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Artifact Title

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"It's strange, for a game called 'House of the Dead', you'd assume it would be set in a house full of dead people... Truthfully, they should have called this game 'Road Trip of the Dead'..."

A series title that made perfect sense when it began, but after a number of changes to the premise, no longer makes sense to people who don't go back to the beginning. Sometimes a new element is put in to justify the title.

This usually happens when a movie named after a specific MacGuffin suddenly gets a sequel, and changing the title to something else might throw people off that this is a sequel. One of the ways to avert this is through a Franchise-Driven Retitling, downgrading the original to a subtitle with the main title being something more consistent. They couldn't very well have called the Indiana Jones sequel Raiders of the Lost Ark 2, could they?

See also The Artifact. Often a direct result of Nothing Is the Same Anymore and Early Installment Weirdness. Sometimes results in New Season, New Name. Happens often in poorly devised Alternate Universe Fan Fiction. Eventually this could turn a title into a Nonindicative Name. This can also happen on a larger scale with Network Decay. Compare Trivial Title.


Not to be confused with MacGuffin Title.


  • Modernism isn't very modern any more. Postmodernism is also pretty old. The "Modern Breakthrough" is even older.
  • Also Art Nouveau, which hasn't been new since the 1890s.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Daniel Whitney created the Larry the Cable Guy persona for a radio show. Early on, he actually was pretending to be a cable guy, but that part of the character was phased out in favor of the Southern-flavored comedic character he is now. This was made plain when Whitney and his character starred in the movie Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector.
  • "Alternative comedy" was a phrase coined in the 80s to describe the acts at London's Comedy Store. What people actually meant by it varied from "avant garde; thinks actual punchlines are trad" to "probably swears a lot" to "not a racist/sexist 70s club comic" (or any combination of the above). These days most of "mainstream" UK comedy is descended directly from the "alternative" scene (and the surviving racist/sexist club comics swear much more than them).
  • Hannah Gadsby's standup comedy act "Nanette": She initially intended to get an hour's worth of material from her brief encounter with a woman who was named Nanette, but found it couldn't be done, and the final product never mentioned Nanette at all. She first performed it for an event where your act had to have a title, and she'd already put "Nanette" on the form, so it had to stay.

  • Twelfth Night: This Shakespearean play has no real title, its title comes from the fact that it was commissioned to be performed for Twelfth Night (the night before January 6th). The full title is Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Alternative Title(s): Artefact Title


Example of: