A SuperTrope to AlternateUniverse and {{Elseworld}}, "What If?" stories do to fictional {{Continuity}} what AlternateHistory does to RealLife history. The purpose of a what-if is to consider what effects might be caused if some event or invention had come about.

ForWantOfANail is a what-if where the difference is a single, tiny change, usually with an effect all out of proportion to the cause. InSpiteOfANail is the opposite; a what-if where a change results in a world almost identical to the original, albeit with a 'hole' in it where the missing or changed element should have been.

Compare ItsAWonderfulPlot, CrackFic, AlternateContinuity, AlternateHistory, MirrorUniverse.

See: ''ComicBook.WhatIf'', a Creator/MarvelComics series designed around this trope. Also ''Blog.WhatIf'', a blog on hypothetical science questions by the author of ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}''.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Old-as-dirt children's anime ''{{Doraemon}}'' featured a device called the What If Phonebox, a telephone booth that would transport the occupants to a dimension with the specified What If. (Do [[Series/DoctorWho the Doctor]] and Bill and Ted know about this?)
* One chapter of ''Manga/AngelSanctuary'' featured Setsuna in a Lotus Eater machine where there was no... trouble in heaven, Sara wasn't his sister but is girlfriend and Kira was his kind and clever sempai that tutored him. He decided that the real world needed him.
* The 9th ''Manga/OnePiece'' movie use this for the basis of "Episode of Chopper". Which is a retelling Drum Island arc with a few differences in the cast (No Vivi, Franky and Robin are, who didn't join the crew at that point, were there), the crew already having the Thousand Sunny as their ship opposed to Merry, Wapol having a brother, etc)
* ''Evangelion ANIMA'' is an AlternateContinuity take on ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', the point of divergence being ''EndOfEvangelion'', where [[spoiler:the JSSDF sides with NERV instead of SEELE, helping them fight off the Mass Production Evas and avert Third Impact]]. The story picks up three years later, where NERV, now under the command of Misato, is a much more benevolent organization, and the Eva pilots have had three years of relative peace in which to grow up and (somewhat) deal with their [[DysfunctionJunction personal issues]].
* ''Anime/AfterWarGundamX'' premise derives from an unnerving alternative resolution of the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam One Year War]] conflict: "What if the Spacenoids, after losing the war, opted for the TakingYouWithMe route and instead of a single ColonyDrop decided to use [[UpToEleven each and every single one of them]] against Earth?". The aftermath: 99% of the Earth's population got wiped out and civilization was almost destroyed in the process. And that's [[AfterTheEnd just the back-story to the events of this series]].
* The ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'' series happens in a scenario where Mikhail Gorbachev was assassinated by terrorists and, as such, his political restructuring plans never came to pass, the URSS still exists, and the world is still entrenched in the Cold War up to the present day.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Ragyo Kiryuin onto Ryuko in ''Anime/KillLaKill,'' MindRape-flavored. [[spoiler: While forcing her to wear Junketsu, Ragyo shows Ryuko the blissful life they could have had together as mother and daughter, leading all the way up to Ryuko's WeddingDay]] (with a [[TheFaceless faceless void]] of Life Fibers wearing a tux, [[BreadEggsMilkSquick but that's not important).]] [[ThousandYardStare Ryuko...]] [[TearsOfJoy kind]] [[HeroicBSOD of]] [[http://i.imgur.com/nlVJKje.gif breaks.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Drama]]
* The ''[[AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho Doctor Who: Unbound]]'' audio dramas sometimes take the {{Elseworld}} approach and sometimes the AlternateUniverse approach. Or, seemingly both, or neither. All except one dealt with non-{{Canon}} Doctors. They ranged from "what if the Doctor and Susan had never left Gallifrey?" (''Auld Mortality'') to "what if the Doctor had not been UNIT's scientific advisor?" (''Sympathy for the Devil'') to "what if the Doctor had escaped the justice of the Time Lords at the end of ''The War Games''?" (''Exile'', with a [[MythologyGag cameo by]] the Creator/NicholasBriggs Doctor), "what if the Valeyard had won at the end of ''The Trial of a Time Lord''?" (''"...He Jests at Scars"''), to "what if the Doctor believed that the ends justified the means? (''Full Fathom Five'') to ''Deadline'', set in a reality where TheBBC decided to make a 1960s television series called ''Series/DoctorWho''... but it failed and never got even as far as the PilotEpisode stage! (Apart from that it has [[MagicalRealism Magical Realist]] elements, too.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* The official ''MagicTheGathering'' website had a "What If? Week" Febrary 27th to March 4th, 2007; among the possibilities explored were "[[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/391 What If Magic was a science-fiction game?]]", "[[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mr268 What If the website existed in the early days of Magic?]]", and "[[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/tf23 What If multiplayer free-for-all was an official tournament format?]]".
** Which is to say nothing of the expansion set that "What If Week" was promoting. Called ''Planar Chaos'', it was about alternate dimensions/realities, both in terms of [[AlternateHistory alternate story history]] creating cards like the white "Crovax, Ascendant Hero", the black "Mirri, the Cursed", and the red "Akroma, Angel of Fury", as well as off-color versions of well-known cards, shifted into colors that share or better fit the existing stats and abilities, creating the likes of Serra Sphinx (a blue Serra Angel), Bog Serpent (a black Sea Serpent), and Fa'adiyah Seer (a green Sinbad).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The MarvelUniverse series [[TropeNamer called]] ''ComicBook/WhatIf'' told stories where the events shown in the comics happened differently.
** Various cases included "What if Gwen Stacy survived", "What if The Punisher received the Venom symbiote" and "What if every member of the Fantastic Four received the same power" to "What if Wolverine ended up in the Conan universe", "What if Aunt May was bitten by the radioactive spider", "What if Galactus was Ben and May's nephew" and, of course, "What if Magneto, Iron Man, Colossus and Dr Doom got stuck in the same elevator"?
** This series is notable in that, aware it's a one-time thing and therefore freed from the limitations of ContractualImmortality, [[KillEmAll the body count for otherwise nigh indestructible heroes and villains shoots through the roof.]]
** What if The Watcher were a stand-up comedian? [[CrackFic That.]] [[HilarityEnsues Is.]] [[CrowningMomentOfFunny All.]]
--> '''[[MakeMeWannaShout What if Black Bolt]] [[OhCrap got hiccups?]]'''
--> ''[[ForegoneConclusion (cut to a shot of Black Bolt - with hiccups - walking, with a wrecked NY behind him)]]''
** From the same issue:
--> '''Luke Cage with the power of Thor''': By the gleamin' gates of funky Asgard, you suckers are gonna '''''EAT HAMMER!'''''
** Just look at [[http://marvel.wikia.com/What_If%3F_Vol_1_34 the article for that issue]] (the cover of which illustrates this page) on the Marvel Database.
*** Later ''What If?''s from Marvel have pretty much ditched the absurdist (or at least gag-inducing) settings for more plausible alternatives, for example "What if Captain America had won the Comicbook/CivilWar?" or "What if [[Comicbook/DarkReign the Siege of Asgard]] had been successful?"
*** Indeed, although some of the more funny ones stick in fans' minds the most, it should be noted that the overwhelming majority of ''What If?'' stories played things very straight. Also, quite a lot of them ended unhappily, leaving readers with the [[{{Candide}} Panglossian aesop]] that the mainstream Marvel timeline is the best of all possible Marvel Universes, as more often than not [[ButterflyEffect changes that at first glance seemed positive or indifferent could result in the End of the World]]. This became quite anvilicious in a ''What If?'' published concurrently with the wedding of Jean Grey and Scott Summers; it contained two stories where Jean hooked up with people other than Scott, and one where Scott and Jean got married much sooner. All these couplings had a negative impact, and one of them indeed ending with the Phoenix destroying the universe.
** An actually quite nice one was "What if Dr. Strange had been a disciple of Dormammu?" It goes into great detail about Dr. Strange's self-centeredness ("No more patients today, I'm reviewing my stock portfolio!") leading to a career in evil, but shows that ultimately he would have chosen goodness and become just about like he is today.
** And then there was a tragic one after ''Comicbook/AvengersDisassembled'' containing a What If? within a What If? -- where Captain America and Wanda were insane but in love, and if the Avengers had not interfered they would have both regained their sanity and made a much better world. (As it actually happened, they killed themselves).
* ''StarWars: Infinities'' is a series of one-shot comic issues built around this concept. Two examples include Luke dying on Hoth and Leia having to take up his mantle as well as her own, and C-3PO getting blown to bits in Jabba's palace... which somehow results in Darth Vader getting returned to the Light Side of the Force without dying.
** The 'what if?' for ''A New Hope'' is the craziest. The linchpin for the change is Luke failing to destroy the original Death Star, with the rest of the story switching between bizarre events such as Leia becoming an obvious visual reference to an SS officer after falling to the dark side and the Death Star being renamed the "Justice Star," to "alternate" scenes that are really just copies of actual canon scenes from the movies with characters switched around, one of which even has Luke learning Vader is his father and ''saying the exact same line in response.'' The story ends with what one review describes as "[[ColonyDrop Cosmic 9/11]];" seriously, you have to [[http://www.whygodwhy.org/original-fiction-f4/anh-infinities-genocide-i-will-commit-yes-t1298.htm see it to believe it]].
** And the ''Return of the Jedi'' Infinities book, where Leia goes to the Death Star too, Han ends up permanatly blind, the Emperor escapes despite Vader's redemption, and [[AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame the scene everyone remembers]]--''redeemed Vader in white armor''.
*** There's even official toys of that last one.
* DCComics was doing these type of stories years before Marvel, but they called them "Imaginary Stories." In later years, the name "Imaginary Story" came to viewed as corny, so DC took to calling them "[[{{Elseworld}} Elseworlds]]" stories, instead. The Elseworlds tales more frequently focused on plunking the characters into a different setting, rather than changing a historical incident, but some like Alan Davis's ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Nail]]'' do take the classic, well, ForWantOfANail approach.
* A couple of comics in ''ComicBook/{{WITCH}}'' had taken a few nods at WhatCouldHaveBeen for the series:
** Issue 50 had the idea of "What if Will never accepted the Heart of Kandrakar?" [[spoiler:They'd gotten it later on. The damn thing's persistant.]]
** There was a one-shot focusing on the once-budding relationship of Cornelia and Caleb, though some think it was a TakeThat to the fans who were displeased with them ShipSinking Cornelia/Caleb:
*** The first story had Cornelia giving up being a Guardian and staying in Meridian with Caleb. [[spoiler:We find out that Orube takes Cornelia's spot, but she and Will trade powers. However, the team finally convinces Cornelia to come home.]]
*** The second story had Cornelia convincing Caleb to come back to Earth. [[spoiler:Everything goes completely pear-shaped as Caleb, unaware of normal Earth customs, that starts a set of DisasterDominoes that ends up getting Irma shot ''by her own father'' and the girl's identities revealed.]]
* The final issue of PaperinikNewAdventures's first series, simply titled "''If...''"
** ...the Evrons managed to kidnap Angus? [[spoiler:Evron/Angus hybrids. Really]].
** ...PK still trusted One despite [[EvilTwin Two]]'s meddling? [[spoiler:PK goes in the Cyberspace, but Two attempts a GrandTheftMe on him]].
** ...the Cold Sun experiment ''was'' allowed to happen? [[spoiler:Duckburg gets destroyed, Pk [[FaceHeelTurn becomes evil]], TearJerker ensues]].
* The Series/{{ALF}} comic book (incidentally published by Marvel) had the "Wotif simulator," a device/camera in Alf's spaceship that would show movies where hypothetical situations were played out, such as "Wotif Willie Tanner crash landed on Melmac" and "Wotif Alf lived with the Ochmonecks."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* This is pretty much the driving force behind most fanfics.
* ''{{Smallville}}'':
** ''{{FanFic/Crisis}}'': What if in the episode ''Exile'', [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Kal]] gets mad enough to [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rape]] Chloe rather than just throwing her out of his apartment? A DarkFic is what you get.
** ''{{FanFic/Wounded Heart}}'': What if in ''Abyss'', Chloe finds out [[spoiler:Clark mind-wiped her?]]
* ''FanFic/{{Downfall}}'' works on this premise, messing freely with everything, while explicitiely keeping eveyone within their canon character constraints. Aizen is a plotter. Unohana is TeamMom... [[spoiler: and she kills people with her bare hands]]
* The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3460966/1/Difficult_to_Fight_Against_Anger Difficult To Fight Against Anger]]'' is a what if story where Warren Mears doesn't kill Tara Maclay, but instead sexually assaults her.
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' fanfic series ''FanFic/JediPadmeTrilogy'' is based on the idea of Padmé as a Jedi, as well as a few other things.
* John Biles' ''{{Ranma}} 1/2: Elseworlds'' (sadly on extended hiatus) explored variations such as "what if Ukyo stayed together with Ranma from the start?" to "what if Akane went to Jyusenkyo instead of Ranma?" to "what if the story takes place in the ''TabletopGame/WorldOfDarkness''?"
* There had been a few fics in ''AxisPowersHetalia'' asking what would have happened if the Americans didn't win the American Revolution.
* The ''FruitsBasket'' fanfic "Eyes of the Cat" is solely dependent on the premise that Kyo, as the cat of the zodiac, may be able to see ghosts.
* There are a few ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfics out there that ask the question: "What if Rainbow Dash failed to/didn't pull off her first Sonic Rainboom?" [[FanFic/AWorldWithoutRainbows Here's such an example.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' fanfiction, ''Fanfic/TotalAlternateIsland'', is a retelling of the first season, but with six additional campers joining the game at the start. This also alters some couplings as well.
* ''Fanfic/YourBestShot'' is another [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic MLP:FiM]] What If, asking "What if Rainbow Dash had been present when [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E2TheReturnOfHarmonyPart2 Discord gave the Mane Cast their first shot at him?]]" The result: [[FreakyFridayFlip Twilight and Discord swap powers, and part of their physical appearance.]]
* The in-progress ''Comicbook/XMen'' fic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7730502/3/The_Wraith_Saga The Wraith Saga]]'' explores how the story might have continued if Jean Grey had survived her infamous "death" in ''TheDarkPhoenixSaga''.
* This WesternAnimation/YinYangYo [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5626292/1 fanfic]] is where the SeriesFinale takes a sinister turn for the worse.
* Yet another ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Friendship is Magic]]'' fiction, ''FanFic/PartyOfNone'', explores what would happen if Pinkie Pie overpowered Rainbow Dash when the latter [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E25PartyOfOne tried to take her to her surprise birthday party during her]] SanitySlippage. Let's just say it's not pleasant...
* In the ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' fic ''Fanfic/TheJoinery'', the entire premise is what if Ned Stark became king instead of Robert Baratheon and married Cersei Lannister
** The AlternateUniverseFic ''FanFic/NedStarkLives'', which is about Eddard Stark being allowed by Cersei to take the black instead of being executed by her insane son. Despite the War of the Five Kings being more or less averted by this change, the story is just as violent as the original series.
* ''FanFic/{{Respect}}'' explores what would happen if [[SmilePrettyCure Yayoi Kise]] became a [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Puella Magi]] instead of a [[Anime/PrettyCure Precure]]. [[spoiler:[[StartOfDarkness The results aren't pretty.]]]]
* ''Fanfic/APosseAdEsse'': What if [[DieAnstalt Dr Wood]]'s powers were real and tangible? What would happen if, by a fluke, they spread to every toy in the building?
* ''Fanfic/GameTheory'': What if [[MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha Precia]] wasn't quite as crazy? It's rather astonishing how spectacularly the story goes OffTheRails from canon due to that small change.
* The Fanfic ''FanFic/TheDimensionHoppers'' covers this from various power rangers/sentai (and a few others)
* The ''Manga/OnePiece'' fanfic ''[[Fanfic/ThoughABirdCantFly Though A Bird Can't Fly, That Doesn't Mean It Never Will]]'' asks the question "What if Kuina had been blinded instead of killed in her accident?"
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3025869/1/The-Grim-EDventures-of-Ed-Edd-n-Eddy The Grim EDventures of Ed, Edd, n Eddy]]'' asks the question "What if [[TheGrimReaper Grim]] never met [[TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy Billy and Mandy]] but WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy instead?"
** ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4821436/1/Ed-Edd-Eddy-n-Edna Ed, Edd, Eddy n Edna]]'', a SpinOff of the above, asks the question "What if [[OriginalCharacter Edna]] existed in the WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy {{canon}} as Nazz's cousin?"
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'': What if no BigDamnHero had come to turn the tides of the case [[DarkestHour when all seemed lost]]? A contest held by the author encouraged fans [[RecursiveFanfiction to answer this themselves]] by creating their own DownerEnding, the winner becoming the "official" alternate outcome.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' story ''Fanfic/{{Legacy}}'', the climactic encounter with the chainsaw psycho (Episode #19, �Hook, Line and Screamer�) turns out differently than the canon version. That [[ForWantOfANail single change]] drives the entire story, with consequences that are still felt a decade later.
* The premise of ''FanFic/TotalDramaIslandByGilbertAndSullivan'' is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin just what the title implies]], to wit: "What if Creator/GilbertAndSullivan [[TheMusical had written]] ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland''?"
* WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons FanFiction ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8452944/1/The-Thompsons The Thompsons]]'' answers the question "What if Homer and Marge were not the parents of Bart, Lisa and Maggie?"
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7145922 As This Train Goes]]'', a RecursiveFanfiction of ''EdventureOfTheThousandYearDoor'', answers the questions "What if Sarah was the legendary hero? What if Edd and the others weren't charged with collecting the crystal stars?"
* ''Fanfic/AnUnexpectedChild'', a ''{{Superjail}}'' fanfic, basically answers the question "What if the Mistress had gotten pregnant with the Warden's child after the Lockdown of Love?"
* The ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' addresses multiple what if scenarios whenever someone looks into [[GateOfTruth the Truth]] and glimpses TheMultiverse. These vary from relatively minor changes ("What if Celestia turned [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Nightmare]] instead of Luna?") to more major changes ("What if Applejack was a different Element of Harmony?"). Many [[RecursiveFanfiction recursive fanfics]] have been written based on these scenarios.
** There's also the canonical [[BadFuture Dark World Series]], which addresses what would have happened if [[TheBadGuyWins Discord had won]] [[spoiler: and if Twilight became a Nightmare as a result]].
* A central conceit of ''Fanfic/TheLegendOfTotalDramaIsland'' is, "What if ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' had been played for drama instead of laughs?" The result is one of the [[DarkFic darkest Season 1 remakes]] in the fandom.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6117094/1/Ghoul-Instructor-Naruto Ghoul Instructor Naruto]]'' asks "What if {{Naruto}} was the gym teacher at [[ScoobyDooAndTheGhoulSchool Grimwood Academy]] instead of [[ScoobyDoo Shaggy]]?"
* ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'' has two "what if" scenarios, explored by Empath's great-grandson Traveler who has the power to explore the alternate timelines of those that he comes in contact with (similar to Waverider's ability from ''{{ComicBook/Armageddon 2001}}''). In Smurfette's alternate timeline, she falls in love with and marries Papa Smurf, having a child through him and causing the entire Smurf Village to rebel against Papa Smurf and throw him and his new family out of the village. In Hefty's alternate timeline, Empath returns to Psychelia and in time becomes the next Psyche Master while Smurfette falls in love with and marries Hefty, resulting in Empath-as-Psyche Master abducting Hefty and torturing him out of spite for not being able to marry Smurfette.
* The plot of ''FanFic/DirtySympathy'' is "What if ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'' was a StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder" in which Klavier and Apollo, trapped in abusive relationships, agree to take down the other's abuser. Daryan Crescend [[spoiler: didn't kill Romain [=LeTouse=]]] and Kristoph [[spoiler: didn't kill Shadi Enigmar]], they were both [[FrameUp framed]].
* Quite popular for fanfics of Literature/{{Worm}} - unsurprising, since it is about superheroes. One of the most popular concepts is to swap main character Taylor's insect control power for something much more potent, but sometimes they play off of more ForWantOfANail type changes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The main plot of ''Film/DonnieDarko'' is essentially a few days of a "What If" scenario for a handful of people, eventually ending by returning where the tangential universe started in the first place and avoiding the "What If".
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSA_:_The_Confederate_States_of_America The Confederate States of America]]'', a mockumentary about what might have happened if the South won the American civil war.
* ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', "What if I'd never been born?"
* ''Film/DeathOfAPresident'', is a mockumentary about if George W. Bush had been assassinated.
* ''Film/YoungEinstein'': What if AlbertEinstein had been Tasmanian? And consequently, history as we know it had gone ''totally nuts''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' book ''Back to Before'' has a battle-weary Jake ask "What if we never walked through the abandoned construction site?" Some of the results are amusing, such as Marco and Rachel going out on a date, but others... Well, just because you don't become the Animorphs [[LiteralGenie that doesn't mean]] the war doesn't happen.
** Also: What if the kids gave up? Earth becomes a Yeerk-infested hell, as you might expect, with the kids themselves becoming Controllers.
** What if Jake became too ruthless and cocky? In #41, Jake, in the heat of battle, leaves Marco and Rachel to fend for themselves, in order to save the rest of the team. The continuation of this mindset is shown in the far future: Tom suspected Jake of being an "Andalite bandit", and turned him into a Controller. Ax, Marco, and Cassie are taken, Rachel is gravely wounded in the ensuing battle, and Tobias escapes. Marco becomes host to Visser Two, and Ax becomes a key player in the attack on his homeworld. Cassie's Yeerk, Niss, joins the Evolutionist Front, a terrorist group dedicated to the creation of artificial hosts, led by Tobias, who permanently morphs Ax. But even Cassie and Tobias aren't good guys: Cassie becomes ruthless, cynical and practically evil ("In a war, Jake, anything is justified."), and Tobias is completely willing to let Cassie die to score a victory ("Save one, or save many? The choice wasn't so hard at the Ragskin building, when you left Marco and Rachel to save themselves.")
* Older tropers and ones who frequent used bookstores may be aware of a SciFi pulp magazine titled "if: Worlds of Science Fiction".
* Naomi Novik's ''{{Temeraire}}'' saga can be best summed up as "The Napoleonic Wars [-[[RecycledInSPACE WITH DRAGONS!]]-]".
* ''Literature/TheTripods'' series of novels by Creator/JohnChristopher are a What If for Creator/HGWells' ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'': What if the aliens won, and instituted VichyEarth?
* Creator/EricFlint works:
** ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'' and its sequels very seriously ask, what if a town of West Virginia coal miner hillbillies got magically transported back to 1632 in Southern Germany in the middle of the UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar.
** The ''Literature/TrailOfGlory'' series, posits an AlternateHistory of the "ForWantOfANail" variety, with Ensign Sam Houston not taking an arrow [[GroinAttack between the goalposts]] in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Horseshoe_Bend Battle of Horseshoe Bend]], unlike what happened in RealLife. One of the changes annoyed Francis Scott Key to no end.
* ''WorldWar'' by HarryTurtledove asks "What if WorldWarTwo was interrupted by an AlienInvasion?" His other main series, {{Timeline-191}}, is based on the more conventional question, "What if the south won the American Civil War?" while his earlier novel ''TheGunsOfTheSouth'' poses, [[spoiler: "What if a racist group from South Africa in the near future travelled back in time to supply the Confederacy with AK-47s?"]]
* "What if"s are basically José Saramago's source of inspiration. "What if people suddenly went blind?", "What if nobody died?", "What if everyone cast blank ballots?", etc. He mostly uses these to make comments on society and politics.
* A series of essays by eminent historians is entitled simply "What If". It includes topics like "What If the Americans lost the Revolution?" and "What if Pontius Pilate spared Jesus?"
* Discussed in the ''Film/IronMan 2'' novelisation, where Tony suspects that being brought up by an alcohol-and-rage-fuelled father in Siberia would have caused him to turn out like Ivan Vanko.
* Creator/VladimirVasilyev's novel ''Literature/WolfishNature'' and its sequel ''The Beach in Each of Us'' explores a world where humans have descended from dogs instead of apes. For simplicity, the author keeps many geographical names (e.g. continents, cities, countries) from RealLife, and many character names are also similar to RealLife names. Unlike us, the species ''canus sapiens sapiens'' have made incredible advances in bioengineering, culminating in the Bio-Correction during the 18th century, which removed the "Wolf Gene" (which allows one to kill another person) from the entire species. As such, wars are replaced with spy games on a grand scale. Murder is such a rarity that ordinary cops aren't trained to catch killers (all of whom are psychopaths anyway). Special agents can be trained to kill, but have to spend months in psychological recovery after the fact. Biotechnology is everywhere, although "dead" technology is slowly starting to replace it. The first novel kicks off with the discovery of an isolated enclave of unmodified people (i.e. they still have the Wolf Gene) in Siberia. The wolves immediately kill the person who exposes them and go after anyone in his address book, as he made a call shortly before being killed. However, the world governments quickly find out about their existence and send agents to Siberia. After all, any country can use the active Wolf Gene to breed an army of merciless soldiers. Instead of the concept of race, the dog-humans' "morphemes" (i.e. breeds) are often mentioned in descriptions.
* Martin Cruz Smith's ''The Indians Won'' postulates that after gathering together to fight and win the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) battle, the Great Plains nations decide not to split up and go home. Instead, they stay together and draw the attention of European investors, who provide them with the supplies they need to withstand Manifest Destiny. This attracts other tribes to join them, at last forming the United Indian Nations. The U.S. is finally forced to capitulate and cede to them what would have become the Midwestern and Great Plains states from Canada to Mexico. So now you have EastUSA and WestUSA and a nice big Indian Nation at the center.
* A whole genre of books deals with WW2 and what might have happened if key moments had gone differently, vital players in our universe had been indisposed or absent, or if vital decisions had gone the other way. Germany did not have to declare war on the USA in December 1941; if they hadn't, the likeliest outcome is that the US would have stayed neutral in the European war and focused everything on defeating Japan. Britain alone could not have broken the stalemate in the West - the English Channel precluded movement in either direction and British strength alone could not have retaken France. The Soviet Union might still have won in the end but this meant a Communist Europe...
** And if the Valkyrie plot had taken place a year earlier, just after Kursk, and a more rational German government taken over while the outcome of the war was still in doubt - who knows?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** ChristmasEpisode "Lexmas": What If Lex Luthor decides to drop out of the senator race and let Jonathan Kent become senator? He would be HappilyMarried to Lana, not rich but very happy with one boy and expecting one girl, [[AbsolutelyHappened Clark would be married]] [[FanPreferredCouple to Chloe instead]], Lex receives the Kansas Humanitarian Award for work for the homeless, Jonathan says he is the finest man he ever met and would be proud to have him as a son. Lex is simply on perfect terms with every single person except Lionel, but who cares? [[spoiler: Only for imaginary-Lana to die for that...]] ForWantOfANail indeed.
** BadFuture episode "Pandora": What If Zod manages to complete his Solar Towers?
* ''Film/{{Fatherland}}'', a 1994 TV movie on HBO (based on [[Literature/{{Fatherland}} the novel by Robert Harris]]), set in a 1960s Germany in a timeline in which Nazi Germany more or less won World War II and got into a Cold War with the US while fighting a guerrilla war with a remnant of the Soviet Union.
* ''[[Series/{{Heroes}} Heroes]]'' asks, "What If... there were people with super powers running around in the real world?"
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Turn Left" presented a world where [[spoiler:Donna never met the Doctor, and humanity was more or less screwed]].
* ''Doctor Who'' spinoff ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' has a storyline asking "What if Sarah, rather than her best friend, had died in an accident as a teenage girl?"
* ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'': Members of the Midnight Society (the original one, anyway -- before the show [[JumpingTheShark jumped the shark]]) frequently included a "What if" question when introducing their story, i.e. "What if you found out the future held something incredibly evil, and there was nothing you could do to change it?"
* ''Series/NewsRadio'' had two of these episodes, both with an opening introduction by Phil Hartman:
** What if the show took place on a space station and reported the "space news"? ("Space")
** What if the show took place on the luxury liner called ''Titanic''? ("Sinking Ship")
* TheBBC-made series ''[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/if/default.stm If...]]'' was a serious docu-drama take on What If,'documenting' what might happen in Britain should some issue of the time become reality e.g. oil running out,blackouts or legalising drugs.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "The Wish": what if Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale? The answer: a lot of really bad stuff.
* The ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "Mirror, Mirror" formed the basis of episodes from all of the subsequent series except ''Next Generation'' and ''Voyager''... but they got theirs in a novel (''A Mirror Darkly''). The "What if?" question being answered by that episode was, of course, "What if Spock had a goatee?"
* ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' used this trope as its main premise: "What if antibiotics had never been invented?" "What if America had lost the Cold War?" "What if traditional gender roles were swapped?" and so on.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'':
** One episode ends on a What If note. Joey, Chandler, and Monica imagine what would Joey and Monica's lives be like if Monica married Joey instead of Chandler. It shows a very obese Joey in Monica's apartment sitting down to a really huge dinner prepared by Monica, who was more than happy to make all the food for him. The episode ends with the fat Joey saying his famous "How you doing?" catchphrase to a piece of fried chicken before he eats it.
** The two-part episode fittingly titled "[[TheOneWith The One]] That Could Have Been" showed an alternative history for the group. We learn what could have been if Rachel hadn't walked out on her marriage and had got married to Barry; Ross hadn't discovered his wife was a lesbian and hadn't divorced her; Monica never had lost her weight; Joey hadn't got fired from ''Days of Our Lives''; Chandler pursued a career as a comic-book writer and Phoebe had worked as a stock broker.
* Trance of ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' has this as her superpower, basically seeing future possibilities and trying to steer the present toward the "best" one. She also [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic prunes a bonsai]] quite often.
** An episode explores what would happen if Rhade killed Dylan at the start of the [[NietzscheWannabe Nietzschean]] rebellion instead of the other way around. While Rhade would still try to re-create the [[TheFederation Commonwealth]], his efforts would be futile, costing him many allies. At the end, he realizes that Dylan is a better candidate for this, goes back in time, kills his past self, and throws the fight with Dylan, leading to the series' timeline.
* ''Series/PartyOfFive'''s 100th episode entitled "What If" had Bailey in a coma where he imagined an alternate reality where his parents had never been killed in the car crash.
** Among the alternate stuff: Julia's kind of a bookworm while Claudia is kind of a slut
* Various alternate realities presented in ''Series/StargateSG1'' tend to have major changes resulting from Sam Carter not being in the military, among other things.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' John gets to view a bunch of "What if?" realities in the episode "Unrealized Reality", then has to figure out how to navigate his way back to the right one to avoid any of the "ifs" becoming permanent. When the gang goes to Earth in the past in "Kansas", John tells his friends that they have to save his father so he will be inspired to become an astronaut and go on to meet all of them.
* During a production meeting for ''{{Felicity}}'', Creator/JJAbrams off-handedly asked "What if Felicity was a secret agent?" to try and develop a plot with relatively higher stakes. It was a joke, but he'd eventually answer the question with ''Series/{{Alias}}''.
* Both ''Series/{{JAG}}'' and its spinoff ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' did episodes that revolved around the main characters making different decisions (or events that occurred one way in the "prime" timeline happening the other way). The ''JAG'' episode was even titled "What If?".
* ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' once explored the possible consequences if Samantha had admitted her powers to Darrin before he asked her to marry him.
* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'': The fates once showed Xena how things would be if she never killed anyone. They did by placing her in such a timeline on the proviso that, if she ever kills anyone in that new reality, she'll return to the original. In the new reality, she was still living in her home village, her younger brother was still alive, her engagement was still on. The first downside was her mother no longer being alive. Then she learns of the consequences of her not doing the good things she did as TheAtoner in the original timeline. The last drop was Gabrielle becoming a ruthless killer to escape a life of slavery. That was the BerserkButton that made Xena decide to [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong return to the original timeline]].
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'': The episode "Perfect Circles" begins with the embolism in Nate's brain rupturing and shows us the three possible outcomes. Either he dies, lives with severe impairment, or makes a full recovery. The series then continues the storyline with the least likely of these (the full recovery).
* In ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', before Christmas, Sheldon heads home to Texas, and his friends throw a Christmas party as he would object. They start wondering what would have been if neither of them had met Sheldon.
* In the finale of old ''Series/{{Dallas}}'', J.R. Ewing feels DrivenToSuicide. He is visited by Adam who takes him to see what would have been with the people he knows, mostly his family, had he never existed.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe "What Is And What Should Never Be"]], we find out what the world would be like if Mary Winchester was still alive.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Machinima]]
* Karzahni of ''{{Bionicle}}'' actually has "What If" as a ''superpower''; he can give people visions of possible past or future outcomes. He tends to use this as a psychological attack, showing "What if you didn't survive that situation?" or "What if you couldn't save that guy at that crucial moment?" It's rarely pretty... and when it ''is'' pretty, it becomes a LotusEaterMachine. One character then manages to use it against him, by daring him to show them what would happen if the Great Spirit dies. When he does so, he finds out that the answer is "the end of the universe," and that he's not nearly as important as he likes to think. This revelation causes him to go [[HeroicBSOD BSOD]].
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Church tries to take advantage of this trope to change the future (What if Donut didn't kill Tex? What if Captain Flowers hadn't died?). Unfortunately... it didn't work out so well. In fact, trying to change the past ended up [[spoiler:causing all the things he was hoping to avoid to happen anyway, including ''his own death'']].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''[[Music/{{Hero}} !HERO: The Rock Opera]]'' for Literature/TheBible: What if Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania? And moreover, what if Jesus wasn't born until the modern times?
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* For January 2012, SallyForth did a storyline where Ted uses the 2012 Mayan prophecy as a reason to look back on their lives, which lead to a two-week bit where they show what life would be like if Sally and Ted had never met.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role Play]]
* There was a "What if the characters have just met each other?" arc in ''Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* An ongoing project is the [[http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?showtopic=200543 Dornian Heresy.]] The trope is somewhat subverted, since rather than one point of divergence, there's actually several, but the spirit of the trope is still there. The premise: What if Warmaster Horus had not fallen to the powers of Chaos? Though rather miffed, the gods turn to Plan B: turn Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists instead. What then happens is a very odd mixture of BizarroUniverse and MirrorUniverse (while some things stay the same, adding to the oddities). Here's just a few of the changes:
** The World Eaters under Angron become the paragons of martial honor and virtue, and are by far some of the most well regarded of the Emperor's SpaceMarine Legions (yes, legions).
** The Emperor's Children are still stuck up snobs, but they're perfectionists whose hearts are on the Imperials' side.
** The Space Wolves have dedicated themselves to Khorne, and are now both figuratively and literally AxCrazy.
** The White Scars are so obsessed with speed and thrills while worshipping Slaanesh the Speed Freakz of the Orkz would be envious.
** The Word Bearers are the priesthood of the Imperium and use their knowledge of the Warp to exorcise daemons instead of summoning them.
** The Thousand Sons have renounced sorcery and become one of the most loyal Legions of the Imperium, and Magnus is the advocate and spokesperson for psykers everywhere.
** Abbadon STILL hates Horus for being weak and a fool, and reorganizes the Sons of Horus into the Black Templars.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' was purely about "What If... a school were thrown into the [[TheLegionsOfHell demon world]]?"
** Its story also presents another question: "What If... people were already aware of demons before the start of ''ShinMegamiTensei''?" The answer isn't provided until the ''Devil Summoner'' [[RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy prequel]] [[RaidouKuzunohaVsKingAbaddon games]]: "Thor would have been killed before he launched the nuclear missiles, instead of after, averting the main-series apocalypse and leading to a very different world." The ''Persona'' series may or may not take place in the continuity spawned by ''If'' and ''Devil Summoner'', although it's heavily implied to be so with [[spoiler:the presence of both Tamaki (the female protagonist of ''If'') ''and'' Kuzunoha devil summoners in the early Persona games]].
*** It's worth noting that the What If in ''ShinMegamiTenseiIf'' had the interesting effect of leading to the creation of an AlternateContinuity that has been ''far'' more financially successful than the "main" SMT franchise, with ''eleven'' games (and that's not including the multitude of [[UpdatedRerelease Updated Rereleases]]!) currently released in the If/Devil Summoner/Persona line compared to ''six'' in the "main" line, making it one of the rare What Ifs to actually ''overshadow'' its parent franchise.
** The ''Devil Summoner'' prequel games also provide an Alternate History What If, hinging on the Taisho period lasting longer than it did in our world.
** Basically, Raidou's antics in the time stream stopped the main ''Shin Megami Tensei'' series from ever happening. In fact, most of the [=MegaTen=] games brought to America weren't actually released under the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' name in Japan, but the localizers wanted to use the main series's title, thus we have ''Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3'' and whatnot.
* ''CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' is based on a What If scenario after Einstein uses a Time Machine to [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct erase Hitler from history]]. Turns out this leads to the Soviets starting the second World War instead. It is also implied to lead up to the first game, which starts out with another What If, a meteorite spreading a strange new material named Tiberium.
* ''WorldInConflict''. In this what if, Russia invades USA during the cold war.
* The obscure FirstPersonShooter called ''VideoGame/IronStorm'' is set in a 1964 where World War I never ended and is entering its 50th year. In a subsequent re-release, it was retitled "World War Zero".
* FirstPersonShooter game ''VideoGame/TurningPointFallOfLiberty'' features a world where Winston Churchill died in 1931, and the lack of his leadership was the cause of Germans winning WWII... And invading the USA in 1953, when the game starts.
* ''VideoGame/FreedomFighters'' by IO Interactive (better known for the Hitman series) put the players in the shoes of a plumber becoming a resistance leader, in an alternate reality where USA are invaded by an USSR that not only never collapsed, but was the real winner of WWII by dropping the first atomic bomb on Berlin.
* ''VideoGame/WarFrontTurningPoint'' has Hitler assassinated in the early days of WWII and, under his successor, Britain occupied by the Nazi. After the Allies defeat them, the Russian take the chance to invade Western Europe, leading to the merging of the Allies' troops with reinforcements from the recently dismantled Nazi army. All this, with some science-fiction weaponry thrown in.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonBallZBudokai'' games have always a set of What If stories in Story mode which are usually unlocked when you win a battle that the original storyline has you losing. These range from the serious (Vegeta beats the Z-Warriors when he first shows up on Earth, achieving Super Saiyan in the process) to the silly (Cell accidentally absorbs Krillin and turns into a severely weak, miniature version of himself). The story mode of ''Dragon Ball: Supersonic Warriors'' gives each playable character an "IF" story, in addition to having a story mode for the canonical events. For example, for Piccolo, Planet Namek is ''not'' destroyed and Goku and Piccolo defeat Cell using the same [[HeroicSacrifice method]] they used to beat Raditz, and Piccolo revives and merges with Demon King Piccolo to defeat Buu. Also [[OvershadowedByAwesome Krillin]] takes down Cell. Even Goku's IF story is different from canon.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'': Question: What if Tin Pin Slammer was the biggest thing in Shibuya? Answer: [[spoiler: ''TWEWY'' would be a great ''{{Beyblade}}''-parody and Neku a Tyson with "Emo-urges". (As seen in Another Day)]]
* ''LordOfTheRings: Conquest'' has a campaign where you fight as the forces of evil, with the question: "What if Frodo failed to destroy the One Ring?" Answer: The world goes to hell.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' could be seen as "What if [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Dr. Light]] worked in networking technology instead of robotics?" There was even a part where there is a debate whether to fund Light's (Hikari's in this case) project instead of Dr. Wily's robots.
* ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'': The DownloadableContent of the game explores various "What if?" scenarios of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' universe; one of them is, for instance, "What if Vader died and was replaced by Galen?" (using the non-canon Dark Side ending as a starting point).
* The Hall of Memories in ''VideoGame/AdventureQuest'' is made specifically for this; it allows people to revisit past events and explore what possibilities might occur without impacting the real world.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' [[DownloadableContent DLC]] story "The Darkspawn Chronicles" asks "What would happen if the player's Grey Warden died during the Joining ceremony, and the Wardens were led by Alistair?" [[spoiler:Answer: Ferelden is wiped out by the Darkspawn.]]
* Several ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' video games give the player the opportunity to explore alternate versions of the Universal Century. ''[[GundamVsSeries Gundam Vs. Zeta Gundam]]'''s extensive UC Mode offers a few distinct ideas (like "What if Kamille[=/=]Amuro[=/=]Char joined the Titans?" or "What if Zeon won the One Year War?"), but the most famous is the strategy game ''Gihren's Greed'', which lets the player take any faction from the original series up through ''CharsCounterattack'' (and a few original ones like an all-women faction or a scientist faction lead by Amuro's dad) and lead them to victory or defeat. The most recent version even included updated, ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]''-era versions of several characters who died in the original series like Garma Zabi and Sleggar Law.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny Gundam SEED Destiny]]'' had ''[[VideoGame/SDGundamGGeneration Generation of C.E.]]'', which released 3/4 of the way through the anime's run. At the time of the game's release, the producers claimed that one of the game's four endings was the original ending of the anime before ExecutiveMeddling changed things. While WordOfGod remained vague, most fans believe the ending in question is "The Awakened Sword", in which ZAFT wins and Shinn Asuka kills Kira Yamato and company during the final battle.
* ''VideoGame/DeadRising2'' "Off The Record" explores what would happen if Frank West was the hero of the game instead of Chuck Greene. Frank became very popular, having ran his popularity in the ground before showing up in Terror Is Reality, wrestling zombies, before the game takes off. [[spoiler: Also, Chuck Greene is a psychopath (a non-psychopathic version is Frank's co-op partner), and Stacy is this game's main villain.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Brink}}'' has a handful of ''What-If'' missions, which follow on from the 'prison break' level if the canonical outcome didn't happen. In the Resistance levels, their attempt to free Nechayev ended in failure, so they resorted to more extreme methods, launching missiles at Founder's Tower and attempting to sabotage Ark's nuclear reactors. In the Security levels, because Nechayev was freed, Security are forced to deal with the Resistance's continued attempts to escape Ark on a hijacked plane.
* ''VideoGame/SilentStorm'' starts as a straightforward WorldWarTwo game, until the "What If" portion comes into play. What if a powerful secret organization bent on world domination was playing both sides against each other and supplying them with equivalent advanced weaponry in order to cause sufficient damage for the organization to take over after the war? While this would be interesting in itself, the game then had to bring in {{Energy Weapon}}s and PoweredArmor. ''Hammer & Sickle'' takes place in the same 'verse but during the ColdWar era with both THO and the Sentinels playing their shadow games. If the player (a Soviet spy) fails, WorldWarThree is unavoidable.
* The Survival Pack DLC for ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' within The Last Stand map explores the idea of what would happen to the survivors if they took a wrong turn and tried to hold out in being rescued. As the tagline says for the poster that shows the whole point of survival mode,[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin It Doesn't End Well.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' asks, "What if the sociopolitical aesthetic of the 1950s had endured for the next hundred years or so?" The results are [[NuclearOption not]] [[CrapsackWorld pretty]], though the progression of the games shows that conditions are slowly improving again... after 120-200 years.
* According to the official ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' timeline depicted in the [[UniverseCompendium series manual]] ''Hyrule Historia'' the split timeline currently hinges on a What If scenario. In one scenario, Link is sent back in time by Zelda at the end of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', preventing Ganondorf from gaining power in the first place. Link leaves Hyrule, and becomes embroiled in the events of ''MajorasMask'', and Ganondorf is executed, leading to the events of ''TwilightPrincess''. In another scenario, Link retains the Master Sword and seals away Ganondorf at the height of his power. He eventually breaks free, and Hyrule is flooded by the gods, leading to the events of ''WindWaker''. In the third and final scenario, Link dies while trying to defeat Ganondorf, leading to the events of ''ALinkToThePast''.
** From the opposite perspective Ocarina of Time could itself be seen as a What If to the original games: "What if the imprisoning war in the backstory of ''ALinkToThePast'' could be averted?"
* The DLC for ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' titled "The Tyranny of King Washington" is based around the idea that George Washington found a piece of LostTechnology and used its power to declare himself an absolute monarch instead of a democratically-elected president.
* In ''VideoGame/FistOfTheNorthStarKensRage'', this is what the Dream Mode is all about. Every character gets a specific divergence from canon, and you get to play through this imaginary situation.
* The PS1 ''VideoGame/SpiderMan'' video game has ''an entire mode'' based around this. This changes various elements of the game, such as changing water into lava [[AbsurdlySpaciousSewer in the sewer levels]] and replacing lids of pipes with lids that feature [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic giant bananas]].
* The DS version of ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'' includes a hidden "Etna Mode", which gives you an alternate storyline that shows what would've happened if Etna had actually succeeded in killing Laharl at the start of the game, making Etna the protagonist. It manages to be even weirder than the main game.
* The video game based on ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'' called ''Sword Art Online Infinity Moment'' starts off with [[spoiler: a glitch that interrupts Kirito and Heathcliff's DuelToTheDeath in floor 75 and must go on to floor 76 and beyond. Dragging them along are ALO players, including Leafa/Suguha, Kirito's [[NotBloodSiblings younger sister]].]]
* ''ResidentEvilOperationRaccoonCity'', while plays like a generic (and pretty flawed) third person shooter, it is a big "what if" game taking place during Resident Evil 2 and 3. What if Umbrella had a special forces unit sent in to erase the evidence and eventually have to assassinate Leon S Kennedy [[spoiler: and choose to follow through with it or oppose their order]]. What if there is a military special forces unit sent in to investigate the situation and eventually assist Jill Valentine? What if both Umbrella and the U.S. Army enter into skirmishes in attempt for one to erase the evidence and the other to preserve it?
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' has DLC that pits iconic Fire Emblem characters against each other, with the characters of Awakening getting in the fun. Each DLC pack that features this concept has three variations of it. One where the Awakening cast allies themselves with one faction. Another which pits them with another faction. And a third that has both factions working together against them. It has the effect of a "what if" scenario, but the game explains it by having the past characters actually be magical copies of the originals, summoned by cards.
* The premise of ''VideoGame/EvilDeadRegeneration'' is that Ash never got sucked into the past (therefore, no ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness'', and by extension, [[{{Retcon}} the other]] ''Franchise/EvilDead'' games), get's put in a mental institute having [[spoiler: been blamed for the murder of the other characters from ''Film/EvilDead2'']], and fight against a mad scientist hell bent on releasing deadites in the world.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaFighter'', a fan game with the current plot being what if Adrian (aka Alucard) got killed along with his mother, and Dracula killed Trevor Belmont. The only people able to stop them are others from [[AlternateUniverse their old dimensions.]]
* ''Terminator 3 Redemption'' has a major deviation from the film that involved the Terminator getting stuck on a prototype time machine and gets sent back to the future where John and Kathryn are dead, the machines take over the world, and it's no one else but one reprogrammed machine who will [[{{Determinator}} stop at nothing to go back in time and complete its mission!]] Also, the thermal scan gets damaged at the start of the game and becomes incredibly useful via upgrades (such as increased damage).
* The {{Romance Game}}s of Creator/VoltageInc take a couple of different approaches to the concept:
** ''VisualNovel/InYourArmsTonight'' offers "Another Story" routes as {{Expansion Pack}}s for each available character, showing how the protagonist's relationship with the selected character would play out if her decision whether or not to divorce her husband at the start of the main route were reversed.
** The "Another Story" mechanic makes a return in ''VisualNovel/KissOfRevenge'', this time branching off from the middle of each character's main route to show what would have happened if, for example, the protagonist chose to answer a phone call instead of ignoring it.
** ''VisualNovel/LoveLetterFromThiefX'' has several "What If..." side stories for its main characters. Unlike the Another Stories, these don't depict an alternate continuity, but flirt with the trope by having the spotlighted character go undercover to provide a taste of what it would be like if Hiro was an IdolSinger, Takuto worked at a HostClub, or Riki was a doctor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''WebComic/DragonBallMultiverse'': The basis of all the other universes, sans Universe 18.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* On the NFL's website, there is Dave Damashek's video series, [[http://www.nfl.com/videos/n-if-l "N-if-L"]], which shows what happens if the NFL's most memorable/controversial moments didn't happen, whether if it's during the playoffs (e.g., Joe Montana's "The Catch", The Tuck Rule Game) or the SuperBowl (Scott Norwood's "Wide Right" miss in SBXXV, David Tyree's helmet grab in SBXLII).
* Website/{{WrestleCrap}}'s Rewriting The Book section is all about What Ifs, exploring historic events in ProfessionalWrestling and looking at what would have happened had things went differently, such as "What If The Wrestling/MontrealScrewjob Never Happened?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' "Anthology of Interest" episodes had the characters view, via one of the Professor's inventions, various "What if" scenarios. In the first one, it reveals that the entire framing sequence is itself such a scenario.
** What If Bender Was 500 Feet Tall? [[spoiler:He fights a giant Zoidberg and dies.]]
** What If Leela Was More Impulsive? [[spoiler:She kills everyone except for Fry, whom she sleeps with.]]
** Parodied when Fry's What If is 'What If Bender Was 500 Feet Tall?', because he liked it and wanted to see it again.
** What If Fry Never Fell In The Freezer-Doodle And Came To The Future-Jiggy?[[note]]What if Fry never came to the future?[[/note]] [[spoiler:Reality falls apart.]]
** What If Bender Were Human? [[spoiler:He stuffs himself on food, booze and smoke, and dies of morbid obesity.]]
** What If Life Were More Like A Video Game? [[spoiler:Video game characters invade Earth demanding quarters.]]
** What If Leela Found Her True Home? [[spoiler:She winds up in Oz and becomes the new Wicked Witch of the West. Unlike the others, though, this was just Leela's dream after she was knocked out and not an actual projection of the What If? machine. Indeed, Leela discovers her true home (Earth) later on. ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'':
** One episode springs this on you at the end. Ben finds himself back on the day he finds the Omnitrix. He remembers everything that happened but Max and Gwen don't, and while trying to get the Omnitrix once again, ''Gwen'' gets the watch instead of him. Her natural learning abilities lead to her mastering the Omnitrix fully by the next day, but has the side effect of automatically attracting Vilgax to their location. By the end of the episode, Grandpa Max ends up with the Omnitrix, and the episode is revealed to be a What If.
** The final episode "Goodbye and Good Riddance" asks "What if Vilgax attacks Ben in his hometown after the roadtrip ended?" The result is pretty much another fight, though has the interesting effect of Ben's house getting destroyed, his father finding out his and Max's secrets, and Gwen moving to Bellwood to help combat future threats.
* The ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode ''Meet the Quagmires'' shows what would happen if Peter was married to MollyRingwald instead of Lois. Al Gore would be president and Chevy Chase would host the TonightShow. As soon as Brian finds out that this world is a paradise compared to ours, he insists that Peter leave things be. [[StatusQuoIsGod Of course]], Peter can't do that.
* The ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episodes "Phineas And Ferb Get Busted" and "Phineas And Ferb's Quantam Boogaloo" are about what would happen if Candace succeeded in busting her brothers. [[spoiler:The results weren't pretty in either case.]]
* This is the entire point of WildKratts -- what if we had the technology to really get inside the minds of the creatures by effectively transforming into them?
* ''{{Freakazoid}}'' did a time travel story where the hero ends up preventing World War II. He suddenly realizes the possible consequences of his actions ("What hatch Freak wrought?!") and returns to the present... to find the only changes include that Rush Limbaugh is now a kind-hearted charity worker, Sharon Stone is a Shakespearean actress, [[BreadEggsMilkSquick and there are no Chevy Chase movies.]] He decides he's made the world a better place, though hasn't yet noticed that [[PinkyAndTheBrain Brain]] is now the president.
** Well, not the ''only'' differences. Cold fusion works, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Euro Disneyland is packed]].
* This is Scarecrow's CatchPhrase in WesternAnimation/TheMagicAdventuresOfMumfie. He always wonders what would happen if things go wrong, leading him to be called a "What-iffer" by Mumfie.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has a canon variation in the episodes "Finn the Human" and "Jake the Dog", in which we see how the world would have turned out if the bomb that resulted in the series' mystical post-apocalypse landscape didn't detonate.
[[/folder]]

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