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Fire on floor B3. One casualty unavoidable.
no-one has to die. is a Visual Novel and Puzzle Game from Sammy Madafiglio on Flash game site Newgrounds.

The setup is simple: you are the No Name Given protagonist, referred to in-game as the "Visitor". While making a delivery to the Fenix Corporation, you find the security guards dead and a fire breaking out, endangering the lives of four people: employees Steve, Christina and Troy, as well as CEO Lionel. You assume control of the security system to try to save them, but due to the limitations of the system, you must decide who lives and who dies as the fire spreads. Communications between The Visitor and the four main characters is done through text chat, and reveals more and more of the story, and the Fenix Corporation's true purpose.

See also Virtue's Last Reward, a visual novel that very clearly inspired no-one has to die.

No-One Has to Die features the following tropes:

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  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the last playthrough, you gain the ability to close four fire doors at once, instead of just one, letting you save everyone.
  • Accidental Hero: Troy knowing what the security code was after the Visitor found the blue folder in his first run-through the fire leads to them saving Troy in his second to fifth run-throughs, believing he could save everyone, leading to him seeing his co-workers die over and over again.
  • Accidental Murder: Christina's mother unintentionally died at the hands of Fenix Corporations during an experiment, leading her vengeful daughter to get a job there and try to burn down the company.
  • all lowercase letters: The game's title is written without capital letters on its Kongregate page.
  • Always Save the Girl: Steve will get very mad at you if you kill off Christina. Christina will get similarly mad if you kill Steve too.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: While Christina's mother's death is a major plot point in the game, her dad is never mentioned.
  • Animal Testing: Fenix Corporation bought six million cockatiels in order to test their time travel machine by teaching them all a phrase until they had a cockatiel that not only already knew the phrase before it was bought but also managed to survive the time travel process.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The flowchart and ability to skip seen dialogue let you go through each of the endings easily and with little re-reading.
  • At Least I Admit It: Christina criticizes Steve's willingness to actually sacrifice himself. When he rebuts to whether she can do it, she replies she can't, but at least doesn't pretend that she can.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Visitor notices that Mental Time Travel to the future by more than a few hours is useless, because the traveler's body will rot beyond recovery before their mind can catch up to it. Lionel admits that this is a known issue, and Fenix is looking into answers. "Currently, freezing seems promising."
  • Big Bad: Troy is set up to be the one behind the fire and the guards being killed, but he's actually not. It was Christina.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Thanks to the Merged Reality, the Visitor is able to get everyone out of the building alive. However, Christina goes back into the TEMPEST to try to save her mother, due to being a murderer and an arsonist, and having spent far too much to avenge her mother to let her efforts be in vain. In addition, countless alternate versions of the characters had to be sacrificed or continue on in their universe without any knowledge of what happened.
  • Black Comedy: Steve is a big fan of this, joking about Troy's death and even making a joke about his Heroic Sacrifice for Christina. He stops making jokes when Christina dies, however.
  • Brain Theft: Fenix Corp had removed the brain from the body of Christina's mother before returning the body to her family. Christina believes it was to experiment on that brain, but Lionel reveals that she already died and the company tried to figure out why she did.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In Troy's ending, he reveals that he's been through a loop of watching everyone die five times, and in every timeline, nobody believed him when he tried when he tried telling them about it.
    • In Lionel's ending, he will stick to his word and tell the visitor that his company's true interest is time travel. The visitor is skeptical at first, but later believes him when proven.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Until the Golden Ending, one character is forced to die every level.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • At the very start of the game, the announcement system mentions TEMPEST being engaged. TEMPEST is a Time Machine, and its engagement is its destination time period being set to the start of the incident.
    • On floor B2, there are seemingly useless doors in front of where Lionel and Steve are, due to both of them being able to be protected from fire by water. In the Merged Reality, the doors are used so that you can save both of them without condemning one to drowning or burning.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • If Troy and Lionel are the only people left alive, Troy finally appears willing to explain all the weird stuff he's been saying, and says that "[he's] been here before" right before the chat cuts out. If you want him to give you the full explanation, you need to spare him.
    • Steve's ending involves him finding the papers for the cockatiel experiment and deluding himself into thinking Christina survived, right before he loses connection with the Visitor.
    • Christina's ending has her ready to submit herself to the police when she suddenly disappears from the system.
    • Lionel's ending has him begin to explain the purpose of the company, before he asks the Visitor to meet him in the TEMPEST room, disconnecting shortly afterwards.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the characters has a color to match their handle.
    • Steve: Light Green
    • Christina: Orange-Red
    • Troy: Grey-White
    • Lionel: Lavender
    • Visitor: Rock Blue
  • Controllable Helplessness: The Bad Endings force you to sit there and watch as Christina and Lionel burn to death, due to them being stuck in situations where another character has to save them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lionel wastes no time in trying to bribe you to let him live, and his cold dedication to the company resulted in the mutilation of a scientist's body, which is what provoked her daughter to light the fire. Downplayed, in that he's also the most cool-headed of the four employees and never shows any actual malice—nor does he get upset with you in the bad endings, where his death is inevitable. In the ending where you save him, he even keeps his word and fully explains what his company really does to you, a delivery guy, even though he could easily refuse to do so since his life is already saved.
  • Cryptic Conversation: When asked about what happened to the thousands of birds bought by the company, Lionel answers that they were searching for a phoenix. The "phoenix" in this context was a bird that survived the time travel process.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lionel is usually quite professional, but he can get rather snarky. If a choice between saving him or Troy is coming up, he chimes in after Troy's request to die with "I must concur. Please, spare me!" And then, in his ending:
    Lionel: Our true interest here is time travel.
    Visitor: ...time travel.
    Lionel: That is indeed what I just said.
  • Death Seeker: Troy frequently tells you to kill him and has no sense of self-preservation, due to him being from five other timelines where he failed to save anybody else. In the player's first playthrough, he just wants someone else to live through the fire instead of him.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title can be read as "No, one has to die".
  • Downer Ending: If you spare Christina and Lionel, they both burn to death on floor B1, netting you a Bad Ending, as neither of them are in a room that can be flooded with water or blocked off.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Later in the game, Christina finds Steve's jokes about Troy's death intensely distasteful. This only intensifies when Steve tries to downplay the severity of his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Should Steve be the one to die second, Christina will say that she hopes both the Visitor and Lionel end up in hell after the announcement system says that there are two unavoidable casualties.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Troy is forced to go through seeing his coworkers die five times over, but ultimately reaches a timeline where no-one has to die.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Both bad endings end with everyone dead, as there is no way to save the two remaining people (Christina and Lionel).
  • Everybody Lives: The final ending, after every character has gone through the TEMPEST machine, results in everybody surviving the fire.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Compared to his other attempts to persuade the player to save him, when Lionel is faced with certain death, he takes it in stride.
    Lionel: It's alright. There's nothing you could've done.
  • False Confession: It turns out that Troy was lying when he claimed to be the arsonist. He's actually trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and is trying to provoke you into killing him so someone else can survive.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The only thing the Visitor says about themself is that they were delivering stationery the fire broke out.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The conversation which has Steve and Christina say that the other wouldn't sacrifice themselves for anyone is the same one where they offer themselves to die in the place of the other.
  • Foreshadowing: Christina's dialogue, especially her reactions to people's deaths, makes much more sense when you learn she lit the fire.
    • When she learns that Steve and Troy are in the building, she's shocked, as she didn't expect anybody but Lionel to be in the building so late.
    • She gets strangely upset when Steve starts joking about Troy's death, because she knows he didn't really light the fire.
    • If you choose to save her over Steve, she gets quite aggressively upset with you, because the only reason that he was in danger was because she forgot to make sure the building was empty before lighting the fire. By contrast, she's perfectly content to let Lionel burn, since the fire was an act of revenge against him; in one of the bad endings, she also brings up the possibility that the fire was lit to stop Fenix Corporation's shady operations.
  • Four Is Death: Four is the number of people at the mercy of the fire. Before Mental Time Travel kicks in, a maximum of one can survive.
  • Golden Ending: If you find all the endings, an alternate path with the true ending appears.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Technically, Fenix Corps. as a whole, as them causing Christina's mother's death is what sets up the events of the game.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Troy has had to watch his co-workers and boss burn to death five times thanks to the TEMPEST machine bringing him back to the start of the fire. The real kicker? You will only find this out if you sentence his co-workers and boss to death again. Thankfully, the loop is eventually broken thanks to the Merged Reality of the Omega Ending.
  • Hazardous Water: The water from the sprinklers is capable of drowning people.
  • Heroic BSoD: Steve does not take Christina's death well, lashing out at the player, desperately asking for Christina to reply, deluding himself into believing she's alive and making a crackpot theory as to why she survived from the fact that some cockatiels were taught to say "Christina lives".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If Christina and Steve are the only characters remaining, the final level is set up this way. Steve can take a single step into the fire door to save himself, or he can rush forward to activate the sprinklers, which will save Christina but doom him. Christina, in turn, begs you to lock that door for Steve knowing full well it would doom her to die.
  • Implausible Deniability: In Steve's ending, he's so upset at Christina sacrificing herself for him that he deludes himself into thinking she's somehow alive, despite being outright told that she is dead.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Christina lets slip that she knows the security guards were shot when all everyone else knows is that they're dead, though no-one picks up on it.
  • Info Dump: An info dump appears in both Lionel's ending, involving the reveal of time travel, and in beginning of the Golden Ending route, involving the follow-up on how backwards time travel really works, also courtesy of Lionel.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played for drama. Steve, devastated by the death of Christina in his route, becomes absolutely convinced that she didn't actually die. Why? Because a bunch of birds the company had been experimenting with well beforehand had been taught the phrase "Christina lives". Not only does this not logically follow in any way whatsoever, it turns out that wasn't even the Christina they were talking about.
  • Interface Spoiler: The tree diagram can give away the outcome of the Bad Endings, in which the two remaining survivors (Christina and Lionel in both cases) die.
  • It's Personal: Christina has it out for Fenix Corporation and its CEO Lionel for killing her mother just so they could experiment with their Time Machine.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Steve is sarcastic, hot-tempered, short-fused, impatient, rude, and crude, going as far as joking about Troy's death. Steve, however, begs the Visitor to spare Christina when it comes to the choice of killing either him or Christina.
  • Karma Houdini: In the true ending, Christina, the one responsible for nearly all the misdeeds done in the building, escapes through the time machine to another dimension.
  • Kill It with Fire: Christina set the fire to burn down the company and kill Lionel for killing her mother.
  • Liar Revealed:
    • The player finds out that Troy was lying about being the arsonist in an effort to get himself killed so that someone else is saved in his ending. The characters however (save for Christina, who knew he was lying because she was the true culprit) don't find out until the Golden Ending.
    • The Golden Ending also shows that Christina lied to Steve about the cause of her mother's death, telling him that she died of a tumor when she was actually killed in an experiment.
  • Light Is Good: While the nodes for the original paths are grey, the nodes of the Omega Ending are white, and only in them can you save everyone.
  • Little "No": Said several times in the face of a Sadistic Choice or consequence, such as Lionel facing guaranteed death in the bad endings, the Visitor seeing that either Christina or Steve must die, and Christina after Steve dies in her path.
  • Maybe Ever After: Christina doesn't admit to being in love with Steve until the true ending, when she leaves to search for her mother and Steve never manages to admit to feeling the same. Though Christina wishes she could be with him, she decides to simply hope she can see him again one day instead.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the ending where you save Troy, he begins explaining his odd behavior by saying "I've been here before.", referring to him having lived through five different timelines where everyone except him died. Later in the Golden Ending, Christina repeats this line to reveal she has already been to a timeline where everyone lived, and she's jumping in the TEMPEST machine again to try and find her mother again.
  • Meaningful Name: The Fenix Corporation uses time travel and multiversal hopping to effectively become immortal in a constant cycle of rebirth. Oh, and there's also a raging fire that's burning its employees to a crisp.
  • Mental Time Travel: Time travel forwards in time results in your body becoming lifeless until the destination date is reached, reviving you. Conversely, time travel backwards in time involves a person's consciousness being sent through the multiverse back to their body at the destination time, possibly ending up in a different reality altogether. However, sometimes multiple consciousnesses end up in one reality, leading to one overwriting the others. This also means that some realities don't get a consciousness after the time travel, leading to that person entering the time machine and permanently losing their consciousness, as what happened to Christina's mother.
  • Merged Reality: The final ending has every character from all the endings dumped into where they were at the start of the fire, with the information of all the fire door codes, so that, well... no one has to die.
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Troy won't stop the time loop or kill himself until someone else survives the fire.
  • Multiple Endings: One for each of the four characters, as well as two bad endings. In reality, each ending is an alternate timeline. Completing all of the character endings unlocks a true ending where no-one has to die.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Christina's fire was intended to kill Lionel, but she didn't check well enough to realize there were other people in the building. In her ending, Christina curses you for saving her instead of Steve, and only isn't arrested because she accidentally gets into the TEMPEST system instead.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: After Troy dies, Steve jokes about Troy lighting the fire over the recent wage cuts, causing Christina to chastise him over joking about a dead person. This happens again when Steve suggests they ask Troy for why he lit the fire, with the same response from Christina.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite the title telling you otherwise, you must pick someone to die in every level, and you won't be able to unlock the true ending until each character survives to the end at least once.
  • No Name Given: The Visitor is only ever referred to as such.
  • No OSHA Compliance: In order to use the building's fire suppression, you have to enter 4 different codes to use it to full effect, the codes are all kept in different locations, and head of the company Lionel doesn't even know them all himself. Additionally, the water sprinklers have to be manually activated...which is probably fortunate, because they release enough water to drown people.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: While most of the endings have a musical sting over the closing titles, the Bad Ends cuts out to the title in silence.
  • Omega Ending: If you see all four endings, you get access to the Golden Ending.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted (and not by the actual guy named Steve). Christina has the same name as her mother. This causes some confusion in Steve's path when he finds a document stating that "Christina lives" and assumes it's referring to Christina, the character present in-game, not her mother, who is also called Christina.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: "Tragedy", the "sad" Mood Motif, makes heavy use of the violin.
  • Posthumous Character: Christina's mother, also named Christina, has already been dead before the events of the game. Her death at the company's hands is Christina's motivation for working there in the first place: to find out what the company truly does and put a stop to it.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the bad ending where Steve dies second, Christina swears at both the Vistor and Lionel.
    Christina: I hope you both burn in hell.
  • Red Herring:
    • Troy tells you at the beginning of the game that he set the fire. He didn't; he's just trying to goad you into letting him die for other reasons.
    • On floor B1, there are two doors that are to the left and right of the fire above the switch in the left section. They are impossible to use without failing, including in the Merged Reality.
  • Reset Button: Every time the Visitor helps someone survive to the end, the survivor of the timeline is sent back in time to another one with the exact same situation. In Lionel's ending, the Visitor goes back in time along with him.
  • Retraux: The style of the characters' portraits are cute, simple, 8-bit-style drawings. The sound effects are chirpy bleeps as well, in contrast to the orchestral music. Justified in that you're using a chat program to communicate, and run simulations on the same computer to decide what the characters should do.
  • The Reveal:
    • Steve's ending reveals that the cockatiel experiment involved more and more cockatiels being bought, with the purpose of teaching them a phrase, until one of the cockatiels already knew the phrase. They then passed the birds through a machine, which killed all of them except the one who knew the phrase. And the phrase in question? "Christina lives."
    • Christina's ending reveals she was the one who started the fire because Fenix Corporation killed her mother.
    • Troy's ending reveals he didn't really light the fire, and that he's apparently lived through the fire several times before, and now just wants to die after failing to save anybody else over and over again.
    • Lionel's ending reveals Fenix Corporation's true interest is time travel.
    • The Omega Ending reveals Christina already went through the ending where everyone lives, and is planning to travel the multiverse in search of a timeline where her mother survived the experiment.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Steve is right about Christina's reappearance during the Merged Reality, and that the cockatiel experiment's chosen phrase, "Christina lives," was connected, but not about the phrase referring to the Christina in the game, or the whole thing being a sick joke.
  • Sadistic Choice: The Visitor is forced to make these in order to decide who lives and who dies. Subverted in the Bad Endings, where there's no way to save anyone, and the True Ending, where there's a way to save everyone.
  • Sanity Slippage: Steve doesn't take it well when Christina dies, deluding himself into believing that the whole thing is a trick, and that she's still somehow alive.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Depending on the final survivor, the security code in the blue file they find will be different. In the final route, the Visitor needs all four to activate the maximum security system and save everyone from the fire.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Everyone's motivation at the end is to create a timeline where everyone survives the fire. After the fire resolves, Christina decides to keep on time travelling to find a universe where her mother survived the time-travel experiment.
  • Shout-Out: The badge you get for beating the game is the Groundhog Day Dilemma Badge.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The way Troy is placed in each level means that you can immediately save him by closing a door next to him, stopping him from killing himself by running into the fire.
    • On B1 with Christina and Steve alive, in order to save Christina, Steve has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by moving away from the safety of the locked door to activate the sprinklers.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Christina is the only woman out of a cast of four, excluding the Visitor.
  • Significant Anagram: The four security codes (RFTS, IRHH, SOEE and EMAS) rearrange to "RISE FROM THE ASHES".
  • Sole Survivor: The four main endings have only one character other than the Visitor survive.
  • Someone Has to Die: Despite the name of the game, many people will die permanently. Even after the Omega Ending occurs, everyone else from each survivor's realities are dead, except for their own versions of the Visitor.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Each character has a different tone in the chat program.
  • Suicide by Cop: Troy is Driven to Suicide after seeing his friends die in 5 other timelines, so he pretends to be the arsonist so that you'll kill him.
  • Take a Third Option: Once you receive all four security codes in the Golden Ending, there are no projected casualties.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. The security system will actually lock out the chat system when it wants the Visitor to make their decisions regarding who will live and who will die.
  • Time Travel: Researching this is the true purpose of Fenix Corp. Going forward works perfectly, but going backward has... issues. When you go backwards, your consciousness is thrown into the multiverse and spat out in a random timeline. Sometimes this gets you back to your own timeline, and sometimes you end up somewhere else. This is the fate that befell Christina's mother; she ended up in another timeline, no alternate version of her claimed the shell left behind, and she died.
  • Title Drop:
    • The first title drop is done by Lionel in his ending as he describes a theoretical best-case scenario in which traveling back in time grants immortality aside from accidents.
    • The second title drop is in the Merged Reality, where Troy happily says the game's title when the computer system tells the group "no casualties expected".
  • Triumphant Reprise: The music that plays in the merged timeline, "Ray of Light", is this to the music that typically plays during the gameplay sections, "Up In Flames". As an extra kick, it starts at the same moment a Wham Line is delivered: "Fire on floor B3. No casualties expected."
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Fenix Corporation hired a woman whose mother died in their experiments. Christina suspects that they hired her just to shut her up.
  • Unlucky Everydude: The Visitor, plus two other characters, just happened to be working in the building when the fire broke out. Christina planned for Lionel to be there, but she didn't check the building carefully enough to realize there were other people still inside before she lit the fire.
  • Wham Line: Every ending has one:
    • Steve: "The phrase that the birds were taught? It was 'Christina lives'."
    • Christina: "I lit the fire."
    • Troy: "The reason I lit the fire... I didn't." and "I knew the security code because I heard you read it out."
    • Lionel: "Our true interest here is time travel."
    • Bad Endings: "Two casualties unavoidable." (There are only two survivors left when it appears.)
    • Start of the final path: "Fire on Floor B3. No casualties expected."
    • End of the final path: Christina: "I've been here before."
  • You Killed My Mother: Christina started working at Fenix Corporations after her mother died in one of their experiments in order to put an end to it.

Alternative Title(s): No One Has To Die