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Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration

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Video games (and games in general) are a unique storytelling medium in that they demand active participation by the audience (read: the player) in order to advance the narrative. Historically, however, the massive age gap between traditional, non-interactive storytelling and the rapidly evolving interactive medium gave rise to a dichotomy of pure gameplay vs. storytelling, which for the purpose of this article are defined as follows:


  • Gameplay is the type of interaction between the players and the video game where the players input commands to overcome challenges the game throws at them. Historically, the most common type of gameplay is combat, but it also includes puzzle-solving, stealth, Character Customization, etc., etc.
  • Story is the type of interaction between the player and the video game where the game narrates a storynote  to the player, which typically provides narrative context for various elements of the game. Traditionally, video games narrate via cutscenes and dialogues (even though interactive dialogue overlaps with gameplay).

Another definition would be that the gameplay ultimately revolves around numbers and is governed by mathematical rules, while the story revolves around words and symbols and is governed by the rules of emotional narrative. Either way, it is very rare for a video game not to have any story whatsoever (i.e. the Pong level of storylessness) and, even more so, to not have any gameplay (though this depends on whether you count Kinetic Novels as games), and these two aspects are usually integrated at least a little — after all, you can hardly introduce pony-breeding gameplay against the backdrop of a galaxy-spanning war story. Similarly, it is often impossible to extricate the "gameplay" part from the "story" part for some game elements: for example, level design serves a practical function for gameplay, but also conveys information about the game's setting to the player — and attempting to avoid this by setting one's gameplay in an environment comprised entirely of featureless white cubes would still tell the player something about the game's setting. Additionally, while it is virtually impossible for a game to have no story at all, story is not the only aspect that evokes an emotional reaction in the players, and "raw" gameplay can have the same effect in its own right, independent of the context it is placed in.


Since a gap between gameplay and story exists and despite the medium's relative youth, video games have already developed a rather standardized set of general and genre-specific gameplay conventions. While definitely not as old as storytelling conventions, they are not fundamentally different and game designers often borrow from them without considering how they fit In-Universe. Indeed, very few players stop to ponder why the Player Character's well-being seems to be divided into numbered chunks but the only one that matters is the last, because it's an established gameplay convention and most developers no longer feel the need to justify it. This becomes even more obvious when the game's gameplay rules are adapted from an external source, such as Tabletop Games.

This leads to situations where gameplay rules blatantly contradict the story rules — and such cases are usually easily identifiable and are listed on Gameplay and Story Segregation page. But again, few games segregate their gameplay from the story completely, and there is usually an overlap at least on the contextual or thematic level. Likewise, there are practically no video games where the gameplay and the story are integrated so tightly that they become indistinguishable, if only because the technology for procedurally generated narratives does not yet exist. Therefore, it's more accurate to speak of individual instances of gameplay and story integration/segregation, as a single game can provide examples of both; ultimately, "gameplay and story integration" is less of a dichotomy and more of a continuum, and games can be sorted based on whether integration instances outnumber segregation ones or vice versa.


The Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration is then defined as follows:

  • Perfect Integration: The gameplay is the story. This standard seems to be most prevalent in genres that aim for emergent narrative — like many life sim and management sim games, for example — though those genres' particular definition of what constitutes "story" is looser and broader than most.
  • Deliberate Integration: The developers take a critical look at both the gameplay and narrative conventions, then employ one to reinforce the other. Ironically, the more formulaic the genre-specific gameplay is, the easier its formula is to adapt to a story. See below for a list of common tricks to get a game up here. There are cases of deliberate integration done well, even in innovative ways, but greater awareness and diversity in games and game genres has led to integration being forced to inflate perceptions of a game's "depth." Games within the Deliberate Integration category could just as easily be placed on their own continuum, but this scale simply sorts games by integration of gameplay and story without delving into questions of art and quality.
  • Natural Integration: The vast majority of games falls in the bloated middle of the scale, where the gameplay and the story draw from separate convention pools but there is enough conceptual overlap for the player to just ignore small internal inconsistencies. Since it is so common, a list of games in this category would be far too long to be of any use.
  • Conspicuous Segregation: Games this far down the scale are featured prominently on the Gameplay and Story Segregation page, may suffer from Play the Game, Skip the Story attitude, or have an Excuse Plot to begin with. Note that even when the discrepancy between the gameplay and the story becomes glaringly obvious this far down, the two still remain integrated at some level.
  • Total Segregation: Where the gameplay has nothing to do with the story whatsoever. Like Perfect Integration, it is mostly an imaginary category to cap off the scale.

The degree of story and gameplay integration in a particular game is always relative to the "mean level" of it in its genre. Story-driven genres like adventures and Role Playing Games, for instance, traditionally feature a much higher level of integration than the competitive Racing and Fighting Games. Note, however, that a particular game's Story-to-Gameplay Ratio does not imply anything about the extent to which its gameplay is integrated with its story. Ultimately, deliberate gameplay and story integration is all about recognizing a particular genre's gameplay or story formulas and interlocking them in a way that is not expected in that genre. Off the above scale lie the aforementioned games that lack either a story or gameplay of any kind, as well as Emergent Narrative — the metaphorical Holy Grail for some developers, wherein the game's generic ruleset facilitates the players inventing and enjoying stories all on their own. Some would argue that this is what the Perfect Integration sector of the scale is all about, but then again, so are non-kinetic Visual Novels.

See also Player and Protagonist Integration, a scale that deals with similar issues regarding exactly where the line is drawn between the "player" as an agent outside the narrative's confines and the "protagonist" as a character (typically the Player Character) within that same narrative.

Things to look out for:

Common tricks for gameplay and story integration include:

  • Translating plot-related injuries into gameplay terms, such as:
  • Tweaking the AI to make characters behave differently in gameplay, not just the story:
    • Individual enemy AI can be tweaked to reflect their personal agendas: for example, an enemy may concentrate on a party member they consider their Arch-Enemy and ignore everyone else, or, conversely, never directly attack a particular party member at all.
    • Non-Player Companion AI can be tweaked to reflect their personality quirks, allegiances, and relationships. For instance, a party member may prioritize healing and buffing allies based on their Relationship Values, or spontaneously try to take a bullet for another party member.
  • Using the Game System as canvas — that is, defining plot elements in terms of the underlying gameplay rules:
  • ...Or the reverse, taking care that some or all of the major themes of the story are also represented during actual play in the form of game mechanics, sort of the interactive media equivalent of Show, Don't Tell.
  • Adding alternate NPC dialogue (or even cutscenes) based on the gameplay state of the Player Character, such as:
    • Being badly wounded or suffering from certain status effects.
    • Approaching a friendly NPC with weapons drawn or an enemy, with weapons sheathed.
    • Wearing or not wearing certain pieces of functional equipment (often body armor), or not wearing anything at all.
    • Having high Skill Scores that have no impact on normal dialogue.
  • Introducing a Plot Coupon That Does Something, an item that not only moves the plot along but also comes with interesting additional gameplay mechanics.
  • Having cumulative Stat Meters (e.g., Karma Meter or Sanity Meter) affect both gameplay (in the abilities that the player can use) and story (in the endings the player receives).
  • Basing Story Branching not only on explicit decisions but also on how the player solves challenges, such as whether they prefer stealth or combat, weapons or magic, killing enemies or taking them down non-lethally, etc.
  • Taking an established genre gameplay convention (such as level linearity, Hit Points, Experience Points, Relationship Values, Super Drowning Skills, etc.) and justifying it in-universe, usually with an intent to outright deconstruct it further down the line.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay, often revolving around dangers of handling weapons the way video games usually handle them (always carrying them in the open, pointing loaded firearms at civilians, etc.).
  • Lulling them into a false sense of security with gameplay mechanics, to make the upcoming Plot Twist particularly surprising or cruel.
  • Themes and narratives which reflect the gameplay, essentially playing with the concept of Video Games and Fate, in which the strict linearity of the gameplay is a plot and thematic element as well as a gameplay contrivance.
  • An Adventure-Friendly World, a fleshed out setting with details tailor-made to make aspects of the gameplay "make sense" in the context of that setting.
  • Framing the game's Changing Gameplay Priorities as the result of specific plot developments, or vice versa.

On The Other Wiki, the effect of successful integration is called "ludonarrative harmony".

Instances of Deliberate Integration:

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    Action Game 
  • Just about every in-game mechanic in the Assassin's Creed series ties into the fact that the games all take place in Virtual Reality recreations of the lives of the protagonist's ancestors. When the player dies or fails a mission, he's said to have "desynchronized" (i.e. failed to accurately duplicate his ancestors' actions), he's able to retry missions because he can restart the simulation at will, he can pause or stop at will by disconnecting himself from the terminal, and 100% Completion is equated with "100% Synchronization" (i.e. recreating his ancestors' lives with 100% accuracy). Even the gameplay advances between games are justified in-story: Desmond accesses his ancestors' memories through slightly more advanced versions of the Animus (the events of Assassin's Creed II, for example, are played through the "Animus 2.0"), and each Animus is able to recreate certain features of the real world that the others couldn't. This is why Assassin's Creed II features much more detailed urban environments than the first game, and why Assassin's Creed III features detailed forest environments for the first time in the series.
  • For a game-specific example, in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio's Bag of Spilling on his parkour skills are justified with Ezio being ancient by the standards of the time period (40 in Renaissance Italy was an acheivment, much less one lived as dangerously as his was) and spent a period of time comatose and feverish with no medicine to help him after being shot. Getting Ezio back to his full climbing condition requires getting Leonardo Da Vinci's help to design a harness that helps with Ezio's aging and damaged muscles.
  • Asura in Asura's Wrath has several different Super Modes, and a heavily weakened armless mode, all of which are triggered by storyline events. When you're attacked by an enemy immediately after breaking your arms fighting a planet-sized enemy, you have to fight using only kicks and headbutts. In a later, similar situation, you can't counter several normally counterable attacks, because doing so would require, y'know, ARMS. Conversely, fighting someone who's seriously pissed you off is liable to make Asura break out his Six-Armed form for added asskicking... or even his Berserker Form.
  • Bloodborne is less explicit about it but is still set in a world where the dreams and the waking world are almost indistinguishable and forces are at work that are transcending reality. However the Insight system, the game's version of Humanity that originated in the Dark Souls series, still ties in deeply with the world. Whenever you kill a boss, or randomly when something spooky or "not right" happens that seems a bit out of place in a Victorian Horror setting, you'll gain a pip of Insight. Once you get to 30 Insight, Glamour Failure begins to kick in (ahead of killing Rom the Vacuous, which irreversibly changes the game world entirely), because you can begin to perceive the Cosmic Horror Story you're actually playing; you begin to see enemies' true forms, and see the monsters that were previously in plain sight, but your character's mind couldn't process their presence. Also related, higher Insight lowers your Frenzy resistance, because if you're already capable of perceiving the horrific, maddening sights you witness, it only becomes easier for the incomprehensible monstrosities to give you more than you can handle.
  • The Dark Souls games (as well as Demon's Souls) go to great lengths to design the whole worldbuilding about the multiplayer elements and unlimited character lives. The Souls games are set in cyclical universes consisting of infinite parallel worlds and at the end of the cycle time flows in irregular ways and people constantly move between different worlds. The player characters are also undead, so they never really die but only find themselves back in the same place they were in a few minutes ago. They CAN be defeated, but only mentally; if they die too many times they'll lose track of their purpose and go Hollow, effectively suffering a death of personality. For most undead this only takes a few deaths, but for the player character, they can do so hundreds of times... they only lose their will to continue if you do. Which also makes it possible that some characters appear in multiple games even though apparently thousands of years have passed. The standard RPG "leveling up by killing enemies" mechanic is also justified by the lore: your character, in-universe, is progressively becoming more powerful by absorbing the souls of others. How many souls you have is directly proportionate to your strength, hence why boss souls are worth so much more than a mook's.
  • In Dead Rising, survivors who have a gun, when they take too much damage, will take their own lives. This eliminates any possibility of becoming undead.
  • The first Devil May Cry.
    • All of the enemy biographies mention that the demons in Castle Mallet haven't seen practice since the middle ages at least, so Dante showing up quite literally guns blazing gives him a massive advantage over them because they don't even know what a gun is. In gameplay, almost every enemy in the game can be chumped by shooting them, or shooting them opens up massive vulnerabilities that the sword alone couldn't. Especially notable when compared to other games where guns, while still invaluable tools, are nowhere near as effective.
    • The Nightmare Alpha "gun" is mentioned to be a handheld prototype version of the Nightmare boss. Because they use similar demon energies for their attacks, Nightmare is completely immune to Nightmare Alpha in every circumstance.
    • The beastiary entries are — presumably — being written by Dante as he goes along as reminders to himself as to what works. As such, it won't update until Dante actually witnesses the enemy doing/reacting to something in a fight with them, such as penning down notable attacks and theorizing/confirming weaknesses he gets to act on.
  • Devil May Cry 3
    • Dante has significantly lower unlockable skills , with a combined total of one, in Devil Trigger than any other game in the series. It was unlocked by accident and he doesn't really care about the power of his father, so he's not in a mood to do to much with it. Infact 3's Devil Trigger may be the weakest incarnation in the entire series.
    • Conversely Vergil is all about bringing out the power of his demonic heritage. His ranged attacks are flying blades summoned out of demonic energy, which he can multiply and manipulate using his Devil Trigger gauge. In his next appearances he has several attacks requiring Devil Trigger activated to use.
    • In the first boss fight with Vergil, it is abundantly clear that the AI is holding back. No long combos, no summon swords, no Devil Trigger and only one Judgement Cut at a time. All of which Vergil makes very liberal use of in his next appearances. this reflects how Vergil is "going easy" on his brother because he recognizes that Dante simply isn't on his level.
  • Devil May Cry 5 has multiple.
    • Nero can't use his Devil Breaker in the prologue because Nico hasn't developed them yet. Also Nero's color up ability that switches out his regular bullets with specialized ammo takes more time if Nero has to use one hand.
    • It's mentioned outright that the amount of complexity in such a small package makes the Breakers extremely fragile, which is reflected by them breaking if Nero uses its Overcharge or takes damage while using it (it takes the blow for him). Also, while Nico is constantly developing new ones, the big hitters or more Magitek arms require Nero or V killing a powerful demon and giving her a body part from it, either as inspiration or as a power source.
    • If Nero revs up the Red Queen in a cutscene or his taunt where he stabs the ground and revs it, when gameplay resumes he'll actually have level 1 Exceed ready. Accordingly, skipping said cutscenes leaves it unrevved.
    • Dante absorbing Sparda and the Rebellion to unlock the Sin Devil Trigger and Devil Sword Dante, is the first time he has embraced the power of his father. Accordingly his movelist significantly changes.
    • In Nico's notes, it's mentioned that emotion is what makes demons stronger, with love and resolve (emotions unknown to demons) being the two greatest factors, which explains why the half-and-quarter-demon Sparda family can be so powerful. Nero awakening his Devil Trigger with a massive outburst of both the above emotions gives him the power to stop Dante and Vergil in their place even with both in Sin Devil Trigger Form, cold-clock Dante unconscious and overpower Vergil despite still being far below them in experience and relative power and having JUST awoken his Devil form.
    • Vergil's final boss fight with Nero is much less powerful than his incarnation fighting Dante. He just had a fight with Dante that pushed them both to their limits and he doesn't want to fight Nero as much as he wanted to fight Dante.
  • In God of War (PS4)
    • The Square button is devoted to having Atreus shoot a targeted enemy, among other context sensitive actions or attack calls on various enemies. After Atreus has learned of his divine heritage and may be suffering a bit of corruption from a key rune he picked up in Tyr's vault, he begins to behave coldly and cruelly thinking "I'm a god, I can do whatever I want". At this point in the story until Kratos shakes some sense into him, Atreus will often times ignore Kratos'/the players commands, attack enemies you're not targeting, and use his mana-using, on-long-cooldown attacks without being prompted.
    • Starting out his journey, Atreus was an unblooded child who hadn't even killed a game animal. While he's a fair shot with a bow, he's pretty much just that. As the game goes on and Atreus has both positive and negative Character Development — combined with the player putting points into his skills, his arrows become more damaging because he's learning how to aim for vitals, he'll stun enemies by kick jumping off of them and shooting or getting them in a chokehold with his bow, and eventually he'll reach the point where he'll trip an enemy up and stab them to death with his hunting knife to their throat while they're down. Fitting in with the Passing the Torch theme between Kratos and Atreus, a properly-leveled Atreus is stronger and more versatile than Kratos by the end of the game.
  • Nearly everything the player does in Iji — from how many enemies she kills to which logbooks she reads — has at least some influence on how the story unfolds, how dialogues proceed, and even how characters react to Iji's presence. Indeed, the ending of one subplot (which can only be followed by reading a series of seemingly unrelated logbooks) relies on how the player treats a single specific enemy she has no way of knowing is at all significant at that point in the game. Meanwhile, every gameplay mechanic from the Swiss Army Weapon to Road Runner PC is explained in the narrative, usually via logbooks.
  • In the inFAMOUS games Cole and Delsin's EXP is divided as both Hero, Neutral and Infamous and earning either Hero or Infamous EXP will tip the Karma Meter into the direction of which is higher. This also determines how your powers emerge. But this applies to all Conduits and not just the player characters, with evil characters such as Sasha and Bertrand having their Conduit powers express themselves in Lovecraftian ways.
    • If you look closely during the final boss of the first game, you'll notice that most of Kessler's attacks are more powerful versions of Cole's attacks, acting as a last bit of Foreshadowing before the big reveal of Kessler's true identity.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Traditionally, Link begins the game with only three hearts. The Link in Skyward Sword is an exception; he starts out with a full six. That's because this incarnation of Link has been explicitly training as a knight, whereas other Links have been mere children, farmers, or train conductors. He's more physically fit and has more stamina than the other Links. And while the Link in Breath of the Wild was also trained as a knight, he was also in cryostasis for 100 years: everything you do in BotW is under the idea that you're regaining your strength before once again fighting Ganon.
    • Breath of the Wild has the Yiga Clan, who are a group of evil ninjas on the side of the Big Bad. Their scouts can be encountered in the field under the disguise of a traveler or merchant. When you defeat their leader, he vows that his gang will follow you everywhere no matter where you go. He is not kidding. Defeating the leader only makes the clan more bold and they will start appearing out of nowhere at anytime to attack you on sight.
    • Speaking of the Yiga Clan, the members that are encountered in disguise in the overworld only attack Link when he speaks with them directly. In the DLC memory Champion Urbosa's Song, they do the same. Except that instead of talking with them, she challenges them to fight her, knowing that they were disguised Yiga.
    • Also from Breath of the Wild, Daruk's journal in "The Champions' Ballad" DLC mentions that Link was appointed as Zelda's personal bodyguard after he used a pot lid to deflect a Guardian's laser — a difficult, yet completely possible feat to accomplish in game.
    • One common problem with open world games is memory overflow—every time you pick something up or kill an enemy, the game has to remember it, and eventually it starts causing problems like long load times. Breath of the Wild solves the problem and integrates it into the plot with the blood moons, when Ganon's power turns the moon red, resurrects all the dead monsters, and resets everything else in the world except for a few permanent things like shrines and dungeons.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the player can avert the Sadistic Choice at the end of the "Mephisto's Realm" level — which forces the player to choose whether to rescue Jean Grey or Nightcrawler — by selecting Magneto for the main party. Because of his magnetic powers, Magneto can manipulate the metal in the cage that Mephisto keeps Jean and Kurt imprisoned in, allowing him to rescue both of them. If the player doesn't select Magneto for that level, the epilogue reveals that either choice will ultimately result in the X-Men disbanding permanently note .
  • Metroid: Other M decides to justify Samus' use (or lack of use) or her suit functions as her deferring to the orders of her former C.O. Adam Malkovich. Fans, particularly Western ones, thought this justification very thin from the get go, as they didn't think Samus should've been under orders from anyone, and definitely not when obeying Adam's orders became actively detrimental to her survival. Eventually, Samus does start ignoring Adam's orders and self-authorizing suit functions, but to most fans, it was too little, too late.
  • Metroid Fusion makes a similar, less-fandom-dividing justification as she becomes infected by the X-Parasite and, as she's unconscious, the Galactic Federation cuts off chunks of her suit and decides to send them off to research the samples contained on them. Thus, Samus' upgrades were literally sliced off of her and she has to gain them back through upgrade stations or killing and absorbing X-Parasites that use similar abilities. Why not just send her all of her upgrades? Because the Galactic Federation intended to capture SA-X and deliberately withheld from Samus to discourage her from engaging it. They even justify the health and ammo pickups in the game as they're stray parasites that Samus is capable of absorbing, due to the infusion of Metroid DNA to save her life from the initial infection.
    • Samus' Fusion Suit is a tremendous downgrade in armor plating because of how much had to be cut off to try to save her from the X-parasite infestation. Accordingly, Samus takes more point-for-point damage from attacks than any other game in the series, only outdone by the effects of phazon without protection.
  • NieR has its Ending D, where the main character chooses to sacrifice his own existence and all memories of it from other people in order to save Kainé. To reinforce this, the game deletes all your save data, and you can't use the same name you used for that file in any future ones.
    • The Updated Re-release added ending E, where Kainé undoes this sacrifice to give the Player Character a happy ending. Accordingly, you can select a save slot and it will restore all of your deleted data to reflect the fact that Nier is no longer Ret-Gone.
  • Nie R Automata uses 2B, 9S and A2's status as androids to explain a lot of gameplay elements. For example: taking hacking damage will mess up the HUD (which the characters can see) and distort the screen and, in severe cases, change your controls (eg. moving right when you want to move left or swapping the heavy attack and jump buttons) or prevent you from attacking to simulate the characters' bodies not doing what they want among other effects. When you die, you respawn in a fresh body where you last saved you game (by syncing your memories with a backup), but you need to go back and find your corpse to regain your plug-in chips. This mechanic is completely dropped in Route C/D because the destruction of the Bunker makes it so there's nowhere to backup to, functionally meaning no more extra lives. In addition, hacking an android, such as A2 in the Final Boss of Route D has you hacking through their pause menu which looks identical to the regular pause menu, but seen from a slightly different perspective.
  • No More Heroes as a whole is an interesting example: even though Travis imagines his life as an assassin to be awesome and glamorous, nearly every portion of gameplay outside of the ranked battles shows just how much of a loser he is by being outright boring: Santa Destroy is a frustratingly boring place with nearly nothing to do; Travis has to drive everywhere himself; he barely bothers people he runs over on his motorcycle and goes flying if it even so much as touches any solid object; he has to do repetitive, boring and irrelevant jobs in order to earn money; he saves the game on the toilet; he rummages through dumpsters for collectables (including clothes!); and at the end of the day he ends up right back at the same stinking motel he's always lived at.
  • Prince of Persia (2008) is an example of deliberate integration. At one point in the story, a boss produces a dozen versions of your companion, Elika, daring you to figure out which one is the real one. The answer is to leap off the side of a tall structure, which causes the real Elika to rescue you, as she has done many times already in normal gameplay.
  • In most levels of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, the "bounty-hunting" function, which lets the player ID-scan mooks and civilians to root out ones with prices on their heads, is a simple side-quest that the player can pursue for 100% Completion. But in the final stage of the "Oovoo IV" level, one of the optional bounties turns out to be Meeko Ghintee (the criminal who the player captures in the first level as part of the main story), who is wanted dead for crimes that he committed earlier in the game. Earlier, Roz had mentioned Meeko getting "...another life sentence on Oovoo IV" before he vanished from the game. And in the final boss stage, the player can ID-scan Komari Vosa to bring up a description of the bounty that started the game's main plot. Scanning her is a moot point, since she can't be captured alive, and the game automatically triggers a cutscene when the player kills her, but it still shows that the developers thought to factor the game's story into the ID-scanning mechanic.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront, aside from having a few special units per faction, there is generally very little difference in how the various factions play on the battlefield. A notable exception is the Polis Massa map in the second game, where the Separatist faction has a major strategy advantage. Why? Polis Massa is located on an asteroid, and part of the map extends to the asteroid's surface, which is unprotected from the vacuum of space. Separatist battle droids are the only units that can move freely across the surface without vehicles (giving them a good shortcut into enemy territory), since they don't need to breathe.

    Fighting Game 
  • In BlazBlue, the characters have voice-acted sound bits for the beginning of a battle, the end of a battle, taunting, blocking, getting hit, and executing attacks (and other things if the character is the loudmouth, Bang). If the character is fighting someone who is strongly tied to his or her character arc, what they say will be different in all of these instances.
    • Every character's fighting style is clearly influenced by their personalities and life experiences. Their techniques and game mechanics revolve around who they fundamentally are and what Artifact of Doom (or lack thereof) is in their possession. This is to the point where any new additions to their movesets (or lack thereof) shows that they have grown as a person, started going down a new path, or have begun to stagnate.
    • In Central Fiction, Terumi has been separated from his vessel Hazama. Any of Hazama's animations or attack sequences in which he slipped into his Terumi persona no longer have this aspect in CF.
    • Jubei's Astral Finish makes use of his Soul-Cutting Blade, and briefly shows the victim's exposed soul as a bright point of light. Terumi and Susanoo, however, expose the 'true form' Terumi ghost from the previous games instead. The attack also exposes a soul on Nu-13, Lambda-11 and Hazama.
    • This even makes its way into the narrative sequences. For instance, fitting one of the last users of True Magic in the setting, Nine is a zoning beast with a vast array of special moves to keep her opponent guessing, but all her evasion has startup lag and she has no defensive tools whatsoever, leaving her vulnerable if the foe gets close enough to rush her down. In story, she's finally neutralized as soon as Ragna manages to get close enough to cold-cock her with a single punch.
    • Certain encounters in Story Mode have their mechanics altered to reflect a sudden plot development, usually represented by losing some of your moveset. In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, for example, Hazama's ability to override Ragna's Grimoire is represented by Ragna losing all the moves that need his Drive. Similarly, Jin spends most of the game struggling to overcome the willpower of his sentient weapon which ultimately manifests as him losing access to any attacks that require him to draw his sword (which is most of them). At the climax of his Story, he manages to break its power and exert his will over it, and they let you know He's Back by immediately transitioning to a fight where you play as Unlimited Jin.
    • In BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, one of Teddie's items that he can throw with his Mystery Teddie ability is a plate of Yukiko's cooking, potent enough to deal damage and reduce the enemy skill gauge. Mai Natsume, however, loves food like that due to her supertaste ability that makes normal food extremely difficult for her to eat — so this item will actually restore her HP.note 
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game provides more subtle examples of deliberate gameplay and story integration, such as Batman's health not regenerating between consecutive fights and providing in-story justifications for individuals of different Super Weight to fight on equal footing.
  • Tons of this in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, from the vampiric Dio and the Pillar Men not being able to be used in outdoor daytime stages, to Made In Heaven (which accelerates time) causing the timer to countdown faster, to Killer Queen's "Bites the Dust" ability (which can cause a temporal loop) forcibly resetting any Stand evolutions that happened during the fight.
    • The PS2 adaptation of Phantom Blood takes great pains in making Jonathan's skill and power in gameplay fit the specific fight he's in, to the point of making 15 different fighting styles that the player uses over the course of the story Spoiler .
  • The King of Fighters: At the end of XI, series mainstay Iori has his powers stolen by Ash Crimson. For the rest of the arc, Iori has an entirely different moveset to normal as he has to fight with his bare hands. After reclaiming his power his normal moveset returns for XIV.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games give each playable character unique advantages ("skills") that accurately reflect their position in the Lyrical Nanoha canon: for instance, the Lady of War Signum profits from easier and longer combos, the Glacier Waif Vita gets a damage bonus to all melee attacks, and the Combat Medic Shamal's health regenerates automatically.
  • Saitama is a playable character in 3-on-3 fighting game One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows, where he's just as comically broken as he is in the source material. Just like in the source material, however, he's always late to the fight, meaning that having Saitama in your team forces you into a 2-on-3 battle where you must Hold the Line until he arrives. Also if you try to force them into a Mirror Match, the damage normalizes and the two Saitama can fight like a normal battle... but whichever one has its health drained first doesn't get defeated, but realizes they're missing a sale and walk off none the worse for wear so neither Saitama can technically say they "won" or "lost".
  • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax:
    • As the only member of the cast that doesn't have a Persona, Sho is unable to use Instant Kills.
    • Due to finicky plot reasons, Elisabeth, Marie, Margaret and Adachi do not have alternate 'Shadow' counterparts like the rest of the cast. Sho doesn't either because his counterpart is a separate playable character.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soul Edge — Seung Han-Myong has a fighting style that shares some moves with both Hwang and Seung Mina. Very fitting, since he was The Mentor to both of them.
    • Yun-Seong has several moves reminiscent of Hwang. His bio is that he looked up to Hwang as a child.
    • Maxi takes over from Li Long as the nunchaku fighter, starting in Soul Calibur. It's explained that Li Long trained Maxi.
  • Street Fighter handles Akuma this way with a generous dose of Fridge Brilliance. Because he is far and away the most powerful character in story, and since he only fights worthy opponents, he both deals and receives double damage. Beating him as in a normal fight is his way of testing to see if you are worth fighting his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Tekken's fourth game gives Jin Kazama a complete change of fighting style. His moves were nearly identical to Kazuya's in his debut game (Tekken 3 — where Kazuya does not appear). When Kazuya reappears in Tekken 4, the change in fighting style is explained by Jin becoming ashamed to learn who his father is — and trains in a new style to differentiate himself from the Mishima clan.
  • Under Night In-Birth: The game's super meter is EXS (for 'Existence'), the source of an In-Birth's powers. Effectively, it's their life force manifested as a specific ability unique to the individual. Merkava the Void and Vatista the Autonomic Nerve don't have any EXS, however. Their gauges read FLS for 'False' instead.

    First/Third-Person Shooter 
  • BioShock:
    • The original game explored and deconstructed the notion of gameplay linearity throughout its plot. It turned out that you, as the Player Character, have been mind-controlled into a single deterministic path throughout the entire game by the Big Bad.
      • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist because Rapture is filled with experimental "Vita-Chambers" that resurrect and rejuvenate dead tissue in their vicinity. You're the only one who can respawn in them because the only person the chambers had been programmed to resurrect from death was the city's founder, Andrew Ryan. The player character is revealed to be Ryan's illegitimate son and thus shares his genetics. This is also why you can travel using the bathyspheres despite them being genetically locked to only work for Ryan and some of his top henchmen. Ryan himself shut off the Vita-Chamber in his office so that he could be permanently killed.
    • In BioShock 2 the Vita-Chambers kick off the whole plot, as they've been re-purposed to recognise Delta, which allowed him to return from death ten years after the fact. Thus, Lamb uses a scheme to stop Delta's heart and wait for him to die naturally, because killing him violently would just resurrect him at the nearest chamber and start the whole thing over again.
    • BioShock Infinite continues the party:
      • The plot is driven by Elizabeth's ability to create tears to alternate dimensions. This manifests as a core gameplay mechanic where the player can ask her to summon allies, ammo, cover, or distractions from an alternate reality on command.
      • Similarly, when Booker dies while Elizabeth is not present, the cutscene and dialogue strongly imply that it is simply the Luteces pulling yet another Booker from yet another timeline to continue the story from the exact same point.
  • In the Call of Duty: Black Ops level "Rebirth," Hudson is forced to don an NBC suit to guard against a Nova 6 gas attack. During that section of the level, the series staple Regenerating Health is averted, as he can't shrug off a hole in his protection.
    • The final scene in Call of Duty: World at War has the Russian player character Dimitri Petrenko take what seems to be a lethal wound from a single pistol bullet, after the aforementioned regenerating health has let him shrug off countless far, far worse injuries across the entire campaign, not to mention injuries he's taken offscreen that the player walks off as gameplay starts. Possibly a form of Cutscene Incompetence... or perhaps an application of the game's use of Arbitrary Gun Power, where in extreme close range the comparatively-tiny bullets from pistols actually do deal equal or even greater damage than the full-size rifle rounds fired by the semi-auto and bolt-action rifles, which are already nearly a one-hit kill.
  • As the story of Call of Duty: Zombies gets denser and more detailed over time, it gradually explains why the series' heavily stylized gameplay differs so much from Call of Duty's usual grounded realism. Those floating, glowing "power-ups"? They're actually composed of "Aether", a mystical energy that emanates from another dimension — which is why they can grant abilities like invincibility and One-Hit Kill. That unseen "announcer" who narrates each level? They're an actual character trapped in the Aether, and the "power-ups" are sent by them to aid the player. The latter idea becomes a plot point in some of the later levels: levels set in the future are "narrated" by the previously playable character Edward Richtofen, who ends up merging with the Aether as established through earlier plot points in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War: A few missions into the game, the player is presented with a fairly standard character creation screen, allowing you to choose a backstory and personality traits. Later, it is revealed that the player character was previously an NPC which you witness being shot. The character creation is Russell Adler, In-Universe, brainwashing the wounded villain and generating a new personality and backstory for them out of whole cloth.
  • The utter linearity of the Half-Life series is a plot point, representing Gordon's lack of agency over the story, whether it's because of the G-Man, the Vortigaunts, or the player. Also, Half-Life 2 and its Episodes begin with Gordon not at full health, due to him being injured from a scene in the previous game.
  • Overwatch: While the in-game matches are obviously not canon in any way to the story, the gameplay almost always takes the lore into account in some way, and vice versa:
    • Voicelines between characters are often based on their relationships in lore, such as Ana praising a friendly Pharah for doing well in combat, or Talon heroes being constantly hostile with Overwatch heroes, even when they’re on the same team.
    • The various gameplay abilities the characters have exist in the lore as well, so in cinematics and comics you’ll see things like D.Va inventing her self destruct Ultimate, Genji countering Hanzo’s Twin Dragons attack with his own, Winston going into Berserk Mode when sufficiently angered, or Reaper’s passive abilities manifesting as him inflicting unhealing wounds on people.
    • In the "Infiltration" short, Reaper fights solo against a Humongous Mecha, and though the battle sadly happens offscreen, it's clear from the results that it was a Curb-Stomp Battle in Reaper's favour. In the metagame, Reaper is the #1 choice for killing Tank characters, which the mech certainly would be if it was a playable character.
    • Doomfist's entire kit is designed to bring overwhelming power on weaker opponents, but he can be countered by other tanks. So in his introduction cinematic, he effortlessly takes out Genji and Tracer, but Winston weathers his blows and takes him down after entering berserk mode, which in-game fully heals him and doubles his health to 900; Doomfist's best attack deals 300 total.
    • Characters often have unique voicelines for whatever map they’re in that reflect their in-story opinions, such as the omnic-hating Torbjörn and Zarya complaining about being in Numbani, or Winston being very uncomfortable in the Horizon Lunar Colony (where he grew up in canon).
    • "Honor and Glory" shows that, back when he was a rookie, Reinhardt was a brash, overconfident Leeroy Jenkins and Glory Seeker who frequently charged ahead of his team and left them to fend for themselves. In other words, he acted exactly like bad or rookie Reinhardt players tend to in the game.
    • "Retribution" depicts a Blackwatch mission that went horribly wrong because Reaper went off-plan at the worst time and the team was working on bad intel. Fittingly, the team's composition is absolutely horrible for the sort of hellish meat grinder the mission became; Moira's healing cannot keep up with the damage the Talon mooks deal, Reaper and McCree's own damage-dealing is impractical thanks to the lack of any tanks, and Genji's Deflect move is easily overwhelmed by all the heavy gunners. Contrast all of that with the more typical Overwatch mission seen in "Storm Rising", where everything goes according to plan and the intel is good. The team composition is much better and the gameplay is correspondingly less difficult; Mercy is a far better dedicated healer, Winston can tank and put down a barrier, Tracer can evade attacks and heal herself with Rewind, and Genji can more easily deal damage with the proper back-up.
  • Spec Ops: The Line, appropriately for being a deconstruction of pretty much everything in big-budget 7th and 8th gen video games, allows its players to face every moral choice or narrative decision in the game without at all deviating from its default third-person cover-based shooter controls and gameplay. For example, the player can choose one ending by refusing to shoot a particular target. If they choose not to do so, they will eventually be confronted by some of the toughest enemies in the game. They can surrender for one ending, fight and win for another ending, or be defeated by those enemies for a third ending. In another scene, as a mortally wounded character begs for a Mercy Kill, the player can use the normal controls to deliver the coup-de-grace, to shoot and miss, to simply walk off, or to watch the bastard die horribly. The NPC reacts appropriately to each choice.
  • Both Splatoon and Splatoon 2 make use of this trope through the "Squid Research Lab", a group of human scientists (and probably the only humans) who are dedicated to analyzing the behavior of the Inklings, a species of humanoid squid. Their findings, which serve as the promotional materials for the games, explain everything from why Splatfests can occasionally correlate to present-day pop culturenote  to why your Inkling is fighting mutant salmon on a desolate island in Horde Modenote  to even why you can't swim in water despite being an aquatic creaturenote .
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, BJ starts the game severely wounded from the events of the first game. Accordingly, he can't even stand and the first level is him fighting from a wheelchair. When he later acquires the super suit, he regains the abilities to walk and jump, but his internal injuries remain severe and his max health is only 50. It is only after he is beheaded and attached to a Nazi super solider body that he regains his full health, and because it is an artificially constructed body, his special abilities.

    Platform Game 
  • The first three endings in Gargoyle's Quest add generous amounts of Lampshade Hanging. After finishing the first level, you can either fly to the second... or head right for the Phalanx's castle. In fact, you get there so quickly the final boss hasn't even finished setting up the final Death Course, hasn't figured out how to use his crest, and dies after one round. If you go to the last level after the fourth, the level will actually be ready, and Phalanx is stronger, but he still can't use the crest fully. If you go there after finishing all the levels, he'll finally have figured out how to REALLY use it, going One-Winged Angel at long last.
  • In Mega Man 7, when you first encounter Bass, you have to fight him and depending on how much damage you give/take, his opinion towards you and dialogue will change.
  • Mega Man X5:
    • When X touches the floating Sigma Virus found in the levels, he'll get damaged periodically. In-story, X has the "Suffering Circuit" in his system which (along with Dr. Light's 30 years of testing) will prevent him from doing unethical things and keep his mind on track. The Sigma Virus will make any of the infected slowly go insane and homicidal (as with the bosses). X, with the circuit, will resist those urges, and the programming overload results in his body slowly damaging itself. Apparently the Reploids, based on X, all have flawed Suffering Circuits courtesy of Dr. Cain's incomplete understanding of X's design.
    • Meanwhile, Zero will instead get stronger and eventually invincible after absorbing enough of the virus. In story, the Sigma Virus is a derivative of the Maverick Virus found alongside Zero's hibernation capsule, and said virus (according to a flashback in Mega Man X4 and later on in the fifth game's bad ending) apparently is a key to a programming in Zero's mind which designates his purpose: the total destruction of society. There's also some hints in the game that the Maverick Virus may or may not contain the consciousness of Zero's creator, Dr. Wily.
  • In Psychonauts Raz's Super Drowning Skills are the result of a curse on his family which is an important part of the game's backstory. Even more integrated are the Mental Worlds, the structure of which depends on the owner's personality, meaning the gameplay will reflect this and any disorders that character has:
    • Sasha is The Spock who advocates rigid mental control, so his mind is a blank featureless box floating in a void that expands into specific memories on command.
    • Milla is a bubbly Manic Pixie Dream Girl who treats everything like a party, so her mind is a huge, winding seventies disco with bright colours that you get around by bouncing or gently floating.
    • Boyd has Paranoid Schizophrenia, which causes almost everything in the level to look at you or sneak up on you in some way, which will make some players think that the level is trying to attack them. The mindscape's structure is very disjointed and fragmented, and occupied only by dueling conspiracies that are hiding in plain sight, reflecting Boyd's paranoia in the real world.
    • Edgar suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is represented by a bull that keeps running through the mindscape's town in a tightly-defined route, causing its inhabitants to do the same things constantly as they try to do their own things in spite of the bull. Getting in its way will knock you back to the start of the level, causing you to repeat parts of the world over and over again.
    • Gloria has Bipolar Disorder, and you can change the mood lighting in her mental world to literally swing the mood of the stage between comedy and tragedy.
    • Fred has Split Personality Disorder, so his world is actually two worlds; one world where he manipulates a game board inside of a castle while playing against his ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte, and a game world containing that castle.
    • The final level takes place within Raz's own head, after getting his mind in contact with Coach Oleander's and it is not only frustratingly difficult, but the final boss is completely invulnerable without the aid of another psychic. The fact that it's nigh-impossible to solve your own mental problems without outside help is the entire reason that the Psychonauts exist, and it holds true for the final level.
  • In Sonic Adventure, Chao who are properly cared for are granted Born-Again Immortality and come back to life as babies at the end of their life cycle, out of sheer love for their owner. This crops up in the game itself when we see that Chaos' Chao friends have been successfully resurrecting through the years since Chaos was sealed — and when Sonic returns him to his normal form, they finally get to play with their favorite caretaker again.
  • In Sonic Riders, Sonic's default board, the Blue Star ends up getting destroyed in a ploy to get him knocked out of the Ex-World Grand Prix. Shortly after this, Tails gives Sonic the Blue Star II, a board he had been working on just in case something happened to Sonic's first board and Sonic uses that board throughout the rest of the story as his default, even into the post-story Mission Mode.
    • At the climax of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, Sonic and the gang end up having the gravity altering devices they spent the story up to then using and fighting over stolen away and used to create the Master Core: Abis. In the following boss fight, not only are they locked out of any kind of gravity control until the Master Core invokes it himself, but the gravity control devices are completely absent from their character models. If you return to the track in any other mode with any other characters, THEIR gravity control devices and abilities will be gone, too.
  • During the fight against the Time Eater in Sonic Generations, the boss will sometimes slow down time. The slowed flow of time also affects the game's timer and slows it down as well. A similar trick occurs in the True Final Boss fight in Sonic Mania where the flow of time is erratic, thus the in-game timer bounces all over the place and is unable to properly count up.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, during the playable credits, you can't use the Spin because the Baby Luma, who originally gave you that power, has gone home.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Deadly Rooms of Death, the plot determines which monsters show up in which areas, and there's a lot of background information relating to the creation of the monsters that explains their gameplay behaviour and weaknesses. This also applies to some of Beethro's abilities, for example, the temporal resonator he acquires in The Second Sky.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Dance Central 3 for the Xbox 360 sees you playing as a dancer who works to foil a master plan to eliminate creativity from dancing. While most of the game is, ironically, based on learning and following premade choreography as closely as possible, certain sections (e.g. playing against dancers mind-controlled by the antagonist) depend on freestyle dancing, reinforcing that, while memorizing premade choreographies is necessary for creativity, creativity is more important in the end.
  • Unison for the PlayStation 2 sees you playing as the title dance troupe, tasked with learning and subsequently performing various routines set to licensed songs. In the Japanese version, the rehearsals are especially important, because they're the only time you're allowed to see the on-screen markers showing how to move the analog sticks throughout the song. Just like in real life, you have to do the actual performance from memory! The international version lets you keep the indicators on-screen the whole game.

  • In Crypt Of The Necrodancer, the playable character Bard is basically the game's easy mode. He isn't required to move to the beat of the songs, and he has an unlimited amount of time to explore the crypt, whereas it is normally a Timed Mission for everyone other than him. This is because Bard is the Necrodancer back when he was just an ordinary guy. The dungeon isn't under his control yet, so it plays differently.
  • In Enter the Gungeon, every time a Gungeoneer dies (and they will die a lot), a short animation shows what looks like a mix between crosshairs and a clock taking aim at them, before dealing the final shot. This pretty much justifies the countless tries to reach the end of the Gungeon, by making it canon that every Gungeoneer eventually gets the Gun That Can Kill The Past and uses it to erase past mistakes.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
    • In Rescue Team, if you talk to the Kecleon brothers after clearing your name and saving the world, they will say they will try getting better wares. This is true, as their shop stock does change, though the first milestone is actually before they say this — if you talk to them just before you tell your partner you're ready to become fugitives, you'll notice the shop stock has already changed.
    • In Explorers, the first boss you face in the post-game story is every other member of the Exploration Guild as a Wolfpack Boss, as the finale of your graduation exam. Just like he did in Brine Cave years and years ago, the Guildmaster's right-hand man will take battle damage in lieu of his boss whenever his positioning allows him to.

    RPG — Eastern 
  • Bravely Default: Just before the fight with Red Mage Fiore De Rosa, it is established that he uses pheromones to make women do what he wants, with them remembering none of it afterwards. Edea was captured just prior to this. Appropriately, she begins the battle with Charm status, and will attack the party instead of him.
  • In Bravely Second, Altair occasionally possesses Tiz to provide aid to the party. When this happens during a battle, Tiz's special quotes change to reflect this.
  • In Breath of Fire II, Katt/Rinpoo is often described as fairly stupid (and hotheaded), particularly compared to pretty much everyone else in the cast. This is reflected in her having the lowest Wisdom stat of all the playable characters — and, by proxy, the lowest natural AP count by a fairly large margin, yet she learns several high-end spells once leveled high enough...that she can't cast normally due to her low AP. In fact, the only ways to up her AP enough to cast at least ONE of her spells is to either recruit a character into your town to raise it for her, and/or fuse her with the proper Shaman combination for a temporary boost. On top of that, the three spells she learns are fairly high-level and powerful. She didn't bother with the smaller stuff she might actually be able to utilize. She went right into wanting to do the high-damage, hurty spells without realizing it might take a lot of smarts and concentration to be able to USE them effectively.
  • In the PSP version of Digimon Adventure, the game introduces Relationship Values between the human party members which gives extra power to their Mons based on how well they get along, which often reflects on their own personal issues (Yamato can raise his rank with Sora by stating that he cooks at home instead of his mother, which reflects her own perceived issues with her own mother) or just being nice with each other (Jou can easily raise his rank with the others during an early episode). Everyone starts at Rank 1, except Yamato and Takeru who start at Rank 3 due to being brothers.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • Think about all the bad fortune that befalls the hero... ambushed by Ladja, watches his dad get murdered, enslaved for ten years, has to go through trials to get married, gets turned into a statue and misses the early years of his children's lives, and then has to go rescue his mother from the underworld... and then, during gameplay, when he levels up? You'll notice his luck stat just about never goes up. His luck stat is the lowest in the game.
      • In the childhood section of the game, when Pankraz is with you, you can't control your movement at all, you can't choose to initiate dialogue, you can't do anything but follow right behind him on autopilot. Well, of course you can't do anything; he's your dad, he's the party leader, not you. You're a secondary party member when he's around!
      • In one of the most meta moments in the series, Pankraz makes the mistake every player has in a 2D RPG: accidentally stepping back onto a stairs icon and ending up in the previous screen. Jarring for him as one step sent him down an entire underground stairway and hilariously awkward for you as the party member who follows without a word. This was sadly not as funny for the remake, where there is no longer a 2D icon to fumble with on the way to Coburg.
      • The game actually does lampshade the fact that resurrection can happen in this setting. So, if characters get Killed Off for Real, the narrative makes sure they're either Deader Than Dead or otherwise indisposed. Specifically, Pankraz is hit with a fireball so powerful it blasts him to ashes, and while the Hero and his wife aren't killed, they're turned into stone statues with a spell that only a specific staff can reverse. Even when you get married, instead of "as long as you both shall live," it's "as long as you both shall be resurrected from death in the church."
    • Dragon Quest VII:
      • Ruff joins your party at a measly level one. When you're probably nearing the mid-late teens. This actually makes perfect sense — Ruff is a wolf puppy who just turned human — and the only abilities he learns without Alltrades Abbey relate to summoning wolves to attack the enemy.
      • When you recruit Mervyn, he's the former champion of the Almighty yet he comes off as Overrated and Underleveled due to only joining at level nineteen and with no Class progress. So what's the deal? Actually, the way you meet him is to unseal him where he has been for who-knows-how many. Obviously he's out of pratice.
      • Aishe is the latest in the line of dancers for the roamers, but wants to be a warrior like her ancestor (Keifer). When she joins, she has the Dancer class completely mastered, but also a few points in Warrior already. Why only a few? She is self-taught and could only go so far without the help of Alltrades Abbey or being able to actually train without having do so in secret.
      • The game's class system itself is both a gameplay feature and a story feature. It seems as if the sole purpose of Alltrades Abbey is to change classes and learn abilities for the players. However, if one talks with NPCs, they casually mention changing "vocations" just as much as the player does, meaning that this power extends to them as much as it does the heroes.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, the Hero is under a curse so powerful, other curses (like the Baleful Polymorph placed on his hometown) don't affect him. He is, in gameplay, immune to the "curse" status effect. To even further emphasize this, a Bonus Boss that you can defeat to unlock the second ending has a sort of a "Seal" attack that he starts with. It will not affect anyone except the Hero because he is the one that placed the original curse that the Hero lives with.
  • Final Fantasy IV:
    • You begin the game with Cecil and Kain, both trained knights in the service of the Baron kingdom. Both start at level 10 with some pretty good equipment. Rydia, the first other character who joins you, is a small child. She starts at level 1 with minimal equipment.
    • Rydia learns black magic (attack spells). Like other Final Fantasy games, battle spells follow most of the standard element patterns (fire, ice/water, lightning). Rydia learns ice and lightning magic on her own by gaining levels, but not fire. Why? Her hometown was destroyed by a fire, and she hates fire as a result. She only finally unlocks fire magic when the group needs to proceed past a wall of ice to warn another town of an impending attack, and there are no other black magic users currently in the party. The fact that innocent people will die if they can't be warned in time allows her to overcome her psychological block and cast fire to melt the ice.
    • At Mt. Ordeals, Golbez sends Scarmiglione after Cecil to stop him from becoming a Paladin. Scarmiglione is used specifically because he is undead and Cecil is a Dark Knight using swords based on darkness, which would have no effect on the undead.
    • Rubicante, Archfiend of Fire, is one of the series' shining examples of Noble Demon and Let's Fight Like Gentlemen, and this plays out in battle with him. If Cecil and party use a Fire spell when his cloak is down, it'll heal Rubicante. Rubicante will then respond in kind by healing Cecil's party. (He doesn't follow up with a heal when the cloak is up, but the reason for that is more covered by Violation of Common Sense.)
    • Some characters have their stat growth on level-up logically follow their character arcs. As mentioned above, Rydia start at level 1 and can be decently powerful, but doesn't get her true strength unlocked until spending several years in the summons' dimension, where she becomes an excellent summoner and Black Mage with normal stat growth. Palom and Porom are genius magi, but are still young kids so their physical gains are poor. Cecil resets to level 1 after becoming a Paladin because he has no idea how to fight that way or use his new magic. Edward's stat gains are piss poor because he's so poorly suited to fighting (except in the GBA/PSP version where Edward finds genuine courage to fight to the end after his bonus dungeon, where his stat gains become explosive). Special mention of course, goes to Tellah, who actually gets weaker as he levels up, with his MP costs for magic increasing to boot; he's an old man on an adventure his body just can't handle, instead of strengthening himself like a younger character could, he's putting his elderly body through more stress and strain than it can handle, which is a big contributing factor to needing to sacrifice his life to use Meteor.
    • Similarly the stat gains from level ups stop steadily going up around level 60 and randomly go up or down depending on chance. Training alone will eventually plataeu and it can be actually detrimental if done to excess. This is revisited in other games where stats stop going up in later levels, but here is the only time it might actually make you weaker.
  • Final Fantasy V justifies the "Nobody uses healing items to save people in cutscenes" problem in RPGs by having Galuf get killed so hard (via fighting and defeating the Big Bad at 0 HP and running on sheer willpower) that not even Cure or Life spells will save him.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Rude of the Turks confesses to his partner (and the player, and the party hiding nearby) that he has a crush on Tifa, one of the heroes. In fights against the Turks, Rude will never attack Tifa, and if she is the only one standing, he'll never use his stronger attacks against her, and refuses to attack at all one third of the time.
    • It's stated in the story that Materia can form naturally, and such Materia is said to be rarer than man-made ones (they take at least centuries to form this way) and implied to be more powerful, as they're made by the planet itself. Some caves with natural Materia inside them can be accessed once the player breeds a gold chocobo, and not only they're the only copies the player can find in the entire game (the only way to obtain more is to master them), they all have particularly potent effects relative to most other Materia in their respective categories. The red one is Knights of the Round (by far the game's most powerful summon), the blue one is Quadra Magic (makes compatible spells linked to it be cast at half power four times in a row), the yellow one is Mime (a very versatile command) and the purple one swaps the user's HP and MP values (which turns them into a Squishy Wizard with very low HP, but extremely high MP).
    • In the Gaiden Game and Prequel Crisis Core, you play as SOLDIER First Class Zack Fair. It's not really a spoiler anymore that The Hero Dies at the end, but in the meanwhile you get a fun Action RPG with a Limit Break mechanic in the form of the "Digital Mind Wave," a slot machine that's always in the corner and gives you your LBs or Summon Magic when you line up three portraits of the same NPC. It's a Luck-Based Mission and somewhat frustrating to rely upon... until the Bolivian Army Ending, where it throws match after match, letting Zack use his strongest attacks and treating players to cutscenes of Zack and those characters together. Suddenly the DMW is the heart of the game: it dramatizes Zack's life flashing before his eyes, as he desperately reaches for his memories of the people he most cares about, hoping to come home to them one last time. It's not as big a Player Punch as Aerith's death... but it comes damn close.
  • Final Fantasy VIII:
    • Rinoa becoming a sorceress results in her getting a second Limit Break that raises her magic stats to the highest they can go, and makes her able to cast infinite spells.
      • Related to that, the very first time you're able to use said second limit break, Squall and Rinoa are in space and Angelo, Rinoa's dog and the crux of her original limit break, is elsewhere ( back on the planet). During that time, you can ONLY use Rinoa's 2nd limit break. Once Rinoa and Angelo reunite, that is when you get access to both limit breaks.
    • Irvine is the only character who hasn't junctioned to a GF until recently and thus keeps his memories of growing up in an orphanage. So he's the only character whose Limit Break isn't magic-related, instead being powered off ammunition the player can buy.
    • Limit Breaks in VIII are a Desperation Attack only usable at low HP. After the failed assassination attempt at the end of disc 1 Edea impales Squall with an Ice Spike, which she could use because the assassination party had worn her down enough. After having a Heel–Face Turn, the same Ice Spike spell is the temporarily-playable Edea's limit break. The fact that she has to junction to a GF to have access to magic also acts as mild Foreshadowing that she's no longer a sorceress, having passed her powers onto Rinoa by accident.
    • The attack Seifer uses on Squall while they're training in the opening FMV you can later use as his Limit Break 'Fire Cross'.
  • Final Fantasy IX:
    • All of the character's classes are highly integrated into the plot. Vivi's ability to shoot stuff with fireballs with black magic becomes very important, the hidden Summons inside Garnet are a MacGuffin unto themselves, and Freya, a dragoon, is able to leap to the tops of roofs effortlessly in cutscenes as easily as she can leap into the sky to use her "Jump" ability. Sometimes even their personality traits become gameplay mechanics; Zidane, the Chivalrous Pervert, has a "Protect Girls" skill that lets him jump in front of a female party member to protect her.
    • Quina, the Big Eater of the group, has a unique ability where s/he can eat your enemies and potentially learn skills from them. Eat notably doesn't work on human enemies or powerful bosses.
    • In at least two battles (one of which is mentioned below) the boss is coded to only target specific party members: Your three aside from Dagger in the fight with Black Waltz Number 2 (to the point were he'll cast AOE spells that in every other circumstance would hit all your party members only on those three), and Dagger specifically in a battle with the bounty hunter Lani. The former is tasked with returning Dagger to her mother, and if he succeeds in killing all of your party members aside from her, he'll cast a spell to put her to sleep and the game will end.
    • In a similar instance to the above, the rematch against Black Waltz Number 3 has similar stakes; they are tasked with returning Dagger to Brahne, and if they succeed in killing the rest of the party, instead of attacking, it will start hitting itself due to a combination of its mission (the only foe left is the one they're supposed to bring back alive) and some rather severe malfunctioning, by virtue of having their ass handed to them earlier. It's possible to win the fight by just letting your other members get killed, then wail on it with Dagger until it kills itself. This also doubles as a convenient anti-frustration feature, since there's a lenghty several minute cutscene between the last savepoint and this bossfight which you'd have to watch every time you lost this fight, if it were possible.
    • The opposite happens when you fight Lani. She's a Bounty Hunter charged with bringing the princess back, so all her attacks will be directed at Dagger. She'll even use Scan to figure out her stats. She's also quite vain, so if you physically attack her, she will yell something and counter immediately.
    • When Dagger loses her voice in the plot, during game-play her ability to cast spells is impaired: every couple of turns will fail with a "Can't concentrate." She gets better, though.
    • Most characters will skip their post-battle victory poses during plot circumstances that concern them in some negative way, including Garnet losing her voice described above.
    • Garnet can't summon her Eidolons on the first two discs and the in-story reason is that she is afraid of them. As a result, the MP costs for her Summons are incredibly high. When she has gotten over her fear of them by Disc 3, the MP costs are considerably lower. note 
    • At the end of the Disk 2, Garnet tries to get an Eidolon that she can use to save her mother from Kuja in battle. The Eidolon she finds is Leviathan — whose attack is to conjure up a tidal wave to wipe out his enemies. As Queen Brahne is with the royal fleet on the ocean (while Kuja is airborne on his silver dragon), Garnet is heart broken she can't use Leviathan to help.
    • The biggest example of this is probably the Trance State. After witnessing Mog transform into Madeen using Trance, Kuja deduces that Trance is the key to unlocking a Super Mode for himself. He's right, and he does... by having you defeat him in battle. It also ties directly into Zidane's Dyne abilities, all of which are a miniaturised Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Quite an unusual skill-set for a Thief-type character... when he finds out that he was intended to be Kuja's successor and Garland's tool for annihilating Gaia, this suddenly makes much more sense.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Similar to Final Fantasy IX above, some characters' abilities are integrated into the plot; Yuna's summoning abilities are the crux of the whole storyline until the 3/4 point, and the whole first half of the game is about travelling to temples to obtain more summons for her. Tidus' Overdrives (and default skill-set) are all based around speed, precision and acrobatics — all essential skills for a star Blitzball player. He also learns Time Magic.
    • When hit by a Lightning-spell in battle, most of your party simply grunt. Rikku, on the other hand, screams. This is either a nod to or Foreshadowing of her Fear of Thunder (depending on when you first see it). In the sequel, where she's over it, she doesn't do it anymore.
    • At one point Lulu suggests she learn some elemental magic to help her master her fear. Rikku's Sphere Grid runs straight into Lulu's, which starts with basic elemental magic.
    • A very subtle one; when fighting Seymour's first two forms, if Yuna and/or Tidus are out on the field, he will direct the majority of his attacks at them, which makes sense considering his rather awkward fixation on Yuna. This can be advantageous if you focus on keeping one of them alive and present (easily done with Haste and Nul-spells) while wailing on him with everyone else.
    • Kimahri is a Blue Mage and his Lancet ability is what helps him learn the various skills. When fighting his Ronso brothers Biran and Yenke, they will have a lot of the Ronso Rage abilities too.
  • Final Fantasy X-2:
    • The player had the option to choose Tidus's name in the first game, and it's never spoken aloud (due to that being the first voice-acted game in the franchise). In this, the characters won't refer to him by name. Rikku will only say "him" or "you know who", and Yuna's narration addresses Tidus personally so she will just say "you".
    • The Dresspheres in the game come from spheres that were made from the memories and thoughts of various people throughout Spira. The Songstress in particular has massive plot significance; the musical-related abilities come from the fact that it was a Soul Jar for Lenne. One thousand years ago, she was a singer and the costume is what she wore on stage. As she was also said to be out on the front lines fighting during the Machina War, it makes sense that she has other abilities. Likewise, the singing abilities in the game raise the party's stats, which also makes sense when you consider Yuna later giving a concert to motivate the Spirans to stop fighting amongst themselves. Presumably Lenne used her singing the same way when she was on the front lines.
    • If you go to Lake Macalania during Chapter 3, you'll get the Berserker Dressphere from an Al Bhed man who dies in the fiend attacks. When the player ports back onto the Celsius from this, if you talk to Rikku, she won't respond.
    • Paine is a very cold and withdrawn character. So if she's put into the flamboyant Songstress Dressphere, she will complain about it. And she will get very annoyed if you make her sing. She also doesn't change into it during cutscenes, while Yuna and Rikku do.
    • Yuna no longer has her Summon Magic due to the Fayth that gave birth to the Aeons being laid to rest at the end of the previous games. When the Aeons reappear, they've been corrupted by Shuyin.
    • In the Eternal Calm prologue, Yuna is seen practicing holding her breath underwater at Besaid. Later in the game, the player has the option of playing Blitzball. Yuna couldn't in the previous game, but she can now. Rikku couldn't play Blitzball in the first game but she could breathe and fight underwater, so her learning in the two year Time Skip is also justified. The rest of the Gullwings are Al Bhed, who already are used to going underwater.
    • Gippal is an Al Bhed who was also a member of the Crimson Squad. So when you face him in battle, his abilities are based around machina (he uses a mortar to attack) in contrast to Nooj and Baralai's — as at the time he took part in the training, the other two had a taboo about using machina forbidden by Yevon.
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • One scene has Fran get induced with extra strength and near insanity, causing her to break free from her restraints. The fight after this scene reflects this by inducing the Berserk status on Fran.
    • Manufactured Nethicite and Dawn Shard are plot-central items that are said to interfere with Mist, which is the game's source of magic: as a result, they can be equipped as accessories and increase magic defenses, but also put the wearer under permanent Silence status and reduce their MP to 0, respectively.
    • Penelo makes her money as a dancer in Rabanastre. All her Quickenings involve her using various dances to cast spells.
    • In the rematch against Ba'gamnan, he will only attack Balthier if he's in the party due to his hatred towards him.
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • Lightning runs around with a portable anti-gravity device in the inventory that is never used outside cutscenes... except that she is the only player character who never takes damage from falling (when hurled into the air by an enemy). This is actually a remnant of an earlier concept, where Lightning's powers were all based around gravity manipulation.
    • There is a rather sneaky example early on, which becomes this in hindsight. All party members begin with 2 ATB-slots, except Vanille, who has 3. After becoming l'Cie, they all gain 1 — again, except Vanille, who still has 3. She's already a l'Cie, and has been for much longer than the other four playable characters.
    • The Eidolon battle against Odin shows signs of this with his in-battle behavior. Before Odin appeared, Lightning was venting her frustration at Hope, who was following her and proved to be more of a hinderance than help because he's a civilian and has little to no combat experience. While battling Odin, he will specifically target his attacks on Hope, as Lightning wanted to get rid of him. In contrast, increasing the gauge on Odin requires Lightning to heal Hope, proving that her anger at him was unfounded and that she really isn't trying to get the kid killed.
  • One of the main mechanics of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is what the game refers to as "visions", which are meant to justify the game's gacha system. However, one of the biggest plot twists of the game is a result of this system: Veritas of the Dark is not Sir Raegen as everyone was assuming him to be (even the other Veritas), but he's revealed to actually have been Raegen all along — he was actually a vision of Raegen during the war between Aldore and Hess summoned by Veritas of the Light. This has been previously hinted at with the Lightlord being able to use visions to summon enemies to aid her during her battle with the party.
    • A more minor example: Sakura focuses on lightning-elemental abilities, being the first ally in the game with Thundaja. This is a direct result of her having previously been Veritas of the Bolt.
  • Granblue Fantasy gives us master alchemist Cagliostro, a guy from thousand years ago who nowadays uses fake bodies shaped like a cute girl and, if killed, can use alchemy and magic to switch to another body, thus achieving a form of immortality. Sure enough, Cagliostro can auto-revive in battle to continue fighting.
  • The Game Boy Colour adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Just like in the book, Ron's wand is damaged and will occasionally backfire. (And in the few occasions where he fights alongside you before his wand is damaged, it won't backfire.) Professor Lockhart knows every spell your 12-year-old protagonists could have access to because despite being an Inept Mage he is still an adult — but can't cast any of them because you've confiscated his wand. Similarly, Harry cannot use his spells during the final battle.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • A big part of the lore surrounding the Heartless is that they're created from living beings' negative emotions; the more darkness in a person's heart, the stronger their Heartless. This is why, during the brief sequence in the original Kingdom Hearts where you play as a Heartless after Sora sacrifices his heart to save Kairi, your character is a Shadow — the weakest Mook in the game. Sora is a pure-hearted hero with hardly any darkness in his heart, so his Heartless is pathetically weak.
    • Kingdom Hearts II drastically expands the player's range of abilities, introducing new powers like "Drive Forms" and "Limit Attacks", to reflect Sora growing as a Keyblade wielder after the events of the first game and discovering the full range of his powers. Conversely, he has fewer abilities in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (the direct sequel to the first game, released on the less-advanced Game Boy Advance) because the game revolves around him losing his memories after entering Castle Oblivion.
    • The prequel Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep gives the player a substantial array of Spells, Special Attacks and Super Modes at the very beginning of the game, and also revamps gameplay to make it easier to use them in combat more often. note  This is because the three protagonists (Terra, Aqua and Ventus) are all experienced Keyblades wielders with years of training under their belts, unlike the relative newbie Sora.
    • Near the climax of Birth by Sleep, the battle between Terra and Master Eraqus is one of the few times in the series that the player can wield the elemental power of Darkness. "Dark Impulse" turns out to be one of the most powerful Command Styles in the game, but the player has no control over when it can activate. note  The idea that Darkness offers tantalizing power — but is nearly impossible to control — is one of the single biggest themes in the Kingdom Hearts mythos. Hence, Terra can only use it when he's on the verge of losing his soul to Master Xehanort's influence, and he absolutely cannot rein it in once it starts flaring up.
  • Last Scenario has the dungeon where Helio kidnaps Hilbert's sister Joanna and then manages to capture Hilbert, Matilda and Thorve as well. Hilbert attempts to fight Helio with none of his equipment; scanning him at this point will reveal he has a very high (for this point in the game) 3000 HP. Later on, Joanna sets a trap for Helio that drops rocks on him, and the party fights him for real this time; his stats are the same, but he starts the fight with just 900 HP.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, you have Link levels that progress the more the characters fight together that provides gameplay benefits. For characters who join your party that aren't a part of the original nine characters, they have higher Link levels with characters who they have pre-established relationships with. For example, when you get Millium, she has more Link points with the characters who joined you when you went to the Nord Highlands, where you first met her. Another example is when Angelica temporarily joins your party, she has a Level 5 link level at the start with Crow, because they're close friends from the trial run of Class VII. This continues to be the case in the second game, with examples such as Rean and Elise, who are adoptive siblings, and Millium and Claire, who are fellow Ironbloods. The third game avoids this entirely, and treats Link levels and bond levels as different things. For instance, the field exercise in the Sutherland province has Claire join as a party member for a short time, and it's mentioned how everyone in the party except Kurt knows her. Despite having no connection to her, Kurt's link level with Claire is the same as everyone else's when she joins.
  • In Lunar: Eternal Blue, Lucia's character is a major example of gameplay and story integration:
    • Lucia's development of human emotions happens concurrently with her developing new tactics in battle. For example, after a plot point wherein she returns to Hiro because she misses him (though she doesn't understand that), she begins casting healing and protective spells on other characters, favoring Hiro, in fact. Prior to this plot point, she would only cast these spells on herself.
    • When you first get her, she's, well, a Physical God, with absurd stats and the ability to solo any group in the dungeon you find her in within a single turn. Once she's injured by Zophar, however, her stats are reduced to nearly nothing and she spends the game recovering, even in battle.
    • And then there's her mana supply — or rather, the "lack" of it. Lucia is a pure spellcaster, and doesn't possess a physical attack — at the worst she'll chain-cast a single-target damage spell on an enemy. However, her MP supply reads "null", just like any pure physical-damage warrior. And then you realize... oh yeah, she's a Physical God, her mana supply is infinite. The game doesn't bother tracking it because she'll never run out.
  • In Kumatora's introductory cutscene in Mother 3, she uses a PSI attack to fend off some enemies. If you check her stats after she has joined the party, you can see that the corresponding PP has been deducted from her totals.
    • The "mortal damage" system allows a character to continue acting after receiving damage that would reduce their HP to zero until their HP rolls all of the way down (or they're healed). When the Masked Man (Claus) performs a Heroic Sacrifice, the prompt "Claus took mortal damage!" appears, and Claus is able to stagger to and embrace Lucas, speaking one last farewell before dying.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Before Tressa enters the pirate's cave, she gives the pirates a barrel of wine that's spiked with a sleeping drug, putting all of them to sleep. Upon entering the cave, any random encounters against the pirates will start with the pirates asleep.
    • It's also played with to heartwarming effect near the ends of some characters' stories. Most notably, halfway into his final chapter Alfyn will use inquire on himself to recall the memory of Graham Crossford preparing the tincture that saved his life; you have to inquire Graham to get the information. And in one of the most heartwarming scenes in the game, at the end of Ophilia's story, you have to use Guide on Lianna to lead her to the spot where she helped first break Ophilia out of her shell fifteen years prior.
  • Oswald's playstyle in Odin Sphere lacks any kind of defensive options, instead having a powerful Super Mode that drains your POW meter extremely quickly and encourages the player to play like a violent berserker, clawing through enemies as quickly as possible before your POW meter runs dry. This is perfectly in-character with Oswald, who has zero sense of self-preservation and will throw himself into any fight without any regard for his own survival.
  • Ogre Battle 64 features the Chaos Frame, a complex Karma Meter based on the Order Versus Chaos dichotomy that is affected both by your story decisions and by your conduct in the battlefield (among other things, whether you "capture" or "liberate" enemy towns — which, in turn, depends on the story-based alignment of the unit that sacks a town). Although you only learn your Chaos Frame standing at the end of the game, it determines which story branches are open to you at any time, which characters join your army, and ultimately which one of the Multiple Endings you get.
  • In Opoona, there are a specialized group of people, the Rangers, whose job it is to fight against the monsters in the overworld, and the titular Opoona is recruited into them. The monsters outside of the First Town are the weakest in the game because said First Town is the place where new Rangers are trained — naturally, they'd be trained in a place where the local monsters are fairly weak before moving into places with tougher quarry. The monsters get more difficult as the game goes on because later locations are explicitly much closer to the dark half of the planet, where monsters are spawned from. Later in the game, you find yourself with a level 1 character yet again, but in a different part of the world. However, the monsters there are also conveniently weak because said place is the home of a person with huge amounts of holy power, as well as many sacred fairies and spirits. They've already driven out all the stronger monsters.
  • In the first Paper Mario game, the local Recurring Boss, Jr. Troopa, is so dead-set on defeating Mario that, when you travel to a far-off island, he swims across the entire ocean twice just to reach you (he missed the boat so that's once to reach the island, and a round trip without him resting at all once Jr. Troopa realizes Mario's already left before he made it). When he finally catches up with you, he reveals his brand-new upgrades that make him one of the best defended enemies in the game... except that he's so exhausted from his swimming, his HP plummets to a fairly low number. Something that he's quite shocked to find out, actually.
  • Parasite Eve 2 does this for a lengthy cut scene that occurs before the final battle. Aya gets shot during the scene and after the scene ends, her gunshot wound has her current HP lowered to reflect this.
  • Persona 2 has a weapon for Eikichi that can only be obtained by spreading rumors. The NPC who has it will only sell it to you if Eikichi tries her new dish, yogurt ramen. Eikichi puts on a brave face and tries it, promptly passing out as he complains that he can feel his organs shutting down. While the whole scene is played for laughs, the food was really that terrible since Eikichi then suffers from the Poison status effect afterwards.
    • This is Played for Drama at the end of Innocent Sin: when Maya is fatally wounded by the Lance of Longinus, Eikichi shouts at Lisa to use Dia, a healing spell, on her, but due to the properties of the Lance the wounds won't heal, leading to her death.
  • Persona 3:
    • How you defeat the Final Boss: You sacrifice yourself to seal it away, represented in the battle system by the Great Seal skill. Look at the HP cost for Great Seal; sure enough, it costs all of your HP.
    • When Junpei's Persona evolves, it does so by merging with Chidori's, after Chidori uses the last of her life force to heal Junpei's gunshot wound. After that, he regenerates hit points every turn, to reflect the influence of her healing powers.
    • A rather subtle example: Ken has one of the highest luck stats in the game… …and manages to survive both the accident that killed his mother two years prior, and another direct attempt on his life later in the game, with Shinjiro taking a bullet for him. Shinji, for his part, has a very low luck stat…
  • A similar effect occurs in Persona 4, but Played for Laughs this time. Yosuke is incredibly unlucky, with him getting kicked in the nads within minutes of the game starting for breaking his friend's CD. He ends up falling off of, and crashing whilst on, his bike BEFORE he's even named, and to top it all off, his crush gets killed very early on. If you check his stat profile, you'll notice that he has the lowest Luck stat of any of your party members.
  • In Persona 5
    • Confidants generally give you a boost to Personas of the same arcana when you fuse them and a whole bunch of other character-specific bonuses. Prosecutor Sae Nijima, the woman interrogating you in the frame story, is added to your Confidants list in early July; however, since you didn't properly meet her until November, she provides diddly-squat for you until you catch up to the interrogation.
    • The protagonist's guardian, Sojiro Sakura, is pretty cold and hostile towards him at first, mostly limiting interaction with telling the protagonist to not cause any trouble for him or his business. This is reflected by his Confidant link being extremely slow to rank up compared to the others and outright locks at a certain point in the story. After you save his daughter Futaba from committing suicide and help her with her social anxiety, Sojiro's Confidant link stars leveling up much faster and normally, reflecting his Defrosting Ice King shift towards the Protagonist.
    • Ann has a body fit for a model, but it's because she won the genetic lottery and doesn't need to do anything to stay in shape, so she subsists on soda, junk food, and fast food. In gameplay, this results in her having high luck, but even if it's not immediately apparent, she's still unhealthy because of her poor diet and lack of exercise, so she's the party's Squishy Wizard with low HP and laughably bad strength. She also can't handle the recoil on her chosen gun (an SMG) like the rest of the party thanks to her poor arm strength, which makes it hit randomly and miss frequently.
    • Similarly, Ryuji was the star of the track team of the school until Kamoshida crippled him by breaking his leg. In the present, Ryuji runs with a noticeable limp and cannot jump high. Gameplay wise, he retains the vitality and strength from those days (since he keeps himself in shape) but is also the slowest playable character due to the lingering pain from the injury.
  • Pokémon:
    • In general, rare Pokemon will have a lopsided male/female ratio — hence the population having the potential to dwindle with time. The fact that they still exist at all is accounted for in some cases (like Relicanth) by natural longevity and others (like the starters) are implied to be looked after by humans since they're essentially hovering on the edge of extinction. Presumably some other cases just breed like rabbits. Other rare species like Lapras are noted in-game to have been poached extensively by humans.
    • In Pokémon Red and Blue and their remakes, at one point you have to acquire the Poké Flute item to wake up a sleeping Snorlax. Afterwards, you never need an Awakening again because you can play the Poké Flute in battle to wake up any of your Pokémon that are asleep.
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver:
      • These were the first games in the series to feature a real-time clock, and with them, they introduced the idea that certain Pokémon are nocturnal and certain Pokémon are diurnal. This affects the time of day you can find them. You can also use the attack "Headbutt" in the field to shake trees and find Pokémon hidden within them. If you attack trees at night, you can find bird Pokémon normally only found in the daytime... but already Asleep.
      • This is also used to show your rival's Heel–Face Turn: throughout the game he fights with a Zubat, which later evolves into Golbat. Golbat can evolve further, into Crobat, but only if it is extremely happy with its trainer. This doesn't happen to your rival's Golbat until the final battle with him, well after he realizes the error of his ways and starts treating his Pokémon better, showing that he has indeed changed.
      • When you capture a weakened Pokémon, its HP will be exactly as it was before it was caught. While this is nothing new since Red and Blue did it first, the captured Pokémon's PP for its moves will also be already spent based on how much it used their moves.
    • Pokémon Black and White:
      • The games make it mandatory to catch your version's mascot to move the plot along. The pre-battle dialog says it's testing you, but wants to be caught; accordingly, it's fifteen times easier to capture than a normal legendary. note  However, the developers didn't account for a certain sequence-break where the mascot can be skipped; even if you do encounter it later than usual, the catch rate of 45 is still there. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, you can capture Reshiram and Zekrom once more, but their capture rates have been reduced to 3 as they're not involved in the story this time around.
      • In the sequels, it is possible for the player to encounter and capture the same wild Pokémon that N used on his teams in the previous games. Normally, newly captured Pokémon are at a low happiness stat, but all of the Pokémon N used start out with maximum happiness, reflecting N's Friend to All Living Things nature.
    • A rather amusing example can be found in Pokémon X and Y. A new mechanic was added called "horde battles" which basically pits a group of 5 low-level enemies against your solo Pokémon in a Zerg Rush. Most of the time, these hordes will be a single species, but there are a few exceptions:
      • Zangoose and Seviper will occasionally show up in the same horde battle on Route 8. These species of Pokémon are sworn enemies, and therefore will try to attack each other before they try to attack you.
      • A similar example is on Route 18, where four Durant are accompanied by a Heatmor, their predator.
      • Sometimes on Route 20 there are a group of Trevenant, walking trees, with a Sudowoodo, a Rock-type Pokémon that just pretends to be a tree.
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
      • Both Groudon and Kyogre change the weather. For Alpha Sapphire, the heavy rainfall in a way changes it to nighttime (if you played it in the daytime) with heavy rain, while Omega Ruby's drought changes it to daytime (if you played at night), with the sky burning. The effect of both weather carries on in the overworld and battles until you defeat or catch either legendary.
      • After capturing Kyogre, if you use it to Surf, random trainers won't battle you if you cross their line of sight, since they're intimidated by a trainer sailing around on a legendary Pokémon that nearly caused an extinction-level flood a short time ago.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, wild Pokémon can call for help. Sometimes this results in Pokémon of the same species or evolutionary line appearing in battle to fight your Pokémon, but sometimes the call for help will attract a Pokémon that preys on the first Pokémon and will attack it instead, like Carbink and Sableye, or Mareanie and Corsola. Some belligerent and territorial Pokémon, like Stufful, will attack each other instead of your Pokémon. Baby Pokémon have a small chance of calling in a Happiny or Chansey and Cubone have a chance of calling in a Kangaskhan, both of whom are known for being motherly.note 
    • In the postgame of Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee!, after you fight Green, she attempts to catch you in a Poké Ball, five times. This obviously fails, but after that cutscene ends, there are now five Poké Balls laying on the ground around you, which you can pick up and take like any other item ball.
    • Early on in Pokémon Sword and Shield, Hop's Wooloo is seen ramming the fence outside your house. This leads into you and Hop first encountering the legendary Pokémon in the version you're playing in the fog of Slumbering Weald. What's more, your attacks don't work at all; and the fog also impacts the look and sound of your battle screen.
    • In general, no matter what level you are, any Pokémon you catch will always respect and obey you since you proved yourself by capturing it. Pokémon you receive in a trade will very likely disobey your orders in battle unless you have certain badges. In a lore building sense, traded Pokémon would be wary of you and don't trust you since they were basically given away to a stranger. The badges are proof that you are a strong Trainer, thus the traded Pokémon will respect you. From a gameplay perspective, traded Pokémon disobeying players is a way to prevent them from cheesing the game early on by stomping everything with a high level Pokémon until they get the appropriate badges for their level.
  • Rune Factory Oceans
    • After completing the storyline, the player can separate Sonja's consciousness from Aden's body and return her to her own. This is also the point when the player can choose to continue playing as Aden or choose to play as Sonja from now on, and doing the latter means she will inherit all the levels the player has achieved with Aden. Except when it comes to his cooking level. Should his cooking level be below 40, Sonja will immediately jump to that level, referring to her cooking experience.
    • Talking to the sister currently running the restaurant a the Three Sisters Inn allows the player to buy food. When it's Lethal Chef Lily's shift, the only food available to buy are a handful of extremely basic recipes, like ice cream or hot milk. These recipes are simple and require very little actual cooking to make. On the other hand, Supreme Chef Odette's shift will have a much more expansive menu available, with a few high-end, elaborate recipes.
    • Mikoto doesn't have a bath scene for the player to listen to, nor appear in swimming wear at the beach in Summer. Unless the player finishes the storyline, chooses to continue to play as Aden, and increase the relationship with Mikoto. It becomes clear that Mikoto is actually a woman, having been raised as a boy for most of her life because of her family's traditions. Her later events have her choose to begin anew and live on as a woman. This is when she gets a bath scene, where she talks about how happy she is to be able to freely bathe in the women's bath now, and changes into swimming wear at the beach in Summer.
  • The Shadow Hearts series has some nonintuitive and hard to find ways to get the hidden endings and ultimate powerups. Koudelka needs you to defeat the Final Boss when it is three times stronger then the last story boss where failing it gives you the true ending, Shadow Hearts has a lengthy sidequest you aren't given a warning the cutoff is coming and the Seraphic Radiance sidequest isn't hinted at anywhere. Come the sequel and you find out that the characters in-universe canonically got the bad ending.
  • Early in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, you see Dante jump from the top of the really tall Mantra building, land unharmed, and attack you. You also happen to be able to do this as a shortcut, though everyone in the active party will be reduced to 1 HP. If you recruit Dante near the end of the game and have him in the active party while doing this, he won't lose any health, most likely referring to that fact that none of the games he's starring in have any Fall Damage.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, in some cutscenes, enemies will strike at you in mid-cutscene. To drive home the point that you're dealing with an entity you don't want to screw with, not only does the game narrate you being hit, your entire party takes damage.
  • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Ashton has abyssmal luck and somehow manages to get the two-headed dragon he was trying to kill grafted onto his back: his natural luck stat is a mere 17 regardless of how high his level is, and this is in a game where most endgame stats easily break quadruple digits.
  • You lose the ability to read enemy stats or find hidden items after beating Super Paper Mario because the character responsible for granting you that power leaves permanently for plot reasons. You'll have to find a robotic replacement in order to regain that power.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia:
      • Kratos loves to spam healing and support spells on Lloyd the most — and this isn't an issue of him being the tank; even if Colette is in melee range, he'll use it on Lloyd first. Because it's actually an act of a father looking out for his son. Meanwhile (though only tangentially related to gameplay) when Colette loses her voice for plot reasons, she stops Calling Her Attacks in battle and the victory quotes for her aren't shown.
      • One subquest during the first arc of the game involves needing to collect a statue from a geyser. The party's solution is to have Genis freeze the geyser long enough to get the statue. If Genis isn't at or above level 11 (the level where he learns Icicle), or in NG+ with Techs carried over, then he says "Great idea... but I don't know any ice magic yet." And if you try the quest anyway, he tells you the same; once he learns that spell, you'll be able to complete that quest.
      • Casanova Zelos comes with an EX Skill that allows him to get free items from female NPCs by flirting with them.
      • One of the last Angel Skills Colette learns is "Sacrifice", which heals all party members and deals heavy damage to all enemies, at the cost of dropping Colette to 0 HP. This not only foreshadows Colette's role as a human sacrifice in Cruxis' plan, but reflects her disturbing lack of self-preservation and extreme selflessness due to growing up with the knowledge of her status as a sacrifice.
      • With Colette and Pressia both being afflicted by their Cruxis Crystals, they become an Empty Shell and lose their personalities. As a result, their facial expressions within their portraits in battle never change.
    • In Dawn of the New World, Emil's Ain Soph Aur mystic arte only works once against Richter (in a cutscene) before he learns how to counter it, both during cutscenes and in actual fights against him, where he'll just reflect it back at the party.
      • When Emil gains Ratatosk Mode, the only thing it does gameplay-wise is give him more aggressive attacks and let him learn his first arte rather than increasing any of his stats, making it seem like a Power Up Letdown. Later, it's revealed that Ratatosk is his true and more confident personality rather than an external powerup. Once Emil becomes more confident, he's able to fight just as effectively even without Ratatosk in control.
    • Tales of the Abyss establishes very quickly that Jade Curtiss is more than worthy of bearing the Colonel Badass trope, and one way they do this is by having him show up halfway through the first boss fight... at level 45, during a time where Luke and Tear are probably somewhere around 5. After you leave the first dungeon, one of the villains uses a Fon Slot Seal on him; in gameplay, this brings him down to level 5 himself. There's even a skit when you get him back up to his original level that can best be summarized as "I finally broke the seal, but you all caught up to my original power, I'll be continuing to trust you."
    • In Tales of Vesperia, character AI also prioritizes healing based on personality and character relationships. For example, Flynn will spam healing on Yuri. And the Death Seeker Lovable Sex Maniac Raven prefers to heal women over a dog over men over himself. The game also gives a explanation for the world's Ghibli Hills and all their Random Encounters: all the towns in the world are shielded underneath giant energy shields that keep monsters out, and only highly trained professionals (like the party members) are allowed outside.
      • The attack that Yuri uses to defeat the Adephagos can be learned in the PS3 version as his second Mystic Arte Heavenly Bladewing.
      • Raven admits that he hates sweets. As such, he gains the least benefits that come from desserts.
    • Tales of Legendia has an unusual take on its Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors system. While it has all the standard like Fire, ice, lightning, water, earth, wind, and darkness... but one classic element is missing: Light. Yet there are still light spells like Ray, Judgment, and Brilliant Lance in the game. But they deal water damage instead. Why is this? Well, in-universe, the ocean is basically tied to Nerifes, the world's "god" — thus the sea is holy, and this also means that water aligned spells like Spread, Aqua Laser, and Tidal Wave are just as effective against dark enemies as light spells.
  • In the Touhou fangame Touhou Mother, Yuuka is described as hating high speeds. During a cutscene, you have to fly very fast to reach a certain location, and during the trip, Yuuka is described to have taken "mortal damage". Sure enough, if you check your stats after the cutscene ends, Yuuka will have just 1 HP remaining. Her speed stat is also consistently at 1, and there is no way to improve it; conversely, she often arrives late in cutscenes.
  • Wild ARMs 3:
    • The primary motivation behind the first battle with Melody is Clive's speech on true beauty. In the battle, she will always attack Clive, if he's still alive. Combine this with some liberal use of the Revive spell, and the battle becomes trivial.
    • At a later point when the party is on route to attack the villains at their base, Virginia gets struck by a poison by the main villain during a cutscene event. She is treated for it, but her Vitality gauge is drained and cannot be refilled due to the poison's lingering effects. After they beat the villains, Virginia gets time to fully recover from the poison, and as such restore her Vitality gauge.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • The Monado gives Shulk visions of the future. Throughout the game's story, Shulk uses these visions to try and avert disaster. This translates into a gameplay mechanic, as well: during battle, Shulk can have visions of an enemy inflicting catastrophic damage on himself or one of his allies. He is given several seconds to avert this possible future, either by redirecting the enemy's aggro, healing and buffing his teammates, inflicting status ailments on the enemy that can lessen the damage or stall the enemy, or kill the enemy and Screw Destiny outright.
    • The Monado is meant in-story to not be able to harm biologic, sentient life. When some enemies that fit the description are found, the Monado is only able to deal Scratch Damage, such as when you fight High Entia assassins. This is downplayed as some enemies like the Chikin and the Hodes display primitive societies (and appear to be organized in tribes) so they appear to have sentience, but the Monado can harm them normally.
    • The player can make characters give each other collectables as gifts, in order to increase their affinity. The affinity can be raised or diminished based on how much the character that receives the gift likes it, and the gifts logic actually follows the character's personality as written. For example, Dunban hates fruits (which he voices several times) and Sharla loves them, so giving fruits to Dunban will make the player gain little or lose affinity while giving them to Sharla will increase it.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
    • When Mythra is awakened, she provides Rex with a form of precognition that enables him to evade enemy attacks, which proves crucial to driving back the enemy at Olethro Ruins. This is represented in ingame battle situations with the Foresight ability, unique to her Affinity Chart, which confers increased accuracy and evasion chances to all party members while she's active.
    • In the Spirit Crucible Elpys, there's a field permeating the place that interferes with ether particles, which the Blades rely on for their abilities. The various Blade characters are depicted as being exhausted and in pain while in the area. Accordingly, the player's Blades will be significantly weakened during battle while in the Crucible, unable to access anything beyond their basic Arts. However, Poppi is a unique artificial Blade, and is powered by an internal Ether Furnace, rather than relying on ether from the environment. As a result, she remains at full power and can still use her higher tier abilities. The same is true for the DLC Blade Poppibuster, which is likewise artificial.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
    • Those cool looking Skells you see early in the game can be used by you, the player character...but not until you prove yourself. Skells are expensive and valuable pieces of technology, and the loss of even one can be a harsh blow to BLADE's efforts to colonize Mira. Before you are allowed to step into the cockpit of one, you have to prove to BLADE that you are worthy of using them. As such, you are only allowed to take control of one after a certain point in the story (approximately halfway through), and even then, only after passing a test which can only be undertaken when BLADE's senior staff determines you're ready to do so. And to drive the point of how expensive these robots are home, if your Skell is destroyed in battle? You are paying for the repairs, and they are extremely costly (insurance is available, but limited).
    • Some of the gameplay elements of the game are tied to an important story element revealed early in the game: the fact that all of the humans in NLA are not actually humans, but mimeosomes: android bodies controlled by the consciousnesses of humans trapped in the Lifehold. The Overdrive ability? That's you and your allies overclocking their robotic bodies. The fact that you can sprint and swim indefinitely? Your artificial bodies will never run out of stamina. The ability to perform massive 20 foot vertical leaps and the absence of Fall Damage? Mimeosome bodies have superhuman agility and can take the impact of falls from great heights. The ability to alter your character's appearance after completing a specific sidequest? That's because you're modifying your mimeosome body's appearance.

    RPG — MMO 
  • Destiny and its sequel do this so much that they sometimes border on being deconstructions of the whole MMO genre:
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Enforced with the game's relaunch as A Realm Reborn, as well as the story content in 1.0 leading to the game's original closure: in the waning days of 1.0's service, a conspicuous red dot of light could be seen in night sky, which grew larger over time until it was revealed to be the moon of Dalamud, which was descending towards Eorzea. Over the following days, story quests were added revolving around attempts to stop Dalamud's descent, and contain the chaos erupting as a result of its imminent impact. In the end, the heroes' efforts amount to naught, as Dalamud approaches Eorzea, unleashing Bahamut and bringing the realm to the brink of oblivion, with one of the heroes sending the player characters into the future. When A Realm Reborn launched, five years had passed since Bahamut's rampage, and the realm had recovered, yet irrevocably changed, while player characters returning from 1.0 would see changes to the story to account for their presence during the previous version's events.
    • Linkshells are devices that allow people to communicate over long distances, basically like having a cell phone. In gameplay, these function as basically chatrooms for other people with the same linkshell to talk in, but you also receive a linkshell in the story from Minfillia when you join the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, and at multiple points she or others will contact you over them, not to mention various other characters who also speak to one another using linkshells. The animations for using them in cutscenes also take into account that not all of the playable races have their ears in the same relative position on their head as a regular human — Miqo'te and Viera will reach noticeably higher up to place the linkshells nearer to their raised cat and rabbit ears.
    • NPCs will, generally, remember you if you've interacted with them before. This can be as minor as the leaders of the city's adventurer's guild remembering you if you started in that city when you visit them for other quests, to as major as class and job trainers acknowledging your membership if you go there on quest-related business not related to the guild itself. Even the one-off holiday events show signs of the latter. Yugiri in the main story will even change her dialogue accordingly if you're a Ninja when you meet up with her again ("You should train to be a Ninja" to "You fight like one of us, I'm proud of you".)
    • Members of the Garlean Empire are biologically incapable of casting magic, therefore the only casters you find in Garlean strongholds tend to be Lalafell or Highlander humans (who were drafted after their countries were conquered) and tend to be low ranked at that, or use shock-sticks, in which case they can only cast thunder and paralyze. In story quests where you're fighting alongside Cid, a Garlean who defected to Eorzia, instead of using a cure spell on you like most NPCs in the same type of story battle, he'll use a powerful Aqua Vitae potion that accomplishes the same effect.
    • The Echo is an Anti-Frustration Feature buff that boosts your maximum HP, attack power, and healing potency so that you can clear a battle if you're struggling with it. In lore, the Echo is granted to a select few whose abilities differ from person to person. In the player's case, their Echo grants them ungodly strength and makes them immune to being tempered by a Primal. During the Heavensward main story, you come across the Warriors of Darkness and they also possess the Echo. Just like the player, defeating the group has their Echo kick in and makes them stronger in the exact same way as the player.
    • Normally, the game does not take into account on what the player's job or class is when a cutscene occurs. In Stormblood, Y'shtola is gravely wounded and an NPC asks you to help her out. Normally, she would ask you to hold the person down as she heals them. If you are a healer, she asks you to help her heal.
    • Why are players only able to teleport to other aetherytes? Because it's dangerous to do otherwise! As shown at the end of A Realm Reborn and later in Heavensward, there is a spell known as "Flow" that allows one to, in theory, teleport anywhere in the world by delving directly into the Lifestream. Unfortunately, returning from the Lifestream is nearly impossible to do, and even if you manage it, your body and aether will suffer for it. Thancred managed to return from the Lifestream on his own, but wound up being completely incapable of using magic afterwards. Y'shtola wasn't as fortunate: she was only able to return from the Lifestream with aid, but wound up losing her sight. Although she can still "see" the aether of others, doing so greatly taxes her and shortens her lifespan.
      • Thancred's loss of magic power also plays a role in Shadowbringers where he's a Gunbreaker. Several of the Gunbreaker's abilities involve the use of aether and Thancred can't use said abilities since he can't manipulate his aether. Ryne shows that she infuses Thancred's cartridges with her own aether, which allows him to perform his job to the fullest. This stipulation also affects Thancred's performance as a Trust NPC in dungeons, where Thancred can't use all of his abilities unless Ryne is also in the party.
    • Each of the casters have a different way of managing their MP that suits the job's lore;
      • White Mage draws on the land's energy to heal, but must be careful to prevent overhealing and using up the ambient aether and leaving them dry, much like how a White Mage needs to be conservative with their MP; casting a weaker Cure 1 over and over is far more beneficial than casting the much more expensive Cure II over a long drawn out fight, as spamming the latter will drain their MP dry quickly. Conjury also requires at least a basic understanding and consent of the elements of the world around them, without that, Conjurery and White Magic can dip into being Cast from Lifespan, which is another way to look at "reckless casting leads to exhausting your MP".
      • Black Mages study the ebbing and flowing nature of the Astral and Umbral eras and apply it to their casting, burning out their MP in fire-aspect Astral stance and restoring it in chunks in the ice-aspected Umbral stance. They also don't start learning any spells with massive impact until becoming Black Mages proper, as high level Black Magic is exceptionally dangerous for Thaumaturges to try to use without a conduit, which their soul crystals act as.
      • Summoner and Scholar are strategists who value strategy, planning, and caution, and as such they manage their mana through the one-minute cooldown Aetherflow buff which restores mana and enables strong abilities, and also keep most of their spells already drawn out with aether-imbued ink in their spellbooks to take the burden off their body's aether. Also, Summoner works on a twofold Defeat Means Friendship with their summoned Egi; as such Arcanists can't learn other egi until killing their respective Primal (the issue of summoning Ifrit-egi is sidestepped, since you can't advance any class into a Job until you complete a quest which takes place shortly after fighting him in the story), making them the only job blocked from progressing their A Realm Reborn Job storyline by Main Story progression.
      • Astrologian draws upon the infinite power of space and stars, and thus have some of the better mana conservation of the healer jobs. Their star-charting ability also allows them to see into the future, and as such many of their buffs and healing strategies in-lore and in gameplay play them to be preemptive healers ready to get a spellcast out before damage is done even though their kit is better served towards being a reactive healer like White Mage.
      • Red Mages refuse to draw on the land's aether like White and Black Mages, due to their history as descending from mages who accidentally triggered the Sixth Umbral Calamity from overuse of the land's aether, and sidestepping the Cast from Lifespan issues brought up with White Mage by using focusing crystals to magnify their aether, allowing for small amounts to translate into larger and more powerful spells; this results in them having no unique way of restoring their own MP, having to rely on their party, ethers, or role actions. It's also explained that their spells work up-front, which translates to Red Mage's versions of the several elemental spells other casters get having long cast times but dealing their damage all at once, compared to others having the standard shorter or even instantaneous cast times but dealing damage over time. Also, as mentioned above healing without the aid of land aether is very taxing, so even with Vercure's acceleration making it powerful, the MP cost on it and Verraise are both astronomical and having to frequently heal or revive party members will leave the Red Mage running on empty.
      • Dark Knight, despite being a tank, teaches about the Cast from Lifespan nature of tapping into the Darkness, and how they need to be careful with tapping in too deep, which translates to the Dark Knight's un-tank-like focus on MP, which is used up while in Darkside and running out of it heavily stunts their ability to fight and hold enmity.
      • While also a tank, the Gunbreaker also uses magic (at least according to lore) by using aether-infused cartridges to produce magic effects from their gunblades. In practice, they gain aether for their abilities by attacking enemies and drawing a portion of their aether into their cartridges. As mentioned previously, this leaves Thancred unable to use all of his abilities as a gunbreaker unless he has someone to charge his cartridges for him.
    • Dark Knight itself, like the other classes introduced with the Heavensward expansion, caught some flak for the fact that you cannot play as it until you actually reach the expansion's content. But in a beautiful case of this that is a bit of Fridge Brilliance, the player's access to the Darkness is built on the events of the story up to that point, turning everything from the tragedy of the finale of the first story arc to the chronic cases of Dude, Where's My Respect? from NPCs into the well from which the player can draw as a Dark Knight.
    • Going to Novrandt in Shadowbringers involves crossing the void between worlds to an entirely different dimension. As such, you initially can't use retainer bells until The Crystal Exarch introduces you Feo Ul, one of The Fair Folk who makes a pact with you that allows them to interact with your retainer on The Source by following your aether there. Even after you can access retainers again though, you always have to return to the Source to access the Aesthetician (the NPC who does haircuts and other minor recustomizations) because he only exists on Hydaelyn, and having Feo Ul, what with their Blue-and-Orange Morality as a Pixie, try to cut your hair would probably end... poorly.
    • In regards to Shadowbringers: when you first travel to Norvrandt, the sky is blanketed in brilliant, unnatural light and Endless Daytime. As you progress through the game and slay the Lightwardens, areas of Norvrandt will see a return of their natural day-and-night cycle, which will persist permanently thereafter (save for near the end of the MSQ, during the Darkest Hour).
    • New Game+ is justified by the end of the MSQ of Shadowbringers: before the credits scroll, the player character is approached by a young child wondering if they are the famed Warrior of Darkness and asking about where they came from. The cutscene ends as the player character appears to be preparing to tell the child the tales of their exploits. Actually accessing it, likewise, is done by talking to a specific NPC, with the implication that you're retelling your adventures rather than literally replaying old content.
    • When fighting Alexander Prime, he will sometimes cause time to freeze, which also freezes the whole party in place. Players with any buffs or debuffs applied to them will have the timers on them freeze whenever Alexander stops time.
    • The Big Bad of the Marauder storyline is a feral Aurochs known as Kujata. Part of the reason Kujata is so dangerous is because its victims are inexplicably very hard to heal and often die from their wounds while being treated. When the time comes to actually fight and kill it, you learn Kujata places the Infirmity debuff on you with every attack — which drastically reduces how effective healing magics are, making it a race against time because your partner's efficiency at healing the grevious blows you take is nearly nullified.
    • The game playfully points out the oddity of the Player Character always having between 3 and 7 people blessed with the Echo and just as strong as them at any given time to justify group content. MUCH later in Shadowbringers you learn that The Warrior of Light is a reincarnation of Azem, the "Shephard to the Stars" of the ruling class of the Precusor society of Amaurot. Azem's powers were explicitly to work together, empower, and summon allies at will, which carries over to the Player Character's tendency to gather up friends to help tackle obstacles. When the full power of Azem is unlocked in one of the most climactic battles of the story, they gain the ability to summon said allies from as far away as other dimensions, and can even transcend death by calling on the soul of Emet-Selch, one of Azem's best friends.
  • Mabinogi:
    • Player characters, aka Milletians, are presented as spirits from outside the game world, who are temporarily incarnated within it. Because they are not normally part of the world, they do not "die", but simply lose the body they were using, which can be restored by a particular NPC. NPCs are aware of your status, and will casually mention it from time to time. This is actually made a significant story point for Elf and Giant characters.
    • In the semi-prequel Vindictus, the fact that the Giant Polar Bear is such a popular target is referenced in a quest, where it is suddenly attacking more areas than before and you are the prime suspect because you bother, I.E. use it to grind, so much, and are thus demanded to either calm it down or prove that you weren't the one that caused it to get angrier. You weren't the one who made it mad.
  • The lore of Nexus Clash is set up as an Eternal Recurrence to justify being a game that deliberately averts Perpetually Static as much as possible and asks the entire player base to make occasional visits to the Bag of Spilling.
  • The Secret World goes a long way to justify its gameplay tropes in-story:
    • Skill Scores and Perks: Player characters gain their powers by being symbiotically bonded to a biomechanical construct from a past age known as a bee that gives them access to far more power than most people get on their own. Such powers include increased skill and greater skill gain in using magic, explaining why the characters are generally better than regular people at magic and how they can quickly grow far more powerful.
    • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The Bees, as they're called, are also immortal; if killed, they appear in the spirit world and can either revive their body or reconstitute it at a nearby anima well. It's so difficult to kill such a being that only a few enemies you ever encounter could even try it, and it takes so long that they find more creative ways to occupy your time while they work on accomplishing their goals.
    • Notice This: Why are there honeycomb symbols that give the player access to snippets of lore about enemies, events, and places? Because the hive mind of the being you're bonded with sometimes gives you a little information about a subject.
    • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Why do you have to spend so much on weapons when you could just grab a dead enemy's gun? Because you require a weapon capable of channeling magical power, which also explains why guns you use don't eject casings and can reappear with your dead body.
    • Money Sink: Why do clothing, plastic surgery, and even a haircut cost so much? None of that is so easy to pull off when a person's body can heal anything up to and including death and dismemberment, then reappear out of thin air looking the same as when they were just killed.
    • Perpetually Static: Even the various locations not really advancing on in time is explainable both because they're all in some form of crisis that's more important than redecorating, and because the travel hub sends people to specific points in both space and time.

    RPG — Western 
  • A Dance with Rogues has some impressive instances of integration, ranging from your attributes (including primarily combat stats like Strength and Dexterity) and Skill Scores (including Pickpocketing and Tumble) having major impact on the outcome of dialogue, to integrating the Player Inventory into the story (e.g. if you wear a Spy Catsuit in public, the guards will come after you; if you carry weapons in the open, they will demand that you unequip them — unless you are of the Ranger class, then they leave you alone, since Rangers are considered law enforcement; some puzzles can only be solved by taking off your armor, but if you are caught without it outside in the rain, you get the Disease status effect — and NPCs will comment on your cold, etc.).
  • In Disco Elysium, the Detective's skills, being Anthropomorphic Personifications with their own voices in his head, will notice and point their equivalents in other characters he comes across.
    • Characters like the computer programmer, Soona, and the consulant, Trant Heidelstam, for example, show the downsides of having too much Interfacing and Encyclopedia, respectively, becoming obsessed by minutiae and indifferent to the actual people around them, and Cuno and Idiot Doom Sprial's Hidden Depths include a creative, artistic streak which the Detective's own Conceptualization can recognize.
    • The Detective's partner, Kim Kitsuragi, has high Interfacing (he loves cool machines such as cars and cameras) and Volition (his calmness, self-control and common sense), as well as off-the-charts Authority (but which his high Volition keeps him from abusing) — and, underneath it all, high reserves of Motorics skills such as Hand/Eye Coordination (undercut by his nearsightedness) and Savoir Faire (his secret fondness for appearing "cool"). But he lacks imagination, which Conceptualization quickly picks up on; even if you lack Conceptualization or Inland Empire yourself, your way of communicating with your own skills shows the Detective are imaginative in a way Kim never has been, and which he can eventually come to admire about him. He also has terrible eyes, leaving him weak in Perception and Visual Calculus, and constantly misses physical clues and makes bad deductions based on appearances.
  • Most characters in Dragon Age: Origins can take two specializations, but Sten can only take one. Sten is Qunari — the culture he comes from upholds Crippling Overspecialization as a key virtue. He can't learn two specializations because doing so is, effectively, against his religion!
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Dagoth Ur's rising power doubles as Anti-Grinding, with stronger ash creatures and blighted fauna appearing more and more as you keep leveling up.
      • In the Imperial Legion questline, your superiors will refuse to give or accept quests unless you are in uniform — i.e. wearing body armor of a specific type that Legionnaires must wear while on duty.
      • Ordinators hold their Indoril armor sacred, and consider it blasphemous and punishable by death if someone not of their order wears it. Don't speak to them while wearing it unless you want to have them attack you.
      • NPCs sometimes recite unique dialogue depending on how much health you have left, or if you have a disease. For example:
        "Those wounds you've incurred are nothing compared to what you'll receive if you continue to bother me!"
    • You start off in Oblivion without a class, but after you complete the Tutorial Level, one of your allies will guess your preferred class based on how you beat the tutorial (e.g whether you sneaked past the enemies or fought them, whether you used magic or weapons, etc.). Your class plays no further role in the story, but the NPC has unique lines for all of them. If you choose a class different but similar to his guess (e.g. a knight instead of a warrior), he'll comment that he wasn't far off, and if it's wildly different from his idea (e.g. a battlemage instead of a thief), he'll be surprised and say that he'd never have guessed.
    • Skyrim:
      • At the start of the game, you can't understand dragons. Later on, however, they appear to start speaking to you in English. This is actually because as a Dragonborn, you start learning words of the Draconic language — which are, in gameplay terms, combat superpowers, which also lets you understand what the dragons are saying.
      • The Thalmor are a Nazi-esque Altmeri State Sec that nobody, absolutely nobody outside of the Altmeri cares for. If at any point you murder a Thalmor agent in cold blood, you'll just receive the 40 gold bounty for assault, instead of the massive 1000 gold bounty for murder. And if the territory is controlled by the Stormcloak rebellion, who really do not like the Thalmor, you won't even get that. If you kill the Thalmor emissary in Markath in particular, who's being a massive headache to the local Thane, he'll even send you a thank you note with enough Septims that you can pay off the bounty and still profit from it.
      • The game subtly implies, and if you threaten to kill Paarthunax, who outright says, that the Dragonborn — and therefore the player's — desire to kill everything hostile in sight and grow stronger for it, especially dragons, is just a manifestation of their Dragonborn soul desiring dominance, control, and being at the peak of their strength in a Not So Different way as the dragons themselves.
      • The game does this with the Dragonborn in a more subtle way too. Dragonborn have the soul of a dragon, and dragons are most well known for slaughtering all who stand in their path and collecting a great hoard that they don't really need. What are the two most typical characteristics of player characters in RPGs again?
  • Similar to Planescape: Torment, Fallout 3 gives you a few occasions where a sufficiently high Strength stat allows you to intimidate certain NPCs into submitting to your will. Fallout: New Vegas adds the Terrifying Presence perk, which gives you the option to frighten NPCs in dialog by reminding them how tough you are.
  • Fallout: New Vegas in general is a better example of this as your proficiency in a particular skill isn't just useful for its basic uses (e.g. science is primarily for hacking computers), but can be used to interact with the world at large (e.g. teaching people to synthesize drugs). This even even extends to perks. For example, having the Strong Back perk allows you to convince the Happy Trails caravan merchant that you can handle carrying larger load.
    • One of your companions, Boone, is a former NCR sniper and he hates the Legion above all else. Unlike all of the other companions, he will immediately fire upon seeing Legion troops, regardless of your reputation with them.
    • One of the side quests involves taking the heads of certain targets. The head will be in their inventory like most loot, but transferring it to your inventory will have the body be violently decapitated.
    • The game starts with you getting shot in the head (twice) and surviving. You can later kill and loot the character that shot you, to find that his gun is a piddly 9mm pistol, albeit a heavily-customized one. True to the cutscene, it can't kill anyone else with two headshots while you're wielding it, either, no matter how many points into the relevant skill you invest.
  • A few examples from Fallout 4:
    • Institute Coursers are among the most feared adversaries in the Commonwealth: they're as humanlike in appearance as Gen 3 synths, and as strong and relentless as a Terminator. This bleeds into the gameplay, where your first encounter with an enemy Courser will be a tortuous battle unless you've leveled up enough and got the right gear for the job. In addition, a Courser who can join you as a companion, X6-88, has a whopping 98 SPECIAL points, more than any other companion in the game.
    • Speaking of X6-88: do not, under any circumstances, bring him to the Railroad's HQ if you want to stay on their good side. The Institute is trying to hunt them down, and bringing a Courser to their front step will make every member of the Railroad (including another potential companion, Deacon) permanently hostile towards you, as they rely on their secrecy to stay alive and you just revealed the location of their secret base to their worst enemy.
    • Fast-travelling between the Institute and the rest of the Commonwealth will only take one minute in-game since you're teleporting in and out of the Institute.
    • Paranoia concerning synths replacing friends and family is so strong that if settlers find out there is a synth in their midst, they will kill them on sight. Searching the victim's body afterwards will reveal synth components in the corpse.
    • Justice, a unique variant of the Combat Shotgun that causes staggering, can be purchased in Covenant, which requires only a short side-trip to reach after Concord. Normally, legendary items available for purchase are too cost prohibitive for low level players, but for quest related reasons, the merchants in Covenant are selling at an incredible lossnote , meaning you only need to scrape up about 1000-1500 caps to purchase it (depending on Charisma and perks.) As a bonus, it comes with several mods already in place that a low-level character will be unable to craft for some time, adding to its usefulness.
  • Indivisible: Leveling up your party members is directly linked to their Relationship Values; they don't necessarily grow stronger, they just learn new techniques and get better at fighting as a team as they bond with Ajna and the other party members. This, of course, also means that leveling can be affected by events in the story. Zebei's heart level drops sharply after Ajna's true nature is revealed and Kala accidentally released on Mt. Sumeru, causing him to lose faith in her, and he is slow to level back up as you regain his trust. Meanwhile, Dhar and Ren's heart levels start in the negatives because Ajna (and probably the player) initially hates them both (Dhar killed Ajna's dad and used to be a villain, while Ren is just creepy in general). In the former's case, it is quite likely that you'll have only just started getting him decently leveled (i.e., in the positives) when he dies, reflecting how Ajna only started forgiving him and realizing what a good friend he was when it was too late.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • The Relationship Values are the gameplay manifestation of a plot ability that the main character is revealed to have — namely, to subtly manipulate people that they're close to. As a consequence, the more influence you have with a party member, the more their alignment mirrors your own and vice versa (with due consequences to bonuses/penalties to Light- and Dark-Sided Force powers). This veers into "story and story segregation" territory sometimes, since even if you turn a Light-Sided character to the Dark Side with your influence, they will still object to your Dark-Sided decisions and lose affection for you.
    • The XP system, where you grow more powerful by killing enemies, is revealed to be the result of the main character's "rift in the force" growing more powerful by feeding on the destruction she causes. Pretty rough revelation if you are a Light-Sider.
    • Some of your party member's characterization traits turn up as actual abilities in battle. Atton has improved saving throws the closer he gets to knocked out from half health and below, and he can get back up in battle from being knocked out, provided somebody else is still standing, Kreia provides EXP bonuses to the party, Mandalore is immune to mind-affecting powers (though the only enemies that use such things are bosses the player character fights solo), and that's just the start.
    • Obsidian turned "I have a bad feeling about this" (a Catchphrase used in every Star Wars movie) into a gameplay mechanic — namely, signifying that you should save your game at that point. It's integrated even further than that. Atton, the person who says it the most, is Force-sensitive.
    • Early in the game, Kreia loses a hand while fighting Darth Sion, leaving her incapable of equipping two-handed weapons and Dual Wielding for the rest of the game, even if you had her take the perks needed for that. Similarly, Bao-Dur lost an entire arm in the Back Story, so he uses a prosthetic and can only equip a select few armor suits because of it.
    • Battle Meditation is spelled out in the first game as a technique for increasing the skill and harmony of a military force, although in that game Bastila couldn't use it for squad-level combat like every fight you get into. If you learn it in the second game, where it's an available power, you can use it to support your chosen side in the final battle on Onderon.
    • There is an option in-game to switch to first-person camera mode for any character you're controlling. For characters like the Exile, Handmaiden and Bao-Dur, this is just a basic camera swap. When you use it while playing as sightless characters Kreia or Visas, however, the camera becomes misty and blurred and people are signified by red or blue auras since both characters rely on The Force to "see." The droids likewise get unique views with scan lines and a heavy tint in whatever color their eye(s) glow in.
  • The blending of the gameplay and the story is a hugely fundamental aspect of LISA: The Painful.
    • Joy is a Fantastic Drug that can "make you feel nothing". It's also an item that can be used to give any character temporary, but ridiculously potent stat boosts. The downside is that anyone who has used Joy will get withdrawals if they don't take the drug frequently, which will make them practically useless outside of using magic attacks or support. To make things worse, Joy is a very scarce resource. Some party members, like Brad, Dick and Queen, come with Joy addiction and will have withdrawals regardless of whether you feed them Joy or not.
    • Various events can directly affect Brad's playstyle as a character. Early on, he can get knocked out by an ambusher and lose some of his stats. Later, if he loses his limbs, his dial combos will change and he'll lose some of his skills; in addition, his stats will drop and he'll become more reliant on Joy.
    • The clearest way to explain the presence of the grotesque mutated men throughout Olathe is through their item drops.
    • Every human enemy has a name and unique appearance, and the attacks and move they use reflect their personalities and their current status. Sugar Mountain doesn't take you seriously and will occasionally check his hair instead of paying attention. Trips Breezer refuses to fight you, and will only block your attacks, stall for time, and cry. This is everywhere throughout the game, but the most prominent example is the Rando Army, who grows gradually more terrified of Brad as the battle goes on and will waste turns shaking in fear. And their lieutenant Clint Moss, rather than getting scared of Brad, will get enraged and stand his ground – demonstrating his unyielding loyalty towards his boss despite their hopeless situation.
    • Even Rando's moveset is relevant to his character. He can use the Buster Punches — a move unique to Brad's custom martial arts style — hinting towards his own connection to Brad.
    • During the Rando Army battle, Brad suddenly develops new moves in the middle of the fight (Scream and Cry) and the music changes to "Soft Skin", the song that plays when you fight the mutants. This is a direct foreshadow to the very end of the game.
    • Fireballs are described as "a blast of flaming emotion", but are more representative of how much of an emotional wreck the caster in question is. Brad himself develops larger-scale fireballs as he levels up and wrestles with his demons. There is an exception to this rule — Percy — but he's using a lighter and hairspray instead of actually throwing fireballs.
    • In the final area, after Buddy rejects Brad, his class changes from "Nobody" to "Failure", reflecting his mental state. Many of his physical moves will be replaced with fire-themed equivalents as well, reflecting the strength of his inner, raw emotion.
    • Terry Hintz's basic attack involves him charging up at the enemy and pathetically tripping and flopping on the ground. At the beginning of the game, he says that he pulled his hamstring.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the money you receive from winning the bet with Prince Peasley in the second half of the game is actually added to your coin total. Unfortunately, due to the exchange rate between Mushroom Kingdom coins (what he bet you — kind of reasonable, since that's where Mario and Luigi are from) and Beanbean Kingdom coins (where the game takes place), your reward is about 1% of what you thought it would be.
  • Mass Effect:
    • At the very end of the trilogy, it's heavily implied that the series' Dialogue Trees and Multiple Endings exist because the whole series is being narrated by an elderly man to a child, thousands of years after Shepard saved the universe from the Reapers. Because so much time has passed since war with the Reapers, "The Shepard" is now so Shrouded in Myth that the specifics of their life—including their personality, appearance, and gender—are uncertain, and there are multiple conflicting stories about how their adventures really happened. Every time you replay the games and make different choices, you're playing through a different version of the story.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard has a customizable appearance because he/she is resurrected by Cerberus in the first act and given facial reconstructive surgery to perfect their appearance after a seemingly fatal spaceship crash. During the obligatory "customize character" sequence, you're supposedly controlling the Cerberus operative saddled with the task of rebuilding Shepard's body. Cleverly, Shepard's face is covered by a helmet during the prologue sequence before their death, so you never see what he/she really looked like before the surgery (if you skipped the first game, that is).
    • While an Engineer Shepard solves most problems with the same blend of gunplay and powers that marks any other class, there are certain circumstances where this class is given a unique option stemming from their brainpower and technical skill — Engineers in 2 gain an increasing discount on research costs from their class-specific passive skill, since they have enough of a grasp on the science behind the things you're making to help Mordin design and build them without needing as much material, and in the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3, they have the only class-specific interrupt in the franchise, allowing them to make a reactor dance to their tune rather than having to spend some time programming it to do what you want or sacrifice thousands of civilians to save a crime boss.
    • How the gameplay treats kinetic barriers (shields) started as Integration but then became Segregation in later games. The Codex describes barriers as activating in response to fast moving objects, allowing them to block bullets and shrapnel but still allowing the user to sit and hold things. Unfortunately this meant that in Mass Effect melee attacks and rachni's poison attacks became That One Attack, because, keeping to the lore, they bypass barriers entirely and do direct damage to health no matter how strong your barriers are. This proved such a loathed aspect that the combat overhaul for 2 changed barriers (and armor) to just another layer of health that all attacks effect largely the same, contradicting the lore but significantly reducing players' blood pressure.
  • Planescape: Torment seems to build the premise of its vast story on integrating desired RPG gameplay conventions:
    • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: a great deal of the plot revolves around around finding out why the main character comes back to life if killed. In addition, said character can gain an ability to resurrect other party members without using a spell, because he has power to draw tormented souls to himself, and they all fit the bill. Also, intentionally springing death traps and getting yourself killed repeatedly is required to solve one puzzle in the game which was built so only that person could solve it.
    • Amnesiac Hero: the other great plot axis is recovering the nameless main character's lost memories and piecing back his identity. This also explains why the character can have such powerful unknown rivals and caches waiting specifically for him, while starting as a weakling.
    • Karma Meter: True to Dungeons & Dragons form, Character Alignment exists, and characters can discuss and sometimes sense it. It effects and is effected by both gameplay and story choices. The character's previous incarnations are also divided by alignment, and Arc Words are "What can change the nature of a man?".
    • Character attributes: all attributes effect both gameplay and story. Mental attributes emphasize opening more dialog and story choices and provide some gameplay benefits (experience point gain, learning spells, shop prices), while physical attributes mostly provide combat bonuses and have occasional effects on dialog options (such as physical threats and catching pickpockets in the act). Different dialog choices can also raise characters' attributes.
  • Undertale lives and breathes this trope: nearly everything, from your dialogue with Toriel at the beginning, to who you kill or spare in a run, to how many times you've completed the game and with which endings, to even how and when you reload a SAVE to undo something you did before, will be referenced at one point or another in the game. Certain characters, such as Sans and (especially) Flowey are well aware of when a player reloads a SAVE, and Flowey ends up using this mechanic against you when you battle it.
  • In The Witcher, your amulet starts vibrating when there are hidden monsters or magic sources nearby, to warn you of an imminent attack while exploring. However, when it suddenly starts vibrating next to your Quest Giver, you know something is fishy. And indeed, it turns out that your contact was killed and replaced by the Big Bad hiding under an illusion. On another occasion, you make an actual Story Branching decision via gameplay: when fighting a Striga (Princess Adda in relapse), you can either kill it, like every other monster, or keep fighting it without dealing the final blow until sunrise (tracked by the In-Universe Game Clock!) to lift its curse. Either resolution has a profound impact on the plot.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Touhou integrates all the gameplay mechanics into the plot and backstory. The frequent incidents that each game starts with are an essential part of Gensokyo, as youkai need to antagonize humans to exist, but killing people isn't sustainable so the spell card rules were implemented instead, hence all the Non Lethal KOs. The spell cards manifest as clouds of colorful bullets and lasers and such, hence all battles being fought with Bullet Hell. Everything Trying to Kill You is in effect because Gensokyo is full of Blood Knights looking for a good fight, as well as weak, Too Dumb to Live fairies that gather around powerful beings. And the extra lives aren't the characters dying and resurrecting,note  they represent all the chances the player character has to pass the opponent's spell cards; hence the continues, as the opponent just gives the player character the option to try again.

    Simulation Game 
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War:
    • The AI of your Violently Protective, er, Wingmate, Kei Nagase, will often ignore direct orders to disperse and engage enemies at will and instead stick to your tail as if the Cover command was given. This is because Nagase is still reeling from her original squadron leader Taking the Bullet for her, and outright tells you and the rest of the squad on two separate occasions that no matter the circumstances she is not going to lose another flight lead. This behavior goes away after several missions, after she gets shot down in a similar situation to that which the original flight lead protected her from, as she mostly gets over it and accepts that you don't need her protection all the time.
    • Hans Grimm is introduced as a Child Prodigy who takes off in the middle of an air raid and holds his own despite not even completing his basic flight training. Indeed, if you check your wingman stats towards the end of the campaign, Grimm has the highest kill count of all your teammates.
    • The last third of the game has you evading execution as falsely-framed traitors with the help of an aircraft carrier. In gameplay terms, this means that several missions from that point on, during which you are launching directly from that carrier, require you to use aircraft that are designed to take off from and land on aircraft carriers in real life, with you only getting your full complement of planes when you've stopped at an actual air base.
  • There is an emerging subgenre of simulation games, inspired primarily by Dwarf Fortress, in which the simulation is specifically structured such that the game itself writes the story as a deliberate consequence of the complexity and balance of the intricate game mechanics.
  • Depending on how one defines story, the life sim and management sim genres could be a rare example of the "perfect integration" ideal, the complete opposite, or something in between. Such games rarely include traditional story or narrative themes because the gameplay essentially is the story, and its mechanics are the themes (e.g. what it takes to successfully manage a city or nation, what makes people happy and successful and what it takes to achieve those things, etc.).
  • Dead In Vinland has a huge number of Traits for characters which affect the game's survival management sim/RPG gameplay. Some of these are acquired at random (characters have a chance to catch an illness every night, for instance), at level up, or from gameplay actions (eating raw fish or meat might cause Nausea, various tasks like crafting items or chopping wood may lead to appropriate injuries like Crushed Fingers or Back Pain, and losing Hit Points in combat can lead to wounds like Fractured Arm or Head Trauma). However, dialogue scenes can also cause temporary or permanent traits as general as Angry or as specific as "Mud Eater" or "Love Confession."
    • Story events frequently affect the game's Multiple Life Bars; a character finding a tasty treat for another reduces the recipient's Hunger, a character chasing her ill-behaved dog around increases her Fatigue, and one character striking another increases the victim's Injury.
    • Dialogues are sometimes triggered by the state of the Multiple Life Bars; one character will remark on how tired, sick, or injured another one looks and help them out, healing them.
    • Characters' skills tend to be appropriate to their backgrounds and interests — for example, housewives Blodeuwedd and Solveig start with high Cooking skill, while tomboyish Kari has low Cooking skill but high Hunting, Scavenging, and Exploration. A character having a skill that seems out of place with their background is even used as a subtle form of Foreshadowing for the alert player; why does a peace-loving, scholarly, rather domestic monk start with a ridiculously high Stealth skill?

    Sports Game 
  • In Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Wii, you get special damage-reducing headgear after 100 losses. In Title Defense Mode, Glass Joe, who starts the game with 99 losses before you beat him, gets the same headgear for the rematch fight, as he now has 100 losses himself. It's also explained that Glass Joe had a medical condition which made him easy to knock out with blows to the head. Now that he's wearing that headgear, he's less susceptible to blows to the head, thus harder to knock out and starting to approach being a proper threat.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • Equipping the gas mask will change the look of the player's first-person mode to simulate looking through the eye-holes of a real gas mask.
    • One recurring theme of the series is for the supporting characters (and occasionally Snake himself) to comment on the player's progress so far, both in the short and long term, during the cutscenes. If the player takes the time to complete the VR Training missions and then aces the first level of the story mode, Snake's post-level dialogue is more favorable. Likewise, Psycho Mantis articulates how well (or how ineptly) the player has been doing up until just before his boss fight, and Colonel Volgin does something similar with the Player Character's medical history during the "let's take a look at your body" scene in the third game.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:
    • In the "Plant" section, the player has access to a Level-Map Display of each section of the Big Shell because of nano-machines designed to transmit maps of the plant directly into the minds of plant workers. In order to gain access to the map in each new room, the player has to stealthily activate the node that stimulates the nano-machines.
    • The game's use of Hello, [Insert Name Here] is a plot point that's used to add another layer of metafictional Mind Screw into the game's deconstruction of the relationship between the player and the game. When Raiden is having his dog tags made, the game will ask you to type your own name into the keyboard screen that follows. At the very end of the game, Raiden will comment that he doesn't recognize the name on his dog tags, which is the first hint that he's not entirely in control of his own actions, and not just in the sense that he's being railroaded into following a simulation's plot. When he throws his dog tags away (presumably with the player's own name printed on them), it's symbolic of him taking his life into his own hands; now that the game's over, the player can no longer control what happens to Raiden.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
    • Snake has his eye shot out during one scene. After that, if you go into first-person mode, the far-right of the screen is darkened and your depth perception is off, forcing you to relearn how to aim. And in the 3DS remake, the 3D effect is removed in first person mode after this point.
    • The boss fight against The Sorrow is full of details like this. The ghosts of every character you've killed up to this point reappear to take their revenge (and will typically offer some commentary on the specific method the player used to kill themnote ), but one ghost in particular, that of The End, refuses to attack or avenge himself upon Snake because he died willingly. Also, note how the ghost of The Sorrow has a completely empty health meter: he's already dead.
    • Ocelot's AI during his boss fight is tailored to his in-story personality. For reference, Ocelot at this time is an impossibly-skilled gunslinger to begin with, he just got the revolvers that he is naturally suited to use, and is totally reveling in his first fight with them. He slowly and elaborately reloads his guns in the open because he simply doesn't believe that he can be (seriously) harmed, and most of the time when he has a chance at hitting Snake with a straight shot, he'll disregard it in favor of a fancier ricochet shot instead since he's showing off.
    • While Ocelot indeed can't be seriously harmed, if you inflict an injury on an exposed part of his body during the battle, he'll have a visible bandage over it in later scenes.
    • Look carefully at the Ocelot soldiers' bodies right after their first run-in with Snake. Almost all the Ocelots have been knocked unconscious, but one soldier in particular has been tranquilized with a dart, just like in the preceding cutscene. Note as well that that's the only shot he took with his tranquilizer pistol, because — like the converted M9 from MGS2 and The Twin Snakes — it's manually-operated, and he simply never gets the time to rack the slide during the ensuing scuffle.
    • Plot Immunity might protect Ocelot, but not The End. He's still out in the open after a cutscene featuring he, The Boss, and Volgin, and if you're quick enough with the sniper rifle you can actually take him out. When you reach his area later in the game, it will instead be patrolled by The Ocelot Unit. You can also cause him to die of old age if you wait long enough between gameplay sessions after starting the battle, or just set the system clock forward long enough; The End is explicitly written as an elderly centenarian at the very end of his life, and The Boss even comments that he would probably have died already if he weren't determined to have one last battle.
    • The in-universe reason that this game has a stamina meter and the others don't is that Snake is still recovering from the beating he got from The Boss in the prologue. In said prologue Snake loses stamina far slower. And when Eva gets hurt she loses stamina even faster than Snake.

    Strategy — Real-Time 
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the Allies use their Chronosphere to send a strike team directly to Moscow, bypassing the Soviet defenses. You can then use it during the attack itself to bypass the local defenses.
  • In the Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars mod Tiberium Essence, the Scrin were originally granted the Manta APC, but their teleportation Support Powers made APC's worthless to the faction. It was retooled into an assault tank. The flavor text goes as follows:
    "Originally an antiquated transport vehicle rendered obsolete by the advances in wormhole and teleportation technology, the Manta was recently revitalized and redesigned. Its troop compartment was removed, and in its place, an ion lightning generator was installed. It was also given extra armor for added protection, as well as scythe talons that can easily kill human infantry."
  • Dawn of War II:
    • Tarkus' introduction on a loading screen image mentions he was awarded Terminator honors for his performance during the Dark Crusade campaign.note  This explains how he can pull his Big Damn Heroes moment in Terminator armor without the Terminator Honors perk other squads need to level up and unlock first.
    • The Corruption level of your team in Chaos Rising affects both the abilities and equipment they can use and some major plot points, like which of them turned out to be a traitor and the ending.
  • Starcraft zig zags across the scale:
  • In the expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, a lot of the returning heroes from the main game are already maxed out at level 10 since they've already done plenty of fighting during the Third War. King Arthas is a particularly interesting example of this. He starts off at level 10 in the undead campaign. But once the Lich King starts losing power, so does Arthas, who in the game starts to LOSE levels as the campaign goes on. By the final levels he's just a measly level 1 Death Knight and has to work his way back up.

    Strategy — Turn-Based 
  • Disgaea:
    • In Disgaea, Laharl is literally allergic to large breasts and optimistic sayings. After a cutscene featuring an excess of both thanks to it being deliberately weaponized against him, his stats in the ensuing battle are cut in half until he gets earplugs.
    • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: Adell and Rozalin start out having a 0% combo rate on their attacks (which is more or less impossible to get with any other combination of characters), being at this point enemies and utterly unwilling to directly help each other. Their combo rate starts rising as the game goes on and the two grow closer, eventually capping at 99% near the end.

      In an odd meta example Etna claims she hacked her title so it says "Beauty Queen" instead of "Demon Lord". Titles are programmed in such a way that you can indeed make custom titles (rather than give a character another existing title) with a Cheating Device.

      The game has a feature called "Reincarnate to Atone for Sins", which will remove your felony records. Turns out Overlord Zenon did this, setting the plot in motion.
    • From Disgaea 2 onwards, particular character traits often manifest as stat alterations. For example, Adell gets a damage bonus against higher-level opponents and Tink gets +2 to movement (for running away, of course).
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, and their remakes:
      • In the first game, Arran is a decent prepromote; then, in Mystery, he becomes the Crutch Character and his growths turn abysmal. This is due to his illness, which eventually kills him in the epilogue.
      • Nyna is an NPC in the first game, and in Mystery (and New Mystery), is Promoted to Playable within the final chapter. When you actually do get her, her stats and growths are abysmal. Actually, this makes perfect sense — For one, she is the last member of her royal family, (Ergo, you would not want her on the battlefield) and in Shadow Dragon, relied on Marth, Hardin, Minerva, and their allies to do the fighting for her — naturally, she's no fighter. It also fits that her stats are so terrible in a somewhat Woobieish way for her character — her entire character is things going wrong for her and her attempts to make things better only makes things worse — so naturally, putting her into battle is just going to make things worse as she'll get killed. Ouch.
      • Late in the prologue of Shadow Dragon, you have to sacrifice one of your units to disguise as Marth and distract powerful enemies who have come to kill him. This unit is removed from gameplay the same way anyone who dies normally does; and it's stated that the unit died at the end of the chapter, so everyone figured that they were Killed Off for Real. Word of God has confirmed the fan theory that indeed, Frey is the canonical sacrifice due to his blue hair (making him mistakable for Marth at a distance), and how he was not in the original or even in the remake if one starts at Hard Mode. When the player gets the Aum staff much much later in the game, a lot of peoples' instinct was to use it to revive Frey, because he is the one unavoidable death in Shadow Dragon. Except that you can't, for some reason, despite that other units who died during the prologue can be resurrected. Yet the remake of New Mystery of the Emblem on the DS shows Frey alive and well. And his dialogue with the player character states that he was indeed the sacrifice, but upon finding out that they were duped, his captors didn't kill him, they just beat him up and left him for dead and he was later rescued. So in actuality; you couldn't use the Aum staff to revive Frey, because Frey never actually died in the first place! For an added bonus in integration, it still mentions that Frey is dead in the credits (if the prologue was not skipped) but in actuality, it's just assumed he's dead because he hadn't been found yet.
      • Crossing over with foresight from the developers, the Aum staff is an important plot point. Only a princess is capable of using it. You actually get several princesses in your party over the course of the story, and if they are reclassed into a class that can use staves, they are able to use it. Even Minerva.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
      • Each enemy army gets their own unique background music during their turn to help individualize them as a unique faction.
      • Holy Blood is said to have defined wars and gifted godlike powers onto people who possess it, and it shows – characters blessed with Holy Blood, like Lewyn and Sigurd, have incredible combat abilities and tend to blow your other units out of the water. The latter is widely considered to be the strongest unit in the entire franchise.
      • In Chapter 1, Jamke releases Edain from prison and urges her to escape. If she returns into his range, he will not attack her.
      • King Blume hypes up Asaello as the renowned "Hitman of Conote", but his actual stats come across as unimpressive compared to your other units. This is a matter of scaling: while Asaello's skills might be impressive on a smaller scale, Genealogy of the Holy War is a global conflict that makes local heroes such as him look like common, unimpressive soldiers.
      • In Chapter 10, Loptyr bishop Morrigan orders his subordinate Ridale to hunt down children to be sacrificed. Ridale is hesitant to do so, and orders his men to go "at a leisurely pace". He and his soldiers will use less than their maximum range when moving towards the missing children.
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776:
      • Leif is depicted in-story as a very inexperienced and largely Overshadowed by Awesome character who needs to learn that true heroism isn't about being a great warrior. True to form, this is mostly borne out in his stats: Leif starts out mediocre at best, and his overall combat potential is nothing to write home about, but his constant availability, ranged personal weapon, and massive support network makes him incredibly useful as a Support Party Member who can always be counted on.
      • It's noted a few times that Leif and his army do not have enough resources, and need to scavenge weapons to survive. This is an actual mechanic, involving capturing the enemy and taking their weapons. The same conversation also points out that many of the soldiers Leif's army is fighting are just conscripts fighting for their country, which incentivizes you to show mercy. (Some characters can even be recruited this way, and bosses often have special dialogue for it.)
      • Pretty much any character with some kind of history in command — Ced, Glade, Eyvel, Amalda, and so on — has at least one Leadership Star, buffing the accuracy and avoid of other units. Leif gains a Leadership Star whenever a new tactician joins to advise him (and loses one if they leave), showing the growth of his skill. Saias, the best commander in the world, has three upon joining you (which is, sadly, down from the seven he had beforehand — likely due to him ditching his old army).
      • Many characters with low base stats, such as Olwen, Mareeta, Tina, or Homer, have some kind of reasoning behind it, being very sheltered, inexperienced, or Brilliant, but Lazy. They also all have points that show they have hidden potential: Olwen's Dire Thunder tome, Tina's Thief Staff, Mareeta's purified sword and loaded combat skillset, Homer's Paragon ability, and their movement stars. By contrast, Shannam, who is depicted as a charlatan with no real combat ability, looks terrible at first glance... and is. His only actual utility is buying things at shops at half price.
      • Olwen's conversation with her brother Reinhardt is heavily implied to result in Reinhardt deciding to give her a sword and go Suicide by Cop. Unsurprisingly, the sword he hands her is essentially designed to make killing him pitifully easy: it gives a massive boost to Magic, letting Olwen shrug off his Dire Thunder, is effective against horseback units, making it extremely likely to kill him in one hit, and even has Brave and Miracle effects, ensuring Olwen is likely to get in a second hit and dodge his counterattack.
      • A few plot twists are implied by character elements. Fergus's ability to wield the Beo Sword implies him to be the son of Beowolf, a character from Genealogy. Galzus has the Astra skill, reserved for members of the royal family of Isaach, revealing him as an exile of that clan. Most pivotally, Eyvel, if killed and raised as a Deadlord, is the only one of the Deadlords to change class — going from Swordmaster to Sniper. This is the last major clue that Eyvel is actually an amnesiac Brigid, another character from Genealogy, who was a Sniper.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Douglass, Lalum's adoptive father, will attack anyone in your army except her in Chapter 16. This makes her very useful for the purpose of blocking him into one of the rooms with only one entrance/exit, enabling you to avoid both accidentally killing him and placing one of your own at risk against his mighty Silver Axe.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Dorcas initially shows up as an enemy unit, as he is desperately taking any paying job to help his ill wife, Natalie. Since you have to protect Natalie on that same mission, he won't actually attack her if you refrain from recruiting him and leave a vulnerable NPC open to the enemy. In fact, if you have all your units retreat behind Natalie, Dorcas will walk right up to her, refuse to attack, and block off the entire enemy army.note 
      • Lowen is incredibly insecure and has very little faith in his own abilities, often comparing himself to the other knights in the army and stating that he'll never be as strong as them. On paper, when compared to the other three cavaliers the player meets before him, Lowen's stats come off as mediocre thanks to his unimpressive offensive numbers. While he does make up for this with his high defenses and is still a very competent unit, it's easy for players to overlook him because of how he compares to the others.
      • Renault used to be a Mercenary in his backstory and only recently turned to the cloth, and his stats show it — his magical stats are rather subpar for a Bishop of his level, but his physical stats are abnormally high.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • L'Arachel is Born Lucky, to the point that she can win a coin toss even if the coin's loaded. Her stats reflect this, and she will often max out the Luck Stat. There's also Knoll, who starts with a luck stat of zero as a result of him aiding Lyon in his dark studies. When you first meet him after freeing him from prison, he assumes his execution date has been moved up.
      • Rennac has middling stats all around except Speed; being a Rogue, he's clearly built for nabbing chests and opening doors rather than direct combat. If you bring him to the final boss, he exasperatedly questions what he's doing in an intense battle situation when his forte is thieving, not fighting.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
      • Micaiah has "Sacrifice", which is a miraculous healing ability in the storyline, and can also be used in-game, though in-game it doesn't have any abilities beyond a simple heal staff, and as the name implies it hurts to use it. It's seen as a miracle because she can heal without being a member of the clergy. In essence, it does have power potentially superior to that of a staff, since she manages to save Lehran (if you managed to get him), who was literally an instant away from dying; whereas staves appear to function primarily on healing flesh wounds, Sacrifice uses Micaiah's own life force, which implicitly has stronger effects on living beings. In game, Sacrifice also allows Micaiah to heal status effects. Whether or not she can do this for a character at full HP, though, she's never been shown using Sacrifice in this manner in the story, however.
      • While earlier games in the series often have recruitable enemies suffer from what fans refer to as Matthis Syndrome (they attack their friends/family/loved ones just like a normal enemy), Radiant Dawn thoroughly averts this. Various characters are programmed to never attack certain other characters, for example Brom will never attack his daughter Meg and vice-versa. Videogame Cruelty Potential isn't an option either, move one of those characters next to another and the 'Attack' option won't even appear in the menu.
      • After Chapter 3-2, the characters comment on how simple the battle was, with Soren stating "Their soldiers were well-equipped and well-trained, but their commanders were terrible." Sure enough, that chapter's boss suffers from severe Artificial Stupidity, always moving before his troops despite the chapter being a Defeat Boss mission. The chapter can be completed in a couple of turns by placing a strong character in the boss' attack range, causing him to attack them and get himself killed. Better yet, the boss' dialogue implies him to be an impatient glory hog, so his Leeroy Jenkins AI makes even more sense.
      • There is a few times that characters outside your control battle in fights that look like player controlled battles. Everytime it goes as well as it would in-game, Ranulf would get horribly beaten by both Zelgius and Skrimir and Skrimir would be defeated by Zelgius. A few liberties are taken as Ranulf could only dodge Zelgius if the stars aligned in his way and Skrimir's luck is high enough that Zelgius couldn't do a critical hit.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • Chrom uses the titular Fire Emblem as a shield when he is promoted to Great Lord. Promote him before he gets it in the story and he won't have it on his model. Later on when it is stolen, Chrom won't actually have it on his model.
      • Inigo doesn't have the Dance command, despite his mother being Olivia, the only Dancer class in the game. It seems the opposite trope, until his Supports with his mother get viewed. Inigo is painfully shy about having other people see him dance, and even admits that he only knows the first half of the dance because Olivia died before she could teach him the rest. So his lack of the command is not only a personality-based element, but also given an in-universe example of not knowing the whole dance, so he cannot perform the revitalization effect that his mother could.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • One part in the story features Elise or Takumi being stricken with a plot related illness. In the next map, you can't use them.
      • A gameplay and plot point is that the descendants of dragons (namely you) can use Dragon Veins. If you fight a Nohr or Hoshido royal, they can use the vein against you as well. This carries over to the second generation — naturally, children of royal figures will have the ability to access Dragon Veins. This includes children of commoner fathers who married royalty.
      • Personal skills in general are either tied to a unit's class and/or their character. For example, Ryoma the samurai has "Bushido" as his personal skill, whereas a former criminal Niles has "Kidnap" as his own skill. Gunter is your bodyguard figure, and his personal skill buffs him whenever he is fighting alongside the Avatar.
      • Hayato's personal skill is a double case: Its name, "Pride," refers to him being an Insufferable Genius, while its effect, letting him deal extra damage to units higher-leveled than him, reflects his nature as a Spirited Competitor.
      • Odin likes to name his weapons; therefore, his personal skill gives him a slight boost to his critical hit rate if he has a forged weapon with a long enough unique name.
      • Effie's defining trait is her strength; her personal skill lets her deal more damage if her strength stat is higher than her enemy's.
      • Similarly to Gunter, Felicia, Jakob, and Silas's personal skills all grant stat buffs specifically to the Avatar. The former two are also the Avatar's servants, while Silas was their best friend.
      • When one fights the royal siblings in Conquest or Birthright, their behavior and even their stats sometimes reflect their feelings towards the Avatar. Such as the eldest being reluctant to attack during the Duel Boss — Xander does so because he is committing Suicide by Cop, whereas Ryoma is fighting with honor and flat out allows you to make the first move. However, Ryoma is overall more difficult, due to him being angered over Corrin supposedly killing Hinoka. Or Sakura intentionally not getting in the Avatar's way and being a Skippable Boss.
      • In supports, Leo comments that he started out training with swords, but eventually switched to using magic instead in order to avoid getting stuck in Xander's shadow. He also tells Xander and Corrin in the first chapter that there are "more important things" than just relying on physical strength. Both of these are reflected in his base class and weapon levels: Dark Knights can use both swords and tomes, and Leo has a higher weapon rank in tomes than swords.
      • Arthur's Running Gag is that he has terrible luck. This is reflected in his stats; his base stat for Luck is 1, and his growth rate for it is only 5-10% (depending on his class). Furthermore, his personal skill makes him more susceptible to critical hits.
      • Percy is known for being Born Lucky. Percy has the highest personal luck growth in the game (before factoring in inheritance from his mother, at least) at 75%, and his personal skill (called Fortunate Son) reduces the chances for Percy and any nearby allies to be on the receiving end of a critical hit.
      • In Shiro's supports with his father, Ryoma, he mentions that he chose to train in the naginata in hopes of defeating his father, who, primarily wields a sword. Since spears have an advantage over swords in the "weapon triangle" system, he's on to something.
    • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
      • The "Royal Sword" is usable only by royalty. Sure enough, only the main Lord Alm is able to equip it.
      • In the final battle of Act 4, Rudolf mentions that if he should fall, the others should lay down their arms and surrender. Sure enough, the defeat of Rudolf concludes the map. Additionally, Rudolf will not attack Alm, because Alm is in fact his own son, and he wants Alm to kill him as an act of Cruel Mercy.
      • Early in the game, Celica offers up a Golden Dagger as payment to Saber for his services. When Saber joins, he automatically has it equipped, taking it away from whoever had it.
      • Enemies such as the Duma Faithful have zero points of Luck, representing their lack of Mila's blessings in favor of Duma's power. After Berkut requests Duma's power, he also has zero Luck when battled.
      • Characters have preferences when it comes to provisions they enjoy and gain additional fatigue recovery from, and these preferences often tie into their backstories. For example, Silque enjoys "Rough" provisions like Mana Herbs and Flour because she taught herself to forage and eat anything during times of scarce food. Boey loves "Plain" food because his family were poor fishermen, so he is accustomed to eating simple things like Herring and Bread. Mae loves sweet food, and she starts out with a Sweet Cookie in her inventory. A list of these preferences can be found here.
      • Act 3 ends with Celica reassuming her identity and role as Princess Anthiese. This translates into gameplay as an automatic class promotion. In a similar vein, the power that Halcyon grants Alm upon Celica's request is access to the Hero class promotion.
      • The landslide and onslaught of dragons in Alm's path requires story progression in Celica's path to overcome, because the one responsible for it is Jedah, the villain of her path.
      • Clive's horrible Resistance stat becomes a plot point in the "Flight From the Ruins" DLC, where Clair investigates some old ruins to find a ring that can negate all magic. Also, Mathilda notes that Clair doesn't have much of a problem with magic. Sure enough, Clair has a significantly better Resistance base than Clive does.
      • Faye is the only character in the game with a support bonus having a negative impact on her stats, being that if she is near Alm she has a reduced chance of avoiding an enemy attack. Faye has a huge crush on Alm, to the point of it severely damaging her mental health. The implication is the decreased avoid chance effect is because she gets so distracted watching Alm that it allows an opening for the enemy to attack. That, or she's so focused on killing the enemy to impress Alm that she disregards her own safety.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: For most characters in houses separate from the one you chose, you need a high support level to be able to recruit them. In the case of the Blue Lions' resident Casanova Wannabe Sylvain, however, you can immediately recruit him into your house if you're playing as a female Byleth.
  • In a rather unexpected example, Front Mission 3 has a certain stage in Alisa's route, where in order to activate a cargo elevator in a sewer, Ryogo has to dismount from his Wanzer and activate it from a control panel. This means that instead of the 4 Wanzer limit, you have 3 Wanzers and Ryogo on foot (which makes him a very squishy target). However, if you have bothered to download the sewer maps and use a certain image-enhancing software on that map at any time during the game before that mission, then the party figures out how to operate the elevators by themselves without putting Ryogo in harms way and thus, you can start the mission with 4 Wanzers as you usually do.
  • Super Robot Wars BX
    • Your robots start with half HP and half HP/EN in scenario 6 because their repairs aren't complete.
    • During the scenario where Megumi and Minato disembark with Akito, they are removed from the Gravity Blast Cannon's animation.
  • The limited use of the Yamato's Wave-Motion Gun in Super Robot Wars V helps keep the player from breaking an important plot point of the 2199 anime of the Yamato's crew being more responsible with its use than the Iscandarians were.
  • If one picks the "B" path of Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, a late-game cutscene will depict Alphonse being stabbed, and he is told "You won't die if you have it treated". He will start the ensuing battle poisoned.
  • The Potentials in Valkyria Chronicles tie in directly with the characters' stories, and more are opened as you learn more about the character. For example, Freesia starts out with one Potential called 'Desert Bred', marked by how she was raised and has lived in the desert areas for some time. After you learn a little more about her — that she's not used to living for anybody else and doesn't work well when people are counting on her — she gains the 'Under Pressure' Potential, cutting her defense and accuracy if she uses the last CP of your Phase.
    • Valkyria are supposed to be unstoppable One Man Armies, which Alicia absolutely is once you unlock her more broken potentials. Aside from the obvious Valkyria potential (which boosts her stats when she's below half health, reflecting how a Valkyria's powers are activated by life-threatening wounds,) she'll learn skills like Resist Crossfire (turns most interception fire into Scratch Damage,) Double Movement (occasionally refills her AP meter when she completely exhausts it,) and Mysterious Body (occasionally heals to full after an attack,) meaning most missions become Alicia sprinting across the map and seizing the enemy's base camp all by herself.
  • In XCOM 2, you're tasked with keeping the alien occupiers of Earth from completing the Avatar Project, their attempt to use Human Resources to create psionic Super Soldiers. If the aliens finish their scheme, it's a Game Over because XCOM has no hope of standing against them... but when you actually fight a few Avatars in the field over the course of the campaign, they're not actually that tough compared to other lategame enemies, and nowhere near as difficult as "boss" enemies such as the Alien Rulers and Chosen introduced in the Alien Hunters DLC and War of the Chosen expansion pack. But that's because XCOM has been spending the campaign blowing up Avatar Project facilities, stealing samples, hacking alien transmitters, and anything else that would sabotage the project. The aliens' super-soldiers aren't overrated, you're fighting Flawed Prototypes they're throwing at you out of desperation — the first one you encounter doesn't even spawn with full health!

    Survival Horror 
  • Dead Island: Just before fighting Ryder White, you have to fend off his soldiers and the infected. The helipad's he's on is clearly visible but if you try and get a good look you get shot. Someone is mouthing off about nuking the island but when confronted White is relatively composed, implying it was actually Charon as he did imitate him before.
  • Several of the later missions in Dying Light prevent use of the Hookshot because Crane is suffering from seizures and simply doesn't have the stamina and motor control necessary to properly use it.
  • Haunting Ground: A minor example with the Panic-meter mechanic. Normally, it raises when Fiona is experiencing emotional distress during gameplay (i.e. when one of her stalkers is after her). Of course, since she sees/experiences many, many, many distressing sights during cutscenes, she tends to immediately fly into a panic as soon as some cutscenes end. But nearing the end of the game Fiona starts to have fewer panic attacks, because Fiona and her dog Hewie have been successfully evading and fighting off her stalkers the whole night, which would naturally inspire some confidence.
  • In the winter chapter of The Last of Us, you can open Ellie's backpack and find that she stole a picture of Joel and his deceased daughter from his sister-in-law several hours before she gives it to him in the story itself.
  • If Chris gets poisoned by Yawn in Resident Evil, Rebecca can be tasked with fetching the serum to cure him. Depending on how long you take, Chris will either still be conscious, be found unconscious, or actually die from the poison. The poison status in game decreases your health over time, so Chris's physical state when you return to him would reflect it. His actual health when you regain control of him will still be the same as before.
  • A couple of nice minor touches in Resident Evil 2:
    • When you take the shotgun from the corpse of the gun shop owner you'll find it's not fully loaded. Unlike every other weapon you pick up in the game that comes with full ammo, this one's missing one bullet from the one shot the man took trying in vain to defend himself from the zombies. Note that if you skip the shotgun here and find it later in the police station instead, that one will be fully loaded on pickup.
    • If you encounter the zombified Brad Vickers he is one tough cookie, owing to the ballistic vest he's wearing that absorbs most of the damage from your bullets. If you knock him down and let him grab your ankle however, you can still kill him instantly with a blow to the head just like any other zombie: body armor does jack to protect the head, after all. Likewise, a shotgun blast to the head will also do the trick. Zombie Brad's toughness in Resident Evil 3 (Remake) is retained, although you don't have a shotgun at that point to blow off his head with.
  • Ada's scenario in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles deals with her escape after the events of Resident Evil 2. The heavily wounded Ada begins the level in critical condition.
  • Resident Evil 3 (Remake) has a moment where a Drain Deimo ambushes Jill in a cutscene and forces a bunch of larvae down her throat. Jill's health is lowered and she has the "Parasite" status after the scene ends. The scene serves as a tutorial on how to purge the parasites from Jill's body by eating a Green Herb, which also restores the health she lost in the cutscene.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Warlocks in the Dungeons & Dragons lore get their powers from a pact with a being beyond the bounds of the mortal world, which can give even a non-magic character access to powerful spells, though their patron often presumes the warlock will dance to their whims, for good or ill. The Warlock class also happens to be one of the easiest to multi-class into, being a good option for both martial and magical characters to dip into for access to Eldritch Blast, and they are frequently compelled to dance to the Dungeonmaster's whims, for good or ill.
  • The effects of each Fairy Tail monster from Yu-Gi-Oh! allude to events from the tale the card is based on.
    • Fairy Tail Snow's effect is a reference to how Snow White was brought back to life while said effect's cost of banishing seven cards is a reference to the Seven Dwarfs.
    • Fairy Tail Sleeper's effect to flip herself face-down is a reference to how Sleeping Beauty was put into a deep sleep due to a curse.
    • Fairy Tail Rella can, at the cost of discarding a spell card, be equipped with an Equip Spell card from the hand, deck or graveyard, alluding to the Fairy Godmother's gifts to Cinderella. And just like how the spell ended at midnight in the story, the equip card will return to the hand at the end of the turn.
    • Fairy Tail Luna's second effect, which gives her the chance to force an opponent to return a monster to their hand, is a reference to the impossible requests Princess Kaguya gave to her would-be suitors.

    Visual Novel 
  • In Angels With Scaly Wings, when the protagonist isn't satisfied by an ending they can go back through time and try to make things better. Or, as the player experiences it, do another playthrough.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: In chapter 4, the player character is in possession of a secret that, in a But Thou Must! situation, they can't tell Kyoko about when inquired. This pisses that character off, and they will outright tell the player to screw off if they try to hang out with them during the chapter.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: During the first trial, a massive plot revelation comes up concerning Nagito that changes literally everyone's outlook on the character. The character's first free time occurs explicitly before this reveal while the rest occur after, so the player can only hang out with them once in the first chapter, and if they didn't, that character is locked out for the entire rest of the playthrough.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • After the player gets Himiko's first three free times as Shuichi, they lock out until after chapter 3. This is because that character undergoes a notable bit of development after the deaths of Angie and Tenko, which haven't happened prior to that point in the game.
      • After Kaede Akamatsu gets smoked, her possessions are transferred to Shuichi Saihara, but any Relationship Values she has accumulated up to that point are not.
  • Eliza: During the therapy segments (where Player Character Evelyn's working as a "proxy" for the eponymous councilling program), the player's still free to choose dialogue options, but the only "choice" is the output from Eliza. As you'd expect, you can eventually go off script and get more dialogue options when Evelyn decides to give it a shot.
  • Many examples in Galaxy Angel. Forgetting the Cutscene Power to the Max in the first game, Eternal Lovers gives you missions where you need to destroy the enemy flagship before reinforcements arrive, thus reducing your time limit to 10 minutes instead of the usual 15. Another is after the Elsior was hit by the Chrono Break Cannon from the stolen Unit #7, and thrown into an ambush position immediately afterwards. In this battle, the Elsior starts with 60% HP unlike other battles. Then there's the conditions of your Angels; if the plot demands them to be depressed, expect them to fight poorly and vice versa.
  • Her Tears Were My Light does this with Ren'Py's basic visual novel mechanics. You would normally only use the rewind button in other visual novels to re-read some text that you missed, but in this game, the character Time explicitly has the power to rewind. Going back and progressing through the same conversation again with new information can lead to a different outcome. The same goes for reloading from a save point or even restarting the game from the beginning.
  • My Vow To My Liege brilliantly utilizes the Young Reeds Before Flowering (蒹葭) poem from the Book of Odes in Wu Zixu's route. The poem is about wandering a river in search of someone: going upstream in search, the way is difficult and long, but going downstream in search, you find them right before your eyes.
    • Story-wise, this is relevant to his relationship with Fuchai: both are burdened with a harsh, violent, and painful history, to the point where they're not sure they have anything left to live for once their duty is done...and they have to realize they have something worth living for right in front of their eyes the whole time, in each other.
    • Gameplay-wise, the poem is reflected in his dream sequence: going upstream the river of time, you're faced with an absolute blizzard of choices, more than in any other route, but the way through is also easier than you might think if you don't "fight the current" of what really happened in the past.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors makes wonderful usage of the DS's dual-screen functionality for the plot twist that you're playing two people:
    • When in the novel sections, Junpei's thoughts are displayed on the top/left screen in first person, while most of his actions are described in detail on the bottom/right screen in third person. This foreshadows the fact that there are two narrators.
    • During escape puzzles, the top and bottom screens will show the rooms exactly the same unless the player zooms in on an area or accesses their inventory/files, with the top screen being used exclusively for character speech. The bottom screen is Akane, the true player character, who is giving all the answers to Junpei with him none the wiser.
    • Even the New Game+ (and the narrative flowchart in the Nonary Games rerelease that lets you jump to specific points in the story) is integrated into the story, as past!June is having visions of every possible future during the current Nonary Game. In fact, one of the bad endings is required to get the good ending, as past!June conveys information gained during that ending to Junpei, allowing him to Sequence Break his way past a keypad lock.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Bully, the Preppies' base of operations is in a local Bullworth boxing gym, and all of them are depicted as avid boxers who regularly spar in their free time. This is reflected in their particular combat style: the Preppies are among the toughest enemies in the game because they're much more adept at dodging and blocking punches than all of the other cliques, and they're one of the few enemy types who can knock Jimmy to the ground with one punch.
    • More specifically: Bif Taylor (the tall Preppy with red hair) is depicted as the reigning champ at the boxing gym, and one mission revolves around challenging him for his title. Sure enough, the combat difficulty spikes appropriately whenever the player encounters Bif, and he's noticeably tougher in a fight than his friends.
  • In Dragon Quest Builders, it is reinforced repeatedly throughout the game that "You are not a hero". This extends to how you play, as well: the heroes of the Dragon Quest series get stronger by defeating monsters, but you, the Builder, do not: the only way for you to get stronger is by crafting and equipping better equipment, and your level only increases by creating objects and building bigger and more complex buildings.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
    • Whenever you are betrayed by an Orc follower, their banner will not actually change from blue to red until either the dialogue or their actions make it clear they are now against you.
    • If you go and read the item descriptions of some of Talion's items from the past (mainly Ioreth's Embrace, a cloak from his wife, and Acharn, half of his son's broken sword) after completing several of the Nazgul missions, they will change to reflect that Talion is losing his memory of Dirhael and Ioreth. Ioreth's Embrace is changed to Dark Embrace, stating that while he can still remember it is a memento from their anniversary, the days are rapidly becoming more distant. Acharn, meanwhile, when fully upgraded flatly states that its original owner is long forgotten.
    Acharn: The dagger Acharn. Forever cursed, its original owner long forgotten.
    Ioreth's/Dark Embrace: A tattered cloak so stained in blood its origins can no longer be discerned.
    • When fought as a boss in the Blade of Galadriel DLC, Talion uses moves and powers he had when you played as him in the main game. His vaulting teleport Ground Pound over Eltariel is a combination of Eagle's Eyrie and Bird of Preynote  with the Talon Strike upgrade enabled, sometimes he will throw daggers the same way he can in gameplay, and the explosions he causes are from the hammers he tosses around. He can even use Elven Light, Blade Lock, and Executions on Eltariel.
      Eltariel: You fight for Sauron!
      Talion: I fight for Middle-Earth!
      • Another example in the DLC. Akoth's not kidding when he says that Cirith Ungol's in bad shape for a siege. The allied captains under him are all in the low-10's in level and have glaring mortal weaknesses, compared to the enemy captains, who are closer to Eltariel's level in the 20's and 30's and aren't as vulnerable.
    • An example regarding a major plot twist in the main game.
      • In the Endgame, ... Things take an abrupt turn when Talion rebels against his Wraith Celebrimbor by killing Isildur rather than Dominating him. The wraith decides to abandon Talion as a vessel in favor of Eltariel and leaves him, a walking corpse, for dead... until he takes Isildur's ring to sustain himself and finish his mission.
      • The game adds new features and aesthetics to complement the plot twist. You gain two new skills that were hidden in the skill tree and guides up until that point, Raise Dead which does as the name suggests. And as a result of Celebrimbor abandoning Talion you gain a second skill Ringwraith to permanently replace Elven Rage. Instead of becoming intangible, being able to instantly kill grunts, and damage captains, you now summon phantoms of dead Gondorian soldiers to fight for you and turn all grunts you killed into zombies. The former being Isildur's ability during his boss fight. In addition to new battle tools, your wraith shadow changes from a blue Celebrimbor to a green cloaked Talion, Celebrimbor's voice lines disappear and are replaced by Talion's during side missions and while dominating orcs, and Talion's game model permanently changes to a corpse-like face reflecting how he pretty much died and became a necromancer.
  • In One Piece: World Seeker, you have a small Level-Map Display on at all times to make exploring the island easier... unless you play as Zoro, who famously has No Sense of Direction to the extreme; when you play as him, your mini-map becomes a garbled, pixelated mess that’s useless for finding anything and makes getting where you need to go much harder, replicating Zoro’s total inability to get to the place he’s supposed to go without help.
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, during the mission right after the player leaves the snowy mountains with the rest of the gang, they have a chance of immediately derailing the mission by taking the wagon they're driving and launching it off a waterfall, resuilting in a Game Over. When they restart from the checkpoint, one of the main character's friends will be calling for his name and the main character will say that they were distracted, meaning that the whole ordeal with the player intentionally failing the mission was just the protagonist daydreaming. This can also be noted each time the player dies during free roam, which will result in the main character respawning while shaking his head, rubbing his face or washing his face in a nearby river, indicating he was only imagining things in his head all along.
  • Saints Row series eventually justifies the kind of GTA-esque rampages the player can go on by characterizing the Boss as a charismatic lunatic, with Saints Row: The Third even having them mention going to a therapist.
  • Sunset Overdrive: Sunset City is surrounded by Invisible Walls to prevent the player from going where he shouldn't be, but when you get close to them, they become visible, and they have "Invisible Wall | Security Provided By Fizzco" written on them. Fizzco is the Evil, Inc. that caused the apocalypse in Sunset City and is keeping it a Forbidden Zone with no contact with the rest of the world, and one cutscene shows how trying to escape the city in a flying vehicle fails thanks to the invisible walls.

    Other Games 
  • Part of being a good GM for almost any Tabletop RPG is realizing there should be no such thing as Gameplay and Story Segregation. Players should have the opportunity to feel that their choices matter within the story, and you should be ready for canny players to save the prince who was supposed to die, steal the data that was supposed to be given to the Corrupt Corporate Executive, or kill the villain you expected to survive a bit longer. A good GM will recycle the work he did on antagonists, introduce a new plot twist or element, and let the fun continue while still allowing the players a moment of feeling awesome. The same holds true when the players fail spectacularly. Every Game Over should be a Non-Standard Game Over. Games that end with party death are always context-specific, and failing to do that is taking away the effect the players had on the game world, even in death.
  • Detroit: Become Human: Connor, unlike the other two playable androids Kara and Markus, is directly sent from CyberLife to work as a detective in Detroit to test him out as a Super Prototype, so CyberLife is willing to rebuild him if he dies, creating a possible The Many Deaths of You scenario in his sections. In the climax of the story, when the police give up on the deviant case due to the protest by Jericho and that Connor has to take action immediately, there is no time for CyberLife to rebuild him nor do they want to if Connor has gone Deviant, meaning a death from Connor from that point on is a Final Death.
  • This is used for foreshadowing in one Nancy Drew game. When you speak to a character again, she asks who you are since she doesn't remember you. A clever-eyed person would realize that This girl has a lock of hair on the other side of her head than the one you spoke to earlier — because you're actually speaking to her twin!
  • Uplink very nearly manages to achieve Perfect Integration. It makes sense that stats are divided into discrete numbers, because they all reflect computer hardware. More expensive abilities are better because they make use of more efficient coding and algorithms. It even comes close to having a procedurally-generated story, as the player is given extensive control over how quickly they wish to develop their hacking career, and which side (if any) they want to take over the future of the Internet.
  • The text boxes in Wadanohara And The Great Blue Sea change depending on Wadanohara's appearance and eventually, alignment. At the start of the game, it is white with a dark blue line and ribbon, matching her Sailor Fuku. When her fuku is changed into a blue one with red and white ribbons, the box adds a red stripe and changes the ribbon to match. When the box is narration from the older Wadanohara shown at the prologue, it is deep blue with fancier adornments (reflecting her older self's Frilly Upgrade). In the endings where Wadanohara becomes either the Red Witch or the Blue Witch, the boxes change to match her alignment.
  • We Happy Few: At the beginning of the Lightbearer DLC, Nick is able to raise his health with coffee, Joy and alcohol. Once he begins to grapple with the idea that he's a killer, however, he decides to swear off the Joy and alcohol, and coffee becomes the only thing that raises his health.

    Non-Gaming Examples 

Instances of gameplay and story integration and segregation in the same game:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Game 
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, every move that Batman does in cutscenes is available to him in actual gameplay — except the explosive gel-powered punch (admittedly, it's implied that this breaks some bones in Batman's hand, so it only works once).
    • The story ends with Batman flying off into the city while the game leaves you back at the island. The Batman who is off fighting Two-Face in Gotham probably knows the movenote  while the Batman staying on the island probably doesn't even exist canonically.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: If you play the story you're bound to notice a lot of differences in what is said and done, i.e. Franklin wanting to be more than just a gang banger and do something with his life, and then the player going on a rampage with him.

    Adventure Game 
  • Indivisible: Alot.
    • Party members join and leave Ajna at different points in the story. Sometimes members like Thorani are captured and unusable for the remainder of the level. A character suffers Plotline Death midway through the game making them entirely unavailable, also in that moment Baozhai, Nuna, Quadira, and Thorani leave the party in a bad mood. Making them unusable until you recover them.
    • Ajna’s inner realm becomes more spacious and decorated as you progress through to game, symbolizing her growth as a character.
    • The Iddhi meter grows in size as Ajna becomes more powerful. First she actually gains the bar starting out with one. It snaps to three and five bars when she is being attacked by Ravannavar and Kala respectively. In both instances she also becomes more in touch with her Haruka form and gains more mobility. The last instance she simply attains 7 bars since her transformation into her divine form is less violent and more of a moral revelation.
    • Ajna’s attack pattern in combat changes as she gains new weapons and traversal abilities. Her punches are gradually replaced with bow and arrow, an axe, and spear with different properties. Her Iddhi attacks also change from simple fist beatings into her transforming to crash into her opponent or fire energy beams. Encouraging the player to experiment and learn new combos.
    • The start of the game has Indr teaching Ajna how to protect herself. Throwing you into your first "Battle" as Ajna where the game teaches you how to perform a clean block. Before the final boss Ajna has a flashback to her lesson with Indr, being able to clean block is vital to beating the boss.
    • Ajna's aura chances from multi colored to red, then white as her transformation state evolves.
    • In the Iron Kingdom Kampan passes through a gap in a wall off camera. Ajna immediately vaults into said hole using a spear before Dhar can theorizing how she did it, unlocking the Kampan corkscrew which can be used to access similar roadblocks.
    • Ajna power is augmented by her bonds with her party members. During the final boss Ajna permanently severes ties with them, meaning she becomes weaker. At this point you lose all of your stat bonuses, every new atttack and overworld traversal ability you had (Except for her Axe) as well as your Iddhi meter.
    • Dhar and Ajna are stuck together accidentally early on after he led an assault on her village, burned it down to the ground, and personally murdered her father in front of her. Correspondingly, his heart level starts at -25. note  and increases over time as he starts to atone for his actions. Usually as you play, his heart level will have entered the positives by the time he sacrifices himself to stop Ajna's rampage, mirroring Ajna's attitude towards him. Just starting to view him as a valued friend, only for his life to be cut short.
    • Dhar can still be used in the two fights against Ravannavar. Despite Dhar still being loyal to him (Albiet disregarded) long before he makes his Heel–Face Turn.
  • The core gameplay element in Journey is the flying scarf, with very simple rules: it's charged up by contact with other cloth, extended by finding glowing symbols, and shortened by getting hit by the Guardians. These rules work for most of the game, except in the very end, where you lose your entire scarf to icy wind, get it restored and maxed out by the Ancients, and lose it again, just as you reach the summit. That, especially the maxing-out part, is a perfect example of gameplay and story integration, since the story mandates a dramatic change and the gameplay rules are bent to allow it in a spectacular manner. On the other hand, the White Robe has no justification in the plot and seems to have been mainly added for gameplay reasons, being a mild case of gameplay and story segregation.

    Edutainment Game 
  • The first night in JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade: Jo Hammet, Kid Detective is a Breather Level — during the skateboard stages, Dr. X's Mooks don't come after you at all, meaning you can skateboard all you want since all hitting an obstacle does is slow you down. Actually, this makes perfect sense — Dr. X doesn't know who Jo is, and his goons have no reason to target you at all. Similarly, after she's caught on the second and third nights and escapes, she (offscreen) makes her way to her intended destination because the goons think she's caught, so they don't go after her, Presumably, her doing the task is enough time for the goons to realize that she escaped. The game also features a few skip to the destination scenes, implying that Jo is indeed skateboarding but the Mooks don't see her.
    • At the same time, the game plays Take Your Time straight — it doesn't matter how many times Jo gets caught or how long she spends doing the tasks to get the Plot Coupons, the bomb will never actually go off, nor will the situation at the sabotaged industrial plant get any worse.

    Hack and Slash 
  • The Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi games are all about pulling off those ridiculous, over-the-top abilities most other games only have cutscenes for, to such a degree that when some of the games tried to make things more "realistic", the fans complained. However, if the plot calls for somebody to die, then they're going to die no matter what, even if they might otherwise have survived if you had full control.
    • Subverted in the hypothetical story routes, as one of the steps usually needed to unlock these is to prevent a character (or characters) from dying, usually by taking out the unit that would kill them.
  • In One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, several of the manga's rules are discarded for the sake of gameplay. In the manga, Logia Devil Fruit users are normally intangible unless one uses Haki (or that element's main weakness), but everyone can hit them just fine unless they enter their Super Mode in this game. However, one convention is kept: Sanji's refusal to harm women. Sanji can't deal damage to them directly: the only way to do so is to have a partner deal with them via Crew Strike Combo.

  • League of Legends: Cassiopeia, who has a snake tail instead of legs, gets a level-based speed bonus but can't use boots. However, she's the only champion who gets this; other characters who don't use legs to get around (Corki, for example, who's a pilot) still get speed bonuses from boots.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, it doesn't matter if you finish every task on your worksheet with over a month to spare: when you play as Escha, everyone will get on your case for your "irresponsible" behaviour. Such as taking a break. Or thinking about taking a break. It's kinda Truth in Television, though in that it's less that she takes a break, and more that she takes a break while she's ON THE CLOCK. Anyone who's worked retail can tell the difference. On the flip-side, Logy describes the cauldron process Escha uses for synthesizing items as inefficient compared to the methods in Central City. And, indeed, whereas it can take days to synthesize items using the cauldron, weapons or armor imbued by Logy always take only a day to complete, no matter how good they are. And the disassembler works immediately.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Setting aside the scene where it cleaves a cliff face in two, never to display that kind of power again, there are two battles where the Masamune displays power that it was said to have in cutscenes and dialogue. In the battle against Magus, the sword, which was said to be one of the few weapons that would allow them to defeat Magus, bypasses Magus's Barrier Change trick and drops his magic defense stat. Later on, the team uses a red knife to drain Lavos' power out of the Mammon Machine. The red knife then turns into the Masamune. If you use the Masamune on the Mammon Machine when you fight it later, the sword bypasses its defense boost trick and heals Frog, by way of draining the energy from it, just like it did before. (The rest of Crono and Co's arsenal also tend to get some sort of justification for their stat boosts.)
    • At one point in the game, the party is captured and stripped of all their equipment, being forced to stealth their way around until they recover their equipment and unable to even attack without weapons. Since Ayla doesn't use any weapons anyway, though, she can just punch her way through any enemy encounters if she's in your active party at the time. But it still doesn't explain why your Robot Buddy with the built-in laser beams or your magically-gifted party members cannot do the same.
  • Fallout 2 provides an interesting example. The combat system was clunky and un-intuitive even for its time; Players should expect to be hounded by a conspiracy between the Random Number God and their own inability to control their minigun-loving party members. Also, as a western RPG, the dialogue system and emergent weirdness are arguably the whole point of the game. Speaking of which, the Chosen One's dialogue choices change the further south (Read: further in the main story) s/he goes. Initially an innocent inexperienced savage, the Chosen One gradually evolves into a sarcastic jackass who's Seen It All. Assuming you're a first time player and aren't Sequence Breaking, the change in tone will mirror your growing familiarity with the game.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Tellah's maximum MP will never go above 90, unless the player exploits a bug in the SNES and PS 1 versions of the game. Meteor costs 99 MP, so when he needs to cast it for a scripted battle, he has to spend his life force to do so. On the other hand, spells cannot be Cast from Hit Points in the gameplay proper, making it also an example of Cutscene Power to the Max.
  • Final Fantasy V:
    • Early in the game, you have to get a medicinal herb for your Dragon, but you get ambushed by a pair of Hunters who are after it. In the pre-battle cutscene they shoot a Poisoned Arrow at Lenna, and sure enough, she starts the ensuing fight already poisoned.
      • Also in the same cutscene, Lenna finds helm that belongs to her father. It's represented as mithrill helm in your inventory later.
    • The party members attempt to use the strongest healing items and spells at their disposal on a character who has been Killed Off for Real to no avail. Fighting at 0 HP rendered him Deader Than Dead. On the other hand, it's possible for characters in that cutscene to try to use Curaga and Raise on Galuf even if they haven't gained a single level in any White Magic-related jobs. Or to use Phoenix Downs even if you don't currently have any in your inventory. As for how they got that far out without white magic, who'd actually try that outside a Four Job Fiesta?
  • Final Fantasy IX:
    • In the first fight with Steiner below deck on the Theatre Ship — he'll use Armour Break on Blank. He won't be able to learn this skill until the third disk.
    • In the You Are Not Alone bit, Garnet will cast Curaga on Zidane. Even if the player hasn't learned it yet. And she'll still have to learn it again afterwards.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Baaj Temple is underwater, so only the party of Tidus, Wakka and Rikku can get inside. Yet when you go to the fayth chamber, all party members are in the scene.
    • The Luca Goers are said to be the best Blitzball team in the league — and they win every year. Yet when the player actually plays Blitzball, the Goers' stats aren't that much higher than that of the Aurochs.
    • Right before the fight against Seymour in Macalania Temple, Kimahri rushes ahead to the Cloister of Trials. But if you choose to leave the temple and fight fiends, he'll still be in the party.
    • Wakka will praise Tidus on how well he handled himself in battle. This will happen whether you actually use Tidus in battles or not.
  • Final Fantasy X-2:
    • Yuna still has to learn the White Mage abilities from scratch once you acquire the Dressphere. This is despite her having various White Mage abilities when you start off with her in the first game. One could argue that she forgot them due to not having to use them in battle in the two years of peace since the first game ended. Rikku however also has to learn the Thief abilities from scratch too, despite apparently still being quite adventurous after Sin's defeat.
    • In Chapter 3 when fiends are pouring out of the temples, the Gullwings suggest charging in exchange for helping get rid of them. Yet the player never gets any Gil for stopping the fiends.

    Strategy- Turn Based 
  • In the Updated Re-release for Fire Emblem Gaiden, during the "Flight From The Ruins" DLC, Clair seeks out a ring that bestows immunity to magic to protect her brother Clive, who has "a weakness to magic," something that he actually does have in the game. That said, considering that Clive is not a very strong unit, Mathilda's reassuring Clair that Clive is "the strongest of the world's strongest knights," rings hollow.

    Survival Horror 
  • Jill in Resident Evil 3 (Remake) takes hard falls and is thrown around like a ragdoll in several scenes. Once the player regains control, Jill is limping from her injuries. However, her health does not change and the limp quickly goes away.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gameplay And Story Integration, Sliding Scale Of Story And Gameplay Integration, Story And Gameplay Integration


Pikachu Evolves Out Of The Lov

Pikachu Evolves Out Of The Love He Feels For The Kangaskhan Family - Pokémon

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration

Media sources:

Main / SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration