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Foregone Conclusion / Video Games

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Foregone Conclusions in video games.

  • In most games that are based on movies, it can be safely assumed that the game's canonical ending will be the same (or at least, very similar to) the ending of the movie it is based on. Some games partially subvert this by giving the player the option to play as the movie's villain(s), usually creating a non-canonical ending in which the villains win.
  • Pick any number of historical first-person shooters or RTS games that don't deviate into Alternate History. These spoilers run anywhere from the Allied victory in WWII to the Union victory in The American Civil War.

  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is a prequel telling the story of the Belkan War, which occurred years before the events of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. Due to events specific to Zero, Mission 12 is still a Wham Episode, but it occurs on June 6th, 1995. If you've played the previous game, you already know how that ends.
  • Agarest Senki Zero star Seighart and his son Leonis. Both of them are Leonhardt's ancestors so, of course, Leonis cannot die so it's obvious the normal ending is non-canon.
  • The Assassin's Creed series is Historical Fiction with a healthy dose of Written by the Winners, so it is inevitable that the memories that are being relived of various 13th and 16th century historical figures will have outcomes that don't differ too much from history.
    • The premise of the game — that these stories are being viewed through the Genetic Memory of Altaïr and Ezio's descendants — mandates that the main characters will survive past the events depicted and will have children whose bloodlines converge in Desmond Miles. note 
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    • In the modern-day setting, 2012, Abstergo is the Mega-Corp that evolved from the Templars that Altaïr and Ezio battle. We also know that the Templars reign virtually unopposed throughout much of modern history. So while these two Assassins may do great things in their time, their achievements are doomed to be remembered only in secret among their descendants.
    • In Assassin's Creed II, the Big Bad, Rodrigo Borgia, must survive to become Pope, therefore Ezio finds an excuse not to kill him. This is foreshadowed in the game by having Shaun tell Desmond about his historical research on the subject prior to Desmond viewing the final memory sequence.
    • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio destroys a number of mechanical inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci, such as a tank, a machine gun, and a bomb-equipped glider. We all know that he merely delays their creation. Also, the Big Bad's manner of death is a matter of historical record, so Ezio foregoes his normal assassination method in favor of throwing him off a wall.
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    • In Assassin's Creed III, The American Revolution will obviously succeed, slavery will continue for more than half a century, the treatment of Native Americans will become better long after that and Washington will not die at the hands of the Templars before winning the war.
    • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag suffers from this not only in the usual sense (The events relived are pretty well recorded) but also because it's a prequel to Assassin's Creed III. Edward will need to live until he has his second child (Haytham), the pirates will not achieve their "democracy" goal in Nassau and Blackbeard, Rackam, Hornigold, Vane, Black Bart, Stede and Mary Read will die before the game ends.
    • This also happens in Assassin's Creed: Rogue, with the game being an interquel to both Black Flag and III. Haytham will successfully purge the Assassins from the Americas, both him and Achilles will survive at least until Assassin's Creed III rolls around, and the New York gangs will continue with their illegal business for at least 200 years (And even then, it will not be completely solved).
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is an Interquel, so we know that some of the characters showing up in it are going to die no matter what, since the second game began with the revelation that some characters hadn't survived the intervening period.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins subverts this: You know that Cyrus Pikney died. What you don't know is how he was murdered, and why. Then it turns out that Cobblepot Senior FAILED: Cobblepot needed to silence Pikney to take over Gotham's economy, and used the classic poison and a social invitation that Pikney couldn't refuse. Pikney died, but used a serum (thanks to a young Arkham, no less) to resurrect himself. Unfortunately, it drove him a little insane. He then killed Cobblepot for real.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight starts with Commissioner Gordon saying "This is how the Batman died." The game's Golden Ending makes this statement at least figuratively true; whether or not it's literally true is open to interpretation.
  • Battle Chess has a short battle animation for every possible combination of piece capture. However, since the piece that moved is the one that captures, the winner of the battle is pretty obvious, making the whole thing exist simply for Rule of Cool.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! takes place before Borderlands 2, so you already know what happens to various characters by the time the latter starts.
    • Jack will go from an affable, reasonable Anti-Hero and low-level Hyperion programmer to a full-blown, insane, genocidal megalomaniac and CEO of Hyperion. He'll also get his face disfigured and start wearing his signature mask.
    • Roland, Lilith, and Moxxi all survive into Borderlands 2, during which Roland dies.
    • All of the non-DLC Vault Hunters survive past the end of the game. Nisha and Wilhelm will help Jack take over Pandora, Claptrap will be abandoned on Pandora's Southern Shelf, and Athena will be captured by the Crimson Raiders and retell the game's story to the first game's Vault Hunters.
      • The DLC ones, the Huntress and the Doppelgänger, are the only ones who subvert this trope because they weren't even supposed to be in the middle of this mayhem at all, so details about them are foggy. Aurelia, the Huntress and Sir Hammerlock's sister, gets simply way too disgusted with Jack's newfound, growing ruthlessness, despise her being kin to all this violence and status stamping, and cut all ties after one too many lines crossed. And Timothy Lawrence, the Doppelgänger, being a body double to Jack himself, not only feels the same way as the former (despise only being evil, technically, by mortgage), but also is forever carrying the visage of the new Public Enemy #1, which puts his neck in the line of quite a few assassins. The game hints that he is constantly on the run because of this, and in so far his fate is the only unclear one of the whole cast.
    • Sir Hammerlock's "Moon Threshers" will spread across Pandora as a dangerous invasive species. Of the two in the crash-landed rocket, one will become Terramorphus the Invincible, and the other will tear off some of Hammerlock's limbs in a fight, and potentially be killed by a Borderlands 2 Vault Hunter in a side-quest.
  • The missions "All Ghillied Up" and "One Shot, One Kill" in Call of Duty 4 involve you attempting to assassinate Russian Ultranationalist leader Imran Zakhaev in 1996. Of course, since the mission just before ended with Zakhaev attempting to call Khaled al-Asad in the present day, you can figure out how this will end...
  • The story in the video game adaptation of The Darkness is being told by the protagonist, Jackie Estacado, so the assumption is that he's around after the fact to tell you his story. In an unusual subversion, there are totally unexpected twists in the story which present further examples: "That... well, that was the first time I died."
  • Adventure game Diamonds In The Rough starts off like this. "However I'll tell you the ending. I have just consumed 200g of yellow phosphorus dissolved in olive oil. Now I feel fine, if a bit queasy from the olive oil. Soon extreme thirst will happen. Followed by nausea and headache. That's when the real fun begins." He goes on to describe exactly how his body will shut down and suffer severe organ failure. It also serves as hint on how to progress; you need to read a report on its effects and grab a beaker of it late in the game.
  • The beginning of Dragon Age II starts ten years after gameplay actually begins, so it reveals that Hawke will become the Champion of Kirkwall and will be involved in events that will severely cripple the Chantry. However, exactly what Hawke does is up to the player. The trailer also gives another one; the Qunari uprising, the Viscount's death, and the possible duel against the Arishok.
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey opens with Zoe in a coma, so you know you're getting set up for a Downer Ending. And it works in the opposite direction, too. The first game ends with April Ryan living as a content old woman, so her apparent death at the end of Dreamfall is probably not going to stick. In this case, then this must means that Kian Alvane will also survive to marry her, as the kids called her "Mrs. Alvane".
  • Subverted in Dwarf Fortress: while every settlement you create will inevitably go up in flames, how it dies is almost entirely up to you.
  • In Eternal Sonata, it was a given that Chopin was going to die. Players were told on the game's cover that he's on his deathbed. The drama was not in whether he would die but how he would die, peacefully or in turmoil, and what the dream represented for him.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, you already know how the game is going to end in the introduction (the main character, Ramza, being branded a heretic and erased from history, while his childhood best friend, Delita, is revered as a hero and became king) due to the fact that it's narrated by a historian looking back into the past. Although in this case, it's not a matter of how things end, but rather an attempt to uncover the massive church conspiracy that damned Ramza as an evil heretic instead of the hero he is.
    • Final Fantasy X begins with the main party sitting at a campfire outside of a ruined Zanarkand, with the protagonist, Tidus, asking the player to "listen to [his] story" because "it may be the last chance [they] have left." Cue extended flashback. Seymour never really stood a chance. Funnily enough, the only thing not absolutely certain is whether or you and Wakka manage to win a Blitzball tournament or not.
    • Crisis Core, the prequel to Final Fantasy VII, expands upon the character Zack, who was seen in two flashbacks in the original game. Since one of the flashbacks shows Zack being killed by members of Shinra, you already knew the ending. Square Enix ups the ante by having Crisis Core end with Cloud Strife jumping on the train from the start of Final Fantasy VII.
    • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy is a prequel that follows the story of six Warriors of Cosmos. None of those warriors were present in the original Dissidia. The reason why is made painfully clear by the end of the story.
  • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has Hector dying within the first few chapters - in the prequel game Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Hector is one of the protagonists.
    • Binding Blade and Blazing Blade have several of these. by playing Binding Blade, you already know that Canas will die, Eliwood's wife (and Hector's) will become a Missing Mom, not to mention that Karla will die of an illness and that Rath (as well as possibly Lyn) will die in a Bern uprising.
    • However, it's only at the end of Blazing Blade that it's implied that Lucius was the priest who started the orphanage that Chad and the twins lived in, and who was killed by Bern forces.
  • God of War: "The gods of Olympus have abandoned me. Now there is no hope left." The game begins three weeks before Kratos crosses the Despair Event Horizon.
  • The Halo prequel Halo: Reach. Anyone who's been paying even a little attention to the backstory knows that Reach is Master Chief's Doomed Hometown and is gonna burn. Bungie have acknowledged this, as the game's tagline seems to be "From the beginning, you know the end."
    • This goes for the player character as well. The first cinematic upon starting a new game is a scorched wasteland - and a helmet with a bullethole through the visor. The game then cuts to your character placing the same helmet, now intact, on his/her head...
  • Heavenly Sword's first mission ends with main character Nariko succumbing to the deadly curse of the title sword. The rest of the game is a Flash Back on the events leading up to this point. She eventually does succumb to the curse, but not before taking King Bohan and hundreds of his soldiers with her.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The same can be said about Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, a game that chronicles Roxas' time with Organization XIII. Since we know the conclusion of his story in Kingdom Hearts II, we know that that game won't end happily.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, a prequel to the first game, does not end happily. Given that all three protagonists are MIA as of the aforementioned first game just ten years later in-universe, it was only a matter of how they all met their untimely ends. By the end, they're either in stasis, possessed or trapped in another dimension, with present-day hero Sora their only hope of rescue.
  • You start The Last of Us playing as protagonist Joel’s pre-teen daughter Sarah. The marketing never hid the fact that the game’s Deuteragonist was a girl named Ellie. It was only a matter of time before something horrible happened to Sarah. She dies twenty minutes in.
  • "The Last Stand" poster in Left 4 Dead saying "It won't end well." This is for Survival mode where you have to hold out for as long as you can because everyone will eventually die. But that it is not canon, at least not yet.
    • "The Sacrifice" in Left 4 Dead 2 will involve one of the original Left 4 Dead characters dying to save everyone else, and the tie-in comic establishes that it's officially Bill. In gameplay, it could be any one of the players
    • Initially the fact that the campaigns were connected made the ending of each one an example (Since no matter how hard you fought, you were right back to where you started in the next one). The creators thought this would leave a sour taste in the player's mouths since it meant each ending bar the last one was a Downer Ending. The "Crash Course" campaign and later comic then confirmed that all of them tie into each other since the fans wanted continuity.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Anyone even remotely familiar with Zelda-series history knows a little bit about the Master Sword and its role as "The Blade of Evil's Bane." So when they play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and start to see the eponymous sword beginning to look more and more like that legendary blue-hilted blade, they can likely fill in the blanks before they reach the end. Relatedly, if you've played any chronologically subsequent Zelda game with the Master Sword before this one, you can easily guess that Fi, the blue Exposition Fairy who inhabits the sword, will have a good reason by the end for not showing up in any other game.
    • An outdated but more obvious one—anyone who played the older games would have realized things weren't going too well for Link and Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Happens multiple times in the Life is Strange franchise:
    • Every character who already appeared in Life Is Strange or died shortly before the game started will survive the prequel Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. Also, Max won't keep the promise that she made at the end of the end of the bonus-episode of Before the Storm about being there for Chloe while being in Seattle because it was mentioned multiple times in both the prequel and the first game that she wasn't. note 
    • The two main characters of Life Is Strange 2 will meet Chris from The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit at one point of the story. note 
  • In Lufia II, you know Maxim and Selan don't end well, and you know that killing Gades won't end the game because there are three more bad guys you have to fight on the Doom Island.
  • Max Payne:
    Max: They were all dead. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger, and then it was over.
  • The Day Of Sigma, an unlockable OVA on Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, acts as a prequel to the events of the series. This shows an inevitable Start of Darkness (of sorts) for Sigma. What fans didn't see coming in the video was Abel City being destroyed by a Macross Missile Massacre, with Dr. Cain's apparent death before the first game even starts. And that's not the only retcon the video had made.
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the story of the game is being told, ipso facto, by the protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood. As such, it is logically impossible for him to die in course of the game. However, in a certain puzzle in which Guybrush is suspended over a cauldron filled with acid taking too long to solve the escape will cause him to fall into the acid and subsequently die. The game then cuts back to the present, where Elaine points out to Guybrush that he obviously can't be dead, since he is telling her the story. The player then gets another try.
  • In the MOTHER fangame midquel MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance, you already know that Giegue will descend into madness if you've played the series before, no matter what you do. Not even PK Harmony, the ability equivalent to Sing and Pray, can save him, only momentarily holding off his insanity.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, you can ask your uncle Duncan to tell you about some of his adventures. Although he has a lot of stories to tell, he refuses to tell them to you because there wouldn't be any tension since you know that he lives.
  • Odin Sphere:
    • When you first meet Mercedes, she's queen of the fairies. When you start playing as her, her beautiful mother tells her she's leaving for the war.
    • When you play Gwendolyn's first chapter, you slay Vanir soldiers by the dozen, and defeat the dragon who served as their trump card. When you play as Oswald, you hear Vanir soldiers, before that very battle, saying Gwendolyn is no match for them anymore and that the dragon will secure their victory.
  • Persona 5 opens with you being captured by the police, forced to sign a false confession, and told that a member of your supposed True Companions sold you out. The main bulk of the game consists of a flashback to six months ago where you tell the prosecutor How We Got Here.
  • Thanks to no one remembering the events of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth in the main games, it's obvious to players of those games that the memories of the games will be erased somehow. This somewhat hurts the game as it progresses some of the subplots in 3, namely the Yukari and Mitsuru and Ken and Shinjiro ones, but all of these have to be erased at the end of the game.
  • [PROTOTYPE] plays with this, mixing it with Prophecy Twist here and there. The prologue of the game as well as the cutscenes of Alex recounting the events so far occurs at the 18th Day of the infection. From the looks of New York and the background images of desperate fighting the player gets the impression that The Virus has all but taken over Manhattan. So, as the game progresses, it is of no surprise as hives and infected are popping out left and right. It is not until about midway through the game that the player learns that Alex killed Elizabeth Greene and the Blacklight lost its momentum and another couple more missions before she actually dies. Likewise, Alex mentions very early on that he killed McMullen. What he doesn't say is that when he finally got to McMullen, he shot himself in the head, depriving Alex and the player a treasure trove of information, most importantly, about the Pariah. In a similar vein, the Web of Intrigue videos clue the player on Alex's role in the creation and spread of the Blacklight virus before the actual reveal occurs.
  • The background behind RayForce is that a planetary AI has gone haywire and is attempting to purge the Earth of its life and replace it with what the AI perceives to be superior versions of said life, leaving blowing up the planet as the only option left for humanity. The prequel RayCrisis is about the efforts to stop said AI's efforts, which naturally end in utter failure.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, the protagonist is a guy named John Marston who’s on a suicide mission to hunt down the members of his former gang after its dissolution about a decade before when their leader Dutch went mad. Since the second game in the series is a prequel taking place during John’s time in the gang, the gang was going to fall apart and Dutch was going to go crazy. Since the protagonist of II, Arthur, wasn’t mentioned ever in I, something was always going to happen to him. He dies at the end of the main story.
  • Resident Evil Outbreak takes place during the period of time visited in Resident Evil 2 and 3. Raccoon City got nuked at the end of 3. So the odds are greatly stacked against the playable survivors, with canon doing nothing to establish anybody's survival.
  • Resident Evil 0, despite being a prequel, goes both ways with this trope. You know Rebecca will end up in the Spencer mansion and you know her entire team dies, but since Billy isn't even so much as mentioned in any other games you have no clue whether he'll die, be handed over to the authorities by Rebecca, or make his escape. The Nintendo 64 re-release of Resident Evil 2 has a file in the RPD that states he died, but was written by Rebecca who at then end of Zero declares "Officially Billy Coen died in the crash" before letting Coen escapenote .
  • Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space: Episode 3 opens with the duo held captive inside a deathtrap by the vampire Jurgen. The first half of the game details how the two wound up that way.
  • Subverted in Second Sight: half the game is set in the present, with the rest being told as flashbacks roughly six months earlier. However, the ending reveals that what the protagonist believes to be the past is in fact the present and what he believes to be the present is in fact a hypothetical future, which he is experiencing because of his precognitive abilities.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Fan Interquel Sonic: Before the Sequel has Sonic trying to stop Robotnik from launching the Death Egg. Since the game takes place between Sonic 1 and 2, the latter game showing that the Death Egg is now orbiting above the Earth and Sonic still has to stop it, it's pretty obvious that he fails this time.
  • Star Trek Online:
  • Surprisingly subverted in most Star Wars games. The conclusion is forgone, since they're all sidequels, interquels, and prequels… but you can always play towards the non-canonical Dark Side ending anyway, where that doesn't happen. Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic avoid it, unless you play The Old Republic first or are aware of LucasArts' general policy on Light Side/Dark Side choices — they might be prequels, but they take place so long before the rest of the Star Wars Legends that there are millennia of thus-far undetailed time for things to snap back (the Sith Empire wins? The internal contradictions causes it to collapse within a century or two [or even quicker], and the Republic re-emerges from the ashes). You know how it ultimately is going to end up, but that ultimately is so distant that it doesn't really matter to the ending.
  • Since Tales of Berseria is a prequel to Tales of Zestiria, if you've played the latter you know certain things will happen; Malakim will become known as Seraphim, humans will stop being able to see them except with strong enough resonance, and the daemonblight will become malevolence and remain to plague the world. Exactly what happens to lead to this, and what happens to the main characters, however, isn't known except in specific cases such as Eizen, who will become a dragon by the time of Zestiria and thus will live out Berseria.
  • Since the title of Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4 reads "The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood", we are curious at to what happens to Guybrush at the end. Although it is subverted when he is saved from execution by LeChuck, who clears out the last of the five charges for him, it becomes double subverted when the same guy who saved Guybrush later kills him by the Cutlass of Kaflu after the latter cures everyone of the Pox of LeChuck. That Spoiler Title is definitely a Four-Gone Conclusion!
  • Done in Valkyria Chronicles in which the opening narration is by a novelist who wrote about the war described in the game and talks about how Gallia would come to withstand the invasion and would challenge one of the continent's great powers. The fun in the game, is of course in finding out exactly how, and the price of victory. And soon you realize that it will be very high. The question is not who will win, but what will be left once the war is over.
  • Averted In Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria, which is seemingly a prequel to the first game. We "know" that Silmeria is going to get captured by Brahms… and that's when Time Travel from the first game completely changes everything. But played straight in a way by the first game. Regardless of what happens with the various Einherjar you pick up, the world is going to end a month in-game after the prologue. Sure, Lenneth recreates, uh, creation afterward, but only in the best ending.
  • Several "dungeons" in World of Warcraft involve the players going back in time to foil the Infinite Dragonflight's attempts to break the Timey-Wimey Ball. While this could be a subversion if it were possible to fail, canon states that if the players screw it up the time guardians of the Bronze Dragonflight will hit the Reset Button. So not only are the original enemies Doomed by Canon, so are the Infinite agents.
    • Additionally, one such flashback (the Battle of Mount Hyjal) has no Infinite Dragons interfering and even the developers admit that it only exists because it's a cool moment for the players to be a part of, so Archimonde and friends are 100% doomed.
    • To make things worse, the 4.3 patch added the "End Times" dungeon where you go to the Bad Future to defeat the leader of the infinite dragonflight... the corrupted Nozdormu himself who knows that he's screwed but must defeat his insane self anyway to preserve the future from his upcoming madness. Anyone taking bets that the other members of the bronze flight are equally aware of their eventual corruption?
    • No time travel involved, but for anyone who's done the Black Temple raid from The Burning Crusade, the Demon Hunter prologue in Legion is very much this. Throughout the prologue, in which you are sent by Illidan Stormrage to another world for a MacGuffin, you are constantly reminded that you have to hurry because the Black Temple is under attack (by players from the Burning Crusade era). Since obviously both the Demon Hunter PC and the PC raid party must survive, no points awarded for realizing that Illidan is defeated before you get back.
  • Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z is a spinoff of the Ninja Gaiden series about title character Yaiba's quest to kill Ryu Hayabusa. Just the fact that this is a spinoff game about killing the main character of the entire series should tell you that Yaiba doesn't succeed.
  • By virtue of being a prequel, it's pretty easy to tell who in Yakuza 0 has Plot Armor (such as Dojima, Sera, Shimano, Nishiki, Kashiwagi and Reika) and who Anyone Can Die actually applies to if you've played the first game. It's also safe to assume that both Dojima and Shimano fail in their bid for the Empty Lot, which would give them enough money and power to seize control of the entire Tojo Clan, because Sera is in charge of the clan instead in the first game. Or that Kiryu, despite leaving the Dojima family, somehow ends up right back in it again at some point so that he can take the fall for Dojima's murder in-between this game and the first.
  • If players have played Zero no Kiseki and Ao No Kiseki before playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I and II, players will already know that Osborne's faction wins the Civil War before the latter games come out.
  • Wings of Glory goes along with the real history of the First World War as you advance through the campaign. So regardless of your performance as a pilot, the Allies will still win the war in the end.


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