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Continuity Snarl / Video Games

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Continuity Snarls in video games.


  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Batman: Arkham Origins caused one within itself when they decided to give Batman: Year One's corrupt S.W.A.T. officer Branden a first name: his bio in the game proper is listed as "Howard", but according to a radio transmission the player can listen to on the Cryptographic Sequencer in the "Cold, Cold Heart" DLC, his first name is "Scott."
    • Batman Arkham Underworld sees Harley Quinn in her Batman: Arkham Asylum costume—which she stated in that exact game was new and a tag at the start of Underworld says the game takes place "9 years ago", which given Batman: Arkham Knight states the events of Origins takes place ten years before it, means part of Underworld takes place not long after Origins.
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  • The Dark Tales series of PC games have a minor form of this going on for anyone who attempts to figure out which ones happen when. Many of the games contain no dated information, although they're all set sometime in the 19th century. For a long time it was presumed that the games happened in the order in which they were released, but later games in the series which do contain dated information have made this rather impossible. The fact that C. Auguste Dupin's appearance has been altered over time doesn't help either, since he looks older in some games which logically should have happened before some of the games where he looks younger. One of the games (Lenore) even causes one of these within itself in the bonus chapter, where various documents give the year as both 1890 and 1895.
  • There's a rather telling one between Dead Space and Dead Space 2; in the first game, the Red Marker is basically portrayed as benign and the key to stopping the Necromorphs, but in the second one, it's the active source of the Necromorph outbreak. Actually unsnarled (though partially through clue-fuelled deductions) in Dead Space 3: the Markers broadcast a signal that creates Necromorphs and, when their numbers reach a critical mass, causes them to amalgamate into a gargantuan alien life form called a "Brethren Moon". The constant rephrase of "Make Us Whole" from both of the Markers is them trying to compel enough people to die and become Necromorphs to create a new Brethren Moon. Isaac misinterpreted the Red Marker's pleas in the first game and inadvertently placed it upon a signal dampening device that had been constructed when it was placed there two centuries earlier.
  • There are several inconsistencies across the Diablo series, although most players pay so little attention to the story that they won't realise it.
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    • It is said that Mephisto, along with Baal, was originally captured in the desert near Lut Gholein, and later moved to Kurast. In the Diablo III timeline it says: Mephisto is captured near the jungles of Kehjistan.
    • It is said that the Ancients are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. But the Arreat Summit (the official DII website) says that they were barbarians chosen by the Ancients.
    • The writings of Abd al-Hazir say that the Tristram Cathedral was built around 912 over the vault where Diablo was imprisoned, but Diablo hadn't even been exiled to Sanctuary at that time.
    • The Diablo 1 manual says that after their exile, the Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the Far East for countless centuries; but in the game, it is stated that they did so for decades. In the current timeline, 50 years pass between their exile and capture.
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    • Before he came to Khanduras, Leoric was originally a northern lord, but this has been changed to an eastern lord.
    • In the Sin War trilogy of novels the robes of the order of Dialon are azure, but they should be crimson. Meanwhile, the robes of the order of Mephis should be azure instead of black (to match the color of their Soulstone).
    • There are many errors in Scales of the Serpent, where the statue of Dialon has a hammer instead of tablets and where the one of Bala has tablets instead of a hammer.
    • In Scales of the Serpent, the high priest of Dialon is named Arihan and is said to have had his title for a long time; but in Birthright, all the high priests are named (Malic, Herodius and Balthazar) and Arihan isn't part of them.
    • Abd al-Hazir mention that Zoltun Kulle was a Vizjerei mage and as evidence cites the Demonicus de Zoltun Kulle. In the Book of Cain, Cain suspect Zoltun was an Ennead mage.
    • There's even something of a continuity snarl between Diablo II Classic and Lord of Destruction. The cinematics of Diablo II Classic say that Diablo was defeated for a while (long enough for the news to reach Marius, at least) before Baal found Marius, took his Soulstone back, and burned the asylum down. But in Lord of Destruction, Tyrael says that while the hero was fighting in hell, i.e. before Diablo was defeated, Baal had been rallying his army and launching his assault on Mount Arreat, and had already taken over all but one of the barbarian strongholds; and Baal had already recovered his Soulstone by the time he had taken over Sescheron in the opening cinematic in Lord of Destruction. So... did Baal get his Soulstone back before or after Diablo was defeated? The official timeline rectifies this snarl: Diablo was defeated in late 1264, and Baal began his assault on Mount Arreat in early 1265, retconning Tyrael's statement and undoing the retcon on Marius's story.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In general, canon and continuity are almost meaningless concepts. Bethesda refuses to invalidate your choices about who your character is and what he/she does. Therefore, there is no definitive version of the Nerevarine/Champion/Dragonborn, etc. and very few canonized events (the main quest line usually being an exception).note  Additionally, all in-game information, books, and historical records are biased or otherwise unreliable or contradictory, with the implication that All Myths Are True and everyone is right in spite of the contradictions. From a meta-perspective, canon is complicated by the fact that the majority of the lore that elucidates the nature of the world of Tamriel comes from the work of an ex-dev and were written in an unofficial capacity after he left the studio. Many lore-scholars within the fandom actually consider his work more canon than the published games themselves, and the fact that the games reference and quote these works adds to the confusion. Rather than become frustrated, fans tend to embrace this ambiguity as one of the more fascinating elements of the series.
    • These even happen in-universe, with Time Crash events known as "Dragon Breaks." Essentially, the Dragon God of Time (Akatosh) is tampered with in some way, causing him to "forget" the true course of events for a period of time, meaning that everything that possibly could have happened during said period of time does happen, even mutually exclusive events. The end result is that the reality of the world changes in some way, often radically. The "Warp in the West" which merged Daggerfall's Multiple Endings is one of the most famous Dragon Breaks.
  • The treatment and statements about power armor in its various models in Fallout 4 creates a number of problems with continuity. Previously it had been established that the Brotherhood of Steel uses power armor models T-45 and T-51, which were both developed before the war. The Enclave has their own more advanced power armor (later designated X-01) which they explicitly developed after the war. Then Fallout 4 states that the X-01 is also from before the war, and introduces another pre-war model, the T-60, which is somehow slightly superior to even the X-01. There is an attempt to Hand Wave this by saying that the X-01 was in prototype stage before the war, and Enclave finished it, more than 150 years later. Another new oddity about the power armor is that they now require fusion cores for power, which can only run a power armor for about ten in-game hours at moderate activity, whereas in earlier games they were explicitly stated to have their own fusion reactors.
    • The game introduces Vault 95, whose purpose was to hold hundreds of drug addicts, cut them off completely when the war begins, then give them a huge stash of drugs 5 years later. One of the terminals inside mentions Jet as one of the drugs shipped into the vault, yet 2 introduced Jet as one of the few drugs made after the war (from mutated cow dung).
    • A pre-war science lab in the game boasts in their pre-recorded orientation about having helped the US government create the giant robot Liberty Prime, which they say was used to Liberate Anchorage, Alaska during the early stages of the war with China. Yet 3 explained that, while the US planned to use Liberty Prime to take back Anchorage, the development of power armor made that unnecessary, and in fact, Liberty Prime's existence was never public knowledge.
  • The Final Fantasy series has its share of them
    • Final Fantasy III can't make up its mind on who its protagonist is. In the Famicom original, the main protagonists were four nameless Onion Kids with simple personalities and no individual identities. The Nintendo DS remake rebooted them into four distinct characters with different backgrounds: Two village boys named Luneth and Arc, a blacksmith's daughter named Refia and a knight named Ingus. However, in the cross-franchise fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy, the representative for III, much like the Warrior of Light, was a single Onion Knight who looked and acted little like the remake characters. Ever since then, adaptations of III tend to use the remake cast while spinoffs (particularly those related to Dissidia) prefer using just Onion Knight and, aside from Onion Knight having costumes that make him resemble two of the heroes, the only interactions both protagonists have with each other are a few rare throwaway lines and a Soul Break animation in Final Fantasy Record Keeper
    • The Nibelheim incident in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. The original game alone provides about three different versions of the event because of the people involved (Cloud's memories are messed up, Sephiroth deliberately manipulates him and Tifa doesn't know all the details). While at some point we do get what seems to be what actually happened, when the other parts compilation retell the events each version is different and multiple details don't match up. For example, in Last Order Sephiroth deliberately jumped into the Mako shaft, while every other version has him thrown into it by Cloud. Also, Crisis Core has Genesis present during the events, something that doesn't happen in any other version.
  • Gradius has given fans attempting to construct a coherent timeline for the franchise many headaches. Especially for the spin-offs, which are usually dated as "X years since the war against the Bacterions" when there have been no fewer than six such wars. And that's not even counting trying to incorporate the Otomedius spin-offs into the primary timeline (the franchise is unclear as to whether or not Otomedius is an Alternate Continuity).
  • Halo's canon policy that "new > old" naturally results in a lot of these.
    • The universe can't make up its mind on whether there was a single "class" of Spartan-IIs or more. The various writers have changed the answer to that question more than nine times, which is summed up at this Wikia Wikianswers page.
    • Halo: The Fall of Reach established a very precise timeline for the titular battle. And then Halo: Reach came along and ruthlessly snarled it up, so much so that the timeline issues still haven't fully resolved despite Three Four Three Industries' best efforts.
    • Forerunner/Flood-related lore is rife with this, even though The Forerunner Saga made a pretty decent effort to reconcile Bungie's and 343 Industries' respective portrayals, with the canon explanation being that any information that gets retconned away had come from an Unreliable Narrator or Expositor. Most notably, early lore strongly implied that humans were the Forerunners' direct descendants, before later media changed them into two separate but probably-related species. Other examples included the vastly different portrayals of the Didact (which were only reconciled by revealing there were two of him), the revelation that most Forerunners actually disliked humanity despite previous media establishing the latter as the designated "Reclaimers" to the former's legacy, the shifting timeline of when the Forerunners first became aware of the Flood, and whether the motivations of ancient humanity's attempt to conquer Forerunner worlds leaned towards those of Invading Refugees merely seeking to replace colonies lost to the Flood or those of Well-Intentioned Extremists trying to halt the Flood's spread.
    • See also Halo: Nightfall under Film.
  • Jak II: Renegade establishes that Baron Praxis's rule has been going on for a while - Ashelin mentions looking down from the palace and dreaming of a better way when she was a little girl, and since she's in her early twenties at the time, which indicates that Praxis's dystopia lasted at least fifteen years. The heir to the throne, aged somewhere between five and seven, had presumably been raised in secret. Makes sense? No, because Jak III Wastelander establishes that the city's rightful ruler, Damas, was overthrown by Praxis after his son, the heir, had been born, instantly shaving a decade off Praxis's actual rule and making Ashelin's definition of "little girl" look very questionable.
  • Kingdom Hearts suffers immensely from this. In the very first game, Riku tells Sora that there can't be two Keyblademasters and takes the Keyblade from him. The letter that King Mickey sends to Donald and Goofy also implies that Sora is THE Keyblademaster by telling them to find the one person with the key, but what happens at the end? We see King Mickey with a keyblade of his own just like Sora's. It doesn't help that while possessed, Riku wields another type of Keyblade and that now virtually everyone in the series has one. One could easily say that he just made a mistake, but that isn't even hinted to be the case.
    • Namine is simultaneously both an example and not an example. She was somehow born from Sora's body and Kairi's heart when Sora became a Heartless in the first game giving her power over his memories. Roxas is kinda like her twin, born from Sora's body and heart (and taking on the form of Ventus because his heart was hiding in Sora and it's hinted part (or all) of it stayed in Roxas). The series explains this quite clearly and points out Namine is a special type of non-standard Nobody. This is minor issue until you realize Sora also gets his body BACK within minutes of losing it due to the now restored Kairi's powers as a Princes of Heart, resulting in Roxas getting NONE of Sora's memories, and it's unclear if Namine got any of either of her "parents"' memories. And let's not get into Xion and the fact that she's Sora's memories made manifest while also being a replica of Sora....Yes, the series explains how all this happened quite clearly! But it doesn't explain how any of that CAN happen.
  • While the individual Klonoa games have decent plotlines, the inter-game continuity gets rather ridiculous. In Door to Phantomile, Huepow is revealed to be the prince of the Moon Kingdom using the Ring Spirit form as a disguise, and is tragically separated from Klonoa at the end of the game, both of which are ignored when he reappears in later games. Not only does Joka have a different personality in every game he appears in, but he already knows Klonoa in half of them, and is killed in the other half. And Chipple, a random villager from Empire of Dreams, showed up in Dream Champ Tournament, where he had become Klonoa's close friend... and a kangaroo.
  • The Legend of Zelda continuity is very confusing for the simple reason that until Skyward Sword, we didn't have the whole picture, and, of the bits and pieces gotten, weren't told how they fit together, leading to two decades of debate as to how to organize anything. It was generally accepted that certain games could be grouped together (The Minish Cap leading into the Four Swords games, or A Link to the Past leading into Link's Awakening, for example); the problem for fans was sorting these groups into a viable chronology. The use of a Timey-Wimey Ball in Ocarina of Time opened up the possibility that Alternate Timelines were in play, and Word of God itself was contradictory. Franchise creator Shigeru Miyamoto, not all that concerned about the timeline due to feeling that stories in video games should be peripheral to the experience, if existent at all, seemed to endorse that the various games may be corrupted retellings of each other. Eiji Aonuma, who joined the Zelda team starting with Ocarina of Time and became series director shortly after, preferred there be a concrete timeline. Things were finally sorted out in late 2011 when the two laid down an official timeline in the Hyrule Historia artbook,note  but the confusion will return anew each and every time a new game is nearing release.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is quite possibly the most confusing example yet, as it was seemingly designed to be impossible to give an exact placement on the timeline. All that can be said with any degree of certainty is that it's implied to be the chronologically last game in the series (at least so far) and serves as a merging point for the three timelines but only superficially (as in, similar or identical events to Breath of the Wild would eventually happen separately in all three timelines without the three actually joining). The fact that it references all three timelines has led to no shortage of confusion, and that's not including the bizarre inconsistencies about which things from the same timeline are and aren't maintained. For example, Wind Waker establishes that in the many years it takes place after Ocarina of Time, the Kokiri became the Koroks and the Zora became the Rito; in Breath of the Wild, the Kokiri still became the Koroks, but the Zora not only didn't become the Rito, but the two races now both exist simultaneously with no apparent connection between the two.
  • Mabinogi has this, much to the ire of some of the community.
    • In Generation 11, you're told that the Shadow Realm was created out of the grief of Price Tuan. Cichol reveals in Generation 16 that it's the fault of the Soul Stream. The Soul Stream is also responsible for the desolation of Metus and the Beach of Scathach.
    • Cichol also says that the desolation of Another World was also caused by the Soul Stream. Upon arriving to Another World in Generation 1, under the pretense that you're going to the fabled paradise of Tir Na Nog, Dougal (the only one there) tells you that it is another world destroyed by the Fomors.
    • In Generation 4-8, you learn that the Elves and Giants are beings cursed by Irinid (Neamhain) herself. As per the renewal of Chapter 1, Elves and Giants can now participate in the quests in order to obtain their transformations instead of doing the string of quests they originally had in order to obtain their transformations (which were actually removed). Most of the focus of becoming the Paladin was on making the actual armor to go on the journey to obtain the spirit that will enable the Milletian to become the Paladin at will (with a time limit). When the Milletian actually does transform, they wear the armor that they journeyed to create. Elves and Giants do not. They still become the Falcon (if you're an Elf) or the Savage Beast (if you're a Giant). In addition, the skills respectively are still called "Fury of Connous" and "Daemon of Physis," respectively. One begins to wonder why Morrighan would send beings cursed by her sister to get blessed behind said sister's back, and how they just happen to transform differently from the humans.
  • Mega Man has a real weird timeline. Mega Man X was supposed to end after Mega Man X5, but didn't, leaving a complicated mess of the continuity of its series.
    • Mega Man X: Command Mission takes place during 22XX, which is when the Mega Man Zero series does. Bosses regularly refer to Zero "Century-Old Junk" (literally, not figuratively), and given how the X series takes place in 21XX, things don't fit, especially considering the time needed for the Elf Wars and such.
      • This discrepancy is explained away by two facts: Command Mission is a non-canon Gaiden Game and Zero is commonly assumed by fans to occur in 22XX but is actually given no exact date in-series. It's only said that it takes place a century after the Elf Wars, which in turn are set sometime after the currently Left Hanging X titles.
  • Metal Gear Solid originally started off as a direct sequel to the events of MSX2 games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake with a few slight retcons, but as the series went on the retcons started piling up. Most notably with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which contradicted most of the backstory that was established in Metal Gear 2, specifically Big Boss's military history prior to the MSX games (including the moment when he lost his eye) and his age (previous games established he was born during the 1920s, when he wasn't even 30 yet in 1964).
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Each character gets his/her own ending, they often intersect, with other character's endings, and are often in direct conflict with other character's endings, showing one character winning a battle in his own ending, but being killed in the same battle by his opponent in his opponent's endings. Background information in the next game says which endings are canon, and which aren't. The official word on the Mortal Kombat: Deception endings are only on Armageddon's website: Basically, Shujinko and Nightwolf's endings worked together to end Onaga. For the Mortal Kombat: Armageddon endings, replace "Background information in the next game" with "Opening cutscene in the next game": Basically, either the backfiring of Taven's plan to Kill 'Em All empowering everyone instead allowed Shao Kahn to win, or Kahn just flat out won on his own through his sheer power.
    • There are more straight examples of snarls in the actual story, mostly the result of the lead writer shift after MK4. The two which stand out the most are Scorpion's oath to protect Sub-Zero (started in his MKII ending, supported in the official comic and UMK3 ending, then ignored completely in MK4, with following games being ambiguous about the whole ordeal, or portraying him as an Ax-Crazy revenge-seeker), and Kintaro's fate after MKII (with 3 different sources, all of debatable canonicity, stating different and contradicting fates for the Shokan).
    • Another big snarl is that at the end of MKII, Shao Kahn is Killed Off for Real, but in 3 he returns alive and well to take over the world.
    • Yet another headscratcher concerning Scorpion occurs because of the above Word of God statement about Onaga's defeat in Deception. After being thrown into Shang Tsung's Soulnado at the end of Deadly Alliance and whisked away to heaven, Scorpion made a deal with the Elder Gods: if he became their Champion and vanquished Onaga, they'd revive his dead Shirai Ryu clansmen. In Armageddon's Konquest Mode, Taven runs into Scorpion, who is furious because the Elder Gods revived the Shirai Ryu as undead abominations. This would suggest they were being dicks who didn't uphold their end of the bargain when Scorpion delivered (as seen in his Deception ending), but that would go against Shunjiko being the one to take down Onaga in-canon (with some help from Nightwolf).
  • Myst created an interesting continuity snarl when it retconned the prison books of Myst and Riven into actual ages. That is, the books themselves were not intrinsically special or different from other linking books. Myst IV goes into great detail as to what the Red and Blue ages (named Spire and Haven) are like. While this works for Myst, it violates the events as they unfold in Riven. To beat Riven, you have to trap Ghen in a prison book. This book was presented as a special "one man prison" book, which is a very important plot point. Ghen's no fool; he isn't going to go into any random book some guy brings him. To ensure it's safe, he asks you to go through the book first. This works out in the end because it is a one man prison; when he comes through the book after you, you are freed and he is trapped. If that book were a regular linking book, you'd be trapped with a very pissed-off Ghen... who had the sense to bring a gun.
    • The official version is that that the "real" Stranger talked his (or her) way out of it, which the player can't really do.
    • It isn't the only retcon in the game's canon that poses problems for Myst. When the official rules for linking books were more clearly established, they included the fact that sound doesn't travel through a linking panel. This means that the stranger couldn't have talked to Sirrus and Achenar, regardless of whether they were in prison books or prison ages, nor could he have talked to Atrus through the linking book to D'ni at the end of Myst. This is compounded by the fact that Sirrus, Achenar and Atrus definitely shouldn't have been able to see the Stranger, as although the linking panel lets you see an Age, you clearly can't see back through a linking panel even inside Myst (including the D'ni book, since when you get to D'ni you can't see back into the library, so how did Atrus see the stranger?).
  • Ōkami may only be a 2-game series, but it has one thing it can't agree with itself on. Ōkamiden introduces Akuro, who is the Big Bad of the game. Now, dialogue when he's introduced heavily implies that he is the successor of the previous game's Big Bad, Yami. But later, the Knowing Jewel claims that he merely used Yami as a vessel. Keep in mind that Akuro didn't exist in the first game, and that both of these versions of what Akuro is come from the same game! Jeez!
  • The Persona titles have generally been implied to take place in the same universe, despite great differences between the first three games (actually two, but one is a two-parter) and subsequent Persona games. This is because both games in the aforementioned two-parter, Persona 2, end with a massive Cosmic Retcon, the second of which may have reset everything from the first game as well. This is made even more confusing by the fact that the later games make several Shout-Outs to the original two/three in the forms of former playable characters being mentioned on TV or by other characters. In addition, the nature of the standard enemies do not remain consistent; P1 and P2 have them manifesting as sapient demons, Persona 3 and Persona 4 have them manifesting as feral "Shadows", and Persona 5 splits the difference, with the enemies taking the form of sapient demons but being referred to as Shadows.
    • The portrayal of the Shadows themselves is inconsistent. For example, while Persona 4 portrays Shadow Selves as being their "real" counterparts' untamed Personas, Persona 2 portrays them as capable of existing even if their counterparts already have their Personas. There are even inconsistencies between Persona 3 and Persona 4 (which definitely share the same universe); the Persona 3 Club Book states that shadows are fragments of Nyx that exist inside all humans, while Persona 4 (re)establishes them as products of the human psyche (which carries through to Persona 5). That said, most of these differences could be chalked up to the individual influence of each game's main supernatural antagonist.
    • Even the details regarding the eponymous Personas themselves constantly change:
      • While P1 and P2 indicate that you have to first perform a certain ritual before you have the power to summon a Persona, P3 implies that most Persona users are simply born with it, P4 has its characters obtain them by simply accepting their Shadows, and P5 shows them as being obtainable by anyone who visits the Metaverse.
      • While P2 indicated that all Persona users can summon their Personas in the physical world without any technological assistance, subsequent games portray most Persona users as needing an Evoker to summon their Personas when they're not inside the collective unconsciousness.
    • Persona 4: Arena directly contradicts Persona 3 and Persona 4 with the characters' choices of Personas. All of the Persona 4 characters are stuck with their Initial Personas, despite the game referencing Chie and Yosuke’s completed Social Links (meaning they should have their Ultimate Personas instead), and too little time has passed for them to have regressed. Teddie is the most glaring example as his Star Social Link is one of three that levels up automatically in Persona 4 and must be completed in order to reach the True Ending (which Arena explicitly follows). Even more confusing is Aigis, who has Pallas Athena even though in P3's "The Answer" Aigis inherits the P3 protagonist's Wild Card and Pallas Athena is changed into Orpheus. "The Answer" is clearly canon because Erebus appears in Elizabeth's story and Aigis is stated to possesses the Wild Card. It is unlikely that Aigis was able to re-fuse Pallas Athena since Igor tells Aigis that she has the access to the same number of Personas through the Wild Card as her predecessor did.
    • Adding to the confusion, while this surprisingly obscure interview with Persona 4's staff indicates that the games do all take place in the same verse, Persona Magazine (which began publishing sometime after the 1UP interview) often ignores P1/P2 continuity and referred to the current Persona-verse as "the P3/P4 world".
  • While early Pokémon games' differences between "Generation" versions are mostly aesthetic, later years significantly change the plot and in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire's case, who the main antagonist is. Then there's whether the original releases of a generation are canon, or if only their respective remakes are.
    • Pokémon Black and White has even more differences between the two versions than previous games, although it is implied that both versions take place in parallel dimensions of each other that are able to interact with each other (trading, player battles and the Entralink).
    • Continuity in Pokémon games is usually thought of as being based on how the Pokémon themselves are traded from game to game, but this can get a bit confusing when you factor in Pokémon Colosseum and its sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. The latter takes place five years after the former, but both games are only compatible with the GBA games, which are assumed to take place at the same time. The Gen 4 games (the Sinnoh-based games and Johto-based remakes) take place three years after the GBA games (the Hoenn-based games and Kanto-based remakes). The Black and White games take place further into the future (Since an NPC from the Gen 2 games/Gen 4 remake settled down and now has a school-aged child, it's thought to be at least 5 to 8 years) and their direct sequels are set 2 years after. Pokémon X and Y are thought to take place at the same time as Black 2 and White 2.
    • This gets even more pear-shaped if you decide to consider the spin-off titles. Depending on the title in question, it can be canon with the main games (Snap and Ranger) or it exists in completely different continuities (Mystery Dungeon, TCG, Hey You, Pikachu! and its spin-offs, etc.).
    • Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire can't seem to decide where they fall in the continuity. On the one hand, they're explicitly stated to take place before Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon X and Y (the latter of which is concurrent with Pokémon Black 2 and White 2), which would put them at the same time as the originals (parallel to the Kanto games). However, there are a lot of Mythology Gags to the original Ruby/Sapphire, which explicitly point out a ten-year gap (such as an NPC mentioning how Pokémon Centers had a second floor 10 years ago). Some believe they imply a Continuity Reboot for the entire series, with the existence of Mega Evolution as the nail.
      • To make it worse, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire have the Battle Resort, in which it is implied that the Battle Frontier is planned to be built. Thus it should take place before Emerald, where there is a Battle Frontier on the same island.
      • The postgame segment also all but states that the remakes take place in an alternate timeline from the originals, and that the portal the scientists were planning to send the meteor through would have sent it to the universe containing the original games (which would not have had the means to deal with the meteor). The nail is not Mega Evolution itself, but the firing of AZ's ultimate weapon—which ran on the "Infinity Energy" that induces Mega Evolution—three millennia prior to the events of X/Y.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon adds another twist to the mix. It's supposed to take place roughly 2 years after X and Y on the "Mega Timeline", but there are some oddities here and there:
      • In the post-game you encounter and battle Red and Blue who are now re-designed to appear in their twenties, but you're also able to battle Wally (or rather his Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire incarnation) but he still appears to be 10 years old.
      • The demo for Sun and Moon allows you to obtain a Greninja, but this is no ordinary Greninja as it can transform into the previously anime-exclusive Ash-Greninja. The implication that this Greninja used to belong to Ash from the Pokémon anime has raised a few eyebrows.
      • Lastly, Pokémon Red and Blue have been released on the Virtual Console and the Pokémon obtained in these games can be transferred to Sun and Moon via Pokémon Bank. Making the original Gen 1 games compatible (and therefore canon) with the rest of the series from Gen III onward. Later releases of Pokémon Gold and Silver for the Virtual Console would also bring the original Gen 2 games into the mix as well.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which are kind of the third version but not quite (since it's still a pair of games rather then a single definitive version of the generation) is another kettle of fish entirely. This game is considered to be an "alternate retelling" of the base Sun and Moon games. It starts off similarly, but it veers off the rails here and there:
      • The biggest difference is the appearance of the Ultra Recon Squad, a group of Human Like Aliens who come from Ultra Space. Necrozma, who is a Pokémon that comes from Ultra Space (or their part of Ultra Space) is threatening to consume all the light in the universe. Necrozma eventually takes over as the main antagonistic force in these games rather then Lusamine.
      • The postgame features a different side story: Episode Rainbow Rocket. Using Ultra Wormholes, Team Rainbow Rocket is comprised of all the Team Leaders from the past main games who come from universes where they won, all lead by Giovanni. This includes Maxie and Archie, who have their original Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire designs as opposed to the "Mega Timeline" versions.
      • Ultra Space is more explorable It's made up of both distant planets, Alternate Dimensions and Alternate Universes, including one that's a version of Hau'Oli City that's been hit with a nuclear meltdown. You can also find regular Pokémon and Legendary Pokémon from past games in these Ultra Spaces, but no explanation is given as to how they got there.
    • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! is an odd one as they're remakes of Pokémon Yellow but instead of Red and Green/Blue appearing as the player character and rival, they're separate characters that are already accomplished trainers, meaning that they've gone through Kanto without encountering Team Rocket Also, Blue/Green finally makes an appearance in a game.. There's also an appearance of Mina from Sun and Moon, but she appears to be about 13 to 15 according to an official character artwork, meaning that the Lets Go games take place only 3 or 4 years before Sun and Moon/Ultra Sun and Ultra Moonnote 
  • Given the series' overarching reliance on strange conspiracies and convoluted plots, it's actually surprising how infrequently this trope pops up in Resident Evil. But, there are a few areas where the continuity gets tangles...
    • The biggest series-wide tangle is the precise details on what happened in Raccoon City; the game is visited in Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and Resident Evil Outbreak, and there are some details that arguably don't line up, although the one that everyone agrees on is a window that is unbroken in RE2 but which should be broken, given that Nemesis leaps through it in RE3.
    • The Chronicles games are rather bad about this, adding new events and filling in holes in the established canon (most notably between Code Veronica and RE4), while at the same time also contradicting quite a bit of it. Really, figuring out the true continuity of Resident Evil is only slightly easier than The Legend of Zelda. This is, however, debated, since there are fans who argue that the "retellings" chapters aren't intended to be canon, whilst the Chronicles-unique stories don't actually contradict anything.
    • In Resident Evil 1, the official canon is that both of the protagonists, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, and both of the secondary characters, Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers, survived the events of the Arklay Mansion. There's just two problems. The first is that nobody knows just which character was actually exploring the mansion; the game itself (at least in its 2002 remake) tries to alleviate the problem somewhat by claiming that only one protagonist was exploring the mansion, and the other spent the time imprisoned in the final hidden lab. Which then becomes problematic because there's no official word as to which protagonist was free and which was imprisoned. The second problem is that the player only encounters one secondary character in-game, depending on their chosen protagonist. So that leaves players struggling to figure out how the Arklay Mansion incident really "went down" to explain how all four characters survived.
    • Surprisingly averted in Resident Evil 2; though the game has two completely separate stories in it, the Continuity Snarl was avoided by the simple expedient of subsequent games invoking elements that only come from one story. Namely, Sherry Birkin's infection with the G-Virus, which only happens in the Claire A/Leon B story. Arguably, the trope is featured in a downplayed format, in that some puzzles that a character solves in their A scenario will appear in the other's B scenario, which is supposed to be happening concurrently.
    • In contrast to the original, the Resident Evil 2 Remake has become infamous for its continuity snarls, which result in a wide array of Adaptation Induced Plot Holes. Whereas each linked A/B scenario pairing in the 1998 original game produced a distinct story, the Leon and Claire campaigns in the 2019 remake are virtually identical — worse, the story of each characters remains fundamentally unchanged, barring the removal of the interactions with Marvin, in the 2nd Run game mode. Which is suppose to display the "what the other character was doing when you didn't see them" tale, just like the B scenarios in the original game. This results in the character who is supposed to come along chronologically afterwards having to solve the exact same puzzles and having the exact same boss-fights as the character who chronologically came along first. Specific problems:
      • The 1st Run character has to find three medallions held by three statues to unlock a secret passageway under the plinth in the main hall of the R.P.D.S. The 2nd Run character then comes along and finds a note from the 1st Runner saying where they went... and has to retrieve the three medallions from the same three statues again.
      • Both characters need to find a pair of electronic circuit board components for a different puzzle. Each finds one piece in a unique area... and then the second piece for both characters is in the clock tower, needing them to shake the clock bell out of its housing to retrieve it. That means that the 1st Run character comes along and shakes the bell free... and then the 2nd run character comes along and has to do it again!
      • In Claire's story, Mr. X is killed by Birkin in the tunnels under the orphanage. In Leon's story, he shows up alive and unharmed to harass Leon in the greenhouse, and serves as Leon's penultimate boss.
      • The most infamous aspect of all is the way that Annette gets mortally wounded and dies... twice... at completely different regions of the underground lab, and canonically within minutes of meeting the 1st Run character.
  • RWBY: Grimm Eclipse contains a few contradicting elements which make it impossible to fit in RWBY's timeline. Yang still has both her arms and Pyrrha is still alive, which would place the events of the game during or before Volume 3. However, Jaune has awakened his semblance, which would place the game sometime after Volume 5. Volume 5 (or 4, or that matter) wasn't even out when the game was released, making the latter point a case of Early-Bird Cameo.
  • The Sims has suffered more and more continuity errors with each new installment of the game.
    • Between The Sims 1 and The Sims 2, Michael Bachelor was revealed as Bella Goth's brother, and apparently switched birth order: he was fresh out of college in the first game, while Bella was married and had a child; but in the second game, he appears on the family tree as older than Bella and his ghost shows that he died of old age.
    • In Strangetown, Lola and Chloe Singles are shown as twins in one of the family photo albums, but are several days apart in age.
    • In Veronaville, the birth order of the Capps is notoriously confused. While Cordelia is named by her father's memories as his youngest child, the family tree names her as oldest. A generation down, the family tree, Consort Capp's memories, and the memories of the siblings themselves place the birth order of Cordelia's children as going either Juliette, Tybalt, Hermia; Tybalt, Juliette, Hermia; or Juliette, Hermia, Tybalt. On the other side of the family feud, Bianca Monty is shown in the family tree to be older than Antonio and Claudio, but Antonio starts off older than Bianca. Isabella Monty also has no memories of the births of her children.
    • Between The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, Kaylynn Langerak went from being much younger than Mortimer and Bella Goth to being slightly older than them. Additionally, Mortimer went from being apparently older than Bella to being exactly the same age as Bella.
    • The Sims 4 pulls an outright Retcon on the backstory of the Caliente sisters, turning their mother from Nighat Caliente, who died when they were children, to Katrina Caliente, who is raising them as a single mother. Additionally, the devs have stated that Don Lothario has a crush on Katrina Caliente, which means that between games he became older than the Caliente sisters, who were exactly his age in Sims 2.
  • The Blaze/Silver/Eggman Nega issue in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. In Sonic Rush, Blaze is from an alternate dimension. In Sonic '06 she is from the future (and seems out of character). And the events of Sonic '06 were erased from the timeline in that game's ending, making things more confusing. Additionally, due to that fact she was from the future, she could be REAL version of Blaze, who isn't born until later. The other one DID come from an alternate universe...
    • Later on, in the DS version of Colors (which may or may not be canon), Blaze appears alongside Silver during the third mission on Sweet Mountain and, should the player receive an S rank in their side mission, after a battle with Orbot and Cubot Silver claims to have felt like they'd fought together before, a nod to '06 Blaze (who was Silver's best friend). Tails comments that perhaps they had been partners somewhere, some time.
    • And then there is Generations. Blaze is first seen at Sonic's birthday party interacting with Cream and her in-game character profile notes that she's from another dimension, indicating that this is the same Blaze from Rush. As a Continuity Nod (of sorts) to '06, Blaze is found in Crisis City. Here's where things get wonky. After Sonic completes the Crisis City Act 2 mission "Blaze: Piercing the Flames," Blaze will remark, "I never thought I'd find myself in Crisis City again," bringing up the question of how exactly Blaze knew of a place that existed in a timeline that was erased from history.
    • Additionally, both Silver and Eggman Nega (characters with prominent ties to Blaze, but connected to her by different games) are drawn into this snarl as well, as the two appear in the Rivals series — sans Blaze. Here, Silver is still from the future, but Nega (established in Rush as Eggman's parallel self from the same dimension Blaze is from) is now a descendant of Eggman, embittered by how Eggman's failures have tarnished the family name in the future and is now an enemy of Eggman instead of working with him. Later on, Nega reappears in Rush Adventure and Rivals 2 with the conflicting backstories of his appearances between Rush and Rivals. It's implied that, due to '06 slamming down on the Reset Button until it cracked, Silver now hails from the Rivals future and Blaze is from Rush (with no official word on Nega with his lack of appearances since), but Silver is still the Rival Battle for the Modern era of Generations (which takes place in Crisis City, no less) and the ending of Generations has him and Blaze briefly chatting it up before everyone says their goodbyes to Classic Sonic and Tails.
    • The confusion was finally cleared up in 2012, with Takashi Iizuka stating that Blaze is from an alternate dimension, while Silver and Eggman Nega are from the future.
    • In Sonic Forces, Tails instantly recognizes Classic Sonic as an alternate universe counterpart to Modern Sonic, rather than explicitly being his time displaced younger self like Generations portrayed him as.
  • The Star Revenge series of Super Mario 64 ROM hacks. Seriously, just look at this. A lot of the confusion comes from remakes of the games having different stories than the original and the story splitting between both versions. Also, Time Travel is involved. The timeline is a mess and that picture even lampshades it. note 
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic is set 40 years after the Tales of the Jedi comics, yet have very little to do with them, to the point where Jolee Bindo would have married his secret wife during a period where open marriage in the Jedi Order was common.
  • Street Fighter:
    • A lot of it is because II become an iconic landmark revolutionary sea-changing event of events which changed the universe forever and ever (to the point where everyone got plain sick of it). If this weren't the case, Capcom probably would've just relished their success and quietly released Alpha as a fun, inconsequential one-off featuring the unselectable fighters in the first game, then made a full break with III. As it is, II and its continuity has reached such an enormous Shuma-Gorathian level that it's dragged the rest of the Street Fighter universe into it. Hence, Street Fighter IV. With Makoto, Dudley, and Ibuki (and now Yun and Yang) at the same age and with the same motivations as in a game that canonically isn't supposed to happen for at least another three years. With a hopelessly convoluted plot involving M. Bison (who does die for real eventually) and a Korean hellion we've never even heard about before. With Adon seemingly stuck in the distant past. With Rose around for no apparent reason. Before, there would be retcons; now, Capcom isn't even trying to hash it out anymore.
    • Street Fighter Alpha 2 basically treated the SNES Final Fight sequels, particularly Final Fight 2, as if they never happened. They did so by introducing Zeku as Guy's Bushin Ryu predecessor, ignoring the fact that Genryusai from Final Fight 2 was precisely introduced to fill that role. The Alpha series continued with no reference to Genryusai's existence until Maki, Genryusai's daughter and a fellow Bushin apprentice, was introduced to the portable versions of Alpha 3, where she was Zeku's other student. The developers didn't bother to explain where Genryusai fits in within the Bushin Ryu hierarchy, but some fans believe that Zeku was actually Genryusai's student.
    • Capcom plays so fast and loose with continuity that now we have Ingrid, a character who deals with continuity snarls. Maybe. Between having few appearances and Capcom's refusal to ever clear anything up, she's more likely to turn into a snarl herself.
  • Ironically, Super Robot Wars successfully averts this, despite being a Massively Multiplayer Crossover. In fact, developer Banpresto does the inverse by snarling continuity together. Currently, the "Classic Timeline," Super Robot Wars Alpha and Super Robot Wars Original Generation series have several common ties via characters being the same individual throughout these continuities (Gilliam Yeager and Cobray Gordon head the list).
    • Odder still when you realize these continuities were originally to be in its own Canon, and these characters were only giving out Continuity Cameoes, but Original Generation is in the position of tying nearly every Banpresto-developed game into an interlocking multiverse courtesy of these entities referencing their own appearances from those canons.
      • Additionally, this applies to one licensed character: it's strongly implied Kaworu Nagisa in all his appearances throughout Super Robot Wars (F/F Final, Alpha, MX and Z) is the same Kaworu or his consciousness surfing across dimensions with full knowledge of his history (in Alpha 3, he vaguely refers to the events of MX, while in Z he laments the fate of the MX world, which is loosely implied to be set before Z).
  • Tales Series: Demons are... Drastically different between Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Phantasia, and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World does not help matters despite being an attempt at reconciling any inconsistencies between the two games but managed to bungle this point further. The game flat out stating demons are allergic to mana... Despite the presence of several demonic spirits in Phantasia, which are made of mana as a rule. Demons are also neutral at worst in Phantasia, willing to help save the world provided they are approached with the right pact ring like any other spirit, whereas in both Symphonia games they are implied to be an Always Chaotic Evil race.
  • Touhou: The PC-98 games mostly seem to have been stricken from canon, but occasionally there'll be a reference to them, leading to headache-inducing attempts by fans to reconcile them with the Windows games. And the setting as described in the first few Windows games doesn't really match later what'd later get nailed down in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense... which would cause problems itself when the things it covered that weren't in existing games would turn out different when they actually appear.
    • The major, not really handwaveable problem is the Lunar Wars. Imperishable Night's backstory is centered around a war between Earth and the Moon (covered up by the Apollo 11 moon landing), and Reisen's desertion of the Lunarian army and subsequent escape to Earth form part of the game's main plot, since the Lunarians want her back. Then Bougetsushou comes along and suggests that the Lunarians just mistook the Apollo 11 landing for an act of invasion and got militarized out of paranoia (as well as causing the Apollo 13 incident by shooting at the rocket), meaning there were no "Lunar Wars". If this is true, it begs the question of why exactly Reisen fled to Earth in the first place.
  • The creators of World of Warcraft, after admitting they had forgotten a key fact about the eredar that was established in Warcraft III's manual, went on to say that they didn't care about continuity as much as making a good game and brushed off complaints about the changes made to the draenei. Eventually, fans learned to ignore this and some other minor retcons.
    • The draenei retcon was fairly minor in terms of effects to storyline (the draenei didn't have much involvement in it before), although it did retcon the background of Sargeras somewhat. To make matters confusing there are actually two new explanations for his corruption: one being the same as the old one but with the eredar replaced with demons in general, and the other being that he just came to perceive the universe as flawed, with no mention of demonic corruption. Nobody is quite sure which is canon, although the evidence would lean towards the latter one. Years later, demons in general are confirmed to pre-date Sargeras' corruption once again, though it varies by race. Warcraft Chronicle ended up complicating things even further by saying that neither explanation is really true. According to the new explanation, the true cause of his corruption was the horror of learning that a newly-introduced force called the Void Gods is trying to exterminate all life in the universe and that there's nothing that can be done to stop them.
    • The real Snarl (which was thankfully sorted out) was the origin of Garona, a half-orc and a fairly important figure in lore. She originally had orc and human parentage, and was born before the orcs launched their first major invasion (originally there was quite a bit of time between the opening of the Dark Portal and the First War, during which the orcs mainly did small raids on the human settlements nearby the Portal). However when the First War was retconned to have happened almost immediately after the opening of the Portal, there was no way for her to be half-human. Then she was half-draenei, a human-like race from Draenor. Then the draenei were ugly creatures that looked in no way human. Then the draenei were mutant human-like creatures. The the un-mutated draenei were non-demonic eredar (see above). Her parentage went unexplained for years and for some time it seemed that she was simply going to be erased from continuity, but she was finally given a new origin, making her a product of the warlock Gul'dan's experiments that involved breeding draenei prisoners with orcs, and then making them grow rapidly into maturity with magic.
    • Blizzard introduced a new one with their whole "There must always be a Lich King" thing, although they still have time to justify it. The idea is that if no one takes over the job as Lich King, then the Scourge will overrun the world and destroy everything. There's two problems with that. One: There can't be that many Scourge left, since we've fought and destroyed them all the way to the Lich King's very doorstep. Two: We've already seen what happened when the Lich King loses power without a successor, it was the entire plot of the Warcraft III expansion, the Frozen Throne. The Lich King was dying due to a spell that Illidan cast, but he was interrupted before he could finish. As Arthas rushed over to Northrend to take over, the Scourge did not overrun the world. In fact, they started to become the Forsaken, who are supposed to have their minds back. Thus, if we assume that the new revelation is true, it not only makes Illidan look like a big fool (even bigger than the heroes who trusted Maiev), it implies that the Forsaken are an evil more dangerous than the Scourge. Although the Wrathgate event and subsequent invasion of Undercity make this a very good possibility, the Forsaken are a playable race and it seems doubtful that the game will ever truly confront or resolve this problem. Even so, not all Forsaken are evil, and the evil ones are not unstoppable (just a playable race, and full of plot armor).
      • The leading fan theory is that it might actually have to do with the Elder/Old Gods, which the Nerubians used basically live over, and the Lich King might technically be accidentally keeping it sealed. Scourge boosted by the power of Eldritch Abominations might be... bad. Very Bad. Considering that Yogg-Saron, god of death, very loudly screams about how the Lich King is trying to usurp his throne, this seems like the most likely explanation. Note that Yoggy was still sealed when the Forsaken were freed, which explains why they kept their minds instead of being re-enslaved by him.
      • However, Word of God during an Ask Creative Development Q&A says that the "There must always be a Lich King" statements should be taken at face value. No Old Gods, no Ner'zhul speaking through trusted ghosts... just a need for a new Lich King, with the added bonus that Arthas or Ner'zhul could have unleashed the Scourge and ravages Azeroth without the undead being feral. Arthas likely held them back to corrupt people to maintain his pride (to show that his failings were normal). Why not Ner'zhul? No idea. Probably to buy time to escape the Legion's control.
    • Blizzard lampshaded their tendency to do this with the Well of Eternity dungeon, which revisits a previously established moment in Warcraft lore using time travel. Defeating the last boss under the wrong circumstances grants the achievement "That's Not Canon!" with an angry face as the icon.
    • Previous lore stated that the only life on Azeroth before the Titans came were the elementals, and the Old Gods that they worshiped, both of which were imprisoned by the Titans before they shaped the world. At some point, the Earthen were exposed to the Old Gods, which turned them into mortal dwarves. Now, a titan computer known as the Tribunal of Ages says that during the shaping by the earthen the Old Gods came to Azeroth and corrupted it, including using the Curse of Flesh, followed by the titans coming. Supplemental materials say that other life existed before the titans came, including trolls, the evil insectoid races, and the faceless ones. Also (as a sub-snarl that is pointed out by the source) the tauren, but before their creator Ancient (the Bull Ancient) could have existed (no Emerald Dream/nature to be spawned from). The Klaxxi confirm that the insectoids (the aqir) were around before the titans, when previously it was just the elementals.
    • World of Warcraft: Chronicle was written to clarify a lot of the Snarl, especially ones related to the Titans/Old Gods, which include writing off the Tribunal of Ages as a forgery and giving all life on Azeroth a titanic origin.


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