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  • Agents of Mayhem takes place in an Alternate Universe version of the Saints Row setting borne out of a Cosmic Retcon, which is one of the possible endings to Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. In this universe, the Saints never existed and thus the man/woman who would become the Boss never got dragged into the gang scene. Benjamin King died and Pierce Washington (the main universe's Butt-Monkey) took over as leader of the Vice Kings. Rather than warring with the other gangs, he managed to unite them all under his banner by offering them an obscene amount of money. Johnny Gat is a policeman in this universe (although his personality isn't any different) along with Matt Miller and Kinzie Kenzington (who still ends up joining the FBI), and Oleg Kirrlov voluntarily became a Supersoldier with ice powers instead of being captured by the Syndicate and endlessly cloned against his will to make Giant Mooks.
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  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the Solar reveals that Sarevok, the first Big Bad of the series, was also one of the Bhaalspawn children about to be sacrificed at the temple where Gorion found and rescued you. Gorion only had the opportunity to save one child, and he chose you instead of Sarevok. The Solar then shows you a vision where Sarevok was saved and you were not: he was The Hero, and you were an eviler Big Bad than he ever was.
  • In BioShock Infinite, a spiritually wounded Booker DeWitt sought cleansing through baptism after taking part in the atrocities of the Battle of Wounded Knee. He didn't go through with it and rejected the idea of ever redeeming himself, and so this lead him to a life of alcoholism and gambling debts. In another reality, Booker accepted being baptized, found religion, perverted the ideas of faith, and changed his name to Zachary Comstock. The same Zachary Comstock who became the Big Bad.
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  • In BlazBlue, Noel Vermillion's entire existence is the nail that prevents some events that happened in the Wheel Of Fortune timeline (such as Tsubaki's death, which, among other things, eventually led to Jin becoming Hakumen).
  • The tow rope in Cave Story. It's the single most important key to stop the destruction of everything in the island, including a large percentage of the cast and get the happy ending. And it's incredibly easy to miss. If you don't get it, expect some rough times in the plot.
    • To an even greater degree, the mere act of either checking on Professor Booster after he falls into the Labyrinth or jumping over the pit and ignoring him is what allows the nail above to even be triggered in the first place. The strange factor is that there's seemingly no correlation whatsoever between the two events, nor any in-universe explanation as to why talking to Booster results in his immediate death afterwards from his injuries, nor how he manages to survive if you don't talk to him.
  • Chrono Cross features the death of its protagonist Serge as its nail. This seemingly meaningless event changes entire worlds. One character that's dirt-poor in one world is filthy rich in another. His family still resents him in either timeline though.
    • This one is weird and complex and involves numerous time travel and alternate universe tropes besides just the one relevant. The short version is that most of the changes actually depend on the existence or nonexistence of the supercomputer FATE, but this itself depends on the death of Serge.
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  • In Chrono Trigger, Marle is sent into the past due to a malfunction with Lucca's teleporter, leading to the creation of a Gate through time because of Marle's pendant. Marle is mistaken for the missing Queen Leene of Guardia, and the search for the queen is called off. This means that the real queen stays missing, and is presumably killed. This causes her present-day descendant, Marle, to cease to exist. After Crono and Lucca set things right, the party returns to Guardia, where Crono is arrested for "kidnapping" Marle, who turns out to be Guardia's current princess. After a jailbreak, the party flees, opens another Gate, goes to a Bad Future, and learns of the existence of Lavos, a parasite that will cause the bad future. This results in the rest of the adventure, ultimately leading to Lavos being defeated and all of time saved. And all of this happened because Marle just so happened to wear a pendant to a festival.
  • The entire premise behind Command & Conquer: Red Alert.
  • This is a major plot point in Dark Chronicle. Emperor Griffon has destroyed the "origin point" of several important places, which Max and Monica have to fix.
  • In Detroit: Become Human, the major underlying lynchpin which decides the fate of the rest of the cast is Markus' fate. If he dies at any point in the plot, the chances of getting a Downer Ending which kills most or even all of the cast increase dramatically. To describe one potential route for this set of Disaster Dominoes: Markus dies during the Freedom March, leading to the more radical and gung-ho North to take over the android rebellion, which quickly leads to the rebellion entering a metaphorical and literal death spiral of violence and escalation. This of course destroys all sympathy the public might have had for the androids at this point, rendering peaceful coexistence between deviants and humans impossible. If you choose Kara, Alice and Luther to try to cross the Canadian border under these conditions, they will be caught and all executed on the spot. With the android war in full swing and a deviant Connor being the last surviving character, the only remotely good ending you can hope for is him blowing a hole in his head to prevent Cyber Life taking over the newly freed androids at the storage facility. In other words, if you want a remotely happy ending for the story, Markus must survive the Freedom March.
  • Duncan serves as the nail in Dragon Age: Origins and its various Origin stories; his presence in the events of any given origin determines whether the character associated with that origin goes on to become the hero of the game's story.
    • If Duncan isn't in Highever when Arl Rendon Howe betrays and attacks the Couslands, the youngest Cousland is not present for the attack, but rather goes to Ostagar with his/her older brother Fergus, and either dies on the way or after arrival. note 
    • The Dwarf Commoner is unable to escape the Carta's prison and ultimately dies of starvation without Duncan's intervention.
    • The City Elf is either murdered by Bann Vaughn or dies in the ensuing riots in the alienage if Duncan is not there to lend weapons to him (or Soris, if the PC is female) or invoke the Right of Conscription to save the PC from arrest.
    • The Dalish Elf dies of the darkspawn taint if Duncan is not present to save the PC by making them a Warden.
    • The Dwarven Noble, without the Wardens to chance upon, would have eventually died in the Deep Roads after being exiled.
    • The Mage PC is the only character with a chance of surviving the events of his or her origin without Duncan's assistance (by collaborating with First Enchanter Irving). However, s/he would almost certainly die when Uldred overtakes the tower with demons after the events at Ostagar.
    • In the DLC The Darkspawn Chronicles, the nail is that the Warden died during the Joining, leaving Alistair alone to stop the Blight. He does quite well, considering his utmost refusal to lead in the main game but you kill him before he kills the Archdemon.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Herald of Andraste serves as the nail in the In Hushed Whispers questline. Alexius, a Tevinter mage in service to the Elder One, sends the Herald and their ally Dorian approximately one year into the future. In the interim, the Breach — a massive tear in the Veil — has grown to massive proportions. The Elder One rules over the demon-haunted wasteland that once was Thedas, having swept aside all opposition with his own army of demons. The quest involves finding a way back to the past to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Half the fun of Dwarf Fortress is caused by this sort of thing. A stray cat distracts a cyclops, causing it to avoid your traps. A dead butterfly props open the door, letting goblin ambushers in. A mechanism in a magma floodgate was made from orthoclase, causing the floodgate to fall apart and melt while the magma pours unchecked into the fortress...
  • This is the "Hypothetical path" story mechanic of Dynasty Warriors 8 in a nutshell. Unlocking each faction's happier outcome involves changing historical events during enough battles to stir up a knock-on effect that changes a crucial moment (such as Guan Yu's death at Fan Castle) and completely redirects history.
  • The Fallout series revolves around this trope: slight changes in the direction of politics and technology after the end of WWII resulted in a completely different world just a few decades after, and ended turning the world into an apocalyptic wasteland.
    • Indeed, in Fallout 2 the player can go through the time-portal from The City on the Edge of Forever from the original Star Trek. The player ends up in Vault 13. If he/she taps a computer, it sets up a water chip to fail, which will end up causing the events of Fallout.
  • In Fate/Grand Order's crossover event with Fate/Zero, a major plot twist is that the Fourth Grail War you've been following El-Melloi II through has ALREADY gone Off the Rails because Kiritsugu Emiya isn't working for the Einzberns.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • The goddess of the Ananta is summoned as the Primal Lakshmi. It turns out that interpretations of Lakshmi differ among the Ananta tribes. The warrior Vira tribe see Lakshmi as a symbol of freedom. The jewel crafting Qalyana tribe, who summoned Lakshmi, view her as a symbol of transient beauty.note  Had the Qalyana shared the Vira's interpretation of Lakshmi, conflict with the Primal might have been avoided all together.
    • In Shadowbringers you're told of a Eight Umbral Calamity that was so destructive it knocked society back to the stone age so severely that 200 years later they still weren't any closer to recovering. In saving Novrandt, the Warrior of Light is also unmaking the history that the Crystal Exarch foresaw. Though as it turns out, the actual split came because the Exarch's attempts to call the warrior, making them stumble in their battle with Elidibus-in-Zenos' corpse, gave the Garleans reasons to withhold the use of Black Rose, which would have caused the calamity. Had the calling not been so mistimed, the Warrior would have killed Elidibus and Varis would have seen that as the go-ahead to deploy it.
  • In the Fire Emblem Jugdral timeline, the Big Bad has a Quirky Miniboss Squad named the Dark Warlords. Well, in the second game of said saga (Thracia 776), some of the Warlords are people from your own roster, who end up on the enemy side under different circumstances: getting killed in battle, not being recruited, or not being saved when they catch the Distress Ball. These characters are: Tanya's father Dagdar, Mareeta's father Galzus, the thief Lifis, Manfloy's granddaughter Sara, and Team Mom Evayle.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Had Byleth not made the split-second decision to shield Edelgard from Kostas' axe with their own body (or simply been too far away) in the prologue, they would not have been granted time powers by Sothis, and Edelgard would probably be killed. Potential ripple effects of this one event range from Byleth never teaching at Garrech Mach to the Adrestian Empire losing its last legitimate heir. Most importantly, however, the entire Flame Emperor rebellion would never take place, given that Edelgard herself is the "Flame Emperor" and, ironically, used that persona to hire Kostas to attack her fellow students. In this way, Byleth's single action is directly (if only partially) responsible for the entire plot of the game.
    • Even after Byleth's decision, theu and Jeralt likely would have completely avoided being involved in game's main plot had the Knight who was tasked with guarding Dimitri, Claude, and Edelgard not been Alois, an old friend of Jeralt's who proceeds to more or less drag Jeralt and Byleth back to Garreg Mach with him to meet Rhea. This was in the midst of Jeralt and Byleth preparing to move onto their next job as mercenaries, and likely would have left Fódlan for good. Given Byleth's true nature, and how wary Jeralt actually was of Rhea, it was likely that he would have made sure Byleth never crossed paths with the church otherwise if he could help it.
  • Front Mission 3 is like this. There are two story arcs with vastly different events (although they lead to mostly the same conclusion) and which one you take depends entirely on a mundane choice in the beginning of the game to go with your partner to do a drop off. If you stay, you see an email from your sister saying shes in town at a military base, which you coincidentally happen to be at later when a massive explosion goes off. You then attempt to look for her right then and there. If you went with your partner, you don't have time to check your email before the explosion, so you leave the site without realizing your sister was there until later, requiring you to use a different method to get in and meeting different people from different (and opposing) factions.
  • Granblue Fantasy:
    • The Miscolored Memories events depicts in a nightmare created by Oneiros what happens if Gran/Djeeta dies without Lyria reviving him. Katalina and Lyria are constantly on the run, always fearing for their lives while Rackam, unable to fix the Grandcypher, remains stuck on Port Breeze for the rest of his life.
    • Lady Katapillar's introductory Fate Episode is based around Vira getting the upper hand in the "L.E.T'S. H.A.N.G." event.
    • The Titanic Yeager event is this for Attack on Titan where the crew finding themselves in Estioss led to a chain of events that gave the cast of Attack on Titan a hope for freedom. In the ending of this event, the Shingashina trio are sent off to travel with the crew as a form of expedition and Levi joins along to keep watch of Eren.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Player Character Michael catches his wife Amanda having a one-night-stand with the tennis coach he paid; enraged, he hunts him down to an expensive condo and destroys it to spite him, only to find out the hard way that the condo belonged to a powerful crimelord; to this end, he redeems his debt to said crimelord by doing one of his infamous bank heists, and uses one of his catchphrases to a bystander. As a result, when the crime makes the news and said bystander repeats the catchphrase, Michael's cover is blown to an old friend he betrayed on his last heist 10 years ago, Trevor Philips!! All this could be avoided if Michael's wife hadn't cheated!
  • One of the drama CDs based on Guilty Gear revolves around an Alternate Universe in which the war lasted ten years longer because Ky Kiske was killed in the penultimate battle, and in which the Gears would have won if I-No hadn't gone back in time to rescue him.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity as a whole is this for the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, thanks to the the miniature Guardian going back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Not only are character dynamics and relationships changed as a result of everyone having definitive proof of Calamity Ganon striking sooner than expected (Zelda, for example, now takes to the battlefield herself and has a warmer relationship with Link thanks to meeting him earlier than in the other timeline), but with the New Champions from Breath of the Wild dropping in to assist them during the initial onslaught that got their predecessors killed, Calamity Ganon is successfully defeated during the war, averting Breath of the Wild entirely.
  • Discussed in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
    • The Regime universe was a world where Superman took it over after the Joker causes him to kill Lois and destroy Metropolis. In the main universe, the Joker did get the nuke to blow up Metropolis, but never got to use it as he was dragged into the Regime universe with a number of others.
    • There were, however, a number of other differences even before that. The Regime Earth's Lex Luthor was a good man from the beginning, and their Wonder Woman much more brutal.
  • In King of Dragon Pass, if your clan chief isn't around to participate in the Feathered Horse Queen's marriage competition, Derik Single-Path/Poljoni will be the third participant instead.
  • The Legacy of Kain games deal with the attempts of the immortal vampire Kain to change his fate and that of the world of Nosgoth, which are tied. Frequent use of time travel is made by Kain, Raziel, and Mobius the Timestreamer to advance their own agendas. For example: Mobius traveled back in time in the first chapter of the series "Blood Omen" and corrupted the King William the Just, turning him into The Nemesis, who threatened to conquer all of Nosgoth in the future. Kain inadvertently travels back to this time period, where he kills William the Just before he manages to become The Nemesis. When he returns to the present, Kain realizes that by killing William the Just he has sparked a genocide against vampires that left him the last in all of Nosgoth.
    • Then it gets revealed that changing things through time travel is really In Spite of a Nail... unless one triggers a paradox by having the same person/thing at the same point in space/time twice. Kain's battle with William the Just was such a paradox because they were both wielding the Soul Reaver. Later on, Raziel becomes a walking paradox when he absorbs the spirit of the Soul Reaver, which is his own soul from a later point in time. From that point onward, there are always two of him wherever he goes, so he can change the timeline as he wills. Unfortunately, he's rather easily manipulated, making his status as the only person in Nozgoth with free will a moot point.
  • Discussed in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Battle of Aces, where it is suggested that Fate would have turned out like the Ax-Crazy Berserker Material-L if she had never met Nanoha or the others. Nanoha disagrees with this suggestion though, noting that Fate is a stronger person than that, and that with Arf, she is not truly alone.
  • Mary Skelter 2 has an incredibly similar premise to the original Mary Skelter: Nightmares and many of the same characters, with a few of the details changed. Among these changes are the addition of central characters Tsuu and Little Mermaid, the latter of which was killed in self-defense by Red Riding Hood years before the first game. The nail in this case is indeed Little Mermaid's death, the one who pulls it out is Tsuu, who is a Nightmare (the Bonus Boss of the first game, in fact) that used a Jail Seed to time travel and rescue her, and the end result is an even worse timeline that leads to a slaughter of the first game's playable characters and is ultimately reset by Tsuu and Mermaid.
    • The Embedded Precursor version of the first game likewise has a variation in its post-game in which Jack comes across Little Mermaid's mic which jogs his memory of the second game, the Blood Team tracks down Tsuu and restores her memory, and together they revive Little Mermaid in that timeline instead of attempting time travel.
  • The original Mega Man series and four of its spin-offs have focused on Dr. Light's aptitude for robotics and the battles his creations have fought in the process of trying to keep a rival from taking over the world. However, with Dr. Light focusing on internet technology instead of robotics, it results in the Alternate Universe Battle Network and Star Force spin-offs. Wily is still a roboticist, however; his actions start out as revenge against society for phasing the field of robotics as second bananas in favor of cyberspace development. To wit, Light following the field of robotics ends up almost destroying the world thrice due to the escalating conflicts, while when he instead specializes in I.T., the whole planet, society, nature, technologies, every single aspect, flourishes marvelously... Mostly because the conflicts now happen in a different plane of reality, where any damages incurred are several leagues more manageable than the alternative.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam has several What If? storylines, but the one that best fits this trope is the Project Zeta story, where Garma Zabi surviving his fate from the original series, which leads to other characters killed by Amuro and the Gundam surviving, and eventually to Zeon winning the One Year War. But then it veers sharply into In Spite of a Nail, as the rest of the storyline is just First Gundam's events played out with older characters and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam-era mecha, even when several of those events already occurred even in the altered timeline.
    • There are a couple of other noteworthy alternate story paths; each of the three big heroes (Kamille, Amuro, and Char) has a storyline where they end up with the Titans, with varying degrees of believability note . There's also a route that re-creates Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack six years early and is a Kill 'Em All Downer Ending.
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam SEED video game "Tomo to Kimi to Koko de" you can pull off a better ending by completing side-stories or performing actions, leading to the only canonical character dying being Flay Allster. On the other hand, Super Robot Wars W ends up giving the best ending by saying "This is what happens if Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray got too involved in these events?" where no one dies.
  • In Mortal Kombat 3, Sub-Zero escapes from the Lin Kuei, and his friend Smoke is turned into a cybernetic ninja in his stead. However, Mortal Kombat 9 starts when the future Raiden (following the conclusion of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon) sends a message to his past self warning him about the apocalypse that will occur. One of the changes that occurs as a result of Raiden's tampering with the past is that Sub-Zero becomes a cyborg instead of Smoke.
    • Also, one of the visions Raiden received was of Liu Kang dying and being turned into a zombie (the events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance). In an attempt to avert Liu Kang's death, Raiden has Kung Lao fight Shao Kahn in Liu Kang's place during the Outworld Mortal Kombat tournament. It didn't work: Kung Lao died by Shao Kahn's hand, and Liu Kang would later die anyway... by Raiden's hand.
    • Additionally, Raiden's slaying of Motaro in the reboot causes Shao Kahn to sacrifice Shang Tsung (one of the series' recurring villains) to power up Sindel (who in the prior timeline, made a Heel–Face Turn). Using this power, she easily kills a majority of the heroes, finally requiring a Heroic Sacrifice by Nightwolf to kill her.
    • In the original timeline, Raiden ended up corrupting himself (and doing a Face–Heel Turn) after doing a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Onaga, the Big Bad of Mortal Kombat: Deception. In the rebooted timeline, the purification of the Jinsei from Shinnok's taint caused him to become Dark Raiden at the end of Mortal Kombat X.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 Portable hints at what would happen differently if the gloomy looking main character were replaced with an energetic looking girl. The answer? Not very much, it seems. She still sacrifices herself to hold Nyx back. The very most she can do is prevent the death of Shinjiro Aragaki.
    • In Persona 4, a series of kidnappings occur because the kidnapper; Taro Namatame, made a frantic call to the police after seeing Yukiko on the Midnight Channel under the assumption that future victims of the Inaba Killer first appear on the Midnight Channel after the deaths of Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi. The person who picks up his call turns out to be Tohru Adachi; the true killer. He suggests to Namatame to do something about it, leading to the kidnappings and half the plot.
    • Persona 5: An assassination plot against Joker is foiled due to Morgana comparing a building to a pancake, and Akechi happened to be nearby. His comment on pancakes without realising it was Morgana talking proved that he had been to the Metaverse before, which leads to the Phantom Thieves discovering said plot, and secretly creating a counter-plan.
  • Essentially, the entirety of Phantasy Star III is this way, as the plot can take some interesting turns depending on who your protagonist chooses to marry in each act. One of the few times that a single character drastically changes for the experience, though, is in the case of Princess Kara, daughter of Layan general Lune from the moon of Dahlia. If Prince Rhys marries Princess Lena of Satera, their son Nial comes into conflict with Lune, but their fight convinces him to call off the war with the Orakians, and Kara will grow up with a more peaceful demeanor and focus on healing as a party member for Nial's own son. However, if Rhys married Princess Maia of Cille and sired Ayn, Lune will never become an active antagonist, but since the war wouldn't officially be "over" from his standpoint, Kara will instead be an embittered warrior of a girl when she joins Ayn's son.
  • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon explores this concept in its Episode RR post-game plot, in which the player fights off against successful versions of every major villain from the previous games - Archie, Maxie, Cyrus, Ghetsis, Lysandre, and Giovanni. In each case, it's made clear that the only reason they won is because the player character didn't exist in their timelines. The results aren't shown, but it's obvious they're not pretty.
  • Metaphorically speaking, the Big Bad of Radiant Historia spends much of his time pulling out nails—there's only one possible timeline that doesn't contain The End of the World as We Know It, and surprisingly small changes can prevent that timeline from coming to be. The main character, in turn, has the obligation to find the nails and hammer them back in. One easy to follow example is a soldier whose sword breaks in battle, causing him to get killed. If you get him a replacement sword, he survives the battle and saves the lives of some of his comrades in the process, and they will be able to serve a critical role in a later battle.
    • To give you an idea of the scope of this, one of the first things Stocke does is tweak a nail himself to create two completely distinct timelines. Often, nails in the "True history" are so bent he needs to go to the "alternate history" to find replacements and bring them back, despite his goal being to ensure the alternate history never has to occur in the first place. The only reason the timestream doesn't collapse like an accordion is his method of time travel explicitly comes with an infinite-use Get Out Of Causality Free card.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal is effectively the nail.
  • Resident Evil 2 begins this way for the main characters: whichever end of the car Leon wrecks into the pole determines which events Leon and Claire will experience respectively and how they transpire (including which one of them encounters the Tyrant).
  • In Resistance: Fall of Man, Europe comes off prosperous and peaceful after WWI, preventing the Second World War. However, instead of a Revolution, aliens invade Siberia. Russia can't catch a break, can it?
  • The two spinoff games to Scarface (1983), The World Is Yours and Money. Power. Respect., are based on Tony escaping the film-ending shootout, while the comic Scarred for Life is based on Tony surviving wounds that were fatal in said shootout. Tony's survival either way is a small but very important difference, with above scenarios being impossible "normally."
  • In Sakura Wars (2019), if Sumire Kanzaki hadn't placed Seijuro Kamiyama in command, not only would the Imperial Combat Revue be dissolved, but they wouldn't become participants in the Combat Revue World Games.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse would've simply been a brief glimpse of Shin Megami Tensei IV's neutral ending from a Tokyo Hunter's perspective if said Hunter refused Dagda's offer of becoming his Godslayer at the beginning of the game and remained dead. As a result of coming back to life instead, he ends up going on to unwittingly unseal the Divine Powers, who proceed to bring their share of divine conflict to Tokyo.
  • In Sonic Forces, Infinite and Silver briefly duke it out in Mystic Ruin. Silver loses spectacularly, but during the battle, he accidentally causes Infinite to drop one of the Phantom Ruby prototypes. It's later found by the Avatar, who ends up using it to delete the virtual sun Infinite was about to drop on the Resistance. This turns the tide of the conflict, and ultimately leads to the Resistance succeeding where it failed in Silver's time.
  • In Starcraft II, there is a Bad Future prophesied if Sarah Kerrigan is killed. In the "Wings Of Liberty" ending cinematic, Jim Raynor basically prevents it from happening by moving his shoulder a few inches to the left, taking a bullet meant for her by Tychus (and since Raynor was wearing armor, there was no serious injury).
    • Zeratul, apparently aware of this trope, appears in Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void to hand the main character some emergency nails, first by giving Raynor the Ihan Crystal and thus another cause to save Kerrigan besides his love, then by directing the Swarm to Zerus, so that Kerrigan is cleansed of any remaining influence Amon might still have by becoming Primal Zerg. The latter becomes doubly a world-saving nail, since without the tag-along Dehaka, who was immune to the Psi Disruptor, the entire Swarm would have been killed over Korhal. Finally, Zeratul discovers the importance of the Xel'naga artifact (henceforth named the Keystone) and relays this information to Artanis. The Keystone is instrumental in discovering the Xel'naga world of Ulnar and cleansing the Khala of Amon's influence, which he used to brainwash much of the Khalai Protoss.
  • The Star Trek Online mission "Temporal Ambassador" is a continuation of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Yesterday's Enterprise". Because Natasha Yar and the Enterprise-C ended up going forward in time after the episode instead of backwards, the player winds up in a timeline where the Klingons conquered the Federation, then were too weak to fight off the Dominion.
    • The 23rd Century Federation player character gets to see another one in "Terminal Expanse." When you travel to the Kelvin Timeline, you end up meeting your former captain-turned-admiral Issac Garret. When he sees you, he's shocked because the last he saw you, you were putting the fear into the first year Starfleet Academy cadets. This means that, because George Kirk died at the hands of the Narada, you become a teacher, not a starship captain.
  • In the PS2 version of Revenge of the Sith, playing the game with Anakin shows him fighting Obi-Wan and winning, Obi-Wan whiffing his high ground slash so that Anakin can gut him. Then Palpatine shows up, congratulates Anakin, gives him his trademark red lightsaber and is promptly ran through with it by Anakin, who takes over the galaxy by himself.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation explores this in a limited extent with the Shadow-Mirror universe in the second game. In the regular timeline, Kyosuke Nanbu and Excellen Browning were involved in a space shuttle accident - Kyosuke survived due to his incredible luck, while Excellen technically "died" and was brought back to life by plant-like aliens called the Einst who were looking for an "Eve." In the Shadow-Mirror universe, the shuttle accident still occurs, except Excellen's parents took her body and "revived" her as a Cyborg, taking on the new monniker "Lemon Browning". Kyosuke's counterpart "Beowulf" is only vaguely referenced, but subsequent games have upped his role by implying the Einst chose him instead, causing him to become an Ax-Crazy berserker, who even gets upgraded into the Big Bad in the Animated Adaptation The Inspector. For extra cosmic Irony, the one consistent aspect of Beowulf is that he's The Rival of the Shadow-Mirror's Axel Almer; both Kyosuke and Axel are the Love Interests of their respective universes' versions of Excellen.
    • Another point brought up is the "Vanishing Trooper Incident," where the experimental Huckebein's "Black Hole Engine" overloaded. In the main universe, Huckebein pilot Raidiese F. Branstein survived but lost his left hand (which was replaced by a robotic prosthesis) and became one of the pilots of the Combining Mecha SRX; in the Shadow-Mirror universe, Rai died in the accident, which caused a massive stigma against manufacturing the Huckebein series of mecha and lead to its retirement in favor of Gespensts and new designs like the Ashsaber.
    • Super Robot Wars Reversal also explores this concept, thanks to the Original Generation characters being Time Travelers. The divergence point is the climax of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, where Heero Yuy fails to penetrate the Brussels Presidential Bunker with the Wing Gundam Zero's "Twin Buster Rifle". The originals' accidental time travel to the past leads to the formation of the "Round Knights", and when they get to the critical moment where everything went wrong, Garrod Ran uses his Gundam Double X and its "Twin Satellite Cannon" to back Heero up, averting the nightmare of the original timeline. This results in not only the heroes surviving, but Retcons the more depressing Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness and ''Zambot 3 out of existence, since the advanced technology the originals brought back allows the machines from those films to be created years earlier and piloted by the younger, non-screwed up versions of their original pilots as well as preventing the heroes of the latter series from dying as they did in the original series.
  • Tales of Xillia 2 deals with this in the form of "fractured dimensions", alternate universes that branched off from the main one wherein something in the the game and the previous game's lore went differently thanks to a certain "nail", or as the game calls it: "divergence catalysts". The only problem is they're also posing a threat to the main universe, and its the job of the protagonist, Ludger, to destroy said fractured universes by finding and destroying said nail. To give an example, in the previous game, Disc-One Final Boss Nachtigal was a despotic king who became as such after his sister Carrie died in a tsunami mid-battle and his best friend Rowen ran away in shame, but in one fractured universe, though Nachtigal's sister dies anyway, Rowen remains by Nachtigal's side, and thanks to Rowen's wisdom and having Carrie's pendant as a memento, this version of Nachtigal became a benevolent and beloved king, his praises sung by everyone. Considering even before this Rowen looked at him leaving Nachtigal as My Greatest Failure...
  • The whole plot of Tales of Vesperia kicks off ultimately because Raven, for whatever reason, gives Yuri the prison key to let him (attempt) to sneak out to check on the Lower Quarter. One run in with a Sheltered Princess who is waving a sword at knights later and everything soon spirals into a sequence of events that forms the plot. On a more "minor" note, thanks to Yuri and Estelle having to take the Quoi Woods route due to the Lord of the Plains showing up and blocking the other route, they meet Karol which proves useful come dealing with Halure's broken barrier blastia...
  • Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is set in an Alternate Universe where a cab accident Winston Churchill was involved in caused his death, as opposed to the mild injuries he suffered in real life. Without his leadership, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East are all conquered by the Nazis and as of the start of the game, they are launching a full scale invasion of the United States, who were convinced to remain neutral to the conflict in Europe due to the deteriorating situation and lack of a stable Allied faction to support.
  • In the mobile game Senki Zesshou Symphogear XD Unlimited, there are various events where the Symphogear Holders travel to alternate universes where various nails changed the course of history. For instance, two events focus on the Zwei Wing Tragedy that kick starts the series.


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