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  • Bowser in general switches back and forth from a vicious warlord into a simply grumpy and ineffectual villain in the Mario spinoffs with no explanation. A few of the main games, such as Super Mario Sunshine, try to reconcile the radically different portrayals.
  • Various Sonic characters have been hit with this throughout the years, which have only been addressed in the recent titles.
    • Originally, Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik was a Gadgeteer Genius who represented technology in contrast to Sonic representing nature and primarily built his own vehicles and robots to take on the hedgehog. From Sonic Adventure onward, he continually relies on ancient destructive gods which eventually hijack him from villain status, which not only diminishes his status as a villain, but screws up the "nature vs technology" motif of the series. Sonic Chronicles, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors undid some of the damage, the latter of which had him actually be the Big Bad the whole way through.
    • Tails, originally a Cheerful Child with notable tech skills, has essentially lost all of his childlike aspects and flaws in favor of being a ridiculously straight faced walking tool kit for the team. His friendship with Sonic has also been diluted somewhat. Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Colors undid some of the damage, though, especially the latter in terms of Tails' friendship with Sonic.
    • Originally, Knuckles had displayed a cunning and intelligent ability to outwit Sonic and Tails back in the 90's era, and in Sonic Adventure 2, displayed a calm and cool-headed ability to get his job done. While he was often fooled and misled, he was still fairly competent. However, as soon as Sonic Advance 2 was released (along with the anime Sonic X) and onward, Knuckles was portrayed as the village idiot. In addition to this, the Sonic X version also became the patsy of the group, with his gulliblity also being exploited by his own teammates, as well as often being the butt of jokes and orders outside of that. Sonic Chronicles undid some damage, however.
    • Amy Rose. At first, she was a cute Genki Hedgehog Girl with a crush on Sonic, but somewhere between Adventure games, her infatuation with the blue blur almost entirely took over her character. Again, Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Unleashed undid some of the damage.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is full of departures from what the characters were like in the second fighting game (which Shaolin Monks is a remake of), from Kitana being under a spell (when she wasn't in the fighting game) to Scorpion randomly attacking the protagonists for no apparent reason. The worst offender, however, has to be Kung Lao; up until then, they made it very clear that he preferred to not be in the spotlight, and purposely kept out of the MK tournament to avoid competing with his friend Liu Kang. In Shaolin Monks, he's turned into a cocky SOB with a constant and heated rivalry with Liu for glory, which became canonical in Armageddon.
  • In Guitar Hero II, Judy Nails was a perky Alt-Rock/Punk girl who was non-ironically described as "always bringing a smile to the stage." For Guitar Hero III, almost every aspect of her was changed to better conform to the violent and aggressive "Punk Grrl" stereotype, including having a permanent pouty scowl and a reference on one of her outfits to being kicked out of Catholic school... not to mention the dramatic wardrobe change itself. And gaining two cup sizes. Her change into a surly punk girl is made even more inexplicable by the fact that "rudeness" was previously listed as one of her "dislikes." She was largely reverted back in Guitar Hero: World Tour. She's been almost totally reverted in Guitar Hero V... but this is accompanied with her character bio being turned into a Take That against everyone who was bothered by the change in the first place.
    • The same thing happened to the grunge/country/alternative rocker Casey Lynch, retooled into a leather-wearing rocker chick in Guitar Hero III. Her description lampshades this, though, with an anecdote about how she attacked a reporter who accused her of selling out before coldly adding, 'I'm sorry, I can afford to pay the medical bill'.
    • Xavier Stone changes dramatically both in personality and physically in Guitar Hero II and III; III is especially obvious. Not only is his "cocky virtuoso" personality dropped in favor of "zen master", he appears to have lost all of his copious muscle mass and turned into a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Jimi Hendrix. It's to the point that it's nearly impossible to believe that he's the same character from previous games.
  • In Spyro: A Hero's Tail, the Dragon Elders bear no resemblance whatsoever to their previous selves apart from their names, Bentley, formerly a Genius Bruiser, loses the 'genius', and Hunter goes from being dim but good-natured to an irritating Ted Baxter who never gets his comeuppance. And Spyro himself going from a snarky but well-meaning and loyal Kid Hero to an arrogant, disrespectful punk that at least a few players enjoyed being knocked down a peg late in the game.
  • The Prince in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was a somewhat cocky, but likeable hero who sets out to reverse his mistakes. In Warrior Within, the in-game story had the Prince as a downright arrogant Jerkass who acted entirely on his selfish intentions. The Two Thrones was originally set to be just as dark as Warrior Within, but after some criticism, the developers actually set up the Prince to confront his actions of the previous games. Much of the game is a conflict between him and the more selfish part of his personality that was dominant during Warrior Within, and he develops to become kinder and more selfless over the course of the game, culminating in a World of Cardboard Speech as he accepts responsibility for his actions. even after learning that they caused his father's death.
  • Mega Man X to some degree. He usually complains about fighting but does it anyway. Then comes X7 and he's a hyper pacifist. Though it's at least understandable given that he wanted to stop fighting in the first place.
    • Then there's Mega Man X Command Mission, where he's only 1/4 of what his original character was. He has no problems kicking ass and blowing up mavericks.
    • Zero displays this. Usually he was just a guy who wanted to complete the mission and more sociable and approachable back in the day, not to mention he was good pals with X, having faith in him being able to change the world for the better (As stated in his ending in X6). Now he's somewhat of a jerk, who doesn't act like he's X's friend at all, although he did try to comfort him at the end of X8. Being fair, it's hard to be open and constantly cheery when your love interest dies (by your hand, no less, even if it was unintentional) and you know that your creation is the catalyst of approximately 95% of the world's problems.
  • The entire Rayman cast in Rayman 3 were changed to be more hilarious.
  • In the time-management fashion-design game Jojo's Fashion Show, recurring villain Claudio Maximo is a shrewd rival designer whose acts of villainy are fairly subtle and underhanded. The second game shows a bit of character growth on his part by having him become a Friendly Enemy of Jojo who helps mend her relationship with her daughter by gives her a bitchy but effective reality check. The third game, however, has Maximo back in full villain mode with ridiculous evil plots, over-the-top monologuing, and Mua-ha-ha-has being spouted every other line.
  • Dr. Neo Cortex from the Crash Bandicoot series started his transformation from occasionally goofy, yet still seriously threatening mad scientist to a completely negligible goofball who only occasionally even gets in Crash's way at around the third game in the series (where he was revealed to be the Dragon to the real Big Bad of the series), and was extremely deep into this territory by the time Crash Twinsanity rolled around, where he basically turns into a human club, frisbee and snowboard, in that order.
    • Cortex's boss Uka Uka also became much less menacing. In Crash 3 and Crash Bash, Uka Uka was a diabolical force of evil who gave an evil first impression just by being feared by Cortex. In the Wrath of Cortex, the Huge Adventure and N-Tranced, Uka Uka becomes more like a Pointy-Haired Boss who does nothing but complain about Cortex's failures and make empty threats of killing him. Uka Uka's evilness was arguably somewhat improved in Crash of the Titans, where he actually DOES get rid of Cortex and battle Crash by himself, but in the sequel, Mind Over Mutant, Cortex finally does something that by that point was long overdue: He betrays Uka Uka and uses him as a source of Bad Mojo to power his NVs while feeding him cake.
  • From Tales of Symphonia, Yuan went from the snarky, grumpy, Manipulative Bastard leader of La Résistance, who was almost always a step or two ahead of the party and seemed to have a plan for everything in the original game... to a minor Mister Exposition NPC with almost no personality in the sequel. La Résistance disappeared entirely, although, given that what he was resisting was literally leaving the solar system at escape velocity, perhaps he was just mellowing out.
  • Erol in the Jak and Daxter series starts out as The Dragon to Baron Praxis, Jak's opponent in Haven City's races and his rival for Keira's affection. He seemingly dies when he tries to run Jak down with his vehicle, only to crash into a large stash of Eco and explode. Sure, he may already have been evil in that game, but in the next game, he returns from the dead as a cybernatic Omnicidal Maniac who wants to Take Over the World. What the heck?
    • Considering that the colour of the explosion when Erol left the building in Jak II was definitely Dark Eco, it's probably the same condition that affected Gol and Maia: Dark Eco-induced insanity. Remember that G&M had exactly the same goal as Erol did, and it begins to look more like it's Dark Eco that's the problem.
  • It manages to happen in the same game in Fallout 3. Clover, despite having a slave mentality that makes her do absolutely anything her owner wants will not activate the Purifier in your place if you ask her during the ending, for no obvious reason except that the game is coded to only allow you or Sarah Lyons to make the Heroic Sacrifice here. Charon at least has the excuse that the "contract" his slave mentality is tied to only requires him to perform combat-related duties, though as of Broken Steel he'll begrudgingly activate the purifier.
    • An even worse example is Fawkes. Despite being portrayed as intelligent and morally upright, despite owing his life and freedom to the Vault Dweller, despite having already performed a similar service in the past, and despite being naturally immune to radiation, he refuses to activate the purifier because it's not his "destiny." This is the same Fawkes who, earlier in the game, single-handedly assaulted Raven Rock to rescue the Vault Dweller. Fortunately this illogical and out of character decision is eliminated once the Broken Steel DLC is added to the game. The final scene is rewritten, and now Fawkes will gladly activate the purifier in the Vault Dweller's stead. He even hangs a little lampshade on the fact that there's no reason for him not to.
      • The game still calls you a coward and defector from destiny in the credits ending movie, though.
  • Albert Wesker had a bad case of this in Resident Evil 5. He goes from being a Chessmaster Man Behind the Man who knew when to retreat to an egotistical lunatic with a god complex whose grudge against Chris Redfield took over his character. He even went One-Winged Angel in the end forgoing logic to try and kill Chris. This earned him a rocket launcher to the face. Only time will tell if this will stick.
  • Cranky Kong from the Donkey Kong Country series hasn't been living up to his name much in recent years outside of the Rare-developed ports/remakes. Quite possibly the worst example? Encouraging DK and Diddy to practice so they'll get better at the beginning of Donkey Konga after they demonstrate how horrible they are at drumming. This coming from the same character who would've previously seemed all too ready to hurl insults at them for their lousy performance, tell them they're horrible and may as well give up, or at least berate them for not trying hard enough to improve. Donkey Kong Country Returns rerails him, though.
    • Donkey Kong himself. In most of his games, such as Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong 64, as well as the Donkey Konga series, he's portrayed as a pleasant, laid back ape who only gets angry when his enemies steal his banana hoarde. But recently Nintendo started portraying him as an angry jerkass who beats up animals and steals things for little established reason in Jungle Beat and the Mario vs Donkey Kong series. This has since been overturned by a small change in the plot of the Wii version of the Jungle Beat and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
      • The Mario vs. Donkey Kong series is a throwback to the roots of Donkey Kong, from when he was a villain. With that in mind, the Donkey Kong Country incarnation of the character could be seen as a derailment.
        • The original Donkey Kong that kidnapper Pauline grew old and became Cranky Kong. Donkey Kong is his son/grandson.
  • Happens to Prometheus in the Age of Mythology expansion campaign. It's based on All Myths Are True (well, most of them anyway), and Prometheus is a trickster figure in Greek mythology who is, at least on some level, on our side (see also: fire). So how does he appear in Age of Mythology: The Titans? As a fifty-foot clay monster who seems to have no goals besides smashing stuff and generally ruining people's days, and not only isn't a trickster figure, he doesn't even speak.
    • One should wonder what getting your liver eaten by a gigantic bird every day does to your sanity.
  • One of the problems some Chrono Trigger fans have with its sequel Chrono Cross is its treatment of the characters from the first game. In Trigger, Lucca joins her friends in their quest to avert an apocalyptic future using time travel, and end up rewriting the past in the process. In Cross, she mentions in a letter "what was meant to happen will happen," causing her adopted little sister to react in shock. "You're the one who always laughed about how there's nothin' 'definite' or 'certain' in this world..." As if killing her off wasn't enough...
  • Originally, Vicki Kawaguchi of Backyard Sports loved ballet, which helped her play games. In Backyard Baseball 2007, Vicki is just a superstar athlete. Pablo Sanchez also no longer speaks Spanish, which made him loved. But he speaks English anyway.
  • In the original Final Fight games, as well as in his Street Fighter appearances, Guy was a vigilante for justice who was also dedicated to his training of his Bushin-Ryu martial art. Then came Final Fight: Streetwise, and for some reason he became the leader of a Yakuza gang in Metro City's Japantown, and has reduced himself to using guns. There's a reason why Capcom never bothered localizing this game in Japan...
    • Similarly, Cody starts out being on the side of the city, and fighting to protect people, including Jessica. Then, in Street Fighter Alpha, after becoming dissatisfied with his life, he starts fights for no good reason until he's incarcerated.
    • Ironically, while Guy's change in characterization was loathed, many enjoyed Cody's Darker and Edgier to point that it became Characterization Marches On—when Guy and Cody returned to SF for Super Street Fighter IV, guess which depiction of Cody was chosen (it should be noted that both are darkhorses in the fandom).
  • In the original Baldur's Gate, Quayle is quite arrogant and stupid. In the series, he's a kindly old gnome who has adopted Aerie, caring for her after her traumatizing experience in the circus that resulted in her losing her wings. This is a rare case of a character having a more positive personality after being derailed.
    • Quayle explains to Aerie that she changed him for the better, explaining his more compassionate nature. How it made him more intelligent is anyone's guess.
    • Or for that matter, how either had any influence on the other at all, when he can't have been with the circus for more than a month or two, since he met the PC in baldur's gate, many miles away, a few month's ago, and the PC's travel was probably magically aided.
    • Also, the novelization derails every single character's personality. Which is why fans don't acknowledge that it exists.
    • Ironically, the novelization counts as canon within the Forgotten Realms setting, while the game with it's non-linearity doesn't.
  • A portion of the Final Fantasy fanbase utterly detests the way that Cloud & Co. were characterised in their various spinoffs and cameo appearances. Case in point: Cloud got over his angst in the game, but became Wangstier than ever in both, and Sephiroth underwent Motive Decay to the point where he's just sort of there to torment Cloud and nothing else.
    • Cloud can be more a case of Pandering to the Base-triggered Character Development in that he is at least given some understandable reasons for his severe depression in Advent Children. Unfortunately, those reasons are only made clear in the longer Advent Children Complete version. Also, complainers about Cloud's supposedly wangsty behavior seem to ignore that Cloud explicitly gets over it by the last third of the movie. This is even more apparent from one of the cutscenes in Dirge of Cerberus—when Vincent talks to Cloud over the phone, Cloud is upbeat enough to snort in obvious amusement at one of Vincent's comments.
  • Joanna Dark. In the original Perfect Dark, she had a Bifauxnen haircut and a posh British accent, but in Zero, which was made by a different developer who just didn't care, she has long red hair, an American accent, and a much more girly personality.
  • Earthbound takes the complex villain Giygas from its predecessor and makes him the embodiment of all evil. The shift is so dramatic that despite Word of God it's debated within the fan community whether it is the same character.
    • Arguably less Derailment and more a logical conclusion to Giygas' story. After all of it, he only just wants to prove his power and do what he was meant to do. This could potentially reach levels of obsession leading to the twisted form of the character we see in Earthbound.
  • Phoenix Wright by the time of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney has completely changed personalities from rather neurotic, hardworking, and perpetually frazzled, to a rather lazy, sloppy pseudo-Magnificent Bastard. Even if you really reach and say that it's a result of what he's been doing the last seven years, there's a sequence where you flash back to him not long after the first trilogy, and he's completely OOC there, most severely in that he's contemptuous of newcomer prosecutor Gavin, telling him that he should have stayed back in Germany and gotten more experience. Considering how he began his own career, and how hurt he seemed when Mia confided that to Maya in the original game, Phoenix would never say that to anyone. If anything, it sounds more like perpetual loser Winston Payne.
  • World of Warcraft has done this on occasion to recurring characters, but the most notorious examples have been in The Burning Crusade, notably Illidan Stormrage, Kael'thas Sunstrider, and Zul'jin.
    • Illidan used to be a sympathetic, if selfish Anti-Hero who tried to do the right thing, but often did so at great expense, using dark magic and hurting his allies in the process. He was motivated by a lust for power and his Unrequited Love of Tyrande Whisperwind. Come The Burning Crusade, Illidan has been hit with the Villain Ball, gone insane like every other major Warcraft villain, and has a complete Motive Decay. Before the events of the expansion, he senselessly attacked the Naaru in Shattrath City for no reason, became a vicious slave driver to the Broken tribes under his control, and convinced himself he actually defeated Arthas during their duel in Icecrown. He then spent all of the expansion sitting atop the Black Temple, doing nothing.
    • Kael'thas was formerly the prince of the Blood Elves. He genuinely cared about his people and traveled to Outland in hopes of finding a new way to sate their magic addiction. Come The Burning Crusade, when the rest of the Blood Elves travel to Outland, they find that Kael has allied with the Burning Legion and is capturing the Blood Elf pilgrims as slaves. There is very little to explain how the change came about, apart from Kael being fed up with Illidan's insanity and the general knowledge that the Legion corrupts all their followers, but even then, Kael was more firmly entrenched as a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than a Designated Villain.
      • It Got Worse in Patch 2.4 when he was made a boss in the Magisters Terrace. If people weren't happy about his derailment in Tempest Keep, Magisters Terrace took it Up to Eleven. Kael is helping summon Kil'jaeden - the most powerful remaining demon lord of the Burning Legion - into Azeroth, outright says he wants to see the world burn, and that he never trusted Illidan to begin with. How much is angry conjecture from Kael and how much is the writers rectifying his back story to suit his current characterization is unknown, but the general consensus is that it didn't help what players felt was already an Ass Pull excuse to turn him into a raid boss.
    • Zul'jin was painted positively in several Horde quests in World of Warcraft, he was depicted as hero in the cancelled Lord of the Clans, the troll charge emote is "For Zul'jin." and the Darkspear have said vengance for Zul'jin since Warcraft III. Yet in the Burning Crusade he's turned into a hostile raid boss. As if that wasn't enough he isn't even treated seriously as an antagonist and his death is portrayed as a joke, utterly ignoring the previous lore on the character.
    • Jaina Proudmoore, previously someone who would sacrifice her own father to maintain the peace between the alliance and horde, turned incompetent somewhere around Wrath of the Lich King, where Varian Wrynn declared war on the horde, and she did nothing besides ask him not to.
      • And now in Mists of Pandaria she's set to become a racist warmonger, in complete defiance of every previous depiction of her character.
    • The legendary daggers questline does this for the Red Dragons who previously were Always Lawful Good and who's matriarch was close to a Big Good and acts like a Motherly sort of Goddess and talks about how she knew when you were born (even if the draenei at least are established as from another planet away from the titans) when you first meet her even if they or their agents(ie you}} I Did What I Had to Do. But in this chain? They're initially established as Good Is Not Nice but then its revealed they were going to manipulate a new born dragon baby, had experimented on him, planned to control his life and planned this all in front of him. While the last is a case of Too Dumb to Live its a far cry from their previous characterization. Or concurrent since their matriarch is concurrently acting as something of a Big Good and even brings Brought Down to Normal on herself to help defeat the Big Bad. Depending on the Writer?
  • In Super Robot Wars K, Major Zairin suffers from this hard. In his origin series (Zoids: Genesis) he's the Worthy Opponent Rival to Kid Hero Ruuji, but that just means he considers him a good pilot and enjoys fighting him (And will do if possible). In the game he FOLLOWS Ruuji and seeks for rematches when possible, going as far to ally himself with Proist and Gil Barg to get to face Ruuji. Thing is, Proist and Gil are Complete Monsters while Zairin's a pretty honorable guy, who in canon (And also the game) does a Heel Face Turn after finding out his boss Emperor Gene is also a Complete Monster, so Zairin siding with the two jerks makes no sense. Way to go, Banpresto.
  • The junkyard dogfish in the first Freddi Fish game was your typical kind of Angry Guard Dog: the kind that growls at you and refuses to let you pass without any distractions. Cut to a long Sequel Gap in ABCs Under the Sea, where he becomes a Big Friendly Dog willing to help Freddi and Luther sort out the trash. He still looks like an Angry Guard Dog, so that only makes it worse.
  • Anders in Dragon Age Awakening is a Heroic Neutral Deadpan Snarker mage who wants to be left along from the Templars to have his own harem. At one point in the game, he even comments on how much it is a bad idea for the entirety of the mages to rebel against the Templars. Anders in Dragon Age 2 is melancholy Knight Templar who takes it upon himself to be the defender of mage rights, and is completely dismissive/hostile towards those who disagree with his extremer viewpoints. This ends up being a rare case where the derailment was justified, as his massive personality shift is a plot point.
  • Played for either laughs or serious tones in Blaz Blue for Jin Kisaragi, depending on where it is. Jin is normally level-headed and The Stoic to the cast, never fretting over anything... until Ragna appears. This is his cue to be insane, with his speech becoming litered with... overtones. However, in his Gag Reel and the bonus material and Fourth Wall Mail Slot "Teach Me, Miss Litchi"/"Help Me, Professer Kokonoe", the overtones are lampshaded and Up to Eleven. Nobody has yet to complain, possibly beause Arc System took the jokes the fans started. It should be noted that this change is only in bonus material, and does not affect the main story.
    • Continuum Shift showed Nu-13 being turned from a cyborg that's either very machine-like or a Yandere-Fangirl to a cheerleader-sterotype. However, much like Jin's personality in Gag Reels and bonus selections, Nu-13 only appears in the Gag Reels, and much like Jin, this is played for laughs.
  • Big Boss and Revolver Ocelot of Metal Gear fame have both been altered as time went on. At first Big Boss was a villain with a cause that more or less intended to do great harm to the world for what he believed in, and Ocelot was a Manipulative Bastard who had no compunctions triple crossing anyone and everyone he's come into contact with all the while showing great sadistic tendencies (he was a torture expert after all). Post-MGS 3 however, both characters were changed drastically: Big Boss is now an overly heroic revolutionary who refuses to cross the Moral Event Horizon (yet he idolizes Che Guevara, funny how that works), and Liquid Ocelot (ditching his Lee Van Cleef motif was in itself derailment) is revealed to have been a closet hero who, for all that he did throughout Metal Gear proper, held equally good intentions to his boss (pardon the expression) and that all the destruction he's caused and all the backs he's stabbed were all for good reasons. It's no wonder Metal Gear Solid 4 is generally considered the weakest title of the entire series (even next to the once universally hated Metal Gear Solid 2).
  • Krystal changed from a decent-looking, somewhat useful and not quite helpless addition to the team into an Ax Crazy Mary Sue in Star Fox Command.
  • A common criticism of the ending to Mass Effect 3 is that the entire main cast including Commander Shepard him/herself falls victim to this in the last few minutes. After an entire series of being presented as a Magnetic Hero that inspires Undying Loyalty in his/her crews, Shepard is inexplicably abandoned by the entire squad in the final moments, including his/her Love Interest, who all flee the battle on the Normandy. To make matters worse, Shepard, whose defining trait regardless of moral alignment is being The Determinator who argues with everyone, only puts up one feeble protest at the beginning of The Catalyst's spiel, after which s/he lamely accepts everything s/he's being told at face value and dutifully picks one of three presented options. What the Hell, Hero?, indeed.
  • Poor Astrid from the Fire Emblem Tellius duology. In Path of Radiance, she's a shy and naive but determined Lady of War who became a knight to carve out her own destiny, rather than being married off to a man her parents chose and spend the rest of her life as miserable as her sisters. Her supports and base conversations are mostly about such determination, and the ones with Makalov have her telling him he's a better person than he thinks he is. Come Radiant Dawn, the girl's gone totally delusional over him, constantly insisting he's a fine, upstanding example of knighthood and fixing the messes he makes through his idiotic behavior! To add salt to the wound, she's derailed as a unit, too, easily the weakest of the Crimean knights when in the previous game she was a case of Magikarp Power and could easily be your best archer.