Previous Player Character Cameo

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Sometimes, in a video game sequel, you meet the Player Character of a previous game in the series. This sometimes leads to branches being cut off, if the previous game had any choice in character creation/development or Multiple Endings. One way to achieve this (also averting the problem of Cutting Off the Branches) is through an Old Save Bonus.

Supertrope of Rogue Protagonist, where the previous player character is now a major villain. See also Continuity Nod.

Examples of Previous Player Character Cameo include:


Video Games[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The true champion of the Johto Pokémon games is Red, the hero from the Kanto games. He is a secret boss found at the end of the post-game dungeon in the second generation games and their remakes. His sprite matches the first game but to further drive home the point, he is completely silent and his team is one giant Continuity Nod to the first generation, containing the three starters in their fully evolved forms, Pikachu, the storyline Pokemon (Snorlax, and Espeon, an evolved form of Eevee, who is given to you as a gift by an NPC. The remake swaps Espeon out for Lapras, another gift Pokemon). Even Blue, Red's rival, refers to Red during his own cameo appearance.
    • Red's HGSS outfit is a barely older looking (he's fourteen instead of eleven now) version of his FRLG one. Unfortunately, the female playable character, Leaf, from FRLG is absent from HGSS, even when you're playing as the female character yourself. Red and Leaf would have made an epic double battle...
    • Red's HG/SS team is an exact copy of Ash's team from the anime (specifically the Orange Islands arc), only with Bulbasaur and Squirtle fully evolved. Pikachu also has the exact same moveset as Ash's did in the anime at that point of time.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic 2, the Jedi Exile meets and fights Revan, the Player Character from the first game in a vision. Also, various party members make return appearances, either joining the new party or as NPCs.
    • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, both Revan and the Exile (as a Force Ghost) make appearances and are part of a special questline.
    • The novel Revan has 3 protagonists, two of which being Revan and the Exile (named Meetra Surik by the book). Meetra is killed by the 3rd protagonist, and Revan is imprisoned by The Emperor.
  • In Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars, the Player Character of The Breath of Winter makes an appearance as the shadow warrior who helps you lead his race in a massive Mook Face Turn. And in that game's sequel, Dragon Storm, Spellforce 2's Player Character shows up as a dragon!
  • It's kind of implied in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun that General Solomon was the player character in the GDI campaign of the original C&C (in that he is stated to have led the attack on Kane's Sarajevo temple, which was the final mission of the first game). In Tiberian Dawn itself, the player 'character' is a Non-Entity General.
    • In Tiberium Wars, there are a few statues of Nick "Havoc" Parker from Renegade in the single-player campaign, and he's cited as being a right-wing pundit.
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent you meet either Vent (when playing as Ashe) or Aile (when playing as Grey) halfway through the story.
  • As an Old Save Bonus in Suikoden II, you can meet and recruit the protagonist from the first game.
  • Mother 3 contains a film depicting actual scenes from previous installment EarthBound at one point, featuring its four protagonists. Also, the "Friend's Yo-Yo" belonged to Ness, as did (probably) the Red Cap and the Real Bat, both found only in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Cranky Kong is this in the Donkey Kong Country series. That is, Cranky is the guy who kidnapped Mario's girlfriend and threw barrels at him that one time, now an old ape who spends him time criticizing modern video games (or at least he was until Microsoft bought Rare out, at which point Nintendo couldn't figure out his British humour and dropped it).
  • Super Joe is a background character in the NES version of Bionic Commando, a very loose sequel to his earlier game Commando.
  • Soap MacTavish of Call of Duty 4 is one of the Player Characters' CO in Modern Warfare 2.
    • Dimitri Petrenko and Viktor Reznov from World at War reappear in Black Ops, though the former only in a flashback mission where you play as the latter.
    • Another one from Black Ops. The agent who conducted Mason's is named C. Miller, the same name of the American Player Character in World at War. Given that Miller would be about 41 years old by the time of Black Ops...
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was widely suspected to include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Link in the form of the Hero's Shade, which was eventually confirmed by the Hyrule Historia artbook.
  • The player character from the first Fallout game reappears in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel as an NPC.
    • There's also a joke random encounter in Fallout 2 where you meet various unnamed NPCs from Fallout 1, including character models who were "rejected" from playing the lead role. There's also your trusty dog, Dogmeat.
  • "Bones files" in Roguelikes allow you to meet ghosts of your dead characters, and in Dwarf Fortress you can meet your retired adventurer and dwarves from your former fortresses if you play in the same universe.
    • Also, dwarves from old fortresses might rejoin the next one you play if they're close enough to where they escaped to. This, of course, can lead to a Disk One Nuke if said dwarf is a legendary warrior...
    • For examples, in Nethack, you can occasionally run across the graves of previous adventurers, complete with an epitaph displaying their level and how they bought their plot. You can loot the graves of your former selves, complete with some of their equipment... in an automatically-cursed state. (Had that spellbook of Polymorph? Guess what you just found!)
  • StarCraft has this as Artanis in Brood War is said to be the Protoss commander (PC) from the original game. Apparently the same will happen in SC2, Brood War's commander revealed to be Selendis.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the quiet player from Grand Theft Auto III (Claude) makes a cameo as the new boyfriend of CJ's ex-girlfriend, Catalina. CJ refers to him as "that mute asshole."
    • This trope is also frequently reversed in other GTA games, where NPCs from previous games are given their own storyline, as is the case with Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These Gaiden Games also play this trope straight occasionally: The Lost and Damned wastes no time at all and gives Nico a cameo right in the opening cutscene.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, Sora is mentioned multiple times throughout the game, and when you fight her, Xion calls on Sora's memories to power herself up, taking on his appearance in the process. But Sora himself is never seen in the game's story: he is an unlockable character in Mission Mode, though.
  • Previous Character Cameos are a staple in Nippon Ichi games. To whit:
  • Disgaea 4 gives Flonne a Big Damn Heroes moment when she brings her new mecha to help halt the falling moon.
  • In the Dead Rising 2 epilogue DLC Case West, Frank West appears alongside Chuck Greene, and replaces the Chuck clone as the second playable character. His camera-taking abilities are also being brought over from the first game. Then Capcom decided to make Off the Record, a What If scenario that replaced Chuck with Frank as the man on the scene in Fortune City, making a Previous Player Character Cameo out of the former.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Richter Belmont appears as an optional boss in a dream sequence. Defeating him there turns the game's weak starting weapon into an Infinity Plus One Whip.
    • In Symphony of the Night, Richter shows up as a Rogue Protagonist. Optional Party Member Maria is a friendly NPC, helping Alucard figure out just why Richter went rogue.
      • Alucard, himself, has appeared in various games. Outside of the beings that dwell within Dracula's Castle, he's the only character to constantly appear throughout the series, since he's immortal. Doppelgangers also have a tendency to transform into characters from prior games when they're not mimicking the player character or some other main character.
  • Diablo II has the champion from the last game possessed by Diablo and always a few steps ahead of you. He mostly shows up in the cutscenes, but you do encounter him once ingame.
    • Not to mention Blood Raven and The Summoner, the two other possible party members from the first game.
  • In the second Golden Sun game, you take on the role of Felix, who was a minor antagonist in the first game, and take on three new party members with him. Eventually, you run into the original party from the first game. And they join up with you.
    • Isaac and Garet make an appearance in Dark Dawn's prologue, though they cannot be directly controlled by the player. The other party members are mentioned at least once each, but none of them appear in the game.
  • All the Expansion Packs for Half Life have a brief brush with Gordon Freeman at some points. In the sequel, Barney Calhoun (protagonist of Blue Shift) shows up as a supporting character.
  • In Jedi Academy, the PC of all the previous games (excepting one expansion pack) has moved on to become The Obi-Wan to a new PC, whom you can even fight as a Bonus Boss if you choose the dark side. Since the previous games have buffed him into a Memetic Badass, this is commonly regarded as the hardest fight in the game.
  • Armored Core: For Answer has the PC from 4 as a potential ally or enemy.
  • In Endless Frontier EXCEED, the party of the original game shows up and joins the new protagonists' party... as well as almost every boss in the original game. It's a big party.
  • In Trapt, if certain actions are taken the player could meet and battle Millenia, the main character in Deception II: Kagero.
  • In the Crisis Mission mode in the home console of Time Crisis 2 the final mission has you face Richard Miller, the original protagonist of the first game, in a gun duel.
  • The main draw of the Left 4 Dead 2 DLC "The Passing" is this trope. Though, as the title indicates, Bill is dead.
  • Atelier Annie allows you to recruit Liese (the main character of Atelier Liese) as one of your allies about a third of the way through the game.
  • In Silent Hill, the previous games' characters tend to limit their cameos to the (joke) UFO Endings, but in Silent Hill Homecoming an older Travis of Silent Hill Origins is the one who gives Alex a lift back to Shepherd's Glen at the beginning of the game.
  • You can meet Alistair, Leliana, Zevran, and Nathaniel in Dragon Age II, as well as getting Anders in your party, but the Warden is only mentioned, never shown on-screen. Anders delivers a faint nod to the fourth wall by reminiscing about the events of Awakening...and how Hawke reminds him of his old friend he used to follow back then.
  • The Tales (series) tends to do this; for example, in Tales of Eternia you can fight Cress and Arche from Tales of Phantasia in a colosseum match.
  • In The Godfather II, the return of player character Don Aldo Trapani is a necessity, as he starts the story off... by dying.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, one can, after completing a very long series of sidequests, get Cloud Strife. A little more work, and one can get his Buster Sword. Of course, by this point most players are in their forties or fifties, level-wise, and he starts out squarely at level one, so he's pretty much useless unless one is willing to spend quite a bit of time leveling him up.
  • Star Dream - if you hung onto the install disc of the first game, the protagonist of the sequel can meet the protagonist of the first and become her manager—a raising sim mini-game, in effect.
  • In Ace Combat Zero, Mobius One, the player character from the fourth game in the series and the arcade mode of the fifth, is the final enemy in a bonus stage that you unlock by beating the game. Later games with boss rush modes also let you fight Blaze from 5 and Scarface One from 2. Furthermore, the paint schemes of Mobius One, Yellow 13, and Blaze are unlockable/buyable in the sequels to their initial appearances.
  • In Wild ARMs 5, every party member from the previous games appear as cameos, including the temporary ones, with the notable exception of Luceid from Wild ARMs 2.
  • In Dragon Quest Monsters/Dragon Warrior Monsters 2, Terry, the PC from the first game in the series, appears during the Playable Epilogue. He allows you to breed monsters from the first game with the second game when you speak to him.
    • In Dragon Quest IX, connecting to Wi-Fi will occasionally reward you with a party member from one of the previous eight games checking into the Quester's Rest (though the actual main characters appear to be absent). You can also fight previous games' Big Bads and Disc One Final Bosses after finding special treasure maps.
  • A Justified Trope with King's Quest. They're all members of the same Badass Family (with the exception of King's Quest Mask of Eternity; one of several reasons it is a Contested Sequel).
  • In Digital Devil Saga, you can fight the Demi-Fiend from Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Possibly the hardest Bonus Boss in the history of video games.
  • In the Battlestations: Pacific, during the Japanese campaign you can actually kill one of the previous player characters from Battlestations: Midway by sinking his PT Boat at Pearl Harbor; you can also shoot down another one's plane.

His name was Henry Walker. This is not his story.

  • In Alex Kidd In Miracle World, Alex's brother Igul/Egle/Iguru was also the hammer-wielder knight of The Magical Castle Pit-Pot.
  • Several playable characters, most notably Welkin and Alicia, cameo in both Valkyria Chronicles II and Valkyria Chronicles III.
  • Da Capo's protagonist Junichi Asakura returns in Da Capo II as the wise old grandfather of Otome and Yume.
  • In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, Dingo becomes the second runner (or pilot) of Jehuty. During the course of the game, the first runner, Leo, comes to take Jehuty back in his new Orbital Frame/LEV Hybrid, Vic Viper...yes, THAT Vic Viper.
  • Drakengard 2 sees the return of Caim, the silent protagonist of the first game.
  • Chrono Cross has you meet Crono, Marle, and Lucca midway through the game As shades, the real ones having since been victims of a Bus Crash between games.
  • The Fighting Game Sequel for Persona 4, Persona 4 Arena, features Aigis, Akihiko, and Mitsuru from Persona 3 as a few of the combatants.
  • In The Last Stand: Union City, the third installment of zombie-survival flash-games, the final quest chain is given to you by the player character of the previous two The Last Stand games, now named 'Jack'.
  • The player character from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion shows up again in Skyrim as the new god of Madness due to the events of the Shivering Isles.
  • Tommy Angelo, the protagonist of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, briefly appears again in Mafia II, just to be killed by Vito and Joe, the current protagonists.
  • Destin Faroda, the player character of Ogre Battle, is The Mentor of Magnus, the hero of Ogre Battle 64.
  • Dawn of War II has both Gabriel Angelos and Davian Thule (from the first Dawn of War campaign and the Dark Crusade campaign respectively) as major characters, with Thule even returning to playable status as a Dreadnought, while Eliphas (from Dark Crusade) makes a surprise return in Chaos Rising.
    • You also can't keep Gorgutz down.
  • Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword is a strange example - as a prequel of Sword of Seals, it features several characters from it in their younger years, with Bartre, Marcus and Karel playable. Fae and Sophia make cameos in houses throughout the game, and Roy and Lilina appear in the epilogue as five-year-old children (being that Blazing Sword stars their parents in their youth).
  • Sonic Generations, being a homage to Sonic's 20th anniversary, plays a lot with this trope. MANY playable characters from previous games appear in side missions, either helping or acting as rivals, and using moves and gimmicks from old games (such as Tails, who flies and lifts Sonic through a particular mission just like he used to do in Sonic 3 and Knuckles).
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has appearances by a couple of the partners from the first game.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas and Vegas 2 put Ding Chavez, the intended player character of the first three games, in charge of the entire organization. In addition, Logan Keller from Vegas 1 is one of your squadmates in the first mission of Vegas 2, and as the two games take place during the same general time-frame, his exploits are mentioned every now and again as you progress.
  • While not an officially licensed game, the Touhou Project/Castlevania crossover game Koumajou Densetsu II featured Sakuya Izayoi as the player character rather than Reimu Hakurei, who was the player character of the first game. The fourth boss of the sequel is Marisa Kirisame, who was a support character for Reimu in the original, and the fifth boss is Reimu Hakurei herself.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior has the player in the role of a Tau Fire Warrior named Shas'la Kais. Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade features a character named Shas'O Kais as the leader of the Tau forces on Kronus. While not officially confirmed (and not at all helped that A) "Kais" is apparently the Tau equivalent of "John Everyman", and B) the Fire Warrior was driven completely insane by the events of his game), it is suspected within the fandom that the two are the same person.
  • Hellsinker pulls this with the "Apostles of the Seed" and mixes it with Fridge Horror due to the fact that the Apostles share attacks of the protaganists from Radio Zonde plus the origins of the Prayer's.
  • In the first 4 Wing Commander games, your Player Character is Christopher Blair. Then comes Wing Commander: Prophecy, where Blair is an NPC, and you take on the role of a rookie pilot (who, nevertheless, gets hit on by Blair's ex, played by a pornstar in the cutscenes).