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Author's Saving Throw

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"Here's a secret — when I finally okayed the clone saga, I told Danny Fingeroth to build a back door into it. I said that I wanted to be able to bring Peter back as the real deal...while the fans claim they want change, they tend to react negatively to it. So do most creators!"
Marvel Editor Tom DeFalco on The Clone Saga

Creating a sequel or a serialized work comes with the opportunity to improve upon your previous work. An author will often look at elements that fans complained about, and try to address these in an attempt at appeasing their anger. This is what we call an Author's Saving Throw: a change meant to correct a mistake the author made.

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Even writers without a direct line to the fans usually gain some form of access to the fandom that has spawned around their creation. They may find out that a Twist Ending they wrote was not well-received and decide to retcon that storyline. Or they may learn what fans were inspired to do, and incorporate those things into later works as a Shout-Out to the fans.

This is common in games, where Tier-Induced Scrappies will receive a Balance Buff or Nerf, or Anti-Frustration Features get implemented to make a Scrappy Mechanic less infuriating. Since The 2000s, the ability to release patches means that in video games, making a Saving Throw might not require the release of a whole new work: the game's developers can simply apply the changes to the base game.

Tropes Are Tools. When done well, the result may be that a reviled character is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, and this is also a great way to create a Surprisingly Improved Sequel or Even Better Sequel, as well as to Win Back the Crowd. However, going too far may lead to accusations of Pandering to the Base, and there are risks of assuming that a Vocal Minority's complaints are universal, alienating a large portion of the fanbase.

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Named for a common Tabletop Game term originating in Dungeons & Dragons; a "saving throw" is a die roll representing, say, a hero's attempt to catch themselves when falling off a cliff, or the Deadpan Snarker's attempt to resist the urge to taunt Cthulhu.


Examples:

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    Literature 
  • The Boy on the Bridge: The ending does a lot to avert the Inferred Holocaust feelings of The Girl With All the Gifts, due to revealing that humans living high enough in the mountains are safe from the spores Melanie released, and she wants to peacefully coexist with them.
  • In-universe, and somewhat more literal, example in the fifth Captain Underpants book (sorry, EPIC NOVEL), Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman. Ms. Ribble (who, via a screwed-up hypnosis sessionapparently the Hypno-ring George and Harold used works in reverse on women — turned into Wedgie Woman) sprays spray starch on Captain Underpants, rendering him powerless. George and Harold, in an effort to save the Captain, quickly write a comic book to try to negate this weakness. To make a long story short... it worked.
  • Euripides wrote two versions of the story of Hippolytus. Only the second version survives, but it is widely believed that in the original version outraged the audience because Phaedra (wife of the great hero Theseus) lusts without shame after her step-son Hippolytus, and brazenly attempts to seduce him. The second, surviving version bends over backwards to make Phaedra blameless (she's deeply ashamed of her feelings, and only seems to come on to her step-son because her nurse betrays her). She still comes to no good end, committing suicide and attempting to frame Hippolytus for rape.
  • A Frozen Heart: One of the chief complaints about the film Frozen was the character Prince Hans, namely that he was Evil All Along, causing him to become the film's biggest Base-Breaking Character. This Tie-In Novel gives him a more sympathetic portrayal by showing more of his personality and inner thoughts during most of the story and giving him a backstory with a Freudian Excuse in the form of an abusive family that includes a father who encourages ruthlessness.
  • In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens wrote a new Earn Your Happy Ending ending for when the original Bittersweet Ending wasn't well received by fans.
  • A Karen Traviss example: Her first Halo book, Halo: Glasslands, was despised by the fandom for demonizing the scientist Catherine Halsey while portraying her rival Admiral Parangosky as a model of honesty. In reality, both of them have committed plenty of unethical acts to defeat both the Insurrection and Covenant. Thus, in her second book Halo: The Thursday War, Parangosky was now depicted as more sinister and ruthless (willing to starve an entire species by secretly making their crops and meat inedible) while Halsey gets some sympathetic reveals, such as that she still cries over the death of her daughter Miranda Keyes.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Many fans complained that, since catching the Golden Snitch basically scored 15 times as many points as a goal and ended the game, the Seeker made the rest of the game irrelevant. The World Cup game shown in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire demonstrates that is it at least possible for a good enough team to beat even a superior seeker. The Weasley twins successfully manage to win a bet that Ireland's team will win the game, but that Bulgaria's Seeker will still get the Snitch, showing that catching the Snitch doesn't guarantee victory. Of course this doesn't really refute the initial argument, as it does show that it's not literally always true. Everyone in universe also acknowledges how incredibly unlikely this is (which is why they win big on the bet), with most of them finding the idea of a team catching the Snitch but losing absurd.
    • One of the most disliked elements of the series was the idea of sending Harry to live with the Dursleys. Even if they didn't know the Dursleys would turn cartoonishly abusive towards Harry, they certainly did know what they were like by the end of the first novel. The original explanation - Dumbledore wanted Harry raised away from the Wizarding world to guard against Harry growing up arrogant and entitled - only served to inflame the readership's condemnation, pointing out that if that was all that Dumbledore wanted, Harry could have been simply dropped off at an orphanage or another place where Harry was guaranteed to find a loving Muggle family. Come Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we find out that Harry's Crazy Cat Lady next door neighbor was actually Dumbledore's agent, sent to make sure Harry was safe. Then in the final chapters, Dumbledore reveals the REAL reason he sent Harry to the Dursleys: because of the nature of Lily's Heroic Sacrifice enchantment, it meant that as long as Harry was under the guardianship of her family, he had magical protection away from Hogwarts from the Death Eaters. Petunia Dursley, Lily's estranged older sister, was the only remaining relative of hers, leaving Dumbledore with no choice but to leave Harry there. Later, Dumbledore apologizes to Harry for putting him through all of that and admits that Harry grew up to become a much better person than anybody would have expected under those kind of circumstances. He also gives the Dursleys a much-deserved telling off for the abuse and neglect they dished out, acknowledging in-universe that they'd treated him abominably.
    • One common complaint about the series is that Slytherins are always portrayed as evil, to the point that Peter Pettigrew is the only antagonist stated in the books to not be from the house.note  Similarly, Snape was the only remotely good character to come from the house for most of the series and even that isn't apparent until near the end of the series. Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is often seen as Rowling's saving throw, creating a Slytherin character who's definitively on Dumbledore's side and more or less a good guy. How moral his character is is up for debate, but he shows regret for indirectly helping a young Voldemort work out creating horcruxes and is, if not perfect, at least a nice guy overall. And in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows prior to the Battle at Hogwarts all of Slytherin house are directed to leave Hogwarts grounds under the presumption they won't help defeat Voldemort; during the battle Slughorn and some of the Slytherin students (though the students accompanying him was revealed by Rowling after publication, not in the book) later return having gathered more reinforcements from outside the school to fight against Voldemort.
  • Honor Harrington: The People's Republic of Haven started the series as a welfare state gone wrong, with the majority of its citizens on welfare, not contributing to the economy, forcing the Republic to conquer in order to survive. A lot of people have taken this as an attack on the concept of a welfare state. In the novella I Will Build My House of Steel, found in the Manticore companion book House of Steel, Weber mentions that several other star systems, influenced by Haven, enacted similar reforms, but they actually pulled it off without gutting their economies, by virtue of having relatively honest politicians... until, that is, they got conquered by Haven.
    • When Weber introduced the concept of the prolong treatment in the second book of the series, The Honor of The Queen, it's explicitly stated that the 3rd generation prolong treatment, which is given in infancy, extends all stages of life, such that people from a planet without prolong are stated to be disturbed to be visiting a Manticoran warship that looks like it's crewed mostly by teens and pre-teens (really crew in their chronological 20s and 30s). Later in the series it's also mentioned that the (mixed sex) crews are required to have birth control implants while serving on ships because sex between consenting crew members who spend long periods in close quarters is considered inevitable, and is tolerated. When the Unfortunate Implications and Squick factor of those two facts considered together was pointed out (and that this would be true of the entire culture, not just the military), later stories in the universe make a point of mentioning that prolong also includes treatment that causes one to physically at a normal rate until they reach adulthood, at which point the slowdown of physical aging is allowed to happen.
  • The Lightbringer Series: The Blood Mirror had several revelations that were not particularly popular with readers. The sequel, The Burning White, barely mentions and even retcons away some of them. For instance, Andross revealing to Gavin/Dazen that Gavin was not a full spectrum polychrome at all, and was in fact a black monochrome drafter that stole other colors from people he's killed is almost completely ignored in the sequel. The Burning White, aside from a very brief mention of Gavin confusedly recalling this incident, operates under the assumption that Gavin is a true prism and full spectrum polychrome who has simply lost his ability to draft. Why Andross believed otherwise and told Gavin this is never explained.
  • The Magic: The Gathering novel Scourge had the Big Bad, Karona, gather five powerful beings representing the colors of magic, namely Multani, Teferi, Fiers, Llowalyn, and Yawgmoth, revealing that Yawgmoth (the Big Bad of the Weatherlight Saga), who was dramatically killed, was hanging on in some form. The storyline fans were not amused at the news. A few years later, the Time Spiral block trilogy had Teferi deny his meeting with Karona, and several characters stated that they'd personally confirmed that Yawgmoth was dead.
  • One element of the first Mary Russell novel that upset even those Holmes fans who like the books was the Rathbone-movie-style Adaptational Wimp portrayal of Dr. Watson. Although Watson has never played a big role in the books, later novels strongly suggest that Mary's initial judgement of him was adolescently arrogant and hasty.
  • In-universe example in Misery; a fan kidnaps a writer to force him to do an Author's Saving Throw after he killed off a beloved character in his series.
  • Some people thought the Mog book "Goodbye, Mog" was too sad because of Mog's apparent death, so "Mog's Christmas Calamity" was written, in which she has an Unexplained Recovery.
  • In the Old Man's War series, John Scalzi reveals in the afterword of Zoe's Tale that he decided to do a Perspective Flip of the previous book rather than continuing the story, as he was never happy with Zoe's offscreen recruitment of a whole army, and thought the many fans that accused it of being a Deus ex Machina had a good point. He also took the opportunity to provide more closure to the werewolf storyline.
  • A few examples from Rick Riordan and his Riordanverse of mythological fantasy books.
    • During The House of Hades, Nico's actions toward Percy in The Battle of the Labyrinth seem much less like a hastily Subverted Create Your Own Villain subplot and much more representative of his romantic feelings after reading The House of Hades.
    • The House of Hades itself irons out some inconsistencies in the previous books, gives the new characters some much needed development, and includes a vast number of references to the previous series that continued several small plot threads that, while not necessarily dangling, could be explored further.
    • The next series had one for an odd line in the very first book about Percy being the son of Nemesis, a goddess, while having a mortal mother. Apollo off-handedly mentions that gods can reproduce with same sex humans in the Riordanverse, a fact that, while in the original mythology, had not been confirmed in the Riordan take on it.
    • Readers were surprised by Magnus, protagonist of the Norse series, using mild cursing in the first book, which many felt was uncharacteristic for Riordan. Come book two, not a single "dammit" appears, though the Hel/hell joke is kept due to Rule of Funny.
    • TJ, Gunderson, and Mallory were practically billed as main characters, yet they were offscreen for most of the first two books when Sam, Blitzen, and Hearthstone took the role of main supporting characters. The third book has them joining the main four, along with Alex, and sharing backstories and fighting alongside him.
    • Alex doesn't go as Anvilicious with their gender fluidity in the third book, but that actually does make sense - the viewers (much like the friends and family members of gender-fluid people) had time to adjust, so Alex doesn't need to mention it all the time.
    • In general the Trials books are a lot better at acknowledging that other books in the series outside of the Classical Mythology ones exist after the last series did not acknowledge them at all outside of easily avoidable short stories.
  • A well-known example can be found in Sherlock Holmes stories. In The Adventure of the Final Problem Doyle had both Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty apparently die in a waterfall. After public outrage (and big sacks of cash), he retconned the event, allowing the detective to defeat the Big Bad and survive.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The franchise has been up to its elbows in these. First the controversial New Jedi Order books introduced Vergere, and her philosophy that the Force was too complex to be summed up as simple light vs. dark. This ticked off a lot of fans, so the writers did the Dark Nest Trilogy and Legacy of the Force in response, which had Jacen Solo (Vergere's main pupil) become a Knight Templar and fall to The Dark Side as a result of her teachings. Problem was, many fans felt bothered with Jacen's fall, so the current Fate of the Jedi series is retconning it to have been not because of Vergere's teachings, but because he encountered something during a journey through the galaxy that made him go crazy.
    • Karen Traviss's Republic Commando Series has been very polarizing, due to her single-minded approach to storytelling. After four novels of vicious anti-Jedi sentiment at the hands of the Mandalorian characters, she included two scenes in her last novel to try and fix things up. First, she made Maze call out Skirata for being an asshole, and the renegade clones a bunch of brainwashed slaves, effectively comparing Skirata to the Jedi he was trying to save his troops from. Then, she revealed Djinn Altis' rogue Jedi convent, giving a fresh perspective that was separate from both the Republic Jedi and the Mandalorians, putting a lampshade on the whole series focus.
  • Legend says that Stesichorus (a Greek poet, who lived in the 7-6th centuries BCE) was struck with blindness after he wrote his original poem, in which the author bashed Helen for causing The Trojan War. He recants it by writing down another, but not as popular, oral version of her myth. The other version claims that the real Helen had spent the whole duration of the war in Egypt, and the Helen who went to Troy was just a duplicate made out of clouds note . Euripides also used a version of this story in his Helen. This became recognized as a palinode, a literary form, in which a poet writes a second poem to disavow an earlier one.

    Music 
  • Alanis Morissette is often criticized for her song "Ironic", because of its highly colloquial and technically incorrect use of the word in the title (her definition is more akin to a Cruel Twist Ending). Her Parody Retcon response? The song itself is ironic.
  • The Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich (the radical innovations in his earlier work had incurred the wrath of Josef Stalin, so this was really a saving throw on his life.)
  • Record Producer Ross Robinson started producing a bunch of Post-Hardcore artists seemingly as an apology for his hand in the rise of several Nu Metal bands. Post-Hardcore albums he produced include At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command (2000), Glassjaw's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence (2000) and Worship and Tribute (2002), and The Blood Brothers' ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn (2003). These are considered to be some of the best post-hardcore albums of the decade and brought post-hardcore to a wider audience, so he may well have succeeded.
  • David Bowie expressed regret for his comments in interviews during the Thin White Duke era, during which he occasionally expressed sympathy with fascism (due, it's generally accepted, to getting Lost in Character as the Duke, who actually was a fascist). After this point, on the rare occasions when he would express political themes in his work, they often tended to be anti-fascist, anti-racist, or otherwise anti-authoritarian. Good examples are the videos for "China Girl" and "Let's Dance", as well as much of the content of Tin Machine. The line "To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading" from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) is also generally considered to be an apology for this period. (It may be worth pointing out that some of Bowie's pre-Duke material also had anti-authoritarian themes, most notably Diamond Dogs, which started out life as a musical adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, and still had several songs referencing the book even after Orwell's estate denied David permission to use the work).
  • Due to negative reception over his single "That's My Kind of Night" for enforcing "bro-country" stereotypes (and for Zac Brown calling it one of the worst songs he'd ever heard), Luke Bryan's label rushed the song to #1 and then released the far more substantial ballad "Drink a Beer".
  • Similarly, Tim McGraw's song "Lookin' for That Girl" was negatively received for its Auto-Tune-driven productions and meat-headed lyrics, so the label pulled it after only a few weeks and promoted the much better-received ballad "Meanwhile Back at Mama's."
  • The Killers' lead singer and primary lyricist Brandon Flowers had a fairly cocky attitude in the band's early years, often speaking dismissively of other musicians; while also hyping up his own work. After a couple years of growing and up and maturing, 2017's "Wonderful Wonderful" includes a song titled "The Man" which is meant to be an ironic spoof and reflection of Brandon's younger self with hyper macho lyrics set to a Bowie-esque tune. The music video drives this theme further, with Brandon playing several hyper masculine characters in the video, all ending in them facing some form of rejection or humiliation by the end of the video.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Shortly after his debut in WWE, Bo Dallas was a babyface, asking the fans to "Bo-Lieve" and achieve their dreams, promoting positive thinking. However, this character was seen as rather bland, and the fans began to boo him. This led to a heel turn and a change in the character. After the turn, Dallas was portrayed as a Faux Affably Evil Straw Hypocrite. He only thought the fans loved him, though his speeches were full of backhanded insults and completely ignoring the heel heat he got. This iteration was received far better, and Dallas got over as a result.
  • Daniel Bryan was supposed to have fallen over the Despair Event Horizon after the Authority's constant screwing leading up to a gauntlet match against the members of The Wyatt Family. Bryan then joined their team, changing his outfit to a a plain sleeveless jumpsuit that made him look like '90s throwback to Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, wrestling garbage collector, and was even billed as "Daniel Wyatt" in house shows, but he didn't act all that different than before. The fanbase did not buy into Bryan's "motivation", and every crowd he wrestled in front of absolutely refused to boo him. So two weeks later, he and Bray Wyatt are in a steel cage match against The Usos. Once the Usos win, Bray attempts to discipline Bryan and, in a fit of Bullying a Dragon (heh) goads him into fighting back. Which he does, kicking Bray Wyatt up and down the ring...to thunderous "YES!" chants.
  • Fans thought Bryan would be in the 2014 Royal Rumble. He wasn't. The fans were displeased to the point where they turned on the event itself, and utterly rejected Batista's win of said Rumble, knowing he'd get a title shot at WrestleMania. Despite HHH and Steph throwing obstacle after obstacle at Bryan, he was eventually written into the WrestleMania main event. He beat HHH, but it was still worrisome who'd win. But again, after Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker and broke the streak, Bryan's victory was all but assured.
  • Fan reaction was so bad to Roman Reigns' win of the 2015 Royal Rumble that not even The Rock could placate them (it didn't help that the event took place in Philadelphia that year). It wasn't so much about hating Reigns — a lot of people felt he had potential, but it was almost universally agreed that he wasn't ready for a main event push yet. The fans were mainly pissed about the terrible booking they had to suffer through lately, more specifically on how Daniel Bryan didn't win (Bryan was in the match this year but was eliminated early). Bryan had just recently come back from a long term injury and many felt it was wasting his return momentum. Reigns had just come off injury too, but it was for all of two months so all it did was kill any momentum he already had, not helped by the fact that his return feud was with Big Show. End result? Despite the company's many, many desperate attempts to get him over, the fans absolutely refused to get behind Reigns and continued booing him out of the building. Realizing that if he won at WrestleMania all of his potential as a top baby face would be utterly destroyed, they had Seth Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase in the middle of the main event and leave with the title instead.
  • Survivor Series 2015 had Sheamus cash in right after Reigns had finally won the title and leave as champion. Fans took issue because the move was both incredibly predictable and considered the worst move that could possibly be made by the majority of the IWC, even more so than Reigns having his big face win. However, it did prevent Reigns from getting more heat — since all the heat went to the company, primarily Vince McMahon. After this, the company finally got a clue and started booking Reigns correctly. After he got screwed out of the title again at TLC 2015, Reigns snapped and went on a rampage, attacking three members of the League of Nations with chairs shots before The Authority and the referees came out to stop him.
  • WrestleMania 32 seemed specifically booked to spite the hardcore fanbase. The IWC was spitting fire everywhere, ratings were falling, house show attendance was down, and Roman was facing more X-Pac Heat than ever before. Not helping things was the return of Seth Rollins from his Game-Breaking Injury, who, while still the vile heel he was from before, was widely sympathized by the audience and infinitely more popular than Roman. And then, for the cherry on top, Roman violated the Wellness Policy, meaning the company had to get the belt off him soon before they suspended him. So, we come to Money in the Bank 2016, where Seth gave Roman the clean comeuppance fans believed he deserved, Dean Ambrose (fan favourite at the time) cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase he had won earlier that night on Seth and finally getting his revenge on his Arch-Enemy, and also booking the long-awaited Shield triple threat the next night for the following PPV. The next day, Roman was suspended.
  • At Money in the Bank 2017, WWE booked the first ever women's Money in the Bank ladder match. The finish came when Carmella's boytoy James Ellsworth pushed Becky Lynch off a ladder and retrieved the briefcase for Carmella. The fact that, technically, a man won the first women's MITB, and all the negative implications therein, caused WWE to quickly change the decision of the match to a no-contest and book the match to happen again on Smackdown. This time, Ellsworth's attempted interference was thwarted by Lynch, who pushed him off the ladder, although Carmella still won. Ellsworth was then handed a kayfabe one month suspension to remove him from TV long enough for the heat to die down.
  • Since the return of his leukemia gained Reigns some sympathy, after he returned in early 2019 following its remission, it seems that WWE did a 180 on him. He didn't main-event a pay-per-view for monthsnote , he hadn't competed for a single title, and was stuck in midcard feuds. This appears to have decreased some of the hatred he previously had. It helped that his main opponent was Baron Corbin, who the fans are sick to death of, and thus could never cheer. With that being said, the real Author's Saving Throw didn't come until Roman returned at SummerSlam 2020 and finally made a Face–Heel Turn. On top of refreshing his character, it no longer restricted Roman on the mic, which only helped his improved promo skills. Combined with the addition of Paul Heyman to further play up the danger and despicableness of his heel character, and Roman has quite likely started the best run of his career. The fans certainly seem to thinks so, at least.
  • The 2018 and 2019 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view events were marred by the controversial no-contest results of the eponymous main event matches, which drew negative reactions from fans, to the point where after the latter year, they begged WWE to end the event all together. Thankfully, the 2020 edition had the main event as well the other two matches end in clean, decisive finishes, with escalating brutality, clearly indicating the company had finally learned their lesson. WWE even alluded to the stoppage in-universe as referee Brian Ngyuen attempted to stop the Roman Reigns/Jey Uso "I Quit" match inside Hell in a Cell, after the former's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the latter. That was until Roman attacked him, for even considering it and the match ended with Jey saying "I quit" as per the stipulation.
  • When the Dark Order debuted on AEW, their first appearance had one of their members throwing ludicrously fake punches at Dustin Rhodes. After a wildly negative fan reaction, a later sketch showed the member who did the "attacking" getting punished for not actually attacking Dustin.
  • After Triple H suffered a "cardiac episode" and the show failed to beat AEW Dynamite in the ratings, Vince McMahon took over the booking of NXT, turning it into "NXT 2.0" and taking it from critically acclaimed to basically a regular WWE show, with goofy gimmicks and non-wrestling spots, in addition to firing most of the big name indy guys in favor of untrained and green rookies. This has led the show to be mocked constantly and even won WrestleCrap's 2021 Gooker award. Perhaps in recognition of this, several things in the show have changed since mid-2022 to mitigate this:
    • Many of the lesser trained wrestlers have been taken off TV and sent for more training (or perform on new B-show Level Up where their botches can be edited out).
    • Despite the "Not hire any female talent above 25 rule" not being rescinded, the company has hired some legitimately talented young female wrestlers, such as inaugural ROH Women's champion Rok-C, considered one of the top female talents out there, and Notorious Mimi.
    • Bringing in wrestlers from NXT UK, which allows them to get further exposure.
    • Retooling Joe Gacy's character from a extremely thinly veiled parody of a "social justice warrior" into more of a Bray Wyatt like creepy psycho.

    Sports 
  • Formula One has thrown a succession of these over the course of the 21st century:
    • On the eve of the 2009 season, it was suddenly announced that the driver with the most wins would be crowned world champion, regardless of all other results. The announcement was universally condemned, not just because everyone hated the idea, but because it was announced with the worst possible timing - the 2008 season had been decided at literally the last second, with Lewis Hamilton making an overtake at the last corner of the last lap of the last race to take the title by one point from Felipe Massa. Everyone agreed it was the most dramatic and exciting conclusion to a season in years, but under the new system it would have been ruined, because Massa had one win more than Hamilton.note  Within days of the announcement, the change was postponed until 2010, and then scrapped entirely in favour of a new points system that weighted wins more heavily.note 
    • Prior to the 2016 season, the qualifying format was changed so that drivers would be progressively eliminated until only one was left, instead of two bulk eliminations followed by a top-ten shootout. When this led to anticlimactic qualifying sessions in which nobody left the garage for the final few minutes, it was scrapped after just two races and the old system was brought back.
    • Toro Rosso's signing of Max Verstappen for 2015, at the tender age of 17 and after just one year of open-wheel racing, led to much criticism about such a young, inexperienced driver being allowed to compete. The FIA duly announced that from 2016 onwards, only drivers over 18 would qualify for a superlicense, and when 2016 arrived, they added further restrictions including a minimum of two full seasons' experience. Any lingering criticism vanished once Verstappen actually started racing and everyone realised he was ridiculously talented for his age.
  • Cleveland professional teams in every major league present in the city have revamped their imagery in response to various complaints:
    • For most of the 80's and 90's, the Cavaliers were simply known as the "Cavs" and had generic basketball-hoop logos, to the point that many a young Clevelander didn't even know what a cavalier was.note  In 2003, the Cavs revealed a new logo with a rapier and "All for one and one for all" as their slogan, thus invoking classic cavaliers. They've been sticking to sword logos ever since.
    • For decades the Browns were roasted for having brown and orange as their team colors. The Browns may be Cleveland's pride and joy, but their color scheme was considered hideously ugly to pretty much everyone else (as well as some fashion-conscious Clevelanders). In 2015, the Browns altered their colors to be more pleasing to modern eyes: the brown was made darker, almost black, and the orange more reddish.
    • The Guardians were known as the Indians for over 100 years, but ever since the Civil Rights Movement, people began to decry the name—and especially the Chief Wahoo logo—as racist. For decades these complaints were written off as Political Correctness Gone Mad, but in 2018 the team's corporate leadership responded by officially retiring Chief Wahoo, adopting a plain "Block C" as their logo. In 2021, in the wake of the George Floyd protests of 2020, the team announced they would change their name to something less racial, the Guardians. This may sound generic, but it's a reference to the Guardians of Traffic, eight Art-Deco statues along the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge near Progressive Field, fixtures of Cleveland culture.
  • Similar to the Guardians, the Washington Commanders were also heavily criticized as they were previously known as the Redskins. Like the Guardians, they announced they would change their name in the wake of the George Floyd protests. But whereas the Guardians remained the Indians until a new name was chosen, the former Redskins abruptly dropped their name and were simply known as the "Washington Football Team" for two years, for which they were roundly mocked, before rebranding themselves as the Commanders.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the many issues fans had with Alien: Covenant was the Fan-Disliked Explanation created by Ridley Scott that David created the Xenomorphs thanks to the various continuity issues they'd raised. Alien: The Roleplaying Game fixed this by calling David's creations "Praetomorphs" and going with the original intended explanation that Ridley chose to ignore (but the novelization kept) that David was only copying the Engineers' work.
  • A rule from the First Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons penalized Demihuman female characters on their Strength score: -1 for dwarves, -2 for elves, and -3 for halflings and gnomes. While the rule was misremembered as all female PCs having their strength subtracted by four, it remains a fact that female PCs of a few races still had their Strength reduced as a game mechanic. "Minus Four Strength" was even the former trope name for Game-Favored Gender. TSR Games dropped this rule when they realized what a bad idea it was; starting with D&D 2nd Edition's release, a player character's gender has had no effect whatsoever on their stats, alignment, or abilities. The concept is now an Old Shame for TSR and longtime fans of D&D.
  • After the changes to the Forgotten Realms to bring them in line with Dungeons & Dragons's Fourth Edition were poorly received, control over the Realms' direction for Fifth Edition was given to creator Ed Greenwood, who wasn't much happier than the vocally displeased fans. He proceeded to remake Forgotten Realms in his own vision.
  • Samuel Haight from the Old World of Darkness was a Creator's Pet that quickly became The Scrappy, until the creators finally clued into the fact that everybody hated him and killed him off, after which his soul was forged into a sentient ashtray.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade, Second Edition had a sourcebook called Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand which proved very unpopular because it suggested that the Sabbat (already a secret vampire conspiracy to control humanity) was itself controlled by a secret conspiracy within the Sabbat's "Black Hand" faction, which was itself called the Black Hand. This "True Black Hand" controlled everything from the land of the dead, residing in the ghost of the First City mankind founded. fan reaction was that these elements (and more) were needlessly complicated and stupid. When the next edition of Vampire: The Masquerade came out, they scaled back both new clans introduced in that book to about a dozen members each, declared that the scope of the "True Black Hand"'s power and agenda were extremely exaggerated, and then dropped a ghost atomic bomb on the underworld city they were operating out of for good measure.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Just about every change the fans react negatively to can be handwaved away with "everything we know is In-Universe propaganda or misinformation". Most seasoned fans have come to accept that it's basically impossible to keep the lore consistent with so many people working on it and more or less just dismiss whatever they don't like under the above logic. For instance, some players disliked the reveal that the Necrons are more than an unstoppable army of robot zombies; this was countered by claiming that the old characterization was based on a few seriously damaged cases.
  • The New Master Rules and Link Monsters, Yu-Gi-Oh!'s attempt to slow down the game's speed and reduce Power Creep. Under the new rules, one could only summon one monster from the Extra Deck at a time, to the Extra Monster Zone. That is, unless they first summoned a Link Monster in that zone, which would them allow you to summon monsters in zones that its arrows pointed to. Since destroyed Pendulums Monsters go into the Extra Deck, they were also hit with the limitation - in addition to losing their Pendulum Zones. This essentially held the Extra Deck hostage and forced players to buy Link Monsters in order to use their cards. Many decks weren't built to handle summoning Link Monsters first, most decks didn't have the space in their Extra Decks to accommodate the required Link Monsters, and for a while, most of the generic Links were mediocre at best. In 2020, Konami realized how bad things had become and swiftly changed the rules: now you can summon monsters from your Extra Deck outside of the Extra Monster Zone, and you can summon as many as you want without limits. The only exceptions to this were Link Monsters (which relied on the Extra Monster Zone's position anyway) and Pendulum Monsters (which usually supported other mechanics, so they were still majorly buffed by the change.)

    Toys 
  • Fisher-Price's InteracTV product initially had programming troubles and had a single blue programming card where the user has to enter the DVD's manufacturer code or press the back arrow repeatedly until the DVD player turns on, both of which are difficult due to taking several minutes and having a manufacturer not listed in the user guide. When the product relaunched in 2005 along with Read With Me DVD, it included an additional "Set-Up" card to program the DVD controls into the controller without having to enter a code through the card, with the addition of a set-up disk showing how to program the controller, and the initial programming card was renamed the "Code Entry" card and can now be used as an alternate method among with the arrow search.
  • Hatchimals: The first edition had long hatching times which can cause difficulties, among with infamous allegations they swear when sleeping. Later editions give them new sleeping sounds and decreased the hatching times, trying to keep them under less than a half hour.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories left people feeling unhappy about the Good Ending of Toma's route because he got forgiven for having drugged and imprisoned the heroine, and both of them entering a romantic relationship. The fandisc Amnesia LATER tells the After Story for each of the original five boyfriends, and Toma mentions in his route that he is blaming himself horrendously for what he did to her. He feels like he can't really permit himself to get into a happy relationship with the heroine because he shouldn't go unpunished. And Toma eventually reveals everything he did to Shin, who proceeds to give him two good punches and quite a talking to. It's not the severe punishment some people had hoped for, given how severe his actions were — which included trying to assault the heroine, but he doesn't get off scot-free like in the first game.
  • Highway Blossoms:
    • When the game was first released, there was a scene in which Amber and Marina stop at a rest stop, and encounter a sleazy trucker named Jumbo. Amber left Marina, a rather naive and sheltered girl, to talk to Jumbo while she let the air out of his tires, and returned to extricate Marina from the situation once she was done. Some players complained about the scene trivializing the danger two women might face in a danger like this, as well as Amber leaving Marina in a potentially hazardous situation. The developers also disliked the scene, so they removed the scene from the main storyline and moved it to the "Legacy Content" menu for posterity's sake, although Amber still occasionally references the event.
    • The game has an achievement for completing "Extreme Mode," in which Amber and Marina's cross-country road trip takes the same amount of time it would in real time- a total of 170 hours. After players complained, the developers changed the achievement so it only required completing the first day- 30 minutes each way to and from the convenience store, a three hour drive until sundown and eight hours of sleep, for a total of 12 hours.

    Web Comics 
  • Better Days: In the aftermath of negative reaction to Fisk joining a group of privately funded vigilante assassins, Naylor made several journals trying to distance himself from the character, stating that he didn’t necessarily agree with Fisk’s actions and views, and that Fisk was not his self-insert.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!!: early on in the comic, Maritza chose to kill off Dave, but there was such an outrage among the fans that she decided to bring him back.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when asked whether she was bisexual, Ashley answered that she "doesn't like labels". This caused some hostile reaction among bi readers, due to a more general trend of "not liking labels" as the latest form of bi erasure among various works. The next page has Ashley explain herself and Ellen explicitly identifying herself as bisexual homoromantic.
  • Sinfest:
    • When Maverick pulled a gun on Slick and threatened him, it garnered heavy criticism, so the author had a scene a few strips later where another character picks up the gun and mention "it wasn't loaded". Readers pointed out that it wasn't clear whether Maverick actually knew that, so the author posted a flashback of her unloading the gun to hammer the point home.
    • September 2016 has an arc involving a hacked payment processing machine at a brothel, "fining" cheap patrons and announcing their purchase history was now posted on the Internet. Even fans felt this may be "too extreme", so it was soon retconned into "random messages" inserted into the payment program.
  • VG Cats: After backlash for the joke about the death of Iwata being tasteless, the strip that had that joke was republished, with the joke and part of what led to it being removed, changing the strip's punchline.

    Other 
  • Recon is a dating/hookup site for gay men into kink. For years, the site predominantly featured white models with the skinhead aesthetic for promo pics, which many found off-putting due to the association between skinheads and racist ideology. On paper, one can be into the skinhead look without being a Neo-Nazi, especially in the UK where Recon is based, but in practice it alienated a lot of minority men from using the site, especially in the United States. In the late 2010s, the site started relying less on skinheads and featured a more diverse array of models to broaden its appeal.
  • The story of the Xbox One is essentially a long list of these.
    • The initial reveal included a high price tag of $500 ($100 more than the PlayStation 4) caused by the Kinect accessory being bundled in with it, said accessory being required to be plugged in for the console to work, a mandatory 24-hour online check-in, and perhaps most controversially, prohibiting the sale of used games - games would be tied to the player's profile, even if they were bought physically. After extreme backlash over this, the policies were reversed - the Kinect didn't need to be plugged in, the online check-in was made one-time only, physical games were no longer tied to the profile, and as an extra bonus, region locking was dropped.
    • The Kinect was eventually separated from the console, lowering the price to $400. The Kinect would eventually become downplayed as time went on, to the point where Microsoft stopped manufacturing them even separately - later revisions of the Xbox One would drop the Kinect port altogether (an optional adaptor was produced for a while, but it too was discontinued).
    • After heavy criticism for the unwieldy, Kinect-reliant interface, a massive overhaul intended to make it more user friendly was released in late 2015.
    • After backlash from both it and the PlayStation 4 lacking backwards compatibility due to different architecture, an emulation-based solution was revealed at E3 2015, and previously-purchased games, whether physical copies or digital, would be playable (albeit with a limited, if growing, compatibility list). In addition, compared to the Xbox 360, which had a backwards compatibility feature often criticized for glitchy emulation and poor performance, the Xbox One's emulator is much more solid, with games often running better than on native hardware and games that do run poorly (such as Halo: Reach) getting patches to improve performance. In addition, backwards compatibility for the original Xbox was also added.
    • After being derided for the mediocre specs of the console, Microsoft announced the Xbox One X, which is 4 times more powerful than the normal Xbox One, making it even more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, and capable of native 4K gaming. Even select backwards compatible games (both Xbox and Xbox 360) can be rendered in 4K.
    • One of the biggest remaining criticisms was how little exclusive content the Xbox brand had. While Sony kept churning out one Game of the Year competitor after another, Microsoft's exclusive announcements were sporadic, often plagued with delays, bad communication, even outright being cancelled more than once, and with the exception of the universally-lauded Forza Horizon series, failed to live up to their competitors. The main culprit behind all of it was just how few first party studios they had. Before 2018, their only major gaming subsidiaries were 343 Industries, Turn 10 Studios, The Coalition, Mojang (who only do the already-multiplatform Minecraft) and Rare. Then, at E3 2018, it was announced they were opening a new studio for story-driven games called The Initiative, and purchased four studios on top of that with Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Ninja Theory, effectively doubling their first party, placing them under the Xbox Game Studios banner. That was far from over, as later in November, inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment, two acclaimed Western RPG studios were also purchased, followed by the acquisition of Double Fine around E3 2019, and that isn't even the end. Furthermore, there's the promise that each studio will be allowed to make what it wants, and be fully unique, whereas in the past Microsoft got a bad rep for being notoriously hard to work with and very restricting, essentially having them adhere to a strict formula, compared to Sony allowing their teams to experiment and try new things. Granted, the fruits of the buyouts won't be seen in full until the ninth-generation, but this was definitely a move to address the big criticism over a lack of content.
    • One of Microsoft's biggest titles for the Xbox One, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, notoriously launched in a buggy state, with multiplayer, the series's biggest selling point, being unplayable due to glitchy matchmaking. 343 Industries did their best to fix things afterwards with numerous patches, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't until the Xbox One X was announced that the dev team decided to outright overhaul the matchmaking code alongside adding support for 4K resolutions. Combined with letting fans beta test this overhaul, 343 was lauded for sticking to fix the game when they could have just moved on to another project. Even better, they would add Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach to the collection, and later bring the collection to PCs for the first time, finally letting PC players play past Halo 2.

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