SealedEvilInACan has been safely disposed of, all the plot threads that were left hanging have been wrapped up nice and neat and everybody lives HappilyEverAfter.

And then the sequel happens.

It's inevitable: you can't have a story without conflict and chaos, and you can't have a sequel set in a world that we last saw happy and peaceful without dropping a [[Anime/{{Voltron}} new horrible menace]] in the thick of things and letting him/her/it run amok. This, however, is taking things far beyond simple StatusQuoIsGod. We leave an idyllic paradise and come back to a CrapsackWorld: [[CataclysmBackstory the Golden Age has rusted over,]] [[BlackAndGrayMorality chivalry has been stabbed in the back,]] [[TheKingdom the peaceful kingdom]] has transformed into [[TheEmpire an evil empire]] and everything that our protagonists fought so hard to save has been pillaged and murdered by time and writers. [[ShootTheShaggyDog The shaggy dog was shot]] while we weren't looking. The world is not only substantially worse off than it was when we last saw it, it's worse off than it was ''when the story began.''

This is the part where our heroes (assuming they're not dead, incapacitated or [[FaceHeelTurn turned evil]]) fall to their knees and deliver their best [[VideoGame/MegaManX4 Zero]] impression: "What were we fighting for?"

FullCircleRevolution and CartwrightCurse are typical means to this effect.

Likely to result in FanonDiscontinuity, if not CanonDiscontinuity. Worst-case scenario is [[FranchiseKiller the death of the franchise]]. Contrast WasItReallyWorthIt, where the characters are made to feel the cost (usually personal) of their victory before the story ends, but the good which results is usually lasting.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': Part of the reason the titular hero became TheAtoner was that he could no longer ignore the fact that he was killing people regardless of how good the motives were. [[spoiler: Being indirectly responsible for the death of the woman he loved was the metaphorical last straw.]] Each major fight afterward, Kenshin speechifies about what he was fighting for, and it takes a HeroicBSOD for him to realize that he can only fight for his own personal peace of mind. The ''Seisouhen'' OVA then goes on to erase all of that CharacterDevelopment and have Kenshin still so wracked by guilt that he [[spoiler: ''abandons his family'' to go WalkingTheEarth again]]; it's not until the very end that he [[spoiler: returns, only to die in Kaoru's arms, and she dies moments later because he's infected her too]]. Mind you, [[spoiler: Yahiko has taken up Kenshin's mantle, and his son Kenji eventually comes around to the same point of view]], but there's a reason most fans and NobuhiroWatsuki himself, who didn't write it, [[CanonDisContinuity deny Seisouhen's existence]].
* ''Anime/QueensBlade'' sees this happen in the Rebellion series, where [[spoiler: the victorious Leina hands the mantle of Queen to her sister, Claudette, who goes on to make many reforms as Leina happily retires. The key sticking point is that the Swamp Witch is still free at the end of the first series, and she continues to expand her poisoned domain, starts cursing all of the old heroines to put them out of commission entirely or limit their fighting ability, and corrupts Claudette into a WellIntentionedExtremist KnightTemplar who rules with an iron fist, making the "Rebellion" necessary.]]
* ''Anime/EurekaSevenAO'', shows that Eureka and Renton's child is abandoned in another dimension. [[spoiler:It's later revealed that [[HalfHumanHybrid Correlion/Human babies]] can't survive because high density Trapar levels.]]
* A very...odd example in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion''. [[spoiler:Kyubey has turned Homura into a witch and trapped the others in her labyrinth, so that he can try to undo Madoka's wish. He fails, only for someone else to undo Madoka's wish: [[FaceHeelTurn HOMURA,]] who absorbs/suppresses Madoka's goddess powers and becomes [[SatanicArchetype Lucifer]], [[LaserGuidedAmnesia erases the other girls' memories,]] and then proceeds to remake reality in her own image. To be fair, the ending she puts in place has all five girls [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg (and newcomer Nagisa)]] [[EveryoneLives alive,]] with only her and Kyubey really getting the short end of the stick: Homura because she feels unworthy of Madoka's friendship after betraying her, and [[LaserGuidedKarma Kyubey due to being stuffed with all of the curses he had laid on Magical Girls throughout history.]] So basically, she overrode a happy ending to put a HAPPIER ending in place:]] it's very contentious among fans, as [[BrokenBase some see the new ending as happier, others less so.]]
* Defied in ''Manga/CrossboneGundam The Steel Seven''. Kincade (aka Seabook) retired from war after the original manga, and he and Cecily settled down in peace. When another threat to Earth is revealed, Tobia initially considers going to him to get his help as a pilot... but decides against it seeing how happy Seabook is, and Tobia can't bring himself to interrupt that.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* The final issue of WarrenEllis' run on ''[[{{Marvel 2099}} Doom 2099]]'' saw Doom about to realize his goal of creating a utopia by releasing thought-controlled {{Nanomachines}} that would give people whatever they wanted for free. The first three words in the next issue are "it didn't work."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Very'' frequent with {{Slasher Movie}}s that didn't already end with a CruelTwistEnding. Most notable is ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'', where [[spoiler:the FinalGirl of the [[Film/FridayThe13th1980 first movie]] is killed right at the beginning of the [[Film/FridayThe13thPart2 second opus]].]]
* This hits the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' franchise on two seperate occasions.
** The transition from ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' to ''Film/{{Alien 3}}'', in which [[spoiler: Hicks, Bishop, and Newt, the three that Ripley fought tooth and nail to save in the previous movie, are [[DroppedABridgeOnHim killed off-screen]] [[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome before the opening credits]]. Bishop ''technically'' survives, but he's damaged beyond repair and permanently turned off by Ripley.]] Creator/JamesCameron was horrified that [[spoiler:the survivors from his film died horribly instead of being able to start a family (with the exception of Ripley)]], and [[AlanDeanFoster the author hired to write novelizations for the series]] went so far as to call this twist "obscene". Then ''Film/AlienResurrection'' [[spoiler:completely negates Ripley's HeroicSacrifice by putting alien DNA into the hands of another Corrupt Corporation.]]
* Happens to James Cameron again in the ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' series. After our heroes ScrewDestiny and avert Judgment Day in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', ''Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines'' insists that YouCantFightFate and Judgment Day has to happen after all to fix those {{Stable Time Loop}}s and {{Temporal Paradox}}es.
* ''Film/{{Tron}}'': Yay! [[AIIsACrapshoot Master Control]] was destroyed, [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Dillinger]] was busted, [[InformationWantsToBeFree the Programs are free again]], and Flynn's not only got his job back, he's the guy in charge! He wraps his arms around [[PowerTrio Lora and Alan]] and off they go into the sunset... ''Film/TronLegacy'' opens, and Encom's back to being [[CorruptCorporateExecutive run by crooks]], with [[HonestCorporateExecutive Alan]] as the OnlySaneMan in the room. Lora's [[SequelNonEntity nowhere to be seen]] (ExpandedUniverse material says she was PutOnABus, which is actually ''nicer'' than her fate in the [[VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh other sequel]]; [[http://yori-lives.blogspot.com/ the actress is trying to fix this]]). Meanwhile, Flynn's trapped by his own creation, has been fighting a HopelessWar for the equivalent of ''centuries,'' and has had to watch the genocide of an entire species. And just to frost the cake? [[spoiler: The title character]] made an attempt at HeroicSacrifice that turned into a FateWorseThanDeath. Suddenly, the first film doesn't seem like such cheery {{Disney}} fare... The only real HopeSpot at all is quite the LegacyCharacter.
** The [[CanonDiscontinuity discredited]] ''[[{{Tron20}} Tron 2.0]]'' is LighterAndSofter, but not by much; the comic establishes that Flynn apparently went nuts and vanished, Lora was killed by an accident in the laser lab [[spoiler: with the part of her remaining in the system compiled into Ma3a]], Alan has been exiled to a lab in the basement instead of a token position in the boardroom, Encom is on such shaky ground that a shady fly-by-night like F-Con can swoop in and buy them out, and Tron's fate is explicitly stated to be "unknown."
* ''Film/MenInBlack'': Agent K passes the torch to Agent J and moves on to a well-earned retirement with the wife he hasn't seen in decades, J forms a new partnership with L, and everybody wins! Then ''[=MIB2=]'' comes along and decides to completely rehash the original, so L breaks up with J and goes back to her old life (offscreen), leading J to reactivate K (because being Neuralized is reversible now), which is okay because K's girl left him too, so he's miserable and bored. Yay?
* Happens in the ''Film/StarWarsEwokAdventures'' of all movies. ''Caravan of Courage'' had a teenage boy and his younger sister team up with some teddy bears to rescue their parents from a giant. Within the first few ''minutes'' of ''Battle for Endor'' all the humans except the little girl are killed by SpacePirates, who go on to slaughter or enslave all but one of the Ewoks.
* ''Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry'' ends on a high (if bittersweet) note, with our heroes, including Captain Kirk, heading towards retirement after saving the Federation and the galaxy yet again. Then ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'' happens, and Kirk first gets chucked out of the ''Enterprise''-B's hull into the Nexus, ''and then'' proceeds to be the victim of DroppedABridgeOnHim when he comes out to stop the MadScientist Soran from blowing up a sun in order to get into the Nexus.
* ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'' ends with the titular team defeating an ancient Sumerian deity, sending it back where it came from, and being hailed as heroes by a grateful city (and, we imagine, world). The sequel opens up five years later with their reputation in shambles, the partnership dissolved, a court order preventing them from offering their services, and some of them even being so desperate that they have taken to performing at birthday parties. Peter and Dana broke up too. Fortunately, the happy ending of ''that'' movie seems to stick, as the video game (which is considered canon) shows them still active a few years later, and the current mayoral administration having very Ghostbuster-friendly policies.
* ''Film/KickAss2'' has the protagonist being dumped by his girlfriend, Hit Girl having trouble fitting in at school, and a new villain making their lives even worse.
* ''Film/TheBluesBrothers'' ended with Elwood and Jake barely managing to save the orphanage before being arrested. At the beginning of ''Film/BluesBrothers2000'', Elwood discovers that the orphanage has been demolished.
* ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' had the Autobots emerge triumphant as seemingly all the Decepticons (including [[BigBad Megatron]], [[TheStarscream Starscream]] and even [[BackForTheDead the long-absent Barricade]]) are [[KilledOffForReal killed]]. ''Film/TransformersAgeOfExtinction'' begins four years later, during which time humanity has turned on the Autobots and are now hunting them down to kill them. [[spoiler:Oh, and their remains are used to create new Transformers controlled by humans. Including Megatron, who, as it turns out, [[NotQuiteDead is still alive]].]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''[[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Star Wars]]'' expanded universe, following the defeat of the Emperor, over the course of several decades we get repeated Imperial counterattacks, [[DarkEmpire Palpatine returning]] and ''converting Luke to the Dark Side'', a race of [[NewJediOrder freaky humanoids invading and ravaging the Galaxy]] ([[spoiler:and killing Chewbacca]]), and most of Han and Leia's children dying or [[InTheBlood going to the Dark Side.]] This all comes to a head with the ''ComicBook/{{Legacy}}'' comics, which have (a somewhat more [[TheFederation Federation-like]]) Empire back on top 130 years after the films. Even the Sith are still a lurking threat.
* Happens in the second ''Literature/ChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' series, though at least it is made fairly clear in the first one the BigBad cannot be technically killed. Even so it was a kick in the gut, though not a surprise given the nature of the series.
* The first ''LiteratureSwordOfTruth'' book has the Seeker fight to defeat the evil tyrant Darken Rahl. When he finally succeeds, a new crisis, even worse than Rahl's tyranny takes its place in the second book. Eventually, Richard discovers that TheEmpire he fought against in the first book is nothing compared to the Imperial Order, a massive empire that has somehow remained unknown to everyone else.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the first arc ends on a pure happy ending. The [[TheNewProphecy sequel]] has humans tear down the forest which the story is set in and reveals that the villain is still hanging around from beyond the grave.
* Though the first book of the ''Never Again'' series has only a BittersweetEnding, it still qualifies for this trope, because it ends with the heroes succeeding in democratizing the world, albeit [[TheHeroDies at the cost of their lives]]. The DistantFinale clearly implies that they succeeded. However, all of that is ignored in the second book, in which it is revealed that [[spoiler: somehow one dictatorship still survived John and Joy's changes to history, and was able to [[AppealToForce start a nuclear war]], TakeOverTheWorld, and [[ShootTheShaggyDog cause more deaths than all the wars, democides, and dictatorships of the Real-Life twentieth century combined]].]] And all this just to set up a ContinuityReboot.
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'', the heroes leave Narnia restored and happy in the first book, and come back in the second to a later Narnia where everything's even worse than it was before; the winter may be gone, but many Talking Animals have ceased to talk and much of the magic has begun to go away under the reign of the Telmarines. Of course, that's because [[NarniaTime time in Narnia flows as quickly relative to time on Earth as it needs to]], and [[CrystalDragonJesus Aslan]] calls the children from England at a point when [[AnAesop it would be most beneficial to their personal development]], and he sends them to Narnia at a point when it needs ''them''.
* In ''Starchild'' trilogy by Creator/FrederikPohl and Creator/JackWilliamson the humanity controlled by totalitarian Plan of Man which is ruled by supercomputer called [[MasterComputer the Machine]]. It's implied however that this is the only way to survive for enormous population whose expansion is restricted by limitations of ion engines. At the end of the first book the protagonist invents "reactionless drives" and the Machine declares that harsh control is no longer required. However in the second book this decision of the Machine is completely forgotten... May be justified because the events of the first book showed that high-ranking officials of the Plan can influence on the decisions of the Machine and may not be interested in the change.
* ''Troubling A Star'' by Creator/MadeleineLEngle brings back the fictional country of Vespugia from ''Literature/ASwiftlyTiltingPlanet'' and reveals that the events of the latter book only delayed the country's dictatorial government from coming to power by about 10 or 15 years, rather than averting it entirely.
* The book ''{{Literature/Holes}}'' ends with the juvenile detention facility Camp Green Lake being closed, and turned into a Girl Scout camp. In the companion book ''Stanley Yelnats's Guide To Surviving Camp Green Lake'', the detention was been reopened, because several state officials read ''Holes'' and thought "[[ComicallyMissingThePoint What a]] [[MisaimedFandom great idea]]!" Even the original staff gets put back in charge, despite being under investigation, and one even arrested.
* ''Franchise/TheWitcher'': ''Literature/TheLastWish's'' section "A Question of Price" ends on a high note, with Queen Calanthe of Cintra marrying Eist Tuiseach, king of Skellige, and her daughter Princess Pavetta marrying her true love Duny, already pregnant with Duny's child. In the several-year interval between ''Literature/TheLastWish'' and ''Literature/BloodOfElves'', Pavetta and Duny are lost at sea, and Cintra is [[RapePillageAndBurn brutally conquered]] by the invading Nilfgaardians and Calanthe and Eist Tuiseach are killed. However, Pavetta and Duny's daughter Cirella survives and escapes, and is eventually picked up by [[TheHero Geralt]].
* ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'' ends with Harry feeling well after defeating evil, and being hopeful his powers will lead to less bullying at home. [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets The next book]] opens by showing his guardians are still as unpleasant to him as ever, if not more.
* ''The Paw Thing'' by Paul Jennings ends with Singenpoo the cat chasing over a hundred mice out of her owner's chicken shop. The owner is so grateful he vows to stop treating her so badly. In the sequel ''Singenpoo Strikes Again'', we find out that this change stuck for about a week or two and the owner is just as cruel as he was before, to the point of denying that Singenpoo had anything to do with saving his business.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Between the first and second season of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Matt Parkman's forgiveness of his wife and the happy reunion of Niki with DL were both undone. So was Sylar's death, but this had been heavily implied to begin with.
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' did this for Tony Almeida. During the third season, Tony was forced into some tough choices that saw him lose everything: he was stripped of his job, his wife Michelle left him, and even wound up briefly being jailed. Season four then went about giving him personal redemption, helping Jack Bauer stop a terrorist threat that ultimately saw a nuclear missile nearly hit L.A., and by the time it was over he'd managed to get his life back in order and get back together with Michelle. So what does season 5 proceed to do? Within the first 15 minutes of the premiere she's killed by a car bomb as part of the antagonists of that Day's plot, leading him to lose it for the rest of the series [[spoiler: and eventually sink so low that in RoaringRampageOfRevenge to avenge her death winds up working with terrorists]]. Yeah. Definitely made the fourth season's happy ending a moot point there.
* Mixed together with SequelReboot with the season five premier of ''Series/{{Community}}'': the fourth season ended optimistically with Jeff and Pierce graduating in the Fall semester, Shirley's business getting off the ground, Annie picking a major in criminology, and Chang [[BecomingTheMask deciding to stay friends with the group as "Kevin".]] Fast-forward to the next Fall, where Jeff's newly found scruples [[BeingGoodSucks lead his career as an attorney to ruins]], Shirley's entire family left her because she lost their savings on her failed business, Annie has gotten as job as a sales rep [[YouAreWhatYouHate for the same prescription drugs that lead to her breakdown,]] none of the rest of the group are having any more success, and Chang is on work release for ''arson''. The group decides they still need to learn more, but Greendale is the only place they can go to, while Jeff takes a job as a teacher to get by while he tries to get it in some form of working order.
* Defied when it comes to ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga''. ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'' was originally supposed to be a sequel series, but Kuuga's writers vetoed it on the grounds it'd have made Kuuga's battles meaningless. As a result, while there's some suggestion it's a sequel, it's primarily intended as an alternate universe.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' ended with [[BigBad XANA]] defeated and the Lyoko-Warriors shutting down the Supercomputer before moving on with their life. The very first episode of the live-action sequel ''Series/CodeLyokoEvolution'' reveals XANA [[NotQuiteDead survived]] by turning the Lyoko-Warriors into his [[SoulJar Soul Jars]], forcing them to reactivate Lyoko and get back to fighting him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* In ''{{Music/aha}}'''s music video to "The Sun Always Shines on TV", the video starts with the character from their "Take On Me" video turning back into a drawing and disappearing while the girl watches helplessly.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Video Games]]
* Zero of ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' fame may well have delivered the iconic line quoted up top, but he is hardly the best example... until he gets his [[VideoGame/MegaManZero own series]] where despite all the sacrifices, things get worse.
** To put this into perspective, the best thing that happens to Zero here is that he ''[[WorldOfCardboardSpeech finally]]'' [[VideoGame/MegaManX4 knows what he's fighting for]], and it takes the entirety of four literally earth-shattering games [[spoiler:and [[HeroicSacrifice Zero's own death]]]] for him to receive closure. Even then, the (comparatively) LighterAndSofter [[VideoGame/MegaManZX sequel series]] essentially overrides ''Zero''[='s=] own BittersweetEnding once the heroes start delving into the intrigue, [[TheGreatFlood to say nothing of]] ''[[VideoGame/MegaManLegends Legends]]''.
* ''VideoGame/DotHackGU'' seems to have been engineered for the sole purpose of trolling fans of the original series, either as a PlayerPunch or a colossal ThisLoserIsYou to anyone who accepted its message of "AI are people too" at face value. The World that we left happy, peaceful and safe in the first series has been completely destroyed by a madman (who personally killed a plot-important AI character from the original series ''[[DroppedABridgeOnHim in backstory]]''), Player Killers rule the landscape of the DarkerAndEdgier The World R:2, all of our previous heroes are too busy with real life to do anything about the situation, protagonist Haseo turns out to have been [[spoiler: that child[[strike:ish]] jackass Sora from R:1 all along]]...and in the end, the bastard responsible [[KarmaHoudini gets neither mention nor punishment]].
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' is the tale of a time-traveling RagtagBunchOfMisfits who adventure across history and prevent a world-eating parasite called Lavos from destroying the world in 1999 AD. ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' is the tale of a boy muddling through [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the fallout from those changes to history]], which includes but is not limited to: a timeline split in two, Porre growing from a minor town into an imperial power that sacked TheKingdom the original heroes lived in, the Reptite Future from a [[MultipleEndings joke ending]] showing up for revenge, the [[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome heavily implied deaths]] of the previous protagonists, ''and'' on top of all this [[spoiler:Lavos, or a piece of him anyway, is ''still alive and trying to destroy everything!'' Again.]] But hey, you get to rescue [[spoiler:Schala]] (five minutes after learning she's in the game) before earning ([[GuideDangIt if you paid attention]]) a GainaxEnding intended to make you [[MindScrew wonder about your own existence]], so it's all good, [[ContestedSequel right]]?
* In ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar 2'', [[spoiler: we first discover that not only has the Lightmass Bomb, which was dropped in the heart of the Locust's underground hive network at the close of the last game, failed to destroy the Locust, but that they have since redoubled their efforts (later revealed to be in desperation), and mankind has been forced back to their last bastion of defense, Jacinto. Not only that, but the Locust now have a method of sinking entire cities. At the end of the game, the heroes are forced to sink Jacinto in order to flood the underground networks and hopefully take out the Locust once and for all.]]
** In ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar 3'', [[spoiler: It turns out that the Locust managed to survive the sinking of Jacinto and have migrated above ground. Also another faction, the Lambent(creatures created by being infected with [[AppliedPhlebotinum imulsion]]), has appeared and is fighting [[MeleeATrois both the humans and the Locust]]. At the end of the game, the heroes use a device that [[WorldHealingWave kills all the imulsion in the world and every lifeform infected with it]], effectively killing all the Lambent and Locust. The war is finally over.]]
* The ''Franchise/JakAndDaxter'' series does this with the second and third games. We leave [[VideoGame/JakAndDaxterThePrecursorLegacy the first game]] with our heroes triumphant over the {{Card Carrying Villain}}s and about to embark on a new journey into the unknown. Then in the first few minutes of [[VideoGame/JakIIRenegade the second game]] we discover that their journey into the unknown takes them TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, where the idyllic natural paradise has become a CyberPunk CrapsackWorld ruled by an iron-fisted dictator and under siege from a seemingly endless swarm of monsters called "Metalheads." The villains from the first game seem rather pleasant by comparison (hell, the {{mooks}} from the first game have been turned into ''pets'' by Haven's ApatheticCitizens). Then after completing the game and bringing peace to Haven City, we open ''[[VideoGame/Jak3Wastelander Jak 3]]'' to find that the city has been nearly destroyed and Jak and Daxter exiled to the wastelands.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'', the hero has defeated the titular demon, saving the ''one town'' that was in danger before, and taken it upon him (or her) self to become a living prison for the Lord of Terror. At the start of ''VideoGame/DiabloII'', said hero's will has completely broken, his body has been taken over by Diablo, and he wanders the Earth releasing ''other'' demon lords so they can plunge the entire world into a living Hell. And that one town? Completely ravaged, and all residents but one are soon dead. And ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' looks to make things ''even worse'' than they were in ''II''.
* ''Diablo III'' ended with Diablo alledgebly defeated for good. He is accidentally resurrected right at the end of the ''Reaper of Souls'' extension.
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'':
** Almost fell into this trope by having the first campaign lead to the second one, as the helicopter pilot would have been revealed to be infected. However, the developers found out it was not a satisfactory ending, and made the four campaigns completely separate instead... before changing their minds ''again'' and releasing a mini-campaign that links the original first and second with ''exactly'' that justification. And then they use it ''again'' in ''Left 4 Dead 2'', to set up the third Campaign.
** The ending to the first game managed to do this to ''both games'' after trying to tie the narratives together. At the end of the last campaign of the first game, your team is finally rescued by the military. Not some random pilot or civilian with a gun, but the ones who knows what they're doing and are backed by armored vehicles and real weapons. Then in the tie-in comic everything goes to hell as it turns out the military ''doesn't'' know what they're doing, and on top of that all of the protagonists are carriers; asymptomatic carriers of the virus that are unintentionally spreading the infection to everyone they've come across. And the military do not like carriers. The comic managed to conclude that the original game's protagonists do manage to earn a new happy ending (although not without [[HeroicSacrifice some costs]]) by moving to a remote island where they can't infect anyone, but the second game ends with the four new guys happily rescued by the military...
* In the original ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'', the best ending has you [[spoiler:destroying the [[ArtifactOfDoom Geneforge]] and saving the world from its menace.]] In the sequel, we find that Zakary and Barzahl, two characters sent to clean up after the fact, thought that [[spoiler:it would be a shame to let such a marvel of science vanish from existence, and decided to rebuild it in another isolated area.]] The third game ramps it up that no matter what you did (except for one TakeAThirdOption faction ending of the second), your actions did nothing to stop the Drakon's Rise. The fourth game averts this by stating that [[CuttingOffTheBranches the Rebel Ending of the third game is canon]]. The fifth game also qualifies--the [[spoiler:Unbound, released in the fourth game to destroy the Shapers, have succeeded only in causing massive collateral damage, and it's up to a new main character to resolve the conflict. Which may fit with one of a hidden factions endings of the fourth game.]]
** Each ''Geneforge'' tends to assume a particular outcome from the previous game, but it's usually not any of the (many) actually available endings. It's often a blend of a few with some more things that aren't from any of the endings added in. Then this is all made even stranger by the fact that the role and fate of the player character from previous games is alluded to but never clarified; by the fifth game, this leads to some impressive WildMassGuessing about the protagonist's identity.
** The ending to the first Geneforge hints at the fact that [[spoiler:destroying the Geneforge and dealing with the rebellion on the island isn't going to permanently fix everything, since it ends with the quote that "you cannot unring a bell."]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy XIII-2}}''. At the end of the first game, Lightning and friends managed to TakeAThirdOption and defeat the JerkassGods without totally destroying the world, Serah returns to normal and Lightning approves of her marriage to Snow. Then the sequel reveals that Lightning disappeared due to Time Paradox shortly afterwards, and Snow left to look for her, leaving Serah alone. A time traveler from the future arrives and reveals that he's the last of humanity living AfterTheEnd. Furthermore [[spoiler: that crystal pillar holding up Cocoon won't hold out forever, and then, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt well...]]]]
* Inverted with ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2''. The first game ended on a bittersweet note [[spoiler:with Tidus disappearing]]. The sequel sets to rectify this and, while the conflict the protagonists face is pretty big, it doesn't reach the heights of the previous game -- the BigBad is a dangerously powerful machine as opposed to an EldritchAbomination that can't be killed. There are multiple endings for the player to get and most of them (bar one bad ending you get if you lose the FinalBattle) are happy. The player can choose [[spoiler: whether or not Yuna can reunite with Tidus]] and if she doesn't, the ending is still uplifting because she has moved on.
** This came in full force with the ''Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishou'' novella and ''Final Fantasy X -Will-'' [[AudioAdaptation audio drama]] written by Kazuhige Nojima. [[spoiler:Tidus dies (again) while he and Yuna are shipwrecked on a unknown island, and though Yuna is able to bring him back from the Farplane, it's implied Tidus may have [[CameBackWrong not returned fully intact]]. Speaking of the Farplane, it's become unstable, causing the dead to return to life. That means ''Sin'' is along for the ride, too, possibly willed back to Spira because of an unknown party's desires. Sin, the aforementioned EldritchAbomination whose thousand-year cycle of suffering and {{Senseless Sacrifice}}s only ended because of Tidus' HeroicSacrifice. Oh, and Yuna calls off her relationship with Tidus because of petty jealousy over one of his friends, in spite of their romance being a pivotal part of the last two games.]] Even though this is [[SequelHook a possible sign for]] a ''X-3'' somewhere over the horizon (despite WordOfGod saying there are currently no plans for a third game), fan reaction to these materials has been, [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy unsurprisingly]], [[InternetBackdraft substantially negative]].
* This is actually the main theme of ''VideoGame/{{Knights of the Old Republic II|TheSithLords}}''. After making a survey of expanded universe material, Chris Avellone realized that pretty much all of Galactic History is the same cyclical war between a Sith-backed Empire and a Jedi-Backed Republic, repeated constantly for thousands and thousands of years. The antagonist is a former Jedi who realises this and attempts to end the war by obliterating the Jedi and creating a new breed of Sith who are able to live without the Force. She also critiques the Light and Dark sides of the force for their simplistic and adolescent understandings of morality.
** Which can be read as a TakeThat against everyone who created the expanded universe, for not having the imagination to come up with anything but endless repetitions of the same conflict, and against GeorgeLucas himself for the aforementioned BlackAndWhiteMorality.
** You can choose, at the beginning of ''KOTOR II', whether the protagonist of the first game was a Light Side hero who saved the universe or a Dark Side menace who shattered the last hope of survival for civilization as you know it. It's probably best to choose the Dark Side ending, it at least makes the massively crapsack end-of-the-Jedi scenario that the second game plays out make sense.
** And the MMO ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has established that [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Revan]] and [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords the Jedi Exile]] went off to fight the True Sith, walked into an incredibly obvious trap, and got predictably curb-stomped by [[VillainSue The Sith Emperor]]. The Exile (Meetra Surik) was [[StuffedIntoTheFridge stabbed in the back]] by [[KarmaHoudini Lord Scourge]]. Revan was imprisoned and the Emperor fed on his mind, but claimed that he "stalled" the Sith Emperor for 300 years, giving the Republic time to recover from the destruction he himself caused. The Treaty of Coruscant that Revan "helped" convince the Emperor to sign is pretty much printed on toilet paper, guaranteering a long and bloody war of attrition - perfect for an immortal Emperor seeking a universe for one. And the "tempered the emperor" theory falls apart entirely at [[SuddenSequelHeelSyndrome The Foundry]], where Malgus admits the Emperor let Revan go, and Revan is little more than a batshit insane OmnicidalManiac the Imperial party has to shoot down like a rabid mutt.
* According to the official ''VideoGame/GuildWars 2'' lore, neither Tyria nor Elona has fared too well during the 200 years between games. Cantha may have, but it's become highly isolationist so no one has any idea.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'', where Shepherd, Soap, and [[spoiler:Price]] all ask why they fought the last war against the Ultranationalists, if things just became worse afterwards.
** The older ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' games that takes place during the UsefulNotes/WorldWarII all end with the Allies victorious and the fascists defeated, and the endings of the very first game and ''World at War'' are pretty highly optimistic about the future. But anyone who knows anything about the Cold War or who played ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps'' will know that the future is anything but sunshine and rainbows.
* Similar to ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'', ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' ends with Gordon Freeman successfully killing the alien being that prevented the scientists on earth from sealing the portal that spewed forth endless hordes of alien invaders. He gets captured by the [=G-Man=] and put into a freezer, but at least Earth is safe. More than a decade later Gordon is brought back to Earth, only to learn that the alien being he killed was just desperate to allow its own people to escape from an even scarier and more powerful alien invasion of its home dimension. With Freeman taking care of their leader, the Combine quickly had the alien world conquered and continued its campaign by invading Earth as well.
* When ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'' ends, the EvilEmpire has been defeated, Crimea is entering a new golden age and reestablishing ties with the laguz, and the world is by and large peaceful -- even the massive Begnion theocracy seems well at ease with the world. By the time of ''Radiant Dawn'', Crimea is being undermined by greedy nobles (including one who starts an open revolution), Daein (the aforementioned EvilEmpire) is completely oppressed by the occupational Begnion forces, and Begnion itself is in the midst of a power struggle between its senate and its empress -- and to top it all off, the laguz wind up going to war with Begnion partway through the game. The fact just about the entire world is now at war with ''someone'' becomes a plot point. Granted, the ending of ''Path of Radiance'' blatantly foreshadowed that things were about to get worse.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' and its continuation ended with the world being saved by the party, everyone from the DoomedHometown happily surviving, and the BigBad sinking beneath the earth as a volcano erupted beneath him. 30 years later in ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', the world is made up of several powerful warring nations, most people are unhappy with the protagonists of the previous games saving the world, half the original party just straight up vanished, and to top it all off, magic-eating vortexes have started popping up. OH. And the previous BigBad is back.
* ''VideoGame/KatamariDamacy'' has a relatively mild example. At the end of the first game, the King announces that the sky is complete, but ''We ♥ Katamari'' reveals that actually only the stars immediately around Earth were restored, and there's still a lot of work to do.
* ''VideoGame/{{Kingdom Hearts|I}}'' ends with Sora still looking for a way to find his best friends, but the worlds, at least, seem saved. Then it turns out TheHeartless are still plentiful if no longer endangering reality, ''new'' enemies are showing up, and the first universe-threatening BigBad was only one aspect of a greater villain with a very confusing history.
* In ''VideoGame/MOTHER1'' and ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', humans are fighting the evil alien Giygas, although only the protagonists, a couple of kids, know that it's him that they're fighting, and in the first game, you don't even find that out until ''very'' late in the story, but it's AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame anyway, especially outside of Japan. Giygas, in the first game, is attempting to enslave the entire human race, and his army does some pretty bad stuff. But, the heroes sing a song to him and he goes mad from the nostalgia and gives up on trying to conquer Earth. But, later, although it is only revealed in the second game, Giygas comes back with a vengeance and conquers the entire universe, turning it into a living hell. The End. (Don't worry, someone comes back from that future and stops it from happening in the second game.)
** [[spoiler:The idealistic setting of {{Eagleland}} is destroyed by the [[HumansAreBastards bastard humans]] in the late-game-revealed backstory of the DarkerAndEdgier ''VideoGame/MOTHER3'', and TheDragon from the last game perverts the hearts of the few humans left AfterTheEnd. But hey, at least it's better than the entire ''universe'' getting destroyed, right?]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Starlancer}}'' involves the player thrust into a desperate war between TheAlliance and the [[TheEmpire Coalition]] on the side of the Alliance. While the Coalition's sneak attack deals a heavy blow to the Alliance, the multiple successes by the player's squadron (including destroying countless enemy ships and the Coalition flagship) seem to indicate that the Alliance may yet prevail. Then ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'' happens, a game almost completely unrelated to ''Starlancer'' except for the intro, which reveals that the Alliance-Coalition war lasted for another century, with the Coalition being the inevitable victor (unless you count the original E3 trailer). There was absolutely no reason to make ''Freelancer'' a sequel of ''Starlancer'', as it has completely different gameplay and takes place 900 years later. Not one character or news report in ''Freelancer'' mentions either side or the war, despite the intro's emphatic "We will never forget". Thanks for ruining the game, Chris Roberts!
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekArmada'' ends with TheFederation, the Klingons, and the Romulans allying to stop a massive Borg invasion, which is barely stopped and ends on a typical upbeat Trek note. Guess what? The Borg are back in the sequel, stronger than before. The Cardassians also decide to attack the Federation for no reason, even though they should still be devastated from the Dominion War. And Species 8472 randomly decide to wipe out everyone else, despite Janeway earlier convincing them that the Federation means them no harm.
* There's a certain degree of this in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' as well. The Klingon/Federation Alliance, which Kirk's crew fought so hard to establish, is broken (though that was foreshadowed, pretty much every live action Franchise/StarTrek that went that far into the future had the Federation and Klingons on bad terms); the hope of reconciliation with the Romulans that ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'' ends on is destroyed along with Romulus (although admittedly, that's more due to the ''[[Film/StarTrek Star Trek XI]]'' movie); The Mirror Universe is back in the hands of an evil Terran empire; Voyager's defeat of the Borg in the finale and the tentative peace with [[StarfishAliens Species 8472]] are shattered... even one-note villains like the Breen and Devidians are up in arms. The only thing that hasn't been completely destroyed from the series is the establishment of Democracy on Cardassia, but there are a lot of left over villains from ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]'' who are set on destroying that one, too. ([[TropesAreTools This isn't necessarily a bad thing]] for an [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame MMORPG]] setting, however, and the fall seems to make logical sense if you [[AllThereInTheManual read the backstory of the intervening 30 years]].)
** ''The Legacy of Romulus'' free expansion/season/thingy partly overrode the Star Trek XI and related overriding of the Nemesis Romulan reconciliation hope -- there is no real chance of a reconciliation with the Romulan Star Empire after the events of the game... but the rising Romulan ''Republic'' (which by the end of their storyline pretty much is well on their way to being the single strongest faction in what used to be Romulan space) is quite conciliated and is in fact even allies with the Federation (and the Klingons. They're neutral on the Federation-Klingon war).
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' reveals in the opening credits that after Hyrule is saved in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', eventually Ganondorf is freed and Link does not arrive to save the day, causing the world to become lost, and the land flooded by the gods.
** And then in its climax; it's revealed that the King sacrificed the Triforce and Hyrule to prevent Link and Zelda from being eternally reborn and forced to fight the same battle over and over again, and let them have their own existence. It couldn't last. In the latest installments, Ganon may not be back, but Link and Zelda are back in the same roles.
** The prequel to the series as a whole, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', makes the Wind Waker timeline's situation even more dire, since [[spoiler:Ganon is merely the symptom, not the disease; killing him and destroying Hyrule forever didn't lift Demise's curse from Link's bloodline, and so incarnations of the demon king's hate will continue to haunt Link's descendants unless the curse is somehow broken. Essentially all killing Ganon accomplished was severing the curse's connection to the Triforce and losing the Master Sword, the most powerful weapon of good in the world, forever.]]
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' overrides many of the hopeful overtures of Zelda's decision to return Link to his original time. She had obviously intended for him to regain his lost years and live his life in peace. If ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' hadn't already obliterated any delusions of that happening, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' went a step further to confirm his lifelong ChronicHeroSyndrome, having him appear as the Hero's Shade and a mentor to the new Hero. The fact that he contributed to a thriving bloodline meant that he eventually settled down enough to have a family, but he still lingered for more than a century in the afterlife out of regret for his lost title.
* After [[spoiler:settling down with Rosemary and his son John]] in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', Raiden is now working as a PMC in ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''.
* The ending of ''VideoGame/TalesOfItzkeria'' is pretty happy - Itzka and his friends defeat the evil [[spoiler: [[TheEndOrIsIt (Or is he?)]]]] Darius, ending his guild and his ambitions of world domination. Conveniently, the Emperor gets a heart attack, and Itzka is appointed as his successor, finally bringing peace to the land! Aside from the unfortunate implication that [[spoiler: Laura will die soon due to her accelerated aging, as revealed in the true ending]] there is nothing to indicate the finale is anything but happy. Jump forward to the sequel, where it's revealed that, within 20 years, [[spoiler:Itzka has become a ruthless dictator who's not above burning cities (ironic, considering the burning of his hometown jump-started the plot of the first game) and slaughtering all inside just because they dared to oppose him.]]
* All those Alien Wars you've been fighting for the majority of the ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}'' series and winning? As of ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', [[spoiler:it turns out that the war was actually part of a GovernmentConspiracy known as the Triumvirate, and that Lance Bean had accidentally uncovered the truth about it. Hence the fact that Lance became a notorious terrorist leader trying to overthrow the Triumvirate after Bill Rizer was thought to have killed Lance and destroyed 80% of the world's population.]]
* The ending of ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'' gives hope in a [[spoiler: bittersweet ending, where Isaac and Carver disappear, but the source of the Marker signals, the [[EldritchAbomination Brother Moon]], is slain.]] Its expansion, ''Dead Space 3: Awakened'', [[spoiler:reveals that while Isaac and Carver survived, the Moon they killed still awoke the rest of its kind, and managed to successfully delay them from warning Earth in time, and [[DownerEnding have already arrived ahead of them and begun to feed on humanity.]] [[BolivianArmyEnding And when Isaac and Carver arrive, a Brother Moon looms over their ship, attacking their minds, before the credits roll.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' was an early example of this; the Orc and Human campaigns seemed to be treated as alternate universes; on the one hand, the Humans prevailed and defeated the Orcish Horde. On the other, the Orcs razed Stormwind Keep and killed the human king. ''Tides of Darkness''', the sequel, revealed the Orc campaign was made canon. ''Tides Of Darkness'' was itself treated similarly; this time the expansion, ''Beyond the Dark Portal'', revealed the Alliance victory to be the canonical one. (Blizzard would switch tactics with ''Franchise/StarCraft'' and abandon this technique entirely for ''Warcraft III'', wherein they actually subvert their earlier use of the trope by clarifying that elements from both Horde and Alliance campaigns from the previous games happened--for example, the death of Medivh (Human in ''I'') and Gul'dan's betrayal (Horde in ''II'')--but the Orc ending mission for ''I'' and the Alliance ending mission for ''II'' canceled out the opposing side.)
* A downplayed example in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' franchise; while the ''main'' ending in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' doesn't get cancelled (the [[BigBad Archdemon]] stays dead and Ferelden still survives), a lot of the improvements you can potentially bring to other problems in the story will inevitably be made meaningless to not get in the way of the story. Most notably, if a Mage [[PlayerCharacter Warden]] managed to get more freedom for the Circle of Magi, this will inevitably turn out to be a failure, since one of the main plot-points in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' is a Mage-Templar war.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Played for laughs a few times in ''Webcomic/StrawberrySyrup''.
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[[folder:Web Originals]]
* ''ImprobableIsland''. Defeated the Improbability Drive, did you? Great! Now [[spoiler: you get to do it again six times, after having discovered that the [[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu drive permanently mutated your body]]]]
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall''. After Linkara defeats his evil robot counterpart (actually [[spoiler:Pollo from another universe]]), it's revealed that Mechakara wasn't the only one who [[spoiler:escaped into Linkara's universe]]. And the other person who did? Lord Vyce, an all-powerful MultiversalConqueror who makes Mechakara look weak by comparison. But at least Linkara is able to defeat Vyce. Except THEN he learns that the reason Vyce was out conquering universes is to protect them from The Entity, an EldritchAbomination bent on consuming entire universes and make everyone in them disappear forever.
** Lewis stated in an interview that he wanted to keep invoking this trope with bigger and bigger threats, but couldn't come up with anything stronger than a god, so he switched to character-driven story arcs instead.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' ended with the Maximals successfully capturing [[BigBad Megatron]] and taking him back to Cybertron, with him tied to the roof of their spaceship. However, in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', it's revealed that Megatron has been able to successfully take over Cybertron, in large part ''because'' was left outside the spaceship [[note]]it let him jump off and out of the timestream and return to Cybertron much earlier than the Maximals[[/note]].
** Originally, had there been a fourth season of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', their version of Megatron would have escaped from prison (he is arrested at the end of the show's final episode), possibly with help from Team Chaar, and been reformatted into a Triple Changer.
* The ending of ''Film/OsmosisJones'' has Frank turn his life around and adopt a healthier lifestyle, and we see him spending time outdoors with his daughter. In ''WesternAnimation/OzzyAndDrix'', on the other hand, Frank is once again an obese slob, suggesting that either he has relapsed back into unhealthy habits or ''Ozzy and Drix'' is an AlternateContinuity, and if the latter, then [[FridgeHorror Frank will be killed by Thrax]].
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