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  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bowser is often like this. While other characters change personality in most adaptations and spinoffs as well, Bowser is a character who's completely different between the main series and many spinoffs. In the Main Platformers, he's a competent Evil Overlord and Card-Carrying Villain with the occasional humorous moment. In the Mario & Luigi series he can be anything from a Boisterous Weakling who's only truly competent when he's working with the good guys to a competent if blunt Boisterous Bruiser father to his men whose only defeats are delivered by the brothers themselves. In the Paper Mario series he's a Noble Demon with an unrequited crush on the Princess and doesn't like it when other villains infringe on his territory. Mario Party has him as an Attention Whore Card-Carrying Villain who's only capable of Poke the Poodle levels on villainy and who probably just wants to be loved. In Super Smash Bros., he's a terrifying monster with little if any humor to him at all. Other spinoffs tend to have him as a Friendly Enemy of Mario's (he named Go-Karting with Bowser, after all). The cartoons and anime series vary his personality per episode, and his size varies between appearances.
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    • In Super Mario Bros. spinoffs, Wario's more a villain, in Wario Land more an Anti-Hero with near super powers, and in WarioWare he is a normal person who's merely a greedy jerk.
    • The sentience of Bob-ombs varies from game to game. Same thing with every other Mook.
    • Luigi's personality generally contrasts his brother's (clumsy and timid everyman rather than athletic and brave hero), the Luigi's Mansion games and Mario & Luigi games are the most notable ones with this portrayal, but some games scrap this for a more adventurous Luigi who can be foolhardier than his brother, most notably the Paper Mario series. And in the very earliest games prior to his Divergent Character Evolution, he showed no signs of being either.
    • Whether or not Luigi is a Heroic Mime is another deal: In Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series he has full dialogue, while the Mario & Luigi series he simply speaks Italian-sounding Simlish like his brother.
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    • Peach's character changes quite a bit: Super Mario Sunshine casts her mostly as a Cloudcuckoolander, whereas in Super Paper Mario she's a Deadpan Snarker, and other games place her at various points in between. She also flip-flops between Princess Classic and Royals Who Actually Do Something, in large part depending whether she is a playable character. Likewise, her abilities are heavily dependent on the writers. In the first game, the manual states that her powers are the only thing that can undo Bowser's magic, though we never actually get to see it. In later games, she either has actual powers (Super Mario RPG where she can heal, cause status effects, and inflict big damage), limited powers that only serve to assist Mario (Paper Mario series where she gives Mario a boost in the finales), or have none at all.
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    • What is "Super Mario"? It changes a lot, really. Sometimes Mario's normal form is "small Mario" and he becomes a giant with a Super Mushroom and other games have "Super Mario" being the default and "small Mario" being him shrunk down.
    • Some of the Koopalings personalities also vary a bit. In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, the first game to give them speech, Roy is Book Dumb, Ludwig is a Small Name, Big Ego and Morton comes across as Only Sane Man. The next game to feature them however portrays Morton as the Dumb Muscle who uses Hulk Speak, Roy as savvy and Ludwig as a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • In the Dept. Heaven series, while most aspects of Nessiah's characterization are generally consistent between games that director Shinichi Ito personally oversees and writes and those he doesn't, he's notably less competent in his manipulations in Blaze Union than in the rest of the series. His style of manipulation itself is much more direct and inelegant, and he's also portrayed with typical Asgardian racism against humans. For instance, if in Yggdra Union and Yggdra Unison Nessiah wants someone to dig himself a hole, he'll provide a situation where that person might want to dig that hole and hand them a shovel, but won't force them into it; Blaze Union's Nessiah will just flat-out tell them to dig. Too, in the rest of the series Nessiah prefers humans and demons to his own race, and has a clearly developed soft side. This inconsistency is one of the aspects of Blaze Union that gets criticized the most.
  • In Devil May Cry Trish’s personality as Dante’s partner was somewhat different in Kamiya’s vision when portrayed in Viewtiful Joe; Trish was more of a traditional partner who follows the hero, Dante, being the voice of reason and expressing deep concern for him, coupled with jokes that Trish was being too “motherly”. Trish in Itsuno’s vision, and effectively the canon version of Trish as it stands, is more of a playful independent spirit, who while undoubtedly loyal to Dante she isn’t above playing tricks and teasing him, such as increasing his debt and delivering Sparda right onto the enemies hands to make things more fun; still Dante has also been adjusted accordingly, being able to take all of Trish’s playfulness.
  • In every game he has shown up in prior to Original Generation Gaiden, Axel Almer has never had a consistent character portrayal. If he is selected as the protagonist of Super Robot Wars Advance, he is a silly man who suffers from amnesia and he is a Casanova Wannabe. When he realizes the truth, he gets serious and he becomes The Atoner for the Londo Bell crew. If he is not chosen as the protagonist, he is a cold-hearted soldier who cares only about succeeding in his missions and he looks down upon the W series. In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Axel Almer becomes a full on Jerkass with a hatred for Kyosuke Nanbu because in his universe, Kyosuke (called Beowulf) was better than him and Axel was jealous. Axel also goes from looking down upon the W-series to outright hating them and when he is saved by Echidna, he expresses disgust that a doll would save him. He also says that he does not care for his lover Lemon. In the Videogame Remake, Axel is a Noble Demon who fights Kyosuke because Beowulf was evil and when he realizes that Kyosuke is not like Beowulf, he still fights him because he does not want Kyosuke to become like him. Instead of hating the W-series, he tends to mock them but he does respect them when they do well and later begins to become impressed by them. When he is saved by Echidna, he becomes upset that the Shadow Mirror lost a soldier like her. When he is finally defeated, he expresses the belief that the W-series were perhaps more than just dolls and he says Lemon's name, showing that he genuinely loved her.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon offers two contradictory Pokédex entries for Araquanid. While Moon's entry describes it as a Non-Malicious Monster who brings weak Pokémon into its water bubble for safety, in Sun it notes that small Pokémon that enter said water bubble drown, implying that's how it hunts its prey.
    • Darkrai's personality has been subject to different portrayals. In the main games and in one of the anime movies, Darkrai is an extremely shady yet good-hearted Pokémon, while in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, it is an Omnicidal Maniac whose favorite hobbies include throwing children into never-ending nightmares, and driving heroes and gods to suicide and insanity. Unless, of course, you've beaten the game, in which case, he undergoes amnesia like the game's protagonist and reverts back to the former characterization the next time you encounter him. Likewise, Poké Park 2 features him as the main antagonist, albeit nowhere near as evil as his Mystery Dungeon counterpart.
  • World of Warcraft has had this happen - often with faction leaders or characters.
    • Most infamously with Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom and Warchief of the Horde during Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. Apparently during Cataclysm there was two ideas of how Garrosh' character was meant to play out. One was that he would start out as a brash hothead who still had a sense of honour, who would eventually grow into a wise leader of the Horde. The other was that he was meant to be a villain from the start, with him gradually taking more extreme actions until he finally Jumped Off The Slippery Slope. Eventually it turned out the second idea was what Blizzard would go with, to the chagrin of fans who liked the 'honorable' Garrosh. It didn't help that some blamed the majority fan backlash to Garrosh's brash original characterization for causing Blizzard to write off their attempts to make Garrosh a sympathetic character and instead make him a villain.
    • The Horde as a whole seems to have a problem with this. In Warcraft I and II, the orcs were typical Always Chaotic Evil fantasy orcs. Warcraft III expanded their history to explain why they were so evil in the past, and partially served as a redemption story for the orcs and the Horde as a whole. This was all well and good, but the way it's been handled since has been inconsistent. Sometimes the pre-corruption orcs are portrayed as good and noble and were deeply deceived. Sometimes the pre-corruption orcs are portrayed as warmongers nearly indistinguishable from their corrupted selves, even as we're told they're simply tragic heroes. From one minute to another, the Horde can claim that they're only fighting out of desperation to defend their homes, to itching to pick fights with and bathe in the blood of passive neighbors. The main problem seems to stem from wanting to continue showing the Horde as the barbaric, bloodthirsty faction that thirsts for a good kill and a good death, even after their redemption and return to peaceful ways. A lot of times, the differences are clearly between the writers of the main plots and the writers of the quests and world content. In Warlords of Draenor, where we see most of the orcs still become ruthless conquerors without the corruption, even the still good Frostwolf orcs have Non Player Characters that threaten to do horrible things to Alliance characters for no reason (note that in this timeline, the only experience the Frostwolves have with the Alliance are the Alliance rescuing their people from a mutual enemy). Meanwhile, the leader of the Frostwolves is treated like a mutual hero who is friends to both sides in all of the story content.
  • Fallout 3 may have used the trope In-Universe. A computer in the ruins of Hubris Comics in D.C. contains a letter to the editor that, depending on your interpretation, seems to call out a writer for turning a well-developed comic book villain (the AntAgonizer) into a For the Evulz nutcase. (Since we never see the comics in question, this could also be in-universe Draco in Leather Pants. The Fallout wiki leans towards this interpretation.)
    • The Fallout series in general tends to be rife with this, due to the different companies that have handled it. The series gets around this somewhat by the fact that most of the Black Isle/Obsidian games deal with the western US, while the Bethesda games deal with the eastern US, meaning a lot of differences can be chalked up to "it's a variant/local branch/different strain." For instance, in Black Isle/Obsidian games, Mariposa Super Mutants are on average not too bright but still have many with average or even genius intellects, and aren't violent by nature unless they're under a violent leader (though many of them are), with many mutants following the death of the Master being content to live their lives. In Bethesda games, Vault 87 and Institute Super Mutants are almost universally Always Chaotic Evil even without any controlling intelligence or agenda, with the smart ones being seen as one-in-a-million exceptions, and tend to be borderline animalistic and Too Dumb to Live. Compare the smart and stealthy (if unstable) nightkin variant on the West Coast to the braindead suicide bomber variant on the East.
  • [PROTOTYPE] and [PROTOTYPE 2] had different teams of writers, and the protagonist of the first and the antagonist of the second is arguably an example of this. In the first game, Alex Mercer was an amoral but not expressly evil creature that gradually gained a conscience as events played out. He risked his life to stop Manhattan from being destroyed by the Infection, and later Blackwatch, expressing disgust at those who played god with peoples' lives for their experiments. He was blunt, concise, impulsive, not much of a thinker, and socially awkward to the point of hilarity. Come the second game, and he's suddenly a smooth-talking evil-genius-archetype planner that plots to recreate humanity in his image.
    • Blackwatch also gets hit with this. In the original Blackwatch was portrayed largely as ruthlessly devoted to stopping the Virus, with a disdain for the USMC, and although they experimented with the virus, they didn't seem that reckless; additionally, they were fully aware that the protagonist could shapeshift very early ingame (to the point of gunning each other down if convinced Mercer was in their midst). In the sequel, the mad science and pointless sadism get played to the hilt, with Blackwatch releasing giant infected monstrosities in the middle of public to see what happens when you release giant infected monstrosities in the middle of the public, and the commanding officer in charge of Blackwatch being completely surprised that Heller can shapeshift (and apparently never noticing the dozens of fights Heller has with the Evolved; Mercer's sleeper agents in Blackwatch).
  • It seems that the various crossover games in the Tales Series can't agree on whether to support Senel/Shirley (the Official Couple) or Senel/Chloe (the Fan-Preferred Couple, at least in the West).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Amy Rose. Sometimes she's a normal girl who has a rather affectionate crush on eponymous hero, but still cares about her friends and their well-being. Other times, she's an obsessive and clingy Stalker with a Crush who thinks about nothing but Sonic, threatens people with violence when they don't inform her of his whereabouts, and may even hallucinate that he's around when he isn't.
    • In the 90's, Knuckles was the chuckling, mischievous rival to Sonic. In the first half of the 2000s, he was the no nonsense Aloof Ally to Sonic, and nowadays he's the Dumb Muscle Unknown Rival to Sonic.
    • Sonic. Sometimes he's more of a straight laced Nice Guy, other times he's a cocky braggart. This is most noticeable when comparing his westernized Totally Radical persona to the laid-back one depicted in Adventure. Recent games have reached a middle ground.
    • Tails is usually a friendly, somewhat shy and nerdy sidekick, but is unusually snarky in Sonic Colors, and Took a Level in Jerkass in Sonic Lost World for no apparent reason.
    • Dr. Eggman. Sometimes he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely wants to make the world a better place. Other times, he's merely a Pragmatic Villain who wants to keep the world intact so he can rule. Still other times, he's one hair short of an Omnicidal Maniac who would trigger near-apocalyptic events just to rule over the few survivors.
  • Guybrush is presented as way more intelligent in the first two Monkey Island games than the later ones. At the same time, he is portrayed as much calmer and competent in later games, as well as less of a jerk who steals everything he can (as much as an adventure game protagonist can).
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VI, the game's main villain Kefka Palazzo was presented as a Psychopathic Manchild and The Fool. When Ted Woolsey translated the game for English-speaking audiences, he emphasized the character's hatred and sadism while keeping his sense of humour, which resulted in Kefka becoming much more popular in English-speaking regions (and probably had a large amount to do with why Final Fantasy VI itself is much more popular in English-speaking regions than it is in Japan). This would in turn influence his portrayal in all versions of Dissidia Final Fantasy.
    • Depending on which one of his appearances it is, Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII can be a cocky-funny and self-centred young man with a hidden vulnerable side, a genuinely cold and dramatic '90s Anti-Hero, or a stoic secretly plagued with deep emotion. Cloud's Japanese voice actor opined in Ultimania that, while there are parts of Cloud that remain constant, he considers him a different character in every appearance. Both Crisis Core and Before Crisis are prequels which show us very different interpretations of the teenage Cloud; in Crisis Core he's a sweet, boyish Nice Guy and a reasonably capable soldier, and in Before Crisis he's a much more aggressive and troubled teenager who talks to others in a condescending way and ignores orders because he thinks he knows best, even when it's clear he doesn't.
  • Kantai Collection the game proper has very little lore, leaving a lot up to the interpretation of fans and spinoff writers. As a result, the tone of fanworks and spinoff works varies from very dark horror and tragedy to lighthearted comedies and anything in between. Other things also change between interpretations; origins of the ship girls and Abyssals - Aliens? Mystic rituals and spirits? Super-science? Do projectiles remain proportionately small to human size, like in the anime, or do they expand to full size as per Kant-O-Celle Quest? What about the girls and Abyssals themselves? Are conventional forces relevant, or only as much cannon fodder as in kaiju films? Are the Abyssals a worldwide threat or merely a Pacific problem? So on and so forth.
    • The cast of shipgirls, despite being the game's focus, is also prone to very different interpretations, since each only has a small set of lines and many of their current traits derive from Fanon. Perhaps the worst is Kitakami: she can be a stoic warrior, a cunning tactician, a cranky loner, The Gadfly, or an outright bully towards Abukumanote .
  • Tales from the Borderlands does this in-game, as the plot is being told In Medias Res by the two Player Characters. More often than not done for humorous effect, as the PC telling the story can paint themselves as a Badass or the other as The Woobie before the other PC calls them out on it.
  • While this happens a lot in any RPG with multiple endings/plotlines over multiple games, special mention goes to the Knights of the Old Republic series, which went from a single-player game where the player could end up with half a dozen versions of Revan, to an MMO where there was only one version of Revan, which was supposed to loosely correspond to the first game's light side path with caster abilities (something that was mechanically discouraged to begin with, since the light side powers focused on melee buffs in the first game) but in fact resembles no version of the character the first game could produce in any way. The Watsonian explanation was that in the time-jump after the first game he recovered the rest of his memories, and is now effectively a master of both sides of the force (and has gone completely mad for unrelated reasons). It becomes a plot point in his own expansion story; after he died for real he generates two Force Ghosts with completely different personalities, one light side and one dark side, neither one of which matches the one he had in earlier appearances in the same game.
  • Carmen Sandiego varies between Friendly Enemy, Card-Carrying Villain and everywhere in between. Especially notable is her portrayal in the Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? cartoon, which took her to such Anti Villainous levels that by the show's end she was teaming up with the heroes to take down "real" bad guys with regularity. She even once saved the heroes, supposedly because it's not a game if there's no one to play against.
  • Fire Emblem
    • Fire Emblem Awakening features hundreds of conversations between over forty playable characters, each one being completely unique (at least for a single playthrough). So naturally, details become muddled or mixed up across across the many support conversations. Mostly this includes little things like how pronounced a character's quirks are, i.e: how violent Henry is, how flirty Inigo acts, or how hopelessly Cordelia swoons after Chrom (sometimes its the entire focus of a support, other times it's not mentioned at all like in her talks with the Avatar for example). Other examples include how big the Shepherds actually are in-universe, and whether they include normal soldiers behind the scenes, going back and forth between calling them 'our little group' and 'we're an army.'
      • On a side note, different forms of media change what sort of breath the Manaketes breath which is depicted as blue stuff in-game. Aforementioned game conversations describe them as fireballs, while the promotional comics sometimes depict it as ice breath.
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