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Finale Production Upgrade

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TOP: Week 1 of Auditions, BOTTOM: Season Finale.
Geordie: ...And [because it's a final,] it also means our judges are a pointless drain on our budget.
Geordie Two: Aye, but they're here anyway and wearing some fancy outfits like.
The Two Geordies,note  Weebl & Bob, "Goo Got Talent"

This is it! The End! The Grand Finale! Strike up the band! (If we can now afford one!) "High-culture best" is the name of the host's and the judges' wardrobes! LIVE from Radio City Music Hall! Famous Celebrity Guest Stars! The Big 2-Hour Finale Timeslot! Everything is upped! The audience is HUGE, at least 5 times as large now! It's a PARTY! The competition is now serious, the stakes are high, the performances are big and flashy, the ideas are complex, the stage dressings are sleek, slick, imposing, and grand! A giant Confetti Drop for the winner!''

For your favorite adventure and drama series: More Special Effects! More Celebrity Guest Stars, Again! The Big 2-Hour Finale Timeslot, Again! More Locations and Sets! Plot Armor is off! Nostalgia callbacks, returning characters, and Continuity Cavalcade! More Risk! More Complex Stories and higher personal and emotional stakes!note 

Not necessarily limited to live-action fictional stories, the Finale Production Upgrade is NOT a Grand Finale in story terms, but in production terms. This is more an all-encompassing trope either about how much a series has changed since its inception (its look, its approach to depicting the stories and performances; the camera work, the stage work, the props, sets, and the individuals), or how much has been changed as a special occasion for its season finale/series finale episode. A sort of Art Evolution for Live-Action. What was once harsh and in-need-of-work is now clean, crisp, clear, and inviting. What was humdrum and routine has now changed into something new and exciting! You may even see the production through a new lens, so to speak!

Although this is an entirely separate trope, there can be significant overlap between this and Grand Finale, due to the material, drama tropes, and changes involved.

If the production is a drama, and it's completely ending, the set will probably be disposed of anyway, so why not have a spectacular ending for it by destroying it in a blaze of glory?

If the series was bringing in relatively low ratings, an upgrade in a season finale was attempted in desperation to bring in viewers, and production effort for that finale story was good enough, it may result in the series Growing the Beard for the next season and beyond.

May lead to the series in-question receiving an Astral Finale, or it may be the upgrade that the series receives!

NOTE: This trope can also include media that had entries intended to be the permanent finale, but later brought back.

In cases of guest cast, this can be a contributing factor to Back for the Finale.

As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Films - Animated 
  • While the TV finale to Neon Genesis Evangelion infamously landed in the opposite extreme, the theatrical finale The End of Evangelion went all out thanks to being produced on a much higher budget. The result is far more fluid, far more violent, and had far more surreal animation and imagery than the TV series' already envelope-pushing standards.
  • Toy Story 3, originally intended to be the finale to the series, brought about much higher detail (for its time), as well as darker themes, including the toys getting trapped in a prison of sorts, PTSD (from Lotso's unintended rejection by his owner), loss of identity (Buzz being reverted back to his one-minded Space Ranger state), Orwellian themes (the security camera system, and that damn wind-up cymbal monkey), shady dealings (the Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone Woody speaks to), and acceptance of oblivion and hellish imagery (the landfill incinerator the toys get trapped in near the end). Plus, Andy had grown up into a young adult, and was off on his way to college.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • In a subversion to its television counterpart, Serenity is a feature-length movie produced after the Cancellation of Firefly to wrap up its most salient plot threads (including Mal Reynolds' Character Arc, River Tam's secret, and the origin of the Reavers), and because it was a movie, it featured much more expensive props, sets, and CGI effects.

    Game Shows 
  • On a yearly occasion, Jeopardy! has recorded more than one "best-of" series or Tournament Of Champions at the end of the normal television airing season, and in a semi-yearly fashion, either with an upgraded set, or with a special location relevant to the occasion, in addition to the higher prize payout:
    • Super Jeopardy! was the first occasion this was used, in the summer of 1990. The set now had darker accents, a new lighting scheme (plus the studio going dark for Final Jeopardy), a polished hard floor (which became a permanent addition in 1992's set change), a brushed-metal clue board frame, FOUR contestants and podiums note  in the quarterfinals, a slightly more-ornate intro, and higher values (albeit in points, not dollars, as the cash prize for the winner of the tournament was locked at $250,000, instead of the prize amount that the champion had accumulated for that particular tournament episode.)
    • The 1997 International Tournament was hosted by the American production team, in an on-location competition in Sweden, using the Swedish studio set, with contestants from all around the world, from countries that, at the time, their own version or adaptation of Jeopardy was currently airing.
    • 2009's Celebrity Jeopardy and Tournament of Champions introduced viewers to a variation of the current sleek set, first used at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Possibly one of the Trope Codifiers, this usually happens in reality television (i.e. Survivor, American Idol, America's Got Talent), when the final winner from competitors of a series is expected to be picked; the host(s) and judges (and maybe even the competitors) are all dressed in their best attire, the final venue may be a gigantic amphitheater with a 2000-plus-attendee audience to match, the final performances by the competitors may be their greatest and most complex yet, and the stage may be decked out in its best decorations this side of the season!
  • Star Trek: Almost all of the over-the-air series in the franchise have faced their series finales with upgrades and clarity:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In the exception to the group as a season finale, well-known to even the general public, and another Trope Codifier in itself, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1", Season 3's finale, blew the entire series up to that point out of the water, shaking up the status quo of not only characters for years to come, but also the quality and general atmosphere of future installments and spinoffs. This included the Borg threatening the existence of the entire United Federation of Planets containing billions of individuals, showing their destructive power by obliterating 39 starships (the battle of which could not be shown because of its sheer horror, and the series' budget and technology at the time would not allow it), and putting into question whether the star of the show, Captain Picard, was going to survive. What fueled this was that Patrick Stewart at this time was in talks to leave the series, and his future involvement with TNG was just as questionable as his character's survival.
      • The final season and episode all gained a softer and more-even lighting scheme, more-vibrant color mix, a more-balanced sound mix, and higher-budget special effects. The series finale even ran a double-length episode, with a pre-and-during-show retrospective to match, and the stakes of the finale expanded to not just one group, community, city, or planet, but the ENTIRE GALAXY, with an anomaly threatening to twist our corner of the universe back to the primordial ages, preventing the origin of any life! The finale was even anticipated so much that the Toronto SkyDome hosted a 40,000-plus-seat-packed event to celebrate the occasion!
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine saw the conclusion of the 4-season-long Dominion War, with a nine-episode series finale, more-extreme model and CGI usage, as well as special effects and stories out-pacing even TNG's.
    • Star Trek: Voyager's final season sees more CGI usage, harder-hitting stories, and an alternate future where the U.S.S. Voyager has returned to the Alpha Quadrant, at the cost of some of our main crew, and our main future where Janeway seemingly defeats the entire Borg collective, a force to be reckoned with for 13 years, and averts the Chris Carter Effect by getting Voyager home permanently in the process.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise, the final regular over-the-air Star Trek series, was one of the first TV shows to be broadcast in high-definition, saw multi-part emotional stories building up to the beginnings of the United Federation of Planets, and, although controversial, used a story from TNG from a brand-new perspective as a finale.
  • Doctor Who: Seems to be a tradition to up the ante with season finales, especially with the modern series.
    • The first example came with "Logopolis", which upped the ante of the story, as the peril now spread to the entire universe (as in, the whole of the universe was living on borrowed time, and its laws of physics were unraveling), used complex plot points, and introduced not only a brand-new Doctor, but introduced a brand-new companion, as well as brought back a character from the previous serial to become a permanent companion (bringing the total up to 3) in the process.
    • "The Five Doctors" in 1983, which technically aired as a special months after the real finale, "The King's Demons". This brought back a boatload of characters and companions, played by the actors themselves again, from the previous 20 years, (not to mention four of the five Doctorsnote ) including Susan Foreman, Jamie McCrimmon, Zoe Heriot, Mike Yates, Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and a whole host of enemies and monsters from the series up to that point.
    • Although derided by fans for pandering, and for its cheesy story and effects, even for Doctor Who, "Time-Flight" is a small, but good example of this, as the BBC were able to use and film at Heathrow Airport on real Speedbird Concorde jets, with many effects and side characters.
    • "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" brought back all companion and ally characters of not just the modern series of Doctor Who, but its spinoffs, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. In addition, it brought back Davros, creator of the Daleks (who hadn't been seen as a character in almost 20 years), and upped the stakes to the whole of creation. (as in, not just our universe, but parallel universes and dimensions) All with a complex story (starting with Earth itself being stolen!) and major CGI effects, and sets, to boot!
    • "The End of Time" found the Doctor again, for the third time (twice, including now, in his 10th incarnation), fighting for the safety of the entire universe, as the Time Lords had found a way to escape The Last Great Time War (possibly bringing all of its horrors with them), the Master has (literally) become all of humanity (with upped simple, but effective, special effects to produce it), all with an omen hanging over the Doctor's head: "He Will Knock Four Times, And Then The Doctor Will Die."
    • "The Night of the Doctor", "The Day of The Doctor" and "The Time of The Doctor" blew the entire franchise out of the water for the 50th anniversary, forming an action-packed, special-effects-laden narrative across three season-ending specials starting with the 8th Doctor note renouncing his title (explicitly bringing the Big Finish Doctor Who dramas into official canon as well), becoming The War Doctor, continuing with the 11th Doctor meeting with his 10th incarnation, who both meet with their Time War Incarnation (who was played by the late Sir John Hurt), who in turn meets with the "Bad Wolf" (Rose Tyler) form of the Moment, the sapient weapon seemingly destined to destroy Gallifrey to protect the timeline and the universe. ...or so they think. Instead, 11 opts to save Gallifrey by locking it in stasis, with the help of all THIRTEEN Doctorsnote  and their TARDISes. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, well-known fan-favorite Tom Baker officially note  returns as an implied future regeneration of The Doctor. It was so huge and anticipated that it got a theatrical release. Continuing on from that, 11 discovers that Gallifrey is still out there in-stasis (his memory of the event having been wiped by Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Ball Technobabble), but the universe is still in danger if the Time Lords return. Add to all that, 11 is at the end of his regenerations and in danger of permanently dying. He gets better, if 12's (Peter Capaldi's) appearance in the previous episode didn't make it obvious, sees back Amy Pond (bringing Karen Gillan back) one last time as a hallucination, and indeed regenerates into 12 with an emotional goodbye. WHEW!
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Turbo: Despite the failure of the show to be serious, it did create a finale that stuck in viewers' minds, and a two-parter at that. One would think that given the previous seasons' tendency to wrap up the storyline in a neatly-bundled conclusion, this finale does the exact opposite. Instead, the megazords are destroyed, and we get a full-on invasion of the Power Chamber, with all the villains of the season, plus an army of Pirahnatrons, an explicit Trash the Set of the inside, and Divatox blowing it up. Now, with the Rangers' powers gone, their command post demolished, and no way to defend the Earth, it's a desperate escape into space, as the Power Rangers' mentor, Zordon, has been captured and they have only have one shot, a Space Shuttle from NASADA, with only the clothes on their backs and their hopes and prayers, and no as-of-yet fast way to reach Eltar, Zordon's home planet.
    • Power Rangers in Space,note  one of the trope codifiers for an Astral Finale. First starting out as a continuation of the colorful childish-kitschy stories found in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo , and Power Rangers Turbo (with serious developments in its latter half as mentioned), this season pretty much took the standards-and-practices rulebook and threw it out the window, also taking a Sentai series that was focused on electronics and technology and turned it into a space epic. It took the standard Power Rangers formula and turned it on its head, producing villains that questioned their place in life. (Astronema being one of them, because she is actually Karone, the long-lost sister of Andros, the Red Ranger) Most villains up to this point were of the over-the-top variety, and couldn't exactly be taken seriously; however, In Space produced/adapted ruthless villains that lived up to their characterization, including Darkonda, the Psycho Rangers, and Astronema herself. In addition to the characters, the incidental music score was upgraded from the previous over-the-top rock themes to a cosmic strings-and-brass-orchestral-style score, and the sets and ideas were also upped in quality; according to producers on the show, the sets were made to be realistic (for the demographic) and look usable as if they had actually existed out-of-story, and in fact, the [American Astro] Megaship's interior, the base for this season, was built as one big set where the characters could walk from one end to the other. Furthermore, the sets also allowed shots that avoided re-lighting the scene, as they were integrated into the walls and ceiling, and extra camera angles that could be adjusted, with walls that could move out of the way on hinges, like a door. Its finale, one of the most memorable among fans, brought 6 years of story to a conclusion, with drama, maturity, and effects to match in the two-part finale "Countdown To Destruction", but not before Saban had deliberately exhausted their stock of Megaranger footage (which the penultimate episode "A Line in the Sand" did with the original Megaranger finale episode), to be able to create their own epic ending. The villains finally begin their full conquest of the entire universe, and succeed, with one sole planet standing in their way: Earth. Infrastructure and cities are leveled (not just suggested), planets are captured and enslaved, other Rangers and allies around the universe are desperately trying to hold off their invasions, no one has any hope, and the Power Rangers are defeated (temporarily). Also present here, and throughout the series, was Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, leaving Astronema, now the Big Bad, as the supreme ruler of the universe, and threatening the destruction of Earth if the Power Rangers do not give themselves up. However, many temporary side characters, the entirety of the ordinary citizens of Angel Grove, backs them up. note  When Zordon, their mentor over 5 seasons, is finally found after a season-long search, Andros must make two decisions, one familial; as in fighting Karone, the other a grave decision; the only way to defeat all of the evil in the universe is for Andros to shatter Zordon's Plasma Energy Tube, which was the first time the show explicitly killed-off one of the heroes, but sending out an energy wave that disintegrates all non-humanoid evil beings, at the time of the shows airing, into dust. Again, WHEW!
    • Power Rangers RPMnote : This took the formula and turned it on its head, wiping out 99% of humanity and turning Earth into a nuclear wasteland, with the rest of humanity cloistered in one single dome city, and darker storylines. And this was coming from Disney, who held the rights to the show at the time, until they were transferred back to Saban in 2012.
    • Subverted for Power Rangers Megaforce: The series itself was intended to be a love letter to 20 years of the franchise. Unfortunately, the stories, continuity, and callbacks were weak at best, and insulting at worst. An attempt to honor the shows that came before it in "Legendary Battle", the final episode of this series, was otherwise marred by production and personnel problems; several previous actors from the series were invited to take part in what was to rival the previously-mentioned "Countdown to Destruction", and what had been hyped up from the very inception of the season: the titular Legendary Battle, a fight between all Power Rangers teams that came before, and the villains of the series. Only approximately 8 previous Ranger actors accepted, with the rest in permanent ranger suits, and the battle itself was only a skirmish to destroy the remaining foot soldiers of the fragmented and spotty villain team of the season.
    • Played straight, if only just, in Power Rangers Beast Morphers: the final two episodes of the series brought back the season cliffhanger and story from Power Rangers RPM, where it is revealed that Evox was actually Venjix, who had crossed dimensions. Present were major callbacks from RPM and and a guest appearance by Dr. K, and also callbacks of weapons that had previously only been used in their respective series, such as the Thermo Blaster from Lightspeed Rescue, the Delta Enforcer from SPD, and a Dino Saber from Dino Charge.
  • Part of the reason viewers point to M*A*S*H as being so well remembered was its hard-hitting stories. After the infamous season finale episode "Abyssinia, Henry", which killed off one of its main characters, the series began to dive deeper into war drama, eventually separating from its mostly-comedy roots, to become a drama show with some comedy added. Eventually, the series culminated in the end of the Korean War, in an emotional two-hour goodbye in 1983, that, for the first time in television history, outranked the Super Bowl in viewership.
  • Although not a real competition in itself nor an actual science & technology show,note  the 2005 finale of season 2 of the parody science series Look Around You was "filmed live" with a stock footage audience, featured the return of all 5 previous "Invention of the Year" competitors (sans one, because they apparently forgot their invitation), a new pure-white cyclorama set (as opposed to the orange and brown earth-toned set), an external audience outside BBC Television Centre, and an "appearance" by HRH Sir Prince Charles (which was accomplished by a look-alike from back views, and stock footage with an audio track of an impression by creator Peter Serafinowicz.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Pro Wrestling promotions have one event that is signaled as their biggest event of the calendar year, where strong feuds are put to rest, new feuds emerge, alliances are broken and new teams are formed.
    • The biggest example is WWE's WrestleMania, celebrated in giant, packed stadiums, with the company showcasing the best they have to offer in addition to celebrity guests and all the fanfare. It's not called "The Showcase of the Immortals" for nothing.
    • All Elite Wrestling has Double or Nothing, since 2021 held on the day before the US holiday of Memorial Day, the holiday itself falling on the last Monday of May.note 
    • TNA/Impact Wrestling has Bound for Glory, which takes place in the middle of the year.
    • New Japan Pro-Wrestling has Wrestle Kingdom, celebrated in the first week of every year, with the first night always on January 4.
    • Ring of Honor historically had Final Battle, but in later years the popularity of the Supercard of Honor began to eclipse the former.
    • WCPW/Defiant Wrestling had, in its short run, Built to Destroy.

    Video Games 
  • Video Game systems, if they've done well, usually get the best-looking and largest video games, or the best and most-expansive peripherals to be sold on the platform at or near the end of their lifespan, even if the gameplay leaves something to be desired:
    • One of the Atari 2600's last games was Xenophobe (The actual last official game was Klax in 1990), a game that took full advantage of the system’s scanline-coloring abilities, detailing them more than ever before.
    • Super Mario Bros. was intended to be this for the original cartridge-based Famicom hardware, representing the pinnacle of what could be achieved on the system; Nintendo assumed that, following the release the game, most developers would shift their focus over to the Famicom Disk System (FDS), whose higher capacity floppy discs would allow developers to create games that were more impressive than cartridge based ones. However, thanks to advances in mapper chips and ROM capacity, this ended up not being the case, with later cartridge-based games able to match or exceed what FDS games could do. Because of this, in addition to rampant piracy, the popularity of the FDS faded, to the point that it was never released outside of Japan.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: When it was first released in 1988, the Famicom was beginning to lose ground in Japan to the PC Engine (aka the Turbografx 16), and Sega was ready to start The 16 Bit Era Of Console Video Games with its Mega Drive (aka the Sega Genesis). Super Mario Bros. 3 was meant to be the last word of what the 8-bit hardware was capable of, presenting a sprawling adventure with dozens of levels, powerups, tons of secrets, and some of the best graphics the NES had to offer. Indeed, it was the last game Shigeru Miyamoto and his EAD team designed for the system, before beginning work on the launch lineup for the SNES,
    • Kirby's Adventure: the Famicom/NES hardware was considered long-obsolete by 1993, but this game ups the ante on even Super Mario Bros. 3 by presenting a beautiful color palette, animated backgrounds, and even some rudimentary 3D effects.
    • The very last official game for the Commodore 64 was Mayhem In Monsterland. This takes the graphical and musical capabilities present in the system and turns them up to 11. The game boasts color-efficient and detailed sprites, palette shifting, layered parallax scrolling in some scenes, and humongous worlds on the level of Sonic and Mario, thanks to a bug discovered in the VIC-II chip.
    • The Super NES's final years with first-and-second-party games boasted graphics, sound, stories, worlds and gameplay that pushed the system to its limits, both in peripherals (i.e. Super FX 2 chip), and in stock hardware:
      • Donkey Kong Country: When the first game launched in 1994, 32-bit consoles such as the PlayStation and Sega Saturn were on the horizon, and Nintendo and Rare made the games with the intention of showing that even their aging 16-bit console could still host visually impressive games. The games' graphics were entirely created using pre-rendered 3D graphics to show people that they didn't need to buy new hardware to play an impressive looking 3D game. The games' success subverted this trope since it gave the SNES a boost in popularity that allowed it to hang on for a few more years, resulting in some of the later games in this list pushing the boat out even further on what the console could achieve.
      • Kirby's Dream Land 3: used "pseudo high-resolution mode", a graphics mode that is only widely known to have been used on this game.
      • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: Although not a finale to the Mario series at-large, this can be considered Nintendo's big swan song for the console, as 32-bit video game systems such as the Playstation 1 had already been released, and Nintendo's next big product, the Nintendo 64, was in-production and highly anticipated. The game boasted large, expansive worlds, an array of unique enemies, colorful graphics, a memorable soundtrack, and its main selling point, backgrounds AND sprites and objects that could be distorted, scaled, rotated, shaped, and even turned 3D, with the Super FX-2 Chip. Even the ending soundtrack evokes an orchestral feel. For its time, the game was also the last 2D Super Mario game (and thus the last one from the old-school era that started in 1985), as Nintendo would then focus on 3D Mario games and the next 2D platformer wouldn't arrive until 11 years later.
      • Star Fox 2 was originally intended to be the most advanced software product for the SNES, but it wasn't until well past the era of that system that this game finally saw the light of day in the 2017 SNES Mini (and later still in the SNES catalogue of the Nintendo Switch Online). If it had been released in 1995/1996 like it was expected to be, the game would have taken the system's graphical capabilities to its absolute limit: real-time complex texture mapping (even more than Star Fox or Stunt Race FX), and Free-Roam 3D (albeit not on the level of 6DOF.); as well as its game logistics ability, including real-time strategy, note  in-progress battle merging. note 
    • Like the Super NES, by 1996, the Sega Genesis was already on its way out the door, even more so (as it was 8 years old by this point), and yet, by 1995, into the next year, several games that posited the system's best capabilities were showcased and sold:
      • Vectorman and Vectorman 2: Boasts smooth animation, chained graphics (i.e. a character moving their hands and feet without arms or legs) palette animation, pseudo-3D scanline trickery (i.e. Metalhead stage), light flare effects (i.e. sun glare) that would not normally be seen on the Genesis, light interactivity in water and transparency.
      • Sonic 3D Blast: Featured expanded graphics, large levels, and tricks that allowed not only smoothly-animating screen animations, but FULL MOTION VIDEO.
      • Toy Story: featured graphics that would not look out of place on what was already its successor, the Sega Saturn: HUGE sprites, smooth animation, 3D-looking graphics (In Andy’s room, and Pizza Planet), ACTUAL ray-cast 3D graphics with “REALLY inside the Claw Machine”, and in “Day-Toy-Na”, and clever programming to break the Sega Genesis’ normal color limitations!
      • Although not at the end of the console’s lifespan, Sonic the Hedgehog 3,Sonic & Knuckles, and the intended form of the game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, can be considered a finale of sorts to a trilogy, as no other solely-Sonic-oriented game on the Genesis reached the heights this game did. The levels were much larger and unique, changed depending on who you played as, had cutscenes in almost every level that merged the game’s levels into a nearly-seamless world/story, used scanline parallax scrolling tricks, water scanline depth (i.e. the split between above and under water) WITH parallax scrolling ((i.e. the surface of the water, viewed from underwater), and Pseudo-3D “into-the-screen” bonus stages that preserved the resolution of the objects, unlike what Sonic 2 did.note  Also notable was the first and only time that a cartridge had used a pass-through connector (dubbed Lock-On technology) to merge both games into one.
      • On that note, in 1995, an attempt was made to bring the aging Genesis into the 32-bit era, with the Sega 32X, but despite the gorgeous visuals, graphics, and music of some of its first-party games, developers were unable to bring the system to its full potential, as many of them were rushed in order to be able to ship them for the 1995 Christmas shopping season.
    • Conker's Bad Fur Day was this for the Nintendo 64, featuring some of the best graphics and animation on the system, as well as other production values that weren't common on the console, such as full voice acting.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were created with the intention of being the biggest and best-looking games for the Nintendo GameCube and Wii U, respectively. However, Nintendo decided to release them on the successor systems of the Wii and Nintendo Switch as well, which combined with the low sales of the older consoles, led to both games gaining more notoriety as launch titles for the newer consoles instead.
  • As time went on, MS-DOS games for computers that expanded on the IBM PC architecture (286/386/486/Pentium) required ever-more complex and faster systems. In 1997, when the architecture was already 16 years old, and most users had moved on to solely Windows 95 (and Windows 98 the following year), Blood (1997), required 16MB of memory (Other games like Fallout required VESA-based high-res graphics modes, as well as 32MB of memory), but boasted so many new 3D features and abilities over its predecessor Duke Nukem 3D. Other 3D-based games around the same time were even able to interface directly with 3D-accelerated cards, without going through Windows 95 or 98. Unfortunately, in 2000 (Windows ME and Windows 2000) and 2001 (Windows XP), MS-DOS was all but completely dropped, the ability to play games in Windows’ Command Prompt was severely limited, and impossible to boot into DOS without a boot disk.
  • Backyard Sports: All games in the series bring the end of the major-league sports season to the grandest venue the games offer. A giant professional sports stadium/field for Backyard Baseball and Soccer, and a full-length football stadium for Backyard Football.
  • Thanks to Technology Marching On, the Grand Finales of many video game series or arcs release on newer hardware than their predecessors, allowing for a significant jump in production values.
    • Halo 3 released on the Xbox 360, while its predecessors released on the original Xbox, resulting in a significant graphical bump.
    • Similarly, God of War 3 launched on PlayStation 3, instead of the PlayStation 2 like the first two games.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption launched on the Wii after the first two games were made for the Nintendo GameCube. While the Wii didn't have the same jump in graphical capabilities that its competitors did, this did make Metroid Prime 3 the best-looking Prime game. Aside from that, Prime 3 features a noticeable increase in scope in comparison the previous two games, which took place on a single planet while the third game took place on multiple ones; while each of the planets in Prime 3 planet weren't as big as those of Prime 1 and Prime 2, it does make the game feel more expansive. It also had full voice acting, which was rare in Nintendo games at the time.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight looks a lot better than its predecessors due to it launching for the 8th generation of consoles as opposed to the 7th.
    • Dark Souls III launched on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as opposed to the first two games that were first designed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and had as the requisite bump in graphics.
    • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which is the Grand Finale of Nathan Drake's story if not the Uncharted series as a whole, came out for the PlayStation 4 instead of the PlayStation 3 that hosted the prior games, allowing the series' famously high production values to be taken up a notch.
    • Kingdom Hearts III is the finale of the "Darkseeker Saga" started by the first game, and, unlike prior games in the series which were on the PlayStation 2 or handhelds, was built for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, allowing its graphics and other production values to vastly surpass all of its predecessors.
    • Metroid Dread was originally planned for the Nintendo DS, presumably as a sprite-based game; however, series creator Yoshio Sakamoto wanted the Grand Finale of the mainline Metroid arc, which started all the way back in the first game in 1986, to up the ante in terms of presentation, and thus he put production of the game on hold for two console generations until he decided to produce it as a high-definition, 2½D game for the Nintendo Switch.

    Real Life 
  • Usually, this is the result for competitors who qualify for the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, World Cup, or World Series, as well as advertisers, broadcasting companies, and investors:
    • For the Olympics, the competition venue (after the end of regular training/qualification) is upped dramatically to country-wide natural areas for athlon and nature-based athletic events, 50,000-plus-attendee stadiums for summer track-and-field, sports, and strength competitions, and at-least-3000-plus to 10,000-plus-attendee complexes for winter ice and summer aquatic events. And we haven't even started talking about viewership.
    • The Super Bowl (end-of-season competition for American Football) and World Cup (the final event of a four-year cycle for international football/soccer) are side-by-side in terms of venue (usually a jam-packed 80,000-plus-attendee stadium), competition stakes, multiple memorable and creative commercials, and advertising for the event out the wazoo! The Rugby World Cup (the final event of a four-year cycle for international rugby union) and Cricket World Cup (ditto for one-day cricket) are much the same, if on a slightly smaller scale.note  Australia has two such events, each the final matches of the country's two most popular football codes: the AFL Grand Final (the Australian Football League) and NRL Grand Final (the National Rugby League in rugby league). Depending on where you live in Australia, one or the other is arguably the biggest event of the sporting season.note 
    • Inverted by NASCAR, whose biggest race, the Daytona 500, starts the season.
  • You may have your own memories of the last day of the school year, when all educational pretense is thrown out. The rooms and halls of a school may be cleaned and stripped of all seen-day-after-day material. Meanwhile, there's a different air to the day: students AND teachers are now allowed to wear casual or even bright, special-occasion clothing, classrooms may have parties with various unhealthy-for-you foods, and it may be an all-class movie-watching affair. Heck, the day may even be shortened to half-day! Even more so, there may be an emotional upgrade between you and your friends if you are at the limit of your school's grade curriculum (e.g. elementary 5th grade moving on to junior high 6th grade) and your friendship is expected to split apart permanently.
  • In a sense, New Year's Eve is like this. Regular people, companies, and television production corporations spend money on the best celebratory items (ranging from expensive champagne to exorbitant amounts of food for parties) and decorations (ranging through confetti, poppers, fireworks, and even displays) to help oust the old year, and ring-in the new year.
    • December 31, 1999 even brought a whopping 28-hour world-wide and international televised effort towards the new millenniumnote  to highlight humanity's progress, music, art, culture, hopeful future, concern about Y2K, and celebrations in the 2000 Today collaboration, where several (and we mean 100+) countries and their highlights were broadcast all over the world on their respective authorized television channels. ABC 2000 was the United States' coverage of the event, hosted by the late Peter Jennings.
  • Fox Kids folded in 2002, with most of its shows and properties going to ABC/Disney. However, before all was said and done, like Power Rangers in Space, they threw the standards-and-practices rulebook out the window and went out with a bang, allowing shows depicting material that would probably be considered too suggestive, disturbing, or frightening for its demographic. Digimon Tamers was one show that is fondly remembered by Fox Kids viewers, for allowing material that dealt with death (even one character blatantly attempting suicide near the end of the show), PTSD, loss of identity, philosophy, violence, metaphysics, and mature radar-skirting concepts of love, openness, and connection, even allowing material that probably wouldn't be shown on family television, much-less children's television. Power Rangers Time Force also pushed the envelope on what could be shown on children's programming, with comparatively graphic violence and Body Horror,note  and yes, even a Power Ranger blatantly dying at the beginning of the show(!), and was the final Power Rangers series solely produced by Saban Entertainment before the transfer to Disney.