Video Game: no-one has to die.

no-one has to die. is a Puzzle Game from StuStutheBloo on Flash game site Kongregate. The setup is simple: as the Visitor, you have access to the security system at the Fenix Corporation, and must decide who lives or who dies when a fire breaks out in the building. The Visitor chats remotely with the four main characters, revealing more and more of the story, and the Fenix Corporation's true purpose.

Due to the nature of the game's plot, most of the listed tropes are spoilers.

No-One Has to Die features the following tropes:

  • all lowercase letters: The game's title is written this way on its Kongregate page.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Thanks to the Merged Reality, the Visitor is able to get everyone out of the building alive. However, Christina goes back into the Tempest Machine to try to save her mother, believing that there is no reality where her mother and her love, Steve, can both survive. In addition, countless alternate versions of the characters had to be sacrificed or continue on in their universe without any knowledge of what happened.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "TEMPEST engaged."
  • Cliff Hanger: If Troy and Lionel are the only people left alive, Troy finally appears willing to explain all the weird stuff he's been saying, and drops a Wham Line right before the chat cuts out. If you want him to give you the full explanation, you need to spare him.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the characters has a color to match their handle.
    • Steve: Light Green
    • Christina: Orange-Red
    • Troy: Grey-White
    • Lionel: Lavender
    • Visitor: Rock Blue
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lionel is usually quite professional, but he can get rather snarky in his ending.
    Lionel: Our true interest here is time travel.
    Visitor: ...time travel.
    Lionel: That is indeed what I just said.
  • Death Seeker: Troy frequently tells you to kill him and seems to have no sense of self-preservation. See "Groundhog Day" Loop below for more info.
  • Downer Ending: If you spare Christina and Lionel, that route causes them to burn to death and nets you a Bad Ending, as neither of them are in a room that can be flooded with water or can be blocked off.
  • Everybody Lives: The final ending, after every character has gone through the TEMPEST machine, results in everybody surviving the fire.
  • Featureless Protagonist and No Name Given: The Visitor. The only thing known about them is that they were delivering something and noticed the fire break out.
  • Foreshadowing: Practically all of Christina's dialog, especially her reactions to peoples' deaths, makes much more sense when you realize she was the one who lit the fire.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Of a twisted kind. Gets even worse in Troy's ending. He's had to watch his co-workers and boss burn to death five times. The real kicker? You will only find this out if you sentence his co-workers and boss to death again. Thankfully, the loop is eventually broken thanks to Merged Reality.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Christina lets slip that she knows the security guards were shot when all everyone else knows is that they're dead.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Steve is sarcastic, hot-tempered, short-fused, impatient, rude, and crude. He also callously tells the player to let Lionel drown/burn to death instead of him, albeit after the revelation that Lionel is apparently not a good person, and after Lionel offers the player a very large reward for saving him instead of Steve. Steve, however, begs the Visitor to spare Christina when it comes to the choice of killing either him or Christina.
  • Karma Houdini: Christina has murdered two security guards, and set fire to a large building with people in it. Even if she escapes to the past and saves her mother, she will always be a murderer, no matter what reality she's escaped to.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If Christina and Steve are the only characters remaining, the final level is set up this way. Steve can take a single step into the fire door to save himself, or he can rush forward to activate the sprinklers, which will save Christina but doom him.
  • Kill 'em All: The four regular endings result in the death of everyone but the Visitor and one person. Both bad endings wipe out everyone but the Visitor.
  • Meaningful Name: The Fenix Corporation, who uses time travel and multiversal hopping to effectively become immortal in a constant cycle of rebirth. Oh, and there's also a raging fire that burns its employees to a crisp.
  • Mega Corp.: The company where the fire breaks out in - though Christina and Steve question it, as all they do is account for the most meaningless amounts of items: lots of parrots, toilet seat covers, and so on. It turns out they're a research corporation that discovered time travel and dimension hopping - all the purchases are a front to keep the government in the dark.
  • Mental Time Travel: While traveling forward in time and then going back works normally, traveling backwards, by itself, doesn't. Instead, it apparently destroys your body, but dumps you into any number of alternate selves in alternate universes - and it's implied that the body you take over kicks out the consciousness in it, which goes to another reality.
    • There is a catch with traveling forward, though - your consciousness abandons your body, leaving it lifeless until you come back. The visitor points out that this makes travel ahead by more than a few hours useless, as your body would rot before you returned. Lionel admits this and states that Fenix is working on ways to keep the body intact. "Freezing seems promising."
  • Merged Reality: The final ending, where every character from all the endings is dumped into where they were at the start of the fire, with the information of all the fire door codes, so that, well... no one has to die.
  • Mood Motif: "Tragedy" for sad scenes, "Up In Flames" for tense ones. Notably, since you usually have to sacrifice someone to complete a level, a portion of "Tragedy" is audible in "Up in Flames".
  • Multiple Endings: One for each of the four characters, as well as two bad endings.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Whoever designed the fire suppression system should be fired (literally). You have to enter 4 different codes to use it to full effect, and the water sprinklers have to be manually activated. The latter is probably fortunate because the sprinklers somehow release enough water to drown people.
  • Omega Ending: If you see all four endings, you get access to the Golden Ending.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: "Tragedy", the "sad" Mood Motif. Especially prevalent in the final level.
  • Red Herring: Troy tells you at the beginning of the game that he set the fire. He didn't; he's just trying to goad you into letting him die for other reasons. The person who started the fire is one of the four people you're trying to save, but it isn't Troy.
  • Reset Button: Pressed every time the Visitor helps someone survive to the end. Of course, it's not an actual reset button, but simply going to a timeline with the exact same situation.
  • Retraux: The style of the characters' portraits are cute, simple, 8-bit-style drawings. The sound effects are chirpy bleeps as well, in contrast to the orchestral music. Justified in that you're using a chat program to communicate, and run simulations on the same computer to decide what the characters should do.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This eventually becomes everyone's motivation, and is especially Christine's motivation, who is trying to bring her dead mother back to life after the Fenix corporation apparently killed her.
  • Shout-Out: The badge you get for beating the game is the Groundhog Day Dilemma Badge.
  • Significant Anagram: The four codes rearrange to RISE FROM THE ASHES. Appropriate, no?
  • Someone Has to Die: Despite the name of the game, this will be happening a lot. And those deaths are permanent. The Merged Reality simply consists of alternate versions of the characters who managed to reach the time machine and were lucky enough to get dumped into one reality. Everyone else from their realities are dead, except for their own versions of the Visitor.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Each character has a different tone in the chat program.
  • Stable Time Loop: What you are trying to establish.
  • Time Travel
  • Title Drop: By Lionel, describing a theoretical best-case scenario in which traveling back in time grants immortality aside from accidents. Also in the Merged Reality, Troy happily says the game's title when the computer system tells the group "no casualties expected".
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Often the case, as it can take several attempts before the player sees the solution.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The music that plays in the merged timeline, "Ray of Light", is this to the music that typically plays during the gameplay sections, "Up In Flames".
  • Walking Spoiler: The Time Machine.
  • Wham Line: A subversion in that it appears in the opening — "I killed them. And I lit the fire." Also a subversion in that it's a lie. Every character's ending has one as well, however:
    • Steve: "The phrase that the birds were taught? It was 'Christina lives'."
    • Christina: "I lit the fire."
    • Troy: "The reason I lit the fire... I didn't." and "I knew the security code because I heard you read it out."
    • Lionel: "Our true interest here is time travel."
    • Bad Endings: "Two casualties unavoidable." (there are only two left when it appears)
    • Start of the final path: "Fire on Floor B3. No casualties expected."
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Oh, yes you can.