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For example: In Injustice 2

Either you can let Superman win and become Batman his puppet Or you can let Batman imprison Superman.

If Injustice 3 ever happens, will my decision in Injustice 2 matter or will the sequel follow along the Batman ending (as it is more reasonable to me).

The best I think the sequel can do is to let me play along the two different scenarios caused by the two endings.

But what about Arkham Knight ? There are multiple cases but let us consider the simplest one where we can either

Send Azrael to jail Or let him join us

For an Arkham Knight sequel, what will be the fate of Azrael?

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    This question is off-topic because it's a matter of opinion (about game design), about developer intent, and potentially too broad. Obviously a video game with multiple endings can have a sequel because there are numerous examples of this, so the question seems to be how this is possible.
    – Joachim
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 11:02
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    @Joachim In addition to your off-topic reasons, the question is also asking about future/unannounced games. The OP is asking about games like Injustice 3 and an Arkham Knight sequel, which do not exist Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 14:04

3 Answers 3

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Yes!

There are several techniques that the developers of the sequel can use. I will list some down below:

1. Declaring a canonical ending

When several endings are possible, the developers can pick one of them and claim that that is the canonical ending. This is often done when one ending is seen as the "regular" ending, and there is some hidden (and possibly humorous) ending as well.

In that case, the "regular" ending will be considered canon, and the hidden ending is just an easter egg.

The same can be done when one ending is considered the "good" or the "true" ending.

2. Declaring all endings as canonical

Depending on how the previous game works with endings, the developers can pick multiple or all endings and declare them all equally canon. This can be done, for example, if the ending is based on individual characters. The canonical thing to have happened would be that the story of all characters happened simultaneously.

3. Making the events of the previous game a mystery

If the sequel includes different characters, you can declare "what happened before" as a mystery, where certain details are missing. This would imply that several or all previous endings are at least a canonical possibility.

Even if the sequel directly contains one character from the previous game, they can evade talking about the details of the previous ending and thus allow players to speculate.

4. Ignore the effects of different endings for the sequel.

Different endings do not necessarily mean that there is not some common ground between all them. For example, an important character could die. For the sequel, differences between all the different endings are ignored, and the story focuses only on the common ground. In the example, said character would still be dead, but the circumstances of their death would not be elaborated on.


There are of course more possibilities. As other answers have mentioned, the game could allow you to read an old save file and thus determine your ending. Or I'm sure some developers did some other clever things.

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    Also something kinda close to #1 with a mix of #2, sometimes game devs declare a "good ending" and a "bad ending" where they are both cannon but most sequels would go off of the good ending.
    – Robbie
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:03
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    @Robbie Anything is really possible, and it depends on how the endings are structured. The typical "Earth is saved"/"Everybody dies" endings are hard to both make canon. "X survives"/"Y survives" can both be canon, depending on the situation.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:06
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There are multiple ways to a sequel for a game that have multiple endings. Spoilers ahead (obviously).

Case 1: Witcher 2 => Witcher 3

The story of Witcher 2 splits into 2 drastically different paths in the end of Chapter 1: you are either going with Roche and his Blue Stripes or you are going with Iorveth and his Scoia'taels. These groups are pretty much at war with each other, so siding with one of them will make you an enemy (or at the very least untrustworthy) for another.

However, the final cutscene of Witcher 2 reveals that this conflict was nothing but a petty squabble, since there is a major war with Nilfgaard starting soon.

Basically, whatever you did in previous game doesn't really matter and will become a glancing reference or some insignificant bonus at best.

Case 2:

Drakengard: (Ending E) => Nier, (Ending A) => Drakengard 2

C&C: Red Alert: (Soviet Ending) => C&C: Tiberium Dawn, (Alliance Ending) => C&C: Red Alert 2

Both of these examples are a bit questionable canon-wise, but I can't give a better one.

The point is: multiple endings split into different sequels. It's a rare and expensive for developers, but it can be done that way.

Case 3: Deus Ex => Deus Ex 2

Whatever of 3 endings of Deus Ex you might have chosen, all 3 of them happened. How? Well, JC became an avatar for an AI god (Ending 1), which caused a collapse of the Internet on Earth (Ending 2), and The Illuminati used that 'Dark Age' to snatch the control over humanity back in their hands (Ending 3).

Personally, I'm not a fan of this one, but whatever, it kinda works.

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  • Actually Witcher 3 lets you either import a Witcher 2 savegame or asks you some questions about the decisions in Witcher 2 and some aspects of the game change based on that!
    – Josef
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 12:48
  • @JosefsaysReinstateMonica So do Mass Effect 2 and 3, that have no significant impact on the main plot of the game though. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 13:08
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Yes. Mass Effect 2 had multiple endings, and you can import your savegame into the sequel Mass Effect 3, which impacted the experience quite a bit. Source

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  • I never played the Mass Effect franchise but had heard that it had a controversial ending. Thanks for the link.
    – HellWalker
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 9:10
  • @user10325089 I think ME3 had a good overall reception. ME:Andromeda was the one with the bad ending. I believe they made a patch for it, not sure how well it is perceived now. But there was definitely some turmoil about it indeed
    – Mathias711
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 9:18
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    Or alternatively do what... I know for sure the Red Alert series did, but probably others as well. And just decide "This ending is canon, the others aren't" and make the sequal from the canon ending
    – Elva
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 9:19
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    Pretty sure it was ME:3 that had an enormous backlash from fans of the series due to the original endings (while having decent reviews for the most of it), that prompted a DLC containing an expanded ending to be released - ME:3 Ending (Spoilers), ME:A was just generally poorly received all round. ME:A Reception (Spoilers)
    – Smock
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 11:02
  • @Smock my bad. Thanks for the clarification
    – Mathias711
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 11:03

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