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Never Say Die / Video Games

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  • In Halo, Spartans in-universe are persistently rumored to be immortal as a form of psychological warfare against the Covenant, and to boost morale in the UNSC. Thus, even when they really do die, they are never listed as "KIA", only "MIA". After the war ends, the new generation of Spartans are officially allowed to be listed as KIA. Of course, the fact that supposedly dead Spartans have a tendency to show up again (e.g., Chief's entire fireteam in 5) sort of justifies it.note 
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  • In SoulBlazer for SNES, the characters repeatedly say people "passed away".
  • In Dynasty Warriors, there are "KO counts" instead of kill counts.
    • In both Dynasty Warriors and sister series Samurai Warriors (and, by extension, the mash up series Warriors Orochi), this can be appropriate as many defeated characters are explicitly NOT killed and instead forced into retreat.
    • The US version of Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage changed the KO count to "Kills", since claiming someone who just burst into bloody giblets or was sliced into confetti is only KOd is REALLY stretching the definition. The achievement icons involving a large number of kills were left unchanged and still read "KO" though.
  • An egregious if little known example is the European English version of Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors on the Game Boy Color. It appears that the censors did a find/replace on the words 'die', 'died', 'death', 'kill' and 'killed' and switched them all for 'lost', regardless of sentence structure. So while things like "I can't believe Piccollo lost!" make sense, more or less, you also get dialogue like "Lost, Vegeta! Lost!", "The entire planet will lost!", and "I guess you DO want to lost!"
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The English translation of Final Fantasy VI was forced to avoid explicit mention of death, at least most of the time. One dungeon is the tomb of Setzer's girlfriend, Daryl. In a flashback she states that Setzer can have her airship, the Falcon, if "anything happens to her". You even get to see Rachel's preserved corpse, and hear the story of her death, but again, no d-word - she's said to have been 'saved' using magic herbs and put into a sort of magic coma. The suicide attempt scene especially has any mention or notion of suicide removed and it was replaced with the notation of people jumping off a cliff if they were feeling down so that they could "perk up" again. The Instant Kill Death spells are renamed things like X-fer and X-Zone. Kefka spends Dalek-like amounts of time ordering his men to 'exterminate!'. Sabin and Cyan's brief accidental jaunt fighting ghosts on the Afterlife Express is framed in terms of a train that takes you to 'the other place'. One really painful moment is the scene where Sabin refers to the murder of his master as 'doing [him] in'. There are a few expections that occurred; when Shadow told Terra that, “In this world are many like me who've killed their emotions”; after Kefka gives Celes a sword on the Floating Continent, as he tells her: "Kill the others and we'll forgive your treachery! Take this sword! Kill them all!"; and lastly, when Kefka asked the party about how they’ve "...find this ‘joy’ in this dead world of ours?" The revised script in the GBA port uses concepts of killing and death much more liberally.
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    • Final Fantasy XI's flavor of blue magic involves "absorbing the essences" of foes who use the proper moves.
    • Final Fantasy IV is a pretty egregious example, being bound by the same prohibition of d- and k-words.
    • Most games would also avoid using words related to death early in the series when it came to your party's status after their HP hits zero, using words like Swoon, Disabled, Stun, etc. Final Fantasy VII referred to knocked out characters as Dead. However, using Dead led to confusion when one of your party members was killed off due to the plot and people wondered why a Phoenix Down wasn't used to bring them back to life. The series then use KO (knocked out) to describe defeated party members, dipping back into the trope.
    • Final Fantasy IX has an in-universe example: most of the Black Mages who gained sentience actually don't know what death is, and as Vivi starts to work out what it means when they "stop moving", he starts to use the term himself—only to be told not to do so by the one Black Mage who actually does know what death is. Later, when Kuja explains (offscreen) what is really happening when the Mages "stop moving", they don't take it particularly well.
  • The words "death", "dead" etc. were formally banned from all Nintendo games for many years as part of their policy for family-friendly content, back in the early days. Abandoned in later years, of course, though The Legend of Zelda series in particular still insists on describing enemies as being "defeated" after you slice the hell out of them. One of the bosses in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening even lampshades this. He sends a variety of minions at you, and after you're finished with them, he yells "You k-k-k...beat my brothers!" In Hyrule Warriors, death is mostly just implied and words like "defeat" are used a lot, and being a Warriors title, the "K.O." counter makes a return here, too. Ironically, two of Nintendo's own titles got away with it in the SNES era. F-Zero got to keep its Death Wind courses, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past retained Death Mountain even in the American version (likely thanks to the Grandfather Clause, since the name first appeared in the original The Legend of Zelda manual before the policy was strictly enforced). Some third-party games for the NES and SNES, like Friday the 13th, do use the D and K words. It's simply averted in the Zelda Phillips CD-i games licensed by Nintendo, though like the rest of the game it's simply subject to Memetic Mutation:
    Ganon: Join me Link, and I will make you a face the greatest in Koridai, or else you will DIE!
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don't die, they "get caught". Justified at least in the NES version since they DO get caught if defeated and can be found tied up in a chair and rescued in later levels.
  • The SNES port of Flashback renamed the Death Tower the Cyber Tower.
  • City of Heroes:
    • The game uses the ambiguous "arrest" or "defeat" to let the players decide whether their heroes use lethal force or not. This is subject to much Lampshade Hanging in fan works and sometimes the game itself. Yes, you can "arrest" people with a katana or giant lightning bolts, apparently.
    • The manager of the Monkey Fight Club insists "The monkeys ain't kilt! That's de-feat-ed!"
    • The developers seem to have become more lenient over the years, though - there are obvious instances of characters outright dying, and plenty more where it's left easy to assume. Although there is one character that some players seem to wish had died in the first appearance, considering the result when they returned.
    • City of Villains uses this more classically a lot of the time, even when contacts are telling you to use lethal force. You are, after all, a Villain Protagonist.
    • More specifically, all the game's system messages ever say is "defeated." What "defeated" means is subject to context if the particular story involving the "defeat" chooses to elaborate. Some elaborations involve capture and interrogation, some involve death and killing, and some involve the defeated character "teleporting away." There is no default stance given to what a generic "defeat" should mean, however.
    • Parodied with a generic activist who describes War Witch (a ghost) as "breathing-challenged".
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Killerman.EXE, a shinigami-styled assassin Navi, cries, "Jigoku ni ochi na!" ("See You in Hell!") as he buries his scythe in his victims. The English adaptation switched this to whispering "Sweet dreams" in the victim's ear. Hell, the guy himself is an example; the translation changed his name to "EraseMan" (with his chips still in the "k" code). Yeah, we're buying that.
  • Onmyōji's in-game filter in the chatroom and shikigami comment sections does not allow posts containing the kanji for "death" 死, making it difficult to talk about a skill of Hangan's where he writes said character in explosive ink, for one.
  • Pokémon:
    • Overall: zig-zagged. The main games in the series use "fainted" when a character is knocked out in a battle. However, the concept of death seems to be present, and there are cemeteries in the game. Ironically, "fainting" was used as the term because Satoshi Taijiri didn't want kids to pick up on a Death Is Cheap message: running off to heal your critter after letting it fight to exhaustion? Understandable. Forcing critters into a death match, resurrecting them, then making a sport out of it? Not so much.
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, rated E for Extreme Technicality, this seems to be part of an overall pattern of very thinly veiling all manner of terrible, terrible things. This could actually make the game more disturbing, since it sometimes ends up reading like the characters are too innocent to come to terms with what's happening to them enough to talk about it straight-forwardly. And in Explorers, two of the characters seriously contemplate committing suicide without ever stating it outright. Gates to Infinity substitutes the word for "disappear", "destroyed", and possibly "defeated" on multiple occasions (The context it's used in makes it unclear as to whether or not death was actually involved). It also uses the sentence cut short variation on one occasion where no other word could possibly have filled in for it.
    • The Japanese term for the Non-Lethal K.O. status effect is 瀕死 hinshi, "dying" or "near death", to indicate that forcing that Pokémon to fight any more could potentially get them killed. This was changed to "fainted" for the English translation, and other translations based on it. Despite the change, the Pokémon Stadium games still mention how a Pokémon is "ready to die" if you send it out while their HP is low.
    • Several Pokédex entries do, however, use the word "die" in the context of "cessation of life" (Spoink for FireRed, Alakazam for Silver, Haunter for Silver/SoulSilver, Lampent for White). In general, the English Pokémon games tend to reduce the number of mentions of "killing" and "death", but don't eliminate them entirely.
    • Likewise, in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, you see two sailors tossed off the S.S. Libra during Cipher's attack in the intro, and yet there's no word on the fate of the ship for three days. On top of that, the only guy onboard who isn't a criminal doesn't look like he's part of the ship's crew. The game does such a good job glossing over the fact that Cipher committed mass homicide on the ship's human crew that younger and/or more naive players may not understand just what kind of people they're dealing with.
    • Pokémon X and Y:
      "The man's beloved Pokemon took part in the war. Several years passed. He was given a tiny box." note 
      • The game even keeps with Mr. Tajiri's ideals, as outlined above: while the game is far more involved with the concept of mortality, the heroes very much call out the main villain on his cavalier attitude toward killing, and much of the theme of the game, even the sidequests, is that life is worth living.
      • Yveltal in Japan is a "Death Pokémon" and has a move called "Death Wing". In English, they are respectively changed to "Destruction Pokemon" and "Oblivion Wing"... which funnily enough sound significantly more threatening.
    • Less of the "Never Say Die" sort, but still worth mentioning: The German Pokémon games refer to the Dark-type Pokémon and attacks as "Unlicht", which means not light in English. And even though the ban of "bad words" in video games has been lightened, the type is still named "Unlicht".
    • The Generation V and VI games use the word "death" infrequently, even using it in a euphemism for the verb "kill" ("bring to death").
    • Subverted in Pokémon Sun and Moon; "death" and similar terms are used freely, as are religious terms such as "god" and "demon" for the first time in the series (presumably because of their use in similar family-friendly games such as The Legend of Zelda), and Type:Null is even referred to as the "Beast Killer". The games feature numerous Pokédex entries discuss Pokémon hunting each other. Referring to Pokémon or humans being killed for reasons other than hunting, however, is worded delicately. For example, Bewear's Moon entry says "Many Trainers have left this world after their spines were squashed by its hug" and Sneasel's Moon entry says "Breeders consider it a scourge and will drive it away or eradicate it".
  • Mega Man Star Force never uses the verb, neither to humans nor to aliens. They also never use destroy, but some really poetic terms ("not among us anymore" or "he/she is in Heaven") or the sentence is never completed ("If you keep doing this, she will..."). In a part of the game, "die" is replaced by "hurt", creating this very stupid dialogue:
    Geo: "W-W-W-Wait a sec!! If you do that, you'll hurt the other guys, too!"
    Mega: "Then what do you suggest? Leave them be and let them cause an (car) accident and get hurt that way?"
    • In the third game the translators really had no choice, as such a high number of characters die, though mostly not permanently, yet they still danced with euphemisms quite a bit. When Ace dies, "kill" and "die" are used freely, repeatedly in the mourning dialogue. When Luna dies though, it's Never Say "Die" to the rescue.
  • X-Men Legends II turns all villains defeated (except for the giant bugs, which splatter) into a Non-Lethal K.O., which isn't always plausible (tossing someone into lava, for example.) Discussion of death isn't toned down, though. This is the Marvel Universe. It is a physical impossibility for a person to stay dead there, so it's not as lunatic as it might first seem.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series uses this trope oddly:
    • When in Disney worlds, the words "kill" and "death" can be used freely... by everybody EXCEPT the main characters. In the game's "real" storyline though, the words are completely forbidden, often being replaced by "destroyed", "finished", "defeated", and "sent to Oblivion".
    • The main exception to this rule was in the handheld Chain of Memories. After battling Riku Replica in the "Reverse//Rebirth" mode (playing as Riku), he talks about his own death as he fades, even asking where his heart will go, or whether it will just disappear. Thanks to that the remake got a 10+ rating (surprisingly, the original GBA game didn't have trouble with that - possibly because that rating didn't exist then). Also, Vexen never actually said die - but Axel probably wasn't doing the game's rating any favors when he cut off "I don't want to [die]" by setting him ablaze. The remake also averts it, with Axel saying "don't you go off and die on me now" before fighting Sora the first time.
    • The whole "Never Say Die" thing is even written into the story. Even if the world is consumed by darkness, the people living there don't die. Some of them become summon crystals, while the rest fall dormant until their world is restored. Even the people taken by the Heartless don't really die - when Sora "kills" a Heartless, its heart is cleansed and set free, and can return to its previous owner.
    • It gets even worse once it's not clear what the characters are even saying any more. Consider this: In KH2, a major subplot is Sora trying to find Riku. He knows he's alive about 3/4s of the way through the game, but then the evidence dries up. Near the end, he fights with a vision of Roxas, who tells him he "defeated" Riku. Once the fight's over, this sends Sora almost into a paranoid attack. But wait: that was just a vision, and Roxas hasn't existed for most of the game. That means he can't possibly be using "defeated" to mean "killed" since Riku is still alive after that and even the player knows it. That means, in the Kingdom Hearts world, "defeated" isn't censorship, but worse: the word actually does mean both "killed" AND "defeated", and no can ever figure out which you mean without an explanation.
    • Before one of his boss battles, Axel claims he'll "make it all stop". Larxene occasionally tells Sora to "Vanish!" during her boss battles. When Xemnas merges with Kingdom Hearts, he ask for the power to "erase" Sora and his friends.
    • After saying that Axel's betrayal ruined her and Marluxia's plans, Larxene tells Sora, "Now, I'm left with no choice but to eliminate you!" when she's pretty clearly intending to kill him.
    • One of Saix's lines during battle averts this trope, however, as he says "I want to see you die fighting," though the line was supposedly removed in the initial release but restored in the Final Mix releases.
    • Vexen averts it after his first fight with Sora: "As I expected, you weren't one to die very easily!"
    • The English version of Birth by Sleep actually uses the word on a semi-frequent basis, even when the usage of "die" and threats of murder could have easily replaced with something less hostile without it even sounding the least bit odd. Then again, it is a prequel that takes place before the Heartless were unleashed. The concept of death was likely much simpler before you could return to your normal self by having someone wielding a magic key kill your monster self. There are some instances where euphemisms are used, such as Aqua commenting on how Master Eraqus had been "struck down" and Ven asking his friends to "put an end" to him, though given the circumstances, it could be that the characters themselves (rather than the censors) want to avoid using the actual words.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Joshua explains the origins of the fellow The World Ends with You characters by saying "in their world, something happened that brought their existence to an end". In their home game, the characters are dead and competing for a chance to come back to life.
    • Kingdom Hearts III
      • After entering The Caribbean for the first time, Sora, Donald, and Goofy sail over the edge of the world, fall into the void, and end up in an expanse of sand that turns out to be Davy Jones' Locker. When Sora finds out that he's in the afterlife, he panics because it means he's "gone beyond the grave". So having the main character (briefly) die anticlimactically is apparently only okay if he only mentions his death in a roundabout way.
      • An odd variant comes up with the Final World. It's explicitly said that it's where's the souls of those still clinging to life go when they die. But then the act dying is still referred to as having "perished."
  • The first English localization of ActRaiser did this to the extreme. In a very obviously god simulation with world-changing whims and angels who report to you, the localization tried hard to completely erase all notions of this in the text. God became "Master", temples became "shrines", prophets/seers became "fortune tellers", and other thoroughly unconvincing euphemisms. The game itself, though, was one of the best god sims of its time, and remained this good in English, the transparent Executive Meddling notwithstanding.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In the NES version of Dragon Quest IV, Psaro/Saro's nickname Death Pizzaro/Psaro the Manslayer is rendered as Necrosaro.
    • Dragon Quest I: Averted, which is surprising for its era. When you get killed, the game informs that "Thou art dead".
  • Nobody dies in Kingdom of Loathing, they just get 'Beaten Up', a condition that lasts 3-4 gameplay turns. You can assume NPC's also suffer the same fate, since the end of combat is usually described as simply, "You win the fight!" But if the combat ends on a Disco Bandit's face stabbing combos, a "FATALITY!" is announced.
  • Oddly inverted in the Kirby Super Star sub-game "The Revenge of Meta Knight"—Meta Knight clearly says "Prepare to Die!" before dueling Kirby, yet in the Video Game Remake, he says "Prepare to meet your doom!" Ironic how it says "die" when Nintendo didn't allow it, and then doesn't when they do allow it...
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • While most games will go out of their way to never refer to death or killing in any way, the very first game's instruction manual had no problem with telling the player that being hit by an enemy makes Mario die and how beating some enemies will kill them. It even advises the reader that there are several ways to kill Bowser!
    • Played for laughs in Super Paper Mario:
      • Death is replaced by "game over" and kill by "end the game" (or, in one instance, "send to the next world"). And getting resurrected by Jaydes is called a "continue". The game, as well as the whole Paper Mario series, does not always play this straight, since Wracktail says "death" when Mario meets him. Peach also averts this near the end of the game in a very serious moment, as does Dimentio before the final boss. Also, the first Paper Mario has Mario being accused of being a murderer.
      • The kings of the Floro Sapiens, a race of plants, never die. They just "wilt".
    • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, seemingly every use of "die" or any of its derivative forms is replaced with "KO". Vaguely lampshaded at one point, where Starlow asks an enemy character if they've got a "KO wish". "Dying" is also substituted as "passing out".
    • Played for laughs in Mario Super Sluggers, where a Magikoopa who Bowser charged with guarding a lighthouse confuses sayings each time you challenge it. (For example "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man angry and hungry for pies."). If you fail his challenge and talk to him he'll attempt to use the expressions "Never say die" and "live and let die" only replacing the word 'die' with 'bye.' When a Lakitu attempts to correct him, he interrupts the correction and the challenge begins.
    • Super Mario Galaxy:
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii's instruction manual quite glaringly refers to "blunder" and "make a mistake" rather than death. It still says you "lose a life" though.
    • Mario Party series with its "Dice Block".
  • In the Mother series:
    • Defeating enemies will render them to "become tame", "stop moving", "return to normal", "disappear", or "be defeated". Justification occurs though that some things such as moving records, lamps, and street signs would "stop moving" and return to normal, non-animated/living objects.
    • Furthermore, the official translation of EarthBound removes all references to death from the in-game dialogues (see here or here for examples.)
    • Though this is averted in Mother 3 where Lucas's mother, Hinawa dies in the first chapter, and is given a funeral.
    • EarthBound Beginnings both plays this trope straight and averts it. It's played straight with the Bowdlerisation to one of Loid's purchasable weapons, the Plasma Beam. Its name in the original? Death Beam. Likewise, the UltraBarbot and ManiacTruck are the Death Barbot and Death Truck in the Japanese version. It's averted when talking to the doctor in Merrysville, who tells the player to "die on their own" and that he'll call a mortician if his services are refused.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the text bar that records important actions says "killed" or "died" for when an ordinary soldier is killed and "defeated" or "fled" for heroes. Furthermore, all of them kneel, rather than simply dropping over dead, so this may just be a case of Saved by Canon. Averted in the all-heroes/villains battle (Mos Eisley Assault), which treats them like normal mooks.
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel for GBC. This is a game about terrorists trying to start a nuclear war. It contains a scene where a minor character is killed out of the blue by exploding handcuffs. It contains another where the Big Bad graphically discusses a rape-murder and avoids those specific words. Also, a character on Snake's support team who turned out to be a traitor is described as "having a bullet put through his head" during the ending cutscene. And Snake's cigarettes were replaced with a cigarette-shaped smoke-emitting device known as the "Fogger".
  • The French version of Tales of Symphonia is a funny example of this when you understand English, because while the text is in French, the voice acting is still in English. So you hear "killed" and read "destroyed/eliminated/disposed of/badly hurt". They toned down some of the stuff Zelos says, too...
  • In Tales of the Abyss At a certain point in the game, Luke is talking to Asch, telling him that he'll stop Van. Asch bluntly corrects him by saying: "Not 'stop'. Kill!"
  • In the video game series Tales of... when the party is killed by monsters, the usual death screen message is "they were never heard from again..." paired with depressing or unsettling music.
  • In Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online, you are asked to "defeat" a certain type of enemy, even if "defeating" means whacking them with a cutlass, shooting them, throwing grenades at them, or what have you.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Averted in most games. Death gets referenced nonchalantly and several games discuss the ARK massacre that also involved Maria (who couldn't be older than thirteen) being killed. Sonic Heroes, one of the most kid-friendly titles, has at least three references to death in its dialogue.
    • The Sonic Advance manual referred to lives as "tries" as well. For example: "Gain an extra try".
    • Sonic Colors manual refers to "losing a try." The earliest Sonic games referred to lives as chances, though, so this may be a case of returning to its roots.
    • In Sonic Forces characters go out of their way to cut off before saying the 'd' word and use various euphemisms. The exception is the villain Infinite. He says the word "die" at least once.
  • All references to House of the Dead in Sega Superstars Tennis and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing are labelled "Curien Mansion" or acronymed as "HOTD". This is for three reasons: A) Sumo Digital aimed for the games to be as family-friendly as possiblenote , B) the House of the Dead series is banned in Germany, the application of this trope here serving as a form of sneaking past German censors, and C) They do not want to mention the name of an M-rated series in an E10+ game (however, they seem perfectly fine with mentioning T-rated franchises).
  • The SNES port of Art of Fighting replaced the "Super Death Blow" (actually a literal translation of "Chou Hissatsu Waza", the Japanese term for Super Moves) with a "Super Fire Blow". The ending also awkwardly phrases the assassinations of Lonette Sakazaki and Jeff Bogard as "defeats".
  • The heavily bowdlerized SNES port of Mortal Kombat, aside for removing all the blood and gore from the arcade game, renamed the game's "Fatalities" into "Finishing Moves", with at least three of the characters' original Fatalities being replaced by so-called "new moves". However, variations of some of them did end up in newer games, like Sub-Zero's freeze-and-shatter.
  • Some of the early Romance of the Three Kingdoms games on SNES(/PSX?). Whenever you captured an opposing officer in battle, you were offered the chance to "Hire/Recruit" them, release them, or "Capture" them. Judging by the fact that, once you "capture" them, they never show up in that particular playthrough again, it's fairly easy to decipher what happened.
    • The later games (PS2-era on) definitely avert this trope, replacing the word "Capture" with "Execute" - complete with death quotes (usually pleas for mercy) and the telltale sound of a sword being unsheathed. Although it's usually a good idea to hire them first if they're skilled - then to check to see if they've got a large family. Executing someone with the family name Sun will make your life very difficult later.
  • Countless instruction cards for early video games referred to vanquished player characters as "becoming tired" or similar; a big offender when you actually saw Pac-Man dissolve to nothing and *pop* as the ghost ate him.
  • The manual for the Action Man game on Game Boy Color makes a big deal about the fact that all the enemies are robots and that your weapons are anti-robot only.
  • In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! in one level you have to kill a Yeti, and while the character talking clearly says "Even though I am a vegetarian, I think you should kill that Yeti," in the subtitles, the game replaces "kill" with "torch". This doesn't seem to have been for censorship purposes, though, considering Ripto often threatens to kill people who get in his way.
  • The 1992 Sega Genesis fighting game Deadly Moves (originally called Power Athlete in Japan), was retitled Power Moves when it was ported to the Super NES. It became Hilarious in Hindsight when Nintendo later published a certain game called Killer Instinct.
  • Oddly inverted in Snoopy Flying Ace. As it is a Peanuts game, pilots whose planes are destroyed, no matter how violently, make it out alive and can be seen parachuting down safely. However, the game itself still refers to bringing other planes down and getting shot down yourself/crashing as "Kills" and "Deaths".
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's GBA version, defeating an enemy results in the following quote: "(enemy) went away!", and the results screen says "The fleeing enemy dropped". Odd for a series that deals heavily with death.
    • The early PC games describe in-game dying as "fainting". So when Harry falls down a Bottomless Pit, that caused him to "faint". At the same time, it's no problem when the storyline is discussed in cutscenes. Well, it would be rather hard to pretend Moaning Myrtle became a ghost as a result of "fainting", wouldn't it? However, the second game did censor the word "Muggle" (apparently someone decided that racial slurs still count even if they're Fantastic), changing it to "non-magical" or "non-magical folk". When the characters have to refer to Muggle-borns, it becomes especially awkward: "Those who are not wizard born will be purged from Hogwarts."
  • Played straight in The World Ends with You, with the constant repetitions of "failure" in the Game leading to "erasure." Up until The Reveal, anyway. Erasure isn't a stand-in for death - you're already dead, and "erasure" refers to the destruction of one's soul.
  • In DC Universe Online, when you die you are "knocked out". The game also usually refers to killing mobs for quests as "destroying" or "knocking out".
  • The first Freddi Fish game very strangely averts this trope, though all of Humongous Entertainment's other games try to avoid using this trope. In the Junior Arcades, the manuals would never call it "death" if you lost a try.
  • Strangely played straight in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. The message that pops up after you successfully kill the world's host during an invasion is always "Target is Destroyed" instead of say, "Target Killed". Then again, all players are Undead in Dark Souls, with much of the lore revolving around how they are incapable of truly dying, so it does make sense in that regard.
  • R. Scott Campbell of Interplay tells this story of how a SNES game based on The Lord of the Rings was originally rejected. Nintendo would not let them include the line "Nine for mortal men doomed to die". They seriously considered changing it to "Nine mortal men doomed to cry".
  • Downplayed in the Monster Hunter games. Most of the missions involve "hunting" large monsters, which effectively means they at least have to be killed (the ideal option is to capture them alive). But the word "slay" does appear when the mission involves an ancient dragon, and it's also used to warn that a mission will fail if the objective is to capture the monster alive. So the specific terminology goes like this: "Capture" is trapping a monster alive, "Slay" means you're required to kill it,note  and "Hunt" leaves it to your discretion.
  • Fur Fighters: "You fluffed it."
  • While A Witch's Tale generally averts this, defeated monsters are crushed into bits rather than killed.
  • LEGO Adaptation Game:
    • Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham had to call the Suicide Squad something else since the word "suicide" was deemed inappropriate for a children's game. They're just called "The Squad" instead.
      • This is subverted in the main game, though, as they actually use the words "dead" and "killed" when questioning if Green Lantern is, well, dead.
    • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, you encounter M.O.D.O.K., but he says that he's designed only for conquest rather than for killing. He can't spell it, apparently.
    • Zig-Zagged in LEGO Dimensions. GLaDOS never says "kill" or "die"note , but her dialogue is peppered with enough threats and implications for her to remain in character. The Gamer Kid, on the other hand, blatantly mentions Perma Death if he respawns.
    • Also zigzagged in Lego DC Super-Villains. Characters like Deathstroke and Deathstorm get to keep their names, but nobody ever says die, death, or killed outside of that context.
  • Used and subverted in-universe in Luminous Arc. From the start, the Garden Children talk about thier duty to "condemn" Witches. Combined with the bright aesthetic of the game, this looks like a textbook case... right up until it's said to a Witch's face. When she directly asks if Alph intends to kill her, he hesitates. It's the first sign that the Garden Children's training might have been intentionally undermined. After this point, it's averted, with off- and on-screen deaths being called just that.
  • Averted in Story of Seasons, which has no issue with saying that your animals or even occasionally humans have died. In fact one of priest Carter's sermons in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town has a father trying to invoke this trope but failing. When his wife dies, a man tells his son that she is sleeping. This results in his son wishing to buy her an alarm clock. Carter questions if it was right for the father to lie about the topic of death.
  • in X-COM Enemy Unknown Doctor Vahlen mentions after your first alien interogation that the alien "disappeared", despite the fact that the interogation obviously involves torture and you get an alien corpse after an interogation. This is especially weird since XCom features multiple graphical deaths of both humen and aliens.
  • Averted in Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Despite using a very childish aesthetic reminiscent of Earthbound, there is frequent mention of death, alcohol, and drugs. Information Guy is even bloodily killed in the Wilted Lands!
  • NARC is a strange case. Throughout the famously violent game you bloodily massacre hundreds of people, either gunning them down or blowing them up into bloody body parts... but dogs don't die. Nope. If shot or blown up, they merely turn into puppies (?!) and run off the screen.
  • Master of the Monster Lair: Zig-Zagged.
    • Played Straight: Enemies and players defeated in battle are KO'd, words like "destroy" are thrown around, and even the Devil Prince's letter threatening the mayor, actually written by Owen, stops short of saying the word die, instead threatening to "take [him] to Hell."
    • Averted: There are times when the game does use unambiguous words like "kill" and "slay." Also, while it leaves the fate of some of the mooks ambiguous (on floor 2 you are told you're "capturing" hobgoblins, for example) it's abundantly clear that none of the boss enemies survive - some of them are even stuffed and put on display!
  • Splatoon 2 generally uses vague synonyms instead of referring to death or killing ("splatting" being the most common example.) The sole exception occurs in the postgame when Callie appears after beating the singleplayer campaign and introduces herself as the one who tried to kill you during the final boss fight.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate changed Richter Belmont's iconic line from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night from "Die, monster! You do not belong in this world!" to something that removes the references to death.
    Richter: Begone! You do not belong in this world, monster!
  • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Klubba says, "Try that again an' it's Davey Jones Locker f' ye! A-harrh!" if you choose to fight him at any Klubba's Kiosk.
  • Zigzagged in the Mega Man X and Zero series. Killing Reploids is referred to as "retirement", but the games aren't afraid of dropping the word "die" on occasion regardless. However, Mega Man X4, in which Double straight-up tells X to die in his pre-battle quote (and even has an uncensored FMV of Double bisecting reploids with visible blood,) also includes some more neutered lines from the same character like "Prepare to be recycled!" and "You're gonna get hurt, X!" The same game also has X telling Zero that if he ever goes Maverick, he wants Zero to "take care of him", which conjures up images of Zero literally taking care of a sick X more than the Mercy Kill it would actually be.
  • Transistor does this for more artistic reasons than censorship-related ones. Death is always referred to as either being processed (when a character is assimilated by the Process,) or "going to the Country," with the Country being heavily implied to be a euphemism for the afterlife.
  • Gran Turismo 4's remix of Papa Roach's "(Getting Away with) Murder" censored out the word "murder".
  • Played with a bit in Tomodachi Life. When playing Tomodachi Quest, if a Mii runs out of HP, it'll say that the Mii "pretended to die." When it's their turn, they're skipped over and it says that they're "pretending to be dead."
  • Secret of Mana is very aversive to references to death, with Randi saying after some time in the desert, "We're finished..." and comes into play when Popoi dies.
  • Salt and Sanctuary gives the message "Obliterated" whenever the player's character dies.
  • In SOS, the characters never use the word "die", they always use "perish" instead.
  • Double subverted in Baba Is You: In the original prototype for Nordic Game Jam 2017, there was a keyword, "Kill", that destroyed player-controlled objects. In the full game, it was instead Bowdlerized to "Defeat".
  • As of 2019, the word “kill” can't be used in video games released in China due to government regulations.
  • King's Quest V got hit with in its NES port (yes, there was a console port of a game sold based on its graphics and voice acting), thanks to Nintendo's policies of the time. Though the myriad ways for Graham to die are kept, Queen Icebella tries to have him and Cedric "locked in a cave" instead of executed, and a yeti that plummets off a cliff high in the mountains is simply "gone" instead of dead, though it's still treated as though it will never be seen again. Even temporary deaths are thrown out—Mordack's magic spell "turns Cedric to stone" instead of killing him.
  • Punky Skunk: When a brainwashed Nash fights Punky, Nash says he will "destroy" Punky. Averted toward the end when Badler tells Punky to prepare to die.


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