A Story Overwrite
happens when you accomplish some mission in a video game—be it beating a boss, rescuing a friend, or saving the world—only to have your handiwork suddenly retconned
by a following cutscene
, or perhaps a future plot summary of some sort. A Story Overwrite
occurs whenever the storyline overwrites something the player did in-game.
Beat a boss? Cut to a fully rendered scene showing the battle happening all over again
, and this time you're getting horribly massacred
Beat the first form of a boss in two seconds flat without losing HP? Cut to a cinematic showing your hero on his knees and gasping for breath
as the Big Bad
unleashes the ultimate ancient demon
Did your rocket launcher
reduce the enemy to a pile of Ludicrous Gibs
? Cue a cutscene of you walking up to the Not Quite Dead
villain and delivering the finishing blow with the protagonist's silver pistol.
Killed off all but one of your party members in order to conduct a Solo-Character Run
? The end titles will refer to all of your characters as renowned heroes that saved the world.
Completed the Timed Mission
with several minutes to spare? The following cinematic will have you succeeding just barely in time.
Game developers don't always know how
you're going to be playing their game, so sometimes all they can do is take their best guess and run with it. It also partially happens because a game's gameplay and story just aren't the same thing.
The truth is that the game's writers already have the script plotted out, and anything the player does in-game to diverge from that will inevitably be overwritten or ignored.
Many games manage to avoid this trope for major plot events by having branching storylines. The rare games which avoid this trope on a smaller scale tend to feel highly immersive, by making the player feel like they actually have an effect on the world.
A form of Gameplay and Story Segregation
. Also see But Thou Must!
For specific instances of this, see:
- Justified in the first Kingdom Hearts in the fight against Leon. Sora passes out when he wins as it's his first real battle against a skilled opponent, completely exhausting him.
- Saints Row 2 loves this trope. You kill them in the boss battle? They're still alive afterwards. It gets to the point where it's just silly if you used explosives. Especially with Mr. Sunshine.
- In the Metal Gear Solid games, Snake or Raiden will almost always be using their Weapon of Choice SOCOM pistol in cutscenes, regardless of the actual weapon the player had equipped beforehand. This is most jarring at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty when Snake and Raiden rambo their way through Arsenal Gear. Most players have one of the assault rifles equipped during that segment, yet the following cutscenes will always show Raiden using his dinky pistol.
- Particularly groan-inducing is the fact that you can equip the BDU, body armor, or any wigs, and cutscenes will reflect it, but his gun is always the pistol, with the only way to get him to use something else is by equipping the M9 - your other pistol - before entering the cutscene. If Raiden is shown firing at people with it in the cutscene, the gunshots will still be loud, even if you have the suppressor equipped. One notably silly example is equipping the M9 (a tranquilizer gun that always has a suppressor equipped and normally has to have its slide pulled back after every shot) before the fight with Vamp.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, there's an early cut-scene where, based on your actions in the previous section, Snake will say one of three responses depending on whether you managed to sneak past the guards, alert but evade them, or killed any. The way he describes the third option makes it sound like he slaughtered the whole base in a bloody battle, even if you silently killed just one guy and disposed of his corpse via throwing it off a cliff.
- This extends annoyingly into the gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. You only have 5 slots for weapon quick-selection. If you swap your Operator or M4 Custom out of these, then one of the game's many, many cutscenes will equip Snake with one of them, and remove other guns from your quick-select slots to make room for it.
- Same in MGS2, again - the above Arsenal Gear segment gives you a high-frequency blade and gives you a chance to learn how to use it immediately before combat actually begins, implying that the game wants you to use it for the battle - but then as soon as combat starts you're carrying the pistol. Doubly annoying as you then have to stand still for a second or so as Raiden draws it from its sheath if you do switch out to it.
- Among the multiple drinking games for MGS, one for the original PlayStation/PC version involved taking a shot when the SOCOM was silenced, or unsilenced, or silenced, with absolutely no consideration given to whether you had even picked up the silencer at the beginning of the game. The Twin Snakes "fixed" this by having the SOCOM always appear without the silencer, regardless of whether you had it.
- There was one aversion in regards to the SOCOM, however, which significantly affected what sort of equipment you could get within the first few minutes - if you picked up the SOCOM in the truck at the helipad, one of the rooms in the tank hangar held thermal goggles, and later after you talk with the DARPA chief, Snake has the pistol in the cutscene encounter with disguised Meryl. If you missed the first SOCOM, the thermal goggles were replaced by a second one, and the goggles themselves would not be available for some time. If you missed that one, then in the above cutscene Snake has no gun at all (though, once more guards attack and gameplay begins again, a third SOCOM spawns right at your feet out of nowhere).
- In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Big Boss is almost always carrying either an assault rifle or an RPG in cutscenes. Completely forgivable since almost all of the cutscenes are hand-drawn. However, even the short in-game cutscenes before a boss battle with a vehicle will have Snake (and his partners in co-op) using an M16, regardless of whether you took one with you.
- In Tomb Raider, Lara always uses her pistols in cutscenes, no matter what other weapons the player has, because obviously the designers have no idea which guns you have and if you have ammo left in them.
- A minor example occurs in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, where Ephraim will claim to have killed a certain boss "with his own hands", regardless of who you killed him with.
- Similarly, in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance after you kill a particular boss, Ike tells that boss' daughter that he was the one to take him from her, regardless of who the player killed him with. This could be interpreted as Ike taking responsibility for the actions of the army he is commanding, but if not it's definitely an example of this trope.
- Radiant Dawn assumes the best possible ending for Path of Radiance: Everyone was recruited, none of the playable characters died, and Ike won his duel with the Black Knight -Even if you use an Old Save Bonus where that wasn't the case. It also seems to have been written with certain support combinations in mind, such as Sothe x Tormod, who are good friends in Radiant Dawn despite them only bonding if you reach their A Support in Path of Radiance.
- On the final mission of the original Starcraft campaigns, you could kill every single Zerg on the map except for the Overmind, then completely close in on it with 400 troops for a final victory...only to have Tassadar say that your side has taken heavy damage and that he needs to end it once and for all. The final cutscene will still be full of Zerg, either way...
- An earlier example: in the 9th Terran mission, you could put Kerrigan onto a Drop Ship and fly that to a far-off corner of the map, well away from your base, but the Zerg that come in at the end still find a way to capture her. Also, you could make your base's defense strong enough to actually hold off the attack.
- Blizzard seems fond of this. There's an earlier mission in Starcraft where you have to defend a base for 30 minutes. If you're talented enough it's possible to fend off your attackers, go on the offensive, kill the Zerg standing army, burn the Zerg base to the ground and then begin mining operations where the Zerg base once stood. However you're still "rescued" and subsequently arrested for allying yourself with a traitorous faction when the timer rolls to zero.
- The final Protoss mission in the Starcraft expansion has you defending a temple. The outlying computer bases are on islands that are ridiculously heavily fortified to prevent players from carrying out this trope. However, skilled players can easily gather the resources necessary for 4 or 5 keys of guardians and 2 keys of corsairs. These units, when properly managed, can tear through the static defenses leaving only the pathetic standing army to stop you. As your reward for killing the unkillable bases the game forces you to sit for 30 minutes while you can do nothing but look at the screen before cutting to a video of you almost dying anyway.
- Warcraft III has a similar mission, but there are no magically-spawning enemies, and if you destroy the enemy bases, the mission ends regardless of time; the cutscene always shows Uther and a bunch of Knights coming to the rescue, though, even if there wasn't a single Undead left on the map just a second ago.
- Using God Mode in final battle of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos does not protect you from having allies killed by scripted events, even if you destroy all of the undead (since that cheat applies only to the player who typed it).
- It's not even necessary to cheat if you fortify properly at the human base. Yet as the timer skips down to the last couple minutes Archimonde randomly gets bored and just waltz through everyone's base, leaving the player to wonder what the point of stalling the undead was if Archimonde can take you out singlehanded.
- Also in Warcraft III, there's that one mission where you're supposed to have your dudes drink demon blood to get powered up so they can kill an otherwise invulnerable demigod. You can win without finding the fountain (it's just a huge pain to do so) but the story continues as if they all drank from it anyway.
- Even earlier, in Warcraft II, the goal of the last Alliance mission is to destroy the Dark Portal. No matter how you accomplish this in-game, the ending cutscene shows the wizard Khadgar destroying it with a Blizzard spell (in-game it would actually take many such spells to burn the Portal down).
- There are a handful of dungeons and raids in World of Warcraft that later Expanded Universe material would show major lore characters completing, rather than the players who did so in-game. For example: King Varian went through Blackrock Depths, called Onyxia out in Stormwind, and killed her in her lair. Darion Mograine was the one who got Ashbringer from Naxxramas and proceeded to kill the Scarlet Crusade in their monastery.
- Subverted in the case of the Deadmines. While a flashback did show who canonically defeated the final boss in the pre-Cataclysm version, it was just a faceless bunch of adventurers much like the players.
- For story reasons, the fight with the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel ends with apparent failure with him instantly killing all the players, who are then resurrected by an ally in a scripted scene, allowing them to finish him. However, the ability he uses to kill the raid actually just does a large amount of damage, far more than was survivable at level 80, for which the raid was designed. At level 90 and above, players can actually survive this damage, but the scripted scene continues as if they died anyway — and the Lich King cannot be killed until it plays out fully, staying at 1 HP.
- In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, the protagonist fights hordes of heavily armed foes with many advanced guns. However, the final cutscene begins with the hero wielding an old fashioned A.K.A.-47 (that you probably dumped many many many hours ago) and wearing a basic stalker suit (just one step up from the heavy jacket you begin the game with) when he would probably have a HEVA suit or an exoskeleton at that point.
- Weapon changes are averted on all occasions save FMVs in the 3D Kingdom Hearts games. This includes the cutscene before the 1000 Heartless battle, which renders everyone with their default weapons - it's an FMV simply because there's far too many Heartless in the scene for the system to have been able to render it in real time.
- Despite the fact that she's a downgrade from either of your default teammates, Mulan (as "Ping") gets all the credit for the missions that Sora and company help her with. Arguably justified by the fact that Sora and his friends offered to help Mulan specifically in order to help her gain credibility with the army, and would naturally give her the credit for their accomplishments in order to further that goal... but even after Mulan drops her disguise and becomes a more effective party member, Sora still has to be the one to deliver the final blow to the boss, and Mulan still gets credit for it.
- In The Witcher, Geralt has his trademark silver and steel swords, but there are a few other swords that look different, not to mention the near-useless secondary weapons. All cutscenes feature him using those default swords, even if you just hacked the final boss apart with an axe, or burned it with a torch.
- Dante in Devil May Cry ALWAYS wields his Alastor on his back in cutscenes, even though stronger weapons are mandatory and much more likely to be wielded most of the time.
- On the contrary, if a player should switch out Alastor for Force Edge before Phantom's 1st appearance, the latter will be seen on his back in the cutscene.
- All cutscenes in Devil May Cry 3 are pre-rendered (even if they were made with the game's engine), so, no matter which weapons or costumes you have on, Dante and Vergil will always wear what they are supposed to have at any given time, specially Dante who will always carry his handguns and Rebellion.
- In Heretic, the final fight against D'Sparil takes place in a giant open field where the boss summons large amounts of his disciples. The hero, Corvus, fights D'Sparil with an arsenal of ancient artifacts and D'Sparil takes a large beating before finally going down. The introduction of Heretic 2, on the other hand, places the fight in a small room with just Corvus and D'Sparil, who is taken out with a single shot from the Phoenix Rod.
- In Story Mode of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games this happens constantly. To continue the campaign, you have to defeat the enemy in the battle stage. But at least half the time, the following cutscene will show the enemy pummeling Goku (or whoever) nearly to death, so the game could set up another more difficult battle; if you're lucky they might actually result in the defeat of the villain for real.
- Averted magnificently in Budokai Tenkaichi 3's Story mode. Should the battle call for the villain to stomp the heroes til Goku arrives, you get to play as the villain instead.
- You can also completely derail the story if you manage to defeat your enemy before the game makes them weak enough to be considered a fair fight, meaning that the Saiyan menace can be defeated single-handedly by Chiaotsu. Sadly, this simply unlocks the next stage instead of showing you what repercussions this would have on the story (i.e. you never go to Namek, Frieza becomes immortal and takes over the universe).
- Supersonic Warriors's story mode also avoids this primarily by just skipping over fights in which the bad guys effortlessly pummel the good guys. On rare occasions, though, you do actually get to play as the bad guy for those fights.
- In Fallout 3, characters you've known from the beginning in Vault 101 tend to somehow immediately recognize you, despite you at that point possibly being kitted out in full Power Armor with your face concealed and your voice altered.
- And you might have undergone Magic Plastic Surgery and changed ethnicity. They'll still recognize you.
- The Lone Wanderer is always a Caucasian male in the final image (the one with Dogmeat by his side as he walks up a dusty road) with dark short hair despite the fact you could have spent the game as an Asian female with a lovely head of shoulder length bubblegum pink. Of course that almost certainly means that he is meant to canonically be a white male but that still doesn't make it any less stupid.
- The ending scene of Fallout shows the male protagonist wandering away into the wasteland in his blue vault suit, even though you've probably worn power armor for weeks since.
- Effectively lampshaded in Final Fantasy VII - you're not allowed to sell the initial weapon for each character, as they must be shown wielding it in all cutscenes.
- The weapons can however, be stolen. Uh...
- Final Fantasy VIII always has Squall using his default gunblade model Revolver outside of battle.
- FreeSpace and its sequel generally don't let you deviate from the way battles are supposed to go - you simply can't destroy ships you're not supposed to because they'll leave before you're able to, and protecting your own ships is either a condition for mission success or else they're guaranteed to go boom - even to the point of their hull integrity dropping like a rock on its own if you've been protecting it too well. But some of the mission briefings can be a little weird if you do really well; for instance, in FreeSpace 2, after the Colossus has engaged the first Sathanas juggernaut, there's a mention of how the Colossus was heavily damaged and will take months to repair - even if you took out all of the Sathanas's forward weapons and the Colossus doesn't take a scratch.
- These games also demonstrate how easily such a means of plot convenience can become infuriating. You never know until the debriefing screen if a mission is supposed to be lost or not. Especially bad is the "Mystery of the Trinity" mission in FreeSpace 2: The ships are supposed to be destroyed, should you however manage - usually with cheats or on the easiest setting - to keep them alive the mission will stop dead in its track and becomes Unwinnable. The added tedium of this being one of the longer missions in the game doesn't help if you reflexively go for the restart mission button after the Trinity was destroyed.
- Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume does this a few times. Whatever path you're on, Chapter 4 contains an escort mission where you have to rescue certain characters, and each have a cutscene showing, despite your efforts, your charges are dead.
- It also does it in a roundabout way in the prologue. The third fight of the game is supposed to make you use the Destiny Plume on Ancel to defeat the demons. However, with a New Game+, you get to keep your end-game equipment, which makes those demons pushovers. Though the game locks out your commands in your turn until you use the Plume, you can still counter attack, and kill the demons that way without ever using it...and Ancel still dies afterward.
- Notably averted in one instance in Final Fantasy VIII: the Dollet mission ordinarily concludes with the player party being chased through the city by a giant robot, complete with FMV cutscene when Squall makes it to the beach. It is, however, very distantly possible to kill the mech and get to the beach within the time limit provided, and if this happens, no FMV plays.
- At the end of every Pokémon game, somebody will still say that you won because you treated your Pokémon with kindness and didn't just concentrate on pure power. They will still say this even if your Pokémon all have 0 happiness and you constantly ditched every Pokémon you had as soon as something higher-levelled became available.
- Or refer to your Pokémon in the plural, even if you only ever carried one.
- Unlike some other NPCs who can sense your Pokémon's happiness, these people cannot really know how you treat your Pokémon. They only deduced so because you beat the crap out of them.
- Additionally, numerous trainers will remark that you two had a close battle, despite the fact that you can be dozens of levels higher and destroy each Pokémon in one turn with a super effective attack.
- This trope exists in the form of Nikolai in Resident Evil 3. There are 3 different death scenes for him, and yet he still survives to the end.
- During all of the cutscenes in Battlefield: Bad Company, the player character Preston Marlowe is shown using his Weapon of Choice M416 rifle. He even does so on Mission 6 ("Crash and Grab"), even though it is physically impossible to use the M416 on Mission 6.
- The sequel proved to be a repeat offender, with cutscenes always showing Marlowe carrying the squad's new signature XM8 assault rifle. Without the ACOG scope present on it when you start actually playing as him in "Cold War", at that. The one exception is the start of "No One Gets Left Behind", where Marlowe drops everything when falling out of a helicopter... only to then pull out a pistol you've only been forced to use once before and due to weapons crates may never have used since.
- In Goldeneye a cutscene replaying your death is shown every time you die. However, possibly due to engine limitations the scene is set a few seconds after your death, so if you were clipped by one soldier's stray bullet, the cutscene might show several people who have since come in surrounding you and spraying you from all angles, implying massive incompetence on the player's part. If you were killed by a crate exploding, you'll be shown suddenly dying with smoke around, crate already exploded.
- The cutscenes for the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance all pretty much centre around the original default combination of Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Thor, regardless of what combination of heroes you're actually playing the game with.
- Averted in Psychonauts, if you get arrested during the Milkman Conspiracy level, one of the questions the G-Man asks is "Why did you punch that little girl?" - but only if you actually did.
- In Creeper World, in the final level, you face an endless swarm of creepers, which you certainly can't fight past (as the characters announce). You have to build Thor, a spaceship, to take them down, and then activate the black hole generator to kill the super creeper. Except you can. By inching forward your towers, and gradually encircling the spawn point, you can block it off, and activate the black hole generator. However, your spaceship was required to close it, so you didn't die. What does it do? The author says well done, and then the black hole explodes, and the plot continues as usual.
- Emperor Ing's heart in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes alternates between dark and light. Regardless of the colour when he is actually killed, it will always be light in the death cutscene, as this is the case if the player performs optimally.
- In Prince of Persia 3D, the titular Prince loses his sword at one point and has to make do with a staff. In a cutscene following the defeat of a boss, however, it shows the Prince with sword in hand as he finishes off his opponent. A particularly egregious example as it's not even possible to have a sword at this point in the game.
- Depending on how well you fight in Punch-Out!! for Wii, you sometimes get a cutscene of Mac's final blow to the opponent. It's fairly common for the punch thrown in the cutscene to not match up with the punch that you actually used to finish the fight.
- The early versions of Tony LaRussa Baseball had only one instant replay video for each notable play, and they would be shown regardless of how well they matched the details of the actual play. The Double Play instant replay, for example, was a 6-4-3 play. Got 2 out on a line drive to the pitcher and a throw to third? 6-4-3.
- In Dot Hack GU, you can level up to the point where certain fights are ridiculously easy. You curbstomp your opponents to one hitpoint in moments, at which point the game goes to a cutscene. Your character is just shy of death, gasping for strength, as their miraculously healthy foe gloats over them. Nice reward for people who bothered to level-grind beforehand.
- A very mean example is Knights of the Old Republic where you have to fight Darth Malak. Even if you manage to do so without him scratching you even once (not at all difficult on easy or with a dedicated fighter), at some point Bastila will jump in and sacrifice herself to save you - which of course means that now you'll be fighting two enemies. Stop Helping Me!
- In a particularly egregious example from Grand Theft Auto IV, you can chase the Big Bad to his getaway helicopter, blow away the chopper with an RPG while it is still on the ground, and the ensuing cutscene will still show him getting away in the helicopter.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in the mission "Dam and Blast", you have to sneak into the Sherman Dam and rig the power generators with explosives. Even if you get in, plant all the explosives, and get out without being spotted by the guards, the following cutscene will still show CJ running away from the police.
- In Catherine, it doesn't matter to the story what Vincent's Karma Meter is on. Even if he's heavily on the red side, indicating that the player is going to get a Catherine ending, Vincent will still talk about wanting Katherine and wanting to propose to her after the 7th night, so he breaks up with Catherine. And Vincent's shock and Heroic B.S.O.D. when Katherine breaks up with him remains the same. His internal monologue is the only thing that really takes his current position into account, which has no effect on how the scenes play out.
- Mass Effect is generally good about remembering your actions, even fairly small ones. This makes the exceptions more jarring (and some may be due to bugs):
- One quest has you called in to deal with a hostage situation. No matter how many of the hostages you save, news reports will refer to the resolution as a "brutal massacre;" true enough in that you killed all the terrorists, but no mention is made of the fact that you saved some or even all of the hostages. A news report in the sequel indicates that the corporation is on the verge of folding. The last game tries to make up for this by having a report saying that the company is doing well thanks to large donations.
- Even if you talk Conrad Verner into abandoning his misguided desire to be a Spectre, he'll show up in the sequel trying to emulate you and claiming you threatened him with a gun. That was actually a glitch. In the first game, the Paragon resolution of Verner's quest erroneously sets both Renegade and Paragon flags in the save game, and the second game only interprets the first flag it checks, which happens to be Renegade.
- The third game lampshades it with Conrad apologizing for claiming you threatened him with a gun "even though it may or may not have happened" because he was really stressed out that day.
- Another minor example happens on Virmire: although your entire team is likely to be equipped with the best armor suits available at that point (which is pretty late in the game), both Ashley and Kaidan will always wear their default starting armor in the cutscene just prior to their death by nuke. You'd think that at least the Paragon Shepard would have the decency to not strip his/her comrades of their equipment, however practical it may be in the prospect of their certain death (which, if you think about it, wasn't part of the plan, in the first place).
- In fact, everyone wears their starting equipment when they aren't in your party on Virmire. (Liara doesn't even wear any armor, just the clothes you found her in on Therum.) When you reach the salarian base, you'll be left to run around alone for a while, and at this point, even the two teammates who were with you will suddenly change into their starting equipment.
- In addition, any cut scene where Shepard doesn't pull his/her pistol has his/her using a Assault Rifle. Despite only one class having Assault Rifle training without a New Game+. The final mission in the sequel is particularly bad about this, as it shows both Shepard and whoever team-mates you have with you blasting away with them, even though most characters in the sequel can't use assault rifles. And then, in 3, you can get people wielding the M-8 Avenger and the weapons they were equipped with at different points in the same cutscene!
- Pistols are also inconsistent. In cut scenes, Shepard's pistol is always black, and usually the 'regular' model, regardless of what pistol you actually have.
- More generally, Party members will almost always act as if they personally witnessed the events of a given mission, despite the fact that most of them can't join your squad and thus had to remain on the ship.
- When Saren attacks you at Virmire, even if you kick his ass while taking no shoots the cutscene will show him walking towards you and gripping your neck like if you had been beaten badly.
- In the sequels, your teammates will still recognise you in a split second. Doesn't matter if you're wearing a face-concealing helmet. Doesn't matter if you're wearing a suit of armour that disposes of your iconic N-7 badge. Doesn't matter if you changed your facial appearance, including ethnicity between games. You're still instantly recognisable.
- Being barbecued by Harbinger near the end of 3 will put you into a suit of charred armour that is clearly based on your standard N-7, with the same lumbar armour plates and dorsal unit (the bit your large weapons stick to). This makes sense if you're wearing N-7 armour or the armour designed around a similar framework, such as the Blood Dragon or Cerberus Assault armour (which presumably hides the lumbar pieces behind a heavier armour plate). It does not make sense if you're wearing the Cerberus Ajax, Reckoner Knight, N-7 Defender, or any of the Citadel DLC's heavy-duty Cerberus specialist armours, which look quite different from the back. In addition, you will automatically be equipped with an unlimited-ammo Carnifex pistol even if you didn't bring a pistol at all, although given the state your armour's in, expecting your weapons to be usable might be asking a bit much!
- In Halo 3, it is possible to drive a small quad bike (Mongoose) for the final level. After a massive Leap of Faith it changes to a cutscene, which features a Warthog vehicle. This is particularly jarring because the cutscene kicks in whilst you're flying through the air.
- An odd example occurs in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, where Emil will always use a sword that you can only obtain halfway through the game.
- All the characters in Tales of Symphonia only use a certain weapon in scenes (often the one they had when they first joined you), even if you have their Infinity+1 Sword. The only exceptions are Lloyd, who uses generic steel swords, and Sheena, who uses the Spell Card (her weakest weapon, which isn't even obtainable until after you have much stronger weapons).
- Though late in the game Lloyd will switch to using his newly-gotten Swords of Plot Advancement in cutscenes.
- From the same game: In the middle of the 1st boss fight there's a scene where the team looks like they got their asses handed to them when Kratos shows up to help. This happens even if you didn't get hit prior to this.
- Averted in Tales of the Abyss, where the characters are shown to use whatever weapon they currently have equipped in cutscenes.
- Similar to the Pokémon examples, NPCs in various Digimon World games will assume that your victories are thanks to your Digimon liking you. In fact, the final battle of Digimon World is fought to determine whether friendship or slavery makes a better Digimon. While unhappy Digimon aren't as good at fighting as happy ones, it's not impossible to achieve these goals if your Digimon isn't particularly amused.
- In the original Call of Juarez, even if you "kill" the final boss with a shot to the head, he will always be back for a rematch, explaining that his chestplate saved him.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it's entirely possible to defeat Mehrunes Dagon during the finale of the Main Quest, provided you have enough luck zapping the Big Bad with the Wabbajack. (There are other methods to defeat Mehrunes Dagon, but the Wabbajack is the easiest method available to non-PC gamers; as the link above notes, the Wabbajack causes his stats to change despite his appearance remaining unchanged. As you may have guessed, a "kill" command from the PC Console works as well.) However, regardless of how you defeat him, it wouldn't be much of a finale if Mehrunes Dagon didn't rip the roof off the Temple of the One, prompting Martin Septim's Heroic Sacrifice, necessitating his resurrection for the sake of the cutscene.
- The final battle of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver ends with Kain, beaten and bloodied, fleeing Raziel into the past. The sequel's opening cutscene retells the confrontation, except Kain bats Razzy away effortlessly before calmly stepping through the chronoplast portal.
- It likely would've helped if Raziel wasn't suffering from Plot-Induced Stupidity in the retelling, and hadn't forgotten that he had soul-devouring ghost sword permanently attached to his arm. You know, the thing that he needed to win the first time around.
- From the Dragon Age games:
- Dragon Age II has a few instances where the previous game doesn't line up with the sequel. Most importantly is Leliana's reappearance. She's very much alive even though more than one option can lead to her death.
- Ditto Anders, who's a plot-important party member (and potential Love Interest) in II...despite the fact that you can kill him off in several places, return him to the Templars, and/or just refuse to make him a Grey Warden during Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. His "death" at Vigil's Keep could be handwaved away by saying that merging with Justice kept him alive, but that doesn't quite work if you executed him at the beginning of the expansion.
- Something similar happens in the first game. Oghren will still join you in the Awakening expansion pack even if you didn't recruit him (or dropped his approval low enough to pick a fight and kill him) during Dragon Age: Origins.
- Also, if you finished the main story with the ending where your character pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat the Archdemon and then import it to Awakening, then your character will miraculously be alive again without explanation in Awakening. Word of God states that they're aware this didn't make much sense, but didn't want players to feel forced into picking certain endings so they could play Awakening without making a new character. This one is actually a kind of a stealthy story Retcon: if you view the resulting save file in an editor, you will see that the import silently and retroactively sets a flag indicating that the PC chose the story option available in Origins that allows them to opt out of the sacrifice. Namely, the game thinks that you accepted Morrigan's offer while you actually didn't.
- A more minor example in II: the game fails to recognize if the Warden romanced Zevran during Origins, meaning that he will accept Isabela's offer of casual sex even if he's supposed to be in a committed relationship with the Warden or mourning his/her death. (Needless to say, fans were not happy.) This glitch was never officially fixed, meaning that the only way to "resolve" the issue without mods is to just not have Isabela in your party during that sidequest.
- Possible in Kingdom Hearts II. It's possible to either skip Halloweentown or Agrabah. However, after a certain point, you have to go back and do one or the other again. When you go in, the Cutscenes will remain unchanged. So, even though you know now where Riku and King Mickey are, Sora is still yammering on endlessly about looking for them.
- In Dead Rising 2, it doesn't matter if you win by a landslide in the opening scene of Terror Is Reality, the antagonists will still make frequent remarks about your humiliating defeat throughout the game.
- In Age of Mythology, if you somehow manage to defeat the final boss without using demigod Arkantos, the final cutscene will show Arkantos finishing off the boss anyway.
- In the SNES remake of Super Mario Bros., if Mario/Luigi defeated Bowser while small, then a Super Mushroom will fall on top of him, causing him to grow, before the ending starts. As a result, Mario/Luigi will always start "hard mode" (where all Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles, all other enemies move faster, and there are now more enemies in the game) in his Super form, and as a result the SNES remake marks the only time he will get a Fire Flower in the "?" block after the game's was-been first Goomba.
- The Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3 has the ending begin automatically after Bowser is defeated rather than having the player manually start the ending in order to prevent a potential Kaizo Trap (in this game, Bowser is defeated by being tricked into creating a hole in the ground, causing him to fall inside of).
- In the first Baldur's Gate, Imoen is classed as a thief, but may be dual-classed into Mage. Whether you do this or not, she is a dual-class Thief/Mage at the start of Baldur's Gate II. This is not simply a gameplay issue, as the story requires Imoen to be a mage so she can be arrested by the Cowled Wizards and taken to Spellhold, as part of Irenicus' plan.
- Similarly, the party that begins the second game with the PC are the same regardless of who the PC used in the first game. The player starts with Imoen, Minsc, and Jaheira; Dynaheir and Khalid can be inferred from Minsc and Jaheira, respectively; they both die offscreen just before the game begins.
- An annoying tendency to do this is why Hazama of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is so often considered a Villain Sue. You fight him many times throughout all of the characters' story and arcade modes. Even if you beat him without getting hit, even if you finished him off with an Astral Heat, the following cutscene will show him being just fine while your character is struggling to catch their breath.
- In Exit Fate, even if Deus and/or Yan Angwa win their battles against the Demon Commandos, they'll be down for the count and their opponents won't appear to be harmed.
- Far Cry 3 has two endings, both of which seem to irrevocably end your time on the Rook Islands. However, after the credits have rolled, you find yourself back on the islands and free to explore and finish side quests as if nothing had happened.
- Parodied in Last Word. Winning the Hopeless Boss Fight against Professor Chatters (entirely possible with enough Level Grinding) will lead to some Easter Egg dialogue where everyone is flabbergasted. Chatters will then request that Whitty pretend she lost the battle so that the plot can continue as planned.
- You may have ended a boss fight in an Assassin's Creed game with hidden blades through the eyes or a sword right through the chest, yet the cutscene has them alive and well for the story to play out.
- Homestuck has a few interactive segments, where you can collect items and such. However, there couldn't possibly be a separate branch of the comic for every configuration of items, so some of the player's actions will likely not end up being canon. Occasionally, the comic will follow up an interactive segment with a non-interactive panel summarizing what was supposed to happen.
- Golden Sun: If Isaac (the only one allowed to participate) loses the Inevitable Tournament in Tolbi, you wake up in the infirmary and are told you must have dreamed the whole thing, including the part where you could see your friends look over the obstacle courses and choose the best place to cheer Isaac from (cheat with Psynergy). And once you win, you... wake up in the infirmary anyway thanks to Post-Victory Collapse. Amusingly, the fact that some Adepts are able to see the future is a minor subplot... but only Jupiter Adepts can do that.