A specific form of Cutting Off The Branches
where events from several story branches
are declared canon
by a later installment, even though it is impossible for all these events to occur in the same playthrough of the previous game.
Overlaps with Third Option Adaptation
(which is about Taking A Third Option
when adapting interactive works to non-interactive media). See also Broad Strokes
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- In the Last Story mode of Shadow the Hedgehog the plot appears to consider a number of events canon, such as the President being evacuated to the GUN Fortress, Eggman claiming Shadow to be an Android, and the majority of the cast travelling to the Black Comet. These are all plot points that cannot happen in a single playthrough of regular Story Mode's branching paths, implying that regular story mode is always just "what if" scenarios that merely represent Shadow's real journey, regardless of your chosen path.
- Installments of the Dawn of War series set after Winter Assault imply that the latter's true ending contains elements of both Ork and Eldar campaigns (Taldeer survives the Orks, Chaos and Necrons on Lorn V but is taken out by the Blood Ravens on Kronus in Dark Crusade), while Crull is defeated and his skull taken by Gorgutz 'Ead'unter (the Chaos faction takes it back from him in Dark Crusade).
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall had seven mutually exclusive endings, but The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind revealed that all of them took place at the same time due to a rare cosmic event called The Warp In The West.
- In Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, you have eight possible party members but you can never recruit the one of the same class as yourself. Nevertheless, all eight are regarded the Companions of the Avatar in later installments.
- In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, several characters were only recruitable in gaiden chapters that required several playable characters to die to access them. In New Mystery of Emblem, however, all returning gaiden characters except Nagi are treated as if they joined Marth's army despite the fact that every playable character from the previous game survived to see the sequel.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War uses a combination of the three possible but mutually exclusive endings of Deus Ex.
- Its prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution inverts the trope by having all of the possible endings plausibly lead to the events of the first game.
- In Tales of Symphonia, the manga adaptation merges the Kratos, Zelos and Colette endings and has each of them give Lloyd the special item that he receives only from their ending in the game. This is also apparently the canonical ending according to the sequel. Overlaps a bit with Third Option Adaptation in that another change, Yuan coming with them to the final battle, actually isn't possible in any of the endings.
- In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher fights five out of eleven elite Belkan squadrons in any given playthrough (which ones depends on your Karma Meter). However, the in-game Assault Records and later lore implies that at the branching points, Cipher faced all three respective bosses at the same time.
- Melty Blood, a sequel to Tsukihime, declares a combination of two endings (Ciel's and Kohaku's) plus events that never actually happened in any canon route.
- Tsukihime's other sequel, Kagetsu Tohya, justifies all the routes being canon at once by having the story take place in a dream, where real-world logic is of course out to lunch. Those parts of it that take place outside the dream seem to suggest either Ciel's or Arcueid's ending, however. It also includes a number of side stories that explicitly take place in some of the other endings.
- TYPE-MOON did a similar thing with its sequel to Fate/stay night: Fate/hollow ataraxia, which has a bizarre conglomeration of events from mutually contradictory routes making up its backstory. This is actually a plot point though, and part of the story's progression is figuring out just what the hell is going on.