: The hero(es) travel(s) to the future and discover it sucks
- Straight: The hero skips a couple of decades, one way or another. He emerges in an oppressive, badly run Dystopia.
- Exaggerated: The hero skips a couple of decades, and emerges to see the galaxy taken over by Satanist Commie Nazis.
- Downplayed: The hero's absence didn't lead to the villains taking over the world, but their attempt at world domination resulted in a massive war in which many people died.
- The dystopia in question is a Villain World, brought about due to protagonist's absence.
- The Crapsack World is the result of a secretive villain or organization, which the heroes had no idea existed.
- The villain skips a couple of decades, and discovers that a Utopia has been built in his absence.
- The hero goes back in time a couple of decades and ends up in a dystopian past.
- Double Subverted:
- The so-called "bad future" is actually perfectly normal... wait a minute, where are all of the cheesy snacks?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
- The hero travels an hour into the future, and in his brief absence, the entire world has been conquered by an army of cyborg lawn gnomes.
- Zig Zagged:
- The heroes travel into the future to find themselves in a city of ominous dark buildings covered in propaganda. Turns out, all the inhabitants enjoy material luxury, year round free heating and freedom. Then it turns out, the heating is provided by giant baby ovens.
- The future is dominated by a single political ideology, with all others relegated to history books and powerless fringe movements - so the future is a Utopia for those of the heroes who think that this ideology is right, and a Dystopia for those of them who think that it's wrong.
- Averted: The future turns out to be Post-Cyberpunk - lots of fancy new technology, but nothing dystopian.
- Enforced: This is a good way for the work to go Darker and Edgier for a limited time - or even permanently, if the writers are so inclined.
- Lampshaded: "I leave for mere twenty years, and they screw everything up. Great."
- Invoked: The villain deliberately sends the hero into a future where he has conquered the world to try and break his will.
- Exploited: The Token Evil Teammate hitches a ride to the future along with The Hero because he knows there are going to be new, super-deadly weapons to arm himself with if the future turns bad.
- Defied: The hero goes back in time and sets right what once went wrong.
- Discussed: "Ten bucks says the future is bollocks."
- Conversed: "What did this guy expect from the future, exactly? Freedom, truth and beauty just like in his own time?"
- The hero(es) could only be on even terms with the villain in their present because they had the government on their side. With all of this government's resources turned against them, they all end up killed or worse in a very short time.
- It turns out that even Black Shirts and the Big Bad aren't really enjoying the situation, because Dystopia Is Hard to maintain.
- However, the dystopian future has also spawned a secret resistance force that is more than willing to give the hero the help he needs to fight back. Seeing what's at stake if they lose to the villain strengthens their resolve to defeat him/her/it for good.
- The Big Bad has an idea that Dystopia Justifies the Means, and some of his Black Shirts follow suit, so the hardness of maintaining a dystopia is seen by them as a challenge.
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