Scattered Protagonists Unite
The True Companions are introduced and developed independent of the Hero.
In the majority of stories, the audience is introduced to characters at the same time as The Hero. Nobody outside of, perhaps, the villains, have significant scenes until they come into contact with the hero. What scenes they do have are usually there to make them look mysterious or otherwise set up a Chekhov's Gun for when they are met by the Hero. This trope operates in a different way, however. When Scattered Protagonists Unite, each individual member of the party is built up independently of the Hero. Alongisde the hero's storyline, they cast has their own scenes, or even story arcs, so we the audience get to know them well before the main character does. Inevitably, these characters will come together, fully developed and ready to get on with the story. Depending on how this trope is done, this can either happen early in the story or very late. When it's early, the other characters' storylines will be prolgues and their union is a signal to the audience that this is when the real story begins. If it happens near the end of the story, then these heroes will unite for the climax and/or final battles. A key point of this trope is that, until they meet up, the cast will usually have little-to-no interaction with one another. So cases in which an already established party gets scattered and then reunites is not stricly this trope. Subtrope of You All Share My Story, with the difference being that Scattered Protagonists Uniting is specifically about protagonists developed independently then meeting, while You All Share My Story is broader and can sometimes have The Reveal of the shared connection regardless of the Character Gathering technique used. See Also A Day in the Limelight (Ed. Note: If we don't already have it maybe I can add the "Scattered Party" as a second version of the trope here. Otherwise the intent is the characters are introduced and developed independently before ever coming into contact with the hero).
Examples:Manga & Anime
- A Certain Magical Index teases with this more than anything. Starting with the Vento of the Front arc, Touma and Accelerator are working together to stop the crisis, but they're speaking to one another by phone and never realize who the other is. From there, Accelerator has brief encounters with Touma and Shiage Hamazura, but neither lasts for more than a few moments.
- The plot of New Testament Volume 1 has the villains trying to make it at least appear as though Accelerator and Shiage have united. At the very end, the trope finally plays straight, as both of them come face to face with Touma, who helps give them a formal introduction to the Magic Side.
- Dragon Quest IV has you play through chapters featuring several other characters before you focus on the Hero. The Hero goes on to meet everyone else in the early stages of the journey.
- Wild ARMs 1-3 are sort of like this. You play the characters individually first, each lasting a couple hours, then when their scenarios finish you go to the perspective of the main protagonist or choose to control any of the three/four from wherever they are (depending on the game) until eventually an event unites the party.
- MOTHER 3 starts out this way. By way of Flint, we are introduced to Lucas and Claus in the first chapter. The second chapter revolves around Duster, who eventually meets Kumatora. The third chapter is about Salsa the monkey. Then we get to play as Lucas himself and recruit many of the aforementioned people during the journey.
- The first half-dozen episodes of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes are one shots of each individual hero leading up to when they unite in the face of the big prison breakout.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.