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Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration
aka: 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:
    • A plot injury limiting gameplay options in a unusual way: if the Player Character breaks a limb or two, certain abilities or even actions may be disabled for a few levels; after suffering a (partial) blindness or brain damage, massive Interface Screw can be expected; being suddenly rendered mute may prevent the character from casting spells, initiating dialogue, and playing automatic voice snippets (like battle cries and victory quips).
    • Alternatively, injuries sustained during cutscenes/dialogue can simply stick with the character in form of a Hit Point loss or Status Effects that are ordinarily sustained in regular combat. This is usually done immediately before a fight for additional challenge.
  • Altering a boss battle based on the choices the player made and the quests they accomplished. For example, a boss may be made harder if you did something to anger them earlier in the game.
  • 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:
    • Accurately reflecting characters' story characterization in their gameplay stats and, conversely, the stats in their story-relevant abilities. While it is trivial that a melee fighter would have a high Strength score, it is much less common for him to use that strength for anything except bashing skulls (e.g., for lifting a fallen tree to free someone trapped under it). Particularly common is the use of the Luck Stat to reflect a character Born Lucky or Unlucky, since the latter tropes can be exploited for a number of subplots or simple Running Gags.
    • Giving individual characters unique perks or special abilities that reflect their Back Story and/or Character Development. In a Technician Versus Performer duo for example, the technician character may have abilities that need resource management or situational awareness to use to their full extent, while the performer's skills might reward improvisation and twitch reaction speeds. Conversely, the story can remove some of the player's abilities after plot events transpire that should render them less favorable or useless; if the player character learns an Awful Truth about their abilities, it wouldn't make sense for them to keep using them unless they had a story reason for it (such as justifying it for the greater good).
    • Because players often see their characters as a stand-in for themselves, supporting characters can be given gameplay roles that translate to how the protagonist or player should feel towards them. A Hate Sink villain might take actions that run contrary to what the player wants beyond just being an obstacle to overcome, which may mean attempting to prevent 100% Completion or being That One Boss, making the catharsis all the more satisfying. On the other hand, a companion ally that the player is supposed to like may tangibly assist the player, such as retrieving resources for them or helping during a difficult fight, so the player cares for them not just because of the role the play in the story, but also because they're useful in gameplay.
    • Having characters use the same abilities in cutscenes as they would in actual gameplay — better yet, have them only use said abilities to the extent that they have developed them in gameplay terms up to that point.
  • Or the inverse: representing some or all of the major themes of the story during actual play in the form of game mechanics, sort of the interactive media equivalent of Show, Don't Tell. A story intended to be purely sad, scary, or disempowering could easily fail to have that effect on players if the gameplay was a Power Fantasy.
  • 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 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • 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, they are said to have "desynchronized" (i.e. failed to accurately duplicate the ancestors' actions), are able to retry missions because the protagonist can restart the simulation at will and need to do so in-universe because the Animus must do memories in sequence to access later memories, they can pause or stop at will by disconnecting themself from the terminal, and 100% Completion is equated with "100% Synchronization" (i.e. recreating their ancestors' lives with 100% accuracy, the typical goal of the protagonists for plot reasons). Even the gameplay advances between games are justified in-story: Desmond accesses his ancestors' memories through slightly more advanced versions of the Animus system (the events of Assassin's Creed II, for example, are played through the "Animus 2.0"), and each iteration of the 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 (reaching the age of 40 in Renaissance Italy was an achievement, 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.
  • 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.
    • A major theme of the story throughout the series, in keeping with the George A. Romero movies it was inspired by, is that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and this is reflected in the gameplay. Each game features human enemies (called Psychopaths in the first three games, renamed Maniacs in the fourth) who serve as boss battles, and even the easiest ones are far deadlier and tougher to kill than any of the zombies, while the toughest ones can easily become That One Boss.
  • In the first Devil May Cry game:
    • 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 melee 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's Awakening:
    • 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. In fact 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 4: Special Edition has each character play fitting with their style:
    • Fitting his hot-headed, no-nonsense nature, Nero's attacks are hard hitting, brutal and rapid and often result in the enemies he hits being Blown Across the Room by his combo finishers, encouraging using Snatch to drag them back into his range to start the process all over again.
    • Dante meanwhile fully embraces his Master of All nature, being near the peak of his development as a fighter at this point in time. He has no less than six total weapons between guns and melee, each with tons of combos, flexibility and flashiness as he's more or less playing with his food with demons that are far below his pay grade at this point.
    • Vergil has a unique concentration gauge mechanic that rewards you for staying locked on to enemies in their attack rage, dodging their attacks, not whiffing your attacks and generally playing like how Vergil fights, rewarding you with higher damage, more dangerous attacks, and access to his unique Limit Break Judgement Cut: End. Doing Un-Vergil-like things like missing attacks, getting hit or running around (as opposed to his usual Unflinching Walk when he's not using his Dark Slayer Flash Step) causes the concentration gauge to reset entirely.
    • Lady is the team's Badass Normal and it shows - her melee skills are piss poor but she has the best range option period with immense damage on some of her attacks. Instead of a Devil Trigger Super Mode, she instead spends her DT gauge on a Limit Break where she throws an increasingly large amount of grenades around her for extreme damage.
    • Trish, while possessing the Sparda blade, is a fistfighter primarily, she's by far at her most dangerous when she doesn't have the sword in her possession (usually by locking down an enemy with round trip) so she can punch and kick with her demonic, lightning-infused limbs.
  • Devil May Cry 5:
    • 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.
    • V has his entire skill list available from the start and just has to pay orbs for more attacks for his familiars, unlike Nero and Dante who aquire new weapons and new Devil Trigger forms. V is revealed to be the dying human half of Vergil who seperated human from demon for power and his familiars are born from the nightmares of what he once was. They are all incomplete fragments trying to right the wrong of their former self so they don't look to become any greater then what they are.
    • Comparing the movesets of V and Nero with Vergil's and you can really see how much they take after him. They all are about using more power to deal the maximum amount of damage in the smallest amount of time. Turns out one is his Enemy Without and the other is his son.
    • 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 (a weakened) Vergil despite still being far below them in experience and relative power and having JUST awoken his Devil form. It's also the only time in the series where Devil Trigger energy automatically refills, once again reflecting how powerful Nero's surge of emotion is making him. After he's calmed down and it's back to business as usual, his DT gauge fills and empties normally.
    • Vergil and Dante's fight is largely a clash of egos more than anything else, as Vergil intends to destroy the Quiloph tree same as Dante when they fight ends. Accordingly taunting during the fight leads to other taunting back as both are not treating it as a fight to the death but a grudge match. Do it too much and the other will get sick of it.
    • 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.
  • Genshin Impact has quite a few.
    • Usually a characters' skills and elemental powers will conform to their personality and goals. Hard rocker Xinyan is all about big critical hits and crowd control, battle maid Noelle is noted to take on all tasks on herself and can tank, deal damage and heal but isn't a full fledged knight so she requires a lot of work put into her.
    • Interpersonal relationships are taken into account in the synergy of characters. In the Knights of Favonious, Jean is considered the glue keeping them together, and she has great healing and elemental cleansing to get any team through any conflict. Xingqiu and Bennett are great support who work best with their in-lore friends, Chongyun and Razor.
    • The Visions are gifts from the Archons given to those they have chosen for staying on their goal in spite of hardship. Fittingly most bearers have a lot in common personality wise with each other and their god. Trickster God Barbatos, who lives among humans as Venti, has Vision bearers who are free spirited and desire freedom. Morax, who you meet as Zhongli, gives his to people who face their trials with perseverance. Part of the reason the Electro Archon enacted the decree is because nobody could die without their Vision and if crippling depression occurs because of its loss, it is because they were using it as a crutch. Electro vision users are either lacking in ambition like Lisa and Razor, or self reliant without it like Keqing and Beidou.
    • The Archons themselves guide their lands with an even hand but have frightening power they bring to bear on those who disrupt their laws. Venti, Zhong-li and Ei have supportive Elemental skills and massively powerful Bursts, generally being far stronger than normal Vision bearers. Nahida is the exception to this rule, as the God of Wisdom and the events of the past left her far weaker than her fellow Archons, she specializes in chaining enemies with elemental reactions, doing best in a team of multiple elements rather than focusing down on one.
    • Arlecchino's powers come from a curse that originates from a foreign world. Fittingly her playstyle is very different, most obvious is that she cannot be healed by other characters and can only heal using her own abilities.
  • 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. At his worst before he snaps out of it, Atreus might even refuse to use a life shard should Kratos go down in combat, resulting in a game over.
    • Starting out his journey, Atreus is an unblooded child who hasn'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
      • The Yiga Clan 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.
    • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's second DLC has situations where the player character is locked out of using runes because the diminutive Guardian who activated the Sheikah slates isn't with those characters at the time, or they're not in possession of a slate to begin with. The first mission like this doesn't allow King Rhoam to use Runes at all, while the second has Kohga find a fragment of the Guardian's lost memories, which gives him the runes to use.
    • Tears of the Kingdom
      • The game opens with Link being attacked by pure gloom from the freshly revived Ganondorf and being left severely crippled, which is shown to the player (and justifies the Bag of Spilling) in the form of all of Link's hearts in his maxed out health meter visibly breaking. Whenever you upgrade Link's health or stamina, it's explicitly described by Hylia as cleansing the gloom corruption affecting him, and wisps of the gloom visibly shed off of Link when he receives one. When you fight Ganondorf again, all of his attacks cause gloom, and when he decides to stop playing around and assumes his Demon King form, being touched by his gloom will permanently (for the fight) destroy a heart container, just like his attack in the prologue.
      • Like in the previous game, the Master Sword has limited durability before going on a cooldown. In the final battle however (and unlike the final battle in the last game), it has infinite durability unlike any other point - or any other weapon - in the game. Since you're fighting Ganondorf, the person the sword was made to kill, it's finally unleashing all of its sacred power to help take him down.
  • 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:
    • The games occasionally try to give justifications for why Samus starts each game with a mere fraction of her full arsenal. In Prime, her armor gets damaged in the opening minutes of gameplay after giving you A Taste of Power; in Prime 2: Echoes and Dread, she has her abilities stolen by the antagonist(s); in Fusion, the Galactic Federation had to remove parts of her armor (and thus some of her abilities) to save her life; and in Other M she does have all her gear, but chooses to spend most of the game not using certain abilities until her former C.O. Adam Malkovich gives permission (this controversially includes even purely defensive and traversal abilties).
    • In Fusion, despite the mission being on a Federation ship, Samus still only receives her upgrades one at a time instead all at once, when the organization should be fully able to do so. Turns out the reason for them not doing this is because the Galactic Federation intended to capture SA-X, and was deliberately withholding her abilities from her as long as possible to discourage her from engaging it.
    • Health and ammo pickups in Fusion and the latter half of Dread are jusitified as being 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, which continues into Dread, where the suit is still regenerating.
    • The cutscenes in Dread show Samus fighting enemies much like does in gameplay. She uses the same dodge and parry moves that the player can use, and while dealing with the indestructible E.M.M.I. Samus cannot damage them at all and evades them using her Aeion abilities the same way the player would.
    • In Dread, when Samus uses her burgeoning Metroid siphoning ability to drain an enemy, she's shown using the energy drained to cap-off her energy tanks. This isn't the case for Raven Beak, where despite the enormous amount of energy from both the Chozo and his ship, her energy tanks are still where they last were. Clearly she doesn't wish to have anymore of Raven Beak in her body than there already is, but where does all that energy go then? The Hyper Beam.
    • Also in Dread is the Metroid suit formed from Samus' new Metroid powers going out of control. To illustrate the power and lack of control the Arm Cannon is stuck on Wave-Motion Gun mode, incapable of using the missiles and grapple beam. If you where to hack the suit earlier, you would be unable to enter extreme temperatures because it overrides the Varia and Gravity suits.
  • 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 and stops new bodies for the protagonists being made, functionally meaning no more extra lives from that point onward. 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.
  • New Legends allows you to Dual Wield assorted weapons throughout the game, until you lose an arm in an unskippable cutscene. In the following stage you lose your ability, and regains it after you're granted a new stone arm.
  • 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 to buy into assassination gigs; 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. The exorbitant fees that Sylvia demands from Travis to let him do assassination fights are justified in-universe at the game's end, when it's revealed that she set up the United Assassin Association as a long con job on him; the other Assassins were just random killers and freaks that she also strung along to bilk Travis out of money.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle works in the opposite direction of this; the UAA has become a genuine organization due to many people either wanting to fight Travis for the honor of fighting him, or for revenge. As Travis himself is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the majority of the game after his friend Bishop was murdered as Misplaced Retribution by the UAA's #1 and he's utterly hyper-fixated on getting vengeance, the open-world segments are completely gone as Travis no longer wants to waste time screwing around in the city, preferring instead to head from Point A to Point B as fast as possible so he can do whatever he needs to at the destination and then be on to his next target.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars:
    • 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 
  • Battle Arena Toshinden: Duke's code of honor means that he is the only character who is unable to attack enemies whilst they're on the floor, choosing instead to taunt them when you attempt to do so which reduces their Overdrive gauge, unlike normal taunts, which increase it instead.
  • BlazBlue:
    • All 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 and getting stunned with the backlash if the player tries to do them anyway *. Similarly, Jin spends most of the game struggling to overcome the willpower of his sentient weapon, which ultimately manifests as him refusing to use it anymore and 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 with all of his moves available.
    • 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 and Injustice 2:
    • The games provide 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.
    • In the first Injustice game, Harley Quinn's character trait is a Random Effect Spell where she pulls out an item with different effects; two of these are a picture of the Joker, which she kisses to get a buff to her damage, and a rose from Poison Ivy, which restores her health. In Injustice 2, she hates the Joker due to her Heel–Face Turn and is no longer friends with Poison Ivy, so her character trait has been replaced with a completely different ability where she calls her pet hyenas to attack.
  • 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 (until the player earns the Red Stone of Aja, which lets them overcome their weakness to sunlight like it does in the manga), 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. Similarly, Dio has his own campaign, and he has 9 different styles.
  • 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.
    • Speaking of Ash Crimson, two moves that he received courtesy of stealing Chizuru's and Iori's powers were his Germinal LDM (in XI-XIII)note  and Fructidor (his KOF XIII Neo Max)note . Come his return in KOF XV and, due to Chizuru and Iori gaining their powers back after his sacrifice at the end of XIII, he no longer has access to either of these moves.
  • 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:
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament, if you pair up Kazuya Mishima with Devil, the two will have a special transformation animation when tagging in and out, which makes sense, since they are the same person. (However, this is actually a disadvantage, since the the animation takes longer, and cannot be used when Kazuya or Devil is lying down.) The same applies if you pair up Unknown and Devil then tag out Unknown when she mimics Kazuya's moveset, but doesn't happen if you pair up Kazuya or Unknown with Angel (Devil's palette swap).
    • Tekken 4 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.
    • Since Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Devil Kazuya has been integrated into Kazuya's moveset, representing how the latter has fully embraced and mastered his Devil Gene. By contrast, Devil Jin is still a separate character, as Jin rejects the Devil Gene, and his transformations are almost always involuntary. Also, Jin and Devil Jin tag in and out much like the other characters, lacking Kazuya's spectacle in the original Tag, although they do have a unique intro pose where Jin stands alone.
  • 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 
  • Alien: Isolation:
    • The controls often change depending on what is happening in the story. Amanda won't run in the first bit of gameplay because she just got out of cryo and there is no immediate threat. You can't loot bodies or melee until the end of the first chapter because that is when Amanda finally has blood on her hands from saving Axel. After the first cutscene with an alien in full view and the controls return you cannot get up for a few seconds, reflecting her fear.
    • The Alien changes its behaviors as the game continues and Amanda evades it again and again. At first it only drops in predetermined times unless you make a significant sound. Later it drops in front of her, marking the point that it actively hunts her. And then when you can push it back with the flamethrower it gauges how far you can shoot it and how much you got in the tank.
  • 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 a meta version, the early trailers and demos got flack for being not reflective of the final product with the game having changed drastically by the time it came out. the alternate reality and infinite timeline reveal at the end implies the demo version of Columbia did exist, just not in the timeline we play, with one of the alternate timeline Elizabeths being the one from the 'cut content' reality.
  • Call of Duty:
    • 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 series' standard 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. Normally it would just be Cutscene Incompetence, but in this case it's more likely an application of the game's use of Arbitrary Gun Power, where in extreme close range the pistols really will floor people in one shot.
    • 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, you don't get proper regenerating health, as Hudson can't shrug off a hole in his protection against a near-instantly-fatal biochemical weapon.
    • 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 protagonist Gordon Freeman's lack of agency over the story as otherworldly entities use Earth for their own purposes, whether it's the G-Man, the Nihilanth, or the Combine. Also, Half-Life 2's Episodes begin with Gordon not at full health, due to him being injured from a scene in the previous game.
  • The Halo series is one of the few that actually gives an explanation for each game's Art Evolution, and why even staple equipment and character designs change in subtle and not so subtle ways between games. The Covenant are stated to have a whole "design pattern" doctrine, where their equipment is made from templates whose creation is under immense bureaucratic scrutiny and dogma, and which have a habit of self-mutating. The Forerunners have multiple architectural styles that are inspired by the needs of their caste system and location, while the UNSC are shown to have a massive network of defense contracts.
  • My Friendly Neighborhood:
    • Most first person survival heroes are slow plodding people who can inexplicably wield multiple weapons like a pro. Protagonist Gordon has a backstory that actually accounts for those, he is a veteran who has gained a much pudgier body and asthma from his soldier days.
    • The fact that enemies don't change up their tactics is also accounted for, they are basically insane puppets who have learned violence from tv and consider pushing around Gordon violently playtime.
    • None of the enemies can be killed, only knocked unconscious and taped up. Gordon's weapons are repurposed tools that wouldn't look lethal if used on a human, much less the giant puppets he deals with.
  • 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 the big, heavily-armored Tank heroes, which the mech fills a similar description to.
    • 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.
      • Doomfist's kit was altered to a Tank for Overwatch 2, and actually is more like the cinematic. He can now guard with his armored gauntlet and his shockwaves slow down whose hit. His new guard move increases the power of his next Rocket Punch as well which is something he does in the fight.
    • Talon's agents have a belief that Conflict breeds greatness. Virtually all of them are Difficult, but Awesome that need to do damage for some of their abilities. Reaper leeches health with every hit from close range shotguns, Widowmaker has a slow charging but powerful sniper rifle, Doomfist must land his abilities to charge his shields, Moira has to charge her healing by siphoning health from her enemies, and Sigma has to balance being behind his shield or going in front to block shots himelf. Sombra is different from her cohorts in that she hacks enemies to pick them off when they are down, fitting for the Wild Card that is using Talon for her own ends.
    • 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 (where omnics and humans live in harmony), 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 [Cassidy's 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.
    • Junkertown is known as a lawless outback in a now radioactive Australia. Fittingly, virtually every character that spent time there is a Combat Pragmatist that uses dirty and selfish tactics. Junkrat uses grenades, bear traps and mines to attack without needing line of sight, Roadhog has a hook line to pick out strays and his heal only works on him, and Wrecking Ball (who built his mech there) uses Hit-and-Run Tactics to dart in and out of fire while messing with everyone's placements. The Junker Queen's short shows that she is different from the usual members of Junkertown and looks out for others and cooperates to win, so she has an ability that can heal allies but still fights dirty with bleed damage.
  • 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.
  • The Splatoon series loves to make use of this trope, with most gameplay elements and aspects of the world having some detailed explanation behind them. Most of these explanations tend to be All There in the Manual, given either by the "Squid Research Lab" — a group of human scientists (and probably the only humans) who are dedicated to analyzing the behavior of all these anthropromorphic sea creatures — or the developers themselves, breaking down everything from why Splatfests can occasionally correlate to present-day pop culturenote , to why your character is fighting mutant salmon on a desolate island in the Horde Modenote , to even why you can't swim in water despite being an aquatic creaturenote .
  • Uncharted: The series' explanation for how a regular human like Drake has Regenerating Health is that his health is really a luck meter where the last hit is the one that actually lands and kills him. Snipers who take the time to line their shots are One-Hit Kill machines cause luck doesn't help with a clear shot like that.
    • Each weapon type has a different explanation for why they never need reloading. The Revolver fires microscopic pieces of metal that can be simply scratched off its surface, giving it functionally infinite ammo. The Shotgun is a true infinite-ammo weapon that fires hyperconcentrated heat bullets and can be overcharged. The Railcannon is a portable electricity generator with a presumably renewable power source, and the Rocket Launcher generates rockets out of blood, like the Marksman's coins. The only gun where this seems to be averted is the Nailgun, a pre-war bullet weapon, but even then the description specifically says that it has virtually infinite ammunition as well.
    • Why is there Gameplay Grading that gives out a points currency? As revealed in the P-2 lore terminal, the terminals you keep finding in Hell are from a previous expedition into it, and when the link between the terminals and Earth got cut off the terminals somehow developed something similar to boredom. Without any new stimuli to stave off monotony, they resorted to trading with the other abandoned machines in Hell for video footage of their battles for survival. Machines that provide high-quality videos - i.e., more "stylish" footage - receive more "points" to exchange for new weaponry.
    • The Health/Damage Asymmetry is given a nod that the player character has a unique armor that trades durability for instantly absorbing blood for fuel. That is also why no other robotic enemy heals from blood spatters like you do.
    • The P-2 ARG explained in simple but terrifying fashion why doors lock and enemies spawn to set up encounters: Hell is not only alive, it's malicious. All the door-locking and teleportation around of souls is just to torment the sinners within it for its own twisted amusement.
  • Valorant is a Hero Shooter with a cast of distinct characters that allows players from different teams to pick the same character. Unlike many other multiplayer games that ignore or brush off the fact that characters can potentially fight duplicates of themselves, this is actually a plot point here; the agents are battling their alternate universe counterparts.
  • 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 his severed head is attached to a Nazi Super-Soldier body that he regains his full health.

    Platform Game 
  • Bowser's Fury: Fury Bowser is revealed to be the result of Bowser's fury corrupting the magic paint he was covered in making him and those touched by the Fury Ink into their forms. Those corrupted have a unique disposition to always fight and are signified by health bars above their heads. In the final battle Bowser is finally cured of his corruption but still wants to defeat Mario and comes back through rage as Giant Bowser. Giant Bowser acts much more like the Bowser of other games, he has no health bar, moves backward as you close in on him, and lets loose projectiles from a distance.
  • The first three endings in Demon's Crest 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 Mario Must Die 3, Bowser has noticed that Mario has the ability to warp time and space, integrating savestates and slowdowns into the hack's plot.
  • Mega Man:
    • 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.
      • Later in the game you find him defeated in Shade Man's stage. During his proper boss fight, Bass' weakness is Shademan's weapon.
      • If you collide with the projectiles that you copied from Shade Man, they power up. Use his weapon on him in the rematch and Shademan will respond with a powered up shot.
    • Megaman X 1 only allows you to get Dr. Light upgrades after getting the dash from the first leg upgrade. So the capsule conversation is longer and also unavoidable because he left it directly in the way. Series wide the dash is the only upgrade X keeps to show that was their first meeting.
    • Mega Man X3 has optional battles with Vile. Use his weakness on him and he will die, changing his level in the final area. Usually Vile rampages in his level destroying it and leaving it without a mid-boss. If Vile died earlier in the playthrough, the level will be pristine with its Mid-boss and its own Boss still intact.
    • Mega Man X4 is the first game where Zero is playable all the time so his and X's health bars are the same. Notably this means that the previous games' maximum health, where Zero was playable in limited amounts with X's maxed life bar, is their starting health here.
    • 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 the third mission of Zero space there is an oddly empty room just before the X vs Zero boss. Considering that the other member shows up in the next room, the implication is that they beat the boss that was in the room themselves.
      • If Eurasia falls and Zero turns Maverick his boss battle changes to reflect it. He is much more aggressive and willing to use his Ground Pound, making it a lot harder to avoid damage. After a while he becomes invincible and starts spamming a One-Hit Kill Sword Beam, as the virus empowers him further and he loses the last shred of his reason and friendship with X. After the battle in regular gameplay, Zero sacrifices himself to save X proving that a part of him still cared.
    • Megaman X 6: Zero has a subtly different set of sprites when compared to the proceeding game. Because he was repaired practically entirely after the ending. His saber is different because X is using his old one.
  • 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 and past, 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 is a paranoiac, 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.
  • Psychonauts 2.
    • This game continues the trend the first game set by having worlds make sense for who's mind you're visiting.
      • Dr. Loboto's mind starts off as a normal office building made as a construct by Sasha to trick him into revealing what he knows, but starts to break down as Loboto realizes what's happening and gets control back, turning into a twisted and grotesque mishmash of office environments with flesh, exposed nerves, teeth and dental equipment before breaking down entirely and becoming almost purely the latter and the whole time this is happening, you're getting scenes of two Lobotos, one on the dentist chair and one doing the procedure, treating breaking the construct and removing the Psychonauts invading his head as an extraction of a bad tooth.
      • The neurotic and anxious Compton Boole's mind is a high-pace, high-stress cooking show with unpleasable judges to represent his anxieties over his friends judging him for his failures.
      • Bob Zanotto's Alcoholism is represented by islands dotting an ocean of alcohol separating him from his mental images of his friends, family and his deceased husband, showing how he's been Drowning His Sorrows to keep the pain caused by them away, but leaving him stranded in the process.
      • Cassie O'Piea has a System-based variant of Dissassociative Identity Disoder, which means she's able to smoothly create new personalities and persona as needed, so her mind appears as a massive library compiling all of her knowledge from the various lives she's lead, with her four most major Systems having their own areas based on specific memories.
      • Helmut Fullbear's mind is the result of a Brain in a Jar recieving stimulus for the first time in several decades, appearing as a psychadelic wonderland themed after the senses the mind is rediscovering after getting to experience them again (And also because Helmut was a musician in the 60s-70s who almost definitely did some drugs). Also several times the mind gets severely overstimulated by these experiences and suffers a panic attack, forcing you to fight the enemy of the same name.
      • The mind of the Big Bad, Gristol Malik, is a cheesy, Self-Serving Memory riff of "It's a small world" phrasing him and Maligula as saints and the Psyschonauts as psychotic warmongers. The level is intentionally painfully linear and completely devoid of any thought that doesn't directly involve him or Maligula, showing just how selfish, small-minded and deluded he is. Also besides his delusions, Gristol is almost completely sane, so the only enemies you fight (Besides a trap he set involving a childhood near-death experience) are Censors and Doubts - Regrets notably don't appear at any point despite being fairly common enemies in every other mind, showing how he's perfectly fine with everything he's done.
      • The final level of the game, Lucrecia's Lament, is the mind of Raz's grandmother Nona. The first part of the level is a flea circus where simulacrums of the Aquatos play out their acts to keep her happy and trapped in the brainwashing she's under. The second act is a saccharine, peaceful meadow made of quilted fabric, representing how even though Nona's life as an Aquato was built on a lie, she did make a genuinely happy, loving life out of it. The final area is the dam where all of Lucrecia's memories of her previous life and time as Maligula is sealed up by the Astralathe's effects, quite literally walling off the trauma that created Maligula behind all of her emotional baggage (which dumps all five collectables in front of it when it begins to rupture). After Maligula is unleashed, her entire mindscape has been replaced with the dam breaking incident in Grulovia that gave birth to Maligula, as she's completely dominanted Nona's mind and personality.
    • Raz's first new power is to make Mental Connections from one train of thought to another. After accidentally using it in an unexpected way, he finds that he can connect two train of thoughts that weren't connected to create a new one, effectively rewiring and brainwashing someone. After the first real level of the game where he turns Hollis Forsythe into a crazed gambling addict, realizing what he did and feeling shame for it and getting a chewing out from her and Sasha, he vows to never do it again. Accordingly, the speech bubble aspect of Mental Connect disappears from the game entirely.
    • At the end of the game into the post-game, Raz has learned that the Hand of Galachio is actually his own psychic Power Incontinence (and tampering from Ford) making his fears of dying in the water a reality. After the game's climax when he's learned it's all in his head and has gotten over it, the Hand becomes an ally - instead of grabbing him and ripping him under the water, it pushes him out and will catch him balancing on a finger when he runs out of "jumps" or guide him back to shore if it can. And, since the hand is now on Raz's side, there's no more Super Drowning Skills - voiding out in water no longer does damage.
    • The interns take a while to warm up to Raz. With the exception of Sam and Norma, their initial Clairvoyance view of him is an embarrassed Raz in his underwear. After Raz gains their respect on the casino mission, Their Clairvoyance view of him changes— Adam sees Raz as a Psychonaut, Morris sees Raz as a radio personality, Lizzie sees him as a fellow punk and Gisu sees him as a cool skateboarder. However, Norma views Raz as a mole in the Psychonauts. Once the true identity of the mole is finally revealed, Norma finally starts see Raz as a Psychonaut.
    • Each of the new enemy types have a specific weakness to one of Raz's psychic powers - in ways that mirror how one would actually deal with the negative thoughts they personify;
      • Regrets are weak and only annoying individually but can pile up if you don't deal with them - they're best dealt with by shooting them with psi-blast, approaching and picking them off one at a time from an outside (ranged) perspective, or by literally taking the weight off their shoulders with Telekinesis (and then throwing it back at them).
      • Doubts are slow-moving sludge monsters that can bog you down if you let them linger too long - they're extremely vulnerable to being set on fire and the puddle they leave on death is destroyed by fire; burning away doubts leads to a clean, clear mind.
      • Bad Ideas shoot bombs from a range like how a bad idea is removed from thinking clearly - they're dealt with mental connection, which lets you face the idea head on, or by using telekinesis to throw their projectiles back at them, making it literally blow up in their face.
      • Judges represent a fear of being judged by oneself or by others - they're one of the harder enemies because these insecurities tend to be deeply rooted, but can be made significantly easier by stealing their gavel and making them less scary, like helping the person realize the judgements are unfounded or not real.
      • Panic Attacks are blinding fast and nigh-uncatchable, trying to power through them will just be an exercise in frustration and make things worse - This is one of the most obvious ones as the way to deal with real panic attacks is to slow your thoughts, relax, and calm down, which time bubble does all three of these things.
      • Enablers reinforce other enemies, making them invincible, faster and stronger - they're prime targets for Shoot the Medic First and interruptible by setting them on fire or clocking them with a TK-thrown object. Focusing on dealing with and ignoring enablers, toxic influences and things reinforcing negative thoughts is the first step that has to be taken for any kind of psychological healing to be done.
      • Bad Moods are invincible until they open up for clairvoyance to find and destroy the cage locking their heart - bad moods always have something that's caused them, and instead of forcing through them and making things worse, empathy needs to be shown to find the source of the bad mood and remedy it.
    • The Final Boss is revealed to be the primal part of the "Fight or Flight" instinct that's constantly stuck on "Fight" and has overtaken Lucrecia's personality due to the Psychic 7's mental experimentation. As such, while Maligula has a giant health pool, she has no defensive capabilities whatsoever, preferring Attack! Attack! Attack! as her primary and only combat strategy.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • 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.
      • Eggman's tactics in boss battles change depending on when you meet him in the story. At first he is overconfident in the Egg Hornet and gets himself into attack range when he hits the ground with a flashy drill attack. Against Tails in the Egg Walker, he is done with his passive meddling and attempts raw brute force but his recklessness leads to another loss. In the Egg Viper boss fight, he is so far past his limit that he makes massively aggressive plays such as destroying an entire section by ramming it and bringing Sonic in closer even if it makes him vulnerable. He caps it off by trying to ram Sonic one last time while his vehicle is self-destructing.
      • Tails' gameplay is a plethora of races. Sonic's races have an AI that allows Tails to keep up if left behind but speeds up if he falls behind himself, showing their friendly competition. Eggman sticks to one predetermined route that he completes at the same pace, showing his lack of sportsmanship and ingenuity in the face of adversity.
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • The stages' themes and gimmicks match what is going on in the story. Upgrades about exploration are found in stages where getting somewhere, like Lost Colony, or leaving, like Mission Street, is the point of the level and upgrades involving combat and breaking down obstacles are granted through weapons where the stage objective is to break through somewhere like Eternal Engine. Amusingly, the upgrades that have the most effect on defeating enemies easily are found in the first stages to show how little they matter now that you have learned how to play the game.
      • There is a notable dichotomy between the Hero and Dark missions, nowhere more apparent than in their final stages. Final Rush is a relatively straightforward stage where Sonic speeds through to stop Eggman's latest plan; he has no doubt about what he's doing and is fully aware of what's going on. Final Chase has Shadow work through obstacles that constantly take his control away from him as he works towards his goal, mirroring that he doesn't know who his enemy is, that Rouge has betrayed them and uncovered evidence that he isn't what he previously thought he was, and his ever-growing self-doubt over his mission as a whole. Even the lyrics get in on this, as the first half has confident statements about Shadow's superiority and strength while the back half is about his insecurities... while being so indecipherable that most listeners don't even realize that they are lyrics instead of techno background noise.
    • 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 this point 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.
    • Sonic Mania: In the final battle the Phantom Ruby empowers Heavy King into the Phantom King, Eggman scrounges up a mech in a last-ditch attempt to stop him from taking the Ruby, and Sonic transforms into Super Sonic to stop both. Eggman is woefully weak in this three-way fight and can only push back Super Sonic (doing basically nothing to stop you or the King), while Phantom King's powers are so great, he can actually hurt Super Sonic and make him lose rings.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD:
      • This game is unique for having two different ways to reach the good ending, get all the Time Stones or destroy all the badnik pods in the past. And getting all the Time Stones destroys all the badnik pods, because without their power Robotnik cannot send badnik pods into the past. Both ways ensure that Robotnik cannot retrieve a Time Stone after his defeat at the end of the game.
      • Despite creating a future where he rules, Robotnik is a horrible leader and all the badniks in the bad future's are rundown. Most are slower, some cannot use their weapons and often look pitiful. Really hammers in that the only one who gets ahead when Robotnik wins is himself.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
      • The game begins with Knuckles stealing the Chaos Emeralds and you have to enter special stages to retrieve them. The subtext is that Knuckles hid them in the special stages. After the stage where Robotnik betrays Knuckles, there is no more special stages.
      • Knuckles is said to be able to use the Island's many secret passageways to get ahead of Sonic and Tails to set up his traps. In his story, Knuckles has to go through entirely different routes than Sonic, often not taking entire acts the same way. This also means that sometimes he doesn't even have a boss to fight, showing that Robotnik hasn't had time to prepare defenses in his hidden paths.
    • Sonic Frontiers:
      • You have to find tokens to stabilize your friends and see them open up their feelings. The amount often varies depending on which character: Amy needs the least because she is already so open about them (especially to Sonic), Tails next because he has issues with staying in Sonic's shadow and has trouble expressing his doubts to Sonic, Knuckles needs even more due to their mutual rivalry and his private nature. Sage needs the most, showing she is both a cyberspace AI and Eggman's daughter; she is both completely unused to feeling anything at all due to her artificial origin, and she is naturally inclined to not make herself vulnerable to her father's hated enemy.
      • Cyberspace levels are significantly different, where Sonic's stats don't change gameplay and enemies don't react the way regular ones do, playing more like older 3D games. The areas in Cyberspace are recreations made from Sonic's memories, so Sonic plays through them like he did before with a sense of familiarity.
    • Sonic Superstars lets you slow down time with the yellow Chaos Emerald. This also slows down countdown timers in gameplay. This does not work on drowning while time is slowed, your body still needs oxygen to live.
  • 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.
  • Finding a new color Tinykin in Tinykin leads to a brief cutscene showcasing their ability. Sometimes that cutscene influcences your collection in gameplay:
    • Red Tinykin explode, and you lose the first one you collect before the cutscene when it does so.
    • Green Tinykin can join to form ladders that can be climbed. If you get your first one by hatching an egg, the eggs around it will also hatch so you have enough for the cutscene to make sense.
  • T'ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger: If you read the manual, you learn that the Snake Clan hopes to become dragons thanks to the Dragon Master's experiments with magic. The Cobra Captains you face in the final level are the result of said experiments.

    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.
  • Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells: The player is essentially progressing through each film in the series by completing puzzles. Also, as the levels progress, game mechanics related to the plot point from each movie that a level is associated with are introduced. For instance, when the levels start to cover Chamber of Secrets, one level is themed around Lockhart's first appearance as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and introduces Cornish pixies which have to be knocked out and collected as a win condition. Much later, a level themed around Harry's fight with the Basilisk introduces the Basilisk as a board obstacle.
  • In Manufactoria (both the original Flash version and the "Manufactoria 2022" sequel), the two additional colors are introduced when the robots within the story gain sapience. This is both a breakthrough/technological leap in the story, as well as in the gameplay (as the additional colors make the system Turing complete)

    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.

  • Abomi Nation explores the implications of the Permadeath mechanic through its story. The plot explores the emotional turmoil of knowing your teammates could die at any moment, as well as the guilt of sending them into danger. Regular Abomis, and your teammates, refuse to kill their opponents in battle, emphasizing that fighting to the death is a deliberate decision that most Abomis find as horrifying as we do.
  • In the first ending of The Binding of Isaac, Mom is crushed by her own Bible just as she is about to kill Isaac. The Bible is one of the items in the game, and using it on Mom or her heart kills her instantly.
  • In Bonfire, the endless nature of the road to Overlord's keep is apparently diegetic, given the conversations the heroes have during the Endless Quest. The heroes say that Overlord's keep can never be reached, only approached.
  • 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 and he is not subject to its particular magic, so it plays differently.
  • Dicey Dungeons has an Unexpected Gameplay Change in "Finale", where you can recruit the monsters you've been fighting and use their power in a last ditch effort to escape the dungeon. The first time this happens, everything is fair game, even effects that completely trivialize the True Final Boss because Lady Luck didn't plan or script this turn of events out at all. On replays though, Lady Luck has made Finale part of the game show proper and knows what her glaring weaknesses as a boss are, so the most overpowered effects are added to a "banned" list to keep them from showing up in the chapter again.
  • 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 all of their past mistakes, including these game overs.
  • 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.
  • In Zenless Zone Zero, the characters' skillsets and moves oftentimes reflect who they are as people.
    • Von Lycaon of Victoria Housekeeping Co. is an attendant for hire and takes his job very seriously, acting as professionally, composed, and elegant as a top-class butler and gentleman should. However, he warns he does not fight fair in Hollows, and his attacks can be imbued with Ice damage that can freeze and render enemies totally helpless to defend themselves.
    • Nicole Demara can upgrade her Briefcase Blaster to armor-piercing rounds. However, because of her perpetual money woes due to her financial mismanagement, she can't afford top-of-the-line munitions, which is why enemy Ethereals will eventually recover from the DEF down debuff if she doesn't shoot them again within 12 seconds.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Touhou Project 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.
  • 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 
  • The Last of Us:
    • Ellie's deepening relationship with Joel steadily changes the gameplay. She is at first dead weight that Joel has to lug around, but as Ellie and Joel trust each other more she starts getting newer ways to help. On the Joel's side when Ellie expresses an interest in a comic, Joel can find others to add to her collection.
    • Joel's health fills up at the beginning of most chapters showing that he has had time to recover, and subtly showing the health bar is really how much relatively minor damage he can take before he cannot fight. When he gets impaled on rebar at the end of the Fall chapter, his health bar is half-full when control returns to him in the Winter chapter. The damage is too great for his limited rest and the craftable meds to fully recover from.
    • In the winter chapter 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.
    • Fitting for a man over fifty, Joel is not the fastest guy around and during her playable segment Ellie moves much faster because of her age and the fact she isn't wearing as much equipment. At the Firefly hospital Joel picks up the pace quite a bit, because he hears that Ellie will be dissected for a cure and every second counts.
  • 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, commenting on the amount and severity of the injuries you've taken (and healed) so far.
  • 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 tranquilizer gun has a few details in integration. Its very existence is because Snake has been called out for enjoying killing, so he is trying to do less killing on the job. Use it to defeat bosses and they will have a cutscene showing them succumbing to the tranquilizers: Fatman has a short cutscene of him stumbling around and getting shot, while Vamp jumps in the pool for the cutscene, etc.
    • 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. Until Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
    • As a deconstruction of sequels, the entire game is a recreation of the Shadow Moses incident in the original Metal Gear Solid 1. After Raiden gets his new signature weapon, the HF Blade, the gameplay never returns to its stealth based roots and the recreation itself falls apart.
    • Fortune's health bar is miniscule compared to all the other bosses. Seeing as you cannot get any shots to actually hit her, it only helps you see how close she is from death and yet how out of reach it is for both you and her. When Ocelot turns and disables her jammer, a single bullet is what kills her and that same amount of damage would have ended her in your fight with her.
  • 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 so you can't hurt or kill a ghost.
    • 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. He's also not just killing Snake with a headshot because he's a double agent trying to keep Snake alive; him screwing up "fighting" Snake this way keeps his cover intact.
    • 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 for another shot during the ensuing scuffle.
    • Plot Immunity might protect Ocelot, but not The End. He's still out in the open after a cutscene featuring him, 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.
    • During a cutscene, Snake manages to knock down an unaware and unempowered Volgin over despite the massive difference in size between the two. After the Boss knocks Snake down a peg and leaves him to Volgin, Snake takes the beating of a lifetime at the ends of Volgin's electrified fists. So during his proper boss fight, don't engage Volgin in close quarters when his electricity is up; he will absolutely dominate a head-on fight.
    • 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, and he didn't have enough time to fully heal before being deployed. In said prologue Snake loses stamina far slower. And when Eva gets hurt, she loses stamina even faster than Snake since she's been getting regularly beaten and abused by Volgin off-screen and hasn't been able to tend to her wounds.
    • The Boss trounces Snake fairly easily in every cutscene she fights him in, but if you watch closely, he gradually gets better at fighting her. In the final battle, you can counter all of her CQC moves with your own. Every single one. The game never explicitly tells you this, it just leaves you to infer it.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
    • To make it clear that this is Snake's last hurrah, his Clone Degeneration has set in and he is now both visibly and physically an old man, far before his time. To explain how he can still get around and fight, his new suit is designed to compensate for his failing body. Just before the final battle, he is forced to go through a corridor of microwaves that heavily damages it and injures him in the process. So the final battle is where he finally wears out in gameplay, because his suit doesn't work anymore, and he is carrying about ten pounds extra that he simply couldn't do even while uninjured.
    • In a codec call Snake tells Otacon that the reason he uses cqc nowadays is that he was originally taught by Big Boss but never put it into practice because of his betrayal. After the events of Snake Eater are declassified, everyone is using a knockoff of cqc, and Snake is responding with his actual training in the technique through instinct. In the final battle Ocelot cycles through movesets that are reminiscent of previous bosses, the gameplay follows suit and Snake fights like he used to when Ocelot is in Liquid and Solidus' set and counters cqc with cqc in the second last.
    • While the suit compensates for Snake's physical deficiencies, it doesn't help any of his mental. Decades of combat and his encroaching old age have left their mark on his psyche, so not taking care of his mental state will cause Snake to lose effectiveness and impair his abilities. This also means that taking actions that Snake doesn't like, for example killing a lot of soldiers will rapidly deplete his psyche.
    • Comparing the cqc between the games shows that Old Snake's is less effective than the kind Naked Snake employed. He hasn't practiced in years and didn't use it in real combat yet, so his execution is sloppy next to his teachers. It even comes up in cutscenes that Liquid Ocelot bests Snake a couple times to show how he compares to Big Boss.
    • Rat Patrol has wired several traps and explosives in the building they are holed up in. They are expecting to see Snake eventually so the path straight to them only has knock out gas so they don't kill their ally.
    • Snake is working under the table and has to use black market dealer Drebin if he wants to get any new guns other then the specialized handguns he starts out with. If you purchase any weapons that soldiers other then Snake are using, they will probably be the most powerful in their field. They are government-employed soldiers so of course their stuff is top of the line.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:
    • The in-reason all the soldiers on Mother Base play exactly like Snake is that Ocelot trains them to fight in the exact same way, even giving one who was trying different firing techniques and an engraved gun a dressing down. At the end it is revealed that the Snake we are playing as is a Body Double while the real Big Boss is building his forces. Venom Snake is using the exact same training that the other soldiers have.
    • Ocelot and Quiet are playable in the multiplayer. They have unique movesets to accommodate the lore, Ocelot cannot expose that he is actually a double agent and must fight like a Soviet trained operative. Quiet is an outsider who never gets cqc training, and her superhuman strength and skin breathing means she cannot use it like normal soldiers to begin with.

    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.
    • Psychic units can mind-control humans, but not animals (like attack dogs). This really bites Yuri in the ass, when, after his defeat in the Soviet campaign of "Yuri's Revenge", he steals the time machine, but Soviets overcharge it and send him on a one-way trip to pre-historic times, where a T-Rex promptly noms him.
  • In the Command & Conquer: 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.
  • Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew: The Red Marley can rewind time to a moment stored in her memory, essentially giving an In-Universe explanation for the player saving and loading the game. This isn't just an arbitrary explanation, though: Ignacia is determined to find the secret to Marley's power so she can control it herself, and in fact, at certain points in the story you find this power used against you when Ignacia is able to rewind time.
  • Starcraft zig zags across the scale:
  • Total War: Warhammer really shows their work with certain faction's mechanics, reflecting Warhammer Fantasy lore as closely as they can.
    • There's a special detail with Prince Sigvald the Magnificent if you have the Blood and Gore DLC installed. In Warhammer lore, Sigvald is described as possessing almost uncanny beauty provided by Slaanesh, and Beauty Is Never Tarnished is supernaturally enforced - he doesn't need to do anything to look at his best. This is reflected in-game where no matter how many people he personally reduces into piles of gore or kills he causes that looks like someone popped a water balloon full of blood, Sigvald will never have so much as a drop of blood or dirt settle on his model.
    • The Demons of Chaos factions are understandably friend to nobody besides the Norscans - they waste no time with politicking and prefer to just run roughshod over anyone they can't conquer. The exception is of course N'kari, Slaneesh's daemon lord, who can not only initiate friendly diplomacy with other factions, but any interaction at all, even negative ones, leave Slaneesh's taint on the other party which softens them up for future interactions, debuffs them in combat, allows cheaper seduction of units, and after a few too many times N'kari can completely enthrall the faction, making them an utterly subservient vassal.
    • Bela'kor is a Manipulative Bastard and The Corruptor, the game's prologue details the journey of Prince Yuri Barkov from a beloved prince of Kislev as Bela'kor slowly manipulates him to Chaos, ending with Yuri becoming the Chaos Undivided daemon prince known as the God-Slayer. In-game, Bela'kor has a unique mechanic that allows him to let enemy lords go after a defeat instead of slaying them, but tainted with his mark. Over time or after so many encounters with him like this, they'll fall to Chaos and become daemon princes subservient to him, just like with what happened to Yuri.
  • 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 
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Olaf and Lash have a Tag Power penalty due to the latter destroying the former's hometown in the previous installment. Likewise, the mission "Sinking Feeling" in Black Hole Rising has Lash trying to repair her battleships, but is interrupted by Jess's forces. The mission has Lash's ships start with no ammo.
    • The mission "Salvation" in Days of Ruin has you fighting against a group of armed civilians who are suffering from an illness and attack your army because a fanatic told them that spilling your blood as a sacrifice to the "worm" will cure them. While the fanatic is the one who ordered the civilians to attack you, he's not an actual CO, thus the enemy team has no CO commanding them (the enemy team lacks a CO portrait on the menus) nor can they take advantage of any CO abilities. The enemy "army" is also mostly composed of heavily injured (starting the fight with only 5 to 8 HP) infantry, mechs, and a few tanks (which have no ammo and very little fuel), which makes sense since a group of civilians wouldn't have access to stronger weaponry.
  • 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 & 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 attacking 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.
      • Access to the Manakete or Taguel classes is based on the unit's species, and as such, everyone capable of using the class is at least half-beast or half-dragon. This gives them the corresponding weakness to anti-beast/dragon weapons even if using a class that doesn't normally have it.
    • 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, and to reflect this, his stats besides HP have hardly changed from your last encounter with him in Birthright Chapter 12 despite being supposedly 13 levels higher, with his Strength and Defense actually being lower than they were before. Meanwhile, Ryoma is fighting with honor and flat out allows you to make the first move, and is overall more difficult with much higher stats than Conquest Chapter 12, 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 has its own page.
  • 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.
  • Limbus Company has lots of it. Pretty much every aspect of the game is given an explanation. How can your Sinners come back after death? Dante (the player character) has a special ability that allows them to rewind time to before their bodies suffered fatal injuries. How do you pull Sinner Identities? It's a feature of Mephistopheles. Uptying Sinner Identities? They're used to better sync the Sinner with that Identity. Level-up tickets? An in-universe way to enhance the bodies of the Sinners.
    • Sinclair will do pretty badly in Canto III. Every time Kromer's whistle plays, his SP will drop dramatically because she's the one who killed his parents and burned his hometown to ash. He will not do well in the fight with Kromer either, gaining a pretty nasty debuff when the time comes to face his former tormentor. That is unless the player collects three copies of "A Sign", in which the debuff will turn into a buff as a symbol of Sinclair's determination to stand up to Kromer.
      • Kromer's reason for targeting Sinclair most of all? She's been obsessed with him ever since she saw a vision of an alternate universe where he fought at her side as a fellow Nagel und Hammer member. Taking Sinclair's The One Who Shall Grip Identity into the fight will cause her to instantly stagger on turn one, because she's overwhelmed with shock over her vision coming true.
    Kromer: "Aah... Could it... You're... My Sinclair...?!"
    • In the Hell's Kitchen side story, Ryōshū and Gregor feed the proprietor two truly awful dishes in the cutscene prior to the fight. In the fight itself, he has a special debuff applied to him called "Poultry Apocalypse" which takes out a solid chunk of his health, no thanks to Gregor and Ryōshū.
    • In Canto V, Ishmael undergoes massive Sanity Slippage due to being out on the Great Lake, which causes her to be more aggressive and less reasonable. If you select her for battle in the Canto, she starts the fight with a special status effect that increases her attack but drains her SP. In addition, her Pequod Captain Identity has a special interaction with Canto V's final boss: She will lose the Compulsion debuff and get a buff called Reverse Compulsion that increases her SP every turn.
      • After completing said Canto, her line when activating Snagharpoon changes from a declaration of her determination to hunt down Ahab to a declaration of her determination to chart her own path. After all, she's found Ahab and let go of her obsession.
  • 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.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • The Potentials 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.
  • The Exploitation Game Demonophobia expects you to die over and over again, and actually gives an in-universe reason for why resetting after death works - Sakuri, our heroine, is being sponsored by Ritz, a guardian entity that will resurrect her if need be.
  • 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.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: Fittingly, the only playable character who has a Suicide Attack as a skill is the suicidally depressed Saori.
  • Resident Evil:
    • 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.
    • Resident Evil 2 (Remake):
      • Ada's section has no healing items. As such, she has no way to tend to her leg injury at the end of it. She also doesn't get a knife so Leon's advice in Resident Evil 4 is consistent.
      • HUNK has more health than Leon and/or Claire during his scenario. This makes sense considering he's decked out in full combat armor, also averting Armor Is Useless.
      • There will be occasions, such as the police garage gate and the NEST lab, where you interact with something to find out there's nothing in your inventory to unlock it. You might think "Did I miss something on the way here?" Once you exit the inventory menu, a short cutscene will play where your character has the same reaction.
    • 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):
      • There's 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.
      • If Jill takes a beating in a cutscene she will limp for a while afterwards regardless of her health.
      • Carlos is equipped with a fully automatic assault rifle and enough ammunition to spare, making him effective against zombies due to them being just reanimated, decaying human corpses. He begins having difficulty when fighting Lickers and Hunters Beta as Umbrella designed these creatures to be biological weapons specifically intended to counter regular soldiers.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: When Claire finally finds a pistol, she fires three shots into the bunker Steve is hiding in. When the cutscene ends, Claire's gun, which holds 15 rounds, only has 12. And no, skipping the cutscene will not save those three rounds.
    • Resident Evil 4:
      • The second fight between Leon and Krauser actually buffs Leon's knife damage significantly — to the point the knife is the best way to fight Krauser. This ties into the earlier fight between the two, in which Leon fought Krauser exclusively with his knife.
      • Mission 3 for the Separate Ways DLC involves Wesker ordering Ada to kill Leon and Ada deciding not to do that by not letting Leon see her so that she can maintain some Plausible Deniability with Wesker regarding her "failure". In rooms that both Leon and Ada are in, the player is physically prevented from entering the area Leon is in, with a note that Ada will not enter that area because she would lose her plausible deniability and would have to kill him, which again, she does not want to do.
    • Resident Evil 5: Wesker's sunglasses do affect his sight in his boss fight. Killing the lights causes him to lose sight of you, but his other senses are still in working order. You can never directly hit him with an rpg as he is fast enough to block, it even when shot at his blind spot.
    • In Resident Evil: Revelations 2, the only way to keep Moira alive is by forcing her to face her fear of guns in Episode 3. Otherwise, failure to do so will result in her dying and being unable to save Barry and Natalia from Mutated Alex.
  • Silent Hill 2's plot goes much further than most games in this respect. Like many story-driven games, the ending you get depends on the choices the player makes as they progress through. Unlike most, you're in control of the What and the Why; the choices you make don't just determine the actions taken by James in his quest, but even his mindset and emotional state as he takes them, both of which directly affect the outcome of his story. For example, if he behaves recklessly, runs around with low health and frequently examines the knife Angela gave him, then it shows that James is already past the Despair Event Horizon and chooses to drown himself in the end. However, if he prioritizes finding Mary, looks over her letter & photograph often and pays little attention to Maria, then it shows how much he still loves his wife, which allows him to confess his sin and accept Mary's forgiveness for what he did, and honor her last wish for him to move on and make a new life for himself.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the lore, warlocks 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.
    • In the 5th edition Monster Manual, a note contains a quote from a House Orien scion who boasts that the pegasus can outrace a dragon in the open sky. True enough, the pegasus' flying speed of 90 is 10 feet per round faster than the fastest dragon in the book.
    • Sorcerers have slightly more access to cantrips than any other caster, including the master of the arcane wizard class. This access to resource free spells plays in to their Made of Magic nature.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Harpy's deck uses counters to track whether her magic is more controlled (purple) or chaotic (green). Cards that represent more controlled use tend to flip green tokens to purple, while ones that represent letting the power off its chain or reaching beyond her limits tend to do the reverse. The clever bit is that her deck has a noticeable bias towards flipping purple, meaning that her standard character card (representing her during a period with little training) will struggle to maintain control...but her Dark Watch card, which is her after receiving some training from Nightmist, is much better at it due to having a base power that lets you choose which type of token to flip, as one would really expect now that she knows a bit more about what she's doing!
    • Greazer Clutch has attempted to catch both Legacy and Sky-Scraper before. His character card locks onto whoever has the highest HP, which is likely to be either Legacy or Sky-Scraper if they're part of the team (unless you've got Akash'Thriya or Haka there too).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The effects of each Fairy Tail monster 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.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • In the storyline for the Hour of Devastation expansion, Rhonas fights the Scorpion God. He wins handily, but the Scorpion God gets back up and begins fighting again. This continues a few times until eventually the Scorpion God overwhelms and kills Rhonas. This is true to how it would play out in the game — Rhonas the Indomitable is Indestructible, while The Scorpion God has a form of Resurrective Immortality (it goes back to its players hand when it dies, letting them cast it again). However, the Scorpion God can give creatures -1/-1 counters, and using them to reduce a creature's toughness to zero kills it, even if it is Indestructible. Over several turns, having Rhonas battle the Scorpion God would turn out like that, as long as the player with it keeps casting it and using its ability.
    • Maintaining this is specifically noted to be one of the key goals for Universes Beyond product line, which is about adapting outside franchises to Magic. The design committees tend to be heavy on Wizards staff who actually know the franchise in order to make sure that when a card is made to represent a character, said card feels right. For example, when adapting Fallout, Frank Horrigan, as a reasonable candidate for the World's Strongest Man in Fallout 2, had to be the biggest guy in the mutant-focused deck and came out of it with higher stats than most gods, while Boone from Fallout: New Vegas, who's a sniper, has a damaging effect that doesn't require him to engage in direct combat. For Doctor Who, each Doctor was given a fitting ability for their stories, with the Action Hero Third Doctor being capable of tremendous direct force with the right setup while the Guile Hero Seventh Doctor tends to rely on elaborate mind games.
  • RuneQuest's schtick as a setting is that player backgrounds matter. Each PC has an in-universe culture, and most skill bonuses depend on adhering to that culture and its history. A guy whose ancestors were renowned in battle will not only be more eager to solve problems by fighting, but more likely to succeed at fighting. Someone whose ancestors were harangued by Lunars may not hate Lunars themselves- players decide how their characters act, not the DM- but risk ghostly retribution if they don't carry on their clan's vendetta. This rule is what causes the difficulty and dramatic friction of Ride Like The Wind; the player's clan know they need to make peace with the Rams, but that doesn't make the process easy. (And then if they succeed despite the odds, their descendants get a bonus to diplomacy rolls, suiting the clan's cultural evolution.)
  • Star Wars Armada: Darth Vader's officer version is designed to kill off friendly officers when their ships roll badly, giving them rerolls. Multiple officers are designed to have limited use windows so you can get the full benefit from them and then sacrifice them when they inevitably outlive their usefulness...and Admiral Ozzel and Captain Needa have abilities that take effect right at the start of the game and cannot be reused, making them some of the most likely officers for Vader to kill off - just like he did in the movies.

    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, as Hajime isn't keen on spending time with a madman who tried to get everyone killed for the sake of 'hope', unless he's already formed a tentative friendship and is willing to explore Nagito's Hidden Depths.
    • 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, and events 4 and 5 occur explicitly after said Character Development, with Himiko trying to be more expressive and less lazy, something that only happens after she comes to terms with Tenko's death.
      • 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.
    • Junpei finally being in control and solving the sudoku puzzle by himself without the help of past!Akane is represented by the Sudoku puzzle being displayed upside-down, forcing the player to rotate their DS so the touchscreen is at the top.
    • Even the New Game Plus is integrated into the story, as past!Akane 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!Akane 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.
  • No More Heroes has Santa Destroy, a Los Angelas-style coastal city filled with beaches, clubs and parties. But the protagonist is a broke Occidental Otaku so you only have access to some nerdy stores and his various jobs because he's a nerdy loser who wouldn't go to clubs or beaches.

    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 Nonstandard 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 final.
  • 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 
  • This is the entire point of the RPG Mechanics 'Verse settings.
  • Critical Role:
    • Caleb's PTSD, as well as being an aspect of his personality, is integrated into the game itself. Whenever Caleb kills a humanoid with fire, he needs to make a Wisdom saving throw. If he fails, he is overwhelmed by flashbacks to the night he killed his parents by burning their house down, and becomes Stunned.
    • The final boss of Campaign 2 has an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight mechanic built in. Once per turn, a player can use an action or bonus action to call out to Mollymauk, and must roll a Persuasion check. On a success, Molly's soul strengthens enough to very briefly distract the boss, and Lucien loses a Legendary Action.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami doesn't use any RPG mechanics, but does weave elements of Dungeon Keeper into the narrative — even including the distinction between the first and second games, such as the differences between old-fashioned crystal Dungeon Hearts (which use gold for everything) vs newer organic Dungeon Hearts (which use a mixture of gold and mana). Ami's sapphire-growing ovens that provide a steady income, equivalent to the games' diamond blocks, are another example.
  • The pinball machine Foo Fighters (2023) is presented as though it were a Saturday-Morning Cartoon. Therefore, "beating" it by completing the Wizard Mode shows the end of the "episode," followed by the tape rewinding back to the beginning. This justifies the player's progress in modes being reset and explains why the Overlord, who pulls a Heel–Face Turn during the ending, reverts to being the Big Bad.

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

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    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 (2012) 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, like what Luffy did to Enel), 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, a pilot, and Nami, a mermaid, for example) 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.
  • Elden Ring has a odd zig-zag with the Scarlet Rot. Lore-wise, part of the reason it's so feared is that the Golden Order can't heal it; in-game, it can... but only with the highest-level Golden Order Fundementalism incantation, making it a highly impractical cure that most people wouldn't ever see. On the other hand, resting at a Site of Grace gives the player a full heal, complete with curing any Scarlet Rot buildup they have.
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Tellah's maximum MP will never go above 90, unless the player exploits a bug in the SNES and PS1 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.
  • In LISA the Painful, Ajeet despises Joy and will refuse to join your party if you've taken two or more of the stuff. However, there is nothing stopping you from feeding him Joy and making him into an addict once he is in your party.
  • Live A Live:
    • Separation:
    • Integration:
      • In the Prehistory chapter of the remake, Pogo's rite of passage at the beginning has him gather food for his tribe, which is stated in the Gameplay Tips to be divided equally between everyone. Upon returning after gathering enough food, all of the Haunches of Meat get taken away from Pogo to be stored.
      • The remake of the game adds a map radar to guide the player towards objectives. In the Distant Future chapter, Kato figures out how to defeat OD-10 but falls unconcious before he can reveal it, and the player must figure out the solution for themselves. When doing this, the radar does not show the solution.
      • In the Middle Ages chapter, after Oersted gets charged with regicide and Royal Guard enemies start spawning, attacking them will inflict the Fear status on them since he's been branded as the Lord of Dark at this point and they're fearing for their lives.
      • The Tips in the Final Chapter are deliberately left blank because nobody knows what unfamiliar world they've been transported to. If you beat the Optional Boss Lucretius and ask him where you are, the missing information is added in.
      • The item to activate and recruit Cube has different names when picked up by every character. Almost none of the characters know what it is, simply calling it an "iron box", an "odd part" or, in Pogo's case, a "????". Only Akira knows what it is because he's from the near-future: A battery.
  • Your Bizarre Adventure (a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Fan Game):
    • Separation: Most storyline NPCs are only meant to be interacted with one time each, leading to several duplicates of characters like Giorno and Bruno being scattered around the map (each representing a different stage in the plot). This causes one glaring inconsistency near the end, where Bruno reveals that Abbacchio has died... while Abbacchio is standing on the same walkway as him.
    • Integration: Since Hamon is extremely effective against the undead, any attempt to become a vampiric Hamon user will fail. Characters trained in Hamon will burst into flame and die upon trying to become a vampire, while Jonathan will refuse to train vampiric players in the specialty and instead kill them on the spot.

    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


Pichu evolves with love...

Pikachu evolves out of the love he feels for the Kangaskhan family.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / SlidingScaleOfGameplayAndStoryIntegration

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