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Third-Option Adaptation

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That's more like a Fourth-Option Adaptation.

An interactive work is being adapted into another, non-interactive form — a video game into a TV series, for example. The original required the audience to choose one option above the others, such as picking a member of your Harem in a Dating Sim. As such, in the adaptation, there will be an active move by the writers not to have any choice evident, so that no portion of the audience is validated or invalidated in their choice. Sometimes comes out of an adaptation of a work with Multiple Endings.

This can also be done if it's an adaptation of a non-interactive work, by refusing to pick any one of the characters to have more spotlight or importance than the others if the audience is divided on which is best and there's no main character.

Contrast Cutting Off the Branches, which does choose one and leave the others in the dust, and Merging the Branches, which combines options in a way not possible in the original rather than creating a completely new option. Cipher Scything note  and/or Original Generationnote  might be used in conjunction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Sakura Wars expanded media such as the OVAs, musicals, drama CDs and movie, it never clearly states which girl(s) Ogami has a romantic relationship with. There are usually slight hints toward Sakura (as the poster girl) but since the games have a serial progressing plot and the OVAs and Drama CDS fill in the gaps it wouldn't jive to take control away from the player, and thus in the OVAs Status Quo is God. The same thing applies for his New York-based nephew Shinjiro.
  • Some of the spinoffs from the Tenchi Muyo! universe pair him up with an entirely new girl, rather than stick him with a member of his Unwanted Harem.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny assumes that all the routes in the first game occurred, plus some extra stuff that never happened on-screen such as Fate and her Evil Twin Levi facing one another. This means that canonically, the Materials were destroyed multiple times over the course of that one night.

    Comic Books 

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Spider-Man has many love interests throughout the years but the most popular are Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and Felicia Hardy, with Betty Brant and Liz Allan being moderately popular. The first film series uses Mary Jane, with Betty in a supporting role and Gwen making an appearance on the last film entry. The reboot then came and uses Gwen as the main girl instead, with Mary Jane's intended appearance in the second film (in which Felicia appeared in a minor role) cut. When the film is rebooted again, Liz became the love interest during this version of Spidey's first solo outing with Betty once again in a supporting role, but he and Liz ultimately didn't end up together, and Peter's love interest in the next two films is an In Name Only Expy of Mary Jane, Michelle Jones(-Watson).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai: Kamen Rider 555 has secondary rider (and resident Jerkass) Masato Kusaka die three different ways, depending on what adaptation you're watching/reading - in the TV series, his neck is snapped by Yuji Kiba, who claims the Kaixa gear for his own use. In the alternate ending Paradise Lost, he's killed by Leo, the Lion Orphnoch. And in the novelization, he's torn limb-from-limb by Kiba, then killed for real by his Stalker with a Crush Saya Kimura. Kamen Rider Taisen takes the third option and retcons his death yet again, having him die fighting against the Horse Orphnoch/Kiba alongside Takumi fighting as Faiz against the Arch Orphnoch.

  • Copacabana: In the original song, "Copacabana", we know that a) somebody shot somebody during the confrontation between Rico and Tony, and b) decades later, Tony's gone. This could mean that Rico shot Tony, but it could also mean that Tony shot Rico and then was executed or died in prison. In the movie, Tony gets shot by Lola.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Werewolf The Apocalypse - Heart of Gaia, an abortive video-game translation of Werewolf: The Apocalypse , had the main character as a redeemed Black Spiral Dancer, thus avoiding using any of the main tribes in the game.
  • Clue: In Clue, the culprit always ends up being one of the players (Mr. Green, Miss Scarlet, etc). The film imitates this multiple choice result by having different endings, but one of those endings reveals the murderer was ALL of the dinner guests (except Mr. Green), as well as an added character, Wadsworth the butler.

    Video Games 


  • In the first Persona, it's implied that both the main and Snow Queen plotlines are canon...somehow. The ending of the Snow Queen Quest puts it right before the first boss of the SEBEC quest, ending with the gang going to SEBEC to save Maki (who was left there when Mark panicked after being overwhelmed by the demons) Presumably, after reuniting with Maki, things went as they did in the main game, only with Yukino there.
  • Persona 3:
    • Persona 3 FES: Practically every female social link in the game involves the female in question falling in love with The Protagonist (even the Hermit, who turns out to be the Protagonist's homeroom teacher). However, no matter what you do, it's Aigis who feels the strongest bond with you. As a result, it's Aigis who obtains the Wild Card ability in The Answer. Though, one could make an argument for Elizabeth having the strongest bond, considering how she leaves the Velvet Room to try and revive him, but not counting bonus content in Persona 4, Aigis is always "the one".
    • In the PSP remake, this is altered so that any of the female SEES members (Aigis, Fuka, Yukari and Mitsuru) can have the strongest bond with him and share the final scene with him, not just Aigis. The female can have Aigis or any of the male members of SEES (Akihiko, Ken, or Shinjiro if you saved him), except Junpei, who feels no romance for the main, have the strongest bond. Of course, The Answer isn't in the PSP remake and the Answer wouldn't work the way it was if the female was chosen anyway so how this affects Persona canon is currently unknown.
  • Persona 4: Arena: In Persona 4, party members gained their Ultimate Personas through maxing their Social Links with the protagonist. To avoid confirming or de-confirming any Social Links, all the P4 characters have their initial Personas in Arena. However, some events that only occurred in max Social Link events (such as the MC and Yosuke slugging it out by the river) are alluded to, implying some Social Links were canonically maxed...without the Persona upgrade. Somehow.


  • The games give a choice of three Starter Mons, and adaptations are usually loath to favor one over the others:
    • Pokémon: The Series started with Ash having overslept and, as a result, all the starter Pokémon have been picked by other trainers already when he shows up. He ends up with a spare Pokémon the professor happened to have on hand, a Pikachu (an outside fan favorite by that point), instead. The starters from all the games would eventually appear and join the cast under either Ash or one of his friends; though sometimes one would be more or less prominent than the others - for instance, in Pokémon the Series: XY, Greninja would become one of Ash's featured Pokémon and even received a unique Super Mode, while Chesnaught and Delphox faded into the background.
    • In the Pokémon X and Y games, Professor Sycamore also offers the Kanto starters when the player first sets foot in Lumiose City. Instead of Ash, Clemont and Serena receiving them (which would obviously be rather redundant in Ash's case) the three Kanto starters are given to the characters Shauna, Trevor and Tierno. And a second Charmander is in the possession of Sycamore's former assistant Alain (Arc Hero of the Mega Evolution specials), who, by the present day, has already evolved into a Charizard.
    • The anime's third option was rolled back into the games in the Recursive Adaptation Pokémon Yellow, where the player started with a Pikachu but the rival, who normally selects one of the three starters that the player character didn't, also got a third option starter, an Eevee. The same applies to Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, one of which is a direct remake of Yellow and the other simply reverses things so that the player gets Eevee and the rival gets Pikachu instead of either one getting the traditional starters.
      • And then back in the anime even Yellow's Eevee is subject to this: in Yellow, the rival's Eevee could evolve into Flareon, Jolteon or Vaporeon based on how often you beat him in your early battles. In the anime, Gary gets an Eevee like his Yellow counterpart (though his starter is later revealed to have been Squirtle), but since he never battles Ash until much later his Eevee avoids all three evolutions available in Yellow and instead evolves into an Umbreon, which was introduced in the sequel Pokémon Gold and Silver.
      • Averted by the rival's Eevee in Let's Go, Pikachu!: as stated above, that Eevee could evolve any of three ways in Yellow. In Let's Go!, it always becomes a Jolteon (likely selected because it's an electric Pokémon like Pikachu is).
    • For another case of games taking a third option, Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Sun and Moon feature battles against Red (Red and Blue's player character) and Blue (Red and Blue's Rival). Red's team features all four possible starters (which includes a Pikachu to represent Yellow Version), with the remaining two Pokémon being a forced encounter (one of the route-blocking Snorlax) and a gift (either the free Eevee from Celadon in the original Gold/Silver or the free Lapras from Silph Co. in the Gold/Silver remakes and Sun/Moon) in Red and Blue. Blue uses the same team he used in Red and Blue with one exception; in Red and Blue he'd have his starter in place of one other Pokémon of the same type, while later games make no such substitutions.
      • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! handles the Red and Blue cameo battles differently by adding Green, who had previously only existed in Red and Blue's concept art for a potential female PC. Red, Green, and Blue each own one of the Gen I starters, so all three show up.
    • Pokémon Adventures generally has multiple protagonists, each of which receives one of the starters so all three are given ample "screentime".
    • Pokémon Horizon has the protagonist partnered with a Rockruff instead of one of the starters.
  • Outside of starter Pokémon, adaptations also have to account for the choice of male and female player characters starting with Pokémon Crystal.
    • Pokémon Adventures generally takes both options and makes them co-protagonists. Often The Rival is a third main character as well and they form a Power Trio.
    • Zig-zagged by the anime: the main character, Ash, was based on the Red and Blue PC where male was the only option available, and many of his traveling companions are either gym leaders from the games (such as Misty and Brock in the original series) or original characters (Tracey taking Brock's place for the Orange Islands, or May's little brother Max in Hoenn and the Battle Frontier); however, starting from the seasons adapting Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the female PC would also usuallynote  be selected to travel with Ash, leaving the male PC out. Only Pokémon Chronicles used both player options (from Gold and Silver).
  • Plots can also differ due to the games' use of One Game for the Price of Two. In the first four generations, this was often resolved in canon by releasing a third version of the game combining elements of both of the first two.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire involved opposing teams Team Magma and Team Aqua; only in Ruby Team Magma were the villains trying to summon Groudon and Team Aqua was heroic, while in Sapphire Aqua were the bad guys summoning Kyogre and Magma were the ones trying to stop them. Pokémon Emerald and most adaptations made it so both teams were evil and succeeded in summoning their monster, leading to Groudon and Kyogre fighting each other and the protagonists trying to stop both of them with the help of Rayquaza. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the group you're helping is still evil, it's just their rivals keep accomplishing their goals first.
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, did Cyrus try to use the ruler of Time, Dialga, to destroy and recreate the world? Or did he try to use the ruler of Space, Palkia, for that? Well, in Pokémon Platinum he used both and was then defeated by Giratina. note 
    • In Pokémon Black and White, the first and last gyms each have multiple leaders, of which the player only fights one. In the anime, Ash fights all three leaders in the first gym and neither of the last gym leaders - instead the two leaders from the last gym, Iris and Drayden, face each other (Iris being a regular supporting character and proving herself against her mentor Drayden) and Ash gets his eighth badge from one of the new leaders from the sequel. Pokémon Adventures handled the first gym the same, but for the last gym it made Drayden the leader while Iris was a later opponent during the Pokémon League finals, foreshadowing how she has become League Champion in the sequel.
    • Averted with one of the movies for Black and White, which much like the games comes in two similar-but-different versions.
    • Pokémon X and Y has no third version to reconcile whether Team Flare was going after Xerneas or Yveltal, so the anime instead has Team Flare only target Zygarde and not bother with the cover legendaries. It also serves to debut new forms for Zygarde ahead of Pokémon Sun and Moon.
    • Also regarding X and Y, Charizard and Mewtwo each had two Mega Evolution forms. In order to feature both Charizard forms in Pokémon Adventures, Blue from Red and Blue and his Charizard returned and teamed up with X and his Charizard, with each using a different Mega form. Meanwhile, Mewtwo has a trainer (Blaine) who owns both Mega Stones, allowing Mewtwo access to both its Mega forms.
    • In the anime of Sun & Moon, both Totem Gumshoos (Sun) and Totem Raticate (Moon) are featured in episodes, making neither game more featured than the other. Ash would face the former in Verdant Cavern supervised by Hala (when Ilimanote  should have accompanied Ash) while Team Rocket would later get into a Mêlée à Trois, fighting fellow Goldfish Poop Gang Team Skull (loosely adapting an event in the middle of the same trial) over who gets to fight Totem Raticate.
    • Instead of Midday or Midnight Lycanroc, Ash's Rockruff would evolve into a third evolution, Dusk Forme Lycanroc, way ahead of its debut in the remake, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Totem Lurantis first summons a Trumbeak and then a Castform while in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, it instead summons first a Kecleon and then a Comfey. In Pokémon Adventures, during Moon's battle with Lurantis, the Bloom Sickle Pokémon summons two Castform, two Trumbeak, a trio of Comfey and a Kecleon.
  • Pokémon Generations, a game-based series of animated shorts, is inconsistent in whether it allows the player character to play a part and on which versions it favors, though it always goes with the canon from the remakes.
    • Red chooses Bulbasaur and also obtains a Pikachu in "The Adventure"; however, Blue has a Blastoise in "The Challenger", so no prior continuity is being followed completely.
    • Both Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are suggested to have happened, as Brendan invades Team Magma's hideout (and not the altered one from Emerald) in "The Vision" and Archie awakens Primal Kyogre in "The Cavern". The Delta Episode is also shown from a game-neutral perspective in "The Scoop". Brendan has a Sceptile, just as in the games' trailers.
    • Platinum is again shown to be the canon game in "The New World", with Cynthia confronting Cyrus atop Spear Pillar instead of the player.
    • In "The King Returns", White and White 2 are unquestionably favored, as N owns Reshiram, it gets subsumed into White Kyurem, and Hilbert arrives at the end with his Zekrom. Ironically, this also writes out the actual player character, Nate/Rosa, from the short, with N taking their place and Hilbert taking his.
    • Calem is shown in "The Redemption", with a Charizard and Chesnaught.

Other Video Games:

  • Advance Guardian Heroes: The sequel is based on one ending of Guardian Heroes ...but then takes it off into a direction that doesn't actually exist in the original game.
  • Amagami SS retells the story six times, each one following a different route from the game.
  • Breath of Fire IV:
  • Clock Tower has an ending where one friend (either Anne/Ann or Rolla/Laura) survives along with Jennifer (Ending S). Rather than pick between Anne and Rolla and have one appear in both the sequel and the various spinoff media, the developers decided to use the other endings where Jen is the Sole Survivor (Endings A, B and C). Ending C specifically is established as canon in the ending of the later game, when Dan's name (which Jennifer only learns in that ending) is mentioned and Jennifer shrinks back. Which is kind of strange, because you'd have to be using some wacky moon logic to get Ending C normally.
  • The Deus Ex series is an extremely interesting case. The first game (set in 2052) features 3 different endings. The sequel (set in 2072) states that all 3 endings essentially happened. The prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (set in 2027), is an inversion, as it features 4 different endings, all of which could plausibly lead to the events of the original game. Human Revolution's sequel (set in 2029), officially states that none of the endings are canon, with the assumed state seeming like a small combination of various endings (Panchaea was destroyed and augmentation is publicly condemned, but Sarif is alive while Darrow and Taggart appear to be dead).
  • In the arcade version of the original Double Dragon, the Lee brothers fight each other at the end after both players defeat the final boss to see who wins over Marian, with the remaining player getting a kiss from her. When the game was remade for the Game Boy Advance under the title of Double Dragon Advance, Marian interrupts just when one of the brothers deliver a finishing blow. River City Girls 2 states the answer to which of the Lee Brothers that Marian canonically ends up with is… both of them.
  • The Elder Scrolls mostly prefers to avoid any sort of Cutting Off the Branches, but when it has no other choice, it does this:
  • The Fallout games allow players to be male or female, any race they choose, and a bunch of other customization features as rudimentary as nose size. How could boxart get all of this represented at once? It doesn't; instead opting for pictures of an undefined character in power armor.
  • Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is the sequel to Fate/EXTRA, but rather than follow any particular route from that game, Extella's backstory is an original route that Extra didn't have, in which Hakuno had Saber as their primary Servant but somehow also managed to contract Caster as a "Sub-Servant" after beating her. There are also implications that some variation of Fate/Extra CCC happened as well, but given the nature of that game, Hakuno and their Servants have forgotten about it.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has the brothers Iuchar and Iucharba as Mutually Exclusive Party Members and Larcei/Creidne can only recruit one, with the other going into a jealous rage and needing to be killed. The manga adaptation by Mitsuki Oosawa has both survive to be recruited into Seliph’s army; further, although the second generation invokes Cutting Off the Branches with most of the “replacement children”, both Larcei and Creidne (and their respective brothers) feature in the manga.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening:
      • The Hero Chrom could marry one of five characters: a female Avatar, Sully, Sumia, Maribelle or Olivia. Possibly to avoid the insane Ship-to-Ship Combat over the issue, the Drama CD seems to go with the nameless village maiden as Chrom's wife, the one who, in-game, he only marries if all of the above options are already taken or dead. For each of the above 5, Chrom's Kid from the Future Lucina will have a sibling, which the audio drama also adapts out though the village maiden, making Lucina an only child. There is also one Drama CD with a male Avatar and one with a female one, as well as a Drama CD where both male and female Morgans (the Avatar's child) meet up in the Outrealms. These are situations not possible in the game since both versions of these characters can't exist at the same time.
      • The second example is the child characters' hair colors, which are inherited from their fathers. And since mostly any male can marry any female, that's a lot of possible hair colors to keep track of. To avoid this, official artwork generally depicts the children with their mothers' hair colours, save for some (Inigo has grey hair rather than his mother's pink). Severa, Inigo and Owain's appearance in Fire Emblem Fates keep this: the DLC stage Hidden Truths explain that Good Anankos uses his magic to change said hair colors.
    • Fire Emblem Fates also has child characters, who this time inherit their hair colors from their mothers (save for Shigure, who always has his mother Azura's hair no matter who his dad is). Like in Awakening, the official artwork has them with their fathers' hair color, save for Mitama and Soleil who have pink hair note 
  • Geneforge: It's amazing the Epileptic Trees that have come from trying to figure out which, if any, endings of the various games are canonical. A popular one for the third game argues that the main character died at the very beginning and was replaced by someone else who acted out most of the game's events before getting killed off in turn. The fifth game manages to revive all those trees in theories on the protagonist's identity. All this is probably due to the fact that the canon endings are combinations of multiple endings with some obfuscation thrown in as well.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character's gender and appearance are customizable, and you have a choice between helping the Republic defeat Malak on the one hand, and overthrowing him as the Dark Lord of the Sith and then turning against the Republic. Although the character is canonically male and the Star Forge is canonically destroyed (a Road Cone example), the second game allows you to retroactively specify that character's gender and alignment via dialogue options, and the rest of the game then reflects the choice. The spin-off comic series also avoids establishing the character's appearance: in all appearances, the Revanchist is wearing a bulky robe and face-obscuring hood, and is never referred to by name or gender-specific pronouns.
    • Oddly, avoiding referring to the Revanchist with a name was only made necessary because of the spin-off comic itself. As the games refer to him, Revan's name before the amnesia appeared to have been Revan. The comics established that no, it wasn't, thus necessitating various tricks to avoid saying what the actual name was.
    • When the events of Knights of the Old Republic II are referenced elsewhere in the EU, the Exile is noted to be female, but both of the gender-exclusive companions (the Handmaiden for male and the Disciple for female) were in her crew. Interestingly, this points towards What Could Have Been - the game was supposed to have the Handmaiden join based on your alignment instead of your gender, with Visas Marr (who always joins you in the released game) as her dark-side counterpart and, presumably, the Disciple joining you no matter what. Also, the Exile's appearance as described in Revan doesn't match any of the in-game options.
  • The Legend of Zelda is famous for its odd continuity, but for the several years during which the timeline wasn't known, many fans agreed that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time resulted in a split timeline: one where Hyrule is flooded after Ganondorf makes good on his promise to return, and one where Ganondorf is executed before he can even attempt his coup d'étatnote . All well and good, except that the four previously released games couldn't logically fit in either of these branches or with the games that took place before Ocarina. When Nintendo finally revealed an official timeline for the series in 2013, it was revealed that there is actually a third timeline that takes place if Link dies in Ocarina of Time's final battle.
  • Makai Senki Disgaea: The ending of the anime featured an amalgamation of the game's good and bad ending, with Laharl sparing Lamington's life, but still sacrificing his own in order to resurrect Flonne.
  • MapleStory: At the time that the anime was created, there were already four available classes in the game, so there would naturally be some difficulty in deciding which one the protagonist belonged to. So what do the writers do? Make him a perma-beginner! (Explained in the anime as him being a human while the other classes are represented by monsters from the different in-game towns.)
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • At the end of the first game, Snake can try to save Meryl depending on a choice made during an Electric Torture at the middle of the game - if the player chooses to resist, Meryl lives, Otacon stays behind in an attempted Heroic Sacrifice to hold open a gate for Snake and Meryl to escape through (although he lives), and Snake tells his real name to Meryl; if the player submits, Meryl dies, Otacon comes up onto Rex to talk Snake down, having already opened the gate, and Snake tells his real name to Otacon. Both the novel and comic book adaptations went with an ending where Snake escaped with both Meryl and Otacon at once, and told both of them his real name together.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty seems to go with this as well: when infiltrating the tanker in the opening cutscene of the game, he has the stealth camo Otacon gave him in his ending. Coupled with Meryl not appearing at all in the game, this would suggest she died in the first game, up until Snake reveals late in the game that he also has the infinite-ammo bandanna he received in her ending. This one could possibly work as a fourth-wall-breaking joke, as well; the player most likely played through the game at least twice to get both endings and their special items, so it's only logical that Snake did so as well.
    • And then Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reveals that Meryl living is canon, but with a major part of her story arc being her disgust at Colonel Campbell being her biological father rather than her uncle, something which was only revealed in the ending where Meryl dies.
  • Radiata Stories: The manga adaptation of Radiata Stories at first follows the Human path where Jack chooses not to follow Ridley we she defects from Radiata. From this point there are multiple differences between the manga and the game, including Ganz and his thieves guild friends help Jack in the campaign against the Wind Dragon and later Ganz joining Jack to save Ridley (even though ingame Jack never meets Ganz again in the Human path after they part ways early on and Elwen deeming Jack worthy of using the Arbitrator (something that never happens). Easily the largest difference is that at the end, Jack saves Ridley from Aphelion, and then somehow Ridley rejects Quasar, causing an ending much happier than either ending in-game (on the human route, Ridley dies but humanity is saved while on the non-human route, Jack saves Ridley but its heavily implied she fulfills her role as Quasar and wipes out humanity except for Jack.)
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil Film Series: Rather than focusing on any of the canon characters from the game series, the films are centered around a new character named Alice. Though she interacts with characters and situations from the games, it's clear that the movies are Alice's show, and the rest are just along for the ride. This allows the movies to take many liberties and diverge significantly from the game canon.
    • Sequels: In the first game, depending on your chosen character, you can escape with the helicopter pilot, Brad, and optionally the other player character and a partner dictated by the plot — Barry for Jill, and Rebecca for Chris. Later games and related media make it clear that all five characters survive the Mansion Incident.
  • Sid Meier:
    • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: Launching a spaceship to Alpha Centauri is is a victory condition in the main series of games. This unofficial sequel to Civilization picks up from where that game left off. However, the starship in Alpha Centauri was a United Nations project sponsored by several nations. Amusingly, expansion packs to Civilization IV allows alliances to build the spaceship as a team effort, one of the major sponsors was a Namibian company (so the CEO, Nwabudike Morgan, installs a secret sleeper pod onboard the ship and justifies it by claiming that he, technically, owns part of the ship). In addition, the Transcendence Ending reveals that the Earth has been rendered a burned-out, lifeless husk that you're responsible for restoring, making everyone a loser in Civilization.
    • Sid Meier's Starships: In Civilization: Beyond Earth, there are 5 possible endings, 3 of which depend on the player's chosen affinity. Along comes the sort-of sequel, whose premise assumes that each of the factions chose a different planet to settle instead of the same one.
  • The Star Ocean series always has mutually exclusive characters, particularly in the second game. The anime adaptation of The Second Story, which covers the events of the first disc, cuts a few corners and has all the disc 1 characters join Claude and Rena. This caused a small-scale Urban Legend of Zelda, where people started to believe that it's possible to recruit both Ashton and Opera in the same game as well as recruit Dias on Claude's route. Neither situation is possible in the game. The sequel, Blue Sphere, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it line in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time's manual confirm that all ten optional party members were canonically recruited.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, which combines characters and events from the various games in the series, often does this when dealing with a choice in protagonists from the original games: The Alpha protagonist choices get fleshed out into full characters through Divergent Character Evolution, while all the Alpha 2 protagonists appear. The game chooses one route from Advance, but then lets the other survive and undergo his development from his own route in Endless Frontier EXCEED. The "Born male or female" protagonist options from Reversal become Half-Identical Twins, end so on.
  • Tales of Symphonia: None of its endings are possible for Dawn of the New World (as it isn't possible on a single playthrough to obtain the title "Item Collector"- because you normally can only obtain one of the three ending items), rather, its manga adaptation's ending (where all three ending items are given to Lloyd) is canon.
    • However, Road Cones are still there for the pairing: Colette is canonically Lloyd's soulmate. Although a bonus scene in the game allows you to choose even that.
    • There are other differences in the manga's ending, too, like the party taken to the final battle. In the game, because of the limit on the number of party members, you had to take either Zelos or Kratos. In the manga, not only do both of them go along for the final trip to Derris-Kharlan, but so does Yuan.
  • The original Two Worlds has two possible endings: either you choose to join Gandohar and rule the world, or you kill Gandohar and save your sister Kyra. Two Worlds 2 doesn't follow from either ending; instead it posits that you actually lose the final battle against Gandohar, and spend the next 5 years as a prisoner in his dungeon while he takes over the world, which is where the game picks up.

    Visual Novels 
  • The sequel to Heileen makes all of the endings All Just a Dream. Canonically, only Robert and Ebele made it to the island with Heileen even though in the previous game, you always end up with the male love interest if you didn't trigger either of the Gay Options, even if you did nothing but treat him like garbage the entire game.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia is the sequel to a route that couldn't happen in Fate/stay night – most of the Servants and Masters are still alive, even those who died in every route. Turns out the explanation is that Rin did it. She made a mistake that turned the city into a location where all realities are possible and sort of merged all the routes plus various universes we didn't see into one. She's off at Clock Tower at the start of the game to make up for this mistake.
  • The Holiday Star sequel/expansion to Hatoful Boyfriend opens with Ryouta explaining to the player that the writer did not want to exclude any routes from the original game, so instead this is an alternate universe in which the human girl did not fall in love with anybody.
  • The Labyrinth of Grisaia leaves the ending to The Fruit of Grisaia fairly ambiguous, but The Eden of Grisaia firmly establishes that Yuuji did not pick any girl, date or sleep with any girl, but he did complete all their routes. This is actually a bad thing because he promised Asako in Labyrinth that he wouldn't die until he had saved at least five people. Since he saved all five girls, he now embraces death.

    Web Original 
  • This happens in the fan-film, "Dawn: A Fan-Made Before The Storm Story". In the original videogame, Chloe has to choose between letting Damon beat up Drew or intervening by giving him the money he's after. In the film, Chloe tricks Damon by giving him an envelope with a bunch of sticky notes in it. This has repercussions later when he discovers the ruse.

Alternative Title(s): Pikachu Effect, The Pikachu Effect