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Apocalypse How / Class 1

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"World governments are in pieces. The parts that are still working are trying to take a census. And it looks like he did — he did exactly what he said he was gonna do. Thanos wiped out fifty percent of all living creatures."
Natasha Romanoff, Avengers: Endgame

Planetary-scale Civilization Disruption. A lot of people die, but civilization is still surviving in a reduced state.


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    Multiple Media 
  • Generally, the more extreme portrayals of World War III are going to have this as a minimum outcome.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: The Rumbling is a 1.5 — 80% of the global population outside of Paradis Island is killed off, bringing civilization down to the same level as those in the island (i.e. an 18th-century country compared to the mid-20th century civilization the rest of the world was in).
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School covers the events that lead to the current state of the world in the games. Thanks to the machinations of Junko Enoshima at Hope's Peak, society collapsed in on itself, creating a Villain World of despair and suffering. The Future Foundation works to stabilize everything, though only by the very end does the Tragedy finally come to its conclusion and humanity can begin to repair itself.
  • Trunks' Bad Future from Dragon Ball Z, devastated by the Androids. King Piccolo's conquest of Earth 300 years prior to the series also amounts to this.
  • According to Kouta in Elfen Lied's final chapter, the recent war with the Diclonii was a Class 1, 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 — all sterile. (Of course, their population was always much smaller than humans' to begin with.)
  • GaoGaiGar FINAL shows an apocalypse between Class 1 and Class 2 due to the actions of the Sol Masters trying to steal all the Dark Matter in the universe. Hundreds of well-known cities are in ruins, the ice caps melted, and there were apparently a lot of casualties. However, it seems civilization and humanity will definitely bounce back after a few months to years! All because of Courage!
  • The ten-year Time Skip in Getter Robo Armageddon has humanity ravaged by the Invaders after a hydrogen bomb combined with Shin Dragon's Getter Beam saturates the Earth with Getter Energy, allowing the beasts to roam free.
  • Heat Guy J: As explained in a Breaking Speech given by Clair, the people of Earth got a hold of the Applied Phlebotinum of the resident Superior Species. That was fine, until they started using said phlebotinum for war, and most of the population of Earth was wiped out, save for a few hundred-thousand people, who now live in seven isolated city-states (and some small towns/villages surrounding them.)
  • In My Hero Academia, it's strongly implied that something on this scale happened shortly after the appearance of Quirks, due to the rise of powerful supervillains and the comparative lack of superheroes (and lack of regulation governing what few heroes there were) to fight them. A short 'dark age' at this point in time is often cited as the reason why the world of My Hero Academia is not significantly more technologically advanced than the modern day despite being indicated to take place at least a century in the future.
  • The Second Impact in the backstory of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which killed over half of the Earth's population, rose the sea level enough to submerge entire cities and heavily altered the climate. By the time the series proper begins, civilization has gotten back on its feet in some places, but the almost complete emptiness of Toyko-3, the city the series is set in, is heavily emphasized during the series. The Rebuild movies further drive the point home that life, human or animal, can only be sustained in controlled environments after the impact.
  • This is revealed to be the case in Now and Then, Here and There. Shu is not Trapped in Another World that is a desert planet, he's actually been transported 10 billion years into the future where the sun is in the red giant phase of going supernova, evaporating almost all of the surface water on the planet, leading society to dissolve into disparate desert towns that are raided by a local tyrant who amassed power by using child soldiers.
  • Earth at the start of Space Battleship Yamato is this, verging on class 4. Humanity is barely hanging on to underground cities, with the surface uninhabitable.
  • Earth after the Zentraedi attack in Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech is around a 1.5: while most of humanity is killed off by a brutal orbital bombing, the survivors and the residents of the SDF-1 were able to repopulate though the help of cloning (which at one point accounted for more than 90% of the human population). Humanity also has plenty of advanced technology acquired from alien sources, and civilization is shown to recover both in the later Macross series such as Macross Plus, and in the Masters and New Generation seasons of Robotech (which were dubbed versions of Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA respectively). In fact, thanks to the capture of several automated factory satellites from the Zentradi, humanity in Macross advances far faster after the catastrophe than it did before it, though civilization on Earth itself still takes some years to recover from the devastation.

    Comic Books 
  • In Crimson, dragons are unleashed all over the world thanks to the Big Bad's manipulations when their king is released from prison and they provoke untold devastation. Lisseth's plan was to Kill All Humans just so she could escalate to a Class X-4 apocalypse level, but thanks to the heroes' efforts, they are able to stop her and put the disaster on this level, since humanity is shown to recover and rebuild after the incident.
  • The appearance of Eight Billion Genies granting a wish to every person throws Earth into a Class 1 Apocalypse almost immediately, as people's ill-thought out wishes lead to enormous death and destruction. Nearly two billion people, a quarter of the population, die within eight days of the genies' arrival. A large part of the U.S. has been covered by a tarp labeled "Dougland", South America is a barren wasteland, and the planet has a chunk bitten out of it by the moon. And this is before the World-Wrecking Wave that throws it into a Class 3...
  • Part of the backstory of the Post-Rapture graphic novel, Therefore, Repent!.
  • At the start of Transformers: Twilight's Last Gleaming, the United States has suffered a Continental case at the Decepticons' hands since the Cons won the battle for the Allspark in Mission City. NATO troops have to temporarily occupy the continent for security reasons, and whilst an American government is still functioning, millions are living in shelters and reliant on food aid.

    Fan Works 
  • In At the Edge of Lasg'len, 90 percent of humanity is wiped out due to an engineered plague. The only nation to survive intact is Iceland, which escaped it due to a very conveniently-timed volcanic eruption. The only other two settlements to retain functional civilization are Galway and Eryn Lasgalen, both of which had advanced warning.
  • Becoming a True Invader: Vort is heavily devastated when the Employer's army invades while making its way to Irk, but afterwards Crax is able to take control of the survivors with an intent to rebuild.
  • Played for Laughs in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, as a panicking Calvin claims Socrates' secret prank will cause this.
  • In I Am What I Am, this occurs in Xanders' future. Hundreds of portals opened all over the world, allowing millions of demons to enter the Earth and resulting in The Unmasked World. The new Watchers Council, leading the empowered Slayers gathers its forces and starts to close the portals and then joins forces with the world militaries to force the demons back. It takes months for all the portals to be closed, but by then the demon population had increased massively. While the Protectors of Humanity would keep most demons at bay, nightlife outside of a Settlement, which were newly built cities some of them the size of US statesnote , is very dangerous as its compared to life in Sunnydale, with a sixty percent chance of dying from something other than natural causes.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa: The abyssals' stated goal, the genocide of Japan and the USA, combines this with Regional Species Extinction. The death of almost half a billion is, from a purely numerical perspective, definitely survivable for humanity, but the cultural, economic and scientific losses will continue to be felt for years if not decades to come, to say nothing of the security implications of America ceasing to exist as world policeman. The addition of the other nations named in the Villain Song in Chapter 31 — Russia, the UK, China, India, and Australia — if they refuse to kowtow to the abyssals and help destroy Japan would elevate the damage to the equivalent of Continental Species Extinction if not low-level Planetary Societal Collapse. While the death of around 3 billion still leaves half of humanity alive, enough survivors to meet minimum viable population and avoid inbreeding and genetic drift, the loss of China alone and its leading industrial capacity would put the rest of the world in a bad place or even outright regress it, never mind the destruction of the other named nations. By this point, what else the abyssals have hit, including much of Western Europe and Southeast Asia, is merely an ugly cherry on top.
  • In Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee, Aleena reveals in "Prophecy of Failure!?" that outside of northern places in Canada, Siberia and Greenland and presumably southerly places like New Zealand and West Antarctica, civilization has collapsed due to Global Warming and wars for limited resources are the norm.
  • With This Ring: Earth 16 encounters quite a lot of events that cause wide-scale disruption, but a global Anti-Life infection really takes the prize for bringing the wheels of society to a halt. Large numbers of people across the world just give up and die, local leaders and even the Justice League become dictators to keep some semblance of order, and regular services are essentially on hold because no one is operating them. Mister Atom, it turns out, is primarily concerned about the fact that his newspaper hasn't been delivered.

    Film — Animation 
  • In WALLE, Earth has become an uninhabitable trash dump, but it appears that most of humanity fled on cruise ships. We don't have a lot of information about the disaster preceding the exodus from Earth — including the percentage of Earth's population that escaped into ships. It seems that a decaying form of civilization exists on the Axiom and sister ships, but from the perspective of Earth, it's a Class 4.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Thanos — the MCU's Greater-Scope Villain — faces off against the Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War in an attempt to destroy half of all life in the universe using the Infinity Stones, with the goal of saving the other half by reducing consumption of finite resources. Basically this level applied to every planet in the universe. Avengers: Endgame shows the aftermath, not only from the consequences of the deaths themselves, but the traumatization of the survivors. One gets the implication that it could have slid into total collapse without the Avengers doing all they can to help the world hold together. Most of the planets in the universe don't have that, with Captain Marvel trying to pick up the slack on her own.
  • In Children of Men, humanity is slowly going extinct due to a combination of universal infertility and the resulting societal collapse everywhere in the world but the United Kingdom, which is now fascist. Class 3 is not entirely ruled out.
  • Contagion (2011) involves a worldwide pandemic that spreads about as easily as the flu and kills about a fifth of the people infected. The US government survives, but things get pretty rough for a while.
  • In The Day After Tomorrow, the Northern Hemisphere has been caught in a sudden Ice Age. Millions of people are instantly frozen to death and survivors flee to Southern countries.
  • Escape from L.A.: Though it doesn't involve anyone actually dying, Snake activates the Sword of Damocles satellite system at the end of the movie, unleashing a massive electromagnetic pulse that neutralizes every electrical power source on the entire planet, thereby (according to the President's Dragon, at least) setting the progress of human civilization back about 500 years, leading to the deaths of thousands, if not millions, indirectly as a result of entire cities shut down.
  • Exam takes place after a global pandemic wipes out a large amount of the Earth's population.
  • In Independence Day, most major cities are destroyed, but it seems humanity will survive... though it's debatable whether an Inferred Holocaust has occurred, which would knock this film into the Class 2 range. Resurgence which takes place 20 years later confirms that the humans used the Alien technology recovered from the City Destroyers to rebuild their civilization.
  • Independence Day: Resurgence: The moon-sized Harvester ship apparently causes the rebuilt human civilization to suffer yet another one, this time due to the ship uprooting entire cities throughout Asia and the Middle East before causing the debris to rain on Europe as it passes over, and annihilating Europe and the East Coast with its landing.
  • Interstellar: Earth has suffered a Class 1 which is ongoing and forecasted to lead into a Class 5 minimum, as a micro-organism called the Blight is gradually consuming all the crops and breathable atmosphere gases on Earth. When the film starts, most governmental and military organizations have disbanded just to ensure there's enough farmers in the world to farm what few consumable crops remain on Earth.
  • No Blade of Grass: A new strain of blight strikes all members of the grass family, causing widespread famine that, in combination with numerous failed attempts to contain the plague, leads to hundreds of millions of deaths worldwide.
  • Reminiscence: There is mass flooding across the Earth, and while society is still intact, it has to live by night to cope with extreme temperatures in the day. Could slide into Class 2 or Class 3a.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, we see Earth just after World War III. Suffice to say, Vulcans were very surprised that humans could develop FTL under such conditions.
  • While the Yellowstone eruption itself only causes physical destruction on a continental scale in Supervolcano, the volcanic winter causes a global societal disruption due to massive crop failures. It's by no means the end of the world, but humanity is going to have a rough several decades.
  • In Time of the Wolf, humanity is in dire straits, although it's never fully explained why. The audience only knows that the infrastructure has collapsed, uncontaminated water is scarce, and livestock have to be burned. A nuclear disaster is likely. May be considered a Class 2.
  • The War of the Worlds (1953): The Martian machines wipe out an untold number of people around the world.

  • In Blood Music, artificially enhanced lymphocytes gain intelligence and spread quickly across the entire North American continent, converting all biomass into more entities like themselves. (Although they are capable of encoding and converting intelligences into their cellular-level versions, so nobody strictly "dies" during the epidemic.) After the incident resolves itself, North America has been wiped clean and humanity in the rest of the world is trying to adjust to new laws of physics. The intelligences in North America caused the laws of physics to fracture slightly due to the density of observation causing the laws of physics unable to follow their own rules. Surprisingly this is not Applied Phlebotinum, there are real scientific theories behind such an event, as unlikely as it is to ever occur. Think of a well-regarded theory such as Heinsenberg's Uncertainty Principle which implies that, for any given particle, you can know its position or velocity, but never both, as an observation of one will affect, and therefore prevent observation of the other. Now imagine that someone develops the technology to accurately observe and record both. There is some uncertainty (no pun intended) as to what might actually happen to the observed particle at this point.
  • In Caliphate, a nuclear attack on the United States by Islamic terrorists doesn't cause the USA to collapse, but leads to an autocratic President rising to power, declaring war on the Islamic world in retaliation by nuking all Muslim-majority countries in the world. This causes a chain of events that establish a tyrannical caliphate in Western Europe with an influx of radicalized refugees overthrowing liberal societies and implementing sharia law. In response, most countries follow the USA suit by becoming isolationist fascist regimes and by the time the main narrative takes place, natural resources have been mostly used up and the world stands ever closer to falling into a Class 2 Apocalypse.
  • In the "An Orison of Sonmi-451" segment of Cloud Atlas a series of limited nuclear exchanges has left much of the planet as "deadland" but East and Central Asia still maintain a high level of technology, even though it's an oppressive corporate dystopia. In the next segment, "Sloosha's Crossin' and Evr'thin' That Came After" this has grown to a Class 2 with only a handful of places on the planet maintaining anything like an organized society.
  • The technological apocalypse in the Daybreak series wipes out roughly ninety percent of the human race between 2024 and 2026, but the United States is still, barely, hanging on. That said, most of the surviving humans are now Brainwashed and Crazy by Daybreak and are intent on continuing the devastation until the planet becomes a Class 3. The final book in the series shows them partially succeeding as the last U.S. President resigns from office and the country ceases to exist as the final pockets of civilization are overrun.
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in the aftermath of World War Terminus, a devastating global conflict that killed off a huge chunk of Earth's population and devastated the ecosystem. The surviving humans are plagued by radiation-induced sicknesses and genetic disorders, causing many to leave Earth for off-world colonies.
  • In Doom: Hell on Earth, humanity suffers a die-back at the hands of the "demons"/Freds. All nations have been devastated and mankind is struggling to avoid extinction.
  • In The Dreamside Road, governments the world over shut down during a global terrorist attack, five years before the story begins. Most never returned.
  • In The Harem Games, some unidentified pathogen brings humanity to the brink of extinction by wiping out adult males and severely shortening the lifespan of existing male children as well as almost destroying the viability of male children in utero to the point that live birth is a newsworthy event. Furthermore, it borders on Class 2 due to the fact that the world government falls into the hands of a group of women far more concerned with retaliating against and, in their minds, preventing, the return of the abusive patriarchal societies they came from. They enact policies that make mankind dependent on artificial insemination, and force male teens to fight each other in a tournament until one is left, after forcing them into Battle Harems, with the consent of all all parties involved being a mere courtesy, at best.
  • The apocalypse in The Hunger Games was at least continental, probably global. In the first book, Katniss describes a massive natural disaster: "the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land." Wars erupted as factions tried to claim the limited remaining resources, and this appears to have led to the collapse of the North American nations that we currently know. Some time after that, about 75 years before the present, a massive rebellion resulted in further destruction; District 13 was seen as a particular threat since they controlled the nuclear power and potentially weapons, so the Capitol bombed them into oblivion.
  • In Legacy of the Aldenata, humanity has roughly five billion killed by the end of the war with the Posleen. They draw close to entering Class 2 territory, but while humanity gets hammered hard, they keep most of their technological knowledge, both native and Galactic.
  • The Thirteen Day War in the backstory of Legend of the Galactic Heroes involved a nuclear exchange between the major powers of Earth, which reduced the world's population to 1 billion and some 90 years would pass before order was restored on Earth.
  • Lucifer's Hammer looks much worse at first, what with a comet's direct impact apparently destroying civilization, China nuking Russia (and getting nuked by both the Soviets and USA in retaliation), a cannibal army roaming through what's left of California, and the lack of any organization outside the local level. But by the end of the novel, we still have electricity (from a nuclear power plant, even), at least regional government, and contact with people that can put a plausible claim toward being the national government. Amusingly, the authors claim (and suitably demonstrate!) that it was the mailman doing his job that kept civilization afloat and the story out of the nastier categories below. It's also speculated, though never established, that countries south of the equator would escape the impact and the worst of the weather changes. If that's true, Australia, South Africa and most of South America could probably maintain social order.
  • In "The Moral Virologist", the Synthetic Plague is at least a type 1, since it is intentionally designed to kill anyone who has ever had multiple sex partners, and spreads through the air so that settling down in a monogamous relationship after sowing your wild oats can't save you. The revelation that the proteins in breastmilk also activate the virus's kill switch, killing babies regardless of the chastity of their mothers pushes this potentially into type 2 range if a cure or vaccine isn't discovered in time, and possibly even type 3 if everyone who was once breastfed is lethally affected.
  • In John Barnes' Mother Of All Storms, set 20 Minutes into the Future, a UN sanctioned nuclear strike on an illegal Siberian military base sets off a chain of events that culminates in a series of super-sized hurricanes that ravage coastlines on a global scale and completely wipe out entire nations (Bangladesh, Japan, Micronesia) as well as the state of Hawaii and cause roughly two billion deaths, but thanks to the intervention of the US' last astronaut raised to a godlike state of cyberconciousness, civilization as a whole and the United States in particular are preserved with the coastal areas due to become new frontiers.
  • The main land in The Obernewtyn Chronicles. They got hit by a nuclear holocaust that left most of the land and water tainted.
  • Prior to the Old Kingdom series, something like this occurred thanks to Kerrigor.
  • This is what the time traveller Phanthro is trying to accomplish in the Relativity story "Tempest".
  • In the Second Apocalypse series, the First Apocalypse exterminated an entire cradle of human civilization, the Ancient North. Now its ruins are haunted by baying Sranc. At least they killed the No-God, though: his very existence caused infants to be stillborn for eleven years. The main point of the series is to prevent the eponymous Second Apocalypse, which would entail the resurrection of a now-unstoppable No-God and an eventual class 4-6, all so that the two surviving Ichoroi can avoid going to Hell.
  • In Sewer, Gas & Electric, a racist-designed plague turns nearly every person of black African descent on the planet into dust. Only ethnic Africans with green eyes — a minute fraction of the total — are spared.
  • In John Varley's Slow Apocalypse, a gene-geneered bacteria reduces crude oil to an unusable sludge which, along with secondary effects, shakes civilization on a global scale but it survives.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The nebulous Doom of Valyria basically wiped a large country off the face of the planet, killing 99.999% of its inhabitants and rendering the entire area a no-go zone even centuries later. Normally this would qualify as a Class 0, but as said country was the center of a continent-spanning empire, its sudden immolation resulted in societal disruptions on a global scale. The most notable one was the Century of Blood, a general Essosi societal collapse complemented by civil war, famine, and barbarian invasions, which saw large chunks of the continent depopulated. The chaos even extended to far-off Westeros (albeit to a much lesser extent), as it caused an otherwise obscure surviving clan of dragonlords to divert their attention to the western continent and embark on their own large-scale dragon-assisted conquest.
  • The Stand: The release of a weaponized strain of influenza has wiped out almost all of the human population. What remains eventually get a couple of small working societies up and running.
  • The Desolations in The Stormlight Archive, which Dalinar has visions of, had been limited to this by the Knights Radiant. The Everstorm, which is caused by the Parshendi, is the next one. Fortunately, new Radiants are popping up, so there's still a chance of the destruction being limited.
  • The background scenario for Joe Haldeman's "A !Tangled Web (1981)" and "Seasons" has it that most of the Northern Hemisphere has been destroyed in a nuclear war, but South America, Africa and Australia mostly survive. A faster-than-light drive is subsequently invented by Hartford, an Australian concern, and a Spanish- and Swahili-speaking "Confederación" pushes out to the stars.
  • The Way Series eventually features a full-scale global nuclear exchange that inflicts Class 1 damage on human civilization.
  • The Breaking of the World in The Wheel of Time. Also borders on Class 2.
  • In Without Warning, an Alternate History written in 2009 but beginning in 2003, an energy field of unknown type and origin called "the Wave" wipes out all primates in most of the Lower 48, the more populated eastern half of Canada, about 90% of Mexico and three-quarters of Cuba. This leads to a very different Iraq War in which Hussein goes on the offensive and is joined by Iran until a threatened Israel launches a pre-emptive nuclear strike on its neighbors, the global economy starts sliding down the toilet and the world in general starts edging into Mad Max territory. Also untended fires spread due to the lack of human intervention (although automatic sprinkler systems catch some), wiping out large chunks of entire cities with the resulting ash being spread throughout the northern hemisphere in "pollution storms" that wipe out major harvests. Four years later and three years after the Wave disappears, making the area it devastated enterable again in the sequel After America, the food and oil shortages caused by the pollution storms and Israel nuking the Middle East have most civilized nations still on rationing, although no-one is starving, many people growing private gardens and bicycles and horses outnumbering private cars.
  • World War Z shows how humanity gradually defeats the Zombie Apocalypse. At the end of the story, much of the world has been reclaimed (despite losing the majority of the human population) zombies are limited to a few huge herds too big to take on, a couple of cold countries where winter tends to send them into suspended animation, and the lakes and oceans of the world, where lost zombies roam on the lake bed or ocean floor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Smith and Jones": Had the Plasmavore won, her Evil Plan would've caused this in terms of humanity (likely more of a Class 4 in terms of the Earth's biosphere). Her modifications to the MRI would've sent out a World-Wrecking Wave from the moon which would've fried every last brain stem within a range that included the side of the Earth facing the moon at the time (and only that side).
    • "Turn Left": In the Best of All Possible Worlds-style Alternate Timeline, without the Doctor around to save the world, the crises escalate into this over the course of less than two years. Britain ends up under martial law with the whole of England flooded with radiation after the Titanic obliterates London, the many who are displaced from this are crowded into designated houses, and eventually the "England for the English" Law gets passed. Never mind France closing its borders after getting overwhelmed with refugees or sixty million Americans getting turned into Adipose.
  • In the backstory of The Flipside of Dominick Hide, at some point, there was a global disaster that killed a massive chunk of humanity and rendered most of the biosphere unusable. Humanity survived thanks to carefully managed habitats, and while technology has advanced again, there are massive waiting lists for anyone wanting to visit the surviving biosphere zones.
  • Jeremiah shows life after a plague has wiped out nearly every post-pubescent human being.
  • In Jericho (2006), 25 of America's major cities have been nuked, including Washington, D.C., dividing the country in three. It's arguable whether this belongs in 0 or 1, because for all we know, the rest of the world could be pretty much okay. We do know that, due to the Cheyenne Government's cover-up and Puppy-Kicking, Iran and North Korea no longer exist. Every government seems to be throwing money and goods at the US in hopes that the wounded beast won't start lobbing nukes at random. In the end, America may drag the rest of the world down with them.
  • In the series finale of Leverage, Inspector Sterling says that Interpol is refusing to prosecute the culprits of the 2008 financial crisis to avoid one of these — a global economic crash — due to lack of faith in international finance.
  • Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger: Earth has undergone a Class 1 due to the machinations of the season's Greater-Scope Villains the Galactinsects. Their interference in the affairs of Earth caused a Civil War that forced much of humanity to migrate off-world and settle on the Earth-like planet Tikyu. The humans left behind (at least those we see in Japan) have been enslaved by stragglers of the slain Deboth Army the Galactinsects vassalized in exchange for their own survival; leeching all Brave out of humanity and transforming what's left into mindless slaves. The King-Ohgers are sent here by Dagded as punishment for outwitting him; inadvertently allowing both Sentai teams to save what's left behind.
  • In Revolution, the world suffers a worldwide failure of electricity due to a nanotech plague, essentially sending it back to the 19th century techwise except for a few anomalies like automatic weapons and medical knowledge.
  • Star Trek:
    • A Class 1.5 Catastrophe is depicted in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Friendship One". The planet in question was devastated 100 years ago, and the civilisation has not recovered yet, but Voyager is able to help, and it seems that now, with atmosphere cleaned, they will recover.
    • Star Trek: Discovery begins Season 3 with the crew of the Discovery ending up in the 32nd century, where a mysterious event known as "the Burn" caused a vast majority of dilithium crystals, the power source needed for warp travel, suddenly exploding. This causes the Federation to practically collapse on itself.
  • Survivors features the few remaining inhabitants of a virus-ravaged Earth. However, enough human knowledge survives in the form of books to prevent this going to Class 2.
  • In The Tribe, a government project into anti-aging goes wrong, and the resultant virus wipes out all adults in the world. Although the surviving children resort to small insular tribes and anarchy rules periodically from then on, enough knowledge survives in books that technologies can still be slowly rebuilt by those who are smart enough, making this a solid Class 1. Its sequel series, The New Tomorrow, takes this much closer to a Class 2 as society had regressed further to a pre-industrial, agricultural society (except for the Barbs, who are hunter-gatherers) — presumably then, the attempts made in The Tribe to rebuild our technological society did not take for one reason or another...

  • The psychedelic "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo" by X-Ray Spex is a borderline case. Possibly the singer Polly Styrene only refers to our modern plastic world? In any case, this blogger used it as a title for his apocalyptic thoughts about a nuclear plant in India.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Anime Multiverse Setting of Big Eyes, Small Mouth has Enid, a world in which most of humanity was driven into arcologies underground by violent storms, that since ravage the lands. There's also a world-spanning war going on between two factions that try to restore the planet in two different ways.
  • Blue Planet's Fischer Blight caused a worldwide famine that starved billions, touched off multiple major-power wars in Asia, and left much of the planet's arable farmland desertified. Entire countries are gone, the GEO is politically unkillable because there's not enough ratifying nations left to disband it, and it's not at all clear if Earth will ever recover.
  • The Cyberpunk setting has a notable one in the form of the DATAKRASH virus, though it's not known if there were many fatalities from it. The netrunner Rache Bartmoss set up a dead man's switch that would activate two weeks after he died in 2023. The virus itself first started small doing things that'd be consider minor glitches, like swapping small piece of code here and there, but by the time it was identified as a virus by others, it had become damaging to the point that the only thing to do was quarantine sections of the internet from usage. In the end, nearly 80% of the internet was rendered unusable before it was officially quarantined completely. Due to the scale of the damage and safety concerns of potential reinfection, the world of Cyberpunk as of 2039 has mostly restored to short-range LAN connections. As of the events of Cyberpunk 2077, long-range connections have become available for the rich, but nothing on the scale of the old internet.
  • Happens a few times in the Exalted setting:
    • The Three Spheres Cataclysm at the end of the Primordial War: out of petty revenge, a defeated primordial detonates three of his souls, which annihilates most of Creation (and the people living there) and destroys "nine out of ten important things in the world".
    • The Usurpation: the whole Solar Exalted ruling class is betrayed by its underlings, which results in decades of extremely violent civil war. Hundreds of thousands are slain (both participants and collateral victims), entire cities are destroyed, and the whole High First Age society collapses.
    • The fall of the Shogunate: the Dragon-Blooded-led society of the Shogunate is attacked by the undead and the fair folk, who almost manage to destroy the world. They are driven back by the new Empress using the Realm Defense Grid, which is one of the most powerful superweapons in existence and inflicts severe collateral damage on the world in itself.
    • The Great Contagion: a supernatural plague with no known cure kills 90% of the world population, mortals and Exalted alike.
    • Before all of that, the Primordial War itself certainly wrecked an insane amount of havoc and totally changed the face of the world forever for men, gods and primordials, but it is difficult to tell exactly how since there is hardly any trace (if any at all) of the civilizations that existed before it. The only people who could maybe tell are the Celestial Incarnae, but even they were changed by the war and probably can't remember or even understand much of what happened before.
  • In Nuke War, if you win, it's only a Class 1 disaster; if everyone loses, it's somewhere from Class 2 to 4.
  • The Blight of Red Markets emerged and caused chaos everywhere at once. Large swathes of land are no longer under the jurisdiction of a national government (everything west of the Mississippi River in the US, most of continental Europe, and the Indian subcontinent, for example, are part of this "Loss") and the remnants (areas called "the Recession") are struggling to keep some semblance of order and subsistence among the survivors, and the corporations exploiting them for their own gains, while trying to deal with a virulent zombie plague and a massive grudge held by those abandoned in the Loss. Sweden is among the handful of nations to suffer little disruption.
  • Rifts varies from place to place. A number of modern cities have been (re)built, including a scant few that survived from before the magically-charged cataclysm, but only the most powerful states expand their influence beyond the borders of their own cities (or have "city" be plural, for that matter). Mankind is slowly rebuilding, but the initial catastrophe of the Coming of the Rifts was just shy of a full-blown Class 2. It's taken the world 300 years of rebuilding to reach the point of a Class 1.5 and is only a couple of good shoves from falling back into Class 2 territory. The presence of alien monsters/invaders/the return of magic has been both a blessing and a curse, as some areas have come back much faster than others, but very differently than how they were before and often with humans at the bottom of the pecking order.
  • The VITAS plagues cut back the global human population by about 1/4 in the future history of Shadowrun. Some countries weathered the pandemics better than others, with North America coming through relatively intact, while some Third World regions such as Madagascar were left virtually deserted.
  • Tech Infantry has a large meteor strike the earth and render it temporarily uninhabitable, but by that point, humans have colonized many other planets, so the species survives.
  • The post-World War III world of Twilight: 2000 is Class 1, bordering on Class 2. It's clear that humanity has a lot to do, but generally implied that civilisation would rise again. The starfaring game 2300 AD was Ret Conned into being a sequel, so this interpretation is more-or-less official.

  • Little Shop of Horrors: The opening narration to the last song of the show, "Don't Feed the Plants", implies that following Audrey and Seymour's deaths, Audrey II's saplings managed to be distributed all over the world and caused mass death and destruction, with humanity doing its hardest to fight back. This is made more obvious in the Director's Cut ending of the film adaptation, where the world is shown being destroyed by Audrey II's offspring, and the fight against them is shown to be hopeless.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue mixes this with Class 4, with the war against the Black Beast resulting 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.
  • The backstory of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc involves an incident known as "The Worst, Most Despair-Inducing Event In History" (also known simply as "the Tragedy") that allowed a terrorist organization called "Ultimate Despair" to unleash catastrophic levels of unrest around the world. Later games and spin-offs go into more detail as to exactly what happened, showing that half the human race was rendered Brainwashed and Crazy by Junko's Hate Plague, turning a large portion of the affected into psychopathic murderers.
  • Dead Rising 2 almost voids the Downer Ending of its predecessor — it's quite clear that the Zombie Apocalypse has come and gone, but thanks to the government being actually competent, civilization itself has endured quite nicely and the outbreak hasn't really knocked people back significantly — there's even a Reality Show based around it. This, combined with a way to actually fight the infection means that the epidemic will probably end with humanity on top (admittedly, it's going to take a while...).
  • The Dragon Age setting has the Blights, which are regular apocalyptic events where near-demonic creatures known as the darkspawn unite into a single horde and emerge from beneath the ground to overwhelm the surface world. These Blights can last decades at best, with the first one being the longest one in existence, lasting nearly two centuries as entire generations lived and died warring with the darkspawn and the most powerful empire of the world at the time being extremely weakened. Thedas suffered five Blights so far, but its civilizations have succeeded in rebuilding themselves afterwards.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VI, most of the world is destroyed, but humanity survives in quite large numbers and most towns are unscathed. However, Kefka is a god after this and keeps blasting the survivors when he gets bored, pushing the crisis up to Class 4/5 a year later, with plant and animal life dying off and humans struggling to rebuild in-between Kefka's rampages. During the confrontation with Kefka before the final battle, he directly states he's gonna go for Class X and beyond. The party kills him before he gets a chance to try, and the world slowly begins to get the chance to recover in the absence of constant attacks.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time had a major societal collapse two thousand years ago when the Crystals disappeared, ruining the Magitek-dependent civilization. In the present day, all that's left is one town and one isolated village. And the latter is actually a ghost town.
  • Gears of War skirts between this and Class 2. Given 99% of the human population were wiped out by the Locust, the remaining were fighting an offensive war against them and later the Lambent, and that they had to destroy their last bastion to cripple the Locust at the end of GOW2, things didn't look too rosy. Confirmed to be Class 1 at the end of Gears of War 3. Now that the Lambent and Locust were wiped out, as well as Immulsion, Humanity can finally recover.
  • The world of Girls' Frontline is recovering from a Class 1 event. Sometime in the 2030s, a military skirmish resulted in the release of the the physics-defying Collapse Fluid from a Precursor facility near the equator, which circulated into the upper atmosphere, contaminating and rendering uninhabitable most of the world around the equator. In the massive humanitarian crisis and rush to evacuate the affected areas, old political and military borders dissolved, and a new world with new superpowers and a drastically reduced population emerged. The reduced human population demanded a solution if society was to continue, and so advanced robotics were developed, and over time improvements made so that these new "Dolls" could serve not just in labor, but in the military and eventually work civilian "jobs", leading to the game's main premise of Cute Robot Girls.
  • Halo: By the time Halo 3 rolls around, humanity is in a position like this, with most non-Earth colonies having been utterly annihilated, its military reduced to a handful of fleets, and the war having killed 23 billion humans out of an estimated pre-war population of 39 billion. Nevertheless, the surviving human worlds are still able to maintain their high-tech civilizations, and after the Human-Covenant War ends, humanity as a whole is in just good enough shape to start reclaiming their lost worlds.
  • In the Improbable Island world, the EMP War was an interesting cross-level. With the exception of people with pacemakers, nobody died, yet technology was pretty much knocked back 50 years since nobody actually knew how to make silicon computers anymore.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set in a Class 1.5 scenario, due to Calamity Ganon overpowering Link, Zelda, and the Champions in their first battle, and virtually destroying the Kingdom of Hyrule. Though the kingdom itself has largely been erased for 100 years and horrible monsters freely roam the lands, far-flung towns and villages managed to escape the devastation and have mostly recovered.
  • With Neo Arcadia being the only major civilization in the world during Mega Man Zero, Craft/Kraft causes one by firing the cannon on Ragnarok at Neo Arcadia just to kill Dr. Weil. According to official sources, the death toll was approximately 20,000,000 casualties.
  • In A Mind Forever Voyaging, the 2071 simulation falls into this class. Your town of Rockvil has become the Oppressive States of America, as the Church of God's Word has put a stranglehold on the town, turning it into a religious, totalitarian police state, and higher-echelon Church members are allowed to own slaves; your Brainwashed and Crazy son Mitchell leads the raid as he arrests your wife Jill for "heresy"; you are suffering all kinds of Elder Abuse; almost all animals have suffered Planetary Multiple-Species Extinction due to starvation, neglect, and torture by religious schoolchildren who treat you like an animal and kill you by throwing stones at you; all the water is becoming polluted and undrinkable; food is quickly becoming scarce (and some restaurants are either becoming expensive or reserved only for Church members); strict rationing is in effect for what poor-quality food is still available, since the ration card should not be used twice under penalty of death; innocent people are being brutalized and even executed for minor crimes, and executions become bloody gladiatorial matches; buildings, churches, parks and a cemetery are becoming either empty or vandalized; and books and all kinds of entertainment are banned or replaced by religious hate films. And it only gets way worse in the 2081 sim...
  • Most Shin Megami Tensei games start or end up here. Some notable examples include Shin Megami Tensei I, Shin Megami Tensei IV, and Devil Survivor. Shin Megami Tensei II takes place a century after one of these.
  • Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers shows an example of this, going borderline Class 2. Vohaul takes over the supercomputer which controls every technology related aspect of Xenon and more, and turns it against the population. In game, Xenon is shown to be a hellhole, with only a few survivors. Vohaul also creates the Sequel Police, who search through the series (including games that were never released) to find and kill Roger.
  • In Sword of the Stars, humankind comes under orbital bombardment from a neighbouring, established spacefaring civilisation just after the first colony ship was launched. Civilisation collapses, then comes back in a form, but as an effective fascist dictatorship bent on forcible expansion into habitable worlds.
  • Uplink features a non-lethal Class 1 that happens when the Revelation virus destroys the Internet.
  • The destruction of the Torus Aeternal a year prior to X3: Albion Prelude caused millions of tons of debris to rain down on Earth. The Terran military reacted to the attack pretty much how you'd expect.

  • The Taikese civilization of Star Trip were devastated a thousand years ago when an entire continent of their homeworld was destroyed in an act that permanently altered the planet's climate. Exactly why or how Khut did this is unknown, but billions of people died.
  • Terinu's backstory has the Earth being subjected to an attack 500 years previously by the Varn Dominion using a titanic tractor-pressor beam to destroy major population centers via earthquakes and tsunamis. This results in a Class 1.5 destruction as somewhere between one and a half to three billion people die in the initial attack and subsequent chaos. Australia was left intact with a functioning economy however, as a sort of human game preserve. In addition, the Vulpine suffered a 50% population loss as they were hit by the "Bloody Plagues" during the subsequent human led rebellion.
  • In Wychwood, the interdimensional alien invasion devastated the planet and left most of it in ruins. A little over two decades later, the surviving parts of human society were on their way to rebuilding with the aid of some alien technology left behind... only for the rift to reopen, and a fresh invasion to begin.
  • The near-future post-Zombie Apocalypse setting of The Zombie Hunters finds the planet overrun by The Undead, and the The Virus did in fact serve as a Depopulation Bomb. What few humans remain cling very tenuously to Class 1 status, with the struggle to avoid becoming a full-bore Class 2 as a driving force in the plot. To keep their Island Military Base running, and the populace cozy they depend on teams of dormant Zombie Infectee Disaster Scavengers (the eponymous "Zombie Hunters") to venture out into "the Wastes" and risk getting bitten to retrieve much-needed salvage. They only have two helicopters and a ship to work with. A handful of doctors, scientists, engineers and Military are respectively trying to Find the Cure!, keep the island's technological infrastructure running, and build a viable secondary colony on the mainland. The loss of any of these people or things, even a relatively expendable Zombie Hunter, represents a huge setback for the potential future of the human race.

    Web Originals 
  • 1983: Doomsday, a timeline from the Alternate History Wiki, is set in a world where a nuclear war occurred in the early eighties. Most of the nations in the Northern Hemisphere cease to exist, yet the survivors manage to establish new states in their wake. The Southern Hemisphere, meanwhile, escapes mostly unscathed.
  • Coruscant in The Gungan Council had at least a quarter of its surface damaged and possibly even wiped out by a Death Star exploding in its orbit.
  • Night of the Living Alternate History depicts a Zombie Apocalypse that kills millions and devastates almost every country in the world. A lucky few, such as Australia and New Zealand, survived with minimal damage.
  • Thanks to the lack of canon in SCP Foundation material, any SCP subject could cause this or worse if it breaks containment. SCP-6004, for example, decimated global civilization and restored much of the environmental destruction wrought by human encroachment on nature when it woke up, and now the Foundation works with national governments and other anomalous organizations to limit activity that would reawaken it.
  • According to a What If? segment that answered the question of what would happen if everyone in the world jumped all at once from the same spot, Rhode Island would be overwhelmed by the volume of people trying to leave, billions would die of starvation, society would have to be rebuilt from scratch and it would not cause an earthquake.
  • In Winchester, many cities were destroyed and nations like America collapsed after WWII turned nuclear for both sides, but the trains still run and electricity can be found, with some places like Texas coming close to the pre-war standard of living.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In the Season 1 finale, Shendu's Evil Plan would likely inflict this on the world overall. He intends to summon an army of dragons from Another Dimension and use them to destroy (not rule) the whole of Asia.
  • Wakfu: The World of Twelve suffered one hundreds of years ago at the Dofus Era-Wakfu Era boundary, when Ogrest caused The Great Flood which reshaped the entire planet's topography from a large continent into scattered islands (given the nature of this apocalypse, it could've well been a mild Class 4 for the planet's land-based ecosystems). And Ogrest is still slowly causing sea levels to rise and threaten the remaining landmasses into the present day, until the heroes confront him in the OVAs.

    Real Life 
  • A "limited" nuclear exchange between the superpowers probably would be a high Class 1, depending on where the nukes landed, at least in the early part of the Cold War.
  • The Black Death in the fourteenth century halved Europe and China's populations, killing an estimated one hundred million people and setting civilizations back by centuries. It took 200 years for the world population to recover to its previous level.
  • A strong enough Coronal Mass Ejection could render most electronics (especially ones with computer chips) severely damaged and useless, which would knock humans back to the 1930s in terms of technology. However, it is temporary, so after the turmoil (caused by removing essential technology like radios, the computers in plane cockpits and the machines hooked up to hospital patients), we would be able to replace it eventually.
    • The night side during the flare would probably have electronics more or less okay, so even if one were to hit Earth (itself a very slim prospect but likely a reality some point in the future), there's a decent chance the bulk of the damage would be over the Pacific or Atlantic oceans. However such an event would damage satellites completely, and in the worst case scenarios, human progress would be stalled out for a few decades while infrastructure and industry recovered. Deaths would probably be limited to medical patients and people in situations requiring electronics at the time though.
      • More ominously however, most people in today's Western society have no access to clean water or food without electronics, which in a worst case scenario could bump this up to a Class 2.
  • The effects of climate change can easily do this, even if humans get time to adapt to the changing world. The most immediate effects start with a rise in water levels due to the melting ice caps, which means very little to us now, but in the future this rise could sink coastal cities that are unprepared to handle them. Worse, this shift in the ocean would result in the alteration of ocean currents which would radically change the weather. For example, hurricanes have been happening more frequently in America and increasingly more powerful. Some areas, like the American Southwest, are experiencing a major decrease in rainfall, rendering those areas unlivable for humans due to the lack of easily accessible water, and forest fires more severe and frequent. The climate, on average, will get hotter around the globe, but climate and weather are very different things, meaning winters could be colder (as with the collapse of the Polar Vortex which devastated North America in the winter of 2013) and snowier. A change in climate, even one as small as a few degrees Fahrenheit, could cause widespread crop failure and famine. Food prices would go up, economies would collapse, and waves of refugees would flee from equatorial areas to more habitable regions, putting further strain on the available food supply. The increased natural disasters could also result in a collapse of infrastructure, including hospitals, roads, and emergency services, causing thousands to die. It isn't all bad though; at least the northerners get to have sunnier weather on average (assuming you actually like hot weather). It just comes at the cost of immense human suffering and lives, of course.
  • About 74,000 years ago, the supervolcano at Lake Toba erupted, creating a volcanic winter that reduced the human population to within hailing distance of extinction — as few as 10,000 breeding pairs. The resulting genetic bottleneck has been demonstrated by genetic studies. A similar eruption happening now would fit quite comfortably into this class (or possibly even Class 2).
  • There are a number of Supervolcanoes on Earth and we get approximately one big eruption every 100,000 years. One example is the Yellowstone supervolcano, which could cause a Class 1 event for America thanks to the spread of lava and ash, and possibly even cause another Ice Age if the ash stays in the atmosphere long enough. While the Yellowstone supervolcano is overdue for an eruption, it's showing no signs of doing so (we would know months in advance thanks to seismic activity) and may never erupt again — but don't be disappointed, it's only the 21st most dangerous volcano in America.note 

Alternative Title(s): Planet Wide Civilization Disruption