My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end"
This trope does not refer to the condition in the song by R.E.M. that is the Trope Namer for this trope, where Michael Stipe sings, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." Rather, it's the exact opposite.
This is what will happen if the heroes don't stop the Evil Plan from doing its nasty work. It can be either supernatural or superscience, depending on the villain, but in either case the bad guy must be beaten down and his toys broken in order to save the planet, or the universe, depending on the focus of the story.
Usually it's figurative — expressed as "merely" the death of humankind, the obliteration of Civilization, or its subjugation to aliens, for example — rather than the literal rendering of the planet down to gravel.
This is a common trope in Speculative Fiction, horror and over-the-top espionage shows, as well as many anime series. It may serve as a prequel to an After the End series, or the culmination of a Just Before the End story. May also include Cosy Catastrophe and/or Scavenger World elements — if so, let's just hope the dog lives. It's also very common in video games, where it's occasionally unavoidable, sometimes occurring halfway through the game; in other cases, poor play may result in the world coming to a bad end. If it's a Cosmic Horror Story, expect an Eldritch Abomination to be on its way and, should it make it to Earth before the protagonists can get the necessary power to stop it from coming, nothing can stop its rampage as such stories rarely end in a victory for humanity.
If the heroes are slated to succeed in preventing the End, they (and the audience) may be treated to a detailed preview of what's coming. The most common subversion keys on the "as we know it" part of the phrase: the world may not actually end so much as be changed beyond of all recognition. Depending upon the world this may actually be an improvement.
Inevitably draws the suitably heroic into a Saving the World plot. See Apocalypse How for various types of End Of the World. For when Take Our Word for It simply won't do, Apocalypse Wow is this trope given dramatic form. When asked just why they want to destroy the world as we know it, villains usually say something from the "Why You Should Destroy the Planet Earth" list. That is, if they even have one. May be preceded by Signs of the End Times. If the plot starts after End of the World happened, see After the End. If the villain does destroy the planet, it may be a case of The Bad Guy Wins and a possible Downer Ending, although it could end as a Bittersweet Ending if all hope isn't lost.
The Omnicidal Maniac is defined by this trope; destruction of the world is their goal because that would destroy all life on it.
It is a common source of Enemy Mine if another villain wants to Take Over the World, because after the End of the World as We Know It, there's nothing left to take over. As it happens, don't be surprised by the appearance of the Despair Event Horizon. A Depopulation Bomb is a downplayed version of this, although they can get pretty close to this.
- In many political ads, this is the implied consequence of voting for anyone other than the person who paid for the commercial. The most famous example, and perhaps the trend setter, is Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential election "Daisy" commercial, which essentially said that voting for Barry Goldwater would cause everyone to die in a nuclear war. See it for yourself here.
- A TV commercial for tequila, of all things, features this. Behold the Jose Cuervo ad, "Last Days".
- gretchengrundler.com's 2008 Super Bowl ad features this as a major plot point.
- In Ah! My Goddess, removing the seals of the goddesses while on Earth - it's noted that any carelessness with that level of power could result in massive damage, up to the end of the world. Belldandy removes hers only when the Lord of Terror threatens complete universal cessasion of existence.
- The basic plot of Apocalypse no Toride via the Zombie Apocalypse.
- In Black Clover, the Spade Kingdom intends to open a gate to the underworld using the Tree of Qliphoth, with Yami and Vangeance as sacrificial offerings. Over seven days, seven gates to seven levels will gradually open. If the final devil Lucifer emerges, the world is finished.
- Bokurano takes this trope to a whole new level of cruelty by adding a twist: to save the world from ending the kids must cause the destruction of other worlds. The pilots die regardless of the outcome of the battle.
- A Certain Magical Index has this as the Big Bad's goal in the New Testament series. However, Othinus isn't planning on just ending the world, Othinus will recreate it afterward. What form it will take, no one knows, but everyone agrees they don't want Othinus to be the omnipotent ruler of all creation. In New Testament 8 Othinus succeeds and ends the world with a wave of her hand. The last few pages of the book are nothing but total black. Touma is the only other survivor. After an adventure where Othinus creates world after world, she is eventually convinced to restore it to the way it was.
- Parodied in the CLANNAD game with this quote:
Misae: For Sunohara to have such a cute sister, and for Okazaki to have such a cute girlfriend... If it were the end of the world, it'd be bad for the sister and Furukawa-san, but... I'll say it. It's the end of the world.
- The Digimon multiverse, which shares similarities with the Pretty Cure worlds except for the whole shounen mon series thing, has the exact same looming threat every time.
- Standard thing the heroes of Dragon Ball are trying to prevent, although the ante was upped in the Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z, where the Big Bad could easily have wiped out the entire universe had he not been stopped. Also in Dragon Ball Super, the entire future timeline is destroyed by Future Zen'o to stop Merged Zamasu, who fused with multiverse after losing his physical body and killed everyone in it except for a few named characters.
- In Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, Demon Lord Vearn wants to destroy the Human World to get a glimpse of the sun for the Demon World. He comes dangerously close to succeeding.
- While Elfen Lied starts as a story about two cousins hiding an abused and escaped mutant from an evil government agency, it is later revealed that said mutants may very well destroy all human life on earth and it becomes a very close call near the end, though considering how monstrous humans have been portrayed, maybe it's what should have happened. It is absent in the Anime.
- It is feared that this is what will happen if there should ever be a "Second Summer Of Love" in Eureka Seven.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Father opens the gate sacrificing the Earth itself so he can become one with God, and rips the souls of nearly every living thing in the country of Amestris with only a select few remaining humans and homunculi remaining. A true Wham Episode. He makes a transmutation circle out of Amestris to do so, thus following the "Equivalent exchange" rule. Many people the brothers have met are seen passing out. Ed proceeds to beat Father to a pulp, and so Father enters the gates and the humanoid shape shown in earlier chapters to be 'wearing' Ed's arm and leg is hinted to be god, due to their similar colouring and grin. Father dies and they all live happily ever after.
- In Future Diary, this is Deus' reason for holding the survival game. He is dying, which is bringing about the end of the world.
- The Haruhi Suzumiya franchise has a rather unusual condition for The End Of The World as We Know It to happen: if the title character becomes too bored with her life, she could inadvertently destroy the universe in a subconscious attempt to create one more to her liking. Not only that, the rest of the SOS-dan suspects that she has already done it at least once before — but obviously no-one can tell.
- In The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer this is the goal of the Big Bad, and also the main characters, Sami and Yuuhi. (The aim is to smash the planet to rubble, too.)
- The first two seasons of Lyrical Nanoha involved unstable Lost Logia and the heroes trying to prevent the destruction of a few worlds, including the one they call home. The third season, however, had a Big Bad who knew how to handle Lost Logia, and thus would have only ended with The Federation obliterated and the entire multiverse effectively taken hostage should the heroes fail. Jail's an Evilutionary Biologist, not an Omnicidal Maniac, after all.
- The final Story Arc in Magical Project S revolves around saving Earth.
- Magic Knight Rayearth's plot begins with trying to prevent this from happening to Cephiro.
- This is the plot of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack — Char wants to speed up humanity's ascension into space and turn them into Newtypes, thus he decides the best way to do it is to drop a meteor onto the Earth, specifically the abandoned Neo Zeon asteroid Axis, and bring about an Endless Nuclear Winter so Earth can finally be abandoned and humanity to travel the stars. Amuro and the rest of Londo Bell really don't want that.
- Johan Liebert of Monster tries to become last standing at the end of the world by having insane supporters cause destruction until he has them kill each other.
- Michio Yuki of MW tries to take the world with him by using the titular chemical warfare.
- My-HiME threatens the end of the world with the approaching of the HiME Star precipitating natural disasters and the last surviving HiME gaining the power to remake the world as she sees fit.
- In Naruto Tobi's Assimilation Plot is to invoke this, creating a genjutsu to cover the entire world in order to create a new reality where everyone lives, heroes succeed and the like, at the cost of free will. Unfortunately, his method of completing the plan involves the revival of the Ten-Tails, the combined form of all nine of the tailed-beasts and the only being they fear. The Sage of the Six Paths, the greatest ninja to have ever lived and the founder of ninjutsu legitimately feared that its revival would cause this, as the Ten-Tails is the progenitor of all that exists in the world and the source of all chakra, and with its lack of comprehension of the ideals of good and evil, it is essentially the personification of God Is Evil.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion seems to be about preventing the End of the World as We Know It at first, but apparently this outcome had been clear from the very beginning. The attempts to stop the Angels from reaching Terminal Dogma under Tokyo-3 are only meant to buy more time to arrange that the event happens in a way most favorable to the various factions. That the 18th Angel (humanity itself) will succeed in causing the end in The End had always been a foregone conclusion.
- Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo has the majority of the plot focusing on how Cruje will erase Wonderland and recreate it when she inherits the Manager position from Ureshiko. When she finally does inherit the position and recreates the world, she recreates it almost exactly as it was before, with the only difference being that the school didn't burn down, even if the baseball victory flag still has burn marks.
- The Pokémon: The Series films typically leave preventing the End of the World as We Know It to Ash Ketchum and his friends.
- In Popcorn Avatar, this is the fate of the world should the Devas lose, as the Asura's stated purpose was to literally wipe the slate clean so that creation can begin anew.
- While the main cast of Prétear eventually succeeds in preventing the End of the World as We Know It (the standard Big Bad's goal), the manga gives a nice description of the world drained of Life Energy — not only without living beings, but without wind, sounds, temperature, light. The anime version further illustrates the possible outcome by having the Big Bad destroy the local Magical Land.
- Anyone living in the world of any Pretty Cure series should try not to get too attached to the universe. It was already one lost fight away from total destruction in the very first episode, with multiple near-misses along the way; in particular, almost all life was wiped out near the end of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star, though the heroines managed to reverse it by defeating the bad guy.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the protagonist does this in at least one timeline. Considering what happens to her in this series, and that she didn't know she would become a massively powerful Eldritch Abomination as a result of defeating a weaker one, you can't entirely blame her.
- The main goal of the Ancient Conspiracy from RahXephon is to both cause and reverse this. Unusual in that the world already ended once and is slowly decaying away into nothing, and this world has to be purged and rebuilt again to stop it. The conflict is over who gets to be in charge of the rebuilding: the humans or the Mu.
- The intent of King and Lucia in Rave Master through the use of the Mother Dark Bring, aptly called Endless.
- In the end of Saikano the world does come to an end. Chise loses her body in a climactic final battle and becomes a ball of light and Shuuiji is the sole survivor in the entire planet.Few things could be sadder.
- Sailor Moon:
- The Moon Kingdom was completely destroyed in the past.
- the Earth is constantly in danger as one villainous group invades it after another, and the last arc/season's Big Bad has already rendered most of the Galaxy dead before attacking the Earth.
- In the manga, the world (along with the Big Bad) is destroyed at the end of the third story arc by Sailor Saturn... only to be immediately restored by Princess Serenity.
- In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, in addition to the destruction of the Moon Kingdom in the past, Princess Serenity does the same with the Earth at the end of the series.
- Pacifica Casull the eponymous Scrapped Princess is hunted by everyone due to a prophesy that she was destined to literally "end the world as we know it." subverted in that she "ends the world as we know it" by breaking an artificially enforced Medieval Stasis.
- All of the Slayers continuities, especially the anime, dealt with this trope in some way.
- In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the SDF-1, after a year of fighting, returns to Earth only to witness the nuclear bombardment of the planet by Boddolza's main Zentradi fleet of over 4,000,000 warships (killing "most" of the population and destroying 95% of the environment), however, with a little help from a wave motion cannon back on Earth, and Lynn Minmei, the Macross nukes Boddolza's remaining flagship. The remnants of humanity and the Zentradi are then shown to be co-existing on what remains of the planet, but because of some of the bored Zentradi, conflict begins anew. Fortunately, later Macross series show that humanity and its Zentradi allies have bounced back and created a thriving interstellar civilization.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is set After the End, when most of humanity was wiped out by the machinations of the Anti-Spiral. When they start making a comeback thanks to the protagonists, a failsafe kicks in to drop the moon on the planet and finish humanity off. And on top of that, Spiral Energy's ability to generate energy and matter from nothing but Heroic Resolve risks destroying the entire universe if overused, and the Anti-Spirals are trying to prevent that from happening.
- Fitting its bleak overall tone, Texhnolyze ends with Ichise as the only sane person in the dying Lux who hasn't been turned into a cyber-tree. Oh, the people on the surface are still alive, but lacking any will or initiative they are already counted as living dead. The Shapes, too. One by one, they take root and go into hibernation, also alive in only the most tenuous sense.
- This Ugly Yet Beautiful World: Hikari's evil alternate personality tries to destroy the world, requiring Takeru and Akari to stop her.
- At the end of the Tokkô manga's main storyline, Ranmaru has a monologue where he reveals that the world ends two years after the end of the story.
- In Tokyo Mew Mew, the aliens want to cause this by accelerating humans' destruction of the environment, just so the Muggles can see what they've done to the Earth and actually care about it.
- This is Friend's ultimate goal in 20th Century Boys. He comes dangerously close to succeeding, too.
- The premise of World's End Harem. In 2040 physical labor has been made unnecessary, technology handles every sphere of society, with humanity just sitting back letting machines do all the work for them; one day a killer virus comes and kills every single man on earth, society promptly collapses for apparently the majority within the few people that could handle the independent AI that made society work were men, the surviving women couldnt provide support for the machines as good as it was when men lived and since they grew up in a society that has abandoned the idea of doing things with their own hands they barely have the knowledge to keep things together; only a select group of women can keep the world barely standing, they find that five men still live and are immune to the virus, now urging them to father a new human race and pass on the knowledge its still available to one day get out of this crisis and prevent extinction.
- In X/1999, both sides actually believe they are fighting to prevent the end of the world. The Dragons of Earth are attempting to destroy all humans to prevent humans from destroying the Earth, while the Dragons of Heaven are trying to save humanity from the Dragons of Earth. It was revealed near the end that Kanoe main supporter of the Dragons of the Earth knew that the Dragons of the Earth would lead to the complete ruination of the world (humans, plants everything), she just didn't tell anyone.
- The second and third season of the series (dub version only), emphasized with a mantra frequently repeated by Yugi to the point of exasperation: "The fate of the world depends on it!"
- Season 4 plays this completely straight. Dartz believes that killing everybody and feeding their souls to The Great Leviathan would save the world.
- This is also the goal of the Big Bad in The Movie. This motive is questioned (and lampshade) by Yami in Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Movie, where he asks the Big Bad what he hopes to gain from the destruction of the world. Receiving an unsatisfactory answer, he dismisses the Big Bad as "the most disappointing movie villain since General Grievous."
- Played straight in the final season with Yami Bakura as well.
- Carried over in the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX but with the pressure upped even more, when Jaden is told, "The fate of the universe now rests with you."
- This is the state of the world in B.P.R.D. since the start of the Hell on Earth arc, following a worldwide invasion of Eldritch Abominations and Kaijus. Civilization in pretty much gone and the remnants of humanity are trying to survive by avoiding the monsters.
- Many a comic book Crisis Crossover has this as its premise, the archetype being Crisis on Infinite Earths (see below).
- This happens in The DCU every other week. It's amazing they even send journalists to cover it any more. "Oh look, it's Darkseid again. Wanna get some coffee while we wait for the superheroes to turn up?"
- The R.E.M. song is referenced in Final Night:
Wonder Woman: They're saying that it's the end of the world as we know it, but they feel fine... it's a song? If you say so...
- The Lucifer comic books, ironically, involved the Devil's efforts to prevent this. He was leaving the Creation before the world was starting to end. When the ending did start it threatened his second Creation as well as Yahweh's, so he had to help or be destroyed. Though his principles kept him from saving the world the easiest way (taking God's place) and instead he went through a Gambit Roulette to put someone else in the role.
- Rover Red Charlie is a story by Garth Ennis about three ordinary dogs who are seriously worried about something that's made the Feeders go mad.
- In Supergirl series Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Mr. Mxyzptlk tries to destroy the third dimension together with several Reality planes to become more powerful.
- In Kryptonite Nevermore a group of pirates led by international spy Quig take over a Government installation and threaten with detonating a hydrogen bomb and blowing the world up if their demands are not met.
- In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Xviar intends to blow Earth up by turning Superman into a human ticking bomb.
- In the distant future seen in The Immortal Superman, years of war and environmental abuse have turned Earth into a barren, lifeless rock.
- Is a favorite ending to many What If? stories from Marvel Comics.
- Korvac uses the ultimate nullifier to destroy reality in Issue #32 (Volume 1)
- Jean Grey goes nuts as the Dark Phoenix and destroys many many galaxies in Issue #27 (Volume 1)
- The Serpent God Set's children were successfully born in Issue #25 (Volume 2), they then in turn wipe out all life on Earth before moving on to conquer other planets and other dimensions.
- Parodied in a Gahan Wilson comic showing a prophet of doom, his sign about the imminent end of the world under one arm, about to push down a dynamite plunger with its attached wires running off-panel. Apparently, the end of somebody's world is imminent!
- In the Chapter 4 of Volume 19 of Malaysian comic book Profession (Chinese: 职业人气王 Zhíyè rénqì wáng), the klans believe that the world disaster will coming, and the leader will promise take the entire clan to ride "their own" UFO to escape Earth to the Mars, however the leader enjoying the money his klans donated to him and purchased expensive houses and cars, and eating expensive dinners, and believing that "those fools" (refering to his klans) would willing to give money to him and so he could spend all he wanted. However, when the reporters show the proof of how the leader of the klan did, the klans now think they're fooled all along, and it revealed that the UFO is just a toy. The klans, were now pissed off at their leader, decided to take him to the police station for his arrest for fraud.
- Parodied in Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: Do you ever think about the end of the world as we know it?
Hobbes: You mean a nuclear war?
Calvin: I think Mom was referring to if she ever catches me letting the air out of the car tires again.
- There are quite a few The Far Side strips that depict the world coming to an end in a nuclear war. One strip has two fishermen realize they can fish all they want with no one to stop them, while another has a dog seeing another dog as people flee.
- An old cartoon had two Inuit outside an igloo while missiles from the USA and USSR fly overhead; one says to the other "Looks like the end of the world as they know it."
- Anthropology: Discord is trying to cause the extinction of the human race on Earth, just like he previously did in Equestria, because Lyra wanted to be a human herself, and rather gleefully tells Lyra that since humans seem so obsessed with the idea of the idea of the apocalypse he might as well give it to them. There's a reason why this story takes place in 2012.
- Blood and Revolution has Saitou and Shun waking a God in Human Form to stop a war that they believe will be disastrous. The god ends up inadvertently driving every living thing insane for a hundred years.
- The Child of Love: For most of the history the Children fought the Angels thinking they were stopping a bunch of Eldritch Abominations from exterminating the humankind. After Gendo got arrested his right hand Fuyutsuki came clean with Misato and Kaji, revealing that secret organization SEELE was using NERV to cause the end of the world. From that point the cast fights to stop both the Angels and SEELE and save the world.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders Bring About The Apocalypse: Yeah, nice job finding that book, girls! Now Equestria is doomed because of you!
- The Ed of the World, a Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfic, parodies this trope rather well. Ed's monster movie marathon is suddenly interrupted by a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Ed, being Ed, then thinks the world's going to end. He suddenly comes up with a crazy theory of the moon getting out of orbit and striking Earth (this may be a reference to Majora's Mask though). Eddy, being the opportunistic Jerkass that he is (take note that this takes place before The Movie) decides to take advantage of the situation for a scam. He convinces the kids that the world IS going to end later that evening and declares Ed's basement a bomb shelter, on which they could pay 50 cents to refuge themselves. They obviously fall for it, believing it to be true and having no idea that it's a scam. When the "Hour of Doom" passes and they see that the world hasn't ended, hilarity ensues. What really takes the cake though is that you can totally see this happening in the show!
- The End of Ponies: The end of Equestria is referred to as the Cataclysm; discovering how it happened drives the plot from Chapter 5 onward. As of Chapter 30, the Cataclysm may also be called (or have something to do with) the Onyx Eclipse.
- Fallen King has this as a looming threat. The Millennium Items can cause this, and Pegasus plans to do this.
- RWBY: Reckoning has this as the main reason Darrel is brought into the world of RWBY. Apparently, the titular Reckoning is an event where, under the influence of the story's Big Bad, the Creatures of Grimm amass and overwhelm humanity. Even worse, it's not just limited to Remnant. It's outright stated that when the Grimm are done with Remnant, Earth will be next.
- HERZ: Secret organization SEELE tried to bring it about in 2015. They failed and spent the next twelve years preparing to attempt to finish it for real as the heroes prepared to stop them for good.
- Stars Above: In this Lucky Star / Madoka Magica Crossover, if anything happens to either of the Hiiragi twins, the entire multiverse will be destroyed.
- Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, another Magical Girl Crossover by the same author, puts the multiverse under an even greater threat when Joker decides to put a permanent end to the Eternal Recurrence of the battle of good versus evil.
- In The Story to End All Stories, fiction itself might cease to exist if the Nothing is not stopped dead in its tracks.
- Warriors of the World: The entire overarching plot is to prevent Ragnarok from taking place again.
- Yognapped: Sben wants to cause this, as the ultimate goal of Project Ironskies. He comes very close to succeeding — all of the major Minecraftian cities fall, casualties number in the thousands, and the heroic Lewis would have been held responsible if Xephos hadn't been killed. Herobrine also wants to cause this with his Lost Superweapon. It fails, but he's revealed to be in the right.
- In A New World, an extremist Lunarian faction executes a virtual coup d'etat by killing the Watatsuki sisters and refusing to leave the True Moon even in the face of the human advance in the surface. Then they use their super-advanced technology to hack into Earth's arsenals and trigger a massive apocalypse by faking huge amounts of telemetry, and when that's not enough, outright seizing control the planet's nuclear arsenals and liberally dispensing nukes. The result is a bloody collapse of Earth's infrastructure, killing billions, to save a force of less than two hundred Lunarians. And to cap it off, the remaining Lunarians descend en masse to smash Gensokyo.
- In Thousand Shinji, even though the main characters save mankind from the Angels, at the end Third Impact happens anyway, killing two thirds of human population.
- The Second Try: After the Third Impact Shinji and Asuka are the only people left on Earth: Humanity has been wiped out, human cities are in ruins, the world has became a wasteland and wildlife is getting out of control.
Shinji: It wasn't a threat! You will die! Everyone will die! You're right; I've seen it! I've seen the end of the world! Just because of that selfish plan of yours!
- Child of the Storm: Throughout the story, it's stated that HYDRA removing the Darkhold from its containment is weakening the boundaries between dimensions, allowing creatures from those worlds to leak through into ours, not least of which being Chthon threatening to emerge as well. During the Final Battle, he succeeds, causing reality to essentially collapse in on itself, unleashing countless natural disasters and monsters and villains from throughout time and space onto the world. Fortunately, this also brings forth the heroes from all those times and places as well, who counter the disasters and threats long enough for Chthon to be re-banished, after which Harry uses his connection to the Phoenix Force to undo the damage to reality and restore it to its normal state.
- Coreline happens after The End Of The World As We (that is, people who didn't had to be concerned about Breaking the Fourth Wall and Rage Against the Author except as a random gag in a story) Knew It, in the midst of all the chaos that (even after a decade-plus of years) Earth is still reeling from. And there's a great many number of monsters out there that wish to finish the job...
- The Halloween Unspectacular anthology series often uses this, or the threat of it, in many stories. This especially prominent at the climaxes of several of its yearly Story Arcs:
- In the first edition, ReGenesis uses its vast power to begin systematically destroying the world almost immediately upon being created. Within a matter of hours, the remaining heroes (and possibly the only survivors on the planet) are making their Last Stand in Australia. Fortunately, the Doctor manages to convince ReGenesis to use its powers to hit the Reset Button.
- In the second edition, the bringing together of the three Fiddley Things causes the universe to be wiped from existence, except for the villains' headquarters. When Sandy wins the fight for control of all three Things, reality is restored.
- While it doesn't quite reach this point in the third edition, it's mentioned that if the Witchfinders succeed in destroying Britain's magic, the whole island will be destroyed, with an implied ripple effect for the rest of the world.
- In the fifth edition, Galahad's plan is to collapse The Multiverse in order to break the cycle of fate. But this is doomed to fail, instead unleashing a horde of demons which destroy the world, as the Bad Future which Tammy comes back to avert shows.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality it has been prophesied multiple times that the world is bound to end and that Harry will be the reason for that. There is, however, a caveat to that.Not a single prophecy mentions that the world's people will die alongside it. Therefore, it is technically possible for Harry to destroy the world but manage to save its inhabitants. Dumbledore went to great lengths to make it happen and he seemingly succeeded in setting Harry into the right path.
- A Certain Magical Friendship: In Context_SHIFT, Nightmare Moon's Eternal Night removing the light of the sun would eventually make the Earth too cold to live on.
- Tales of the Otherverse: The titular parallel Earth was destroyed by an interdimensional war caused by all manner of evil super-beings and monsters invading the place when the borders between realities weakened.
"I resigned my commission the day the super-crooks leveled the White House and killed the president." She told them. "That's when I decided that conventional Police tactics would not work against these super powered villains." She went on to describe the battles between the armed forces of various countries against legions of super-crooks. Sometimes the armies would emerge victorious. More often than not, however, they were slaughtered to the last man.
"Of course the super-crooks weren't alone." She shook her head. "Sometimes they fought alongside mega machines from god only know where. At other times, locals would suffer when gangs of crooks and machines and star-people battled it out." She laid her hands on the table, clenched together so hard the whites of her knuckles showed. "And let's not forget the animals. It's like the whole world has gone mad. Dinosaurs real live dinosaurs. And creatures that no human should ever have to see. Animals mutated beyond recognition."
- In Armageddon, a large asteroid is coming with enough force to blow every last bit of life into oblivion, and two teams are sent with a very large amount of explosives to split the asteroid in half just
at the right momentbefore it's too late, so the two halves fly over and under the earth.
- Cthulhu (2007). Although loosely based on "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" by H. P. Lovecraft, the movie also works in elements of "The Call of Cthulhu" in that humanity is beginning to descend into chaos as a prelude to the return of the Old Ones from the sea, with scenes of rioting, madness and murder.
- The Dark Crystal: Aughra states that The Great Conjunction is "THE END OF THE WORLD... or the beginning", noting they're the same thing.
- The ABC film The Day After and its BBC counterpart Threads both deal with this trope in a very grim and realistic way. In both, nuclear war breaks out between The U.S. and the Soviet Union, resulting in a dark Scavenger World inhabited by the hapless victims of the catastrophe. Both were Anvilicious in the sense that they resorted to scare tactics to show people what the world would be like if they allowed political tensions to get the better of them, but at a time when some people thought nuclear war was survivable and a handful even cried out for war, this may have been a good thing.
- The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). Massive nuclear testing at the poles throw the Earth out of orbit towards the Sun, but a series of massive nuclear detonations in Siberia may avert the catastrophe. The last scene shows the sweating journalists waiting in the print room with two next editions ready for printing; the camera pans to one that says "WORLD SAVED", but just as it seems that everything is going to be okay the camera continues panning, and we see the alternative cover, "WORLD DOOMED."
- In Kevin Smith's Dogma, the continued correct functioning of the laws that govern the universe are all dependent on/derived from one truth: that God is infallible. The heroes have to stop the "villains," angels cast out of Heaven, from exploiting a loophole in some obscure Catholic canon to get themselves re-admitted to Heaven, thereby contradicting God and unmaking the whole of Creation.
- Happens at the end of Dr. Strangelove. After the US recalls all other nuclear bombers, and the Russians damage (but don't destroy) the last one, the final bomber drops a bomb, which triggers Russia's Doomsday Device to end the world. Since it is a Dark Comedy, we see a large number of nuclear explosions with "We'll Meet Again" as the background music.
- Roland Emmerich is this trope:
- In Independence Day, the world is about to be blown up, settlement by settlement, by aliens in giant spaceships. But, as always, America saves the day. Which was predictable from the moment you found out the film was about a hostile alien attack. Funnily enough, the Trope Namer song by R.E.M was playing in the background of one of the first scenes, where the UFO on the moon is detected by the radar.
- The Day After Tomorrow is even more destructive, as it affects the entire Northern Hemisphere. Thanks to global warming melting the polar ice caps and disrupting the North Atlantic Current, a massive superstorm plunges the entire world into a new ice age. The destruction of Los Angeles and New York City in particular are shown in detail, and the rest of the world isn't much better off.
- 2012 manages to outdo both films in sheer devastation by laying way to the planet itself, and it's the only film that explicitly states the disaster to be an apocalypse. Entire continents are ravaged by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the human race is driven to near extinction apart from a few thousand survivors, and very little landmass is left at the end of the movie.
- Fallen (1998), with Denzel Washington. The demons of the film are said to desire the destruction of human civilization, which they call "the fall of Babylon" and pursue this by possessing people. Though not said, this would presumably account for much of the evil in the world. Also not said but speculated is that true believer Christians will be immune to demonic possession.
- Godzilla: Final Wars not only has the titular monster saving the world from an asteroid, but also dozens of other monsters as well.
- In The Golden Child, the titular child is a Cosmic Keystone keeping the forces of evil at bay by his very existence. Should he be killed, which is only possible if he succumbs to evil, The Legions of Hell would be free to conquer Earth. The heroes' mission is to rescue him before that happens.
- In Hellboy (2019), Big Bad Nimue plans to raise an army of creatures of the dark to wipe out mankind and reshape Earth according to her twisted vision. Then she meets Hellboy and realizes she can do even better: by convincing Hellboy, the Destroyer Of All Things, that they can rule together and call forth the The Legions of Hell to inflict an even worse fate on the world. She comes damn close to succeeding before the heroes stop her.
- The film (and book) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy puts a comedic twist on this — the world is destroyed to make way for an interstellar bypass. The joke is that the protagonist was trying to stop his house from being demolished for much the same reason... This becomes even more of a Shoot the Shaggy Dog moment when it is revealed that the destruction of Earth took place mere moments before the unveiling of the Heart of Gold and Infinite Improbability Drive, which render hyperspace bypasses completely obsolete. And that five minutes later the job the Earth was created for would have been done and (presumably) everyone could've left.
- Adams explained that the destruction of Earth was the thing SF stories were always trying to prevent, so he thought he'd get it over with right at the start and save time.
- In the Mouth of Madness: Sutter Cane's last book on Hobb's End prominently featured the end of the world as people turned into monsters and reality became host to otherworldly horrors. It turns out that he used Trent to spread this disease throughout the real world by retrieving his book. Society is well on its way to total collapse by the end.
- An independent movie called Last Night deals with this. It takes place on the very last day before the end of existence and it focuses on how different people are dealing with their impending demise. What's strange is that everyone knows that the world is ending at midnight, but what it is that's causing the world to end is never explained or mentioned.
- In The Last Witch Hunter, the Witch Queen's plan is to eradicate the entire human civilization and all traits of it so that the witches can rule the world.
- At the climax of The Man Who Could Work Miracles, Fotheringay buys some time by making the Earth stop rotating. Alas, he fails to consider the basic physics of the rotation of the planet and so sends his palace, all living creatures and objects whirling off the world's surface. Civilization and all life (save Fotheringay) are obliterated as everything in the world flies through the air and is dashed to pieces.
- Playfully subverted in Men in Black — the universe is inches away from Armageddon due to alien interference all the time. The Men in Black casually erase the memories of anyone who catches wind of these impending disasters to prevent a general panic. Very similar to The World Is Always Doomed.
K: "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"
- The Rapture: At the end of the movie Sharon and her fellow believers are proven right when the rapture happens.
- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Specifically, it's caused by an asteroid. Even worse, it happens sooner than expected.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). The distant-planet-colonizing rocket seems benign, until it's revealed that the rocket's afterburners will ignite the Earth's atmosphere.
- In Snowpiercer, attempts to reverse global warming work too well, causing the planet to enter a new ice age that appears to be permanent. The only survivors are those aboard the titular super-train, which acts as The Ark, keeping the remnants of humanity alive as it circles the Earth indefinitely.
- The sun is dying in the sci-fi movie Sunshine and has to be reignited with a nuclear bomb the size of Manhattan Island.
- The B-movie Solar Crisis features a similar premise, but the earth is directly threatened by a massive solar flare that Our Heroes must trigger prematurely.
- Lori Petty's opening narration for Tank Girl uses the trope name exactly — hear it here, at about 0:14 — to describe the cause of the film's After the End setting.
- The Thing (1982): It's made very clear that if The Thing were to ever escape the desolate wasteland of Antarctica, it's game over for humanity. Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion is only in effect because it landed in an area with virtually no other lifeforms to take over. The plot becomes just as much about making sure it never leaves as about the science crew's fight for survival.
- The looming threat of nuclear war in Thirteen Days.
- Obviously from the title, This Is the End. It really does end.
- Thor: Ragnarok is about the world-ending scenario from Norse Mythology that was already mentioned in the mythology folder, although the film version of Ragnarok plays out much differently than it does in the myths, or even the comics. Much of the movie is spent trying to prevent the goddess of death, who is Thor and Loki's sister, Hela, from starting Ragnarok and destroying Asgard. In the end, it is Thor and Loki who have to make the decision to start the events that lead to Ragnarok and Asgard's destruction in order to prevent Hela from conquering and perhaps destroying the rest of the nine realms, and maybe beyond.
- Time Bandits...
Kevin: Evil's got the Map!
Randall: Too right, and the last thing we want to do is see Him again...Come on
(The Bandits start to walk off)
Kevin: But don't you understand?...If we don't stop Him, He'll destroy the World!
- Remember how in the Transformers cartoons and the first movie the Decepticons were merely after energy sources and planned to use them to power their armies? Well, Revenge Of The Fallen tops it all. In that film, they plan to use a Weaponized Landmark to blow up the sun, thus blowing up the Earth and harvesting the raw energy output created by it. Thankfully Optimus Prime blew up the machine, so it's all good.
- The World's End: As you might have guessed from the title. It may be a bit misleading, however. The threat isn't the end of society, it's the nature of society itself — the Class II apocalypse is caused by the heroes when they reject the influence of the Network. This is a good thing, if a tad bittersweet.
- In the latter trilogy of The Black Company, the Company focuses on trying to stop a cult from resurrecting the goddess Kina, who will swiftly get to work bringing about the Year of the Skulls.
- By The Waters Of Babylon: A war called the "Great Burning" later destroyed the US at some point in the past, with only ruins left and tribal humans surviving with myths surrounding what happened.
- Callahan's Crosstime Saloon:
- One of the early stories has an alien race that will sterilize the Earth of humanity unless a bar full of drunks can find a way to stop it.
- In Callahan's Key, Spider Robinson's novel is based on the notion that if the heroes do not accomplish the save-the-day task, the entire universe not only will cease to exist, but will retroactively cease ever to have existed.
- In Cthulhu Armageddon, the Great Old Ones finally rose from the dead in a world implied to be full of scholar and science heroes only for the heroes to be completely defeated without the Eldritch Abomination's ranks even noticing. The series is a Weird West set 100 years later when humanity has adapted to being ants in their footsteps.
- Victorian-set fantasy Darkness Visible is all about the protagonists' attempts to prevent the End Of The World, though this does not become clear until quite a long way through (because Lewis, the narrator, hasn't realised how serious things are). At first, we think it's only London which is at risk. It isn't.
- Day By Day Armageddon is this like most Zombie Apocalypse plots, but actually references this trope. When the survivors reach Hotel 23 they hear voices inside and think they have found survivors. It turns out to just be an mp3 of R.E.M.'s It's The End Of The World As We Know It set to loop at the work station of a USAF Captain who committed suicide.
- In Daystar, the Federacy fears that Boh-Dabar's arrival will lead to either a complete Sentinel uprising or the complete destruction of the entire galaxy via supernova stars, and thus they set out to execute him. Unfortunately for them, his deliberate death is what triggers the end of the world. However, the world is then remade in perfection, with all those who chose Life being brought into the new world, so it was not actually a bad thing.
- S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire and its various sequels are set in a world where every kind of "energy-dense" technology stops working, plunging the human race back in The Dung Ages... forever. Not the end of the world, but certainly the end of the world we know. (And, for the overwhelming majority of people, the end of them: try feeding seven billion people with twelfth-century technology.)
- Every couple of books, the Discworld is threatened with the End of the World as We Know It. In The Light Fantastic, it nearly collided with a red star; in Sourcery, the birth of a sorcerer nearly brings about a second Mage War and the Apocralypse [sic]; in The Last Hero, Cohen the Barbarian's scheme to get revenge on the gods threatens to destroy the magic that holds the Discworld together; and in Thief of Time, the Auditors trick a human with unusual abilities into building a clock that will leave the Discworld, and possibly the universe, frozen in time forever.
- Weiss' and Hickman's Dragon Lance series has had quite a few of these. There's the main Cataclysm, in which a "mountain of fire" (Word of God says it was a meteor) which annihilated the Kingdom of Istar and killed millions outside of it with fire, earthquakes, etc. On the same day, Taladas, the continent to the northeast of Ansalon, suffered the "Great Destruction," in which an earthquake wiped out the mighty Aurim empire and filled the interior of the continent with molten lava. In Adlatum, the third continent the Cataclysm came in the form of the Great Drowning in which massive tidal waves flooded large parts of the land and never receded. And then, in more recent times Chaos showed up...
- Many of the Dragonriders of Pern novels concern the heroes' struggle to avert the End Of The World As The Pernese Know It, by defending human civilization against Threadfall. Granted, it's not the same world as this trope normally concerns itself with, but it still ought to count...
- The Dreamside Road: After the Thunderworks attacks, most world governments fell apart, except at the regional level. Though various groups are working to rebuild, the instability allowed for the rise of the Liberty Corps and other opportunistic movements.
- Subverted in an old Ray Bradbury short story titled The End of the Beginning. The narrator describes people all over the world staring at the sky waiting for the world to end because they know the exact date, time and place that it will begin. Eventually a searing white light appears in the sky and ends the world. The twist is... I'll give you a second to guess... The bright light is a spaceship that has visited the first intelligent life humanity discovered. Naturally this marks the "end" of the world and the "beginning" of the universe.
- In Fragment, scientists and the military must act fast to eradicate the hyper-lethal, hyper-invasive wildlife of Henders Island, before it can spread to other landmasses and spell The End Of The Biosphere As We Know It.
- In Good Omens, An angel and a demon team up to prevent the scheduled Biblical Apocalypse. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Great Divorce: The sunrise in Heaven will cause the destruction of the Grey Town (i.e. Hell) and cause terrible pain to fall over the Ghosts who choose to remain there.
- Early in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Earth gets destroyed by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
- In The House of Night, Aphrodite has received multiple visions of this if Zoey doesn't step up to plate and prevent Kalona and Neferet from achieving Power!.
- The House With a Clock in Its Walls: The evil magicians Isaac and Selenna Izzard spend their lives plotting to bring about the end of the world; the eponymous clock is a Doomsday Device trying to pull the cosmos into the proper alignment so it can happen. The protagonists can only speculate what exactly prompted the Izzards to do this, as they are both dead(ish) at the start of the story.
- Some time before the beginning of the Hyperion Cantos, the Earth is destroyed by an experiment with black holes conducted in Kiev. It's then revealed that the Earth was not destroyed, but instead whisked away to the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, implying that the Kiev Experiment was the Techno Core's first attempt at the creation of a Farcaster.
- A recurrent theme in China Miéville's Kraken. London's supernatural community runs betting pools and street parties in honour of various cults' prophesied apocalypses. None of them ever amount to anything... until it emerges that there's one impending apocalypse that will, unrelated to any of them, which promises to destroy everything so completely that nothing will ever or have ever existed.
- In The Last Ship, the story of an American ship after a nuclear war, the protagonists helped contribute to the end by nuking the Soviet city of Orel.
- Isaac Asimov's "The Last Trump": The world is scheduled to end at the very first minute of the year 1957. Once that occurs, Archangel Gabriel will blow his horn, and everyone will wake from the dead. The universe itself will go away and Earth will transform into a featureless plane with warm light suffusing everywhere. There will be Only One Afterlife; everyone is left to talk and think.
- The various ways this can happen are what in The Laundry Files are known as NIGHTMARE scenarios. Right now, the one looking most likely is NIGHTMARE GREEN, i.e. a combination of Earth entering an unstable area of space-time and the mental activity of seven billion humans causing a trans-dimensional rift and letting in something with too many angles and tentacles.
- This ironic and somewhat disturbing poem by Archibald MacLeish, titled — appropriately enough — "The End of the World" (which, come to think of it, might also work as an example of the Nothing Is Scarier trope):
Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb—
Quite unexpectedly the top blew off:
And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing — nothing at all.
- In Mind Games, half of humanity is wiped out in a single day after a mysterious "System Start" causes magic to start working and technology to stop working, with devastating results.
- The Nightside novels feature one possible end of the world in a Timeslip that the main character supposedly brings about.
- Orson Scott Card's novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus takes place in an After the End world, where humanity (now numbering less than a billion) struggles to restore the ecology and reverse the effects of global warming. By all accounts, the results are promising. Except, as it turns out, the politicians are lying. The Amazon rainforest replanting project is failing due to the top-soil erosion, as is the Sahara restoration project. The Carolina dikes fail, allowing the rising ocean to sweep through the farmland. Humans around the world are using 100% of the arable land in all the world with less and less crops each year due to the increasing cloud cover (a result of the rising ocean levels). Without public knowledge, the politicians are keeping people ignorant of this, while dipping into the grain reserves to maintain the illusion. The weather satellites will eventually malfunction, but with more people being reassigned from factories to farms, they will not be replaced. The person who tells (and shows) all this to the protagonists sounds hopeful (although ironic) that Earth will, eventually, restore itself naturally. It's just that we, as a civilization, won't be around to appreciate it. Humanity is predicted to be thrown back to the Stone Age without the hope of recovery. Which is why the project meant to alter history has received every political support it can. Changing history means that this is still the case. The previous world is indeed gone.
- The Poison Belt features what the main characters believe will be the end of the world, caused by the Deadly Gas of the title, but it turns out to be harmless in the book's Twist Ending.
- The Silmarillion:
- The Big Bad Morgoth is seeking to completely destroy the entire universe because he's jealous that God created it and not him. Tolkien says that if Morgoth could, he would smash all of creation into dust and then hate the dust.
- A Valar prophet known as Mandos predicted that Morgoth would break out of his imprisonment at some point in the future and instigate the Final Battle, in which he will destroy all of Arda, and it will be rebuilt in a superior image after his final defeat.
- Most of the Skulduggery Pleasant novels have this theme. For the first three books, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must prevent religious fanatics from releasing a race of Eldritch Abominations called the Faceless Ones who used to rule the world until they were banished into another dimension. If they return, they will inhabit human bodies, tear down man's cities, destroy the countryside, destroy half the human race, enslave the rest and work them until they die before moving onto another world. In the fourth book, a madman named Dreylan Scarab tries to provoke a war between the "mortal" and magical communities that will almost certainly result in the end of civilisation. In the fifth, a race of evil spirits are released who are looking for an evil sorceress named Darquesse who will raze the world.
- Double Subversion in Weis and Hickman's novel series The Sword of Joram, in which Joram succeeds in stopping the destruction of Thimhallan by the attackers from the Earth, only to end up destroying the magic that made it habitable
- The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has this as the eventual consequence of John and Diana's story. As soon as Diana becomes an ascendant, her reality and everyone in it will probably cease to exist, or be reinserted into another reality.
- The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, where Richard and Kahlan save the World as we Know it... again... and again... and again. One can only assume that, since the world was just fine before they met, it's them knowing each other that's the ultimate cause for all the trouble they have to go through.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Armageddon, the world-ending battle between Good and Evil at a place set out by a Prophecy early on.
- Villains by Necessity: This is the threat the protagonists are trying to stop. Assuming that the forces of Good aren't thwarted, the entire world will be "sublimated"-vaporized in a flash of light.
- Upon realizing his lover's mortality in the Vita Nuova, Dante has a nightmare where the entire world falls apart upon her death. The sun goes black, the stars begin to cry, birds drop from the sky, and the whole earth quakes, in a scene right out of the Book of Revelation.
- The destruction of all life on Earth happened, then un-happened, at least once a season on Seven Days.
- 24: Jack Bauer and his allies have 24 hours to stop the End of the World As We Know It. Turned on its head in the final season where Jack Bauer himself is the one who nearly causes it on a vengeance-fueled rampage and his former allies have to stop him.
- The premise of Battlestar Galactica is that this has already happened, and now the Colonials are on the run in search of a new home. When they get there it had already been obliterated in a nuclear attack 2000 years in the past. They find another one though.
- One episode of Big Wolf on Campus has hero Tommy Dawkins prevent the end of the world by winning a wrestling match against a demon.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer built each season around a Big Bad whose plans usually threatened the End of Everything if he wasn't stopped by late Spring. At one point, when Giles proclaimed the Big Bad was about to cause the end of the world, everyone present groaned, "Again?" One of Buffy's boyfriends once lamented that hanging around her had caused him to need to know "the plural of apocalypse." In one episode, averting the apocalypse was the B-plot.
- When Angel spun-off, the world was often facing two ends at once, one L.A.-based in the form of Wolfram & Hart's ongoing plans for Armageddon, the other Sunnydale-based with a different villain threatening the world each season. It even reached the point where, in the Buffy Grand Finale, Wolfram & Hart helped stop Sunnydale's apocalypse, partly because it interfered with their own apocalyptic plans. With the alarmingly frequent amounts of Apocalypses going on, it's pretty safe to assume there are several happening all at the same time. Wolfram and Hart has an archive specifically devoted to upcoming Apocalypses for Christ's sake!
- There's no secret made of the fact that The World Is Always Doomed, in the Buffyverse.
- The series The Dead Zone has a recurring Arc about Greg Stillson somehow being responsible for the End of the World as We Know It in the near future, and Johnny Smith has to find a way to stop him. He screws up in the series finale and ends up causing it instead. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
- Delete: What would happen if the AI wins or the US destroys technology to stop it.
- Doctor Who plays the trope straight a lot. Menaces such as the Slitheen, the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Master, etc. are constantly trying to bring about the end of the world.
- Sutekh the Destroyer. The Doctor shows Sarah Jane what the world would become if he isn't stopped a dark, windblown wasteland. Sarah Jane, who had earlier said: "We know the world didn't end in 1911" (the year the events of "Pyramids of Mars" take place) immediately realises they have to go back and deal with Sutekh, or the world as she knows it will never exist.
- "The End of the World" is a subversion: The Doctor takes Rose to see planet Earth finally bite the dust billions of years in the future, but it's a natural event that's supposed to happen. When asked if he's going to swoop in at the last moment and save the planet, he replies that there's no point because everyone has moved to greener pastures already.
- The Master actually succeeds towards the end of "The Sound of Drums", the penultimate episode of Series 3 — but then the Doctor reverses time, saving the day, er, year, and only a select few people remember "the year that never was".
- "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End": Davros and the Daleks attempt to destroy the entire universe across all possible realities.
- "The End of Time": The Time Lords try to achieve the eponymous "end of time", which would allow the Time Lords to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence while the rest of the universe rips apart.
- "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang" has the TARDIS blow up, causing every sun in the universe to explode at every instant. The Doctor manages to reverse it only because of a rather complex, self-fulfilling Time Paradox.
- "The Wedding of River Song" has River trying to prevent the fixed-point death of the Doctor teased all season, which causes all of time to start happening at once. Luckily, that's not the real Doctor, so it's okay to go through with shooting him/it.
- "The Name of the Doctor" has the Great Intelligence enter the Doctor's timestream to destroy all his victories, and thus the universe. He is defeated by Clara Oswald, who becomes the Impossible Girl when following it leads to countless "echoes" of her helping stop it all across time and space.
- "Dark Water"/"Death in Heaven" is a "destruction of humanity" version: Missy wants to turn first Earth's dead, then its living into an army of emotionless Cybermen — and it's all intended as a "gift" for the Doctor, so he can conquer the universe and they can be friends again.
- "Hell Bent" has the Time Lords trying to prevent the prophecy of the Hybrid, an ultimate warrior that's said to be their ruin, from coming to pass. In the process, they accidentally turn the Doctor into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who risks the safety of the universe when their efforts to get whatever information he has about the Hybrid indirectly lead to the final death of Clara, whereupon he tries to defy a fixed point in time and save her. He and the universe come back from the brink at the end.
- "The Pyramid at the End of the World" has aliens trying to invade Earth by taking advantage of a potential world-ending event, with representatives of humanity consenting to their complete control to stop it. They also turn every clock around the world into the Doomsday Clock. At first, the event is thought to be a war between great powers, but it turns out to actually be genetically engineered bacteria that had accidentally been given too much of a certain enzyme.
- In the sci-fi series Lexx, the main characters go through much of the second season unaware that an enemy they defeated earlier is still alive. The villain, Mantrid, rebuilds himself, takes an army of simple-minded floating robot drones, and destroys much of the "Light Zone", one of two parallel universes. The heroes eventually stop him, but soon afterwards, the entire universe collapses in on itself. The main characters (and their ship, the Lexx) are spit out as interstellar debris into the "Dark Zone", the second universe. Our universe is in the Dark Zone.
- The History Channel ran the "documentary" Life After People, which speculates on what would happen to the Earth if humans suddenly disappeared...
- Odyssey 5 begins with the destruction of Earth; our heroes are then sent back in time to try and stop it.
- Occurs during the Timeskip between Seasons 16 and 17 of Power Rangers. The entire biosphere has been destroyed globally, except for a single city fighting for survival.
- In The Shannara Chronicles, Amberle has visions from a large tree, the Ellcrys, that warn her that unless she acts, demons will devastate everything and kill every living being besides themselves.
- Snowpiercer: Just like in the original film, attempts to reverse global warming worked too well, causing the planet to freeze over. Now all that's left of humanity is the 3000 or so people living aboard the titular super-train that's endlessly circling the world. Though the Season 1 finale reveals that an unknown number also survived aboard a smaller prototype train called Big Alice.
- In Stargate SG-1, The World Is Always Doomed. A few notable examples follow.
- If the Goa'uld had ever attacked Earth with ships in orbit, at least before Season 5 or so, they could have used orbital bombardment to conquer or destroy Earth civilization with impunity. The SGC prevented that with guerrilla tactics, alliances with other enemies of the Goa'uld, and sheer luck.
- The Replicators, a Grey Goo made up of Lego-sized pieces that acted like a Horde of Alien Locusts, could have consumed and overrun Earth if they ever got a foothold on it, but they never did.
- Throughout the series, numerous Goa'uld plots or other misused alien technology could have caused Earth Shattering Kabooms all by themselves. The SGC generally prevented those by Reversing The Polarity, digging up the right Applied Phlebotinum, or, again, guerrilla tactics and luck.
- Star Trek, repeatedly and in many different ways. Most notably, the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise features the ship in a race against time to save not only the World, but the Universe As We Know It. If a group of genocidal aliens succeed in destroying the Earth, it will alter history and the Federation will never exist. An episode called "Twilight" showed what might happen if they succeeded.
- Supernatural has a demon apocalypse progress through Signs of the End Times to a truncated Apocalypse. In fact, beyond the very beginning of the series, this is usually what the protagonists are working to prevent in various ways and forms. The World Is Always Doomed and the Winchesters and their allies are apparently the only ones who can save it. Usually because they're mixed up in causing it in some way. If it's not a fight between Michael and Lucifer that would tear the world apart, or rogue Angels or Demons (or both) causing chaos and destruction that could threaten civilization, it's invasion by Leviathans or destruction of reality itself.
- A series of sketches in That Mitchell and Webb Look featured "The Quiz Broadcast" (Remain Indoors!), filmed by and starring the last huddling remnants of humanity after "the Event" destroyed civilization. The Event was apparently so horrible that it seems to have imposed a near-universal amnesia about life before it, and anyone who tries to think about it is reduced to hysterics. There's also the live broadcast of the Invasion of the Earth by an unknown but vastly powerful extraterrestrial aggressor.
- In Tin Man, a Steampunk adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, the evil queen of the OZ, Azkadellia, seeks the Emerald of the Eclipse so that she can use it to power a device called the Anti-Sun Seeder that will fix the two moons of the OZ in a permanent eclipse, plunging the land into eternal darkness which removing photo-synthesis will result in as the Mystic Man aptly predicts, the complete destruction of the OZ. It's not entirely clear what Azkadellia hopes to achieve by this, but she is after all insane as a result of being possessed by the Evil Witch of the Dark. It's implied that this is the Wicked Witch from the original story, coming back to take revenge on Dorothy's descendants.
- The Top Gear special, Top Gear Apocalypse showed what would happen to motoring after the end of the world via a nuclear holocaust.
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Paladin of the Lost Hour", the entire universe will be engulfed in darkness if Gaspar's watch strikes 12 o'clock.
- The aliens in the 1980s miniseries V intended to harvest the human race for use as snack food and drain all the water, and were turning the planet into a thinly disguised version of Nazi Germany to make it easier. In the end there would be nothing left but a dead desert planet. Diana puts a spin on this when the resistance is close to winning — if she can't have it then no one will. She tries to deploy her mothership as a bomb to turn the world into an irradiated wasteland.
- The first two seasons of The Umbrella Academy have been dedicated to trying to stop the Apocalypse — first, the one Five lands in after he time travels to 2019, then the one he sees in 1963. Hopefully, they'll stop causing the apocalypse at some point.
- The Trope Namer: "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" from Document by R.E.M..
- "The End" by The Doors from their debut album The Doors. "When the Music's Over" is an even more literal example.
- Tom Lehrer: "We will all go together when we go", from An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer.
- Marilyn Manson's first Concept Album, Antichrist Superstar has this happen at the hands of the titular Humanoid Abomination Fallen Hero. The second one, Mechanical Animals has this in "The Last Day On Earth", but the world doesn't actually end in-album (it's a prequel to Antichrist Superstar and there's a song after it).
- Happens in Food for the Gods by Fireaxe. Twice. The first time around it's a class 3a, 4, 5, 6, X, or X-2 (it's not explicitly stated) at the end of On Earth as it is in Hell. Then in Cold and Dark Infinity, God completely loses it, and obliterates all of creation in an angry rage, resulting in a Class Z.
- The 1982 hardcore punk wave was also called "no future" punk, as the fear of an imminent nuclear holocaust, or environmental destruction was a common theme.
- From the Tom Waits album Bone Machine, we have aptly named The Earth Died Screaming. The primitive-sounding percussion(implying it's being sung After the End), weird lyrics and Tom Waits's voice make for one very creepy song.
- There was thunderThere was lightningThen the stars went outAnd the moon fell from the skyIt rained mackerelIt rained troutAnd the great day of wrath has comeAnd here's mud in your big red eyeThe poker's in the fireAnd the locusts take the skyAnd the earth died screaming
- The Ayreon Rock Opera depicts the world ending around 2084-2085 despite warnings from the prophet who foresaw it's end the end comes thanks to technology and the like.
- The Insane Clown Posse song "It's All Over" posits everything ending in one massive, chaotic rush. However, it presents the end of the world as a positive thing — you have no worry of Dying Alone, for all others will die with you... and isn't it glorious, to know that you're witnessing the very end of the world itself?
- The Genesis song "The Day The Light Went Out" is about something that arrives here and puts out the light... and then, it prepares to feed...
When they went to bed that night no one would have believedThat in the morning, light would not be thereThe dark hung heavy on the air like the grip of a jealous manNo place was there known to have been sparedThen panic took control of minds and fear hit everyoneThe day the light went out of the daytime sky.
- Front Line Assembly's "Armageddon":
- Giant projectiles surging through the airClouds of radiation, no time to spareA new sense of terror attacks our creationFinal destination, Western civilizationEins zwei drei, wir marchen forbeiHeads held high as they stare at the skyA new sort of power won us overAnother country testing its nuclear powerSevere penetrationFace of human transformationSevere penetrationFaced with human annihilation
- Matchbox 20 — How Far We've Come:
- I believe the world is burnin' to the groundOh well, I guess we're gonna find outLet's see how far we've comeLet's see how far we've come
- "Fight Fire With Fire" from Ride the Lightning
Do unto others as they've done to youBut what all hell is this world coming to?Turn the universe into nothingnessNuclear warfare shall lay us to restFight fire with fireEnding is nearFight fire with fireBursting with fearAll shall die
- "Blackened" too, though it's more about Earth After the End.
- "Fight Fire With Fire" from Ride the Lightning
- Armageddon by Gamma Ray:
- It's the end of the world as we know itand it's only just begunthe eyes of the world are closin' foreverwhen the day of the judgement will come
- Not to mention several by their sister band, Iron Savior:
- Fires! In the skyHelpless we stand, Defenseless we'll dieShadows! Of the endThe Kingdom will fall life will descend
- Or better yet, in March of Doom off of The Landing-
Arrogance in the blind beliefTo be in control of it allMade the dancer on the edgeFinally fall[Refrain:]Angel of DoomYour name is HumanityPlaying with fireIn madness and blasphemyMankind take a lookTake a look what you have done
- Outkast's song "Da Art of Da Storytellin' Part 2" is this in spades, although it has one of the strangest plots of an End of the World as We Know It.
- Gorillaz' "Fire Coming Out of The Monkey's Head" from Demon Days ends like this.
There were no screams. There was no time. The mountain called Monkey had spoken. There was only fire. And then... nothing.
- Hicalculator's "A Tissue of Lies". The song is about a man who witnesses a news bulletin about a catastrophe that will befall the world. In his panic, he packs all of his belongings (including his wife) into a rocket that he had created, eventually taking off into space with her. It is shown that many people of his city are evacuating as well, only to find out that the entire thing was an April Fools Joke by the mayor of his city.
- "I'm a Distraction" from To Boldly Flee is a song about the end of the world (Specifically the end of the Planet Krypton).
- "After The Flood" by Van der Graaf Generator, due to a one-two punch of global warming and the shift of the polar axes.
- A couple of Black Sabbath songs cover the subject, with causes ranging from Satan himself ("Black Sabbath"), to nuclear war ("Electric Funeral" from Paranoid), to terrorism and/or political corruption ("War Pigs", from Paranoid), to time-travelers gone insane ("Iron Man" from Paranoid).
- The Epoxies' "We're So Small" is an expression of affection in the last moments before nuclear destruction:
Please don't you worry, baby, we won't feel a thing.They say it's over in a flash.A hydrogen solution to our suffering,All our problems turn to dust and ash.So hold me in your arms and put your lips to mineThere's nowhere we can run to and we're running out of timeYou're beautiful and nothing matters anymore at allThe worlds so big and we're so small
- Globus' "Doomsday":
Seas will riseAnd the mountains will stirWith the power of creationWe will end in a fiery rage!
- Zager and Evans' "In the Year 2525" is not terribly specific about exactly how, but seems pretty sure that mankind will be gone by 10000 AD. And things get pretty dystopian much before that.
Now it's been ten thousand yearsMan has cried a billion tearsFor what he never knewNow Man's reign is through
- Fire Fire by EZO is a Protest Song... about nuclear war ending the world.
- S.D.I. and Shadows of War/Ashes In The Sky by Loudness are also about a world ended by nuclear war.
- 99 Red Luftballons by Nena describes how World War III starts when an Army General declares a nuclear attack after mistaking a bunch of balloons as enemy missiles.
It's all over, and I'm standing prettyIn this dust that was a city...
- "Four Minute Warning" by Mark Owen (of Take That! fame) follows several different people in the final minutes before nuclear armageddon. The song is just over four minutes long, and counts down with each successive chorus...
The final story is one of meWho with four minutes left, has used up threeI think of you, I think of meThen I think of nothing — it's the end, you see
- Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails is set in an dystopian future. The songs "In This Twilight" and "Zero-Sum" illustrate this trope best.
- "Total Eclipse" by Klaus Nomi from his album ''Klaus Nomi
Last dance, let the entire cast danceDo the dismembered blast dance as we get atomized!
- At the end of Gloryhammer's second album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards, which is set in a dystopian future similar to Warhammer 40,000, Hootsman detonates the Neutron Star powering his heart in order to stop Zargothgrax's ritual, taking the Earth with him. Weakened and defeated but not dead, Zargothrax throws himself into the cosmic rift that now stands where Earth once was, and Angus McFife XIII follows in pursuit.
- "Famous Last Words" by Tears for Fears is about a couple perishing in a nuclear holocaust, and a guaranteed Tear Jerker.
And all of our prayers will be but a tuneThe sun and the moon, the wind and the rainHand in hand, we'll do and dieListening to the band that made us cryWe'll have nothing to loseWe'll have nothing to gainJust to stay in this real life situationFor one last refrain
- "Your World Will Fail" by Les Friction is about someone who comes from a utopian planet come to destroy another, less utopian world:
Your world will fail my love
It's far beyond repair
Your world will fail
And you all and the love
You must run for you life
- "Apocalypse Coming", from Vision Divine's Send Me An Angel:
"It's the end of the world,
on my wings of glory
I ride the last breath of time
Human kind, damned souls,
at the end of your story
you cry, but now it's too late..."
- "The Grand Finale" by Set It Off shows us the end of the world from two different perspectives.
While finding shelter for the end
they begin reflecting on everything
I mean everything
All the life they spent till then
As rock and ash fall from the sky
So surreal, they hold onto anything
I mean anything
Hoping life won't pass them by
- The Book of Revelation from The Bible, which serves as the inspiration for the Left Behind books and any Christian end-times related fiction.
- The Ragnarök from Norse Mythology. The Gods will die, the worlds will burn, and a new world will emerge from the madness.
- In Aztec Mythology', the world they lived in is the 5th world, the four before destroyed in a variety of ways from floods to a giant jaguar eating it. The 5th world will be destroyed by an earthquake unless the universe keeps getting power. What powers the world you may ask: blood. Hence the Aztec fondness for human sacrifices.
- The infamous 2012 phenomenon (which inspired the film of the same name), in which according to some, the world would actually end on December 21, 2012, as that's when the Mayan calendar's supposed to end, even though the Mayans themselves actually didn't. In actuality, the Mayans, like many cultures, believe in the concept of cyclical time.
Days like today make me glad that I already stopped the moon from crashing last year! Play Majora's Mask today, you owe it to yourself!
- This was hilariously mocked in Penn & Teller: Bullshit! where they interview someone who claims to be Mayan royalty about the end of the world. When she denies the world will end in 2012, Penn snarks "Ah, what does she know?"
- This was also hilariously mocked by Chuggaaconroy in a Tweet added on December 21:
- In Hindu Mythology, the world is destined to eventually reach the Kali Yuga, an era of wickedness and moral degeneration ruled by the demon Kali (not to be confused with Goddess Kali.) This will also bring about the birth of Kalki, the final Avatar of Vishnu who will battle Kali and hit the world's Reset Button, bringing a golden age. Though due to the cyclic nature of the world in Hinduism, the Kali Yuga will come back eventually.
- On top of that, some Hindu scholars believe that we are living in the Kali Yuga right now, just in the (relatively) very early stages of it.
- The Day the Saucers Came, by Neil Gaiman almost parodies this, describing how every possible apocalypse happens on the same day. Alien Invasion, Zombie Apocalypse, Ragnarok to name just the ones that get their own verses. But...
You didnt notice any of this becauseyou were sitting in your room, not doing anythingnot even reading, not really, justlooking at your telephone,wondering if I was going to call.
- Demigod Power: Attempted (perhaps unwittingly) during the Ronin War. Destroying the gods has been stated in the source canon as ending Western Civilization. As of the Rise of the Hierophant arc, this appears to be the Hierophant's plan, in a Well-Intentioned Extremist way.
- Destroy the Godmodder has a more limited example. The entire community ragequits permanently, leaving the target (server or Minecraft) completely desolate and devoid of activity.
- It gets worse in the second game, with the end result being everyone forced to ragequit from God Craft, fail, and then ragequit harder. Forever.
- When that was averted, the Godmodder promptly went omnicidal and promptly decided to destroy all of existence, starting with the universe of Minecraft, with the aid of the Red Dragon. The Conflict also has this as their ultimate goal.
- In the TV Tropes session, the penalty for failing is the end of TV Tropes. Forever.
- This actually happened in the original MSPA session due to the lack of activity; the Godmodder pretty much obliterated the entirety of Paradox Space because no one stood up to him. Fortunately, this will be retconned away because the MPSA session is being rebooted in the near future.
- It gets worse in the second game, with the end result being everyone forced to ragequit from God Craft, fail, and then ragequit harder. Forever.
- Shadowside: Resulting from a Mass Super-Empowering Event and the Fantastic Racism it inevitably started.
- Preventing this is the fundamental point of Arkham Horror. Should you fail to stop the arrival of the eldritch god, it razes the city as you fight it back, and defeating it doesn't actually stop it. Additionally, beating it in combat means you don't win the game, you and the eldritch god tie as the rules state. Defeating it means it still had time to bulldoze the city and destroy a lot of the world. Should you fail, which is a definite option in this game, this trope is essentially played straight.
- The Crapsack World of BattleTech ends and restarts (just to meet another horrible end) several times, including the fall of the Terran Alliance, the fall of the Star League (the closest thing to a golden age Battletech has ever had), the Word of Blake Jihad, and the destruction of the HPG communications network and subsequent "Dark Age." This is because this universe is a horrible place populated by horrible people that do horrible things on a daily basis.
- From Bliss Stage: "The effects of the Bliss were sinister and immediate: every human above the age of 18 were struck with a sudden weariness, and when they fell asleep, they did not awaken... ...Society, particularly industrialized society, begins to collapse one month later, as food production and utilities break down."
- Quite a few Dungeons & Dragons game-settings have a World-Shattering Kaboom in their backstory, such as Krynn's Cataclysm or Mystara's Great Rain of Fire. When you get to a high enough level, you can kill gods and wipe out entire planes of existence....
- The defining trait of the D20 setting DragonMech is that this is going on right now, with the friggin' moon descending on the planet, complete with a perpetual meteor bombardment and the gods being attacked by the lunar gods. Well, this is one defining trait, the other being Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!.
- Eclipse Phase takes place 10 years after rogue seed AIs called the TITANs went insane, rose up against their creators, and wiped out 95% of transhumanity before disappearing to parts unknown. Earth is a smoking wasteland ravaged by nanoplagues and remnant TITAN war machines, and is under interdiction by Kill Sats. The survivors of the Fall have spread throughout the solar system.
- The End of the World by Fantasy Flight Games allows players to experience the apocalypse from its beginning where they live, with themselves serving as the player characters.
- Exalted has several factions planning their own, most notably The Fair Folk (who don't like order very much) and the Neverborn (who don't like anything very much). This is to say nothing of the two separate apocali in the backstory (and a few other events that may qualify for the title, if we knew more about them).
- The Usurpation was the end of the First Age, a period of high magic and well managed utopia that was brought crashing down to an end by a conspiracy of the Sidereal and Terrestrial Exalted. They killed all the Solar Exalted and prevented their Exaltations from finding new hosts, and drove the Lunar Exalted (most likely to be able to step down the technologies that depended on the Solars safely) out to the borders of Creation.
- Then, about seven centuries later, some of the more bitter ghosts of the slain Solars unleashed the Great Contagion, a disease that killed 9/10ths of ALL LIVING THINGS IN CREATION... including the Exalted themselves. The sudden shortage of... everything... gave the Fair Folk an opportunity to sweep in and nearly destroy the Reality of Creation entirely, in a worldwide war recorded as 'The Balorian Crusade'.
- The "Return Of The Scarlet Empress" book details the actual bringing about of the End of the World as We Know It at the hands of the Yozi, (who actually like lots of things, but prefer them crushed under their rule), particularly the Ebon Dragon (who deeply hates absolutely everything on a personal basis).
- The angels and demons of In Nomine face this possibility in The Final Trumpet, when it appears that the prophesied signs of Armageddon are beginning to arrive. What's not known until later is that it's actually a practical joke by the Demon Prince of Dark Humor, who's hoping to get Heaven and Hell to devastate the Earth over a FAKE Armageddon.
- The point of The Madness Dossier is that if the heroes lose, humanity will simply become a Slave Race to a bunch of sociopathic cosmic horrors. Which is only how history was supposed to be before a successful reality-twisting revolution fifteen hundred years ago, admittedly.
- Dominaria, the central world of Magic: The Gathering, has suffered no less than several apocalypses:
- The Brothers' War (the entire face of the planet shattered, two thousand years of ice and snow).
- The Phyrexian Invasion (the greater part of the world's population slaughtered by demonic invaders).
- Karona's apocalypse (all magic in the world briefly extinguished).
- The "Time Spiral" crisis was an attempt to keep the entire plane from folding in on itself in the wake of these and various other huge magical events — an apocalypse caused by having too many apocalypses, and this doesn't count near-apocalypses like the end of the Thran War. It's a wonder the old rock's still holding together.
- The Melting of the Iceage was its own apocalypse, and the world exploded at least three times during the Invasion Cycle. And that's to say nothing of the other planes we've visited since Invasion, where each one has had at the very least one world-ending event, if not two or three, in addition to the general world-wide-war situation most of them are in.
- Mirrodin features a Zombie Apocalypse in the Scars of Mirrodin block wherein all the people of Mirrodin are slowly infected with The Virus and become the aforementioned demonic invaders' descendants.
- Rise of the Eldrazi.
- In artificial planes, the lack of someone to focus on keeping the plane stable causes the plane to collapse. This happened to Serra's Realm, when coupled with the presence of a Phyrexian in a white-mana realm.
- Inverted in Innistard, where the End of the World as we know it was the return of the angel Avacyn, thereby putting the world closer to the way it was before we ever saw it.
- There are actually cards that let you "destroy all X". These cards tend to have names like Armageddon, Wrath of God, Global Ruin, Catastrophe, Planar Collapse...
- New World of Darkness:
- One of the supplement books, Mirrors, provides various possible scenarios to handle a campaign involving the end of the World, as well as the consquences it would have on all the supernatural inhabitants.
- Fan-made supplement Siren: The Drowning has it as part of its premise: the titular Sirens actually are humans who were transformed by the song of a Goddess warning them about a Bad Future where an apocalypse called the Deluge happened, and they must now do everything in their power to prevent the various potential causes of the Deluge in order to make sure it won't happen.
- Which End of the World as We Know It are we talking about when we talk about the Old World of Darkness?
- Well, there's Gehenna from Vampire: The Masquerade, when the Antediluvians rise from their slumber, run roughshod over the earth and devour their vampiric children.
- And then there's the Ba'ali, who believe a different set of Eldritch Abominations will rise, the so-called 'Children' who existed before God created light and who will surely destroy all of mankind should they ever wake up. To prevent this, the Ba'ali commit as many utterly depraved acts as possible in the name of the Children, in an attempt to ensure they don't realise how relatively nice the World of Darkness is and come to remake things in their image.
- And then there's the Apocalypse from (duh) Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the final battle against the Wyrm and his corruptive forces.
- Mage: The Ascension featured a somewhat optimistic end of the world in its endgame, where all of mankind Awakens at once and the constraints on reality are lifted as everyone becomes a god unto themselves. Unless the 4th apocalyptic scenario is used, where the Nephandi win and bring hell on earth.
- Changeling: The Dreaming has the overhanging threat of Endless Winter, a time when imagination, belief and hope are all but gone and the world of the fae slowly withers and dies.
- Wraith: The Oblivion ended the line with the Sixth Great Maelstrom, where a harrowing wind tore through the Shadowlands as Oblivion ran roughshod and Stygia fell. Orpheus let the players explore the aftermath... while, incidentally, dealing with Grandmother, the thing that spawned Wraith's big horrors and threatens to devour the worlds of both the living and dead.
- The Others (2015) is essentially about the world being on the brink of destruction every day by the spontaneous appearance of monsters on a regular basis, and should you fail to stop it during your mission, the Sins of the Apocalypse will rise up and demolish the city before taking down the world.
- The Shadowrun setting may or may not be wiped out by the Horrors, depending on how soon they break through into reality and whether technology gives more of an advantage to them or us. Oh, and whether or not your game master acknowledges that Earthdawn ever happened.
- In the backstory of the Towers Of Hanoi puzzle a legend is told of a temple with 64 golden disks; when the priests manage to relocate the tower in accordance with the rules of the puzzle, the world will cease to exist. (Even if it took a single second to make one move, this will take 2^64-1 moves, or about 585 billion years.)
- As for the authenticity of the legend, The Other Wiki cautiously states that "it is not clear whether Lucas invented this legend or was inspired by it."
- Unknown Armies has an interesting take on this. The world will end when the number of the Invisible Clergy hits 333; once it ends, the 333 Clergy members and the Archetypes they embody get to have their say in how the next world is shaped, the Clergy is emptied, and the whole process starts again. In other words, the current incarnation of the world shapes the next, for good or ill. It's insinuated that this has happened several times before; the Comte de Saint-Germain is always present because he embodies The First and Last Man — the first human born in the new world and the final person to ascend to the Clergy.
- Warhammer 40,000's:
- The Imperium has a policy to bring this about, on a single world, through Exterminatus. It's usually done with cyclonic torpedoes or the result of a virus bombing (with what's left over in the latter usually being set on fire), or sometimes other, more exotic means. Normally done when a world is considered to not be worth the manpower or resources in taking it, or when the inhabitants of an established planet, or the planet itself is considered beyond redemption. This is considered to be crossing the Godzilla Threshold in-universe, though it still happens pretty frequently. Also, this is technically not as bad as other examples, since you could (on paper) escape, and there are at least a million worlds out there; but it's still a loss typically in the millions or billions of lives.
- This is also what happens when certain other entities arrive on the world. Tyranids making landfall on a world can mean a swift, bitter war; and if they aren't pushed back, they'll eat everything down to the bedrock to get all the organic matter before moving on to the next world. A single plague zombie getting on the surface of a world can be disastrous. Certain Necron dynasties are known for sterilizing conquered worlds. A particularly bad daemonic incursion can end with all mortal life being butchered or the world being swallowed into a warp storm. Dozens of ways, really.
- On the grander scale, the universe is entering the eleventh millennium of the ongoing end of the Galaxy. As the Imperium is considered to be the only real contender against most galactic threats, and it's been steadily failing by inches, as well as being the main force fighting most enemies simultaneously. The only reason it's lasted this long is because most of the bringers of the end are as happy to fight each other as humanity. Chaos wants to engulf the galaxy, Orks and Necrons both want to climb to the top and kill or subjugate everything left standing, the Tyranids want to eat everything, and the Eldar fear the last war against Chaos will be starting sooner than they predicted.
- The end of the End Times event for Warhammer involved the complete obliteration of the Warhammer world to make way for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.
- End Times, from Vajra Enterprises, is all about preventing several apocalypses. The players are Survivors, the latest generation of people who find they can suddenly project their minds up to 10 years into the future or past, and witness an upcoming Apocalypse. The goal is to prevent it but the Apocalypse actively fights back. These apocalypses embody the collective fears of the current decade and could be described as a malevolent timeline. An apocalypse will manipulate minds and events to ensure it comes to pass. And as more of the human population dies/is robbed of free-will, the laws of reality begin to break down. For example, one of the earliest recorded apocalypses essentially tries to make World War 1 engulf the whole planet. As the war spreads and people die, sentient clouds of poison gas suddenly appear and begin actively hunting the survivors, re-animating those they kills as zombies.
- Finale ends this way, with the gamma radiation from a nearby galaxy causing Earth to become uninhabitable.
- In Arc the Lad the final boss's first sentient act after being released from imprisonment is to rip the world a new one. He seems to learn to prioritize better in the sequel, since when he is released that time he then decides to have fun after he kills those pesky heroes.
- In Armored Core for Answer, it's implied that the main character wiped out the rest of humanity on ending C. Other paths to humankind's extinction exist in the game as well...
- This is the goal of everyone in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica. There are two different Assimilation Plots: Ascension halfway through the game and Sublimation at the end. You yourself almost destroy the known world when you screw up singing Metafalica early in the game, and at the end you have to destroy half of it in order to reveal the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Assassin's Creed II reveals that the main plot, Assassins versus Templars fighting over ancient artifacts that can control the fate of mankind, is actually part of a larger plot by Those Who Came Before. Assassin's Creed: Revelations details how their First Civilization, countless millennia ago, was destroyed by a solar flare, nearly wiping mankind off the face of the Earth. The Pieces of Eden and the genetic legacy they left in certain human bloodlines were all designed to converge in 2012 and communicate the information necessary so that the modern-day Assassins can avert a repetition of this catastrophe.
- Avalon Code has this as its premise. The world is going to get destroyed, and your job is to collect (well, scan them by hitting them with the book...) anything worth being recreated into the next world. It turns out that this particular end is happening too soon, due to Werner and Olly's meddling.
- In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, each of the three main villains want to cause it, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.
- Arianna wants to use STORMs power to wipe the Internet clean, then replace it with a cold and clinical world of pure data where she feels safe. (The Overtaken plague seems to be an unintended side effect, and its unclear if she even knows its happening).
- Boxxyfan puts emphasis on the as we know it. He aims to revert the Internet back to a chaotic and primordial state, killing off the entire current population in the process.
- Finally, in the True Ending route, Legion wants to purge all human users from cyberspace, then break free from the virtual world and unleash his wrath upon reality, too.
- The end of Chapter 4 in Bravely Second has the heroes arrive just too late to stop the Kaiser's plan: He escapes into the Holy Pillar bringing Agnes with him, but not before destroying the Moon, which kills all of Magnolia's allies, plunges the world into an eternal night, and since the Moon was the only line of defense against Ba'als, they invade Luxendarc, replacing all random encounters, with NPCs in every town going from panicking to being resigned to their fate. Good thing the player has a Reset Button and Yew is quick to recommend they use it.
- Cataclysm takes place in the near-future, where the world has been simultaneously been struck by a Zombie Apocalypse, giant bug invasion, Mushroom Man infestation, and the opening of several portals to an alternate dimension full of Eldritch Abominations.
- In Champions Online, the fallen angel Therakiel is destined to bring about the Apocalypse in the city of Vibora Bay. Two mortals, Robert Caliburn and Valerian Scarlet, shall be the key players of this final conflict, though no one knows which side they shall take. Well, actually Valerian is working for Therakiel and you just handed the apocalypse starting artifacts to her. Oh, and you stole the gem that gives Robert his powers. Better fire up the time machine!
- In Chrono Trigger, the driving point of the game is to prevent Lavos from destroying the world in 1999 AD. (The 'present' year in the game is 1000.) And that one of the time periods you eventually find yourself is 2300 AD, thus providing the player a playable Post-Apocalypse.
- Also, after a boss battle, the magical kingdom of Zeal does a Colony Drop where the entire floating continent falls from the sky. The resulting destruction (including a huge tidal wave) destroys everything, leaving a small handful of survivors in the world. This apocalypse is also indirectly caused by Lavos.
- City of Heroes... if there were a time when the world isn't imperilled by callous villains, giant robots, aliens from Another Dimension, Experiments Gone Horribly Wrong and so forth, it was probably removed in beta. Even the villains get a few cracks at saving the world in a bit of Destiny subversion a certain arc shows you what would happen if you fulfill your potential as a Destined One and take over the world — there'll be no world left to take over. You then have to thwart Big Bad Lord Recluse in the future to convince the present Recluse not to go through with the plan... which really does mess with the whole ball of Timey Wimey Stuff, and player's heads.
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun was unique in that its last missions were essentially a race against time before everything changed. Kane has completed his World Altering Missile, which will turn all life into Tiberium based life, and there is only three hours left till it is fired. As Nod, you have to set up the ICBM launchers in Hammerfest which will destroy the Philadelphia as it passes overhead, thus assuring the WAM goes off. As GDI, you have to prevent the launch of the missile in Cairo and the ICBMs.
- Commander Keen had to prevent this a couple of times in the classic platform-game series by Apogee. His first game-series was titled The Earth Explodes, and he had to prevent the mind controlled Vorticons — who were being manipulated by his Evil Counterpart — from doing just that. The sequel, 'Goodbye Galaxy', upped the ante as suggested. The next series was supposed to be about him preventing the end of the entire universe, but at that point, Apogee was running out of money, and he only got enough funding to save his babysitter.
- One would not expect this trope to pop up in a game revolving around baking cookies, but Cookie Clicker proves otherwise. Late into the game, the player could trigger the Grandmapocalypse, an event involving angering the Grandmatriarchs. The more it advances, the grimmer are the news reports from around the world. It is notoriously one of the very, very few things that are not Played for Laughs in the game.
"News: all hope lost as writhing mass of flesh and dough engulfs whole city!"
- In Crysis 3 this is the result if you don't fire Archangel at the True Ceph warship; it fires its Wave-Motion Gun and the last thing you see before fade to black is the shockwave visibly spreading over Earth's surface.
- A Similar event occurs in Dark Cloud 2: The being who is the true identity of the assumed Big Bad is the one who has invoked and is responsible for stopping the Star of Oblivion from falling.
- In Darksiders, the Apocalypse is destined to happen. The twist however, it's supposed to happen once The Third Kingdom (Mankind) has progressed to the point it can stand on equal footing with Heaven and Hell, and thus the three races will clash for the right to decide who will determine the fate of Creation. However, somebody triggered the End War early, which resulted in Hell torching Earth, killing off humanity, and catching the unprepared Heaven off-guard. The Horseman of the Apocalypse War, who has been accused of causing it due to showing up on Earth when the Seven Seals weren't broken, is tasked with hunting down the perpetrators or die trying. It turns out Abaddon, one of Heaven's greatest warriors, triggered the End War early to try and launch a sneak attack on Hell's leaders while repairing the destroyed Seals to trick everyone into thinking Hell struck first, thus letting Heaven win by default since humanity isn't advanced enough to challenge them (but also stopping the fighting before Earth would be destroyed). Unfortunately, Hell already knew about this and came out guns blazing, resulting in the current predicament.
- Dark Souls revolves around this. If the First Flame dies out, darkness will cover the world. Most of the game's characters want to stop this from happening, by rekindling the Flames (called "Linking the Fire") and allowing them to keep burning. A bit of a twist in that there's no grand evil being that's actively trying to quench the Fire; the Flames are dying simply due to the long march of time, as nothing can last forever. It's also pretty clear that the world will continue on just fine, the question is whether any life as it is currently known can survive the oncoming Age of Dark. Ultimately, the games leave it up to the player to decide what's really best for the world: kindle the Flames and try to prolong the current era as long as possible, let the Flames die and nature take its course, or reject the choice and seek a third option... if any such option even exists.
- The Awakened DLC for Dead Space 3 has the Brother Moons — planet-sized Eldritch Abominations spawned from entire species consumed by the necromorph virus — chowing down on Earth itself at the end. Gotta love that Cosmic Horror Story.
- Would have been the fate of the world in three of Drakengard's Multiple Endings if not for the intervention of the protagonists.
- This is the ultimate goal of Ruin in Duel Savior Destiny, though the details on it are only slowly unveiled. First it seems that the world will simply have humanity purged from it and replaced with monsters, then it turns out that this will happen to all worlds if it happens in Avatar and then it turns out that the universe itself will be remade should Ruin win.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- In the series' mythology, Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, provides a very literal example of the trope. It is repeatedly stated that Alduin, as the World-Eater, is not going to erase all of Creation from existence; he is "merely" going to destroy the current incarnation of the world so that a new one can take its place. This Eternal Recurrence is his divine mandate. As Alduin is embodiment of the end of the world itself, he can only manifest his full power when it is time to actually end the world, at which point he becomes a titanic monster with divine power even beyond that of the Daedric Princes.
Alduin: "You I curse right here and right now! I take away your ability to jump and jump and jump and doom you to [the void] where you will not be able to leave except for auspicious days long between one and another and even so only through hard, hard work. And it will be this way, my little corner cutter, until you have destroyed all that in the world which you have stolen from earlier kalpas, which is to say probably never at all!"
- Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, serves as the Big Bad. As an Omnicidal Maniac of the highest regard, he seeks the utter destruction of Mundus, the mortal world. Naturally, it is up to the Champion of Cyrodiil, Hidden Backup Prince Martin Septim, and the Blades to stop him. Worse still, in The Seven Fights of the Aldudagga, it is implied that Alduin originally cursed Dagon into this state as a form of Ironic Hell as a punishment for hiding parts of earlier kalpas from him:
- In the Shivering Isles expansion, you need to help prevent this from happening to the titular Shivering Isles, the Daedric realm of Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness. During a recurring event known as the Greymarch, the Isles are destroyed by Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. As it turns out, Sheogorath is the person-shaped can that Jygglag was sealed inside of by the other Daedric Princes who were fearful and jealous of his power. Saving the world in this case involves taking on the mantle of Sheogorath yourself to free Jyggalag and end the Vicious Cycle.
- In Skyrim, the aforementioned Alduin returns and serves as the Big Bad. However, he has chosen to shirk his duties as World-Eater and instead wants to Take Over the World instead, to rule it and be worshiped as a god by mortals, something he once established long ago with the other dragons and mortal dragon priests. Akatosh, Alduin's divine father and Top God of the Nine Divines pantheon, has sent the Last Dragonborn to oppose Alduin. Failure would still mean the end of the world, with an emphasis on "as we know it".
- According to C0DA, an "Obscure Text" online graphic novel by former series writer Michael Kirkbride, Nirn (the planet on which the series takes place) is destroyed in the late 5th Era in an event known as "Landfall". Rather than being destroyed by the Underking as previously believed, Numidium was instead caught in a time warp and emerges in the distant 5th Era where the Aldmeri Dominion, led by the Thalmor, dominates Tamriel. Picking up where it left off in the 2nd Era, Numidium wages war on the Dominion and uses its "ancestroscythe" to refute the entire Altmer race from existence. It then proceeds to destroy the rest of Nirn with all attempts to stop it being temporary distractions at best. A group of survivors is able to flee to Nirn's moon Masser in a special ship, but Numidium eventually follows it there. Finally, a Dunmer noble known as Jubal-lun-Sul is able to "verbally defeat" Numidium. The Landfall ends when Jubal-lun-Sul creates the first of the "New Men" with the Physical God Vivec. Yes, it's just that sort of story.
- In Fahrenheit, if you give Jade to the Purple Clan, the world ends in eternal winter. Giving her to the Orange Clan or learning her secret yourself saves the world, though in the former case that may only be for a short time.
- In Fallout, The World As We Know It Ends on October 23, 2077. The prologue of Fallout 4 is set on that fateful day.
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is set in an alternate-timeline 2007 where cybernetics and war are more common, plus culture hasn't progressed past the '80s.
"It is the near future. The apocalypse has had an apocalypse!"
- Then an actual nuclear apocalypse happens in Far Cry 5.
- This is at least part of the villain's plan in almost every Final Fantasy game.
- Subverted in Final Fantasy VI, wherein the Big Bad, Kefka, actually succeeds in destroying the world, despite your best efforts otherwise. You watch as countless NPCs are killed as their land is ripped apart, and the world map is left permanently scarred. The rest of the game is spent trying to get revenge because you failed the first time around and trying to break his tyrannical grip on what's left of society.
- In Final Fantasy X this is subverted towards the end, as the protagonists try to end the "eternal spiral of death" that had the entire world in it's grip for a thousand years, bringing the End of the World as We Know It. In Final Fantasy X-2, the world is recovering from the confusion left after the removal of the Corrupt Church. It's played straight with the original creation of Sin, which turned a futuristic cyber world into a society of villages outlawing the use of machines and advances technology.
- This is the main goal of the Big Bad in the Chains of Promathia expansion in Final Fantasy XI. It really doesn't help that the avatar Bahamut thinks that the best way to prevent this is to wipe out all sentient life on Vana'diel.
- Serah and Noel attempt to avert this trope in Final Fantasy XIII-2 by changing the future. They ultimately do change the future... but the results are much, much worse.
- And as such, the sequel, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, establishes that this is inevitable no matter what. Lightning's task is to save as many souls as she can to bring into the new world that shall be created.
- Final Fantasy XIV had Nael van Darnus bring down the lesser moon, Dalamud as a part of the Meteor Project. The moon turns out to be an ancient Allagan construct designed to seal the elder primal, Bahamut. Once the moon breaks apart, Bahamut razes all of Eorzea with his fiery and destructive powers. Bahamut could have easily caused total global destruction, but thanks to Louisox intervening, the damage was reduced to just within Eorzea itself.
- The expansion Shadowbringers is about trying to stop this from happening to the world of the First as a result of an overabundance of Light. It is later revealed that stopping the First from being destroyed is key to preventing the destruction of your homeworld of Hydaelyn, as the destruction of the First would coincide with the deployment of a Deadly Gas weapon by The Empire, the influx of light aether from the destroyed First making said gas so deadly that it would poison Hydaelyn to planet's core. It is also revealed that this had happened to seven other Shard worlds, the destruction of each one coinciding with an Umbral Calamity on Hydaelyn. Furthermore, the shards were created long ago when the ancient Ascian civilization was confronted by an apocalypse of their own, resulting from their creation magics running out of control until they summoned two gods, Hydaelyn and Zodiark, and Hydaelyn defeated Zodiark with a blow so powerful that it split the world into fourteen alternate dimensions.
- In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Ashera is the Goddess of Order. If there's too much war and conflict, she destroys the world, angry that the dark god has been freed and that Lehran hasn't been able to fulfill his promise.. However, the galdr of release freeing Yune prevents her from doing this and she turns almost everyone into stone statues, preparing to rebuild the world anew.
- All 4 games in the Guild Wars series involve a looming threat that will destroy the world if the player characters don't stop it. The first game (Prophecies) twists the trope by having you discover at the end (just in time to be able to do something about it) that you've been duped by the Big Bad, and all your actions have been helping to bring the end of the world, instead of averting it. The next two (Factions and Nightfall) play the trope straight. The fourth (Eye of the North) subverts it at the end, when a cutscene seen by the players (but not the characters) hints that you didn't actually kill the Big Bad, and something end-of-the-world-ish is still going to happen anyway. Word of God has confirmed this interpretation in pre-release information about Guild Wars 2.
- The Halos in the Halo series are weapons designed to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy, i.e. The End Of The Galaxy As We Know It, to prevent the Flood from spreading; naturally enough, when such an outbreak occurs in the first game, the Player Character has to stop the weapon from firing.
- In the fourth installment of the Heroes of Might and Magic series, the world that the previous games take place in is destroyed when two incredibly powerful magical swords that were featured in expansions of the previous game clash. Fortunately, portals start appearing all over the place that take the lucky survivors to the new world of Axoth.
- Horizon Zero Dawn is set After the End. The Old World has fallen, but humanity has survived as scattered tribes on the Bronze Age level (at best) living among the ruins of their advanced precursor civilizations. And for some reason, they share their world with an entire ecosystem of robotic animals and even dinosaurs. The big story twist is that mankind did not, in fact, survive the fall of the Old World. Every living thing on Earth down to microbes was wiped out by the Faro Plague, a rogue swarm of Killer Robots that fed on biomass to fuel their self-replicating armies. With the Old Ones fighting a Hopeless War against the relentlessly encroaching swarms, they poured their last resources into the construction of a massive terraforming network that would restore life to the planet once the Faro Plague ran out of things to eat and shut down. It worked, and the game's plot is set almost a thousand years after the world as we know it ended in fire. All those robots you encounter on your quest are either part of this terraforming system or remnants of the Faro Plague, and thus play crucial roles in the story.
- In inFAMOUS, Kessler and the First Sons have, in the name of human advancement, developed a device that can activate superpowers in the user... and it kills everyone else in a six-block radius in the process. It turns out that only some people with a specific genetic trait can even use it, and others who meet this criteria in the blast radius will also receive powers. It doesn't take long for most of the cast to come to the obvious conclusion: whoever can get their hands on this device will be able to make their own super-powered soldiers with plenty of collateral damage they can blame on terrorists, ushering in a new era of warfare that will irrevocably change the world for the worse. And all of that's just a Red Herring, because Kessler is actually a time traveler from a Bad Future and his real goal is to awaken his past-self's powers ahead of schedule so he'll be ready to face down a genocidal monster called the Beast before it can rise, at which point it will ravage the entire world and end all life.
- In inFAMOUS 2 we learn that Kessler was missing a vital piece of information and the Beast's actual goal is to save as many people as he can from an incurable plague that's spreading across the world, but his process kills others. The evil ending is agreeing that this is the best course of action and helping him do it.
- In Kingdom Hearts, The Darkness is attempting to extinguish the Heart of reality itself. The protagonists get a glimpse what will happen to the multiverse if they fail when they visit a place called "The End of the World." It's the center of all Darkness — a bleak, mostly formless mess made up of the stuff of worlds devoured by The Heartless, who themselves are made up of the stuff of people devoured by The Heartless or devolved by their own descent into evil.
- The current setting of Kingdom Hearts is actually the aftermath of a world ending scenario known as "the Keyblade War". The many worlds were originally one single world, bathed in the light of Kingdom Hearts. People began to fight over the power of Kingdom Hearts, and their conflict destroyed the original world. The next generation were able to reshape the world, creating the smaller ones we know today.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a falling moon threatens to wipe out the world of Termina. In most other games in the series, the villain's only trying to rule the world.
- Stated at the very end of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds that Lorule, Hyrule's alternate dimension counterpart, was crumbling away after Princess Hilda's ancestors destroyed Lorule's Triforce. Death Mountain suffers from an everlasting winter, the swamp region is always flooded, constant earthquakes have torn the land apart, and the kingdom is overrun with monsters. Without the Triforce, Lorule would eventually be destroyed. Luckily, Link and Zelda use their own Triforce to restore Lorule's Triforce.
- In Live A Live You are actually given the option to end all of existence by your own hands just by selecting the Armageddon option!
- Magic Planet Snack has this a couple of times:
"And then they ate the entire universe. THE END."
- There is a wizard in the middle of every planet. You have to tunnel through the planets.
- More obvious in the good ending:
- This is what Galactus plans to do in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Should you lose to him in the final battle, he succeeds.
- In Mass Effect, Shepard's mission is to prevent the End of the Galaxy As We Know it at the hands of Saren, whose ship is in reality an AI known as Sovereign, a representative of an ancient race of sentient machines (A.I.s) who are responsible for bringing about the destruction of all sentient organic life in the galaxy every 50,000 years or so.
- In Mass Effect 3, this happens in the first ten minutes of the game.
- At the end of Mass Effect 3, all of the endings have shades of this, though with an optimistic outlook for the future. Except for the Refusal option, where the Reapers ultimately succeed in harvesting the current galactic civilization, and the minimal-EMS "Destroy" ending, where the activation of the Crucible causes the mass relays to overload and cause widespread damage throughout the galaxy.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's climax (of Chapter 4, at least) dealt with trying to stop Peace Walker from both launching a nuke to Cuba and transmitting false trajectory data to NORAD after Coldman, in his dying breaths, activated Peace Walker.
- Minecraft: Story Mode: The Wither Storm is basically a walking version of this. If not stopped, it will likely reduce the world to bedrock.
- Missile Command. Only you can prevent the nuclear destruction of Earth's last remaining cities. And you will lose.
- Mother 3's Dark Dragon would easily destroy the world if Porky's minions managed to pull at least four of the Seven Needles.
- He does anyway when Lucas pulls the final needle, but in the finale you find that most if not all of the good characters survived, presumably to be reborn into the next world.
- Since Odin Sphere is based on the Norse legend of Ragnarök, the world ends no matter what path you take. The fate of the world, however (whether it stays destroyed or reborn), depends on whether or not the player correctly chooses who faces the final bosses.
- There's a free online flash game Pandemic and its sequel Pandemic 2 in which the player assumes control over a disease by spending evolution points on symptoms like fever or making the disease transmitted by air. The goal is to kill every single human on earth.
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the Big Bad Cyrus wants to use the power of Palkia and Dialga to wipe out the current world and create a new "perfect" one in its place.
- Platinum further expounds his motivations: to eradicate human "spirit", which he deems responsible for the world's ills.
- Further back, the climax of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has Groudon/Kyogre's awakening bring about an endless drought/flood. The game outright states that the Hoenn region could be destroyed if this isn't stopped, but who's to say it would end there?
- In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, it is heavily implied (and outright confirmed in Lysandre's case) that a few alternate universes were destroyed as a result of the lack of anyone stopping the Big Bad of various games from their goals.
- The Resistance series on the PS3 features The Virus systematically conquering and assimilating humanity in an alternate history setting.
- In Rift, Defiant player characters are sent back in time from a Bad Future in order to avert the Class 5 or 6 apocalypse that's the result of Regulos winning.
- Every Shin Megami Tensei game (including the spinoffs) deals with this in some fashion or another.
- In one of those spinoffs, Persona 3, the Main Character is explicitly told from the start that "the End" is coming soon. If he chooses, he can delay it a couple of months and have it come without knowing it's coming. Or, he can go out fighting, but it's ultimately portrayed as futile. And then you win. Kind of.
- In the original Shin Megami Tensei I, halfway through the game, civilization is destroyed in a nuclear war. You and your companions are spared by being transported to the demons' realm, but when you return a few decades later, the world remains devastated as demons roam free and the forces of Gaia and Messiah wage war. Then Messiah floods Tokyo for good measure.
- In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (or Lucifer's Call), the world ends after the first hour of gameplay and you spend the rest of the game rebuilding it while not getting ganked by the Demons who roam freely now. And the True Demon Ending involves ending everything in order to destroy Heaven.
- In Digital Devil Saga, another spinoff, not only does the world of the Junkyard end at the end of the game, but the real world that you end up in was half destroyed five years ago, and starts disintegrating into the sun halfway through the game. Your goal is to stop it.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey the Schwarzwelt swallows Earth in a few seconds if you die.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV if the protagonist decides to take the Nihilist route because of the endless war between Law and Chaos, The White help him destroy the entire world. With a black hole for irony.
- The final stage of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the aptly-named End of the World, has the protagonists scrambling to gather the Chaos Emeralds from the distorted fragments of reality that remain as the time-space-devouring abomination Solaris goes to work.
- Sonic Forces has Eggman winning and the whole world getting run over with fire, Death Egg Robot sentinels, and Infinite's replicas. Oh and, the Resistance has only 3 days to stop the end of the world.
- In the first two Space Quest games, Big Bad Vohaul plots to destroy Xenon. Roger must save Xenon from an Earth-Shattering Kaboom in the first game, and from insurance salesmen in the second.
- All of the Star Fox games deal with this trope on a more galactic scale; however, Star Fox Adventures plays this straighter with the potential end of only Dinosaur Planet (renamed Sauria in later games).
- In Star Ocean: The Second Story the main antagonist plans on erasing the universe by causing the Big Crunch. His plan goes through anyway even after you defeat him. And in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the Big Bad intends to delete the Universe.
- In Novalogic's F-22 Lightning II, the last campaign has a collection of military and political extremist groups contesting the last Ukrainian election, with the intended result of re-creating the USSR. In the second to last mission US, Russian, Israeli, British and such intelligence have assured that even if they take a nuclear silo, they cannot reconfigure a new launch code. Now, not only have they taken one, but they have reconfigured the launch codes. Russian attempts to initiate self-destruct have failed. Their KGB sources no longer answer their phones. The world is only minutes from a nuclear holocaust.
- Super Mario Galaxy has one, but purely by accident and is not a part of Bowser's plan, but ignoring the programming of the game, it would have happened anyway whether he defeats Mario or not, because he unwittingly puts his plan above his own safety. After beating Bowser for the final time, one of the suns around his galaxy reactor implodes, causing a huge chain reaction that creates a massive super black hole that begins to suck up everything in the universe. This is the end of the universe as they know it! All the Lumas throw themselves into the black hole to stop the destruction in a Heroic Sacrifice.
- In Super Paper Mario, Count Bleck and Dimentio wish to destroy ALL worlds via the Dark Prognosticus. They actually succeed in destroying the Sammer Guys' Kingdom — almost while the heroes are still in it.
- The Super Robot Wars Alpha sub-series's finale had several endings that involved trying to stop the death of all sentient life in the universe. The worst one involved the embodiment of life and rebirth going nuts and using its Wave-Motion Gun at the party... which kills everyone in the quadrant.
- In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Galeem does this...successfully. It's only Kirby's escape that keeps World of Light from a full-on Downer Ending.
- The planet of Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Phantasia suffers from this like a recurring rash. It happened for sure 4000 years before Symphonia at the conclusion of a devastating war, when the planet was split in two and taken over by a malicious racial supremacist theocracy, and then again between Symphonia and Phantasia when another devastating war set the planet up to be nuked back to the dark ages by a meteor strike. Also, there were several during the 4000 years of theocratic rule due to a resource conservation schemenote , but we only know of one for certainnote . It comes close to happening again in Phantasianote but the heroes stop it that time.
- One of the levels in Tears to Tiara 2 takes place in an unnamed village. The village priest's description of it sounds like Benedictine Monasticism. Turns out the priest is a Giant Spider, the village full of monsters, the inhabitants are brainwashed and forced to pray to Watos, and it's all a test for a bigger project by the Holy Empire.
- Terranigma kinda reversed it. The world has already ended from the start of the game and it's then the job of the Hero to starts the world again. Then he takes on the task of keeping it from ending again, much to the consternation of the god he's been taking orders from the whole time.
- In TimeSplitters series, the world has ended in wars past... you fix everything in the third game though.
- Touhou Project, in its eleventh game, finally featured a Big Bad who was actually willing to pull one of these off. She just happened to be a crow who was powered by nuclear fusion, and turning the underworld into a new Sun.
- Treasure of the Rudra followed this pattern of extinction of races about 5 times before the game actually begins; Every 4,000 years, a being called Rudra kills off the current race and creates a new one. This turns out to be a plan established by Mitra: Creator of the world in order to create a race that can defeat invaders from destroying the world in the first place when she is defeated or unable to do her duty.
- In Uncommon Time, if the World Tuning isn't successfully performed by the end of the year, the world will experience global cooling and enter an ice age. This ends up happening in one of the bad endings, where Alto decides the world doesn't deserve to be saved and allows the eternal winter to spread.
- Skarin from Viking: Battle for Asgard brings this about. Granted it's more the extremely uncomfortable variety but it still counts since he unleashes Fenrir who kills the Gods thus bringing about the Norse version of the Apocalypse.
- Several of these in the Wing Commander series.
- In Wing Commander III, one of the missions is to shoot down missiles carrying biowarfare warheads that would render a planet uninhabitable by humans for centuries. Also the fate of Earth in the losing scenarios of the game, though just hinted at with a Terminator 2-esque scene of a Kilrathi boot crushing a human skull. From the same game there's also the more literal world-enders of the Behemoth and the Temblor Bomb.
- Believed to be the fate of humanity by Tolwyn in Wing Commander IV, without his plan to shape humanity into a race focused on killing, as enacted by the Black Lance.
- The novel ''Fleet Action'', by William Forstchen, not only has the Earth threatened with orbital bombardment by "dirty" nukes (averted by a Big Damn Heroes moment), but actually kills off two colonies in orbit around Sirius by that manner, on the way to Earth.
- Fan-made mod Standoff, based on the events of Fleet Action, lets you play as one of the said Big Damn Heroes.
- In World of Goo — and this meets the original definition of sheer — the world becomes incompatible with its inhabitants, like software, when it's upgraded into three dimensions.
- This is the theme of World of Warcraft's 3rd expansion pack, appropriately titled Cataclysm.
- In Xenosaga humanity has unconsciously been causing a chain reaction to undo all existence over many myriad iterations of the universe, all because of the existential horror of uniting with the Collective Unconscious. The Big Bad is trying to stop this from happening. Sort of. God tries to figure out what our deal is.
- Danganronpa: The first game turns out to take place in the aftermath of an incident known as "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History" (or simply "The Tragedy" for short). Later installments in the franchise reveal the full story: a nihilistic cult known as "Ultimate Despair", lead by Junko Enoshima and composed of elite students at Hope's Peak Academy, commited various atrocities, including the first "Mutual Killing Game". Through social engineering and a brainwashing "Despair Video", Ultimate Despair caused a massive uprising that lead to worldwide unrest, chaos, and warfare.
- In Fate/stay night:
- In the end, it is revealed that the Holy Grail has been turned into an Artifact of Doom that will grant all wishes as destruction, and continuously spew out evil on a scale that threatens the entire human race.
- Gilgamesh's "sword", which he calls Ea, is said to have the capacity to end all life on Earth, effectively destroying the world. Gilgamesh never uses that much power though... kind of stupid to destroy the world you're living in, after all. Word of God states that if Gilgamesh ever actually tried to do that, he would fail: the Counter Force would get involved to prevent the destruction of both mankind and the planet, and even Gilgamesh isn't powerful enough to resist the wrath of the Counter Force.
- In Muv-Luv Unlimited, all of the endings result in this.
- In Rewrite, the world is at risk of undergoing the Song of Salvation and having humanity wiped out. It has happened before.
- One of the three endings to Saya no Uta results in this, where Saya releases her spores into the atmosphere, forcibly rewriting the human genome into her own genetic code to turn humanity into a race of Eldritch Abomination just like herself. We don't get to see the aftermath, except for Tanbo, who has secluded herself in Dr. Ougai's cabin in the remote woods to complete his notes before she also turns.
- Shikkoku no Sharnoth nearly has an end of the world situation when Sharnoth overwrites the real world for a brief time.
- College Roomies from Hell!!!. Don't be fooled by the early years; the "from Hell" part is quite literal.
- The Earth Explodes is the name of a web comic where after each strip the world explodes, well, the final comic in the collection is always a picture of the planet exploding. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, can be read here.
- In Endstone, Jon tried to do this. Given the hints of a Lotus-Eater Machine, this may not mean he's a complete monster.
- Far Out There opens with Trigger being trained from birth to prevent this. (It turns out to be completely unnecessary)
- Tom Siddell described City Face (a Gunnerkrigg Court interim comic) as "a story of how love can save the world." It turns out to be literal: a fairy informs City Face that if he doesn't win the heart of his dream girl, the world could be destroyed.
- City Face is a pigeon, and Gunnerkrigg fairies are ... not renowned for their sanity (they're basically all manic-depressives, except that when they're "depressive," they're still manic). So how seriously one is supposed to take this is questionable at best.
- Homestuck features a benign-looking computer game that turns out to summon the end of the world. In a unique variation, this is how the story begins, and rather than being the result of a villain's meddling, it is a natural part in a multi-universal circle of life. Not that that makes it any less disconcerting to see messages from the people left behind on Earth.
- In Irregular Webcomic! the various temporal paradoxes eventually destroyed the whole universe. It got better.
- Off-White: The premise of the whole comic is that the balance of all things has been upset and thus everything is slowly going down the drain.
- Averting this trope is the main reason Order of the Stick have been struggling to foil Xykon and Redcloak. May turn out to be a subversion, as recent revelations suggest there's more to the Snarl's prison than both good and bad guys have been led to believe.
- Sam & Fuzzy: In the final arc of the comic, Hazel and Fuzzy unseals The Pit. Then Hart gets access to it, drowning The Underground and much of North America in Tar, a psycho-reactive substance that dissolves fantastical beings on touch and drives humans incurably insane by exposure.
- This is the threat K'Z'K poses in Sluggy Freelance. Other dimensions shown in the series have visited have faced similar threats. On a couple occasions the main characters have helped save these other worlds; on a couple other occasions, they're actually the ones responsible (directly or indirectly) for the destruction of the human race. Oops.
- The Witch's Throne: If the Witch isn't stopped, she'll exterminate all living things with her magic.
- In The Wotch, Anne actually laughs at Xaos when he reveals that he wants to use her to destroy all worlds, claiming she is "not sure [he] thought this diabolical plan all the way through."
- Adventure Time:
- Occurred about 1000 years before the events of the show in the form of what is only known as the Great Mushroom War. The circumstances are left extremely ambiguous, although the presence of both evidence of modern society in the wreckage and supernatural beings in the present has led many to conclude that the magic coming back was somehow involved.
- Also the goal of the show's Omnicidal Maniac Big Bad, The Lich.
- In the Season 4 finale of Archer, we find out that Pam has a thing for this trope, including keeping a "bug-out bag" on-hand with vital supplies.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, in the first episode of the four-part series finale Aang learns that if he doesn't stop the Firelord before Sozin's Comet, that Ozai will go on an Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe genocide, obliterating every race in the world except the firebenders. And the worst part is that he's more than capable of doing that.
- The Legend of Korra has a scenario that is even worse and to the letter; it's implied that if Ultimate Evil Vaatu wins during a Harmonic Convergence, humans won't be around to see the next one, and Vaatu and the Dark Spirits will rule the world. In the Book 2 finale, we see what would happen if Vaatu succeeded, but it didn't last.
- The Danger Mouse episode "Gremlin Alert" starts with reports of utter global chaos as Colonel K relays to DM and Penfold:
Colonel K: If this isn't solved soon, we could be facing the ultimate disaster.
DM: You mean the...end of the world, sir?
Colonel K: No, worse than that, DM. We'll have to cancel the third test!
- The Grand Finale of Danny Phantom does this with an asteroid.
- Used in Futurama, when the Professor and his crew must prevent a giant ball of 20th century New York garbage from returning to Earth and destroying the planet.
- Then there was the What If episode where Fry destroyed the universe by never coming to the future, causing a Temporal Paradox.
- And again when the Brainspawn plan to destroy the Universe after learning every piece of data in it.
- And again when a box containing our Universe is about to be destroyed because it's in a Universe that's about to be destroyed because it's in a box that's about to be thrown into the Sun. Try to sort that out.
- And yet again when Farnsworth harvested chronoton particles to speed the growth of his atomic-powered mutant basketball team. This destabilized time with increasingly dangerous effects. If the world is going to end, Professor Farnsworth is probably responsible in some way.
- "The Inhuman Torch" has a blue flame alien who nearly turns Earth Supernova. Bender stops him, though.
- On Gravity Falls, Bill Cipher's goal is to open a tear to his dimension and turn Earth into a World Gone Mad. He succeeds near the end of the second season when he manipulates Mabel into giving him a compressed dimensional rift accidentally created by Ford's portal. Thankfully, a barrier limited his power to Gravity Falls, and he was defeated in the Grand Finale before he could escape.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy enjoyed doing this in as many ways as possible: Martian Zombies, all-powerful demons, everyone being turned into Cthulu-esque monsters, everyone being turned into demons, everyone being turned into a different TYPE of monster...
- Then there's the time Mandy grabbed a genie's lamp and wished everyone in the world would just go away. For her, that was a happy ending.
- The Canadian Animated Short Hot Stuff demonstrates how lack of fire safety can result in this.
- Justice League faced these several times.
- The Pilot had the formation of the League to stop an invasion by the aliens that destroyed all life on Mars.
- In "Twilight", Darkseid gets the League to help him save his own world, Apokolips, from being destroyed by Brainiac. However, not only are the two villains in cahoots in an Evil Plan to capture Superman, Darkseid betrays Brainiac and rewrites his programming to become a servant of his will. He intends to use him to destroy the universe and remake it in his image, which obviously qualifies for this trope in its own right.
- "War World" forced Superman to choose between death and letting this happen to an innocent planet.
- The second season finale, "Starcrossed", has the Earth invaded by the Thanagarians. They say they're building a giant shield generator to protect us from even more hostile invading aliens. It's actually a hyperspace bypass that will destroy the Earth.
- "The Return" has the super-android Amazo come streaking back in from wherever he's been, destroying Oa on his way back. Turns out he just moved it out of the universe because it was in his way.
- Two of these occur in "The Greatest Story Never Told", in which Booster Gold is relegated to traffic duty while the rest of the League — the entire League, consisting of dozens of heroes-, battle against the Dark Lord Mordru, who will bring this about if he is not stopped. Instead Booster becomes a Hero of Another Story when a Hot Scientist needs his help to stop a black hole consuming the planet.
- "Dark Heart" had a gray goo scenario, with fairly large goo.
- "The Once and Future Thing" culminated with the unraveling of reality due to the injudicious use of time travel.
- "Divided We Fall", the second season finale of Justice League Unlimited, brought back Brainiac, and his standard procedure of absorbing all information on a planet and then destroying the original.
- And finally, in the two-part Grand Finale "Destroyer" and "Alive!", Darkseid comes Back from the Dead and decides he's going to bring this about, purely to get back as Superman for killing him the first time. He nearly succeeds, and actually defeats the Man of Steel in battle, but Lex Luthor (seemingly) destroys him and himself with the Anti-Life Equation. That or they are both coming back in the future to enslave the universe.
- Kaeloo: At the end of Episode 77, the planet gets destroyed by a meteor, but it's back to normal by the next episode. Nobody dies, fortunately, since everyone escapes except Stumpy, who is an Iron Butt Monkey.
- Princess Luna's Superpowered Evil Side, Nightmare Moon, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic trying to bring The Night That Never Ends, which, as Word of God says, would have turned all of Equestria into an icy hell. Anyone else up for Pony Popsicles?
- The Windigos once nearly caused this in the past. By feeding on The Power of Hate cased by the ponies racial tensions at the time, they nearly froze the world before being destroyed by The Power of Friendship.
- In the Season 4 closer, Tirek decides to suck up all the magic (which would have made things very inconvenient. Fortunately, after a Dragon Ball Z-esqe battle between Tirek and Twilight Sparkle, backstabbing by Discord and things getting back for our heroes, the Mane 6 use The Power of Friendship to save the day.
- The Season 5 finale puts all of these to shame. Starlight Glimmer's Time Travel plan to ruin the Mane Six's friendship results in increasing worse Bad Futures with the various previous Big Bads (and the Flim-Flam Brothers) conquering Equestria since the Mane Six weren't there to stop it. This eventually culminates into Equestria becoming a barren wasteland of rock, dirt, and dead trees that wouldn't look out of place in Fallout. This, plus Twilight telling Starlight things could become even worse if she continued, convinces Starlight to put things back to normal.
- The opening sequence for Once Upon a Time... Man ends with this.
- Stuff like this occurring is the norm in Regular Show.
- South Park:
- Parodied in the episode "Make Love, not Warcraft." A player in the game has become so powerful that even the admins can't stop him from killing other players, and the fear is that everyone will become frustrated and stop playing:
Gentlemen, this could very well lead to the end of the World... of Warcraft.
- The Movie had this happen when Satan rises at the climax and starts two thousand years of darkness.. Thank you, Sheila.
- Parodied in the episode "Make Love, not Warcraft." A player in the game has become so powerful that even the admins can't stop him from killing other players, and the fear is that everyone will become frustrated and stop playing:
- In Steven Universe, it's revealed that "the Cluster" Peridot was sent to check on is an enormous conglomeration of Gem shards that will destroy the Earth if it awakens. Fortunately, in "Gem Drill" Steven is able to pacify the Cluster and get its component shards to "bubble" one another.
- The Season 4 3-part finale on Teen Titans to conclude the big Raven arc. The world ended, but was restored after the Big Bad was destroyed in Raven's big moment of Calling the Old Man Out.
- This sort of thing happens a lot, to any number of planets, at various points in the assorted Transformers cartoons, comics, etc. Some planets make it, some don't.
- In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Shredder plans to set out on a conquest of the Turtles Multiverse, until he learns that there will be a team of Ninja Turtles that would be waiting to stop him in each and every dimension. He decides to destroy all of them at once by going after the source, Turtle "Prime", blind to the fact that destroying the multiverse would mean the end for him, as well. And he almost won, too.
- Wander over Yonder: This is Lord Dominator's MO. Although other characters, such as Lord Hater and Buster have destroyed worlds too.
- In animated Christian short The Way of Peace, the world ends in a fiery nuclear holocaust, which the narration warns is what will happen if we don't follow Jesus and "the way of peace."
- Stuff like this happens on Wishfart semi-regularly. Akiko becoming a living girl brings literal Hell on Earth; Dez messing with Fireball Cat's magic scarf causes the literal fabric of reality to unravel; Dez wishing on himself in a mirror causes their universe to collide with a parallel universe...
- The end of the world was threatened so many times by so many different villains of Xiaolin Showdown that it was eventually lampshaded.
- How does one define "as we know it"? Because if we define it in such a way that the world comes back, just very different, then the world has already ended several times before:
- The "Great Oxygenation Event", also known as the "Oxygen Holocaust", was the point at which anaerobic bacteria was replaced by cyanobacteria as the dominant life form on Earth. Anaerobic bacteria could not survive in oxygen and dominated because Earth's waters and atmosphere were fairly poor in oxygen at the time. But when the cyanobacteria began to thrive and photosynthesise, they did so at staggering speed, filling up the water and the air with oxygen. This wiped out 99% of the anaerobic bacteria on the planet. Basically, cyanobacteria killed almost all life on Earth by breathing. And it also massively backfired on the cyanobacteria, as the buildup of oxygen in the atmosphere resulted in the formation of carbon dioxide, which replaced methane as the planet's dominant greenhouse gas despite being less efficient. This in turn caused the Earth's temperature to drop sharply and plunge the planet into the Huronian Glaciation, an ice age that lasted for 300 million years and triggered a second extinction event that killed off nearly all cyanobacteria.
- The Permian Extinction, also charmingly known as the Great Dying, occurred on the Permian-Triassic Boundary and again killed off nearly all life on Earth — 95% of all species went extinct. It was so extensive that it's the only known mass extinction of insects, which goes against the conventional wisdom on the subject. It also may have been caused by Siberia exploding — not a single volcano in Siberia, but the entire region, sending massive amounts of dust and volcanic ash into the air and causing a virtual nonstop downpour of acid rain.
- The K-Pg Extinction event only killed about 60% of all species on Earth, but it is famous as the one that killed the dinosaurs (well, most of them — the avian ones survived). It was likely triggered by an asteroid impact on the Yucatan peninsula, which impacted with the energy of a million Tsar Bombas.
- In fact, the definition of "as we know it" is so broad that it includes portions of the human population being pretty much wiped out — after all, the world as they knew it had ended, with the "world" being defined as the extent of the interconnection between their home and the outside world. Something as small in scale as the collapse of the civilisation on Easter Island would fit that definition. The world is still there, but it's not as they knew it anymore. People may survive, but their society collapses, culture and art shrivel as people shift to survival mode, and complex agriculture devolves to basic sustenance cultivation and hunter-gathering. Among the more prominent examples:
- The Bronze Age Collapse occurred at the end of the Bronze Age (between 1206 and 1150 BCE) and saw the end of pretty much every advanced civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the New Kingdom in Egypt, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, the Caananite cities in the Levant, and the Mycenaean culture in the Aegean. They all collapsed or were destroyed practically overnight, beginning a dark age that lasted for several centuries. No one knows exactly why, and there's no real evidence to suggest what happened. Various theories have been proposed, including volcanic eruptions, drought, earthquakes, internal rebellions, or invasion by "the Sea Peoples".
- The indigineous populations of the Americas were nearly wiped out after contact with the Europeans introduced diseases to which they had no immunity — smallpox, typhus, cholera, influenza. The recurrent pandemics, over the course of just a few decades, reduced the population to some 10% of what it had been. Many of the rest were killed by the Europeans in other ways, such as in wars of conquest or from slave labour (although many indigenous slaves died of disease before overwork). The most powerful indigenous civilisations like the Inca confederation and the Aztec Empire found themselves unable to compete with European firepower and collapsed, leaving the colonial powers to take over. Interestingly, one theory behind why the Americans were so vulnerable traces it to a previous mass extinction of animals in the Americas — including horses and other beasts of burdennote , meaning that (a) agriculture was more difficult, leading to less efficient civilisations that couldn't grow so easily, and (b) there was less contact with livestock, less chance for disease to hop from animals to humans, and less chance for the humans to build immunity to it.
- Because of the broad definition of "as we know it", there are several possible ends of the world that have yet to happen:
- Mankind may end up being its own undoing. It might be hatred of each other boiling over leading to a conflict that kills everyone and everything — with nuclear weapons, it's certainly possible. Or it might just be humanity "playing God", going too far, and destroying themselves that way. Or it might be a combination of both, with humanity playing God for the purpose of destroying the people they don't like. Or for profit, like in Jurassic Park, which addresses the phenomenon:
Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs...
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth...
- The Technological Singularity refers to the creation of an artificial intelligence that reaches the point that it indelibly changes humanity for its own purposes. It might elevate all of humanity to a higher plane of existence, or it might devour the Earth and destroy humanity to grow itself. Scientists predict that the median date of AI development is in the 2040s, so we'll find out soon enough.
- In about 600 million years, the acceleration of the greenhouse effect due to increasing solar luminosity will make Earth too hot for C4 photosynthesis to occur. This will wipe out most (but not all) plant life on the planet. And in about 1.1 billion years, nearly all surface life on the planet will be extinct, and the oceans will begin to evaporate, increasing the atmospheric pressure to Venus-like levels.
- In five billion years, the Sun will become a Red Giant, meaning it will expand to such a degree that it basically swallows the planet. No coming back from that.
- Various theories in modern physics predict that baryons have a limited lifetime. Considering that everything is made with baryons, this means that given enough time, no matter what else happens, the whole universe will simply fall apart.
- Mankind may end up being its own undoing. It might be hatred of each other boiling over leading to a conflict that kills everyone and everything — with nuclear weapons, it's certainly possible. Or it might just be humanity "playing God", going too far, and destroying themselves that way. Or it might be a combination of both, with humanity playing God for the purpose of destroying the people they don't like. Or for profit, like in Jurassic Park, which addresses the phenomenon:
- People have tried to predict the end of the world for basically as long as there have been people, and many have turned out to be wrong:
- Nostradamus was a 16th century soothsayer who may have predicted that the world would end soon. It's not entirely clear, though, because Nostradamus was fond of making his prophecies very poetic and incredibly vague, meaning that pretty much anyone can see whatever they want in what he wrote. It's interesting that although Nostradamus is a by-word for predictions of this type, no one can actually point out what specifically he predicted.
- James Prescott Joule became famous for discovering the relationship between heat and mechanical work — in other words, energy. He further discovered that when work was performed, energy depleted from the system. So based on this, he predicted that there was a finite supply of energy in the world, and one day all of it would run out and the world would end. He simply failed to observe that when the energy left the system, it didn't disappear entirely; it simply turned into a different kind of heat and energy.
- CNN seems to think it will see the end of the world. Or it may just be Ted Turner exaggerating, because when he started the channel, he proclaimed that it would never sign off until the end of the world, which would be its last story. Then they'd play "Nearer My God to Thee" (a tribute to the end of the RMS Titanic) and then sign off. Since it was The '80s, maybe they were just certain that humanity would destroy itself in a nuclear catastrophe. A few Internet sleuths in more recent years actually found evidence of CNN's "Nearer My God to Thee" video, still in standard-definition from its earliest days.
- The Y2K phenomenon led some people to believe that the world would end on January 1, 2000, because... well, the calendar says so? The calendar that's completely arbitrary, based entirely on a garbled estimation of the birthdate of Jesusnote and a fairly erratic timekeeping schedule since then. This should be enough to dissuade the Christians who believed that the Second Coming would happen a nice round number of years after Jesus' birth (one would think his death would be a more symbolic starting point, so look out for 2033 or thereabouts). A few others were terrified of the Millennium Bug, where every computer in the world would break if they tried to switch from 1999 to 2000, but they hired enough programmers to fix it in advance (so look out for 2038, the year of the UNIX time rollover).
- In 2011, a Christian radio preacher named Harold Camping paid for a series of billboards claiming that the Rapture would happen on May 21 of that year and that "The Bible guarantees it". The day came and went, and nothing happened — so Camping claimed that the world really did end, and everyone went through a spiritual judgment and that the Earth's physical destruction would happen soon. (It didn't.) While Camping was just one in a long line of religious doomsayers, his extensive ad campaign caught people's eyes, leading some believers to really panic that the world was ending and others to point and laugh at the silly Bible-thumper. Many pranks were pulled on the gullible, including people offering to watch their pets after the Rapture (for a fee, of course) and leaving Empty Piles of Clothing on the day it happened. Funnily enough, if you've actually read the Bible, you'd know that (a) there's nothing in it suggesting the Rapture is even a thingnote , and (b) it's quite clear that nobody can know the date of the end of the world other than God Himself.
- The Mayan Doomsday apparently predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012, because their calendar ended on that day. Well, we're still here. And the only reason the Mayan long-count calendar ended on that day was because that was how long they were willing to calculate; while it was the end of the 13th Baktun, all that meant was that they started the calendar cycle over again. It was essentially the Mayan version of the Millennium bug (and indeed, some Mayan communities celebrated that day like the West celebrated the new millennium). And also it was a miscalculation, and the 13th Baktun ended back in the 1960s. No one really took the 2012 doomsday seriously until the 1980s, and in the end it was just a lot of hype (and a Roland Emmerich movie). The closest we came in 2012 was a solar storm that missed Earth by nine daysnote .
- The COVID-19 Pandemic certainly felt like it to a lot of people. And for some people, it was on a small scale, given how many people died; Covid was hardly the first disease that could wipe out a large human population. Really, it was more a reminder that The World Is Always Doomed for people who had never had to endure a real crisis before. Early on in the pandemic, there were all sorts of doomsday predictions suggesting that the world would never, ever be remotely the same. And then they developed vaccines in record time.
- The Other Wiki has an unreasonably entertaining list of predicted ends of the world. At this rate, it "should" have ended about once every five years.
And I feel fine...