[[quoteright:250:[[Anime/{{Pokemon}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pikachuEffect2_2969.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:250:That's more like a fourth option one.]]-]

An interactive work is being adapted into another, non-interactive form -- a video game into a TV series, for example. The original required the audience to choose one option above the others, such as picking a member of your [[HaremGenre Harem]] in a DatingSim. As such, in the adaptation, there will be an active move by the writers not to have any choice evident, so that no portion of the audience is validated or invalidated in their choice. Sometimes comes out of an adaptation of a work with MultipleEndings.

This can also be done if it's an adaptation of a ''non''-interactive work, by refusing to pick any one of the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters to have more spotlight or importance than the others if the audience is divided on which is best and there's no main character.

Contrast CuttingOffTheBranches, which ''does'' choose one and leave the others in the dust, and MergingTheBranches, which combines options in a way not possible in the original rather than creating a completely new option. OriginalGeneration might be used in conjuction.

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!!Examples:

* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' has a number of examples, as players have two or three options given to them when a new game comes out, and various adaptations have to account for all of them.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue''[[note]]Red and Green in Japan. In Japan, Blue was an UpdatedRerelease. The US Pokémon Red and Blue are largely based on said rerelease.[[/note]] required the player to choose among Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. The ''{{Anime/Pokemon}}'' TV series adaptation started with Ash having overslept and, as a result, all the starter Pokémon have been picked by other trainers already when he shows up. He ends up with a spare Pokémon the prof happened to have on hand, a Pikachu (an outside fan favorite by that point), instead. He would later get all three of the game's starters as part of his team, and as the series went on the starters from the game sequels would also appear and join the cast under either Ash or one of his friends; though their exact level of prominence and how far they would evolve would vary.
*** They then rolled this back into the games in ''[[RecursiveAdaptation Pokémon Yellow]]'', where the player started with a Pikachu but the rival, who normally selects one of the three starters that the player character didn't, ''also'' got a third option starter, an Eevee. And then back in the anime even that Eevee is subject to this: in ''Yellow'', the rival's Eevee could evolve into Flareon, Jolteon or Vaporeon based on how often you beat him in your early battles. In the anime, Gary gets an Eevee like his ''Yellow'' counterpart, but since he never battles Ash until much later his Eevee was revealed to have evolved into an Umbreon, which was introduced in the sequel.
*** For another case of games taking a third option, ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' feature battles against Red (''Red and Blue''[='s=] player character) and Blue (''Red and Blue''[='s=] Rival). Red's team features all four possible starters (which includes a Pikachu to represent ''Yellow Version''), with the remaining two Pokémon being forced encounters or gifts in ''Red and Blue'' (one of the route-blocking Snorlaxes, alongside either the free Eevee from Celadon in the original versions or the free Lapras from Silph Co. in the remakes). Blue uses the same team he used in ''Red and Blue'' with one exception; in ''Red and Blue'' he'd have his starter in place of one other Pokémon of the same type, while ''Gold and Silver'' makes no such substitutions.
** Outside of starter Pokémon, adaptations also have to account for the choice of male and female player characters starting with ''Gold and Silver''. ''Manga/PokemonAdventures'' generally takes both options and TheRival and makes them a PowerTrio of co-protagonists, splitting up the starter Pokémon equally between them. Zig-zagged by the anime: the main character, Ash, was based on the ''Red and Blue'' PC where male was the only option available, and many of his traveling companions are either gym leaders from the games or original characters; however, sometimes the latest games' female PC would also be selected to travel with Ash, leaving the male PC out. Only ''Pokémon Chronicles'' used both player options (from ''Gold and Silver'').
** Plots can also differ due to the games' use of OneGameForThePriceOfTwo; often resolved in canon by releasing a third version of the game combining elements of both of the first two. Did [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Brendan/May]] save Hoenn from Team Magma, that was going to make volcanoes erupt by resurrecting the ancient Kaiju, Groudon? Or did s/he save Hoenn from Team Aqua's plan to literally drown everything by resurrecting Kyogre? No, s/he defeated both evil teams and stopped Groudon and Kyogre's battle with the help of Rayquaza. Did [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Cyrus]] try to use the ruler of Time, Dialga, to destroy and recreate the world? Or did he try to use the ruler of Space, Palkia, for that? Well, he used both and was then defeated by [[EldritchAbomination Giratina]]. In the anime and ''Manga/PokemonAdventures'', both Aqua and Magma were enemies of the protagonists, and the arc ended with a Kyogre/Groudon clash; also, Cyrus summoned both Dialga and Palkia, but was defeated without Giratina's involvement.
*** In ''Videogame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', the first and last gyms each have multiple leaders, of which the player only fights one. In the anime, Ash fights all three leaders in the first gym and ''neither'' of the last gym leaders - instead the two leaders from the last gym, Iris and Drayden, face ''each other'' (Iris being a regular supporting character and proving herself against her mentor Drayden) and Ash gets his eighth badge from one of the new leaders from [[VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2 the sequel]]. ''Manga/PokemonAdventures'' handled the first gym the same, but for the last gym it made Drayden the leader while Iris was a later opponent during the Pokémon League finals, foreshadowing how she has become League Champion in the sequel.
*** Averted with [[Anime/PokemonTheMovieBlackAndWhite one of the movies]] for ''Black and White'', which much like the games comes in two similar-but-different versions.
* ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1990'' has Splinter and Casey Jones, rather than one of the turtles, defeating BigBad Shredder.
* The VideoGame/{{Fallout}} games allow players to be male or female, any race they choose, and a bunch of other customization features as rudimentary as nose size. How could boxart get all of this represented at once? It doesn't; instead opting for pictures of an undefined character in power armor.
* ''[[TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse Werewolf: The Apocalypse]] - Heart of Gaia'', an abortive video-game translation of the pen and paper RPG, had the main character as a redeemed [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Black Spiral Dancer]], thus avoiding using any of the main tribes in the game.
* The Videogame/DeusEx series is an extremely interesting case. The first game (set in 2052) features 3 different endings. The [[Videogame/DeusExInvisibleWar sequel]] (set in 2072) states that all 3 essentially endings happened. The prequel, Videogame/DeusExHumanRevolution, (set in 2027) is an inversion, as it features 4 different endings, all of which could plausibly lead to the events of the original game. However, Human Revolution is getting a [[Videogame/DeusExMankindDivided sequel]] (set in 2029), and the announcement for it stated that *none* of Human Revolution's endings are canon.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', the player character's gender and appearance are customizable, and you have a choice between helping the Republic defeat Malak on the one hand, and overthrowing him as the Dark Lord of the Sith and then turning against the Republic. Although the character is canonically male and the Star Forge is canonically destroyed (a RoadCone example), the second game allows you to [[SchrodingersQuestion retroactively]] specify that character's gender and alignment via dialogue options, and the rest of the game then reflects the choice. The spin-off comic series also avoids establishing the character's appearance: in all appearances, [[spoiler:the Revanchist]] is wearing a bulky robe and face-obscuring hood, and is never referred to by name or gender-specific pronouns.
** Oddly, avoiding referring to [[spoiler: the Revanchist]] with a name was only made necessary ''because'' of the spin-off comic itself. [[spoiler: As the games refer to him, Revan's name before the amnesia appeared to have ''been'' Revan. The comics established that no, it wasn't, thus necessitating various tricks to avoid saying what the ''actual'' name was]].
** When the events of the second game are referenced elsewhere in the EU, both of the gender-exclusive companions were in the (female) Exile's crew.
* The ''StarOcean'' series always has mutually exclusive characters, particularly in the second game. The [[TheAnimeOfTheGame anime adaptation]] of ''[[VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory The Second Story]]'', which covers the events of the first disc, cuts a few corners and has all the disc 1 characters join Claude and Rena. This caused a small-scale UrbanLegendOfZelda, where people started to believe that it's possible to recruit both Ashton and Opera in the same game as well as recruit Dias on Claude's route. Neither situation is possible in the game. The sequel, ''Blue Sphere'', and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'''s manual confirm that all ten optional party members were canonically recruited.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'': None of its endings are possible for ''[[VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld Dawn of the New World]]'' (as it isn't possible on a single playthrough to obtain the title "Item Collector"- because you normally can only obtain one of the three ending items), rather, its manga adaptation's ending (where all three ending items are given to Lloyd) is canon.
** However, {{Road Cone}}s are still there for the pairing: [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Colette is canonically Lloyd's soulmate.]]
*** Although a bonus scene in the game [[SchrodingersGun allows you to choose even that.]]
** There are other differences in the manga's ending, too, like the party taken to the final battle. In the game, because of the limit on the number of party members, you had to take either [[spoiler:Zelos or Kratos]]. In the manga, not only do both of them go along for the final trip to Derris-Kharlan, but [[spoiler:so does ''Yuan'']].
* It's amazing the EpilepticTrees that have come from trying to figure out which, if any, endings of the various {{Geneforge}} games are canonical. A popular one for the third game argues that the main character ''died at the very beginning'' and was replaced by someone else who acted out most of the game's events before getting killed off in turn.
** The fifth game manages to revive all those trees in theories on the protagonist's identity. All this is probably due to the fact that the canon endings are combinations of multiple endings with some obfuscation thrown in as well.
* The ''Film/ResidentEvil'' film series also employed this trope. Rather than focusing on any of the canon characters from the game series, the films are centered around a new character named [[ActionGirl Alice]]. Though interacts with characters and situations from the games, in is clear that the movies are Alice's show, and the rest are just along for the ride. This allows the movies to take many liberties and diverge significantly from the game canon.
** In the first game, depending on your chosen character, you can escape with the helicopter pilot, Brad, and optionally the other player character and a partner dictated by the plot -- Barry for Jill, and Rebecca for Chris. Later games make it clear that all five characters survive the Mansion Incident, although Rebecca has never resurfaced outside of prequels and guest appearances in non-canon minigames.
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'' has an ending where one friend (either [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Anne/Ann or Rolla/Laura]]) survives along with Jennifer (Ending S). Rather than pick between Anne and Rolla and have one appear in both the sequel and the various spinoff media, the developers decided to use the other endings where Jen survives but no one else does (Endings A, B and C).
** Ending C specifically is established as canon in the ending of the later game, when Dan's name (which Jennifer only learns in that ending) is mentioned and Jennifer shrinks back. Which is kind of strange, because you'd have to be using some wacky moon logic to get Ending C normally.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', Snake can try to save Meryl depending on a choice made during an ElectricTorture at the middle of the game - if the player chooses to resist, [[spoiler:Otacon stays behind in an attempted HeroicSacrifice to hold open a gate for Snake and Meryl to escape through (although he lives), and Snake tells his real name to Meryl]]; if the player submits, [[spoiler:Otacon comes up onto Rex to talk Snake down (the gate has already been opened by Otacon), and Snake tells his real name to Otacon]]. Both the novel and comic book adaptations went with an ending where [[spoiler:Snake escaped with both Meryl and Otacon at once, and told both of them his real name together]].
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' seems to go with this as well: when infiltrating the tanker in the opening cutscene of the game, he has the stealth camo Otacon gave him in his ending. Coupled with Meryl not appearing at all in the game, this would suggest she died in the first game, up until Snake reveals late in the game that he also has the infinite-ammo bandanna he received in her ending. This one could possibly work as a fourth-wall-breaking joke, as well; the player most likely played through the game at least twice to get both endings and their special items, so it's only logical that Snake did so as well.
** And then ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' reveals that [[spoiler: Meryl living]] is canon, but with a major part of her story arc being [[spoiler:her disgust at Colonel Campbell [[LukeIAmYourFather being her biological father rather than her uncle]]]], something which was only revealed in the ending where [[spoiler:Meryl dies]].
* Kind of sort of done in a way with ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} FES''. Practically every female social link in the game involves the female in question falling in love with The Protagonist (even the Hermit, who turns out to be the Protagonist's ''homeroom teacher''). However, no matter what you do, it's Aigis who feels the strongest bond with you. [[spoiler:As a result, it's Aigis who obtains the Wild Card ability in ''The Answer''.]] Though, one could make an argument for Elizabeth having the strongest bond, considering how she [[spoiler:leaves the Velvet Room to try and revive him]], but not counting bonus content in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', Aigis is always "the one".
** In the PSP remake, this is altered so that any of the female SEES members (Aigis, Fuka, Yukari and Mitsuru) can have the strongest bond with him and share the final scene with him, not just Aigis. The female can have Aigis or any of the male members of SEES (Akihiko, Ken, [[spoiler:or Shinjiro if you saved him]]), except Junpei, who feels no romance for the main, have the strongest bond. Of course, ''The Answer'' isn't in the PSP remake and the Answer wouldn't work the way it was if the female was chosen anyway so how this affects Persona canon is currently unknown.
** In the first ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'', Its implied that both the main and Snow Queen plotlines are canon...somehow.
*** [[spoiler:The ending of the Snow Queen Quest puts it right before the first boss of the SEBEC quest, ending with the gang going to SEBEC to save Maki (who was left there when Mark panicked after being overwhelmed by the demons) Presumably, after reuniting with Maki, things went as they did in the main game, only with Yukino there.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'' expanded media such as the [=OVAs=], musicals, drama [=CDs=] and [[Anime/SakuraWarsTheMovie movie]], it never clearly states which girl(s) Ogami has a romantic relationship with. There are usually slight hints toward Sakura (as the poster girl) but since the games have a serial progressing plot and the [=OVAs=] and Drama CDS fill in the gaps it wouldn't jive to take control away from the player, and thus in the [=OVAs=] StatusQuoIsGod. The same thing applies for his New York-based nephew [[VideoGame/SakuraWarsSoLongMyLove Shinjiro]].
* ''[[VideoGame/GuardianHeroes Advance Guardian Heroes]]'' combines this with CuttingOffTheBranches: it is based on one ending of the original game... but then takes it off into a direction that doesn't actually exist in the original game.
* The sequel to ''VisualNovel/{{Heileen}}'' makes all of the endings AllJustADream. Canonically, only Robert and Ebele made it to the island with Heileen even though in the previous game, you ''always'' end up with the male love interest if you didn't trigger either of the {{Gay Option}}s, even if you did nothing but treat him like garbage the entire game.
* The ending of the ''Anime/MakaiSenkiDisgaea'' anime featured an amalgamation of [[VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness the game]]'s good and bad ending, with [[spoiler:Laharl sparing Lamington's life, but still sacrificing his own in order to resurrect Flonne]].
* Some of the spinoffs from the TenchiMuyo universe pair him up with an entirely new girl, rather than stick him with a member of his UnwantedHarem.
* At the time that the ''Anime/MapleStory'' anime was created, there were already four available classes in [[VideoGame/MapleStory the game]], so there would naturally be some difficulty in deciding which one the protagonist belonged to. So what do the writers do? Make him a [[CherryTapping perma-beginner]]! (explained in the anime as him being a human while the other classes are represented by monsters from the different in-game towns)
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' had a "good ending" and a "bad ending" based on whether [[spoiler:Ryu ultimately agrees or disagrees with WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Fou-lu that HumansAreBastards - which is complicated by the fact that Ryu and Fou-lu are two halves of a PhysicalGod who was SplitAtBirth due to a botched summoning, and the choice made dictated how the resulting SplitPersonalityMerge would go]]. In the recently completed ComicBookAdaptation of the game by Mag Garden, they manage to include both endings - [[spoiler:first going to what ''appears'' to be the "bad ending", then having Ryu conduct a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind with Fou-lu, culminating in his use of [[MementoMacGuffin Mami's bells]] in what amounts to a HumansAreSpecial psychic bitchslapping, thus forcing the initial SplitPersonalityMerge apart, ''then'' going through the "good ending" sequence]].
** As if this weren't enough, the manga then takes this trope ''very'' literally with an ultimate THIRD ending [[spoiler:where Ryu and Fou-lu split ''again'', Fou-lu is basically BroughtDownToNormal, and the two live/hide out as monks at the Chek monastery where Fou-lu is basically trying to learn why Ryu thinks HumansAreSpecial]]. The latter resulted in [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing Much Rejoicing]] in Japan, among others.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' is the unofficial sequel to ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'', picking up from where that game left off - when the spaceship reaches Alpha Centauri. However, while in Civilization the starship would be built by one nation (it's one of the win conditions), the starship in Alpha Centauri was a United Nations project sponsored by several nations.
** Which becomes a FridgeBrilliance[=/=]HilariousInHindsight, once one realizes that the expansion packs to the Civilization IV game allows alliances to build the spaceship as a team effort.
** In fact, one of the major sponsors was not a nation but a Namibian company, which allowed its CEO Nwabudike Morgan to install a secret [[HumanPopsicle sleeper pod]] onboard the ship (he justifies it by claiming that he, technically, owns part of the ship).
** It's also a Third Option in a rather meta way: While launching the spaceship is a victory condition in the main series of games, the Transcendence Ending reveals that [[spoiler:in this reality, no one civilization "won," as the Earth has been rendered a burned-out, lifeless husk that you're responsible for restoring]].
* The story of the original ''BibleBlack'' game has two main routes: viewpoint protagonist Minase either [[spoiler:keeps the eponymous grimoire and becomes Kitami's [[VillainProtagonist apprentice in the dark arts]]]], or (more conventionally) [[spoiler:lets it fall into Saeki's hands and winds up trying to save his [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Unlucky Childhood Friend]] Imari from [[GrandTheftMe Kitami's plot]]]]. The anime sacrifices the story's integrity ([[PornWithPlot which, yes, it]] ''[[PornWithPlot did]]'' [[PornWithPlot actually have]]) in order to [[PornWithoutPlot maximize the sex scenes]], [[spoiler:following the former route up to [[MoralEventHorizon Minase delivering Imari to Kitami]], at which point [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness Kitami abandons Minase for Saeki]], prompting an instant HeelFaceTurn in Minase, and the latter route takes over]]. Now, this combination [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot might actually have made some sense]] if they'd just included a line or two about [[spoiler:Kitami [[MagnificentBastard stringing Minase along to get at Imari]] (although it still wouldn't have excused Minase's just-too-late "change of heart")]], but [[TheyJustDidntCare they didn't]].
* The original ''TwoWorlds'' has two possible endings: either you choose to join Gandohar and rule the world, or you kill Gandohar and save your sister Kyra. ''Two Worlds 2'' doesn't follow from either ending; instead it posits that you actually ''lose'' the final battle against Gandohar, and spend the next 5 years as a prisoner in his dungeon while he takes over the world, which is where the game picks up.
* ''[[VisualNovel/FateHollowAtaraxia Fate/hollow ataraxia]]'' is the sequel to a route that ''couldn't'' happen in ''[[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Fate/stay night]]'' most of the Servants and Masters are still alive, even those that died in every route. Turns out the explanation is that [[AWizardDidIt Rin did it]]. She made a mistake that turned the city into a location where all realities are possible and sorta merged all the routes plus various universes we didn't see into one. She's off at Clock Tower at the start of the game to make up for this mistake.
* In Clue, the board game, the culprit always ends up being one of the players (Mr. Green, Miss Scarlet, etc). In one of the endings to [[Film/{{Clue}} the film version]], [[spoiler: the murderer turns out to be ALL of the dinner guests (except Mr. Green), as well as an added character, Wadsworth the butler.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Amagami}} SS'' retells the story six times, each one following a different route from the game.
* ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'' assumes that all the routes in the first game occurred, plus some extra stuff that never happened on-screen such as Fate and her EvilTwin Levi facing one another. This means that canonically, [[HumanoidAbomination the Materials]] were [[BackFromTheDead destroyed multiple times]] over the course of that one night.
* ''Zelda'' is famous for having an AlternateTimeline from the two endings of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''. All well and good, except for the classic games not fitting in either one. Instead of making some game connecting them to the modern entries, Nintendo [[TakeAThirdOption made a third timeline]] taking place if Link '''[[TheHeroDies dies]]''' in ''Ocarina's'' final battle.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'', which combines characters and events from the various games in the series, often does this when dealing with [[SchrodingersPlayerCharacter a choice in protagonists]] from the original games: The ''Alpha'' protagonist choices get fleshed out into full characters through DivergentCharacterEvolution, while all the ''Alpha 2'' protagonists appear. The game chooses one route from ''Advance'', but then lets the other survive and undergo his development from his own route in ''EndlessFrontier EXCEED''. The "Born male or female" protagonist options from ''Reversal'' become HalfIdenticalTwins, end so on.
* ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoMeikyuu'' leaves the ending to ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoKajitsu'' fairly ambiguous, but ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoRakuen'' firmly establishes that Yuuji did not pick any girl, date or sleep with any girl, but he ''did'' complete all their routes. This is actually a bad thing [[spoiler:because he promised Asako in Meikyuu that he wouldn't die until he had saved at least five people. Since he saved all five girls, he now embraces death.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', TheHero Chrom could marry one of a five characters: a female Avatar, Sully, Sumia, Maribelle or Olivia. Possibly to avoid the ''insane'' ShipToShipCombat over the issue, the Drama CD seems to go with the nameless village maiden as Chrom's wife, the one who, in-game, he only marries if all of the above options are already taken or [[FinalDeath dead]]. For each of the above 5, Chrom's KidFromTheFuture Lucina will have a sibling, which the audio drama also adapts out though the village maiden, making Lucina an only child. There is also one Drama CD with a male Avatar and one with a female one, as well as a Drama CD where both male and female Morgans (the Avatar's child) meet up in the Outrealms. These are situations not possible in the game since [[SchrodingersPlayerCharacter both versions of these characters can't exist at the same time.]]
** The second example is the child characters' hair colors, which are inherited from their fathers. And since mostly any male can marry any female, that's a ''lot'' of possible hair colors to keep track of. To avoid this, official artwork generally despicts the children with their mothers' hair colours. [[spoiler: As does Severa, Inigo and Owain's appearence in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates''.]]
* In ''VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth'', there are 5 possible endings, 3 of which depend on the player's chosen affinity. Along comes the sort-of sequel ''VideoGame/SidMeiersStarships'', whose premise assumes that each of the factions chose a different planet to settle instead of the same one.
* In the arcade version of the original ''[[VideoGame/DoubleDragonI Double Dragon]]'', the Lee brothers fight each other at the end after both players defeat the final boss to see who wins over Marian, with the remaining player getting a kiss from her. When the game was remade for the Game Boy Advance under the title of ''Double Dragon Advance'', Marian interrupts just when one of the brothers deliver a finishing blow.
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