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Overview

Retroactive continuity, more commonly referred to as a retcon or retconning, refers to the act of changing an element or event in an existing storyline to accommodate new storyline events. Oftentimes, this is done so that events that wouldn't otherwise be possible are allowed to take place, but retconning may also be done for the sake of making the existing storyline more coherent and easily understood.
 

Notable Examples of Retcons

  • Portal - The ending sequence was modified on March 3, 2010 through a patch meant to lead the game into the events of Portal 2.
  • Legacy of Kain - The series heavy use of time-travel meant the storyline established in the first game was continuously changed by later games in the franchise.
  • Resident Evil - The series has seen multiple changes to the storyline, either through remakes like the GameCube remake of the original game or through the reinterpretation of existing events in games such as The Darkside Chronicles.
  • Metal Gear Solid - The Twin Snakes added more extravagant action sequences to the original Metal Gear Solid. It also changed the accents and the origins for some of the characters.
  • Champions Online - Players can Retcon their character's choices. This option lets players respec their character skills and change their previous questing & storyline decisions.
  • Fallout 3 - The Broken Steel expansion added new endings to the original game, making it possible to continue on where the game originally ended with the player character's death.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening - Set after the events of Dragon Age: Origins, the player is allowed to play through the events of Awakening using a Warden that died.
  • Castlevania:  Lament of Innocence - The events of this game, which establish the beginning of the Castlevania timeline, overwrote the characters and events of Castlevania Legends, which had previously set out to do the same.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - In the Pocket Guide to The Empire, Cyrodiil was described as a vast jungle.  However, when the nation of Cyrodiil was featured in Oblivion, the landscape was revealed to be mostly grassland covered with sparse forests.
  • Driv3r - the game's ending involves two characters severely injured in a hospital, and one of them flat-lining. In Driver: San Francisco, which takes place after the events of Driv3r, both characters survive.

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