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Soft Reboot

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"Rumors are swirling about another Gremlins film. It probably won't be called Gremlins 3, but it'll have Zach Galligan in it as Billy Peltzer. He'll have a cameo warning a new kid about the Mogwai and the three rules. So it's not a remake, it'll technically still exist in the Gremlins universe and time, but— who are we kidding, folks?!"
Mr. Plinkett, discussing Soft Reboots in his The Force Awakens review

You have a classic property, one that's made money hand over fist for you for years, perhaps decades, but now, it's getting a little long in the tooth. Maybe it's dated, maybe recent installments have tarnished its name, maybe it's just bogged down in Continuity Lockout. Perhaps you've just finished the story you wanted to tell, or you're still telling that story and don't want to ruin it yet. Or maybe you've finally been given the budget to make the entry in the franchise you'd wanted to make years ago but couldn't afford.

Resetting the thing to bring in new fans sounds like a good idea, but maybe the core storyline is still interesting if you can get rid of the bad superficial elements that accumulated around it over the years, or peel back the exaggeration of its problems over time; maybe you're about to release it into a wider market where they never got the previous entry while pleasing existing fans; maybe you want to make a straight sequel but have to take a new direction because of drastic creative team changes; or maybe you're simply afraid of the backlash to a Continuity Reboot.

What to do? Well, perhaps a "softer" approach will serve. Instead of starting over, dip into the Troper Well and pull out a way of explaining you're not really tossing away the classic stories the fans love. There are many ways to accomplish this:

  • It could take place after a lengthy Time Skip, allowing you to make a Same Plot Sequel with a new generation of characters and a few old favorites popping in for a Continuity Cameo.
  • It could be an Alternate Timeline that diverges from the "main" timeline thanks to time travel shenanigans, so you can do a fresh, modern take on iconic scenarios while the main timeline exists in parallel.
  • It could start with a Retool where the setting and scenario are significantly changed and the cumbersome or outdated aspects are dropped.
  • It could be a prequel with younger actors where all the things the old audience knows are hinted at, without being burdened by excessive continuity that will drive off new audiences.
  • It could be a side story taking place in the same universe that coincidentally features characters or situations the old audience is familiar with.
  • It could treat the original with Broad Strokes, so that the things the old audience liked happened for sure, but the things they didn't like didn't happen.

Essentially, a Soft Reboot has many elements of a reboot, and feels a lot like one, without actually getting rid of the old continuity.

Contrast the "hard" Continuity Reboot, in which the old story and continuing plotlines are explicitly kept, but minimally/mostly copied and started over from Day 1. Also not to be confused with a Soft Reset or Canon Discontinuity.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bakugan did this every season but there are two particularly notable examples, the 2018 and 2023 reboots notwithstanding:
    • Gundalian Invaders is a unique case because the last ten episodes of the previous season were dedicated to setting up this one, but it otherwise largely ignores the previous seasons. Bakugan Interspace is now the main hub for brawling, Dan and the gang move to a new city, and all of the past main characters have vanished except for Dan, Marucho, Shun, and Julie (who doesn't even have her Bakugan anymore). The series also dropped the "Battle Brawlers" subtitle from this season onwards, and the episode title font also changed.
    • Mechtanium Surge was originally intended to be only 26 episodes, concluding the remaining threads from Seasons 2 and 3. But then 20 more episodes were ordered before ending the show, forcing the creation of a whole new plotline in which the main cast moves to a city populated by Bakugan. Despite not being a new season, it has all of the changes of one, including a change in supporting cast and villains, new outfits for the main trio, and new Bakugan partners for Marucho and Shun.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The Artificial Humans (Android) Saga does to the manga as a whole in regards to the Earth cast. Prior to this Story Arc, Earth was portrayed as a world full of wonders, anthropomorphic animals, powerful martial artists, among other things that made the world have a very cartoony feeling. By the Artificial Humans arc, most of Earth's population consisted only of humans who can believe some nobody is the savior of the planet and diminish anything impressive the human cast does as "cheap tricks". This tonal change also applies to the next (and final) story arc, the Buu Saga; despite being Lighter and Softer, it still uses the previous arc's concept of Earth.
    • The Saiyan Saga counts as one for the manga in general, beginning with a Time Skip and full-blown Genre Shift that completely changes the status quo, introduces concepts that become franchise mainstays going forward, and establishes a very different tone compared to the original Dragon Ball. That it serves as a decent introduction to the overall series despite being in the middle of it is one reason Dragon Ball Z managed to be such a success in the States despite getting localized before its predecessor.
    • The Buu Saga could be seen as another attempt on Toriyama's part of doing one for the series. Coming off the heels of the Cell Saga ending with Gohan becoming the new protagonist and Goku Killed Off for Real, the Buu Saga starts with another drastic Time Skip, this time seven years into the future. Gohan is now a teenager, his younger brother Goten is introduced to series, and the series now follows Gohan's adventures as a fish out of water attending high school.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team: The series was first animated in 2001, but production problems caused its premature ending. It was rebooted in 2004 as Hanaukyo Maid Team: La Verite. The second series takes place in the same continuity, with a number of differences (both small and large) between it and the first show.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The first three parts (Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, and Stardust Crusaders) tell a fairly complete story with Stardust Crusaders being planned as the ending. Nonetheless, Diamond is Unbreakable was created afterward, but only loosely connects itself to the previous parts through the Stand Arrow (introduced during DiU) and Jotaro and Joseph, only bringing in elements from the previous parts when needed, and even then in mostly loose terms, telling a plot largely disconnected from Stardust Crusaders.
    • More so than Diamond is Unbreakable, its predecessor Stardust Crusaders functions in this manner despite its connections to Parts 1 and 2. While it does feature Joseph and DIO, with the occasional cameo from Suzi Q, its ties to the previous parts are far and few between. Plus, Hamon is barely used and gets replaced with a new power system of Stands, which, at the time, came out of left field.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam F91 was intended to be one for Gundam as a whole after Char's Counterattack wrapped up more or less all the ongoing character arcs from the previous installments, featuring a completely new cast of characters and a new antagonist faction rather than yet another Neo Zeon group. This didn't really stick, though and most subsequent (non-AU) stories have been side stories to the original Mobile Suit Gundam or interquels (though Sunrise did promise to focus more on late-UC stories going into The New '10s and beyond, as evidenced by Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative, and a theatrical adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash).
  • The Pokémon anime has done this four times.
    • To tie in with the soft reboot of the games, the Black and White seasons reverted Ash back into a novice ten-year-old trainer with only Pikachu, Iris and Cilan taking the roles of tomboy Misty and group chef Brock respectively. Ash continued to make references to past adventures and characters, however.
    • The Sun and Moon seasons did this yet again, though less explicitly. And once again, past adventures continued to be mentioned; specifically his Kanto journey, with him briefly visiting Brock and Misty and vice versa during the course of these Alola seasons.
    • The following season, Pokémon Journeys, takes it a step further; instead of traversing the Galar region, Ash spends most of his time in Kanto and travels to every region instead as a research assistant, revisiting past friends along the way.
    • Pokémon Horizons: The Series follows up on the globetrotting approach taken by Journeys, but it's most notable for being the first season of the show that doesn't feature Ash Ketchum (or any past character) at all; instead, it focuses on new protagonists Liko and Roy as they travel the Pokémon world with an adventure corps known as the Rising Volt Tacklers.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: While the show takes place in the same timeframe as Seven Mortal Sins, it doesn't follow the same continuity nor does it continue the same story. Instead, it focuses on an entirely new story with a softer tone.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise anime (Car Robots in Japan) is a weird one: created at a time when the Beast Wars franchise was at a low ebb in Japan, but also when pretty much everything took place somewhere in the G1 timeline. As a result, while nothing in the original series contradicts G1, the actual G1 cast is very conspicuously absent and the conflict is totally unrelated. The American dub of the series would make it a fairly definitive hard reboot, mostly by changing character names to their G1 counterparts... while the Japanese take moved in the exact opposite direction, with later stories managing to squirrel Car Robots into a mostly forgotten period of G1. Notably, the series to follow, Transformers: Armada, was definitely a hard reboot in both countries.
  • The various Yu-Gi-Oh! anime spinoffs are designed to tell standalone stories each time, but Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s at least try to maintain a semblance of continuity. GX is set as a direct sequel to the original Yu-Gi-Oh! and features tons of cameos and Continuity Nods to the original series while focusing on an entirely new cast, setting, and lore. 5Ds is set in New Domino City and is all but stated to be a Distant Sequel, with Tetsu Trudge, a very minor one-off character from the original series, becoming an Ascended Extra in 5Ds, but otherwise has nothing to do with Yu-Gi-Oh! or GX whatsoever. Starting with Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the following anime did away with this aspect entirely and are set in new universes each series, save for Yu-Gi-Oh! GO RUSH!!, which is a Stealth Prequel and a Stealth Sequel to Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS.

    Comic Books 
  • Arguably, a Soft Reboot happens whenever a new writer is chosen for a long-running comic book, such as those starring Superman and Batman. When the previous writer finishes his/her run, they try to conclude as many plotlines as possible so that the new writer can have a clean slate to work with. While the new writer is not obligated to reference anything from the previous run, they occasionally do so if it compliments the current story.
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon helped serve as a soft reboot for the WildStorm Comics universe.
  • A company-wide example is DC Rebirth. After the hard reboot New 52 relaunch made so many unwanted changes to the DC lore that it alienated their fanbase and potential readers, DC integrated as many aspects of the old pre-Flashpoint timeline as they could. The result was that characters got rerailed, old favorites returned, and core aspects of the lore were fully restored after being removed entirely, all while cleaning up much of the Darker and Edgier tone which some felt was an attempt to resurrect the maligned Dark Age. It still takes place in the post-Flashpoint continuity, but many would say it feels proper again.
  • Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic's Eternals is a soft reboot of Jack Kirby's The Eternals, with many elements building on Neil Gaiman’s previous soft reboot. The first issue reintroduces the characters while showing just how they fit into the Marvel Universe, while also acknowledging some of the continuity that came before in ways that the readers will understand. And much like X-Men (2019) (see below), it also uses data pages to convey a lot of worldbuilding information.
  • Punisher (2023) is a soft reboot of The Punisher, following up from the aftermath of the previous run, and having a similar premise, with the biggest difference being Joe Garrison taking up Frank Castle's mantle.
  • Spawn: Following Al Simmons' return, the comic instituted a retcon that ignores everything that happened between Al defeating Malebolgia and his suicide.
  • Superman has Action Comics #241, which introduced a vastly different look for the Fortress of Solitude and a different explanation for how it functioned, and came right before the introduction of a lot of other major elements of his 1960s-and-onward stories, such as Brainiac, Kandor, Bizarro, Supergirl, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Because of this, while DC has never explicitly made a statement on where it sits in continuity, many fans treat it as the "true" start of Superman's Earth-One Silver Age incarnation.
  • The 2017 Youngblood relaunch has a largely new cast of characters, a Setting Update, a restarted numbering of issues, a new art style, a different tone, and a general theme that largely criticizes the '90s Anti-Hero archetype that series was known for. It even titles itself as Reborn! That said, it is fully in the same continuity with the '90s comics and freely references past events from the original era, and even feels like a sequel in many ways as it is a reboot.
  • X-Men:
    • "Giant Sized X-Men #1" and the following X-Men #75, which got rid of most of the original team so it can focus on new main characters, and beginning the franchise's future of having tons of characters.
    • "Adjectiveless" X-Men #1-3, the last stories of Chris Claremont's seventeen year run, which re-establishes the X-Men's status quo after the lengthy Muir Island Saga with a (relatively) small team, with some of Claremont's previously running plotlines just gently forgotten.
    • X-Men (2019), which started in 2019, was repeatedly described as a reboot for the entire X-Men brand that's still in-continuity with the Marvel Universe. The new Krakoa status quo is introduced and serves as a launch point for several series, with other series exploring its many facets and its resurrection protocols allowing for dead characters to return. Characters very rarely make explicit reference to prior continuity — though they still do, occasionally — and there's a time jump that distances the current stories from the most recent X-stories. The well-worn idea of mutants being hated and feared is paid lip-service but gives way to distrust of Krakoa specifically as a political entity, while mutants going extinct is used to motivate the new status quo, rather than as the status quo.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Two Commanders is this to the author's prior work, Conquest in the Name of Advancement! - while some acknowledgements are made to the prior story, The Two Commanders expands on concepts that were not focused on in the original, with Word of God even discouraging readers from reading the first story to avoid confusion with how certain plot elements are handled.
  • Welcome To Prehistoric Kingdom is the sequel to Prehistoric Park: Returned from Extinction, but also introduces new concepts and expands on ideas that got lost in the original story's long and disjointed run. In a similar case with The Two Commanders (which, despite both stories being soft reboots, share the same continuity), the author asked that the previous story not be read to avoid confusion with the new one, compounded here because the first few chapters of Returned from Extinction are extremely unpolished.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Creative Closing Credits for 22 Jump Street implies this of the film's relation to the 21 Jump Street TV series, where the current Jump Street officers meet the original cast, thirty years later, calling them "legends."
  • Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are prequels to the Alien universe which alter some long-held ideas about the setting.
  • Batman Forever nominally takes place in the same continuity as Tim Burton's Batman Film Series films, but it changes the design of Gotham, introduces a new cast — including doing away with Michael Keaton as Batman (Alfred's and Gordon's actors still stay on for the next two movies) — and goes over Batman's origin after Batman (1989) did the same.
  • Both cinematic adaptations of Charlie's Angels (the 2000s duology and the 2019 film) are this to the original TV series. They each feature different actors as John Bosley (Bill Murray in 2000, Patrick Stewart in 2019) and focus on new teams of Angels, but they're all set in the same continuity. (The 2011 television series, however, was a hard Continuity Reboot.)
  • For the most part the plot of The Craft: Legacy is similar to the The Craft, though with four new witches and an updated setting to 2020, although the third act goes in a different direction and the final scene in particular confirms it's a sequel by bringing back Nancy Downs, one of the main characters of the 1996 film.
  • Desperado is supposed to be the sequel to El Mariachi, and there's a flashback recreating a scene from that movie, but the characterization of the Mariachi is very different: in the first movie he's just an Action Survivor who gets into trouble with gangsters by happenstance and in the end they just let him go, while in the second he's an Action Hero looking for trouble and out for revenge against similar and connected gangs, which the first movie did not really hint or indicate was going to happen. Since the climax of the first movie was changed due to real-life issues (they ran out of money and/or time), it feels like the second movie follows a Broad Strokes version of the first where the unused, much more violent climax where he blasts his way out and kills everyone happened (and this is similar to its own climax). Plus he was recast, from the more boyish and innocent everyman-looking Carlos Gallardo to the brooding, smoldering Antonio Banderas.
  • DC Extended Universe: Due to a rotation of upper management, every couple of films could be considered a soft reboot in trying to distance itself from the movies that came before in some form.
  • The official trailer for Ghostbusters (2016) implied that the new film would be a soft reboot of the series ("30 years ago, 4 scientists saved New York") but the film turned out to be a complete Continuity Reboot and the line was referring to the actual movie.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation was made in response to the lukewarm reaction to GI Joe The Riseof Cobra, which was considered too high-tech to the point of lacking tension (everyone had a tool or vehicle to solve the problem), too many characters showing up and dropping out of the narrative and relied too much on slick CG for their action scenes. Retaliation grounds the series by having the main team killed off in the first act and reducing the cast to a handful of people who are short on supplies and resources, officially disavowed, and labeled as rogues and terrorists. It still technically follows Rise of Cobra, but the tone of the movie is MUCH different.
  • The Girl in the Spider's Web is an in-continuity sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), but with a completely different cast and creative team behind it.
  • The Grudge (2020) exists in the same continuity as the American trilogy and was similarly produced by Sam Raimi, but features an entirely different cast of characters and retains only the same basic concept of the previous films.
  • The Halloween series did this twice, not counting the Continuity Reboot in 2007.
  • The James Bond films also used to work like this. Each time the lead actor changed, the series was effectively soft-rebooted. The effect is most palpable with Timothy Dalton's first movie The Living Daylights which also had new faces for recurring characters Miss Moneypenny and Felix Leiter, and Pierce Brosnan's first movie GoldenEye which also had a new Moneypenny, an entirely new stand-in for Leiter and a new, female M. Both movies also happened to invoke Remember the New Guy? with Russian characters Bond was familiar with, yet had never appeared before. It helps that the series, for the most part, never really had much continuity to begin with, beyond the occasional Continuity Nod to the death of Bond's wife Tracy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. All this changed with Casino Royale (2006), which was a hard Continuity Reboot and established a firm continuity for the franchise that persisted all through the Daniel Craig era.
  • J. J. Abrams has a bit of a knack for this.
    • 2006: The Mission: Impossible Film Series has had multiple different directors, so stylistically it's been all over the place, but Mission: Impossible III, which he directed, was where the Continuity Creep started, and all subsequent films have been in its shadow.
    • 2009: The rebooted Star Trek films take place in an Alternate Timeline, with an aged alternate Spock's presence confirming that everything that happened in the original Star Trek universe still happened... just not to this continuity. Word of God always maintained that said original timeline still exists; it was eventually re-visited in Star Trek: Picard.
    • 2015: The Force Awakens, which takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, is the first Star Wars film since Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, and the first film to feature no involvement from George Lucas, is considered this, being largely a Same Plot Sequel that takes a lot after the first ever Star Wars film, A New Hope. Straight from the opening crawl, the Jedi have been destroyed again with Luke stated to be the last of them again. The Empire is resurgent in the form of the "First Order", and the Republic which had been restored by the Rebel Alliance is functionally destroyed by them around the midpoint, leaving only the "Resistance". Leia is back in an administrative and conventional military role after being teased to become a Jedi in the future, and even Han is a smuggler again. In light of the Prequels in particular, after Anakin brought balance to the Force and ended the Sith, new darksiders are around who are Sith in all but name. The inimitable Mr. Plinkett, who provides the page quote, discusses this at length.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is this for the 1995 film Jumanji, in it the eponymous boardgame reinvents itself as a videogame, and it contains nods to the original movie, like showing the shack where Alan Parish lived for 26 years.
  • Jurassic World recognizes the events of Jurassic Park (1993) but glosses over or ignores the events of the sequels, the movie is essentially a re-telling of the first movie, while moving the overarching story into a new direction.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road recasts Max with a new actor and is a semi-Same Plot Sequel to The Road Warrior. There are points of visual continuity with the previous movies and an Actor Allusion that might be a returning character, but character ages and the timeline are wrong and it isn't possible to reconcile everything perfectly. Not that it matters, though. According to George Miller, Max is meant to be a legendary figure in the Wasteland, with each film's story representing a different tale told about him.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is a soft reset of the franchise. Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island, though very different from each other in tone, both presented the universe as fairly realistic and grounded aside from the presence of giant monsters. Monarch is depicted as a fairly small outfit in both films, relying extensively on the U.S. military to get anything done. King of the Monsters ups the ante considerably with the addition of more monsters (one of whom is an extraterrestrial) and reimagines Monarch as a massive organization with incredibly advanced technology and seemingly endless resources.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong follows the same direction but takes it even further, moving the setting into the near-future and adding even more advanced tech via Apex Cybernetics, and going much further into the pseudoscience of the "Hollow Earth" the previous films had only alluded to. The end result is a barely recognizable as the same universe that the 2014 film established.
  • Ocean's 8 takes place in the same continuity as the George Clooney films, but Clooney's character has supposedly died and the film follows a new cast of con artists.
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place a decade after the first film in an almost unrecognizable setting and features an almost completely different cast of characters, including Stacker Pentecost's previously unmentioned son Jake. It's also a Same Plot Sequel with a much Lighter and Softer tone and visual style, seemingly intended to give the property a fresh start since it was released nearly 5 full years after the original.
  • The Predator acknowledges the events of the first two films, while also bringing aspects from Predators regarding clan warfare between rival factions. Because Alien vs. Predator isn't considered canon with the individual Alien and Predator series, its two films are ignored.
  • Not only is Scream (2022) an example, it also (as per series tradition) discusses this trope, which it refers to as a "re-quel". The film treats all of the prior films in the Scream series as canon, with references to their events littered throughout, but the focus of the plot is mainly on a new cast of teenage protagonists modeled on those of the first film, with series protagonists Sidney, Gale, and Dewey now in supporting roles. It is speculated that the killer is attempting to create one of these for the Stab series (Scream's in-universe Ripped from the Headlines version of itself). This turns out to be correct. The killers Richie and Amber believe that the best Stab films are Based on a True Story and that this is why the series lost its way after the third, eventually bottoming out with Stab 8, an extremely controversial revisionist take on the series by Rian Johnson (with explicit allusions made to the divisive reception of The Last Jedi). As such, they carry out a new killing spree that they hope will inspire a new movie to return Stab to its former glory.
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
    • The prequel films had a dramatically different visual style compared to the original trilogy, trading a Used Future for more of a Raygun Gothic. The plot was also centered more at the heart of a democracy in crisis compared to a ragtag Rebellion fighting The Empire. This was largely intentional by George Lucas, as he wanted the films to have their own identity and tell a story he was truly invested with.
    • After Disney bought the franchise the entire Expanded Universe was wiped, leaving only the six films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars as canon. Due to references to the past that exist in these sources, much of what came before the movies in universe is implied to have still happened, though in Broad Strokes. Most of what comes after the end of the Original Trilogy is open to be contradicted by new entries to the series, however. Disney has been importing fan favorite concepts and characters from Star Wars Legends into canon over the years.
  • Thor: Ragnarok is basically this to the previous two Thor movies. Instead of the mostly High Fantasy take, it's a Planetary Romance that owes a lot to 1980s sci-fi (particularly Flash Gordon), and the slapstick has been ramped up. Thor spends very little time on Earth, so the human supporting cast is nowhere to be seen, and after two movies of A God I Am Not, the Asgardian characters outright call themselves gods (which is more in line with the comics).
    Taika Waititi: We basically just destroyed everything that went before. It's what Ragnarok is: the death of the world and its rebirth. This film is a rebirthing of all those characters. It's like a reboot, but we didn't have to recast.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction follows a conclusive victory in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but in the interim Human/Autobot relations were severed and a CIA official sponsored a Private Military Corporation to hunt down all Decepticons still on Earth, but secretly targets Autobots as well and they go into hiding. This scenario creates new human protagonists and justifies the massive change in the Autobot cast as well.
    • Bumblebee is an even further departure (to the point that it's seen as ambiguous whether it's this or a full reboot). More or less, the broad strokes of the story could fit before the first film, and even explains a few aspects of it (where Sector 7 came from, why Bumblebee lost his voice and how he got to Earth, how he got his Camaro body, the characters to die in the film do not appear in the live-action films), but a number of aspects are different (Bee came to Earth for a reason aside from the Allspark, Megatron is absent from Cybertron but Sector 7 doesn't seem to know about him, the entire plot point of Transformers in World War II from Transformers: The Last Knight is quietly forgotten). This is aside from the considerably different tone and character designs.
  • X-Men: First Class is a prequel to the X-Men Film Series taking place four decades prior to the first film, but whilst it keeps certain factors in place, it alters several others, such as Xavier and Magneto's first meeting and how Magneto acquired his helmet. X-Men: Days of Future Past goes further in this regard by undoing some of the events in the first few films, with the Close-Enough Timeline at the end. This is further shown by X-Men: Apocalypse featuring young versions of some of the original trilogy's characters (the director even said that the Cosmic Retcon from Days of Future Past resulted in people appearing earlier than before in the new continuity).

  • The Land of Oz was created by L. Frank Baum, but after his death the series was continued by Ruth Plumly Thompson and then John R. Neill, who added a lot of their own characters and ideas. The fourth author, Jack Snow, choose to only acknowledge Baum's stories without directly contradicting those of his successors. Thompson, at least, reportedly preferred that her own characters not be used by other writers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century changes the setting from the main cast being on Earth and defending it from assorted threats to basing it on a starship and taking on a more Star Trek-style show, with essentially no mention of any events from the first season.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series takes up where the film leaves off, except that it considers the original screenplay to be canon and not the actual film, which wound up quite different than Joss Whedon wanted. In particular, Buffy was apparently expelled from her old school for arson ("that gym was full of vampi...asbestos"), which did not happen in the film. Eventually, a comic called The Origin was made that told Whedon's version of the story.
  • Doctor Who has had many over the decades, often coinciding with a change in showrunners and/or Doctors.
    • After The BBC mandated more Earthbound stories, the Third Doctor's tenure saw him exiled to Earth, where he turned from a cosmic hobo to a debonair action hero alongside an elite military commando team called UNIT. Copious location shooting, spy thriller plots, and excellent stunt work gave the show an entirely different feel to the "base under siege" stories of his predecessor, the Second Doctor.
    • Season Eighteen, the beginning of John Nathan-Turner's reign as executive producer, immediately distanced itself from the previous season (edited by Douglas Adams, with all his usual silliness) with a long, somber shot of the Fourth Doctor sitting morosely on a beach. Cold, rigid, high-minded scientific concepts and a solemn, brooding atmosphere pervaded Tom Baker's last season in the role, a far cry from the goofy piss-taking of "The Horns of Nimon" just one season previously.
    • In one fell swoop, "Remembrance of the Daleks" completely undid years of increasingly lackluster stories with a well-plotted, tightly-written homage to the series' twenty-fifth anniversary and immediately redefined the Seventh Doctor from a bumbling incompetent who hangs off ledges for no apparent reason during his first season into a dark and mysterious figure who walks like a man and talks like a god.
    • When the show came back in 2005, showrunner Russell T Davies could adequately be described as a man utterly terrified of continuity running amok, like in the 1980s. Information about the Doctor and the show's lore was tightly controlled and parceled out in the tiniest possible portions. When it became an enormous hit, he relaxed this policy (cf. "School Reunion"), but never truly abolished it. Even the montage of previous Doctors in "The Next Doctor", the most 'for the fans' moment in his tenure, was included solely on the suggestion of producer Julie Gardner, whose judgement he trusted specifically because she was not a classic Whovian.
    • Both Davies and Moffat also rapidly established potential Cosmic Retcon "crisis" events during their eras to explain why things they didn't like in continuity might not have happened any more — the Last Great Time War for Davies, and the destruction and recreation of the entire universe in "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang" for Moffat.
    • Series 10 does this for the Twelfth Doctor. The first episode starts off with the Doctor having been a lecturer at a university for some time after the events of the previous season, and sets up a plotline regarding a mysterious vault beneath it that the Doctor is charged with protecting. It also introduces Bill Potts and sets up her and Nardole, who was previously introduced in a Christmas Special, as his new companions.
    • Davies does this again in a bigger way with “The Giggle”: The Fourteenth Doctor doesn’t regenerate into a new form but instead performs a “bigeneration”, splitting Fifteen off as his own incarnation. Fourteen decides to retire on Earth (until he is ready to regenerate into Fifteenth for real), while Fifteenth is busy having adventures of his own. This effectively allows for a smooth transition from the original revival series handled by BBC Wales to a new era that is handled by Davies' new production company.
  • The Good Place loves these and does these Once a Season. This is generally done by erasing characters memories. This is all that will be said for the benefit of anyone who hasn't finished the first season.
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries had a soft reboot on the Nancy Drew half of the show in Season 2. Most of the River Heights were recast (including, later on, Nancy herself), but the only explicit change in continuity is the reintroduction of Ned, now played by Rick Springfield instead of George Oh'Hanlon Jr., as a hotshot young lawyer that Nancy has supposedly never met before.
  • Hawaii Five-0 (the 2000s series) to Hawaii Five-O (original). They're in the same continuity as each other—a Killer of the Week from the previous series appeared in a straight-up sequel episode in the reboot—but the fact that both series' main casts are named the same is left unmentioned.
  • Highlander: The Series was originally a prequel to the first Highlander film, but eventually became an Alternate Continuity where the events of the first film did happen, but Connor and the Kurgan were not the last Immortals, so Connor did not become "The One". Because of this, the series ignored both Highlander II: The Quickening and Highlander III: The Sorcerer. Highlander: The Raven was set in the same continuity.
  • The Heisei era of Kamen Rider is one to the Showa era. While the Showa era had overarching elements like the characters of Tobei Tachibana and the Great Leader, the Heisei era shows, despite taking place in the same universe as the Showa ones (as the crossover movies show) all focus on storylines that are entirely contained within their respective seasons. Effectively, each new series is its own Soft Reboot that presents a new setting and characters, while keeping some Recurring Elements like transformation belts and "Kamen Rider" as the title of its heroes.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is one of the original Pretty Little Liars, taking place in the same continuity but in the different town of Millwood with a new group of Little Liars and A.
  • Red Dwarf Series VIII starts with the original hologram Rimmer having left the crew to become Ace Rimmer and replaced by a version of Christine Kochanski from an alternate universe; and the entire crew of Red Dwarf being resurrected by nanites, including a new, human clone of Rimmer. The season ends with the new Rimmer alone on an abandoned Red Dwarf in flames fleeing from the Grim Reaper. Red Dwarf: Back to Earth, after a significant Time Skip In-Universe and in Real Life, opens with Rimmer (either "Ace" or the clone) as a hologram again, Kochanski long dead actually faked her death to leave Lister and the Dwarfers once again alone on an intact ship. The events leading up to this seeming hitting of the Reset Button apparently took place in a never actually made Series IX.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation was a reboot of the premise using an entirely new cast, using a Time Skip of about 80 years from the then recent movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
      • The Next Generation's third season was also a soft reboot of the show to some extent, featuring less involvement from Gene Roddenberry, a new set of uniforms, and a slight cinematography shift from the first two seasons. A lot of Trek fans consider this to be the point where the show started to get good.
    • Star Trek: Voyager spent the first two seasons with the crew dealing with local politics in the Delta Quadrant and having to deal with moles and traitors on the crew. The third season starts with them wrapping up all of those plotlines and moving into a different region as they focus on making the trip home.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise was episodic for the first two seasons before making the third season more of a serialized Myth Arc. This served as a workable kick of adrenaline, and the fourth season more of a balance with mini-arcs.
    • Star Trek: Discovery is set in Star Trek's "prime universe" ten years prior to Star Trek: The Original Series, making it an interquel to TOS and Star Trek: Enterprise. However, it uses considerably different aesthetics from both series.
      • The show itself utilizes a semi-anthology format, where each season keeps a handful of characters but features several newcomers to join the crew. The end of the second season features a major change, where they Time Travel 900 years into the future and a place entirely untouched by any prior Trek lore, and the third season highlights their story as Fish out of Temporal Water.
  • Strike Back had two of them: Seasons 2 (Project Dawn) and 6 (Retribution) both started from scratch with new characters and plotlines.
  • Superman & Lois has scant references to the wider Arrowverse setting, as while a few previously established characters have shown up, Superman's own cousin is conspicuously absent and not even alluded to. The show's depiction of Kryptonian stuff also clashes at times with the previous show's, particularly with the visuals of Superman's Fortress and Jor-El being played by a different actor with a whole different look. However this can be handwaved away to a degree due to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event which did reboot the universe or rather multiverse. In that event Lois gives birth to a son, but in the show she and Clark have twins who are already teens and it's set in the present just as Crisis was.
  • The fourth season of 24 was a marked departure from Season 3, which saw the premise and character set change drastically between seasons. It was the first season in the series to get a prequel (included on the Season 3 boxset, which was released in the leadup to the season), showing Jack getting fired from his job at CTU due to (plot-enforced) drug use in the preceding season, starting a new relationship and working in a completely different role. When the season started, all of the previous season's characters were gone, save for Jack, President John Keeler and Chloe O'Brian, while the enemy force transitioned from largely Eastern-European terrorists to Middle Eastern antagonists living among society (in a clear nod to The War on Terror). It was also the first season in the series to begin with a six-episode "pod" that had Jack investigating and rescuing Secretary James Heller and his daughter, Audrey (Jack's girlfriend), in an episode that was largely unlike anything the show had done up to that point (the first twenty minutes being a sustained action setpiece that follows Jack as he infiltrates and rescues them from an enemy compound). However, as the season went on, several characters returned (likely motivated by fan demand), such as Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler and David Palmer. Conversely, characters who had debuted in this season — including new CTU Director Erin Driscoll, CTU agent Sarah Gavin and Heller himself — were gone by the midpoint, with the original characters largely taking the focus of the plot by the final episode.
  • Ultra Series:
    • While the original Showa-era entries in the '60s and '70s all took place in a single continuity, when the series returned in the Heisei era (the '90s) it started constantly rebooting in most new installments, with little-to-no contact between continuities. But eventually, all these continuities were established to take place in a Multiverse; allowing each series to begin fresh with a new Ultraman on a new Earth while still heavily referencing the old series — for instance, some of the new heroes are Spin-Offspring sons of the earliest ones, and others engage in Power Copying prior Ultramen.
    • The earliest example was 1971's Return of Ultraman, only the third Ultraman series, which starred a hero (later designated "Ultraman Jack") that was an Expy of the original Ultraman after the quite different Ultraseven while still being in direct continuity with both. Ultraman Neos is similarly a back-to-basics installment that attempted to mimic the classic series, featuring straight Expies of both the original Ultraman and Ultraseven (though this was during the Heisei era when every installment was a hard reboot, and it only became a soft one in retrospect).
    • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga is largely an updated remake of Ultraman Tiga made to celebrate Tiga's 25th anniversary. However, besides the fact that The Multiverse is already well-established at this point, one character displays knowledge of the events of Tiga and makes it clear to the audience that Tiga and Trigger coexist in different universes. One episode even has Tiga make a guest appearance to fight alongside Trigger. The following season, Ultraman Decker, is a similar remake of Tiga's own successor Ultraman Dyna.

  • The 2009 Bara Magna line of BIONICLE was meant to be this, taking place on a new planet, setting up a new plot and cast, removing signature elements like Masks of Power and element-wielding Toa heroes — but still carrying the same aesthetics with some differences, i.e. helmets replacing masks, Glatorian having element-inspired armor but no in-universe powers and ground vehicles replacing flying craft. The 2001-2008 Myth Arc concluded with Makuta winning, so the ongoing story was put on temporary hold. This soft reboot only lasted half a year, after which the previous 8 years of lore spilled back into the story, bringing back masks, elemental powers, Toa, and continuing the plot from where it had left off, but this time from a new perspective. The Direct to Video movie of that year hinted at past events but didn't go in depth for the sake of new fans. This setup lasted until 2010, when LEGO discontinued the series, which they had been planning since at least 2008 — effectively meaning the Bara Magna saga ended up as a Retool that was doomed from the start, despite there being plans to go on for at least two more story arcs and exploring even more new planets.

    Video Games 
  • Armored Core:
    • Armored Core 2 is set nearly a century after the events of the original trilogy and moves the setting from Earth to Mars, with the storyline making a few quick references to concepts from the previous games. After it, the series would establish a convention of new numbered entries being hard reboots.
    • Nexus features an overhauled engine and new play mechanics putting more focus on the simulation aspect series, and does not allow part transfer from 3 or Silent Line. The game starts a new story arc and makes no reference to characters or concepts of the previous two games, leaving the corporations Crest, Kisaragi and Mirage as the only story elements linking both halves of the Armored Core 3 timeline together.
  • Baldur's Gate III does this to the original saga even if it was concluded: brand new game mechanics, new protagonist with different background, completely new story set more than 100 years after. But there are references to the originals, and some returning characters that help tie the stories.
  • Blaster Master Zero III reveals that the Blaster Master Zero trilogy is set roughly 10 years after the events of Chou Wakusei Senki - Metafight, the original Japanese version of the Blaster Master series. The series successfully disguises its status as one by pretending to be a full-on Continuity Reboot for most of the first two games, with Zero being a remake of Blaster Master with a similar plot but introducing elements from later Blaster Master games (and hints at the revelation as early as its true ending).
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars is basically a remake of Contra with updated graphics and new mechanics. The final Boss Rush of the game is even a compilation of several bosses from the first two Contra games.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is the first game in the franchise to be fully directed under Hideaki Itsuno's watch, and given its nature as a prequel, it features plot points that contradict or retcon those from DMC1 (directed by Hideki Kamiya), most notably the revisioning of Vergil's character.
  • Divinity: Original Sin is this to the Divinity games, but in contrast to other examples of this trope, it actually is set further in the past. As this timeline shows, Original Sin is set in 4 AR, the first game in the series (Divine Divinity) is set in 1217 AD. Thus, Divinity: Original Sin II is closer to the other games than this one.
  • Doom (2016) was marketed as a return-to-form for the Doom franchise: a lone Space Marine fighting The Legions of Hell in a MegaCorp facility built on Mars, just like the "classic" 1993 Shareware trilogy, thus new players could enter and enjoy 2016 without ever playing the previous games. However, the appearance of the protagonist with the epitaph "Doom Slayer" and Apocalyptic Log information found throughout the game suggests the character is actually the "Doomguy" from the old games, though lore entries in 2016 simultaneously conflict with that theory. The sequel Doom Eternal sets the record straight: the Doom Slayer is Doomguy, who locked himself in Hell from the ending of Doom 64 fighting the demons for an unspecified amount of time. Due to the dimensional nature of Hell, Doomguy wound up in an Alternate Universe, where Hell follows him to the world of Argent D'Nur. Doomguy fights with the Argenta against Hell and becomes the former's champion, whereby he turns into an Empowered Badass Normal that is the Doom Slayer from the Makers. Leading an offensive into Hell, the Slayer is trapped and found by the Union Aerospace Corporation, leading up to the events of 2016.
  • EarthBound (1994) is ostensibly a sequel to EarthBound Beginnings, taking place around ten years later, but it feels more like a full-on re-imagining. Three out of the four main party members resemble the protagonists of the first game, but few references are made to the original outside of returning enemies and music tracks. Even the one returning character, Giygas, both looks and acts so differently from before that he may as well be a totally different character.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • There is a 200-year Time Skip between Oblivion and Skyrim, after the first four games in the main series (as well as the Dungeon Crawler spin-off Battlespire) all took place over a span of roughly 34 years. This essentially made the game act like a soft reboot, while still being able to fit into the timeline.
    • The series got around this with its other spin-off games, Redguard (an Action-Adventure game with few RPG elements) and The Elder Scrolls Online (an MMORPG) by having them set several centuries before the main series but still fitting neatly into the established timeline of the series.
  • Fallout and Fallout 2 were isometric turn-based RPGs both set in post-apocalyptic California and tended to be focused primarily on the issue of survival in a world after nuclear war. Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 are set significantly later (with 3 and 4 being set on the other side of the country), have more focus on the Retro Universe setting and indications that the pre-Great War era was, in some senses, a Crapsack World, and instead of showing people just trying to eke out an existence show civilization rebuilding with the major conflicts not being simple survival but what type of societies will emerge. In addition, 3 abandoned the turn-based combat system and isometric perspective in favor of an FPS with RPG elements, with future games following suit. Fallout 76 does however revisit the post-apocalyptic survival themes of 1 and 2.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake is this for The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, keeping the Compilation lore in Broad Strokes but including only minimal appearances from Compilation characters, and using appearances for the characters based on combining their Compilation looks with their classic appearances. There's also a lot of Revisiting the Roots and Character Rerailment, with characters who had been reduced to one major character trait in spin-offs reappearing here as well-rounded and complex individuals. The Values Dissonance of both the original and the Compilation has also been re-examined: the game excises the insensitive racism, sexism and homophobia of the original, but also the sympathetic Shinra portrayal in the Compilation, in favour of focusing on the need for radical political change and the dignity of the communities of people in Midgar living in Shinra's shadow. At least, such appears to be the case up until the game's Twist Ending, where it turns out that Remake is actually a Stealth Sequel to the original game via Alternate Timeline, with several characters now having precognition of future (past?) events, while Sephiroth — who may or may not be a post-Advent Children Sephiroth — is actively working to prevent the course of history from playing out like it did in 1997.
  • The Fire Emblem series has multiple universes, and while direct and non-linear sequels do exist, there has been an essential "main" timeline (Shadow Dragon, Gaiden note , and Mystery of the Emblem, Genealogy of the Holy War, Thracia 776, and Awakening). Interestingly enough, this has happened twice within that timeline. The Jugdral games (Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776) are set in the distant past of the Archanea ones (Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem), while Awakening is set in the distant future. Being set in the distant future allows Awakening to have a ton of Call-Backs and Mythology Gags to Archanaea, Gaiden, and Jugdral all at once, whereas Jugdral's only ties to Archanea are within the lore (particularly with Naga being a major player in the backstory of both settings).
  • The God of War series has one with the Playstation-exclusive 2018 entry of the same name and its sequel God of War Ragnarök. Kratos returns as the main protagonist, now much older (even sporting a Time-Passage Beard), and has a partner in his travels in the form of the son he had with his second wife Faye, named Atreus. The gameplay also has a very different feel as the combat is now more Hack and Slash than the Greek era's Stylish Action button-mashing, and the setting switches to Midgard and interacting with characters from the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, but it is in no way a Continuity Reboot as it takes place decades after the events of God of War III, and there are many references to Kratos' past actions as the Ghost of Sparta and Greek god of war, of which deeply haunts him into the present.
  • Halo Infinite has been described as a "spiritual reboot" of the Halo series by its developers. It directly continues on from the events of Halo 5: Guardians, but it also takes a Revisiting the Roots approach to its gameplay and narrative while establishing a new status quo for the Halo universe moving forward. Indeed, the events of Halo 5 and its aftermath are discussed in cutscenes and audio logs (mostly in regard to Chief trying to discover Cortana's ultimate fate), but the game feels more inclined to start something new, making it feel like we missed the actual Halo 6.
  • The Hitman series got a soft reboot via the World of Assassination Trilogy, which goes out of its way to avoid mentioning the more gonzo sci-fi elements found in past entries, but as a whole was primarily designed to give the series a consistent continuity. Hitman (2016) describes the other games in ways that don't strictly contradict Codename 47 and the later references to it, while the tie-in Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman comic goes out of its way to fix various plotholes between the games pre-Absolution, as well as establish a consistent backstory for 47, Ort-Meyer, Subject 6, and Diana). The trilogy mentions a few of the missions from the previous games (Beldingford from Contracts, D'alvade from Blood Money, and Hayamoto from Silent Assassin), and the "Legacy" cinematic shows off the canonical kills for one target from each of the earlier games, implying they all happened even if the storylines around them didn't.
  • Killer Instinct: Due the last game being released way back in 1996, the 2013 game for Xbox One went for this trope to avoid Continuity Lockout for the benefit of newcomers to the franchise. While the 2013 has been frequently referred to as a reboot, certain story threads of the prior games are still acknowledged, such as the nature of Jago's tiger spirit (actually the spirit of Gargos) and Jago and Black Orchid being half-siblings. Most notably, the character Tusk is revealed to be an ageless immortal, meaning he is the same exact character as the one from the second game (set in the prehistoric past due to Time Travel) rather than being a Legacy Character (as is the case for Kim Wu and Maya Fallegeros).
  • The King of Fighters is prone to doing so when a new Story Arc begins:
  • The Legend of Zelda essentially soft reboots every time there's a major console release. After all, "legend" is right in the title, so several games end up being retellings of a standard "Zelda myth": there's always a hero, a princess, and evil overlord, etc.; the details may change but it's still the same story at its core. They've been connected into a series timeline, but such connections are usually an afterthought. That said, the following two games are more explicit reboots than others in the series:
    • Skyward Sword was marketed to be the origin of the Master Sword and the series as a whole, but in practice, the game was closer to a reboot rather than a traditional prequel while still being in continuity with the rest of the series. The game's story added several Retcons and new central elements to the franchise's lore, particularly that the unending conflict between Link, Zelda, and Ganon is an extension of the Divine Conflict between the goddess Hylia and Demon King Demise. Many of the series' staple races such as the Zora and Kokiri are also removed to introduce new ones such as the Mogma, Parella, and Kikwi. Gameplay-wise, the game still introduces many new elements to the series such as motion controls, an upgrade system for items, a tracking system to look for plot-relevant items, and a medallion system to give certain status buffs.
    • Zig-zagged by the "Wild Saga": Breath of the Wild was initially stated to be set in the Zelda timeline somewhere (Zelda continuity is complicated), but taking place thousands of years after each potential timeline branch, meaning it could be in any of the three (or they could've even merged together). However, its direct sequel Tears of the Kingdom muddles the situation over whether it's a soft or hard continuity reboot, as the game provides a completely different origin for Ganondorf and the Kingdom of Hyrule as a whole, stating that Hyrule was founded by a union between the Zonai and Hylians while Ganondorf became the original Demon King by stealing a Zonai Secret Stone. This makes it ambiguous whether the two games are supposed to override the previous continuity entirely or still takes place long after the previous games with the establishment of a new Hyrule.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda is set in a different galaxy from the Milky Way, over 600 years after the original trilogy, with the characters having gone into stasis at about the same time as the events of the second game and in intergalactic space during the events of the third game, allowing the creators the opportunity to not have the climactic events of the Mass Effect trilogy (and the different endings and player choices) be referenced. This is lampshaded at one point when a news broadcast mentions they've sent a message back to the Milky Way but haven't heard a response yet.
  • Max Payne 3 went in this direction due to the fact that practically every named character from the first two games was dead by the end of Max Payne 2. Max has gone from being a cop in New York to a bodyguard in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tonally, the game feels less like a film noir and more like a modern summer blockbuster. Also, the run-and-gun gameplay of the first two games is abandoned in favor of slower, cover-based gameplay. Why Max went from New York to Sao Paulo is also addressed in several flashback levels.
  • Mega Man:
  • Metal Gear Solid is a continuation of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, but heavily redesigns the gameplay and characters while also releasing into a market that never got the previous entry (and only a garbled version of the entry before that). The fact that the games have nearly identical plotlines goes on unremarked, and Campbell remarks that the previous game is now in Broad Strokes by stressing that only he and Snake truly knew what happened to him in Zanzibar Land. The tone of the game is now much darker and cinematic, and the addition of voice acting and camera angles allows the characters to express significantly more complex emotions, with Snake going from a funny, quipping Action Genre Hero Guy who uses strange gadgets to a much broodier and more subdued character.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat 9, although marketed as a remake of the first three games, is actually one of these. The story follows the immediate aftermath of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, in which Shao Kahn emerges victorious in Armageddon, leading Raiden to send a message to his past self about the future that holds for him. Thus the game focuses on Past Raiden's attempts to change destiny, and while it's not necessarily for the better, it does alter the events going forward. Fans have dubbed the game, alongside its sequels Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11, the "Rebooted Trilogy".
    • Mortal Kombat 1 once again refreshes the series' lore, albeit in a much grander way than Mortal Kombat 9. The game focuses on the timeline created by Liu Kang after he became the new Keeper Time in one of the possible endings of Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, and many characters, relationships, and plot developments have significantly changed.
  • Persona 3 can be considered this to the Persona series. Persona 3 was the game that introduced many of the elements that the series would continue to use going forward: the protagonist being a wild card and assigned the Fool Arcana, Igor being in charge of the Velvet Room, Social Links, and emphasis on the day-to-day school life of the protagonists. In-Universe, Persona and Persona 2 are rarely referenced, leading to 3 effectively being the "first" game in the modern Persona storyline.
  • Pikmin 4 isn't a continuation of Pikmin 3, but rather diverges from the events of the first game. In fact, the game begins with a retelling of Pikmin 1 with some key differences: namely that Olimar befriended a green "space dog" which he named Moss while searching for his missing ship parts, that he is able to send out an S.O.S signal that kicks off the actual game, and that he remains stranded on the planet despite his best efforts (becoming victim to the first game's Bad Ending).
  • Pokémon:
    • Done out of necessity in Gen III. Due to technical limitations, you couldn't transfer any Pokémon from the first two generation, cleanly cutting off the Game Boy and Game Boy Color games from the rest of the main series, which has allowed players to bring Pokémon from previous generations into newer ones (e.g., you can transfer that Mawile you caught back in 2003 into an entry released over fifteen years later). While these games have seen remakes, as well as later re-releases, that allow you to transfer those Mons into future entries, any Pokémon you caught on an original copy of Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, or Crystal are forever stuck there. It also defined what a new generation meant for the series going forward, since it was set in an entirely new region that was disconnected from the previous ones in both geography and story, save for some minor Continuity Nods and cameos. This was in contrast to Generation II, which, while introducing new Pokémon and game mechanics as a new generation should, had much more continuity with Generation I. Its story picked up several plot threads from Red and Blue, and its region was right next to Gen I's, which could even be visited in the post game to show players how things had changed during the 3 year Time Skip between games. Generation III and onwards would make much cleaner breaks from prior gens with more standalone regions and stories.
    • Pokémon Black and White are widely considered this among the fandom, in large part due to having no prior Pokémon accessible during the main game, with players forced to become familiar with a completely new set of 150 Pokémon. Gen V as a whole is also seen as the point where Game Freak started putting greater emphasis on story, as it became the first (and so far only) generation that saw direct sequels that continued the villain team plotline, as opposed to Updated Rereleases that expanded or reimagined the existing story.
  • Puyo Puyo went through this shortly after Compile lost the series to Sega for good. Puyo Puyo Fever, Sega's first major entry in the series, established an all-new setting and all-new characters. The only links to Compile's games are original protagonists Arle and Carbuncle thanks to an inadvertent dimensional warp; even then, Arle isn't given any more prominence than the minor characters while Carbuncle is an Optional Boss. Starting with Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary, the series slowly reintroduced characters from the older games and gave Arle more prominence, but with varying levels of changes applied to fit with the rest of Sega's characters.
  • Rengoku: The second game requires no knowledge of the first game, though there are some spoilers shared by both games. All named characters are given new personalities and elaborate backstories. While Purgatory is namedropped in the flashbacks, the current Rengoku is simply called the Tower, while the second tower that heavily resembles the one from the first game is called HEAVEN instead.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 completely retools the gameplay into a much more action-oriented style with an over-the-shoulder perspective and resolves basically every lingering plot thread from previous games with a brief, minute-long cutscene at the very beginning, and goes with a much Denser and Wackier tone throughout. Unusually for this trope, the Player Character is shared with a previous game — namely, Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2.
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard goes for a completely different feel with its gameplay which trades the third-person perspective and action-oriented focus of the previous three numbered entries for a first-person perspective based around inventory management, uses a completely new focus character with no ties to the previous heroes, and doesn't make its connections toward the other games explicit until late in the game.
  • Sakura Wars (2019) is a soft reboot of the Sakura Wars franchise, following a decade-plus hiatus since Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. The game takes place in the same series setting, albeit a decade after the last game, with a new Imperial Combat Revue taking center stage (led by a veteran of the original organization), as well as changing the combat system from turn-based tactics to real-time hack-and-slash.
  • Samurai Warriors: The fifth title serves as a soft reboot of sorts, focusing on the earlier parts of the era, particularly those regarding Nobunaga, akin to the first installment of the series. Many characters from previous titles were cut from the roster and many returning ones had their personalities and story roles drastically changed. Even the series' poster boy, Yukimura Sanada, is nowhere to be seen because he'd be too young at that time.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has Shantae work with her longtime rival Risky Boots, and at the end of the game, the two part on amicable terms. This gets at best an obscure passing reference in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, where Risky Boots is once again the main villain. To cap it off, the first level of the game is a semi-remake of the intro stage from the original game. One of the Scuttle Town villagers hangs a lampshade on this by way of Leaning on the Fourth Wall. At least part of this may have been because Pirate's Curse and Half-Genie Hero were initially in development at the same time, so it was uncertain which would come out first. Regardless, the status quo from Half-Genie Hero carries over to Shantae and the Seven Sirens. That said, characters and concepts introduced in Pirate's Curse (and Risky's Revenge, from which Pirate's Curse was a direct follow-up), such as the Barons, do appear in Half-Genie Hero, and Shantae recognizes them.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has seen many of these happen.
    • Sonic Adventure served as the Sonic franchise's first soft reboot. Simultaneously a bid to recapture old fans and gain new ones, it overhauled the art style from bright and surreal to be more muted and realistic. The character designs for most characters was also overhauled to be lankier and "edgier" instead of the softer, round designs of the classic games. Finally, Sonic Adventure was the first game in the franchise to have an in-depth story, being much Darker and Edgier than the Genesis games and including much Character Development for most of the cast. Sonic Adventure's direction would go on to define the franchise from that point forward.
    • Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors did away with the continuity and character bloat of the Adventure-era games, with Sonic, Tails and Eggman (plus Amy in Unleashed) being the only returning characters and the plot being completely self-contained. Colors in particular is far more goofy and lighthearted than any of the Adventure-era games.
    • Sonic Forces references previous titles while at the same time leaving out a lot of things from previous games. Most blatantly there are no humans besides Eggman. There's a world war going on but G.U.N. is nowhere in sight and there aren't even minor human NPCs anywhere. Instead, for the first time in the games, we have Funny Animal minor characters appearing. The game also doesn't include some previous areas such as Station Square and instead takes place near a nondescript "City."
  • The Soul series has Soulcalibur V, which jumped ahead 17 years, replaced much of the longstanding cast with successors, and featured a new storyline. In fact, the game's director, Daishi Odashima, originally wanted it to be called Soul Edge 2, in order to mark a new direction for the franchise. Unfortunately for Odashima, said "new direction" did not take with fans at all. As a result, Soulcalibur VI promptly returned to the original setting. Later plot developments would add wrinkles, however: V still exists in the new timeline, but is considered by both Cassandras as a horrific Bad Future that cannot come to pass. Unsurprising, as in that timeline, her sister Sophitia is dead, Pyrrha becomes a new host for Soul Edge and Patroklos exists.
  • Star Ocean essentially did this with the third game, then went the Non-Linear Sequel route after that. The first two games (plus the spin-off) in the series take place within the span of 25-30 years, everything after that is either in the distant future or, in the case of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, in the distant past.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The original Super Mario Bros. was itself one of these. The game is a large departure from prior Mario games such as Donkey Kong and Mario Bros., which had shown urban-themed environments in comparison to SMB's fantasy kingdom. It also introduced new sets of characters, including a new antagonist. It could have been a completely new series were it not for the return of Mario and Luigi.
    • Super Mario 64 served as this for the Super Mario Bros. franchise, especially in the West, where it marks the point at which the Western canon (Mario being a plumber from Brooklyn, the name "Princess Toadstool", and so on) was brought into line with the Japanese canon.
    • WarioWare Gold: Not only does Gold introduce a new artstyle that would become the norm for the series onwards, its plot is very much a souped up version of the original Mega Microgame$, with Wario deciding to make games after being inspired by some TV news, phoning his friends to help him out and then trying to cheat on them of their pay at the end (and failing).
  • Super Metroid continues the continuity of the first two games, but in terms of gameplay, acts essentially as a loose remake of Metroid, taking place on the same planet, with roughly the same plot and the same boss enemies, with a few new surprises.
  • Thief (2014) was originally marketed as a reboot of the Thief universe, following a character who appears to have a drastically-different origin story (he no longer gets a "power" from a mechanical eye after having one ripped out, but gets it from looking directly into the Primal Stone's energy). However, as the game goes on it, it gradually becomes clear that the game is actually a Stealth Sequel to the original trilogy, which takes place several hundred years after the events of the original trilogy: both the Keepers (the overriding magic-wielding Big Good) and Karras (the Big Bad of Thief II: The Metal Age) in various bits of lore and art found throughout The City. The Clocktower appears to be the same one seen in the "Life of the Party" mission in The Metal Age, while an abandoned chapel, "Our Lady of the Iron Litany", appears to be an abandoned Hammerite chapel. The "Queen of Beggars" is implied to be either a descendant or the last remaining member of the original Keepers, while the Keeper Library (visited in Thief: Deadly Shadows) is visited midway through the game, lying derelict underneath the House of Blossoms. There are also suggestions that the Garrett in this game is a descendant of the original Garrett, via a sidestory where the player can find bits of lore about the latter within Moira Asylum.
  • The Touhou Project series has a reboot between the fifth game, Touhou Kaikidan ~ Mystic Square, the last game for PC-98 and the sixth game, Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, the first game in the Windows series (though it actually happened with the release of the seventh game, Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom, as extra material from sixth game makes it clear it was written in mind with PC-98 being canon). From all the characters in the PC-98 era, only four reappear in the Windows era, two of which are the series main characters Reimu and Marisa. The works in the Windows era sometimes reference the PC-98 games, but never in a way that solidifies their canonicity. When asked about this, series creator ZUN merely stated the PC-98 games are "canon until contradicted by a Windows game."
  • Both Wolfenstein (2009) and Wolfenstein: The New Order are this for the 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein and each other, featuring the same villain Deathshead and the Kreisau Circle from that game, but incorporating elements of a "Black Sun Dimension" and an alternate timeline where Nazis won WWII, respectively. The New Order also includes the return of Caroline Becker from the 2009 game, though noticeably different from before. RTCW is a more traditional run-and-gun experience, Wolfenstein (2009) is more Call of Duty-esque, and The New Order attempts to blend the playstyles together.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon is one to the Yakuza series at large. For the first time since Yakuza 4, it introduces a completely new cast of playable characters, complete with a new protagonist in Ichiban Kasuga, as Kazuma Kiryu's journey had reached its end in Yakuza 6. It also introduces a new setting, as a majority of the game is now set in the Isezaki Ijincho district of Yokohama instead of the Kamurocho district of Tokyo, as was series tradition since the original game. Furthermore, whereas the previous installments in the series were open-district Beat 'em Ups, this one is a Turn-Based JRPG (while still maintaining the open-district nature of the previous titles) akin to Dragon Quest or Persona. The subtitle being a translation of the series name in Japanese would also allow Sega to ease international players into its use when they dropped Yakuza as a franchise title going forward with the eighth game (in favor of Like a Dragon, a literal translation of the original Japanese title of Ryū ga Gotoku), further distinguishing Kasuga's games as a new beginning.
  • Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim is one for the Ys series. From this game forward, the series starts making a serious effort to craft a consistent Ys lore. However, all games to follow also treat the pre-Napishtim games in Broad Strokes where they acknowledge them at all, and Ys III and IV have both been replaced in the canon by remakes.

    Visual Novels 


    Web Videos 
  • Unwanted Houseguest: The series didn't have clear continuity back when it was just music videos, but the introduction of Aberfoyle Manor as a permanent setting in 2020 seems to fall into this category. It doesn't explicitly contradict past videos, and it came a bit after the Houseguest's appearance changed, but it did radially alter the status quo of the series, and introduce ongoing narratives.

    Western Animation 
  • As of Season 5, Archer has had these Once a Season:
    • Season 5 (Archer: Vice) saw Isis shut down and the cast becoming drug dealers then the end of the season was a completely serialized story that saw them become involved with a civil war in a Central American nation.
    • Season 6 was the exception as the show mostly just stuck with the formula of the last four seasons.
    • Season 7 saw them move to L.A and become private investigators and for the most part ignored the arcs off all the over seasons.
    • Season 8 (Archer: Dreamland) was completely unrelated to the other seasons transporting the cast to the 40's as stock characters in a film noir plot were Archer is a private detective investigating the murder of his partner while working for a shady crime lord. This is all a dream Archer is having while in a three season coma.
    • Season 9 (Archer: Danger Island) is a tribute to late 30's action/adventure stories with the cast on a remote South Pacific island.
    • Season 10 (Archer: 1999) is a tribute to old Sci-Fi series with the cast exploring space in a retro-futuristic vision of outer space.
    • Season 11 going forward has Archer return to the Spy Agency roots of the series along with Archer dealing with a world that changed quite a lot while he was in a three year coma, such as Lana getting married. Additionally, he has to make use of the ‘Tactile Cane’ to help him overcome his physical difficulties until the end of Season 12. While Season 13 looks to continue the Spy Agency angle, the show will be different due to the passing of Jessica Walter.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman Beyond is effectively this to Batman: The Animated Series. While taking place in the same continuity and made by the same people, Beyond is set in the fifty years after TAS and the tone is very different to match. Whereas TAS used a retro Art Deco style (or "dark deco") to evoke the image of old serials from the '30s and '40s, and featured an Anachronism Stew all over the place that gave the impression of a retro city, Beyond takes its futuristic setting in stride aspects like with mutagen, Bio-Augmentation, Animesque influences, sleek and conceptual designs for their buildings and vehicles, and is more likely to remind one of AKIRA or Ghost in the Shell than '40s serials. Furthermore, there's a new man running around as Batman, the teenage Terry McGinnis, as opposed to the standard Bruce Wayne. Even the music is a contrast, favoring dirty industrial rock and electronica as opposed to the orchestral themes of before.
    • Justice League's first season largely tried to avoid referencing the events of Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series, with Word of God admitting it was done so that it would be more accessible, and as such only brought up the prior shows vaguely. But later on, this approach was dropped in favor of directly continuing off of plot points established in the prior shows that would be more familiar to longtime fans, and going for a more tightly knit approach with its storytelling instead.
  • DuckTales (1987) can be watched as an independent storyline compared to the original comic, and a few details of the pilot don't actually gel very well with the comic lore (most glaringly, the fact that Huey, Dewey and Louie apparently aren't yet Junior Woodchucks). However, it can also be seen as a continuation of the comics; all a reader of the comic needs to know is "Donald has gone off to the navy and so Huey, Dewey and Louie are living with Scrooge in McDuck Manor", and they're good to go. (Despite the minor Continuity Snarls this creates, the 2010 DuckTales comics confirmed it takes place in the same continuity as the comics.)
  • The Fairly Oddparents seems to have done this twice.
    • Season 6 onward did this with the introduction of Poof, as changes include Negative Continuity becoming more apparent, various recurring characters disappearing from the setting, "Timmy's Secret Wish" infamously justifying a Floating Timeline, and Timmy's future from the ending to Channel Chasers outright ignored in favor of a different future depicted in three live-action movies.
    • Season 10 did this with the introduction of Chloe, a girl that Timmy has to share Cosmo and Wanda with, with said season seeming to ignore ALL the movies.
  • 2017's The Magic School Bus Rides Again takes place in a similar continuity to 1994's The Magic School Bus and seems to have featured the same events, however it also has the characters in modern times despite not aging.
  • Momma Named Me Sheriff is this to Mr. Pickles; while technically a spin-off, it's really just the same show simply switching character focus.
  • My Little Pony:
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) serves as a soft reboot of The Powerpuff Girls (1998). The girls are still heroes, the old villains are still around, but Pokey Oaks Kindergarten is torn down early in the show (due to a clumsy moment on Bubbles' part) and the girls are sent to Midway Elementary School (apparently it's a K-12 school), the girls often fight newer foes instead of the old ones, Miss Bellum is Put on a Bus, their personalities have noticeably changed, and they now can create Hard Light constructs with little to no mention how they could.
  • South Park:
  • The seventh and final season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Back to the Sewers, takes the Turtles back to their time after Fast Forward sent them to the future, but aside from having the Turtles face some of their Rogues Gallery from previous seasons, doesn't continue off of many previously lingering plots and characters. It also tweaks the internal chronology of the series somewhat to allow for the Cyber Shredder, that season's Big Bad, to exist.
  • The Venture Bros.: