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Evolving Credits

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When you run in front of them, it's hard to see all of the girls chasing you!

As the name suggests, this is when the Title Sequence or closing credits of a series are slowly altered over the course of its run, by updating or replacing scenes to reflect major changes that have happened over previous episodes. This is a popular way of avoiding a Spoiler Opening for more plot-driven shows, usually mysteries, by having major characters who haven't been introduced or background characters with hidden importance initially being silhouettes or not appearing at all.

When shows are aired outside their home country, on syndication with other broadcasters or collected on DVD, the changed credits might not be carried over, with the first version of the credits used throughout (or replaced by entirely different ones).

Compare Evolving Music and Evolving Title Screen. Not to be confused with Title Sequence Replacement, where the title sequence for even previous episodes is changed for syndication and rerun purposes. If this happens every single episode, it may be a Couch Gag.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics:
    • The Knightfall trilogy event, which involves Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael being recruited to act in Batman's place, employs this.
      • The self-titled first arc features the yellow and black classic Batman logo slowly being eclipsed by red and purple, and then a red and purple version of the new Azrael-Batman logo debuts on the cover of Batman #500.
      • This logo, now gold and black, lasted through the next arc, Knightquest.
      • KnightsEnd, the final part of the trilogy which has Batman facing off with Azrael, features the Knightquest logo as shattered and falling away to revealing the classic yellow-and-black Batman logo.
    • The covers of Batman: Cataclysm features a section of a Gotham City street that starts intact, but starts to fall apart as part of the in-universe earthquake until it's a somking heap of rubble.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Frankenstein (1931) lists the cast members in the opening credits... except for the Monster, who is billed with a question mark where the name should be. It's only after the film, when the cast is listed again, that we learn it was Boris Karloff.
    • They did a similar thing with Kevin Spacey when he played the serial killer in Se7en
  • The Harry Potter film series has the Warner Bros logo become progressively darker and rustier and the clouds become darker, representing how the story becomes darker and grimmer over time.
    • This extends to the Fantastic Beasts prequels, which are set before the main series (and so are a little clearer and cleaner) but follow the same progression.
  • The Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part One has an evolving Blu-ray menu. The video behind the main menu is a piece of propaganda from President Snow, but once the film has finished it's replaced with the resistance's video of Katniss' "If we burn, you burn with us" speech.
  • Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy had its opening credits appear on webs. The second and third films feature images from the previous films in the webs; furthermore, while the second film used painted art, the third film featured actual scenes from the films.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock did not include Leonard Nimoy as Spock in the opening credits, unlike every other movie and episode. This was to avoid giving away Spock's eventual resurrection and fast-aging (so that he could be played by Nimoy again). It worked because so many people thought Nimoy hated playing Spock, as he allowed him to get killed off in Star Trek II and wrote a book called I Am Not Spock.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe combines this with Logo Joke by updating the Marvel logo with each new Phase:
    • Phase 1: A modified version of the standard Marvel "flipbook" logo used at the time with "Studios" appearing under the Marvel wordmark. Used from Iron Man to Iron Man 3 (the first film of Phase 2).
    • Phase 2: The comics flash on a 3D Marvel logo that the camera pans over. Used from Thor: The Dark World to Captain America: Civil War (the first film of Phase 3).
    • Phase 3: The camera pans through comic pages, before transitioning to script pages, then concept art, then finally a clip montage of previous movies (with new clips added with each subsequent film), all within a silver 3D Marvel Studios logo. Used from Doctor Strange to Spider-Man: Far From Home.
    • Phase 4, set in the post-Endgame status quo, uses the Phase 3 intro, but casts the concept art segment in monochrome gray and overhauls the clip montage, which again updates with each new movie and TV series. Used from WandaVision onwards.

    Video Games 
  • In Angry Birds, after a bird has made its first appearance, it will be seen leaping across the title screen. Upon completing an episode, an item related to the episode will be flying across the title screen as well. If you get all stars in an episode, its respective item will adopt a star motif. Finally, the background of the title screen will change depending on which level you last played (if it is a level from "The Big Setup", however, the construction background won't appear).
  • After you reach a certain point in Bravely Default, the subtitle "Where the Fairy Flies" is blacked out to read Airy Lies.
    • After you reach a certain point in its sequel Bravely Second, the subtitle "End Layer" is changed to read Send Player.
  • Call of Duty changes its menu image as you play farther in the campaign — at the start, it features an M1 Thompson; when you get to the British missions, it instead features a Lee-Enfield; and for the Soviet portion, it features a Mosin-Nagant.
  • In Dead Space 2 the further the player's progress in the main single-player mode is, the more pieces of the Black Marker congregate and take shape in the main menu. Completion of the game results in a fully assembled Black Marker drifting aloft the menu.
  • The opening screen for Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light displays a simple map. Pictures of the towns appear sequentially on it as you complete their storylines. In the second half, portraits of your temporary party members from the first half begin to pop up as you fix their pasts.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, each time the player finishes a playthrough, a new set of battle and story sequences are added in the opening credits. You need to complete the game 15 times to unlock all of them, and the most interesting of them storywise (such as Lewyn being killed by Manfroy in battle, then resurrected/possessed by the Wind God Forseti) are of course the last ones you get.
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, once you reach Part 3, where Ike and the Greil Mercenaries are introduced, several scenes featuring them are added to the opening movie.
    • In general, most games in the series include a "class roll" as an Attract Mode, which goes through the classes of the game. More classes are usually added with subsequent playthroughs, up to and including the Final Boss exclusive class in most cases.
  • Weirdly enough (and showing how much the Japanese adore this trope), you can do this yourself in the game Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, during a short video that flashes by the entire massive roster, and any created wrestlers you add will show up exactly where you put them, relative to roster position.
  • Half-Life 2 and its Episodes show an area of the most recent chapter you've reached. Half-Life retroactively got this with its Source rerelease, and it would also be used in Portal.
  • Hitman: Blood Money has a title screen showing an audience inside a church. The audience changes as you progress through the missions, but with members disappearing as you kill them.
  • Jet Force Gemini has a title screen that changes as you unlock more characters and levels: starting with just Juno running down a hallway, adding on Vela, Lupus and Floyd as they (re)join, kitting them out in their upgraded armor after the Disc-One Final Boss, then finally showing them without Floyd walking on the Federation homeworld with fireworks going off in the background after you've beaten the game.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords's menu screen features a Sith Lord surrounded by ominous fog. Which Sith Lord depends on who the currently revealed Big Bad is. Bottom out the Karma Meter, and it will be The Exile him/herself.
  • Left 4 Dead got one on PC with updates. Initially the menu was shown over a video of several zombies shambling about in an alleyway resembling one from the first campaign, "No Mercy". When the "Crash Course" DLC was added, the title video changed to zombies shambling about near the wreckage of a helicopter, which is where that campaign starts off at. The "Last Stand" DLC updated the title video again, this time to zombies shambling about near the lighthouse that is the centerpoint of the map in question.
  • The end credits of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask changes depending on whether or not the player has collected certain masks: The Postman's Hat, Kamaro's Mask, the Great Fairy's Mask, Romani's Mask, the Blast Mask, the Bunny Hood, the Circus/Troupe Leader's Mask, the Bremen Mask, and the Couple's Mask. You're normally shown a shot of the masks rotating on a black background as the credits roll, but each one you collect replaces the shot with a small scene of the characters from their respective sidequests. note 
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had an Attract Mode that had all characters standing in a line with those yet to be unlocked merely as silhouettes.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy has the main menu set inside Samus' Arm Cannon. After choosing a game and save file to load, the camera zooms out while Samus turns and shoots as a transition into the game. The armor she's wearing while doing this is the same as the suit she's currently wearing in the save file you loaded. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, it even has different models of Samus' PED Suit as it gets more and more corrupted as the game progresses.
  • Rune Factory 2 has the opening change to a second one, once the player has begun the cutscene to proceed to the Second Generation part of the game, when the player takes over as the hero's child.
  • In Silent Hill, the opening movie changes when you finish a playthrough with a Good+ End: in the part where Harry and his wife find baby Cheryl, Harry's wife is swapped with Cybil.
    • Similarly, the opening attract FMV for Silent Hill 2 changes once you complete the game. This time, spoken dialogue is reinserted into what was previously silent scenes that gives them spoilerific context.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, the main menu is a shot of Earth. Prior to starting the game, the planet is intact, but returning to the screen after the intro instead shows the planet shattered. As the player progresses through the game & restores the Earth, the state of the planet is reflected on the main menu.
  • In SoulBlade, completing the game with all characters in Arcade Mode changes the title screen / main menu from a bland gray screen to a picture lining up all the characters.
  • Super Smash Bros..:
    • The credits of the first two games won't show staff that was only involved with creating characters and stages that haven't been unlocked yet. Also, if someone worked on, for example, Mario and Luigi, it would say they worked on Mario and ???? if Luigi's locked.
    • The first scene in the opening sequence of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (both the quick pass by the group and the shot of them standing on the cliff) gets increasingly filled with secret characters as they get unlocked. This is carried over from the N64 game, where the final scene before the title screen is the silhouettes of the secret characters, that are revealed as they are unlocked. The 3DS game opens with a line-up of all the playable characters, again excluding ones that haven't been revealed or purchased.
      • Also, when the Isle of the Ancients is destroyed during the plot, it is replaced on the title screen with a large glowing X in the distance.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, this gets used on the main screen in each game. The first game has a train that fills up with each member of Class VII that joins the party. 2 starts out with Rean all alone in the Eisengard Range after the events of 1. As you go through the game, the final main screen has Class VII on the deck of the Courageous.
  • Wild ARMs:
    • In Wild ARMs 2, 3 and 4, whenever you load from a save it plays an opening credit sequence, and in Wild ARMs 3 whenever you save and quit it plays a closing sequence. The sequences change based on how far in the game you've gotten so far.
    • The original and Alter Code F have one generic clip used throughout the game. Wild ARMs 2 and 4 have two different clips, which generally appear halfway through the game (on the second disk in the case of 2). Wild ARMs 3 goes mad with this though, having no fewer than five variations of the opening credits, not counting the different songs which also play in the background which evolve independently of the video footage. Though to be fair the versions were mostly the same, all that changed was a bit in the middle that showed the current villains for that point in the game.
  • The technical limitations of Wrestlemania 2000 let you play with this as it used in game models and costumes during its intro, which could be edited.
  • Yoshi's Island features a thicker instrumentation for the title theme for every world you unlock. And when you unlock that last world...the whole rotating world's appearance changes too. The main theme changes as well - before you reach World 6, there is a track of crashing waves which slowly fades into the Yoshi's Island theme (the transition is so slow most players don't even realize it's there). After World 6, the theme plays immediately.
  • For an extremely rare case of a console's BIOS pulling this trope, look no further than the Play Station 2's booting screen. Turning on the system with a completely empty memory card would show you nothing more than "Sony Computer Entertainment" in a dark blue void. Subsequently, the memory card will log each separate game you play on the system in a save file called "Your System Configuration", which has the effect of adding one white block per game on the startup screen. Furthermore, the more you play a specific game, the more its designated block will grow in height. And as you might have guessed by now, deleting the "Your System Configuration" file will devolve the screen back to an empty void.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with you, if you complete a playthrough getting Shiori's love confession and Ending, the part of the opening demo where Shiori's lips are moving with no sound coming out, has now the sound added, revealing that she's saying: "Suki desu" ("I love you").
  • The title screen for Katawa Shoujo is initially blank but for the menu and the title. However, in every character's route, there is sketch that marks the opening of a new act, and the sketches slowly fill the title screen.
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, every time someone dies, their clip in the opening sequence and their picture in the cut-ins just before the class trial are shaded red. Also, when Nekomaru Nidai receives life-threatening injuries that prevent him from participating in the class trial, his picture is shaded a darker hue than the rest.
  • In Zero Time Dilemma, D.C. Douglas as Zero is not credited until the Golden Ending.

    Web Animation 
  • As its cast evolved (as characters were often introduced out of nowhere), the opening sequence to Bonus Stage would change slightly between seasons to accommodate new characters, at one point adding a few bars to the song itself for Rya, Jessica, and Evil, until the theme song just changed entirely...twice.
  • The opening sequence to Inanimate Insanity Invitational received subtle changes in episode 13, changing the cookie MePhone holds to be the Immunity cookie, and changing Bot's design to the one she receives in this episode.
  • The opening sequence to Battle for BFDI was changed twice throughout its run: when the split occurred the characters that moved to TPOT were removed from the opening, and near the end when the Announcer returns and Four leaves the show out of spite the Announcer takes Four's place in the opening.

    Web Videos 
  • The Twilight Chronicles features new opening credits for every episode, featuring only the series regulars who appear in that episode, as well as that episode's guest stars.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall will change its opening sequence in its annual looks at The Clone Saga, including updating the footage used in some areas!
  • Linkara's other series, History of Power Rangers has received updated opening titles to add the Samurai and Megaforce teams after both seasons began airing.
  • Game Grumps updated the intro after Jon left and was replaced with Dan.
    • Steam Train debuted a new intro for its first anniversary, where Ross is conducting the train and Danny, Arin, Barry and Suzy are all passengers; compare this to the original intro which only featured Ross and Danny (with alternate endings if Arin was involved as well). The new intro is more in line with Ross' vision of the show, where he'd host and other Game Grumps members would come in and out depending on the game (although Barry and Suzy were only involved in four-player Steam Rolled series, save for four holiday-themed episodes for Barry). When Brian joined the Grumps permanently, he was added as a face popping out from the top of the carriage.
      • The Saint Patrick's Day holiday series Stout Train (with Barry and Ross) averts this, by keeping the same intro since it started. Except for adding any third player's face at the end, with Ross drunkingly stating, "Also [whoever]!"
    • Grumpcade has the most variation. In general, there are three versions, for two players (with the two players shown as heads being picked with a claw crane), three players (with the players as faces on the each reel of a slot machine), and four players (with the players being selected on an arcade machine), but whenever anybody apart from Arin, Danny, Barry, Suzy, Ross or Brian is playing, one of the heads is a nondescript face with a question mark, before introducing the "guest" player.
      • In the Grumpcade for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, ProJared and Jirard The Completionist fuse in the intro to become "ProJirard the Completionist".
      • The most complicated intros were made when Ross played Super Mario Kart with Markiplier, since Arin (who animates the intros) accidentally spelt Mark's wrong, but decided to turn it into a running gag, giving us Markipiler, Markiplire, Mairkpleirr, Parkilimer, Mdaosfjjh$(fv, and finally Markiplier.
      • The intros for the Miitopia series had Jimmy Whetzel as a guest, but for some reason the series had the two-player intro despite Holly also playing with them, so the intro pauses in a faux-VHS way as she's introduced. When Matt joins in from episode 9, he pops up at the end of the intro to introduce himself. Holly's and Matt's intros are also different for each episode.
  • Taco-Man Plays a Video Game has the end credits play against an ever-lengthening compilation of one clip from each previous episode.
  • Critical Role's animated opening for campaign two, "Your Turn to Roll", alters scenes as the plot develops. The book that the Dungeon Master holds at the end shows important NPCs of the current arc.


Video Example(s):


Cyberchase Intro (Old vs. New)

When Cyberchase switched to HD starting with the tenth season, the intro was completely re-animated to widescreen as a result. Some significant differences between the new and the old intros were the updated animations and the updated character designs (which was first used starting with season 6) In addition, no motion blur was present in the new intro while both the Grim Wreaker and the Cybercoupe are traversing and moves in a slower pace unlike the old one.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / EvolvingCredits

Media sources: