Worst waste of story telling potential that annoyed you.

Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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You've probably seen it, a book, a movie or a show that had great potential because of the setting, and it got pissed away for something entirely different. Just name them, what went wrong and what could have gone right.

Worst offender I can think of in recent years was Sword Art Online.

10 000 people trapped in an MMO where if you die you die in real life? And to escape they need to finish the game? That could be an epic story that lasts years. Wait, why is episode 4 filler? Why is episode 5 filler? Why was that Two Parter not relevant to anything? Why are those two characters married when they barley knew each other? Why where there 11 filler episodes out of 15 in the setting? So many questions, no logical answers.

And then there's the second arc.
 

Shoggoth2588

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Aug 31, 2009
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I remember being interested in the film The Purge but I never went to watch it because despite the premise (once a year, all laws are suspended: From dusk til dawn anarchy rules). I skipped out on The Purge because the story they told with that premise was another damn home-invasion movie!
 

Parasondox

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Jun 15, 2013
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Heroes.

I mean, what can I say without spoiling it for many who haven't seen it yet but wish to see. The story was going so well in season 1 and then season 2 was okay. Not the best but okay and then after season 3... blah and meh. Yes I know the writers strike really affected it badly but more could have been done with the introduction of maybe some new and interesting characters, especially between the heroes and villains. Have more of a comic book drama side to it all and NOT HAVE SYLAR WASTED. I mean seriously, you have one of the best villain created and portrayed in many years and then you just... leave him wasted away. So much potential there for a better story but... yeah I have no other words for it. Just wasted.
 

Parasondox

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Shoggoth2588 said:
I remember being interested in the film The Purge but I never went to watch it because despite the premise (once a year, all laws are suspended: From dusk til dawn anarchy rules). I skipped out on The Purge because the story they told with that premise was another damn home-invasion movie!
Good news, I think. The Purge 2 is coming out this year and it will focus more on the actually "12 hour no law and total anarchy" side to the whole idea of the first movie. Trailer below;


Let's hope the movie itself, is not like the first.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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Jan 24, 2009
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Neon Genesis Evangelion

Episode 19 ends with the main character kicking major ass after having suffered a mental breakdown, resulted from being forced to kill his friend, with a gigantic robot-human hybrid awakened, about to go on a rampage through an already ruined Tokyo. It seems like answers are finally coming, secrets are about to unveil and the series is entering a spectacular final act...

...and the next episode is mostly static images with voiceovers of characters talking, the main character tripping balls in a liquefied state and fuck-all getting resolved. Even the death of Toji (or did he die only in the manga? I forget) is merely glossed over in a phone call scene.

And don't even get me started how it turned out in the remake movies.

Gantz

Incredible potential for really edgy and darkly comedic social satire in the beginning with a perfect fish-out-of-water setting, lots of unexplained mysteries to uncover, characters with lots to evolve into...

...and turns out... wait, I have to use this meme:


And a literal Deus ex machina.

Supernatural

I like the series just fine, but it had some maddening misses of potential in Season 3. Bela, for example, was one of my favorite characters (and freaking hot), but she just got axed anticlimactically in the end. Dean literally went to hell and came back in season 4, and all we got was characters talking about it with some occasional close ups of his bloody face with screaming in the background. A horde of demons was supposed to have broken out of hell at the end of season 2, but season 3 just stuck to the formula.

Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

ATLA is awesome, but season 3 was still initially disappointing after the incredible finale of season 2.
In the beginning of season 3, the Fire Nation has won the war and effectively conquered the world. The Avatar and a few rebels are in hiding and struggling just to survive. But then the rest of the season just follows the series' formula as normal

Korra is the far worse offender in this regard. So much potential with the setting, characters and setups, and most of season 2 was just meandering around and Korra acting like a stupid *****. And the very last minutes of season 1 pretty much rendered all that happened during the season pointless.

I'm almost tempted to include A Song of Ice and Fire here as well, as Daenerys has still yet to drag her ass and dragons into Westeros and the White Walkers seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth, but as the series remains unfinished, it's not exactly fair.
 

DJjaffacake

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Jan 7, 2012
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The Star Wars prequels contain lots of individual elements that could have been combined to make a great story that equalled or even (dare I say it) surpassed the originals. You've got the clones, who are bred specifically to be soldiers, and as far as we know given no choice in the matter. You've got the indications that most supporters of the Separatists genuinely believe that the Republic is too corrupt to save and that they're doing the right thing by creating an alternate government. You've got the militarisation of the traditionally semi-pacifist Jedi Order. It would not be hard to derive from these elements a plot involving the tragedy of a completely pointless war and the horrific actions taken by the supposed good guys in an attempt to win it driving a certain Jedi to extreme lengths in trying to end it.

But no, we got, "Hey, these guys with legitimate grievances are totally evil, right, because, um, well they sound foreign, and we called them the Confederacy. Yes we know it's the other side using slaves, shut up. Oh and Darth Vader's just an annoying kid, and then a moron. Also, we didn't bother making sure what happens fits with what was said in the originals, so Obi-Wan now sounds like he has Alzheimer's, and Leia can remember her fucking birth."
 

Rad Party God

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Feb 23, 2010
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Alan Wake, just... Fucking Alan Wake.

The story is kinda decent up until you get to the mental institution and the doctors are telling Alan that everything is on his mind and he's in complete denial, still believing everything that's happened up to that point is real. IMO, it would've been a struck of genious if they kept going with it, Alan is murdering hundreds of innocents on his fantasy driven world, or everything is a metaphor of his "writer blockage" driving him insane, literally trying to rescue his wife that represented his sanity, but NOPE, everything is indeed real and Remedy just threw out of the window a potentially strong piece of storytelling that would've been akin to Spec Ops: The Line and instead kept going with their shit imitation of a shit Stephen King movie.
 

Reaper195

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Jul 5, 2009
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Assassins Creed suffers this the most. To the point where after 2, the entire series can fuck right off. First off, there is the lack of a ninja AC game. "Oh, it'd be too obvious." YES! IT FUCKIN' WOULD BE! Remember all that asian text on the walls at the end of 1 where Desmond gains the Eagle Sight thing? I EXPECTED 2 to be in asian territory. Not Italy for three goddamn games. And then there is Desmond. Okay, 2 wasn't in Asia. The Ezio lost all interest about him after the first ten minutes. Whatev's, at least I've got Desmond to look forward to doing stuff in present day.

NOPE!

There's about three sections where Desmond does anything over the course of the second game. Sure, you could run around in that Villa in Brotherhood, but the story still does nothing. And then you kill the hot blondie because an Alien made you. The explaination in 3 (By the way, nothing happened in revelations. Literally. Desmond is in a coma for THE ENTIRE FUCKIN' GAME! AND THEN HIS FATHER APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE! THERE IS NOT ANOTHER LEVEL OF CAPS LOCK TO SHOW YOU JUST HOW MUCH THIS MAKES ME FUCKING SCREAM IN MY HEAD LOUDER AND LOUDER AS I TYPE THIS!) by said alien? "Yeah, she was going to turn traitor. I mean....I don't have any proof aside from I can see the future. Just believe what I say.". Fuck sake, at least we finally get to do some stuff with Desmond in 3. Missions out in the real world. Finally, this is what the AC series has been building towards. A present day AC game. The part of the series I am goddamn expecting.

NOOOOOPE!

Desmond dies in the worlds most "Why am I sacrificing myself for this? Isn't there just a switch?" way possible. And considering the bullshittery they pulled with the present day stuff in 4....that series can fuck right off.
 

The Wykydtron

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Sep 23, 2010
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I suppose Bioshock Infinite. Oh wow a floating city where xenophobia, super nationalism and religious zealotry are kings, that's such an awesome setting for a story.

Wait what are you doing? Why are you bringing alternate universes and time travel into this? Stop, please. I said STOP! DAMN YOU KEN LEVINE!

Seriously the earlier bits of the game while I can nitpick the fuck out of them, they were pretty interesting. Suddenly they drop all of their earlier themes as bare bones background dressing and wheel out some retarded Hypertime dimension jumping plot that proceeds to take over the game entirely.

The lapses in logic are astounding too. Right we need to gather enough guns and ammo for all the black people in Columbia, let's go. What do you mean we have no means of carrying so much equipment away from an impound lot? We'll just ignore that and bullshit teleport our way out of it later. Also why is there a ghost? Seriously. A fucking ghost. Jesus christ.

Oh and the ending is a lot less complex than it thinks it is. I know the "P word" has had to huge amount of misuse and abuse around gaming semi recently but this is one case where it accurately applies.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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The first thing that comes to mind is Uncharted 3.

We learn that Nathan Drake isn't his real name, and he's probably not even related to Sir Francis Drake. Seems it was all made up. You could do SO MUCH with that and they do literally nothing with it. The big bad says it in a cutscene then after the cutscene it's back to your regularly scheduled action/adventure.
 

Autumnflame

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The Wykydtron said:
I suppose Bioshock Infinite. Oh wow a floating city where xenophobia, super nationalism and religious zealotry are kings, that's such an awesome setting for a story.

Wait what are you doing? Why are you bringing alternate universes and time travel into this? Stop, please. I said STOP! DAMN YOU KEN LEVINE!

Seriously the earlier bits of the game while I can nitpick the fuck out of them, they were pretty interesting. Suddenly they drop all of their earlier themes as bare bones background dressing and wheel out some retarded Hypertime dimension jumping plot that proceeds to take over the game entirely.

The lapses in logic are astounding too. Right we need to gather enough guns and ammo for all the black people in Columbia, let's go. What do you mean we have no means of carrying so much equipment away from an impound lot? We'll just ignore that and bullshit teleport our way out of it later. Also why is there a ghost? Seriously. A fucking ghost. Jesus christ.

Oh and the ending is a lot less complex than it thinks it is. I know the "P word" has had to huge amount of misuse and abuse around gaming semi recently but this is one case where it accurately applies.
I personally thought it worked but that was me.


My addition.

any we all knew this was coming.
MASS EFFECT 3 ENDING.

A magnificent world had been weaved and characters that you loved.
the fanbase that supported the franchise in dlc, merchandise, cosplay, fanfics, art, proved it was something special.
The first 99% of the series had the theme of the universe perfect then.
LOL NOPE giant middle finder.

The potential to see what could happen in different scenarios.
If sentient life would take the chance against the odds for survival on their own
or be handed the solution but in doing so lose the identity and work that made them unique.

we could have had so much more. games in the back story, side stories of people surviving the different wars,
Post shepards story
 

Rastrelly

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Mar 19, 2011
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For me - literally all Warhammer books. With a seting as potent as 40k or WFB writing of such a crappy stories is unforgivable. Especially offensive for me is the dominace of pro-Abnett clique. Abnett actually CAN write. But he doesn't want to. 3rd parts of both Eisenhorn and Ravenor are insane in a bad sense. Both inquisitors act like brainless imbeciles, by simply allowing events to happen instead of, hey, INVESTIGATING or something alike. Relations of Eisenhorn and Pontius are beyond sane.

The only 40k writer I can give a positive mark is Mitchell. For obvious reasons - his books are the closest to actually having the right to be called "literature".

phoenixlink said:
MASS EFFECT 3 ENDING.
Oh! And this.
 

Nooh

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Mar 31, 2011
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The movie Oblivion starring Tom Cruise. It begins with a world that has been punished by the ravages of war, they are taking whatever resources they can and get ready to move to another planet, they are simply just left to oversee the machines and to stop occasional attacks by unknown beings. It seems to be a good relative to a post-apocalyptic type of movie, there are questions unanswered and you get this general sense of mystery and feeling that there has to be something wrong.

Enter the second act, and boy do we see a change. The script becomes more simplified (solely my own personal opinion, of course) and the movie devolves into a mainstream action flick, and it all stereotypically ends with a big bang. The first part implied something so much greater, I am rarely disappointed when I watch movies because I'm not a huge movie connoisseur and I don't have all that high expectations even then, but I was actively disappointed when watching the movie.
 

InfinityX

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Jul 14, 2013
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Zontar said:
Sword Art Online had such a wonderful world and style to it, I was so dissapointed when they cut off the first MMO world that, IMO, made it loose the features that made it special (the whole psychological theme of what would people do in this world.) Also, it didn't help that they jumped around alot story wise, It really could of been one of the best shows out there, if they stuck to the first plan (don't know if the writer had plans to scrap the first world and create a safe one)

Another waste I found, was the 2nd half of Borderlands 2.

[spoiler = Borderlands 2 spoiler]
While I didn't agree with the whole Wilhelm's death, I thought Jack was a good villain, UP to Angel's and Roland's deaths. The whole scene was beautify done, but what happens right after? Jack: Hey, can you go kill my grandma? lol jk I got bandits to do it. Jack: Im going to personally tear you apart with my bear hands! ... sends down a few robots at a time. Jack: I got the warrior to do my bidding, MUHAHAHAH.... *proceds to yell his weakspot every 5 damn seconds.

Such a waste of potential villain material. Here I thought we would see his downfall, getting serious, worried, revenge for his daughter, but then we find out he never cared about his daughter, so why the dramatic scene? He made so many threats, but left them empty. I never felt like I was fighting someone powerful, Unlike the first Borderlands, where at least the Crimson Blade(or was is something else....can't remember) was threatening and dangerous, They truly felt like they needed to be stopped. With Jack, It just felt like another psycho with money. Everything that made him a character, was lost after the death of Angel and Roland. (And if you think jack changed this way because of angel, let me remind you that:

1) he never mentioned her name at all (or even implied daughter) since then and
2) you find out he doesn't really care about his daughter).

Also, General Knoxx was probably the best villain in the series (which as it happens, is Crimson Blade).

Sure Handsome Jack fit the theme of crazy (sorta)mastermind on a crazy, insane planet, but that's why I think it was a waste, We could have had a actual mastermind, one that felt human, one that had emotion, on a planet that pervously lost it all. In fast, there are many themes it could of taken, Rebels and exiles obtaining a home and defending it from those who believe they are better, or Hell, go 4th wall and show about corporations nickel-and-dime everything, and how the protagonists fight against it (though the last one wouldn't work because of what Gearbox thinks "DLC" is).
[/spoiler]
 

Vivi22

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Paradox SuXcess said:
Shoggoth2588 said:
I remember being interested in the film The Purge but I never went to watch it because despite the premise (once a year, all laws are suspended: From dusk til dawn anarchy rules). I skipped out on The Purge because the story they told with that premise was another damn home-invasion movie!
Good news, I think. The Purge 2 is coming out this year and it will focus more on the actually "12 hour no law and total anarchy" side to the whole idea of the first movie. Trailer below;


Let's hope the movie itself, is not like the first.
I find it funny that youtube decided to play an ad for a regional ISP's home security system before letting me watch the trailer.
 

Radeonx

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Apr 26, 2009
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If you want a better, less teenage romanced focused version of Sword Art Online, check out Log Horizon. Basically the same premise, and about 100 times better.

Back onto the topic, there are far too many anime series that start off with super interesting stories and tons of potential and transition into nothing but a goofy harem show that has 0 plot development. I could forgive it if there was some sort of romantic development between the characters, but 90% of them follow the same tropes as every other harem anime and end up with absolutely no progress whatsoever.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Reaper195 said:
Assassins Creed suffers this the most.
Yeah, I stuck with that series up until the end of III, where it became painfully clear to me that these guys didn't know how to tell a story and were tripping over themselves. I will give four a shot because my friends say that they are basically rebooting the story with that one, but I'm not buying it. I'm just going to borrow it.
An Assassin's Creed game set in Asia would be pretty sweet, and I think if you didn't play as a ninja, it might be even better.

Someone already mentioned the Mass Effect ending, yes? Yes, they did. Depending on how Dragon Age III turns out, it may end up being included here too. Come on guys, you have all this lore and history to draw from. Don't fall into the cliche X-men/civil rights story. Please...

Non-video game related: Anime/manga often falls into this trap in my opinion, especially toward the end. However, right now Naruto is suffering it the most. All these other characters to draw on. All these other powers. So much more that could be done, and yet it always comes down to Naruto, Naruto, Naruto and "My feelings are stronger than yours so change your mind!" I was so excited when Tenten had that jar dropped on her head because I thought, "Finally! She gets to do something!" but no, Naruto woke up, which means she just go sidelined again.
 

Reincarnatedwolfgod

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-fallout 3-
It's a shame because they put so much effort into making a great world to explore. That alone simply makes is a good game and then they proceed kill my interest in ever playing it again after running out of interesting things to do with the writing. The writings only achievement is inspiring apathy.

The Pitt DLC had is the only exception with a single moment of good writing. Even then the apathy from everything else seeped in and made allowing slavery a non-issue. A great moral choice became the question: what reason do is there to help the rebels that I don't care about when supporting the guy in power just seems more logical?

They make a crappy main story and failing to write more the 1 character I could care about. The one character I kinda cared about wanted me to kill him; so I respectfully granted his wish. Bethesda could not even achieve making a single character I hated/strongly disliked enough to remember.

edit: fallout new vegas- OK it's not the worst but it bothers me.
Obsidian never fleshed caesar's legion enough to justify help them. They are bunch of misogynist, slavers, and rapist. Once you finally get to meet Caesar and listen to him; he says some very interesting things. That is still not do enough to justify helping the legion. If your playing a female courier then it's even harder to justify helping them.
 

gunny1993

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SAO is awesome, filler is character development, scene setting, stake setting.

And they get married because they're in a extremely stressful situation and find love; not exactly a grandmaster level Sudoku. Now if you want to argue that it was forced and a bit stilted, then you'd have a better point.


If you want real perspective on a great concept ruined by terrible writing go watch guilt crown.