Planetary-scale Societal Collapse. This takes an entire planet back to at least pre-industrial data, if not hunter-gatherer days. Recovery may or may not be possible.
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Anime and Manga
- Mai-Otome seems to have been partially the inspiration for Class 2. Unlike it, however, civilization has already pretty much got back on its feet — it isn't even apparent at first that there was an apocalypse.
- The world got nuked from hell to back in Fist of the North Star, and it's basically become the world in the Mad Max films. Humanity may one day recover, but for the time it's stuck in a "might makes right" world filled with mohawk-wearing motorcycle gangs and power-mad martial artist warlords.
- Trinity Blood takes place 900 years After the End. The events of the series all take place in Europe due to it being the only inhabited continent.
- Simoun takes place long After the End, when civilization is back on its feet, though not to its former level.
- Humanity got back on its feet in the Vampire Hunter D movies, albeit with some difficulty. Computers and energy weapons still exist, but the largest settlements humans could rebuild are large towns. From what we can gather watching the two movies, there are no more sprawling metropolises in the vein of Tokyo or New York City. In the original novels, there's one such metropolis, though the humans didn't actually build it.
- In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, industrial civilization has obliterated itself from the world. The remaining kingdoms and empires are busily destroying each other through war, and the ever-expanding Sea of Corruption is making large areas completely uninhabitable to all animals except its own giant insects. Thus, a Class 2 disaster threatens to become a Class 3.
- In So Ra No Wo To a big war against what appears to be aliens results in civilization taking several steps backwards. There are a lot less people around, and few of them knows how to use the remaining technology that was state of the art 200+ years earlier.
- Gundam X is a Class 1 disaster due to the Seventh Space War's conclusion. Nearly all the Colonies used a Colony Drop on Earth, sending it into a seven year Nuclear Winter. However, 15 years after the War, everything is stabilized and despite taking place After the End, it is upbeat and hopeful.
- Blue Gender, in which giant bugs ravage the human population of Earth, forcing the humans into space. Admittedly, humans as a species are allowed to survive as small hunter gatherer tribes, but that still necessitates all modern civilization's knowledge and technology to be wiped out lest Gaia's Vengeance do an encore.
- Although the canon information is so vague as to be useless, it can be inferred that this was the result of the fall of the Silver Millennium in the Back Story of Sailor Moon — humanity died out completely everywhere in the Solar System other than Earth, and on Earth the fall was so egregious that the Silver Millennium and its interplanetary civilization were both completely forgotten. Exactly when this happened is uncertain, although the "thousand years ago" figure frequently bandied about is both historically improbable and the invention of the North American dub.
- Scrapped Princess has humanity defeated and imprisoned in a medieval tech level for 5000 years. The guardian AIs have a reset option of killing off 90% if the humans get troublesome.
- Stellvia of the Universe back-story falls half-way between this and Class 1: 99% of humans dead, global civilization mostly wiped out, yet they get right back on their feet in less then two centuries, advancing from the Stone Age to space-faring civilization. That the near-Class 2 event (the electromagnetic radiation blast from the explosion of a nearby star) is a harbinger of a Class 4 event (the arrival of the much slower physical shockwave from the same explosion) helped ensure that The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People. Stellvia is one of the enormous space stations built to prevent that event.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann begins centuries after a Class 2, with humanity confined to isolated and impoverished underground villages. The nature of the cataclysm, and the surprising reasons for it, are revealed as the show goes on.
- The world created by Tsutomu Nihei. Let's list it out:
- In Biomega the world undergoes a large viral plague which results in odd zombification. To make matters worse, the only people left are being killed off by cyborgs and mutants, with only Artificial Humans left to protect them.
- After that, in NOiSE: Religious fanatics are trying to bring out the chaos of the Netsphere and are doing so by doing less than humane things to people. Against them.....is a single police women who ends up not being able to stop them, and thus the Bizarrchitecture (built around the Earth) begins to expand rapidly and increase the chaos. Downer Ending.
- After that... The protagonist of BLAME! is searching the the ginormous sphere for people with genes to turn off the chaos. He must deal with all the preceding crazy things mentioned (and more). Thankfully he succeeds in his mission (though the series ends right before it is directly shown).
- After that in "Net Sphere Engineer" the last remnants of humanity are unfortunately not as safe as they would have hoped. But they have another protagonist to deal with the problems this time.
- About 500 years prior to the beginning of Dragon Ball, a violent storm raged across the planet Namek, leaving only one Namekian on the ground and another escaped to somewhere in space. Even centuries later with asexual Namekian reproduction, there are only a few hundred Namekians left. During the Frieza saga, Frieza, his henchmen and Vegeta almost completely eradicate the Namekian race, aside from the Nameless Namekian who fled all those centuries ago, separated into the light side of Kami and the dark side of Piccolo. Piccolo becomes the only living Namekian on the surface alive prior to most of the race being resurrected by the Namekian Dragon Balls and transported by the Earth Dragon Balls, followed shortly thereafter by Namek's explosion.
- In Heat Guy J, after humans appropriated the technology of the Celestials in their conquest for power, there were apparently large-scale wars. The result? Earth's human population is reduced to seven city-states (with some small towns and Space Amish villages surrounding them), who are mistrustful of one another and do not trade, communicate, etc. with one another.
- In Uchuu Senkan Yamato humanity is reduced to survival in underground cites that are rapidly becoming uninhabitable due to radiation thanks to the Gamilas' continual bombing of Earth.
- ∀ Gundam: This was the end result of the Turn A using the Moonlight Butterfly across all of the Earth's surface. The ability works by spreading nanomachines around that attack technology, turning it into sand. 2,000 years later, Earthborn humanity is barely up to early 1900s technology levels. The final battle of the series is trying to stop Ghingnham and the Turn X from doing this again.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind takes place a thousand years after the world has been devastated by what's implied to have been a nuclear war. The survivors have organized themselves into petty kingdoms, but are still at war with one another and technology has only progressed to the late medieval period for the most part (save for some remnants of pre-deluge technology like airplanes).
- "Nuclear war"? Try "giants made of fire intentionally destroying all advanced civilization before vanishing and leaving behind a toxic mutant jungle slowly covering the planet".
- From the New World features the aftermath of this scale of destruction, caused by psychic powers running rampant, 1,000 years in the future. Approximately 50,000-60,000 people live on the Japanese archipelago, and there is knowledge of the state of the rest of the world. A relatively advanced society has stood for a couple of centuries after unknown generations of unstable feudalism and tyranny, but technologically it remains static by choice. Most likely because keeping even a moderate population of highly destructive psychics in check is an incredibly arduous task.
- According to Kouta in the Elfen Lied manga's final chapter, the recent war with the Diclonii was a Class 2, with the bulk of the human race obliterated, but on the road to recovery, although it's likely the human infighting in the wake of the war will drive this into the Class 3 range with mankind truly becoming extinct. The Diclonii themselves suffer their own Class 3 extinction event with possibly three surviving Diclonii at best.
- While the series started out with some aspects of civil order still around, the Mad Max films wind up here by the end.
- The implied nuclear war happened between the first and second movie. The first took place in a dystopia, but civilization was still intact.
- The Matrix, which sees a machine take-over of Earth lead to most of humanity used as batteries for the evil machines.
- The burned and depopulated world of Reign of Fire probably fits here better than Class 1, as all post-medieval technology seems to be salvaged, not anything built by survivors.
- The Spy Who Loved Me. Big Bad Stromberg plans to start a global thermonuclear war to wipe out civilization.
- The Terminator, another "machines kill humans" series. SkyNet nukes the Earth in 1997 (Kyle Reese's timeline) or 2004 (in Terminator 3), wiping out 3 billion humans and killing many others on sight.
- The World's End: humanity is knocked back to pre-industrial levels but the bulk of the population apparently survives and there seems no danger of actual extinction.
- Yor: The Hunter from the Future Aliens have literally regressed Earth back to the Stone Age. Spoony does an excellent job reviewing this campy movie.
- In The Time Machine 1960, the Cold War becomes hot with the nuclear bombing of London, witnessed firsthand by the time traveler. He travels even further into the future and saw that a Class 2 had occurred with the human race split into two groups, the cannibalistic Morlocks, who bred the slow, peaceful Eloi as cattle.
- Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: Calvin worries an apocalypse will happen when Old Faithful erupts, blotting out the sun for more than 50 years. This is the minimum repercussion, inferring from his words.
- The Pony POV Series reveals that the alicorns and draconnequi engineered one of these for the G2 world in order to prevent the creation of the flawed G3 world. They brought this about by having Destruction basically nuke the planet, causing the collapse of governments and the slow but steady decline of technology and culture back into The Dung Ages. The 7 Dreams/Nightmares collection shows this from the POV of the G2 Mane Seven, and it is horrifying.
- Stars Above: Vittoria's attack on Earth in the Madoka-verse resulted in a Class 2, verging on Classes 3 and 4 due to the damage to causality and the climate. Only one or two billion people are left, and every city and town is said to be in ruins. The Demons are now aiming for a Class Z.
- The Ur Example is the various Great Flood myths that appear in various cultures. Western tropers are probably most familiar with the Judeo-Christian version in the Book of Genesis, but The Epic of Gilgamesh was earlier, making this Older Than Dirt.
- In The Bible, The Great Tribulation. Exact numbers are unknown, but the description "Mortals will be rarer than the gold of Ophir," combined with Revelation detailing the fact that over half of the population will die from the war, famine, plagues and various other disasters, and most of the Christians will be beheaded, burned or starved to death, while none of the unbelievers survive Armageddon means that you could expect maybe one out of a thousand people who enter the Tribulation to come out alive, perhaps a bit more.
- David Brin's The Postman (1985), which features a drifter who finds a postal uniform, and starts a postal network in an effort to stay fed, and ends by reuniting the northwest USA. Better known as the film starring Kevin Costner.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz shows the stages of humanity recovering from nuclear war, as civilization rebuilds itself and technology is rediscovered. Then there's another nuclear war. Fortunately there are other colonized planets around, and the church has a rocket ship, which they use as the bombs fall.
- Stephen King's The Stand — the flu has wiped out almost everyone (we see only the situation in America, but it is confirmed several times the pandemic was global), but the forces of good and evil are calling the survivors to two cities, and once they begin to gather it turns out there are thousands. The potential for abuse of abandoned power sources is a main issue, suggesting that after evil is defeated humanity will get right back on its feet in terms of technology (which actually worries some of the protagonists). In the end, God sets off a nuke in the evil city (perhaps surprisingly, more an example of Chekhov's Gun than Deus ex Machina), and the folks in the good city appear to be starting right down the road to rebuilding the old civilization, warts and all.
- Of course, 99.44 percent of humanity being wiped out and all, it's unlikely they could simply restart all that technology outside of a few cities. It seems more likely that The Dark Tower is an alternate-reality future America, After the End, since it's confirmed that Captain Trips happened there in the distant past, as well. Which places it in a high Class 2, verging on Class 3.
- Also see Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon, which deals with the aftermath of a nuclear war and bears certain ... similarities to The Stand.
- S. M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers centers on a set of comets hitting the North Atlantic and North America in 1878, creating tidal waves that ruin what is left of the U.S. and most of mainland Europe. Britain (having lucked out with Ireland as a waterbreak) is dealing with the nightmarish Winter that follows when a group of scientists point out to Prime Minister Disraeli that Spring will not come for another three years at best. So of course they evacuate the Army, the Royals, a chunk of the nobility and government, the contents of several Universities, as much factory gear/skilled workers they can get their hands on, and so forth over to India. The book itself starts in 2025, with the Angrezi Raj pitted against the plots of a Russian Empire run by a Satanist cannibal cult and guided by an order of precognitive slaves.
- George R. Stewart's novel Earth Abides depicts the near extinction of humanity from a pandemic disease. Although there are survivors, the population is too low to maintain technological advancements of modern civilization and within two or three generations humans are living as hunter-gatherers. Actually it's not as pessimistic as it sounds. Acknowledged as one of the inspirations for King's The Stand.
- L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth has only 30,000 humans left, but the other trillions of beings left in the Universe can be hired as needed to rebuild the world, as the Earth's people more-or-less own the Galactic Bank and hundreds of thousands of unused colony planets.
- John Christopher's The Tripods series of books (The White Mountains, The Tripods, The City of Gold and Lead, and a fourth prequel, When the Tripods Came) have a world where a race of extraterrestrials have conquered Earth. They ride around and visit communities in huge three-legged vehicles, and have "capped" every human adult with a device attached to their heads to keep them from starting a revolution and fighting back. The world has more-or-less been knocked back to or just above semi-rural agricultural society, where there is essentially no motorized equipment. A small group of rebels is determined to take Earth back from the tripods, the only question is whether they will have enough time to do so.
- When the Tripods Came was published some thirty years after the first three, in 2000, and is an extremely moving book, for all its simplicity.
- In Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, an asteroid hits the moon and causes chaotic climate changes. Tsunamis and volcanoes start happening across the world. The volcanic ash blocks the sun and causes a mini-Ice Age.
- M. K. Wren's The Phoenix Trilogy takes place a thousand years after a Class 1 Pandemic wipes out most of the planetary civilization. In the chapters covering the historic re-building of human society, almost all of the emerging powerhouse civilizations are from remote areas of the planet. The planetary government winds up being centered in Australia.
- Dies The Fire and the other Emberverse books by S. M. Stirling, where a mysterious event causes all recent power sources to stop working at all (electricity, steam engines of any useful efficiency, gunpowder, etc.). About 95% of humanity dies off in the first year from starvation and lack of knowledge on how to survive in primitive conditions. Another large percentage of what's left dies off once cannibalism is no longer an option due to lack of other humans. By the end of the first book it's clear humanity is going to survive — most remaining threat comes from would-be warlords and despots, who want to enslave rather than kill — but the cultures that are springing up aren't precisely what you'd expect.
- Then there's the reborn Kingdom of Britain that shows up in later volumes. It seems the U.K. military evacuated the Royals, a solid selection of reference materials, a few thousand lucky/skilled souls, etc. to the Isle of Wright and is steadily recolonizing a Britain occupied by "Brushwood Men" (and dealing with Mad King Charles and his Icelandic Queen, but that is beside the point).
- Stirling's Peshawar Lancers accomplishes much the same thing with a series of cometary impacts that destroy industrial Europe and the eastern United States in the late 19th century, setting the stage for a Steampunk 21st century where the British Raj in India, an ascendant Japanese Empire, and the Empire of Brazil are the dominant world powers. France is a shadow of its former self and Russia is controlled by a Eldritch Abomination-worshipping death cult.
- The Zombie Survival Guide dubs this a "Class 4 Outbreak" of the Zombie Apocalypse — when there are so many zombies that humanity is overwhelmed.
- Cell, by Stephen King. We see only US residents, and the book doesn't really address other places, but there's really no reason to think any place with cell phones was spared.
- And of course, The Stand by the same author. King does regret not showing what the rest of the world faced, but it's clear that Captain Trips goes worldwide, especially since the US military released it into other countries so they wouldn't be able to attack them.
- The Shannara and Knight of the Word series by Terry Brooks. Humanity nearly wipes itself out in a nuclear war, some of the survivors evolve/mutate into divergent species, magic is rediscovered, the Elves return, and the new races slowly build back up into a Medieval European Fantasy setting.
- In Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky, every planet-bound human civilization goes through this at some point due to the limits of technology, and has been doing this for thousands of years. The Emergents manage to stave this off through Mind Control, but the true answer as of A Fire Upon the Deep seems to be to move to the parts of the galaxy where Faster-Than-Light Travel is possible. In the case of A Fire Upon the Deep, this is the answer for poor weak sophonts of human-level intelligence. The ultimate answer of beings beyond the Powers is to move the zones of space where singularity can occur closer to you.
- In The Wheel of Time series, an event occurs three thousand or so years previously known as the Breaking of the World. Caused by all male channelers going berserk, Human society is set back from near utopia to feudalism.
- Additionally, later on in the series, it is stated that the Choeden Kal have the power to crack the world like an egg, a potential Class X disaster.
- With the female half of the Choeden Kal melted the chance of a Class X disaster is averted. Granted, Rand with the male half can still do plenty of damage alone.
- The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. The light from a meteor shower renders most of the human race blind, leaving them vulnerable to carnivorous walking plants that sting you to death and eat your corpse, and reproduce rapidly. Don't bother watching the 1962 film which conveniently has a Happy Ending when they suddenly discover that the Triffids can be killed with sea water.
- John Varley's
Eight Nine Worlds stories, where an invasion of aliens had come to Earth and literally plowed human civilization out of existence, supposedly to benefit Earth's true higher life forms: dolphins, sperm whales and other cetaceans. At that time, humanity had one single developed colony on the moon. They were warned - once - never to land on Earth again. Four hundred years later, humanity had settled all the other 'junk' planets in the solar system. What continues to happen on Earth is a sweet mystery.
- In Isaac Asimov's classic short story, "Nightfall", a planet with six suns experiences night only once every 2049 years. Each time, the darkness drives almost everyone insane and they destroy civilization. At the end the scientists are unable to convince the people of the danger and it all happens again, but they're able to save their data about the event so that the next cycle might avoid the same fate. (Of course, given that this has happened nine or ten times before, it's very much implied that all this might be for naught, as by the time the next cycle's civilization is advanced enough to understand the data, it may well have degenerated into myth.) This is the exact situation in the novel version; one of the reasons the scientists aren't believed is because it's revealed that their prediction exactly matches the apocalyptic prophecy of an ancient cult.
- Z for Zachariah, in which World War III seems to have wiped out everything but an isolated valley in America. From the sound of it it might actually border on a Class 3, since civilization and most of the population seem to have been wiped out entirely.
- Russel Hoban's Riddley Walker. It's two thousand years - we think - after a nuclear war blasted everyone back to Iron Age technology. In the two millennia since the war, mankind has been getting by in a sort of neo-tribal existence, by digging up old rusting metal out of the earth to salvage the scrap metal. All history is orally related via Punch-and-Judy puppet shows and half-remembered accounts of the war are woven together with scraps of the legend of St. Eustace. And the English language is mind-blowingly different.
- Current conditions are like this in Cthulhu's Reign, an anthology of HP Lovecraft-inspired After the End tales. In most stories it's a temporary condition, as events are rapidly progressing towards a Class 3 or Class 4.
- The Wild Boy by Warren Rochelle-somewhere between this and the next, since it was unnatural means, but humanity wasn't totally extinct and was back in pre industrial mode living in the ruins (the ones not being bred by the Lindauzi anyway)
- A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison in which the unnamed city is divided among scavenger gangs underneath which lies a Crapsaccharine World that maintains a decent level of technology but which is dying out from inbreeding.
- The Fire-Us Trilogy features one of these, although it's very close to being a Class 3.
- Paul O. Williams' Pelbar series, in which the majority of the human race was wiped out a thousand years previous, by a meteor storm which triggered an atomic exchange. Commonly known as the Time Of Fire. Only remnants of the time are scattered ruins and various radioactive dead zones.
- In Mary Gentle's The Golden Witchbreed, the titular species who inhabited the planet of Orthe created a virus called Ancient Light, which could sterilize the entire planet of all organic material and fuse the terrain into a glass-like substance. Luckily, it was stopped, and only some parts of the planet were affected. The Witchbreed survived only as a few hybrids in one of their outposts and most of their advanced technology was lost, while their slave race rebuilt midieval-level civilization in the unaffected regions.
- However, in the ending of the sequel, Ancient Light, Calil Bel-Rioch releases Ancient Light again, after destroying the city of Casabaarde, which contained the only way to stop the virus, thereby causing a Class 6. The Orthans can't even be saved by being relocated off world, since they're dependant on Orthan microbes to survive.
- Patrick Tilley's The Amtrak Wars are set in an America that has recovered ecologically centuries after a nuclear war. A civilization of underground cities has developed from nuclear bunkers, and they are now spreading out to wage a genocidal war against the hunter-gatherer civilization that lives in the open.
- The Maze Runner turns out to be set after one of these: A combination of Solar Flares and a virus, collectively known as the Flare, has wiped out civilization outside a few tiny bases, leaving the world a barely-habitable wasteland roamed by Cranks, with some parts having been scoured of all life.
- In the twist ending of The City of Ember it turns out that the titular city is an underground enclave built to weather a series of nuclear wars and deadly plagues. The outside world has regressed to pre-industrial levels. However, the people are still fairly well off, and, with the help of the Emberites and a few caches of Lost Technology, are starting anew by the end of the series.
- In a Bad Future of Heroes, the immortal Adam Munroe unleashes the Shanti virus, wiping out most of the world's population so they can build anew.
- In the Babylon 5 episode "Deconstruction of Falling Stars", its shown that humanity all but wiped itself out in a massive civil war. It takes quite a while and the aid of the Rangers to fix that mess.
- The plot of Battlestar Galactica — both series — is based on a multiple Class 2, the Cylons all but wiping out humanity's twelve planetary colonies and pursuing the pathetically small number of survivors through space.
- With 40 missile tubes each capable of delivering eight 20-megaton kinetic kill missiles a second, the Andromeda Ascendant can destroy every population center of a Tarn Vedra (read: Earth like) class planet in under six minutes. And that's strictly with basic munitions, not even touching the Class X-2 weaponry.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Taste of Armageddon", Kirk threatens to use "General Order 24" which is this caused by Orbital Bombardment.
- Doctor Who —
- In "Gridlock", the mood drug Bliss mutated, wiping out all life on New Earth apart from the undercity of New New York which was safely quarantined by the Face of Boe.
- The Reapers in "Father's Day" erased almost all traces of human life to fix a paradox in time, if left unchecked reaching a Class 3.
- In "The Parting of the Ways", the Daleks killed off every human on board the GameStation apart from Rose, and firebombed the Earth, shifting its continents, making it at least a Class 2.
- In The End of Time, the Master does this in a very creative and, admittedly, totally awesome manner: by turning (almost) the entirety of humanity into carbon copies of himself, giving rise to, aptly named, "The Master Race". We all get better shortly afterwards, though.
- In "Day of the Moon", we learn that the Silence have occupied the Earth since the age of fire and the wheel. Canton Delaware and the Doctor trick the Silence into post-hypnotically ordering their own destruction through a message in the 1969 moon landing. As there are probably remote corners of the Earth where people haven't seen the moon landing videos, it's unlikely to be a Class 3.
- New Zealand production The Tribe had the worlds' adult population dead from an accidentally-engineered virus, and the surviving children living in a Class 1 catastrophe, with mostly successful attempts to restore technology. However, in the sequel series, The New Tomorrow, set possibly some centuries later, the children's society has regressed to the point of basic small-scale agriculture, and tribes of hunter-gatherers, as well as worship of the Ancestors, and technology has all but become forgotten (some machines, still working on their own, are thought to be "monsters"), making this a pretty firm Class 2.
- The Walking Dead TV series implies this has occurred, at best. At worse, it's a Class 3a in the making.
- Babylon 5: The Deconstruction of Falling Stars depicts a future where after a war, technology has fallen back several centuries. In a direct homage to A Canticle for Leibowitz, it's revealed that at one of the monks shown is a Ranger in direct contact with the Interstellar Alliance.
- In Norse Mythology, Ragnarök would be a Class 5. However, there's one thing that makes it notable: While men, women, children, giants, animals, and monsters are wiped out during Ragnarök, two people survive, thusly allowing for an After the End scenario.
- Individual planets suffered everything up to and including Class 5 in the Final War of Traveller, but human civilisation as a whole is starting to reclaim the stars 80 years on.
- Gamma World has both humans and assorted mutant species slowly reinventing civilization after a nuclear-chemical-biological war.
- As does Mutant Future, the close-as-you-can-get-it retroclone of the game that uses the Labyrinth Lord rules.
- Earth went through at least one of these in the backstory of Warhammer 40,000, plunging an advanced civilization into barbarism as a result of a global nuclear war. Earth rebuilt and subsequently went through at least two or three more apocalypses, becoming known as [Holy] Terra along the way, but those were part of higher marks on the apocalypse scale.
- More or less the level of disaster which occurred in the backstory of Paranoia, but further details are not available at your security clearance, citizen.
- De Genesis, a German roleplaying game set After the End sees presumably all of civilization completely destroyed. Humanity got back to their feet, making the initial apocalypse only a Class 1 case. However, since the asteroids left some alien material that constantly expands its turf, the survival of the human race is all but probable.
- The Great Rain of Fire, a planetary cataclysm that devastated the D&D setting of Mystara 3000-odd years ago, knocked human and elven civilization from scifi-grade technology back to savagery. The exact nature of the weapons Evergrun's elves and Blackmoor's humans threw at each other is unknown, but nukes were probably the least of them, as their conflict was so violent that it changed Mystara's axial tilt. Note that this same event rates as a Class 3 for some of the other races that were around back then, and that still others only subverted a Class 3 because the Immortals preserved some of them in the Hollow World.
- The Bliss of Bliss Stage destroyed civilization by making the earth a Teenage Wasteland.
- The "Crucible Of God" scenario in Vampire: The Masquerade's final supplement, Gehenna, ends in this (if the PCs win), with about 90% of the Earth's humans depopulated (and corresponding numbers of most other life).
- This is also what happens if the Garou win. You don't want to know what it'd be like if they lose.
- Observed with regularity in Warhammer 40,000. A significant number of Imperial worlds are ancient human colonies that fell into this, either independently or as part of larger-scale cataclysms and wars, then slowly worked their way back up to Stone Age or medieval-era levels over the course of thousands of years.
- The Yozis in Exalted are trying to do this to creation, but it only falls into this category because they're not going to kill all humans. If the Yozis were to succeed it would be worse than a Class Z.
- In Rifts, a small nuclear exchange during a major surge in the planet's magical field wiped out all human civilization, and nearly wiped out humanity itself. In the three hundred years since, small pockets of civilization have emerged here and there, but 90% of humanity lives as subsistence farmers or hunter-gatherers.
- The Shattering in BIONICLE is implied to have reduced the population of Sphereus Magna, and significantly decreased the amount of resources available, resulting in a Scavenger World where villages have to fight for supplies.
- The war between Bevelle and Zanarkand 1,000 years before the events of Final Fantasy X results in this, creating a state of affairs where Sin roams the world, wrecking any human settlement (with the exceptions of Bevelle and Luca) that gets any larger than a small town.
- Deus Ex gives the player the option to instigate a non-lethal Class 2: because all global communication and technological infrastructure is being routed through Area 51 so The Conspiracy can control it, destroying the facility sets everybody back a few centuries.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, set After the End, features Ganon laying waste to Hyrule prior to the start of the game. Later, the three gods flood the land, although it's not clear how much of the entire world is affected, or how many fled to higher ground.
- Half-Life has entire cities laid to waste, with Xen wildlife taking over and Earth under complete control of an interdimensional empire. It's unknown how few people remain, but the fact that there's still a resistance movement 20 years after the Seven Hour War implies that there's still hope, even when there's Everything Trying to Kill You and the infrastructure is under decay.
- This is the setting for the Fallout universe. After global thermonuclear war wipes out civilization and much of the human population, a post-nuclear Zeerust-filled Crapsack World provides the backdrop for the games.
- Shin Megami Tensei I. Thor's Hammer. The Great Flood. Japan's left as a charred, sunken husk of what it was. It's implied the world beyond is little better if at all.
- Metro 2033 takes place in Moscow after a nuclear war has destroyed most of Russia (and presumably most of the rest of the world.) Civilization has survived by moving into the subways and sewers beneath the city and humans now live in self-contained underground cities. Of course, the tunnels are now overrun by mutants and other dangerous creatures and the player has to run a gauntlet through underground cities run by communists and Nazis.
- In BlazBlue, the war against the Black Beast resulted in a toxic mist spreading across all of Earth, rendering the planet totally uninhabitable to humans except on the highest mountaintops, where the mist is too thin to have an adverse effect. Civilization now exists in at least thirteen city-states dotted around the world (though a few are destroyed over the course of the games), with transportation between them via gigantic airships. Nearly all of Earth's species have died out because of this mist, but a few animals and plants seem to have been replaced by mutant variants that can thrive in it.
- This seems to be the situation in The Last of Us, with a fungal infection reducing civilization(at least in the United States)to a series of quarantine zones with the rest infested with various bandits, scavengers and not-zombies.
- The freeware game Iji begins with a vast majority of all life on the planet blown to bits, your job is to try to save the remaining life from being blown into even tinier bits.
- By the end of Xenogears, most people either become -wels-, are absorbed into the Big Bad, are eaten by -wels-, or are killed by "angels." Only a handful of people survive, clinging to life in a couple locations. The game is supposed to have a happy ending.
- This isn't the first time either. Several thousand years before the start of the game, the Zeboim era was a technology rich society that was done in with a combination of low birth rates and nuclear war.
- Skies of Arcadia has a backstory that includes a Class 2, although by the time the game actually begins, enough centuries have passed that civilization has made its way back to a rough analog of steam technology with electricity in a few scattered places.
- Valua gets hit with a Class 0 in the later stages of the game. If the Elders of the Silvite Civilization would have succeeded in collecting the Moon Crystals, another Class 2 would have taken place.
- Might and Magic has this on an interstellar scale: An entire arm of the galaxy was cut-off from the main civilization by alien invasion. Cue a utter collapse of infrastructure, and a fall into barbarism and witchcraft, hard enough that Enroth, the world Heroes 1-3 and Might & Magic 6-8 takes place on is overall at a late medieval/early renaissaince level more than a thousand years after said Silence, with Heroes 4's Axeoth apparently even less developed before the Enrothians arrived.. Though the worlds Might and Magic I to V takes place on appears to be exceptions (there is evidence to suggest the primitivity of the cultures are intentional on the part of the designers rather than this trope); evidently the Ancients don't let such minor issues as the spoilered part stop them from grandiose planetary-scale experiments.
- Mother 3 has an interesting variant of this, balancing between Classes 1 and 2. The population of Nowhere Islands consists of the few who escaped a world-wide self-destruction. Most likely, they could rebuild society as it was (given they deliberately pick not to), making this sort of Class 1, but they choose to follow a simple lifestyle to avoid repeating the past, rendering this into a semi-voluntary Class 2.
- System Shock. The delusional AI SHODAN of Citadel Station planned to destroy every major city on Earth from space to assert her (its?) godhood over the survivors. Failing that, she also tried to unleash a plague of mutagenic virus on the planet, which would turn pretty much everybody to mutant-zombies.
- Mankind was kicked back to the stone age 3000 years before the beginning of Arc The Lad, Arc 2 ends with merely a Class 1 extinction. You can hate the writters for this
- Phantom Dust is a Class 2 in many ways. The memory erasing dust on the surface makes long term exposure to environments that aren't pressure sealed a dangerous or even suicidal venture. The remains of humanity exist in underground shelters seemingly stitched together from collapsed subways. You only ever encounter one such lair, though it's suggested that more exist. Their government is comprised of a silent dictator and his interpreter, and their civilians/field agents are nearly all of suspect sanity. Parts of the vault seem to have technology superior to modern day tech, but the inhabitants are mostly ignorant; they have no idea how to grow crops and have to raid the surface for food and supplies. Of course, later on in the game you discover That humanity has actually already gone extinct, and the protagonist and all the humans he has encountered are constructed figments created from the dust by the last surviving human, who has long since passed away, making it a Class 5.
- The Great War in the Fallout series caused one of these. Sure, it was worse in some places than in others, but humanity's pretty much been busted back to the Stone Age. Social organization is tribal in most cases and only the New California Republic even approaches Jared Diamond's definition of a "state".
- I Am Alive The entire world is massively FUBAR by some unknown cataclysm. The player must navigate the shattered, devastated ruins of what was once New York in order to find his daughter and girlfriend.
- Halo's Expanded Universe has explained that the Jiralhanae have done this to themselves at least twice before they joined up with the Covenant. Additionally, this was one of Mendicant Bias's many threats of what he would do to the Forerunners after he went rampant, which would more or less be Dramatic Irony, since the Forerunners had also done this a millennium earlier to Humanity.
- The Fall of D'ni from the Myst Verse probably belongs here as much as anywhere, as it snuffed out an entire civilization, albeit one headquartered in a single city and dispersed across an untold number of Ages beyond that world.
- The last missions of StarCraft II's Wings of Liberty campaign are about inflicting this upon the Zerg. Only part of one planet is cleansed of the Zerg, but according to Word Of God (and the sequel), without Kerrigan (who was in that part) the Zerg broods start fighting one another, reducing them from a coordinated interplanetary threat to isolated (if fierce) local threats. Recovery is impossible without another central guiding intelligence, or until and unless Kerrigan recovers and re-establishes control. A lot of effort goes into preventing the latter. It fails.
- The future as shown in A New Beginning is this thanks to an ecological apocalypse driven by mankind's negligence to reverse climate change. Worse, it is outright stated that things will go to Class 6 thanks to an imminent solar flare and the Earth's depleted atmosphere.
- RefleX ends with the Raiwat army that's been at war with Earth retreating, the ZODIAC units destroyed...but due to ZODIAC Ophiuchus duking it out with the ZODIAC units and causing massive collateral damage in the process, the Earth and its population have been destroyed so badly that it takes millenia before humanity can re-develop the technology to reach the orbital Mechanized Temple again.
- ''Nier has an interesting twist on this. After the "WCS Disaster" which killed a massive amount of the world's population, society is now at a medieval level. The twist is that humanity became Shades in order to escape the disaster, and the people in the world are clones that the Shades intend to inhabit - the world is medieval because the clones developed sentience, and their civilization has only reached medieval level so far.
- Tech Infantry had the Exodus spin-off project, where a much larger catastrophe wiped out most life in the galaxy, and one planet worth of survivors quickly lost most of their high technology and regressed to a Medieval stage of civilization.
- The entire reason why the time traveler in the United States of Ameriwank visited George Washington in the first place.
Time Traveler: "In the year 2258 the world goes to war and with our level of technology, almost everything is destroyed. Billions die, entire nations vanish in fire, it’s a world we cannot afford to let happen.”
- In Fine Structure, the heroes induce this scenario repeatedly to prevent another near-Class 3 event.
- In Worm, the Endbringers are slowly inflicting this on humanity over the course of decades of regular attacks, destroying cities, killing superheroes, and wiping out infrastructure. Attempts to recover between attacks can mitigate some of the damage, but every character is aware that humanity is slowly becoming extinct, and there's nothing they can do about it.
- And as of the aptly named Extinction arc, Scion has pulled a Face-Heel Turn and inflicted this scale of damage on multiple alternate earths.
- This was actually the ending to the last cartoon of the "future trilogy" Tom and Jerry cartoons from the Chuck Jones run.
- The Toba Catastrophe is an event that may have happened about 75 thousand years ago, when a supervolcano reduced human population to 10,000 individuals total. There's a lot of tantalizing evidence that this may have happened, but no absolute proof.