Some moves from Banjo-Kazooie became this in Banjo-Tooie. The Wading Boots are only used twice and there's not much purpose to the Beak Barge move when you get much better attacks in the sequel. Some moves are as useful for mundane tasks as they were in its predecessor like how Talon Trot makes you go faster on land rather than rely on slow-ass Banjo, while Beak Bomb can be used to make your flight trips faster rather than for attacking.
The Hidden Blade originally was the ultimate assassination tool, with the ability to one-hit counter kill even bosses. Its boss instakill abilities in combat were removed in the sequel, and from ACII onwards, it became just another weapon among others, being weak in combat and not mandatory in stealth any longer. From Unity onwards, it's become an assassination-only weapon, being unavailable for combat altogether. With the addition of more and more weapons to the games, its assassination abilities are often no match to anything that has any sort of range.
The conflict between the Assassins and the Templars has fallen into this a fair bit. It made perfect sense in the first game, which was set in the Crusades, and still flowed naturally in II's Renaissance-era subseries (considering the Pope was the Big Bad and all) - less so games taking place in Victorian England, the French and American Revolutions, or the Golden Age of Piracy, and even less so in ancient Egypt or Greece, a good thousand years before the actual historical organizations existed. Nonetheless, every game still attempts to hook its overall conflict into the Assassins and Templars, with varying degrees of sensibility or plot-relevance.
World of Warcraft's pre-expansion content had hints of this. Quest design was much more varied and interesting in Northrend, Outlands, or even the Bloodelf and Draenei starting areas. Blizzard attempted to fix this with the Cataclysm expansion pack, which changed the pre-expansion content (even for players who didn't purchase the expansion pack) to clear up any remaining artifacts and grant the older continents some of the smoother gameplay aspects developed in the expansion worlds.
Cataclysm's changes to Azeroth are a mixed bag between new content you'd see in the Cataclysm era and the Artifact content seen from original WoW, because of zones that barely had any changes or were just completely ignored. This is extremely apparent in areas such as Silithus and Arathi Highlands, which were left virtually untouched and left out of Cataclysm's current Azeroth timeframe, or taking part in the odd mix of Cataclysm and vanilla content seen in the Horde's Northern Barrens, where you start off in the Catalysm timeline to escort Kodo supply caravans to the Crossroads, but then get sent back to the vanilla quest-line to clear out the Kolkar centaurs and leaders amongst the three Barren oases. The fact that you're killing the same centaur leaders and ending with the same centaur Counterattack! on the bunkers west of the Crossroads makes the switch between the timelines even more confusing.
Azeroth's starting Draenei/Blood Elf zones added in The Burning Crusade also received no changes, because of Blizzard choosing to leave The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King content independent from Cataclysm. The outdated feeling when you're leveling in these starting areas compared to Cataclysm's updated Durotar and Elwynn Forest starter zones is painfully obvious.
Not surprisingly, The Burning Crusade races also suffered a fair bit of this from a narrative perspective after their introductory expansion. The draenei got the worst of it, what with their entire story arc being tied directly to their old homeland of Draenor and the Burning Legion and both of those plot threads falling Out of Focus for entire expansions. Until the reveal of Warlords of Draenor, it was clear the writers had no idea what to do with them in the interim. The Blood Elves didn't get it as bad and had a few factions and quest chains included for them, but a lot of debate centered around why they continued to ally with the Horde post-Outland. It took until Mists of Pandaria to give them a solid reason to continue working with the Horde.
Cataclysm itself has caused an entire expansion pack to practically define the term The Artifact. When originally released, Burning Crusade's content and mechanics were seen as an improvement upon Vanilla's. With Cataclysm modifying 'Old World' content to modern specificationsnote And Wrath of the Lich King's content being close to 'modern' for this discussion, Burning Crusade's content is now the chronologically oldest content in the game, and it shows - filled with Fetch Quests, group quests, and Plot Coupons that few players will bother using because there's better, easier-to-get stuff in later expansion content.
Even its art over the course of new expansion releases began to show Artifact material. By Wrath of the Lich King, the art had been improving to the point where you can actually see the improvement in the world environments. WoW's two jungle like environments, vanilla's Un'goro Crater and WOTLK's Sholozar Basin are a fine example of this. Today, Un'goro still, even after its make-shift Cataclysm makeover, looks like it was made from flat cardboard cutouts. Sholozar on the other hand, is seen to be more thickly detailed and natural looking. Un'goro ends up looking completely outdated in comparison. And it's not just the zones either. Cataclysm's Goblin/Worgen factions are, flatout, greatly more detailed than the playable vanilla/BC races. The older races, in return, are made into artifacts due to their plain, outdated look.
Pre-issue 6 content in City of Heroes is in many ways quite lacking in comparison to what came afterwards. While the newer content that has been added since (including all of City of Villains) shows many of the lessons that the development team learned, especially in terms of writing and avoidance of Fake Longevity, they have done little to go back and fix the old content. As of 2010 only one zone, Faultline, has been revamped and brought up to the post-issue 6 standard back in issue 9. The main issues that the old content has are:
Sloppy, contrived writing.
Old contacts that require you to run to a mission, often several zones away, and back to them to get the next mission as much as ten times before giving you their cell phone number. Contacts added since issue 6 give their cell number by the 2nd mission at the latest.
Old contacts sending the player all over the city while newer contacts focus their missions inside the zone that they operate from.
Old story arcs being much, much longer than they need to be with redundant missions and overkill objectives (you only need to question the gang leader but still are required to defeat every gangmember, even if you stealthed past them all).
Old contacts sharing identical missions and story arcs rather than having unique content. That guy in Independence Port is likely to give you the exact same missions as that girl over in Talos Island, and chances are many of the missions will end up being over in Talos Island anyway.
Legendary weapons and ancient dungeons. In 60-70 cap (seen in old DFO) they were more revelant than they are now as the questing/grinding needed for them outweighs the boost compared to the level you'd end up at when you're done. This is even after tweaking them to be beyond 70. Future content/current korean content promises a way to make them lv85
Various feat quests that give accessories (mainly requiring a large amount of a certain material from dailies) and one title have become this as the game content has exceeded the point where a player would have to stick around for those quests.
The skill trainers are still in the game but with the ability to adjust your skills at any time and the removal of some of the subplots of pre-metastatis Arad, they mainly hang around and occasionally give subquests and provide random chatter. GSD got hit pretty hard as he doesn't see any action anymore while Pungin the Fighter trainer has the practice room.
Chronicle gear subverts this as despite being lv60 to lv70 gear a bit better than Rare quality gear of the same level, their effects are THAT useful to make them still pretty revelant and to boot a future update promises a way to level them to lv85.
A notable subversion are the crew of the St. Horn, originally support characters in Female Slayer's subplot that was in S3 (never seen in the west), they've become Non Player Characters for Otherverse and Ancient dungeon related stuff.
This is very prominent in EverQuest. As the expansion packs mount up, old world content is increasingly useless - it's now possible to get armor dropped from random monsters better than the stuff you had to go through extensive questing to get back in the old days. Many zones, especially dungeons, lie abandoned for various reasons. Sometimes Sony reworks a dungeon to increase the level (this was notably done to Splitpaw and Cazic-Thule). However, since Everquest isn't designed well for solo play, people all hunt in the same few zones since all the other players are there, rendering most of the game an artifact.
EverQuest II doesn't have it quite as bad. For one thing, there are fewer outdoor zones, and thus nothing to be "reliced". Also, Sony frequently "de-heroics" zones - a "heroic" zone being geared for groups, while a non-heroic zone can be handled by a solo player. Still, some formerly high end dungeons like Solusek's Eye now have little point to them. Also, leveling is so easy now that the low end dungeons just aren't necessary anymore, as a player could gain five levels in less time than it would take him to find a group.
Runescape has been fixing this one: they eventually removed an ancient quest based on Romeo and Juliet and replaced it with a quest that, while not entirely original, at least is more than Romeo & Juliet via Fetch Quest.
Final Fantasy XI has managed to avert this for the most part. The original series of missions, despite technically being the easiest, is still the most important lore wise. Many of the missions intended to be difficult are level capped low enough that you cannot out level them. Some of them can be soloed by some classes, but it isn't substantially easier for a high level player to do so then a character actually at the level cap.
Final Fantasy XIV zig zags with keeping old content relevant. To entice players that are at the endgame, the daily roulette will reward players gil, EXP, and tomestones currency while doing a randomly selected duty. However, there are skip potions that can be bought with real money that can allow a player to reach the level cap from the previous expansion on any job (and obtain the appropriate gear for it) or skip huge chunks of the main story.
Fighting games do use this trope every now and then. The King of Fighters is one of the bigger offenders — any character from series such as Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting that weren't Demoted to Extra got this. Terry Bogard, despite his iconic reputation in SNK, has been accused of being "just there" lately over the years just to appease older fans (and some think that's the real reason why the Ship Tease with him and Blue Mary isn't done so much anymore). There is also Mai Shiranui, who remains one of the most popular characters of the series, but nowadays only even has an excuse to show up because of her eternally-unrequited love for Andy Bogard.
The inclusion of Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting characters was made as something extra for them, since they were still in their own respective series (as King of Fighters is an Alternate Continuity to those games). However, over the course of the 2000s, due to certain issues such as their financial status, SNK focused almost entirely on King of Fighters (with an occasional Samurai Shodown or crossover fighting game), which ended up being a reason why some of these characters were starting to feel like artifacts.
Characters whom originated in the series were not always excluded, though after the NESTs saga for a while Kyo and Iori were in danger of becoming this. Fortunately SNK averted it by giving them bigger roles again.
Speaking of fighting games, the ubiquitous 99-second timer is this for the genre as a whole, at least outside of the competitive scene. It was an arcade feature intended to keep the game moving along if players were taking too long or walked away. It serves no purpose in casual matches (especially if the game was never released in arcades in the first place), and most will have the option to turn it off. This is, however, averted in competitive matches, as the timer prevents characters with a strong camping game, such as Hakumen, from doing so and giving themselves a strong advantage. That said, there are some games where either matches are too fast for the timer to matter, or the timer is too long to realistically hit zero more than once a blue moon. It is telling that professional wrestling, boxing, and MMA games, despite falling under the fighting game umbrella (albeit more on the technical side), aren't timed; they originated on the home systems.
Of the cast of Street Fighter II, the one character who's never really broken out is E. Honda, the sumo wrestler. While he's by no means unpopular, he has essentially nothing to do with the series's overall metaplot, and his overall character and concept has fallen far into the background. But he can't really be dropped from the series, strictly because he's one of the eight World Warriors and fans don't find the roster complete without him.
In the first Elder Scrolls game, Arena remains in the title due to the initial design of the game focusing on a gladiatorial arena, though the final game does not include such an arena. When the game became a wide-open fantasy world instead, the Arena was said to be a nickname for Tamriel's violent atmosphere, and remained in the title. Later games do not even refer to Tamriel as the Arena.
Amy's name stands out amongst a cast of characters like "Sonic", "Knuckles", "Shadow", "Cream", and "Blaze". The only major Funny Animal character with a similar name is Miles Prower, who goes by the name Tails. Amy's oddball name is because she originates from an early manga where most of the cast had regular names like "Nicky" and "Polly". Amy was transferred over without much of a name change. She was briefly called "Rosy the Rascal" during the 1990s but this was discarded with Sonic Adventure.
The Master Emerald has also been less and less utilized, often merely as an excuse to include Knuckles, even though by rights it should be one of the most important artifacts in the franchise, since it can both enhance and suppress the powers of the Chaos Emeralds.
The Babylon Rogues from the Sonic Riders series have also become this, even within their own spinoff. Part of their story involves their connection with the Floating Continent called Babylon Garden, but since Babylon Garden's story appears to have been concluded, they've been reduced to token opposition in Extreme Gear competitions.
Flying medusa heads in the Castlevania series are somewhat an example. In the first game, Medusa herself was a giant severed head, and was fought in the stage that introduced the heads. Since then, Medusa has almost always appeared with a body, and is even absent in most games - but the flying heads remain.
The subweapon-heart system in the early NES games was meaningful because the whip was an incredibly crappy weapon in combat. The Axe could hit enemies diagonally up, the Holy Water could hit enemies too low to attack, and the Boomerang killed everything. Even the infamous Dagger was a cut above the whip, with its better range and less delay. In Super Castlevania IV, the whip was massively upgraded in range, power, speed, and versatility, becoming easily the best weapon in the game. However, the subweapons and heart drops remained, leaving many a player with a massive pile of unused hearts. This is one of the reasons that the later games nerfed the whip, as well as introducing Item Crashes to make the subweapons more useful.
The eponymous Metal Gear tanks were somewhat unimportant to the plot of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, aside from one boss battle where the player controls Metal Gear REX in order to destroy Metal Gear RAY, and even then the railgun that was attached to Metal Gear REX is more important to the plot than the Metal Gear itself. The closest thing to a new Metal Gear model in MGS4 were the AI-controlled Gekko mechs, which are not officially considered to be Metal Gear tanks as they do not use nuclear weaponsnote although being effectively walking tanks, they are pretty close to the original idea for what a Metal Gear would be as Granin outlined in the prequel Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater; in Revengeance, the in-universe term for AI-controlled weapons like the Gekko is "Unmanned (Metal) Gear". While the final act does revolve around an Arsenal Gear, those are also not at all similar to earlier Metal Gear models.
The Nintendo GameCube remake of Metal Gear Solid carries over many of the features from its sequel. This includes the ability to hold guards up and steal dogtags from them - minus any non-bragging rights- or cruelty-related incentive to actually do so, since the unlockable pieces of equipment (stealth camo, infinite-ammo bandanna and alternate costumes) are still unlocked simply by beating the game with a specific ending regardless of how many tags you grab.
Most of the well-known elements of the Metal Gear saga become this in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The game retains the manual save system of its predecessors along with introducing an auto-save system. However, loading a manually-saved game will still put you at your latest checkpoint, making manual saving redundant. It also gives you the possibility of using long-ranged guns and grenades like in every game, but since the game is so focused on close combat with a sword, the use of these weapons would more times than not feel redundant and even useless, as the game itself seems to note by limiting your options to grenades and rocket launchers, without a hint of the regular guns Raiden swore by for 95% of his first outing. The game also gives you many of the classic elements for stealth play, like the cardboard box, and even variations of the magazines for dealing with cyborgs. But since this game is way more focused on hack-n-slash gameplay, stealth becomes unnecessary and even a burden at some points (if you manage to go through an area without activating an alarm, the game will never initiate the fighting scenario, therefore you won't be awarded any rank for the battle, which is necessary to gain some bonuses and achievements).
Solid Snake himself hasn't canonically appeared in a game since Metal Gear Solid 4, stated by Word of God to "absolutely end the Solid saga" and all but confirmed to have died of old age shortly afterwards. New entries to the franchise have all focused on either Big Boss (in prequels) or Raiden (in sequels). Big Boss (Naked Snake) is even starting to eclipse Solid as the series' main protagonist.
The infamous cardboard box becomes one in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It's there, and even has new features, but it doesn't really mesh well at all with the game's Darker and Edgier tone. The fact that you can complete the whole game without ever using it - and the fact that it was even cut from Ground Zeroes and only returned because of fan outcry - further cements its status as this. Ocelot even lampshades this.
Most of Snake's appearances, especially in spinoffs, feature him wearing his Sneaking Suit from the first Metal Gear Solid, a skintight but padded outfit which is designed to look like a mixture of military gear, cold weather gear and a wetsuit, and is light blue and grey in colour. This is perfectly suitable for a game which requires Snake to swim in the seas of Alaska, and even makes plenty of sense when he wears it without the thick thermal vest for infiltrating a tanker in the opening of Metal Gear Solid 2, but begins to look a bit strange when he's running around in a Central African jungle in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel or a southern African island in Metal Gear Ac!d.
The camo index, and wearing the right outfit to blend in with your surroundings to keep it as close to 100% as possible, was an integral part of the stealth for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, since the vast majority of the gameplay involved sneaking through jungles, mountaintops, and other wide-open outdoor areas where using camouflage to hide in plain sight was often the only option (or at least the only one that wouldn't be more conspicious; see the aformentioned cardboard box, which is only good for a very small handful of areas in the entire game). It remained useful for Metal Gear Solid 4, and was in fact significantly streamlined with the OctoCamo suit that let you automatically blend in to whatever you're pressed up against rather than having to manually set a matching camo as in 3. The system also returned for Peace Walker, but by then there's really no point - you can't change outfits mid-mission if you picked the wrong outfit for the area your mission actually takes place in (so it's generally better to choose your outfit based on the number of primary or secondary weapon slots it gets rather than how well it blends in), and perhaps more importantly, simply hiding around corners or in boxes and the like as in the earlier games is your main means of avoiding detection again. The uselessness of proper camouflage is probably best exemplified by the fact that it is almost impossible to get your camo index to go above -30% in regular gameplay conditions, short of utilizing a special co-op laser system that turns whoever you paint with the laser invisible outright.
Snake Eater itself suffered from another artifact. The game featured wide-open jungles, mountains and swamps as its playable areas, with long sightlines requiring the use of proper camouflage to hide yourself - and you still had a top-down view over everything which artificially restricted your ability to look over these wide-open areas and plan your movements, made worse by the fact that the game's 1964 setting meant the Soliton radar wasn't available. The game tried to alleviate this by making the camera more dynamic, allowing you to move the camera around slightly to look further in another direction and viewing some areas from a different angle than the traditional slightly-tilted top-down, but it was still clear that any sort of fixed view over the action this time, barring a very small handful of areas, was nothing but a hindrance, and the Substance rerelease would add the option of a proper third-person camera that would go on to be the main manner of viewing the action for the rest of the series.
The doors get varying forms of hand-waves in some games, particularly the Prime series. In some cases, they're not designed to be shot; rather, by shooting them, you're overloading their defenses, and different doors have different strengths and properties that make their defensive fields vulnerable to different exploits. In other cases, they were only meant to keep out the local wildlife.
Of course, the real reason the doors open through weapon fire is to encourage the player to hunt down weapon and missile upgrades to open them, in keeping with the series's theme of exploring your environment organically and using the items to open up new areas instead of just hunting for keys.
The Metroids themselves have fallen by the wayside, thanks to the second game being all about the player hunting them to near-extinction. It got to the point where the Metroid Prime Trilogy games feature severely weakened Metroids in the Pirate bases even though it might have made more sense in terms of plot if they had been absent. Metroid: Other M reverses this trend. Metroid Prime: Hunters plays the trope straight by having no Metroids at all in the full game (they were in the First Hunt demo, however), despite having their name in the title.
The Varia Suit for the Metroid Prime Trilogy. In the first game, it was a standard upgrade that boosted Samus's defense and allowed her to travel through superheated rooms without being roasted. In the next two games, she has the Varia Suit from the start, but it's her basic suit and doesn't offer anything compared to the suit upgrades she obtains later on. It's likely that she starts with the Varia Suit since it's her iconic design.
The three day trial system initially served as a time limit of sorts to the plot at the beginning of the series. However, when it became clear that a two-day trial was more than enough to keep the plot moving without the case dragging on for too long, subsequent games have never attempted another three day trial anymore. Strangely, Rise From the Ashes lasts three days despite having been released after the original trilogy, presumably because it's a bonus for a rerelease of the original game, and moving from a game full of three-day trials to one that was only two would have made things even more jarring.
The main character facing a lousy prosecutor who can only win against rookies whose last name is Payne has become a staple for the series, despite the main attorneys being anything but rookies in later entries. Sometimes the games have an actual reason for this (such as having the first case being taken by the new character of the game) but in other cases, the trial just ends up becoming a battle between the main attorney and the actual culprit, leaving the Payne prosecutor as a side note comedic relief.
Phoenix's rival and one of the most popular characters of the series, Miles Edgeworth, became Chief Prosecutor during the Apollo Justice era, thus he no longer had any reason to involve himself in regular trials with the main cast. This was true for the fourth game, but for the next two, he reappeared and got heavily involved in at least one case per game.
After Trucy Wright's story was resolved in the fourth game, she no longer had any reason to stay in the game aside from being Phoenix's daughter (Athena replacing her as the assistant from the fifth game onwards was the final nail in the coffin). Thus she almost disappeared completely in the fifth game. For the sixth she had some sort of a come back by having a case dedicated to her, but after it finished, she disappeared once more, only occasionally appearing for comedy relief.
The localization shifting the setting to California rather than Japan was pretty reasonable in the first game, which was vague enough to fit in either country. As the series has progressed and more obviously-Japanese elements have been introduced, the series's setting has officially moved from "California" to "Alternate History version of California that has heavy Japanese culture influence and a completely different law system."
Valve's Source Engine is a heavy/complete modification of the licensed Quake engine, to the point of having none of the original's code. Most of the console commands, however, remain the same as the various id Tech engines. Same for Call of Duty's IW Engine, built from the Quake III: Arena engine used in the first game and used in essentially the same form for every game afterwards.
This may or may not have been why Call of Duty: Black Ops runs on a modified version of Call of Duty 4's engine, which was three years old at Black Ops' release, rather than the much younger version of the engine from Modern Warfare 2 (on top of the overlapping development meaning that a completed version of that engine iteration simply wasn't available until they were already a third of the way through development) - MW2 took out leaning and dedicated servers from the PC version, Treyarch wanted those in their game, and they probably figured it would be easier to make the engine they already had on hand and which already had those features look better than it would be to add those features back to a newer engine that they would only get full access to partway through development.
Similarly, the Dunia Engine that runs Far Cry 2 contains something like 1%-5% of the original source code from the CryEngine that powered the first game.
Duke Nukem Forever is an interesting case. Rather than scrap the project or update it for modern engines, as had already been done multiple times when 3D Realms was still working on it (and was responsible in part for its infamously-protracted development time of 15 years), the entire game runs on the relatively ancient Unreal Engine 1. They just added enough graphics modifications to make it look pretty on-par with contemporary releases on Unreal Engine 3. This also has the side-effect of its recommended system requirements being much lower than contemporary games - about on par with the recommended requirements for Crysis, infamous four years prior in 2007 for being essentially a supercomputer, but having quickly become old-hat by 2011.
The Turok games take their name, and a few other aspects, from a series of comic books about a Native American who finds a Lost World valley of dinosaurs. In the games, the main storyline has to do with the job of an ancient warrior trying to keep The Omniverse from collapsing and using his ancient wisdom to survive in a dark, alien land. They could just have easily have come up with some pretty strange creatures for the Lost Lands, and they did in later games, but solely because the Turok name is associated with dinosaurs, there are bio-mechanical dinosaurs for no reason. Then again, maybe dinosaurs don't need a reason.
Tag! is one of the more obvious examples. A tagged skill in Fallout and Fallout 2 leveled up twice as fast as a normal skill. This skill also became available around the same point in the game where Energy Weapons and Big Guns started to legitimately be useful weapons. Instead of the ignorable +15 skill points, the old version was +20 skill points and it now progressed twice as fast as normal like the other tagged skills. On top of that, it worked retroactively with skill points already spent in the skill. Taking this skill could almost instantly turn a skill too low to be useful to being essentially mastered.
Swift Learner used to make at least some sense to take. You didn't normally hit the level cap in the old games unless you intentionally farmed random encounters for experience for a long time. In the newer games, hitting the level cap is easy even with all of the DLC's increasing it, which makes taking this perk completely useless.
Life Giver was a much better perk in the older games. Even enemy mooks could potentially one hit kill you, so extra health by any means possible was a legitimately useful thing to have. The problem with it now is that the true source of its usefulness has been negated by the new gameplay mechanics - in the old games, gaining extra health on a level-up wasn't guaranteed without Life Giver. Now, you always gain a little extra health when you level up, so Life Giver has been changed into a one-time boost of 30 HP - a noticeable boost, to be sure (about equivalent to how much you'd get from six levels), but still small enough that any enemy capable of killing you will usually have no trouble going through the perk's extra health.
Pyromaniac is an interesting example. The Perk itself has remained useful, to the point of being a key component of the highest melee-DPS build in Fallout 3, but the requirements to take it have reached this status. Originally, it required a certain number of ranks in Big Guns to take — this made sense, as the primary source of fire damage in the original games were Flamers, which were classed as Big Guns. For Fallout 3, it was moved to Explosives, despite flame damage being found in Big Guns and Melee Weapons. By Fallout: New Vegas, Pyromaniac's requirement remained in Explosives. However, Big Guns had been removed as skill, putting flamethrowing weapons in Energy Weapons (the perk was actually meant to be attainable with either Explosives or Energy Weapons, but because of a glitch this didn't work). Later DLC added the mighty Flare Gun (Guns), Dragon's Breath ammo (Guns), Shishkebab (Melee Weapons), Superheated Saturnite Fist (Unarmed), and the weak Molotov Cocktail (Explosives), meaning that Pyromaniac requires the character to have ranks in the least relevant combat skill.
Fast Shot used to be an amazing trait. You gave up the Aimed Shot skill, which is mostly useless anyway (by the time you can reliably hit specific body parts, you should have little trouble just killing enemies), to reduce the AP needed per shot by 1. Depending on your weapon and Agility, this could very well mean you were shooting twice per round rather than once, meaning it doubled your damage output from the get-go, making it the trait to have (alongside Gifted) - and that's not getting into some of the more amazing things you could do with it later on, such as having 10AP per round and getting the .223 Pistol (the most powerful Small Gun in the game) to 2AP per shot (five shots per round), or the Super Sledge (the most powerful Melee weapon) to 1AP per hit (ten swings per round). Due to the 3D, first-person games not needing the Aimed Shot skill, the new version simply reduces accuracy (which VATS already suffers at in engagements further than melee distance) for a minor AP reduction.
Skilled, meanwhile, is something of an inversion. In the first two games, it gave you a rather negligible boost to your skills in exchange for only getting perks every four levels instead of three like normal. Come New Vegas (or rather, the Old World Blues DLC), you get a +5 boost to all skills for a small reduction in exp gain (which can easily be negated by taking the aforementioned Swift Learner, if you feel so inclined), with skill points being harder to come by in this game than the first two. For added fun, you can abuse some Good Bad Bugs in character creation or with the Auto-Doc in Old World Blues to get the bonus multiple times and then "lose" the penalty from it for good measure.
On a non-perk front, it's clear that the NV designers didn't really have any use for the Karma Meter, focusing much more heavily on Alliance Meters (where, for instance, openly evil factions won't like you just for having bad Karma yourself if your every interaction with them has involved murdering them), and keeping it solely because the Fallout series was the Trope Codifier. It affects whether one companion will stay with you (everybody else that can turn down your offer will do so based on your reputation with a specific faction, even if it's similar to a second karma meter by making most everybody only care whether you're friendly with Caesar's Legion, the closest faction to being clear-cut evil), and determined which of three Level 50 perks you could get (if you had all the DLC to raise the level cap that high, that is)... and that's pretty much it. For added uselessness, all three of those Level 50 perks gave essentially the same set of bonuses, and all either require neutral Karma or reset it to neutral anyway. Fallout 4 noted this and responded, as part of a general overhaul of the series' gameplay, by ditching the mechanic entirely.
Temporary hospital visits and times busted are this to a lesser extent, as in the first two games, getting wasted would reduce one of your limited lives before you got a game-over status while getting busted would halve your score multiplier if you didn't have a get-out-of-jail-free card, hindering your ability to reach the target score.
Grand Theft Auto III codified how the series would play post-3D leap, but still had a few holdovers from its top-down predecessors that made no sense, such as a camera option for a top-down view (which was less useful when you had enemies that could shoot you or speed up to run you over from beyond the edge of the screen - the only 3D game in the series since to have a top-down view, Chinatown Wars, is explicitly designed with it in mind rather than a nostalgic afterthought) and the fact that you will gain money from nowhere for any sort of carnage wrought nearby, including unrelated vehicles exploding, echoing the gameplay of the original game more than the rest of this one.
Persona 4 has a couple of minor details carried over from its predecessor that didn't make a lot of sense. First, some enemies on the map look like the "Maya" enemies from 3, which aren't actually present and fightable here (the game makes it clear that shadows transform when you get into a fight with them). Second, maxing out a social link triggers a note that you have forged an unbreakable bond. This was an important point in 3, where social links that weren't maxed would break after a certain amount of time. They don't do that anymore in 4, so now it's just congratulatory.note Looking at the source code, it seems that 4 was made on No Budget, thus Atlus built it from an early copy of 3, which would explain why 4 contains elements from its predecessor that seem contradictory to the updated style.
Extra lives became completely pointless since Super Mario 64, where you have the option to save your progress after collecting every new Star and key; reaching Game Over has no negative effect besides placing you outside the castle. Lives were finally abolished in Super Mario Odyssey so the only penalty for dying is the loss of 10 coins and restarting a boss fight from the beginning if you were fighting a boss.
You get points for doing things in the original Super Mario Bros. These have absolutely no impact on gameplay (even the players in the 1980s noticed this), but it was a Video Game, and video games have points!
Coins, at least, are often re-purposed as restoring Mario's Hit Points. Of course, he probably only has about 3-6 of those, so littering the levels with hundreds of coins is rather pointless, unless the player is just not any good at the game or deliberately injuring Mario.
The first Super Mario Advance game included remakes of both Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros.. To tie the games together, a few of Mario's abilities from SMB2 were included in the Mario Bros. game, such as the charged crouch jump and the ability to pick up and throw POW blocks. Later Super Mario Advance games plus Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga also include the same Mario Bros. game, including the SMB2 abilities, even though Mario plays differently in the other games or is not the player character at all.
Mario's status as a plumber has become this. His first games took place in semi-realistic industrial environments, casting him as a blue-collar worker, and the first game to treat him as a plumber (Mario Bros.) took place in what appeared to be a sewer, which would make perfect sense for a plumber. Super Mario Bros. was therefore something of a Genre Shift focusing on that same plumber adventuring through an Alice in Wonderland-esque fantasy world. But due to Sequel Displacement, pretty much every game since then has taken place in the Mushroom Kingdom, making Mario seem a little out of place, with the only hint of his plumbing past being the large, bright green pipes that show up occasionally - to the point that Super Mario Odyssey bringing back a semi-realistic modern city setting (implied to be the same one as in those early games, even) was seen as very unusual.
Half of the original concept of the "world" as a collection of stages is beginning to become an artifact with more recent games in the series. A world is still a grouping of levels that end with a major boss fight, but unlike in older Mario games, the levels in a world are mostly no longer thematically related to the world map itself — you can be in the desert world and still end up playing grassland stages.
Princess Daisy was hit with this the moment she came back in Mario Tennis. While she was a princess in Super Mario Land, all of her later appearances regulated her to just being a selectable character in spin off games. Her background as a princess has been completely ignored, even though she's still called a princess officially.
Daisy is hardly alone in this category; plenty of characters nowadays exist only to pad the roster in spinoff games. Waluigi is probably the most famous of this crew; he was created basically solely so Wario could have a doubles partner in Mario Tennis, and sticks around in spinoffs largely due to popularity despite having essentially no presence in the series proper.
Starting with Super Mario 64 Piranha Plants started being depicted with green lips rather than the more familiar white lips. One of the last games to do this was Super Mario Sunshine, which introduced Petey Piranha. The Piranha Plants have since reverted to white lips, but Petey's lips are still green to this day. Even the Petey expies in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 have green lips rather than white.
Bean collecting. Every game has the player dig up beans from specially marked spots in the ground, either to consume directly or use as currency for a special sub-quest shop. This made perfect sense in the first game, since it was in a kingdom that was bean-themed to the same extreme as the Mushroom Kingdom's mushroom theme, and it worked well in the second as an excuse for a cameo from the first, but as the series has gone on the beans have been further and further removed from the overall theme of things.
The first three games featured Save Blocks which were the only points at which the game could be saved. Dream Team added in the ability to save anywhere, at any time... but keeps Save Blocks around for some reason. Apparently the developers wanted to clearly demark where you should be saving, like right before a major boss fight.
In Partners in Time, instead of using BP to perform powerful Bros. Attacks, the party collected single-use Bros. Items that served as special attacks. After Partners in Time, the series switched to special attacks that cost SP/BP like in the first game; each one features a brother pulling out an item to perform the attack, even though Bros. Items no longer exist (a few of the Bros. Items were even converted into regular attacks).
When Starlow first appeared in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, she was as much an Exposition Fairy as she was in later games, but had some mild plot relevance, showing up at Peach's castle as a representative of the Star Sprites and ultimately getting dragged into the main adventure. She has less of a reason to be around in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, especially given the presence of Prince Dreambert, but she at least gets some character development. By the time of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Starlow is seemingly only around because it would be weird to get rid of her at this point (a fact which she lampshades when she calls herself the "de facto leader" of the group). Notably, she's the only character to appear in said game who doesn't also appear in a main-line Mario platformer.
The presence of the Final Fantasy characters. Initially, Kingdom Hearts was marketed on the basis of being a crossover between Disney and Final Fantasy, but with each new game, the latter's role gets smaller and smaller. In fact, in Birth by Sleep, Zack was the only character featured from a Final Fantasy game (Laguna was intended to have a role at the Mirage Arena, only for that to be axed when he was inserted into the Dissidia 012 roster)... and in Dream Drop Distance, there were noFinal Fantasy characters at all, replaced by the cast of The World Ends with You! Kingdom Hearts III only has Moogles and a few cameos like a giant Cactuar toy and it's not until Re:Mind DLC that they even make an appearance but even then it's only the four main crew and in very brief scenes.
The Disney elements have also taken ever more of a backseat to the series' own original mythology and plotlines. By this point, the worlds' plots and characterizations are lifted directly from the movies, and the Disney villains are almost never more than Minibosses, who understand the metaplot even less than the heroes, and exist only to be manipulated by the real bad guys (who are all the same person). The only Disney character to maintain a consistently major role is Mickey Mouse. With Donald and Goofy back to being party members and actual reasons getting given for going to the Disney worlds, the Disney elements returned to a level of prominence in Kingdom Hearts III, though to a somewhat lesser degree when compared to the first game.
As a side-effect of this, Kairi, the supposed female lead of the series, also became an artifact from Kingdom Hearts II and onward, since her main role as a Princess of Heart meant squat since the other Princesses of Heart were all Disney characters and thus the whole lot of them fell Out of Focus. However, the end of Dream Drop Distance doubly reverses this by bringing the Princesses back into play in the metaplot AND finally paying off on the Foreshadowing of Kairi as a Keyblade wielder from KHII.
Terra's armor bounces back and forth on if it's this trope or not. While his cape didn't appear in BBS due to the aforementioned issues, it did appear in the HD II.5 Remix port of the Final Mix version as at the very end of the game, where the cape suddenly sprouts from the armor—thus explaining why the Lingering Will in KHII Final Mix has one and maintaining internal consistency between games.
In Kingdom Hearts χ, certain avatar parts carry benefits known as "raid boss perk" or "raid boss omega perk." These are supposed to increase the chance that a raid boss or a more powerful raid boss omega will appear after completing a quest. However, in 2019, at least for the Global version, the game was altered so that raid bosses no longer appear outside of raid boss events, which were made to always be available. As such, these particular perks no longer have any effect whatsoever. If Square Enix wanted, they could just change them to do something else, but apparently it isn't a priority.
Cursed equipment in the Dragon Quest series. In the early games, you had to be careful what equipment you put on. If you equipped something cursed, you'd suffer from ill effects and had to go to a church to remove it. However, later games have descriptions of items available in the menu, and all cursed equipment include not very subtle warnings that they're evil. No player will ever accidentally equip something cursed anymore, making their inclusion as traps pointless. Also related is the ability to examine items in the menu. It no longer appears in newer games, but remakes of older games will still include it even though it won't give you any information that isn't already in the item's description.
Score-keeping and lives (in a game with a drop-in save feature) in Wolfenstein 3D engine titles is an artifact. According to id, they kept the arcade feel because early '90s gamers wanted an arcade feel. Unfortunately, the later titles using the engine had to keep the score and lives intact, leaving the game with a dated element when Doom came out just a year later and removed lives and scores entirely.
Link is a Heroic Mime because... well, he's always been a heroic mime. This was justifiable with the earlier games which had excuse plots, and the developers have defended keeping him that way because he's an Escapist Character. However, over time the series has grown more story-driven, and Link's role in the plots have become more defined and personal than Save the PrincessBecause Destiny Says So. He's given closer relationships to other characters, shows more emotion and occasionally reacts in ways the player may not agree with. Despite this, he's been a silent protagonist in every game so far and there's no indication that's ever going to change, because most fans just can't imagine him with a voice (or are afraid to imagine such, between the CD-i games and the cartoon). The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild introduced voice acting again and it's miles better than the infamous CD-i games, but Link is still silent and the game does provide an explanation for it. With Link being Zelda's appointed knight, he chose to stay quiet in order to maintain his image as a professional and also avoiding saying anything that could tarnish his image. Because Link slowly became his own character over the course of the series, Breath of the Wild did away with the renaming feature so that the voice acting could refer to Link by name.
Hyrule Warriors: The Song Stones found on the Grand Travels map become redundant in the Definitive Edition. In Legends, they were a helpful way of earning more Item Cards without having to grind on previous missions for them, but the advent of the Item Card Shop in the Definitive Edition means there's no real reason to use them.
The Nintendo Switch remake of Link's Awakening has a few of these. Most notably is the Color Dungeon brought over from the Deluxe version, whose entire purpose of being a tech demo for the ability to display the game in color was much more impressive twenty years prior, when handheld design before that point had to choose between either displaying in color (the Game Gear) or having a minimum battery life of more than two hours (the earlier Game Boy models). The guardians of the dungeon don't even bother with the Excuse Question of asking you which color robes they're wearing (an apparent security measure to make absolutely sure you weren't somehow running on an original Game Boy), and are instead repurposed to sell you Magic Powder, which is required to actually beat the dungeon. Also, during the portion where you lead Marin around the island, if you take her to the Trendy Game store, she will still accidentally pick up the owner with the game's crane, even though the revamped controls should make it impossible to move the crane down to him.
The vending machines themselves in BioShock Infinite are a relic of Rapture's obsessively open market. Columbia's overly-controlling government would want to put a check on weapons being sold, given the looming threat of the Vox Populi. Amusingly, despite the presence of these vending machines around every corner, a major plot point about halfway through the game revolves around the Vox Populi's apparent inability to get their hands on enough weapons without the player's help.
Taking things a step further, the ability to hack BioShock's vending machines in order to make other items available is carried over from System Shock 2, in which the vending machines assemble items on a nano-scale using nanites, the game's currency. Hacking thus allowed items such as guns and ammo to be replicated when the machine was originally only designed for basic vending machine fare. While this is somewhat justified in BioShock with the idea that Frank Fontaine keeps some products away from the general public, it does not mesh quite as well with the setting. Infinite took steps to lessen this, by changing the mechanic into simply messing with the vending machines with the "Possession" vigor, which does nothing more than making them drop some cash.
The cameras are another example of this; hacking them to change their targeting parameters makes much more sense in a cyberpunk setting than a 1960s dieselpunk world, but their presence was a major enough part of the feel of System Shock 2's gameplay to keep it as a part of its Spiritual Successor.
Zero Punctuation argued that the "vigors" in Infinite are effectively this, as they serve the same function as the plasmids in the previous BioShock games, but little in-universe justification is given for their presence aside from a Hand Wave until Burial at Sea reveals the technology actually was taken straight from Rapture.
Of course, in the same manner as the cameras, plasmids themselves were this. Why do stem cells from sea slugs let you see ghosts and shoot ice, fire and lightning from your hands? Because System Shock 2 had psi powers that let you do the same things.
In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a collectible was added in the form of intelligence laptops, which unlocked cheats for you to use when replaying the game. The various other games since then have kept them or equivalent collectibles relevant in various ways - World at War replaced them with "Death Cards", which unlock bonus options for co-op modes. Black Ops lets you actually read the intelligence after you've collected it. Ghosts and Advanced Warfare followed suit, the former replacing intel with "Rorke Files" that you can listen to once found which give some background on the antagonist in question, and the latter bringing back intel pickups which give a recorded message from Jonathan Irons when you collect all the pickups in a level. Black Ops II added a set of ten challenges to every level that allow you to unlock extra weapons and items for the campaign, with one of the universal challenges for each level being picking up all the intel; Black Ops III similarly replaced them with new collectibles that are unique to the level (e.g. a bottle of wine from the bar of a hover-train) and go towards the player's singleplayer experience, thus giving more sense for why they're there and a real incentive to pick them up again. In Modern Warfare 2 and 3, however, the same intel as in CoD4 is there just to have something to collect, and confers no sort of bonus or unlock for doing so other than achievements for picking up half and then all of them.
Modern Warfare 3 added the "Hybrid Sight" and "HAMR Scope" attachments, both of which are essentially dual-purpose scopes for respectively assault rifles and submachine guns. The version for assault rifles cannot be attached to a weapon which also has a Grenade Launcher, because the key to switch zoom modes is the same for switching between the rifle and its launcher. Black Ops II switched to a combined "Hybrid Optic" for assault rifles and light machine guns, which switches modes by pressing the sprint key while aiming instead, but nevertheless cannot be combined with either a grenade launcher or the new Select Fire attachment (which shares its control with the launcher), simply because the original version couldn't. This in spite of Strike Force missions still allowing the use of grenade launchers and select-fire, despite the fact that the control for using them is used as part of the squad controls. The control for switching optics also makes no distinction between the console versions, where left trigger or L1 is invariably held to aim down the sights, and the PC version, where the right mouse button is set by default to toggle aiming, so unless you set the game to hold the right mouse button to aim, switching modes on the hybrid optic on PC requires pulling out of aiming just to go back in and hold the button for a second to switch before letting go.
Similarly, the M14 in Zombies mode consistently gets only 8 shots per magazine, rather than the 20 it holds in the other modes of Treyarch's games, because it's using code recycled from its predecessor, World at War's similar M1 Garand.
The input for Jump Kicks in the original arcade Double Dragon is different depending on the direction the player is facing. Pressing the kick button while jumping only does jump kicks to the left and in order to do a jump kick to the right, the player must use the punch button instead. This is actually a leftover mechanic from when the game was conceived as a sequel to Renegade, which used direction-based attack buttons.
Tekken has Paul Phoenix, who was once The Rival to icon Kazuya but has now been Demoted to Extra and is little more than a running gag in the story. Still, he appears in every game because he's a popular fighter and people expect him to be there.
The illustrations on the side of the original Tempest cabinet show actual monsters rather than the abstract squiggles that serve as the enemies/targets in the actual game. This was because they were designed and printed at a time when the plan was for them to look like that. By the time the developers threw in the towel on making credible-looking monsters with the game's vector graphics, it was too late to change the art.
Power in Touhou. In Story of Eastern Wonderland getting to and maintaining max power was both reasonably difficult and fairly important. Immediately after that regaining lost power from dying became easy and the drop in damage fairly small besides. Since then Mountain of Faith and Subterranean Animism brought it back to relevance by tying it to bombs, but then that went away and now collecting power is back to just being something to do during the first stage.
In Killing Floor, one of the bonuses the Field Medic perk gets as it levels up is increased capacity for its submachine guns. Initially, the only Medic-specific weapon was the H&K MP7, which in reality can use both 20- and 40-round magazines - hence, the in-game weapon uses 20-round mags, and the Field Medic's capacity bonus allows for up to double their weapon's mag capacity. This ends up working in the player's favor for later Medic weapons added through patches, all of which start with close to their highest real-world capacities and then can double that to absurd levels - players that had fully-leveled the perk by the time the first alternate weapon for it was added were greeted with the ability to somehow stuff 64 bullets into the magazines of their new MP5s.
Some weapons have mounted flashlights to allow you to light the way through the game's selection of dark and cramped maps. For the purpose of adding a challenge and some horror, however, not every weapon has a light attached; players are often forced to choose between using a weaker weapon not suited to taking out the approaching enemies, but which has a light to let you actually aim at them, or using a stronger weapon that will do a better job but forgoing a light and having to let the enemy get closer to ensure a hit. In the initial release of Killing Floor 2 it worked the same way, with only a couple weapons having mounted lights. Eventually, however, the game was modified to mount flashlights on the chests of the various player characters like in Silent Hill, letting you keep a light active regardless of equipped weapon. Nevertheless, the weapons that already had lights mounted to them never had their models changed to remove the lights, even as players lost the ability or need to use them, or as more and more weapons without attached lights are added to the game.
Many video games impose a limit on how many save files a single user can have, usually around 3. This goes back to when games came on cartridges, so each game had its own fixed amount of save storage, and limited the number of saves to whatever could fit. However, most modern game systems save data on media shared between software (such as memory cards and hard drives), and while some games take advantage of this by allowing users to make as many save files as they have room for, others still maintain caps on the number of save files. Metal Gear Survive infamously gave you only one and made you shell out SV Coins for additional save slots: in other words you had to pay real money to circumvent an imaginary limitation inspired by obsolete technology. Fan reaction to this was... "colorful".
The name of a game mode in the Battlefield series suffers a bit from this. While PC players of modern Battlefield games will know of the game mode Rush, where one team tries to plant explosives on two computer-looking M-COM stations in an area while the other team defends them, they may not understand what the name has to do with a standard bomb planting and defusal mode. The game mode originated in the console-exclusive Battlefield: Bad Company, where it was called "Gold Rush", and the objective was to plant a bomb on an enemy team's metal crate containing gold bullion to break open the casing, befitting the game's primary single-player theme of stealing gold. When Bad Company 2 came to PC as well as consoles, it removed all of the gold references and instead substituted a generic "destroy an enemy team's communications" objective, even though in Bad Company 2 the objectives were still the same metal crates from the previous game, just with some electronics added on them.
To a lesser extent are some of the returning maps repeatedly brought over from previous games, mostly due to wildly different time frames and belligerents between games. This is probably most prominent in Battlefield 2142, where the fighting is between the European Union and a fictional alliance of Russia and several Asian nations - the maps in question may be fan-favorites, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a ground war between geographical neighbors to randomly pull south into Kuwait (Strike at Karkand) or find a random island out in the middle of the Pacific ocean (Wake Island).
Mitsurugi became this later on. He was one of Soul's icons and has remained in every game to date. He was most prominent in Soul Edge but hasn't had any relevancy to the plot whatsoever since Soulcalibur, yet he remains because he's expected to be there. He even survived the roster cut of V, whereas other more plot-relevant characters like his rival Taki got replaced by less-liked successors. He did get a bigger role in Soulcalibur VI, but that's a reboot set at the time when he was most relevant, so it remains to be seen if he can avert this later on.
Soulcalibur V featured Nightmare continuing to use his signature One-Handed Zweihänder style. Problem is, this version is a Legacy Character when the original was Siegfried, thus his style was based on Siegfried's own. Even when they were separated, he maintained that style without a host because he retained his most recent memories of Siegfried. It makes less sense here, as not only is this a different host, but that host is Raphael, a fencer. Logically, Nightmare should be using the rapier style rather than the zweihander. A justification was that Soul Edge preferred this form, but it doesn't really explain it as Soul Edge is a weapon beyond mortal understanding and unlikely to prefer one shape over another. It also had no problem adapting to Pyrrha's shield and sword style when she claimed it. The real reason is that Nightmare is the Series Mascot who was made famous for that style, and thus changing it wouldn't be right.
In the early stages of post-release content, Valve released class-specific updates that awarded players new weapons for reaching milestones by completing a specific amount of achievements that were released for that class. Nowadays, items are gathered instead through the in-game Mann Co. store, random drops, and trading with other players, leaving the process to get items through attaining achievements in the dust. The process to get the original weapons through achievement milestones are still in the game, but it is an example of an obsolete mechanic that will most likely never be used again.
The map cp_fastlane. Due to the poor layout of the final cap, balanced match-ups would turn into a turtle fest that could never be pushed through when the defending team is forced to hold the line. Nowadays, the map lives down in the depths of never being played anymore, and has been left untouched.
Several game-modes are this:
The primary example is "Territory Control," which was only ever created for one map, tc_hydro, at the initial release of the game. This game-mode, and obviously the map it was used for, was so hated for its constant stalemates that it has become non-existent in the gaming community, and has never been touched upon again. The reason it is an artifact? The map is still in the game, and serves as a reminder as to how not to design a map, or one based on this game mode.
Another example of a game mode that has nowadays become this, is "Arena". Arena was an attempt to implement a mode similar to Counter-Strike to appease said demographic where the players get one life, and must kill off the other team before the three-minute round ends. The problem was that Team Fortress players just wanted to come back and continue playing (and Counter-Strike players just kept playing Counter-Strike), and having to wait for two-plus minutes half the time before being able to respawn for the next round was a major turn off for a lot of players. Over time, people went away from it, and Arena has since become a dead game-mode living down in the depths with the Territory Control mode. However, like before, it is still possible to play the maps designed for Arena. You'll just be lucky if you find a server that wants to run them.
The first all-class melee weapon, the Saxxy, was basically a solid Australiumaward trophy used as a bludgeon.Because it was held by its wide base, the characters gripped it differently from their normal weapons. The all-class melee weapons since then have had more conventional handles (a cartoon mallet, a picket sign, a ham held by the bone, a frying pan), but due to the reuse of the animations, they're all held in a pretty oddly loose grip, often with a pinky extended where it once wrapped around the base. The Saxxy is basically the only thing the grip looks right on, but it hasn't been updated.
Some weapons have models inaccurate to their statistics (most often clip size), usually because they had their stats altered at some point while the model wasn't changed. The most famous is the grenade launcher, which appears to hold six shots but has held four since the game left beta.
A lot of promo items have stayed in rotation long after their games vanished from memory. Though they still serve their purpose of making the character look cool or occasionally affecting gameplay in the case of a weapon, it can still be pretty surreal to see, say, a Sniper wearing a Sam & Max hat and a Brink hoodie, and wielding a rifle from Deus Ex: Human Revolution and a ham shank from Don't Starve.
In Mutant League Football, a number of players are named after famous football players of the late 80s to the early-mid 90s — for instance, Bones Jackson (after Bo Jackson), and Reggie Fright (Reggie White). The sequel, Mutant League Hockey, featured many of the best players from MLF, but with the game now being about hockey, the ones named after football players are out of place. This also extends to a team name: in MLF, the Deathskin Razors parody the Oakland Raiders, but they keep their name in Mutant League Hockey.
In Rayman 2, Rayman must collect the yellow lums that are the fragments of the Heart of the World destroyed by the space pirates when they invaded the Glade of Dream. Since the Heart of the World was restored at the end of Rayman 2, yellow lums no longer have a role in the plot, and yet they still appear as the basic collectible in later games to unlock levels or for 100% completion.
A few once basic and useful items in The Sims have become artifacts much like their real life counterparts. In the third game (released in 2009), walled phones were rendered useless once the game was updated with smart phones to match real life (around 2012 or so) and the newspapers were also no longer necessary once seeking jobs became a basic function of the smart phone. In fact, in The Sims 4, even computers have taken a small backseat to tablets.
A number of characters in the game either haven't been in any new games for years (Captain Falcon, Ness) or no longer play nearly as large of a role as they used to (Jigglypuff, who was one of the most popular Pokémon when the first game came out due to the anime, but by the time of Wii U/3DS was just another mon out of around 700), but they remain on the roster on the basis of their popularity in Japan and the fact that they've been around since the first game, and it just wouldn't be Smash if they weren't included.note There's an unwritten rule among fans that the "original 12" will never be cut - although Masahiro Sakuraihas outright said that Jigglypuff, at least, only made it back for Brawl because they had enough time to implement it. Note as well that it's the only returning character in that game who is unlocked through a secret in Subspace Emissary, rather than having a proper role in the story. In addition, Sakurai has confirmed that he was originally going to replace Ness with Lucas in Melee, but due to Mother 3's delay and cancellation on the N64 before being brought to the Game Boy Advance, Ness was kept. Similarly, Sheik hasn't been in a Zelda game since around the time that the first Smash Bros game came out (the only exceptions being the 3DS remake of Ocarina 13 years afterward, and then the non-canon Hyrule Warriors), but she's a popular enough character that she was not only retained, but actually split into a separate character from Zelda. Also happened to Lucario and Ike during the transition from Brawl to Wii U/3DS, who were added to Brawl to promote their then-recent debutgames, but were kept due to popularity. Averted with Pichu and Roy from Melee to Brawl, however, despite them similarly promoting theirgames, they were cut for Brawl (but Roy returned for Wii U/3DS DLC, and a fan-theory is that Pichu simply evolved into the Pikachu from Brawl), although this could also be due to their nature as clones. Sakurai has also said he dislikes having to remove characters, which contributes to this.
Marth continued to speak only in Japanese even though his debut game was released and translated in the West by the time of Wii U/3DS. This is likely due to the lasting effect his appearance in Melee had more than anything else. In Ultimate, he was finally given an English voice.
In all five (or six, depending on how you view Wii U/3DS) games, Yoshi has the same set of Stock Sound Effects originating in Yoshi's Story, even though as early as pre-Brawl, there have been games where he has received new voice clips.
Ganondorf didn't use a sword in his default moveset despite being based on his more aged appearance in the Era of Twilight, until Ultimate finally retooled him to do sonote there is, however, a custom move in Wii U/3DS where he uses it. Originally, his elemental hand-to-hand style was due to him being a last-minute addition to Melee and thus needing to be a clone character, chosen to be one of Captain Falcon because the two shared the same powerful, streamlined, athletic body type at that time, and also due to the fact that in the game his Melee incarnation was based upon, he doesn't personally wield any weapon, instead opting for magic blasts (albeit the Ganon form uses two swords instead of its signature trident). After the release of Melee, Ganondorf appeared in a more mature version of his human form in two timelines: in The Wind Waker, he wielded twin katana, and in Twilight Princess, upon which his Brawl and Wii U/3DS appearances are visually based, he used the Sages' Sword, a memento from a failed execution. Smash Bros. reflects none of this, nor his paralytic orbs of magic from Ocarina, instead retaining his more powerful but laggier and slower version of Captain Falcon's moveset, with slightly different animations to reflect his less flashy, less nimble style. However, other characters like Bowser and Pit have received heavy moveset changes between installments to more accurately reflect their games, yet Ganondorf's moveset was changed little between Melee and Brawl and only had a few animation revamps between Brawl and Wii U/3DS, despite being based on a much older Ganondorf with a vastly different appearance and fighting style from both his first appearance and his Smash appearance. Due to all this, and the fact that even his reworked moveset is still fairly similar, many suspected that the only reason for keeping Ganondorf a semi-clone of Falcon is Sakurai's personal preference.
For that matter, a number of characters who debuted early had mostly made-up movesets. Captain Falcon and Fox, whose games at the time never featured them fighting outside of a cockpit, suddenly gained fire-based powers, for instance. They maintain these movesets even after later fighters have debuted with nearly every move being a reference to something in their games, even characters like Villager and Duck Hunt Dog. In Fox's case, this also comes after games like Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault, which feature Fox fighting on the ground and being nothing at all like his Smash counterpart. In their case, it generally comes from them simply being too well-liked to revamp. Samus is a weird case, as her moveset at the time of the first game and Melee was reasonably accurate to what she could do in Super Metroid, her then-most recent solo outing - but then her series came back with several new games between Melee and Brawl, giving her several new weapons and abilities and the like... none of which was ever reflected in future Smash Bros. games, barring palette swaps based on suit designs from later games. The closest we got was splitting off a version of her in her Zero Suit from Zero Mission as a new character, who also got an entirely new made-up moveset rather than reflecting how she played in the Zero Suit portion of Zero Mission.
The addition of Echo Fighters in Ultimate effectively consolidated the more blatant Moveset Clone characters, such as Lucina and Dark Pit, as more alternates than solo fighters in their own right. However, some other Decomposite Characters who had varying attempts at Divergent Character Evolution remain in their own slot - most notably, Dr. Mario, who would never warrant his own slot were he added in Ultimate, but had developed just enough differences in his moveset by then to not easily fit under the label.
The Boxing Ring stage is based on the Punch-Out!! series, but it has an alternate version that replaces all of the Punch-Out logos and graphics with generic Smash Bros graphics. This was so the stage could be used in the game's first official trailer without spoiling Little Mac as a new character, as he wasn't revealed until months later (although the nature of the stage led to a lot of correct fan guesses). The Smash Bros version of the stage is therefore completely unnecessary now that the game has been released, but it still returns as an option for Ultimate.
When Brawl introduced Assist Trophies, it made sense due to the conceit that the fighters are trophies brought to life, and you collect trophies based on various characters. In Ultimate, the trophies were replaced with Spirits, complete with a story premise explaining this. Assistant characters, however, are still summoned through trophies for no reason.
The clown job in Space Station 13. In the early days of the game it was intended as a "punishment" role, humiliating and removing disruptive players while letting everyone else continue enjoying the game. Somewhere along the line it was decided to elevate the job to a regular random job for the sake of humor. The job is comically useless and hated by pretty much everyone except regular clown players (clowns tend to be notoriously disruptive and annoying, especially in roleplay servers, where they wreck the mood/immersion just by existing). So why's it still around? Because the clown has inadvertently become a Mascot Mook for the game, to the point that art and homages to it almost always include them in some way, so it's virtually unthinkable to ditch them now. Note though that due to the rather wide variety and fractured nature of SS13, this isn't always the case. Some servers have gone ahead and removed the clown completely.
Typewriters in the first Resident Evil served to fit the motif of the creepy mansion in the first game, as well as gave a reasonable enough excuse to limit saving by requiring an ink ribbon for each save. It made less sense for typewriters to pop up all around the police station, the sewers, the park, and the hidden futuristic laboratories of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2 and 3, or the vaguely Spanish village, medieval castle, and Umbrella-esque futuristic laboratory in Resident Evil 4 (which made them even less necessary by letting you save between chapters), but these weren't abandoned until the more mission-based / episodic nature of Resident Evil 5, which did away with them altogether in favor of an autosave feature. Resident Evil 7 brought them back in spirit in the form of cassette recorders which, like the typewriters in the mansion, are an archaic media system that fits the creepy motif of the environment, and of course Resident Evil 2 (Remake) brought them back because fans would have revolted if the remake didn't have the typewriters.
The first game had a separate inventory slot for a "personal item", with Chris being able to put the lighter in that slot and Jill receiving a lockpick. Resident Evil 2 followed on by giving the same respective items to Leon and Claire, and promptly demonstrated that they were artifacts not only by having the characters simply start with the items in their personal slots (raising the question of why Claire has a lockpicking kit) but also by having, respectively, only two situations where a lighter is necessary and three doors you can open with a lockpick. Later games expanded the concept of personal items into things other than lighters for guys and lockpicks for girls, up to and including one character's personal item being a stronger handgun with a unique ammo type in Resident Evil: Outbreak, and when Resident Evil 4 finally did away with the concept entirely (or reimagined it, with the knife that doesn't take up inventory space and can be brought up for use with one button), it had to imply several times that Leon was a smoker who had quit prior to RE2 to justify why he even had a lighter on him back then.
Max Payne 3 changes the run-and-gun, PC-optimized game style of the first two games to a more console-friendly, Gears of War-influenced style, which turned some of the most notable features of the franchise into artifacts:
The first two games channeled Heroic Bloodshed films to allow Max to use "Bullet Time" to maneuver and shoot in a badass ballet of bullets. The third game, however, uses a Take Cover! system. Bullet time is much less exciting and useful when you're simply popping out from behind cover to shoot at a guy you already put your crosshair over while staying safe behind that cover.
In spite of the different gameplay, which involves more episodic confrontations rather than the continuous battle of the first two games, Max still uses painkillers as Health Potions rather than receiving the now more industry-standard After-Combat Recovery. Using a bunch of painkillers in one confrontation makes it too easy, so the game limits your supply, but this also makes it common to run out of painkillers and start some combat sections with low health, making the confrontation impossible. The game does start giving the player more painkillers with each restart, but this still effectively forces the player to die a few times to get back to a winnable state. Avoiding this sort of issue was the whole reason after-combat recovery became standard in the decade between the second and third Max Payne games.
Saints Row IV, as part of a series that started as a GTA knockoff, features a pretty extensive system of driveable vehicles, just as much as the prior games. The problem? IV's biggest new mechanic is superpowers, similar to Crackdown, and those don't play well with driveable vehicles. Put a couple points into Super Speed and jumping, and you're faster and more mobile than literally every vehicle in the game. There are multiple missions that force you to use vehicles (which can usually be completed by picking them up and carrying them) and/or take away your powers, however, and accessing vehicles has also been made easier, by simply letting you scan whatever you're driving then call a number to teleport it to you for free, rather than having to physically store it in a garage then take it back out or call a guy to deliver it to you. It's probably not a coincidence that it's the first game to let you listen to music while you're not driving, since otherwise you'd almost never hear it.
Video games for PlayStation systems still list support for DualShock controllers as a special feature. This made sense back in the time of the original PlayStation, because the DualShock was a special enhanced controller for that system that came out just shy of three years into the system's life, so not all games supported it. Starting with the PlayStation 2, however, the DualShock, or controllers that look and function almost identically to it like the early PlayStation 3's Sixaxis, has been the standard controller for all PlayStation consoles, making it pointless for games to point out that they specifically support it on the box.
In a meta example, Final Fantasy XI was made to work in conjunction with PlayOnline, an online hub that supported other online-capable Square games, such as Front Mission Online, Dirge of Cerberus (which had online multiplayer in the Japanese version), and an online version of Tetra Master from Final Fantasy IX, in addition to chat rooms and other social media functions. As of 2013, FFXI is the only game that still uses PlayOnline. With most of its other functions going unused, PlayOnline has now been relegated to little more than a glorified launcher for FFXI.
Final Fantasy XIV has a lot of gameplay elements which were highly used in the old versions of the game and have been either made less important or ignored entirely:
Elemental resistances played a big role in 1.0 as well as the Elemental RockPaperScissors, but they were heavily downplayed in later versions; elemental resistances are mainly used as mechanics for specific boss fights and the elemental weaknesses were completely removed so that casters wouldn't be screwed in certain fights. Elemental resistance potions and materia still existed, but no one ever used them before patch 4.2 removed elemental resistances entirely.
Certain stats were redone or removed entirely by the Stormblood update. Parry was a main stat for Paladins, though it could also be used by anyone. The parry stat was seen as useless for Paladins due to the block stat on shields making parry redundant. Parry was eventually removed as a stat, but all jobs can still parry attacks naturally with a random chance.
The system of Classes advancing into Jobs by way of Soul Crystals once they reach level 30 has become this, with producer Naoki Yoshida going on record stating that he hates the system for being, even at its least disruptive, a completely unnecessary stepping stone to leveling the starting classes, which allows you to play as a class or its associated Job and then gives no incentives whatsoever to play as the class; probably best exemplified by the fact that of all the classes added post-2.0 release, only the first one, Rogue, doesn't start as a full Job. The initial Stormblood update removed the secondary requirement of getting another unrelated class up to level 15 before you could advance the level 30 one to a full Job, but the system is otherwise still in place, the only reason being that removing it and having characters start as their selected Job would require massive changes to the class/job stories and the leveling system itself.
Attribute points in A Realm Reborn through to the end of Heavensward were a holdover from 1.0, where advancing to a level past 10 would give you a single attribute point to increase one of your attributes - a bonus which was ultimately irrelevant, not just because your gear gives greater bonuses than your inherent attributes, but also because, barring Vitality determining your total health, what the classes are primarily focused on doing only ever works off of one stat - e.g. a Black Mage's magic attacks run entirely off of their Intelligence, and so they have absolutely no use for Strength (damage dealt with most physical melee attacks) - and so putting the bonus point into any stat other than that one would be a waste of that point. The Summoner and Scholar jobs had it even worse due to sharing a base in the Arcanist class (another instance of this trope, as it's the only class to have two different associated jobs; the devs have gone on record that working with that is a technical nightmare and they're not doing it again), meaning one would either have to split the points between the Intelligence (offensive magic for Summoner) and Mind (healing magic for Scholar) stats, giving them less of a bonus overall, or put most of the points into one stat and cripple themselves from adequately performing the other role. As of 4.0 with the release of Stormblood, assignable attribute points were removed from the game entirely, the game instead simply giving you bonuses with each level to the stats your class will actually use.
A similar case comes with stats for crafters, as Disciples of the Hand (crafter classes that actually make things, as opposed to Disciples of the Land which gather the crafting materials) used to work off of one primary stat the same way combat classes do. You can still see hints of the old system, such as the fact that Armorer will gain noticeably more Strength with level-ups than other crafter classes like Weaver because that's the stat they used to work from, but in practice it's totally pointless now since your abilities as a craft are entirely based around the stats of your crafting gear.
One-handed staves and wands used alongside a shield for Conjurer/White Mage and Thaumaturge/Black Mage. They were common in the 1.0 days, but by 2.0 and onward they're little more than a curiosity that only exist for low- to mid-level Conjurers and Thaumaturges; by the time you have either of the classes leveled to the point you can advance to the Job versions, you're almost entirely stuck with the larger and better two-handed staves and wands, meaning there are no more shields for you to collect as that class.
Similarly but in the opposite direction, there are some pieces of gear for the body or legs that restrict your ability to wear gear for the head or feet while they're equipped, such as long cowls with hoods or heavy armor sets with helmets built in. While their stats compensate for this, such that wearing an outfit which restricts a gear slot will give similar stats to a comparable set with two separate pieces, they're still all but gone by the expansions in favor of separate gear pieces, presumably for the greater ease of using glamours.
The Main Scenario option for the Duty Roulette was apparently added without much forethought, since even after the 2.x questlines and the expansions, it still only ever sends you to Castrum Meridianum or The Praetorium. Barring the need for new players to put together a group to handle the 2.0 endgame, the only reason it remains relevant once you've done those for the first time yourself is because it's the simplest way to grind out a lot of Allagan tomestones of poetics for post-level-50 gear in the long stretch between the end of the original 2.0 questline and the beginning of Heavensward.
The new jobs added with Stormblood, Red Mage and Samurai, only need you to reach level 50 before you can unlock them and can in fact be used for the final stretch of 2.0 content if you're fast enough in getting them, as part of an effort to respond to complaints about how Heavensward's new jobs (Astrologian, Machinist and Dark Knight) needed you to complete all of the 2.x content (the original game and then a set of post-release quests that stretch almost as long) and reach the expansion itself before they could be unlocked. The problem here is that while the quests don't technically require you to be at the expansions to unlock them, the way they're designed means you most definitely do need to be to have the gear to stand a chance. Whereas their level 50 quests are glorified tutorials and almost impossible to fail, even by the level 52 quests, if you're still using the starting equipment for those jobs - stuff which is already good enough that even the augmented versions of the aforementioned post-level-50 gear bought with tomestones is only barely an improvement - you'll suddenly find yourself pitted against people who paste you in four hits.
Zig-zagged with the questlines added after the initial release of any given expansion. Since the story for the initial release and any given expansion requires you to reach its level cap (e.g. 2.0 questline ends at the original level 50 cap, 3.0 at Heavensward's level 60 cap, etc.), the string of story quests added in patches between expansions do not grant you a whole lot of experience (at best, with the main story, you'll get experience that would have been appropriate for half of what the level cap was at the time, and at worst, with stuff like the Hildibrand quest line, you only get gil), which makes it particularly difficult to level up just from playing the main story at this point. However, as far as weapon rewards from quests go, this is averted, as quests have been updated to add weapons from new classes when appropriate so players switching over to them aren't left out - e.g. Rogue's knives were added to the 2.0 through 2.3 quests after their introduction in 2.4, the aforementioned Red Mage and Samurai can get weapons from 2.1 quests onward, etc.
Riding maps, at least before 5.3, were incredibly useful for the areas in ARR, since they increase your mounts' movement speed, allowing for easier and quicker navigation when doing things in those areas. They became significantly less so in the expansions, which introduced the ability to fly once you attune to all the aether currents in an area, which is easier to do than grinding out the requisite seals to purchase a riding map (simply seek out aether currents and complete sidequests and the story in that area up to the point where the game sends you to the next zone, whereas riding maps require 250 seals, which are a pain to gather in bulk until the point of any given expansion where you've probably already unlocked the ability to fly in every map anyway) and allows for even faster movement, both in pure speed and in the ability to surmount obstacles by just flying over them. Shadowbringers even ended up removing the regular mount-speed increases from story progression, because learning to fly in the area in question was never far behind that point. Despite this, the expansions still include riding maps for their new areas, with only minor attempts to make them worth the cost (mostly by way of having a few areas which you gain access to early on but can't learn to fly in until near the end of their respective stories, or in one case a zone that's simply so gigantic that it's a good investment). Patch 5.3 backported the ability to fly into the ARR areas, making even their riding maps redundant (especially since grinding out Allied Seals is even slower than the later Centurio Seals).
In another meta example like PlayOnline for XI, many websites list minimum/recommended system requirements for the PC version of XIV that are much higher than they actually are, because they're actually the requirements for the 1.0 launch and patch cycle, which infamously had terrible optimization and an obsession with graphical fidelity (such that, most infamously, a potted plant had the same number of polygons as a player character's model). The A Realm Reborn relaunch would drastically scale back the requirements to make the game more accessible to people who couldn't run it before and easier on the hardware for people who could, but several third-party websites haven't updated the listed requirements for it since.
Final Fantasy XV ends on the reveal that Luna is the woman in the game's logo, showing Noctis flashing into place alongside her. This is pretty baffling, as Luna's really not a particularly major character (she appears for about a half hour in cutscenes and she's dead in some of them), and her romance with Noctis is reserved to a few short scenes that don't exactly sell them as a love for the ages. Compare that to VIII, where Rinoa and Squall embracing is the logo, but their love story is the focus of a good chunk of the game, so it makes sense. But when the game started life as Versus XIII, there was a female character named Stella who appeared in a lot of the promotional material and looked quite a lot like Luna, though her personality seemed to be very different. It's really not hard to guess that Stella would have been a major character in the narrative and that her relationship with Noctis would have been similarly important, but when Stella was dropped and Luna was added and made largely irrelevant, the logo became a remnant of this.
Obsidian Entertainment games have a minor form of this with their typical "influence" systems, wherein some aspect of an NPC can be boosted or changed depending on how much they like you. In the game that introduced it, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, this turned out to be a major plot point: the Exile had a tendency to unconsciously and easily create strong Force bonds with people, thus when the final battle of the Mandalorian Wars at Malachor V killed off basically everyone under her command, she had to cut herself off from the Force - rather than the Council doing so as part of her punishment, as she assumed - just to survive the backlash through the Force from all the people she was bonded with dying horribly all at once. The only reason she can use the Force now in gameplay is because, returning to the galaxy and traveling with people again, she's started making those bonds once more and is subconsciously drawing off of their Force potential to make use of her own abilities, which also explains why you can train almost everyone who joins your party as a Jedi and why your influence can change their alignments to match yours (even unintentionally explaining why one character doesn't have enough influence gains to change his alignment or learn more of his backstory). One of the Big Bad Duumvirate even acts as a foil to the Exile, apparently having found himself in a similar situation to the Exile but choosing instead to drain power directly from others to fill the void - sort of an active Force vampire, versus the Exile being a passive Force black hole, which becomes a big part of why you're able to beat him near the end. Kreia even uses the Exile for her plan to kill the Force, rather than the aforementioned evil counterpart, because he is still entirely reliant on the Force, but the Exile was able to cut herself off and survive without it - and now, as a black hole in the Force, she sees in the Exile a way to kill the Force entirely. Later games of theirs keep the system, and it still works because that's how human beings work (minus the Force bits, of course), but it's never had any sort of major story connection like it did the first time.
Ann has a "rural" look with her overalls and sneakers. This is because she was originally a tomboyish farmer's daughter, not an innkeeper's daughter.
Ann, Gray, and Rick all have red hair. In 64 Ann and Gray are siblings, and Rick is their cousin; they all get their red hair from their grandmother Ann of the first game. In BTN, Rick is siblings with Popuri and the son of Lillia (two pink haired characters, though his father is a redhead), while Ann and Gray have no relationship to either each other or Rick.
Elli wears an apron, despite being a nurse, because she was a baker in 64.
Hard-Drinking Party Girl Karen was originally the daughter of Gotz and Sasha, not Jeff and Sasha. Karen's parents lived on a vineyard that they inherited from Eve of the first game. Karen also worked at the local bar at night. Karen in 64 was more depressed and angry, making her more of an alcoholic character, but FOMT removed that. She still keeps her love of wine as a character quirk nevertheless.
Cousins Cliff and Karen in 64 received their blonde highlights from Eve of the original SNES game, who was their grandmother. This isn't referenced in future games.
Popuri, Basil, and Lillia are a family of chicken farmers. Their Floral Theme Naming made more sense in 64 when they owned the local flower shop instead.
Gray's look isn't exactly odd for a blacksmith's apprentice, but it makes more sense for a farmer, which he was in 64.
The adult flash game Trials in Tainted Space has this with its very name. Originally, it was intended to be similar in plot to the author's previous game, Corruption of ChampionsIN SPACE!, but the corruption idea was dropped early in the game's development in favor of making the game about space exploration. The name was retained only because the creator couldn't think of a better acronym.
In many Mega Man games and spinoffs, especially the later Mega Man X games, this happened to acquiring new weapons from bosses. In the early classic series, it made a lot of sense, because the Mega Buster was a pretty piddly weapon and it was really all you had with its only boon being infinite ammo, so anything else was much appreciated. But when the charge shot was added, the X series introduced armor upgrades, and the overall toolbox became a lot bigger, the boss weapons gradually became a lot less important, and not really useful for much besides exploiting weaknesses or the occasional random utility in comparison to the Boring, but Practical buster. But, of course, it would be hard to justify a Mega Man game without this feature. Needless to say, this seesaws a fair bit, depending on the game and how useful the boss weapons are.
The Homefront games were originally intended to use the People's Republic of China as the antagonist, but changed it to the DPRK after fears of upsetting the Chinese government. Needless to say, a lot of Homefront material certainly seems like it was originally intended to have the massively-populated and economically-booming powerhouse of China rather than the notoriously backward and ramshackle North Korea posing a threat to the United States. Both games end up having to construct rather elaborate Alternate History scenarios where several twists of fate effectively turn North Korea into a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of China.
When the series was in its infancy, it was established that The Berserker class's Mad Enhancement also made its user inarticulate, mindlessly violent, and unable to talk beyond grunting and growling. Understandably, past Fate/stay night, this turned out to be rather inconvenient for characterization when at least one member of your cast would inevitably be mute and mindless. This was downplayed to Berserkers indeed being able to talk and show distinct personalities, typically by using their strong will to power through the Mad Enhancement, by the Mad Enhancement manifesting in a different fashion such as obsessive love or Chronic Hero Syndrome, or by the Mad Enhancement itself having a low rank (though they remained violent and impulsive). Nonetheless, earlier Berserkers like Hercules and Lu Bu who were established as mute tend to still be written as such, even though they're now the exception rather than the rule.
Sasaki Kojiro is stated to be a fake, who was only allowed to become an Assassin by virtue of Medea having screwed with the system, and therefore also one of the weakest Servants around (more of a human with some magical enhancements and moderate Charles Atlas Superpower). At the time, this was because it was canon that only members of an actual historical assassin order could be Assassins. Understandably, this was a bit limiting, so later installments tend to treat the qualification for being an Assassin as simply "is sneaky and killed someone", with only a handful since meeting the original benchmark. But Kojiro is still regarded as a relative weakling (he's a one-star in Fate/Grand Order, for instance), even though there now isn't much of a reason for him to be one. Ostensibly, this is because the historical record on Kojiro is vague enough that he was most likely fictional, but this is a bit of an odd place to draw the line when Fate normally takes the All Myths Are True approach with Servants - for comparison, fellow canonical Assassins have included Doctor Jekyll and The Phantom of the Opera. One storyline even featured an alternate universe involving his famous rival Miyamoto Musashi—there's a Kojiro in that universe, and he is exactly like the "fake" one. The Musashi from said storyline is playable, and isn't remotely weak.
On the topic of Assassins, Hassan of the Cursed Arm has been listed as Lawful Evil since the days of the original visual novel and shows no signs of changing. In those days, it made a lot of sense, since he was mostly just a Punch-Clock Villain for the monstrously cruel Zuoken Matou and didn't show any redeeming qualities. But ever since then, especially when the Camelot singularity of Grand Ordergave him an actual backstory and personality, he's never been a villainous character, and has consistently been shown as heroic, kind, and goodhearted. Nonetheless, his alignment has yet to be changed.
The original heroine of the franchise, Saber Artoria Pendragon, has fallen into this. She is the poster girl of the game, prominently featuring in just about every bit of promo material and even being its icon on any given app store. When the game had just launched, Artoria was still considered the "main heroine" of the franchise due to her prominence in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, so leading with her made sense, especially since Grand Order was seen as a side project then. However, Grand Orderlargely avoided developing Artoria (whether out of tentativeness with handling an iconic character or out of a sense that there wasn't much to be done with her after her many prior starring roles), instead focusing on characters from Apocrypha, EXTRA, its own Original Generation, or lesser lights from FSN and Zero. Ask a fan who the main or most popular heroine of Grand Order is, and Saber Artoria probably wouldn't even make the top twenty, and as Grand Order has increasingly become the franchise's cash cow, you could probably argue that those characters are more central to the franchise at this point. It's particularly funny because her iconic status has led to her getting tons of alternate versions or characters who share her design, some who exist only to poke fun at the game's overuse of her design, and every single one of them have had more significant showings than her — even the gag Beach Episode variant! Nonetheless, the sheer inertia of her prior appearances mean that she isn't going to be taken out of the middle of group shots anytime soon.
When Grand Order started out, it was perceived as a low-budget side project, and a lot of the character animations reflected that. Most Casters, for instance, had their animations consisting of standing in place and tossing generic energy balls of varying size. When the game's budget went up and technology advanced, the animation quality vastly improved... but a lot of characters were still stuck with their basic launch animations. The game does tend to roll out "renewals" on a semi-regular basis that see older characters brought up to par, but you still tend to see less popular sorts like Mata Hari or Darius shooting off their generic orbs or having their showstopping Limit Break consist of a static image menacing the enemy while the screen shakes.
The Marvel vs. Capcom games have Sentinel, originally a character in the X-Men fighting games. Making a Sentinel a playable opponent would make a lot of sense in an X-Men fighting game, and it made equal sense to add it to MVC when the games were already recycling so much from those games, especially with 2 being a Dream Match Game featuring everyone from series history. It's a lot stranger in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where Sentinel had to be recreated wholecloth; Sentinels are basically just Mecha-Mooks and have nothing even resembling the star power to get a fighting game appearance on their own merits, and even as an Unexpected Character angle would fall flat by virtue of not really being a character at all. Even the one featured in-game is a design that seems to have been created for the series, rather than being based on a specific model. It's also notable considering 3 greatly lessened the focus on X-Men after they were a Spotlight-Stealing Crossover beforehand, with only 7 reps in total including Sentinel, and there being many more popular characters that could have been carried over from 2 such as Cyclops, Iceman, Psylocke, Rogue, Gambit, Juggernaut, Colossus and Sabretooth, but were passed in favor of him. The reason was simply that Sentinel was one of the more famous characters in 2, due to the iconic Magneto/Storm/Sentinel team that dominated the tournament scene for many years between 2 and 3, and therefore had enough of a history with the series that he warranted it over other X-Men reps. Had 3 been the first game in the series, it's hard to imagine Capcom even considering the idea of Sentinel at all.
StarCraft II has this when it comes to its campaign achievements. When playing through the first campaign for Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty, there's hidden achievements the player could come across called "Feats of Strength" that they will complete after pulling off something amazing, such as destroying an enemy base that's not part of the mission objectives. This was changed by the time of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm campaign and beyond where Feats of Strength are instead updated to become "Mastery Achivements" where each mission has a tough mastery achievement that the player can go about completing. Despite this change, the Wings of Liberty campaign still lacks its own version of Mastery Achievements to this very day, and is the only campaign that still uses hidden Feat of Strength achievements.
Fatalities might be the centerpiece of the entire Mortal Kombat franchise, but the later games have placed more emphasis on the story and relationships between the characters. With Mortal Kombat X having a 25-year Time Skip, you now have active romantic partners squaring off, and parents fighting their children, requiring some Willing Suspension of Disbelief when you see Johnny Cage ripping his own daughter's head off.
Many elements of Monster Girl Quest become this in the sequel Monster Girl Quest: Paradox. One example is the various skills that Luka picks up throughout the story. In the original MGQ, these were extremely important since Luka was the only character fighting for the vast majority of the game. However, Paradox is an RPG that allows you to form a party of multiple characters, and Luka doesn't need to be in the (active) party so his skills are now largely irrelevant. This is best illustrated through the Meditation skill: in the original MGQ it's the primary way for Luka to regain HP during battles, but in Paradox it's obsoleted by the many other healing skills.
Crash Bandicoot: Crash's origin in the first game is that he's a Uplifted Animal who was transformed by Neo Cortex. This became an artifact after his sister Coco was introduced in the sequel. It's never mentioned that she was also changed by Cortex. The series began introducing more and more Funny Animal characters without question to the point where the series now takes place in a Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! setting,
The original Diablo turned out to have a lot of axed content that was discovered to still be on the disk, such as cut quests or game mechanics that never made it into the final product. What got affected by this the most was one of the NPCs in Tristram named Gillian the Barmaid, who was originally designed to offer the player two world quests. However, both were cut from the game. Gillian ended up making it to the game, but what she's left as is a pointless NPC that simply stands in front of her house and provides a bit of gossip about the townsfolk or other people's quests. To put it simply, she's a leftover from cut content.
"Child Units" were a feature introduced in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, which made them the primary focus: about halfway through the game, all the characters die, a Time Skip occurs, and now you're playing as their kids, whose stats and abilities vary depending on who you've managed to pair up before that point. The mechanic was brought back for Fire Emblem Awakening, this time having the kids travel back in time at a certain point in the plot—a bit clumsier of a way to go about it, but still clearly something the story was written around. However, it was definitely this by Fire Emblem Fates, where the child units weren't particularly plot-relevant and the method of introducing them (all the kids are raised in a Year Inside, Hour Outside pocket dimension) was a lot less plausible; they were pretty clearly just around because pairing units up to breed superpowered kids was a popular part of Awakening. Thankfully, Three Houses recognized that the feature wouldn't fit, and dropped it.
The earlier games used a "1 RN" system, meaning that when determining the success of an attack, the game uses a single random number. From Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade onward, the series switched to the "2 RN" system, where the game rolls two numbers and then takes the average. Essentially, it means that an attack with an 80% chance to hit actually has about a 92% chance to hit, since missing on an 80% chance tends to make people angry. All well and good, but it did lead to some very odd situations with the DS remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, where the weapons and character stats still have accuracy ratings clearly designed with the 1 RN system in mind, but the game itself uses 2 RN—the result being that you basically never miss, even with normally inaccurate weapon types like axes and spears.
The "Catria Archetype" gets some remarks for this—a semi-common Recurring Element in the series where a character's defining trait is their feelings for a character, usually the main Lord, whom they can't actually get together with. The original example was, naturally, Catria, and it made sense in those games because Marth and Caeda are the Official Couple and there's no other romance option in the game; the only way to make Marth/Caeda not happen is to kill Caeda off, and Marth doesn't exactly use the opportunity to hook up with Catria. But when the later games instituted Relationship Values and made it practically a selling point that the Lord can hook up with a ton of different people in the army, the archetype ended up being a bit notorious for how nonsensical it could often shake out to be. Cordelia in Awakening is one of the sillier cases, because there is essentially no in-story reason for why she can't get together with Chrom; he has a lot of potential romances, so true love isn't an issue, one of them includes someone from Cordelia's country and in the same military unit as her, meaning social class isn't a problem, and he will even marry a random offscreen villager if somehow all his prospective mates died, yet Cordelia still can't get together with him.
The original NES game, which, while mostly a Standard Fantasy Setting, had something of an Ancient Grome theme going—Marth is wearing a toga in early artwork and his name can be read as Mars, there are weapons named after Mercury, Gradivus, and Parthia, and so on. Pretty much every future game dropped the Greco-Roman stuff entirely and leaned into the medieval-fantasy style, but the one thing that couldn't be dropped easily was the Pegasus Knight unit, which has featured in just about every game since. While pegasi are fairly common in fantasy settings, Fire Emblem is probably the only one where they're as prominent as they are.
The series's use of Final Death, though still very much in place and a default option, is increasingly on its way to this. Older games were clearly built around the assumption: you get lots of units over the course of the game, so you won't run out even if you suffer massive casualties, most enemies weren't so powerful that you couldn't rotate untrained characters into service if things went wrong, and most characters don't have much of a story role, so you don't need to rewrite the story to accommodate them dying. Later on, the casts got smaller while enemies got tougher on the high difficulties, making "Iron Man"-style play comparatively unfeasible. Additionally, as more plots have been written around the assumption of specific characters being alive, it's not at all uncommon to see a good chunk of the cast "retreating" from the battlefield rather than die, even outside of the death-free Casual Mode.
EarthBound has the ATM system, where money earned from fights is deposited in your bank account and you must withdraw it later as you need it, keeping in mind that you lose half the money you're holding when you die. This means you had to balance carrying enough money to buy things you anticipated you needed as well as paying for hotels, but never too much so you wouldn't lose all your hard-saved money upon death. Mother 3 continued this mechanic, except now it's through the game's save points which appear much more frequently than phones did in the previous game and always right beside any shop. Furthermore, you restore health for free in hot springs and instant revitalizers rather than hotels, meaning it is entirely pointless to ever carry money: take out all your money, buy your stuff, redeposit all the money, repeat as necessary. The only possible reason this mechanic continues is it was in the previous game.
Action 52 was originally going to have its final game be a Final Exam Finale, with "the Action Game Master" being Trapped in TV Land and having to battle his way through opponents from all the other games. Somewhat late in development, the game's producer instead decided to create the Cheetahmen as a mascot for the collection and have them be the main stars of the last game. This happened so late that their intro still includes about half the cutscene that was clearly going to lead into the earlier concept (the Action Game Master gets pulled into the TV, then the Cheetahmen show up, meet the Action Game Master, say "we will fight for you", and the latter is never seen again), the boxart clearly depicts that cutscene, and the later levels still include enemies from the other games.
Several first-party games for the Nintendo Wii U system included unlockable stamps that could be used on Nintendo's Miiverse social network for drawing images. After the Miiverse service was discontinued, the stamps in the games were rendered entirely useless beyond 100% Completion.