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Bad Future / Video Games

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  • The whole plot of Chrono Trigger is based on preventing one of these by destroying Lavos before it destroys the world.
  • Let's face it, Sonic's world seems doomed to being buried in flames no matter what they do. Silver's goal in life is to prevent this.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD uses a system of Time Travel that sends Sonic into the Past or Future. Bad Future (the Trope Namer) is the result of completing a level without fixing Dr. Eggman's screwing with the past, which results in a dystopia with broken and rusted machinery everywhere. Good Future is a result of Sonic foiling Eggman's plans and ends up with advances in technology and nature existing in harmony.
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    • If Sonic Chronicles had a sequel, it may have ended up this way as well.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) Silver travels back in time to stop the fiery monster Iblis from destroying the world.
    • In Sonic Rivals 2, Silver travels back in time to stop the fiery monster Ifrit from destroying the world. Although Silver states in the DS version of Sonic Colors that the future is a lot brighter now.
    • In Sonic Generations, the Time Eater can access alternate timelines, allowing Stardust Speedway (Bad Future) and Crisis City to be playable levels.
    • In Sonic Forces, Silver travels back in time to prevent the Eggman-ruled future after this one took over the world during the game's events.
  • DC Universe Online begins with the creation of a Bad Future: a climactic showdown sees DC's superheroes wiped out by DC's supervillains, and then Brainiac arrives with a massive army and nobody is left to stop him. Lex Luthor steals some of Brainiac's tech, goes back in time, and uses the stolen tech to trigger a Mass Super-Empowering Event in order to make sure there are enough heroes (and villains) to oppose Brainiac when he arrives.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden was almost entirely this: the heroes got sent to the far future where things were a bit messed up. Played with, as through the actions of the protagonists from the past the future ends up becoming a whole lot brighter, and after going back into the past to fight the True Final Boss and averting the disaster that set off the Bad Future in the first place, the characters originally from the future go back to the same world they left, now an alternate timeline of its own.
    • Super Robot Wars Reversal, on the other hand, starts you in the Bad Future, then later takes the hero/heroine back to the past to change it.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time has a few levels that take place in a future ruled by the Vortex.
    • Ecco: Defender of the Future had three of them (though they were more Bad Presents than bad futures, but time travel caused the problem): Man's Nightmare (aka Humans Were Bastards), Dolphin's Nightmare (aka Dolphins Are Also Bastards), and the version where the foe won.
  • The old text based game Time Quest was pretty much a series of these. The bad guy was a fellow time traveler who apparently really hated the world and goes back and time and messes up a whole bunch of historical events. Failing to correct any one of them will result in a Bad Present /Future, all completely different. Ironically, only one should actually be possible at any given time, since the earliest unfixed event should negate all later ones.
  • This is the main plot of Jak II, where Jak & co are sent centuries ahead in time where Metal Heads (which entered their universe through the same portal that sent them ahead in time) have all but destroyed the planet and the few remaining cities are ruled by tyrants such as Baron Praxis and crime lords like Krew. Unusually, this bad future is never prevented from happening, and the characters opt to stay there because it turns out that Jak and Samos were actually born in that future and their younger selves were sent into the past so that their older selves could defeat the Baron and the Metal Heads. No one ever seems to notice that this actually causes their world to be ruined, since Jak was the one who activated the gate that let the Metal Heads into their world in the first place.
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  • The NES role-playing game The Magic of Scheherazade contains one of the first, if not the first, video game appearances of this trope. When the heroes visit a land threatened by a winter demon, and then use a time gate to jump thirty years into the future, they find that, according to future history, they vanished for thirty years. In the meantime, the demon won, and the world's now completely covered in ice.
  • The City of Heroes MMORPG has a mission in which the hero travels to a future in which the villains have won, as part of a story arc to prevent that from happening.
    • City of Villains one-ups it with a story arc in which the villain travels to a future in which another villain has won, as part of a story arc to prevent that from happening. There's also the part where the future is the result of the player's victory, masterminded and usurped by the latter one. The End of the World as We Know It is a result of said successful usurping.
  • In the first tutorial for FusionFall, the player is accidentally sent to one of these by an error in Dexter's time machine caused by Dee Dee, and discovers that Planet Fuse has almost completely destroyed Earth which leads to them returning to the past to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • In the fangame Mother: Cognitive Dissonance, the Applehasers are forced to flee to the future in the Phase Distorter. This is how you reach one of the Points of Power, the Abandoned Home, which is Ness's house due to being wiped from existence in a ruined Onett.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The dungeon End Time, in which players are sent to a future where Cataclysm's Big Bad Deathwing has succeeded in destroying Azeroth, as part of a convoluted plan by the Dragon Aspects to kill him in the present. In this future, the Omnicidal Maniac Cult has won, the Eldritch Abominations are free and everything is dead. The worst part? According to the Infinite Dragons (who try to stop the players from preventing this future), this isn't the worst possible outcome, and that stopping Deathwing is only going to bring about worse ones....
    • The isle of Mechagon has some quest where the player is sent to an alternate future in which the forces of King Mechagon have won the Civil War against the Rustbolt Resistance and brainwashed Prince Erazmin, potentially allowing King Mechagon to turn Azerothians into machines.
    • In a similar vein to the above-mentioned End Time, the 8.3 patch features Horrific Visions. In these visions, players are sent to alternate versions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar in an Azeroth where N'Zoth wins and the world's greatest heroes are either corrupted or fighting a losing battle desperately trying to hold on to whatever's left.
  • Legacy of Kain does this many times.
    • First, Blood Omen takes place in a typical fantasy world. Then, the setting of the beginning of Soul Reaver is a vampire-ruled hell (or paradise, for a vampire) where humans are subjugated, the skies are blotted out by huge furnaces and there are apparently no trees (at least, Soul Reaver contains no plant life of any kind).
    • Then, Raziel (for whom THAT bad future was actually a nice present) gets tossed into the Lake of the Dead to burn for eternity. He comes out some unspecified number of centuries later when the vampires are all gigantic, mutated monstrosities.
    • In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel travels into Nosgoth's past, which is a couple decades before the time of Blood Omen. From there, he travels into the future, but only a hundred years or so. This bad future looks a little like the bad future of Soul Reaver, but its badness seems to derive mostly from unpleasant weather and the building he time-travels in being abandoned, as well as demons running loose for some reason.
    • In Blood Omen 2, Kain gets KO-ed for 200 years and wakes up in a world ruled by an order of vampire hunters. Also, everything is grungy and the setting is Victorian with a side order of steampunk.
  • Day of the Tentacle does this as its future setting, where Purple Tentacle's army has dominated the world and are holding humans as pets and prisoners.
  • In Second Sight, John Vattic's adventures in the present are eventually revealed to be premonitions of a future where the mission to Dubrensk went horribly wrong; the Zener Children have been horribly murdered, Jayne Wilde has been committed to an asylum, Colonel Stark and the WinterICE team have been disgraced, and John's been confined to the Osiris Research facility. Plus, with the tissue samples taken from both the Children and John, many units of psychic soldiers are in production....
    • And that's not even the worst. In the original vision, Jayne and the team were wiped out in Dubrensk. He manages to change the outcome.
  • StarCraft II features the mission "In Utter Darkness", which is basically a playable peek into a Bad Future. Basically, in this other timeline Kerrigan was killed by the Terrans and/or Protoss, leaving the way open for the Dark Voice, a being that the Xel'Naga and even the frickin' Overmind feared, to emerge and take control of them. He and his freakish Protoss/Zerg Hybrids proceed to use the Zerg to completely annihilate every other sentient being in the galaxy, including humanity. The Protoss are the last to go. And then once he's done with them, Dark Voice promptly obliterates the Zerg as well.
  • Space Quest Twelve as depicted in Space Quest IV. Vohaul's taken over Xenon's Master Computer. Killer droids patrol the abandoned streets. any living being is taken and given a lobotomy, then fitted with a contraption that permanently holds their eyelids open. Roger's Kid Fromthe Future is a battle-hardened veteran of La Résistance, and implies that Roger (and Beatrice) do not live to see him grow up. Worse, Roger is sent back to his own timeline, and can remember what he saw, but has no way to prevent it.
  • The EverQuest: Seeds of Destruction expansion pack deals with this. The players are sent through the Plane of Time to a period where Norrath had been destroyed by the Legion of Mata Muram- creatures born of sheer chaos. The Gods have been killed, the moons of Luclin and Drinal both destroyed with Norrath, and the sun is about to go nova. The only remaining living creatures are a single tree and Zebuxoruk, the God of Knowledge. He explains that it's the adventurer's responsibility- and the future's only hope- to restore Norrath by traveling back to certain points in time to make sure that history does not deviate from how it originally played out. Meanwhile, EverQuest II has a heritage quest involving time travel to a past where clockworks had taken over the entire world just because one person got his hands on a particular robe.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Creating a Time Machine and using it to go to the fifth time from the selection in Super Scribblenauts will send you to a Terminator-esque Bad Future.
  • In Ghost Trick, you're basically changing these in the short term, per character, by preventing them from dying. You're actually already IN the Bad Future, but don't realize it until the end, when you get to Set Right What Once Went Wrong... and you wouldn't even have bothered if not for Ray's intervention. And Ray comes from an even worse Bad Future, where he failed to convince Sissel to help and absolutely everyone remained dead. More details can be had at the Alternate Timeline entry.
  • This was to be the future of Asheron's Call canon in AC2: Fallen Kings, but with the death of AC2 and the subsequent abandonment of its story, the future of Dereth remains a mystery.
  • In Rift, Defiant player characters start out in Terminus. Regulos has essentially won, and is about to snuff out what's left of the world; several major NPCs are dead or have turned traitor. (Of course, the activation of the Failsafe prevents this from ever actually happening).
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Ultimecia's time period in Final Fantasy VIII. Possibly. The Stable Time Loop means that the future Ultimecia comes from is guaranteed to happen - but just how bad a future it's going to be is the subject of some debate, since the player only sees Ultimecia's castle and its immediate surroundings, and SeeD is evidently right on her doorstep.
    • Final Fantasy XI has this in the form of Abyssea, where the player's alternate self failed to defeat the final boss, who then proceeded to not only absorb them and Selh'teus, but also turned the skies red and overran the world with monsters to extinguish all life on the planet.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2:
      • Noel comes from a future in which Cocoon falls 500 years from Serah's time, and pretty much kills most of the human populace. The remaining survivors dwindle, until 200 years later, when Noel is the only one left. The point of the game is to stop his future from happening. They do manage to fix the future, and stop cocoon from falling, and thus erasing the future that Noel came from. Unfortunately, when they defeat the Big Bad and fix the future, the goddess Etro dies due to the Big Bad having her heart. This causes time itself to be destroyed and The Bad Guy Wins.
      • Particularly illustrative example is the Academia city in the year 400 AF in the original timeline and in the year 4XX AF (a timeline "forked" by Noel and Serah's actions). In the former, it's a Film Noir-slash-Cyberpunk-ish metropolis whose management AI has gone bonkers, secretly assassinated its creators three centuries ago, and starts indiscriminately turning inhabitants into monsters to attack Serah and Noel the moment they arrive. In the latter, it is a sunny Crystal Spires and Togas utopia where the worst that can happen to you is tripping and falling on your face (and boy, do the local kids do that a lot).
    • The Shadowbringers story of Final Fantasy XIV reveals that Graha Tia (one from an alternate timeline that is) comes from a future where The Empire unleashes its Black Rose chemical weapon and it had killed everyone, including the player character. He is sent to the current timeline to prevent the event from happening.
  • Duke Nukem: Zero Hour features both a bad future, where most of civilization has been wiped out in a nuclear war, and a bad "alternate present".
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: Lucina and her fellow Children Characters are from one, where the Big Bad Grima killed and took over the Player Character's body, destroyed everything and killed every named, playable character in front of their eyes. It's so bad that every one of them, save for the enigma, Morgan, is a kind of Shell-Shocked Veteran in one way or another when they show up in the present, thanks to time travel, trying to fix things enough so said bad future won't take place (Don't ask about Morgan. His/her past is one big Noodle Incident). Incidentally, the playable Lucina's future is arguably even worse off than the 'Future Past's future, mainly because due to some unknown circumstance the children lost the jewels necessary for the Fire Emblem's awakening, rendering it impossible for the children of the future to seal away Grima, and leaving the future in ruins. The only recourse for the playable children was retreat, whereas the Future Past's children at least have the opportunity to kill and seal away Grima.
    • And later there is a 3-part DLC map, called Future Past, where we actally get to see a world that succumbed to a similar but even worse bad future and try to fix what's left of it (And both Morgans show up as minibosses - and you can only rescue one of them). If the player takes the right decisions and strategies, Lucina and the Children Characters of said world will manage to perform a ritual that kills that future's Grima so, with Tiki as the new Naga, they can begin to rebuild their home.
  • Terminator 3: Redemption, in addition to having a series of levels set in the war-torn future where the T-800 came from, has a series of levels where the T-800 is forced into a present-day prototype time machine and thrown into an alternate future where John Connor and Kate Brewster were killed, the human resistance was destroyed, and humanity had gone extinct.
  • In the game Puppetshow: Return to Joyville, the detective succeeds in preventing Felicia and her father from a Start of Darkness, but the Collector's Edition bonus chapter reveals that Joyville has deteriorated even worse because Crick, the delusional Big Bad, had survived and practically destroyed Joyville with an army of puppets and robots. Felicia and the remaining townspeople have become prisoners in their own homes, and she pleads the detective to save her father, who was imprisoned in Crick's puppet factory and forced to design the puppets that control the town.
  • In Infamous, this is what Kessler was trying to avoid. In his timeline, an unstoppable harbringer of death and destruction rose up and destroyed the world. Of course depending on how successful he was on preparing, either the world will end with no conduits, or turn his past self into said harbringer of destruction.
  • Halfway through Mission Critical, the player activates the alien device on Persephone. The nanomachines build some sort of device that, when activated, sends the player to Earth decades in the future, after a devastating Robot War. Humans are all but wiped out by a war they started against the ELFs, but the UN has activated a doomsday device that will collapse the Tal-Seto network and destroy everything in it, after sending a sublight colony ship to a system not on the network. The ELFs are determined to send you back to before the start of the game in order to help The Alliance win the war and prevent the Bad Future. The player succeeds and then opts to jump forward in time again to see the results. In the good future, the Alliance has won the war, created the ELFs and is peacefully working with them. With their help, Earth has been turned into a Dyson Sphere with humans living on the inside and ELFs living on the outside (they don't need air or sunlight). However, the player muses that the ELFs are rapidly evolving and will, eventually, leave humans behind.
  • In The Sims 3's Into The Future Expansion Pack, it's possible to cause this in the Dystopia timeline by convinving people to stop caring about the environment, which works out about as you'd expect. However, the "Utopia" future is arguably one as well, being the result when "dew" is dispersed in the atmosphere to create a world where Happiness Is Mandatory full of Stepford Smilers. Even the neutral future is heavily implied to suffer from severe climate change, though not to the extent of the dystopian timeline.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, if you accept Magister Alexius' invitation to the Redcliffe Castle, he will try to erase you from the timeline but, thanks to Dorian's intervention, instead sends you both one year into the future. In this future, the Herald was gone for a year, the Inquisition wore itself out trying to save them and collapsed, Empress Celene of Orlais was assassinated, then the Elder One basically swooped in with his demon army and took over the entire world, turning it into a living nightmare. Those of your companions who survived (plus Leliana) were tortured almost past the breaking point and eventually give their lives to help you escape back into your own time, preventing the events of this timeline from ever happening (though still giving you an idea of the Big Bad's plans ahead of time). Note that timestream manipulation is supposed to be impossible in the Dragon Age universe, but Alexius' diaries suggest that the Breach rewired some magical laws (traveling to before the breach is still impossible). Solas theorizes that the whole time trip might have been an elaborate illusion, but even he fails to see the point of it.
  • Marathon: Infinity's time travel plot has the player jumping between timelines in order to prevent the destruction of the universe by the W'rkncacnter. Along the way, there are three paths that lead to bad endings, with previews of parts of the final stage.
  • Guilty Gear has a really dark alternate future. How bad is it? Well, the ever loveable Dizzy is now an Ax-Crazy genocidal Magnificent Bastard who wipes out half of the Holy Knights fleet of airships in a single attack. Faust has regressed back into his original Ax-Crazy Mad Doctor self, and gets killed by I-no later on. Johnny gets killed, driving May and the rest of the Jellyfish Pirates over the Despair Event Horizon and causing the sweet, sisterly teenage girls to launch a suicidal attack with the Mayship, which tragically fails. Oh, and the Holy Knights? The organisation is a shadow of it's former self, and it's run by Sol Badguy, because Ky Kiske was horribly murdered by I-no - his death was what brought about the bad future in the first place.
  • In Warriors Orochi, specifically the third installment, the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors have decided to colonize the Orochi-verse, having yet to return to their proper world. Unfortunately, their hopes at peaceful life are dashed when The Hydra and Kiyomori Taira and the Demon Army utterly slaughter every single Human in the Orochi-verse sans three. The very first battle of the game takes place at the end of this timeline, with the Mystic servant Kaguya saving the trio through her ability to Time Travel, leting them return to past battles, undo the carnage and defeat the Hydra properly.
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, the Nazis have won World War II and have now ruled the world. Now B.J. Blazkowicz must fight back.
  • Bad Future is what sets the plot of The Silent Age into motion after the protagonist is told by a time traveller that The End of the World as We Know It is about to happen and is demanded help in preventing it.
  • In Yo-kai Watch 2, the very first part of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon has Dame Dedtime sending you into the present Springdale after the Ded Cloud had Inspirited everyone with Wicked Yo-Kai in Old Springdale. However, you manage to get Miradox to send you into the past and have you stop the Ded Cloud to prevent said Bad Future from coming true.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, Dusknoir describes a world where time has ceased, the planet is paralyzed, the sun never rises... This is the consequence of the Time Gears being stolen, and he's here as part of a Terminator Twosome to prevent that from happening. He lies. The paralyzed world is real, but it's caused by Temporal Tower collapsing. The Time Gears come from Temporal Tower in the first place, and Grovyle is here to put them back.
  • In Forever Home, Xero is guided by a voice who came from a bad future where Barclyss succeeded in causing nuclear winter on the planet. The guide is revealed to be a future version of Xero, who is the most recent in a long chain of guides from their own bad futures.
  • In Dishonored 2, you turn out to be playing in the bad future all along when you reach the end of the Stilton Manor mission: preventing Aramis Stilton's insanity (by going to the past and knocking him out before he can take part in the ritual that brought Delilah back from the Void) also retroactively negates the Batista Mining District turning into a dust storm-plagued ghetto in his absence. In other words, the main bulk of the mission (and, by extension, of the game) is spent in a bad future caused by Stilton's insanity, and you also get to witness how uneventful and boring the level is in the "good future".
  • One makes a brief appearance in The Messenger (2018). The root of the problem is a well-protected curse tethering a demon realm to the setting's Earth, and the plan to deal with the curse's anchor points requires a long time to run - in fact, there is simply no way to develop one key element within humanity's potential lifespan while suffering regular invasions. It isn't actually dependent on humans, so you can get it out of the distant future - but the only accessible future is one that by definition no human can survive for long in. (You are not an exception.)
  • Destiny 2: It is eventually revealed that the Exo Stranger is caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where she wakes up on the day Cayde-6 killed Taniks the Scarred, then lives into an absolutely nightmarish Bad Future where the Last City is destroyed, the Darkness wins, all the Guardians except Zavala are killed or corrupted into sociopathic beasts, Drifter dies trying (and failing) to breach the Deep-Stone Crypt, Eris Morn becomes a minor Hive God, and the Fallen and Cabal have their populations decimated. The loop always ends with the remaining forces of Light launching a final desperate siege on the Scarlet Keep, only to be betrayed by Ana Bray and subsequently slaughtered by the army of Darkness, with Stranger as the last survivor when the Traveler itself is swarmed and torn apart by the Darkness. Then she wakes up on the day Cayde killed Taniks and it starts all over again.
  • In Portal Reloaded, Aperture Science is decayed 20 years in the future, apparently because the entity in charge of the facility has been unresponsive for that period due to the actions of an unnamed rogue test subject.
  • Inverted in Ys Origin, which shows Esteria's bad past. The surface below Ys has craggy rocks, lava flows, and noxious gas everywhere, except near the Roda Trees, which are essentially oases of lushness in the ruined land. Contrast how it looks 700 years later when Adol arrives, when the surface had recovered and become a small country called Esteria whose fields are lush and has a port town by the ocean, and some descendants of the priests of Ys live there, with Goban (a Tovah descendant) assisting with Adol's raid on Darm Tower and Luta Gemma assisting with the same thing within the tower. In addition, after Adol visits Ys and finishes his journey there in the second game, Ys returns to the surface, reuniting Ys with Esteria.


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