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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
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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.

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What to do? Well, 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. No, this is an Alternate Timeline. Or a sequel set sometime after the events of the old series that mentions the things fans loved but quietly neglects or Retcons the things not so beloved. Perhaps it's a Retool where significant parts of the setting are changed and even most of the main cast are replaced going forward. Or a prequel, Time Skip or even a separate adventure taking place somewhere else so you have an excuse not to mention the events of the original series, while not denying they took place. You can do an unremarked-upon Same Plot Sequel because it doesn't really matter if there's a literal continuity or not. You can even do a sequel where it's deliberately contradictory as to how much it incorporates from the previous entries, using Broad Strokes for stuff you want to keep to allow you to ditch the rest.

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

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


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • 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, the introduction of concepts that became franchise mainstays going forward, and a very different tone compared to the original Dragonball. That it serves as a decent introduction to the overall series despite being in the middle of it is one reason Dragonball Z managed to be such a success in the states despite getting localized before it's predecessor.
  • 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.
  • The first three parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, and Stardust Crusaders, tell a fairly complete story with Stardust Cusaders 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 the previous parts when needed, and even then in mostly loose terms, telling a plot largely disconnected from Stardust Crusaders.
  • The Pokémon anime has done this three 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 this the furthest; instead of traversing the Galar region, Ash spends most of his time in Kanto and travels to every region instead as a research assistant.
  • 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.
  • 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 and a theatrical adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash).
  • 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.

    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.
  • "Giant Sized X-Men #1" was probably one of the most important soft reboots in comic history, getting rid of most of the original team so it can focus on new main characters, and beginning the franchise's future of having Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Captain Atom: Armageddon helped serve as a soft reboot for the WildStorm Comics universe.
  • Spawn: Following Al Simmons' return, the comic instituted a retcon that ignores everything that happened between Al defeating Malebolgia and his suicide.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jonathan Hickman's X-Men, 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, occassionally — 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.
  • Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic's Eternals (2021) is a soft reboot of Jack Kirby's The Eternals. 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 Jonathan Hickman's X-Men, it also uses data pages to convey a lot of information.

    Film 
  • Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are prequels to the Alien universe which alter some long-held ideas about the setting.
  • 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.
  • Jurassic World recognizes the events of Jurassic Park 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.
  • Batman Forever nominally takes place in the same continuity as the Tim Burton Batman 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.
  • 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.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation was made in response to the lukewarm reaction to G.I. Joe: The Rise of 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 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.
  • 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."
  • The James Bond films also used to work like this. Each time the lead actor changed, the series was effectively soft-reboooted. 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. All this changed with Casino Royale (2006), which was not only a hard Continuity Reboot, but also established a firm continuity for the franchise that has persisted all through the Daniel Craig era so far.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Girl in the Spider's Web is an in-continuity sequel to the 2011 American adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but with a completely different cast and creative team behind it.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Highlander: The Series was originally a prequel to the first film Highlander, 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Strike Back had two of them: Seasons 2 (Project Dawn) and 6 (Retribution) both started from scratch with new characters and plotlines.
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries had a soft reboot on the Nancy Drew half of the show in season two. 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.

    Video Games 
  • Both Wolfenstein (2009) and Wolfenstein: The New Order are this for the 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein and each other, feauturing 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 noticably 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thief (2014) appears to reboot the universe, but several details make an allusion to to the original games (including a very heavy implication that this game's Garret is the Identical Grandson of the previous title's protagonist) taking place in the past.
  • Super Title 64 Advance games did this a lot:
    • Super Metroid continues the continuity of the first two games, but is essentially a remake of Metroid, taking place on the same planet, with roughly the same plot and the same boss enemies, with a few new surprises.
    • Contra 3: 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 games.
  • Fallout and Fallout 2 were 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, 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.
  • 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 the in charge of the Velvet Room, Social Links, and emphasis on the day-today 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.
  • 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 her sister Sophitia is dead in that timeline and Patroklos exists.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Long time veterans of the series were critical of the 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.
  • Pokémon has attempted this twice, though Game Freak typically backpedals soon after and starts referencing the older games again.
    • The first occurred with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Unlike Pokémon Gold and Silver, which featured many returning characters and Pokémon from Pokémon Red and Blue and even allowed you to visit the setting of those games after finishing the main quest, Ruby and Sapphire featured a whole new region, Hoenn, that was disconnected from the previous two. Of the roughly 200 Pokémon available, only a minority were from the first 2 generations. On top of all that, thanks to technical limitations you couldn't transfer Mons from the previous games. This provoked a strong negative reaction from much of the fanbase, which prompted Game Freak to rectify the situation by creating remakes of Red and Blue that could connect to Ruby and Sapphire, making many of the older Pokémon available again and tying the newer games back to the rest of the series. note 
    • The second was Pokémon Black and White. This time only newly introduced Pokémon were available during the main quest, and the new region, Unova, was even farther removed from the previous ones than Hoenn was. note  While this didn't provoke the same level of backlash that Ruby and Sapphire did at firstnote  it was still jarring to many fans. Game Freak has taken care to include many nods to previous generations in the games released since Black and White, to the point where other fans have begun to think that it's Pandering to the Base.
  • Star Ocean essentially did this with the third game, then became Non-Linear Sequel 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.
  • 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 Fire Emblem 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.
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: Pirate's Curse brought the series to a pretty conclusive ending, with Shantae finally becoming a full genie—but WayForward couldn't just not make games with their mascot! As a result, Half-Genie Hero starts off with this change undone; all of the main characters are still there and act more or less the same as they always have, but the plot has largely reverted back to where things were in the first game, with Shantae being a half-genie (it's even in the title!). 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, with Shantae's half-genieness actually being what starts the plot.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Puyo Puyo went through this shortly after Compile lost the series to Sega for good. Puyo Pop 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 a Bonus 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.
  • The Hitman (2016) game is a soft reboot of the series, which goes out of it's way to avoid mentioning the gonzo sci-fi elements found in the other games. 2016 describes the other games in ways that don't strictly contradict Codename 47 and the later references to it (The Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman comic goes out of its way to fix various plotholes between the games pre-Absolution). The game 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" cinemtic shows off the canonical kills for some of the targets from the earlier games, implying they all happened even if the storylines around them didn't.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series 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."
  • God of War features an entire new look, feel and mythology with its Norse setting, but it is in no way a retcon as it in fact takes place years after the events of God of War III and the events of the original games still haunt Kratos to this day.
  • 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. However, 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.
    • Breath of the Wild is more of a gameplay-oriented reboot, as it ditches the series' longtime formula of using items to unlock new areas in favor of frontloading the game's four key items and simply gaining a rough equivalent to Heart Pieces and optional abilities through free, non-mandated exploration. It also heavily changes how melee weapons work; now you can keep the weapons that enemies use, but they break easily, forcing you to constantly find new weapons to replace them either through exploration or taking on enemies with better weapons. Storywise, the game is confirmed to take place in an ambiguous part of the series' split timeline so as to dissociate it from any previous stories in the series, although the game has noticeable story elements from the aforementioned Skyward Sword (which is shared in all known timelines), such as the significance of Hylia and a brief "appearance" by Fi.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
  • EarthBound 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.
  • 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.
  • The 2019 Samurai Shodown is a reboot in name only. The game still follows the existing timeline, specifically taking place between the events of V and the original SamSho. This, in fact, makes the 2019 entry currently the second installment chronologically.
  • Mega Man 11 acts as one for the Mega Man (Classic) series. The game begins with a Dream Sequence showing Doctor Wily and Doctor Light's initial falling out over the Double Gear system, establishing the series' main confict for new fans, providing tantalizing new details of the series' Backstory for veteran fans, and setting up the game's new gameplay mechanic for both.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is the case up until the game's Twist Ending, where it turns out the "remake" is actually a Stealth Sequel to the original game operating on the multiverse theory of Time Travel, wherein several characters have precognition of future (past?) events and Sephiroth—heavily implied to be a post-Advent Children Sephiroth—is actively working to prevent the course of history from playing out like it did in 1997.
  • 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. 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."

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony (G3) had a reboot near the end which fans refer to as the "Core 7" reboot. It's blatantly obvious in both the toyline and Animated Adaptation, as all ponies besides the titular seven disappeared from the toy line completely and were either absent or Demoted to Extra in the specials. Two of the characters also changed very noticeably — Rainbow Dash received a personality overhaul and her accent changed from British to American, while Toola-Roola was completely redesigned and went from being a toy-only character to a main protagonist.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) serves as a soft reboot of The Powerpuff Girls. The girls are still heroes, the old villains are still around, but Pokey Oaks Kindergarten is torn down early in the show 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • The seventh and final season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Back to the Sewers, takes the Turtles back to their time, 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.
  • 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.
  • The Fairly Oddparents seems to have done this twice.
    • Season 7 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.
  • The Venture Bros.:
  • 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 4 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.
  • South Park:
  • 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.

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