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A "What If" scenario is a story concept of the fiction genre that takes an established story or historical event and changes elements in a manner that cause events to play out in a different fashion. Examples of concepts that follow this idea include "What if the Confederacy had won the Civil War?" or "What if Abraham Lincoln hadn't been assassinated?" A well-written example of "What If" storytelling is capable of telling a believable story based on well-reasoned changes to an established timeline of events.
Examples in Video Games
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a complete retelling of the story of the original Dead Rising 2. This take on the events in Fortune City is altered by the portrayal of Frank West as the central protagonist, rather than Chuck Greene.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
The Force Unleashed and its sequel follow the adventures of Starkiller, a theoretical secret apprentice of Darth Vader. Depending on how the player progresses in these games, the first game in particular, numerous changes to the Star Wars storyline occur due to Starkiller's actions.
Dragon Age: Origins
In Dragon Age: Origins, the player may take the role of characters from several different backgrounds, such as a human noble, a mage, a city or dalish elf, or a dwarf noble or commoner. Certain elements of the story will change depending on the background of the player's character.