* The excellent FanRemake of ''VideoGame/KingsQuestII'' does this with several {{NPC}}s. Perhaps the best is Valanice, who was rewritten from her original flat, MacGuffin-esque DistressedDamsel portrayal to a character more in line with what's seen in her later appearances in the series, who -- although a prisoner -- is hardly a helpless shrinking violet. Similarily, the vampire (originally Dracula; [[SignificantAnagram Caldaur]] in the remake) is turned into a sympathic character with personality, depth and motives, [[spoiler:who will end up aiding the hero if you help him in return]]. Seeing as his original role was to [[OrcusOnHisThrone hang out in his castle until the hero showed up to kill him]] for no apparent reason (other than needing the key he had), this was a definite improvement.
** In the original versions of the series, Rosella was given her own adventure to star in after appearing briefly in the previous game as the DistressedDamsel, and later on she co-starred alongside Valanice as the heroes of ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVII''. Princess Cassima, meanwhile, was introduced near the end of ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'' and was later ascended to being a major character in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI''.
* He ''was'' TheDragon in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]]: [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga Superstar Saga]]'', but the [[EnsembleDarkHorse Darkhorse on the rise]] Fawful was, sadly, DemotedToExtra in the [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime second game]]...and then became the BigBad in the [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory third]].
* [[SuperMarioBros Waluigi]] is a mild example. Originally showing up in Mario Tennis as a fill in for Wario's partner and Luigi's rival, Waluigi's shown up in virtually every spinoff since then, and is the only regular character that hasn't ever been in a platformer to do so. He's either [[EnsembleDarkHorse loved]] for being [[CloudCuckoolander insane]] or [[TheScrappy loathed]] as a auxiliary character.
** Petey Piranha started as a regular, average boss in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine''. Then he started showing up in a lot of the sports games. He then not only made [[NewSuperMarioBros another main series appearance]], but then showed up in [[SuperPrincessPeach a spinoff]], [[MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime an RPG]], the third installment of [[SuperSmashBros a fighting game series]] in person, and then [[VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar another RPG]]. And he's had a few [[{{Expy}} Expies]], too.
* The hero's main LoveInterest Luna from ''VideoGame/LunarTheSilverStar''. In the original game for the SegaCD, she fought with the protagonist as the WhiteMagicianGirl (with a MagicMusic power) for the first dungeon and returns home, not appearing again until [[spoiler:the BigBad kidnaps her and it's revealed that she is a [[TomatoInTheMirror routine human incarnation of the world's goddess]] and has to be saved.]] In the game's subsqent remakes, starting with the one on the SegaSaturn, she stays with the group [[spoiler:until the mentioned kidnapping]], but it doesn't wholly matter because the player gets three [[BlackMagic far]] [[ShockAndAwe more]] [[WhiteMagic useful]] spell casters along the way, and the main character can also obtain powerful magic later in the game.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' does this constantly. Literally every [=pre-WoW=] bit of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' material had a lot of lore that may or may not have appeared on screen, and may have had little if any effect on the plot, that end up becoming major characters in a later game or when Blizzard needs material for an expansion pack or raid dungeon. In the most extreme example, Sargeras went from a generic bit-part monster to THE BigBad of the entire universe (albeit a BigBad [[PosthumousCharacter who's long dead]], as such. WordOfGod says his spirit is scattered across the Twisting Nether in limbo, but not gone for good).
** This has also happened in response to the players falling in love with random {{NPC}}s. For example, Hemet Nesingwary was once a minor quest-giver put in as a ShoutOut to Ernest Hemingway. Players either liked or hated him so much that in the first expansion he was moved to Outland and given more quests, and in the second there is an entire faction devoted to fighting him, a third of an area taken over by his crazed former compatriots, as well as yet another group of quests from Nesingwary's hunting party.
*** [[http://aurori.deviantart.com/art/Nesingwary-s-Hunt-64687009 Hemet Nesingwary the Lord of Extinction]].
** High Overlord Saurfang, pre-expansion, served no purpose in the game or the story except to put Nefarian's severed head on a stick and look like a total BadAss. He's since become one of the most prominent [=NPCs=] in the game. [[MemeticBadass Otherwise, he'll Cleave everyone.]]
** And the Alliance equivalent of Saurfang, Bolvar Fordragon, started out as a stand-in for the disappeared King Varian Wrynn and earned some major cool points for fighting off Onyxia's ''entire elite guard''. When Varian came back, Bolvar played a major role in the Dragonblight campaign, pulled a BigDamnHeroes for you, and [[spoiler:[[TearJerker died]] during the Forsaken betrayal at the Wrath Gate.]]
*** You want AscendedExtra? ''[[spoiler:Bolvar is the new Lich King.]]'' ''That's'' an AscendedExtra.
** Nazgrim starts out as a forgettable NPC giving out a handful of quests in one Northrend quest hub, trying to make a name for himself. He seems to have succeeded, since he later appears as the leader of a squad of Kor'kron aiming to lay claim to a new island risen by the Cataclysm. After the mission goes heavily south, apparently his rather clever and valiant efforts to salvage the operation attracted more attention and he's now a general, and leads the Horde (including the player) in Pandaria until the Warchief personally arrives.
** Taken to '''extreme''' levels with Chen Stormstout and the Pandaren. Chen was originally nothing more than an amusing piece of April Fool's Day art that was beloved by the developers enough to be given a minor role as one of Rexxar's companions in ''Warcraft III.'' His general hilarity and his enigmatic homeland were eventually considered interesting enough to be the focus of an entire expansion of WorldOfWarcraft.
* Similarly in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'', numerous minor characters are revisited, most of whom were mere babies when they were shown on screen. Notable examples include Leonard James Akaar (mentioned above in Television) and Miral Paris, who was born in the last episode of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', and Thomas Riker, Will Riker's transporter double whom the writers of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' cruelly abandoned in spite of fan outcry. There are villainous examples as well; Gul Dukat's half-Bajoran daughter appears, and one of the more enjoyable boss fights is against Gul Madred, the one who tortured Captain Picard.
* Because of the nature of ''Suikoden'' games all being in the same world, there's usually recurring characters. A number of them are Ascended Extras, frequently as a result of ShesAllGrownUp. Notable examples are Apple, Futch, Luc, Sasarai, Georg, Lilly, Clive etc. Resulted in a lot of EnsembleDarkHorse.
* ''VideoGame/TriangleHeart3SweetSongsForever'' had a TokenMiniMoe who had little role to the plot aside from being the adorable little sister of the main character Kyouya. This little sister would later get a [[{{Omake}} mini-scenario of her own in the game's fandisc]] where she becomes a MagicalGirl, and said mini-scenario would eventually [[TheAnimeOfTheGame get turned into a full-fledged anime]]. The name of the little sister and her show? ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', who ascended so much, [[MorePopularSpinoff she displaced the entire series she originated from]].
* In ''[[VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice Sam And Max Hit The Road]]'', the protagonists may optionally enter the convenience store near their office (which has no bearing on the plot or any puzzles) and save its owner, Bosco, from an armed robber. The interior of the store is never seen and Bosco is never seen nor heard. When the sequel was canceled and Telltale Games was formed as a result, due to his not-legally-a-character status, Bosco was the only character from ''Hit the Road'' (besides an appearance of the Human Enigma on a poster, due to an appearance, also on a poster, in the original ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'' comic book series) who could legally feature in their new episodic ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'' series. Indeed, he became a major recurring character, with appearances in all but one episode in the first two seasons and a backstory that is revealed and resolved in Season 2.
* While he may seem like one of many other characters the player can pick to go with them in ''VideoGame/ManiacMansion'', Bernard arguably fits this trope, becoming the hero of ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'', which suggests that the canonical trio includes him.
* In the first ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'', Damion Wolfe and his FM-ian, Wolf, are just {{Bonus Boss}}es you can challenge anytime you want. In the third game they were promoted to secondary characters, helping our heroes in an occasion or two. In the anime he was also promoted, but to a "villain" (well, he softens up later).
** ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' has Tory Froid, who is nothing more than a generic, nameless NPC but was upgraded to one of Lan's friends for ''Anime/MegaManNTWarrior'' and given a unique design. [=IceMan=] is his Navi in the anime but is his father's Navi in the game.
** {{B|loodKnight}}ass in the first ''Battle Network'' was just a BonusBoss, but became one of the villains in the two next sequels. Battle Network 4 and beyond then turned him into an extra again, but at least he gets dialogue. He was important in the anime and manga adaptations, too.
* The weapon salesmen from the first ''{{Spectrobes}}'' game gets redesigned in the second with his own sprite, cutscene, and name. [[spoiler:It's Dave, of all things.]]
* Despite [[AmericansHateTingle immense unpopularity in America]], Tingle from ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' saw his role increase consistently from his original debut in ''Majora's Mask'' to the point he's already the star of two games with a third one on the way. [[NoExportForYou But unless you live in Europe or Japan, don't count on ever playing them without importing.]]
** The Skull Kid in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' gives you a heart piece and is part of a very minor sidequest. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', he jumpstarts the plot and is set up ([[EvilMask somewhat incorrectly]]) as the BigBad. He also becomes an integral part of the Sacred Woods subquest in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess''.
** A more notable example would be the Happy Mask Salesman, who, like the Skull Kid, was only part of a minor subquest in ''Ocarina of Time''. He became an unlikely major -- and very popular -- character in ''Majora's Mask''.
** In ''Ocarina of Time'', Anju is just some lady from Kakariko Village who lost her cuccos. In ''Majora's Mask'', she (or an alternate-universe counterpart thereof) and her fiancee Kafei share one of the longest, if not ''the'' longest, subquests in the game.
** As far as gameplay goes, collecting masks was just a minor sidequest in ''Ocarina of Time''. In ''Majora's Mask'', they are one of the main gameplay features.
* [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Charizard, Squirtle]], [[VideoGame/{{Kirby}} Meta Knight, King Dedede]], and [[VideoGame/KidIcarus Pit]] in the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' series first appeared as trophies in ''Melee'', then all became playable in ''Brawl''.
** [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]] appeared as an Assist Trophy in Brawl. Come the fouth installment in the series, and he's upgraded to full-fledged playable Smasher status.
* The CapcomVsWhatever series ascended many minor characters from both Capcom and the rival companies:
** Shuma-Gorath, a minor and obscure ''Comicbook/DoctorStrange'' villain, is better known as a powerful but unorthodox fighter in the ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' games. ''"CHAOS DIMENSION!"'' Strange himself did not appear in the series until the UpdatedRerelease of ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3''
** [[spoiler:[[Videogame/{{Okami}} Yami]] is the final boss]] in ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom'', and the given explanation why all the characters in that game meet up together. Protagonist Amaterasu had to wait until ''Marvel vs Capcom 3'' for her first appearance.
*** On the same vein, Mars People made the cut over [[MetalSlug Marco Rossi]] as a Mid-Boss for ''VideoGame/SNKVsCapcomSVCChaos''.
** Saki Omokane, from a very-obscure Japan-only quiz game from Capcom, gets first an assist role in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcomClashOfTheSuperheroes'', and then becomes a full-fledged fighter in ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom''.
** Eagle and Maki, two long-forgotten ''VideoGame/StreetFighter'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFight'' characters, ended up appearing in ''[[VideoGame/CapcomVsSNK2MarkOfTheMillennium Capcom vs. SNK 2]]'' as playable fighters, and they, along with Yun from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'', got ported over to the GBA release of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha 3'' as unlockable characters. The PSP version keeps them, as well as Ingrid, from ''VideoGame/CapcomFightingEvolution''.
** This also applies to others like Dan Hibiki (who started off as a throw-away character in one piece of artwork) and Sakura (who was originally a JokeCharacter and got her own manga).
** And it even happens in-series: [[VideoGame/GhostsNGoblins Arthur]] and [[TheMightyThor Thor]] were just {{Assist Character}}s in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcomClashOfTheSuperheroes''. Come ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'', and both of them were ascended to the main roster. Thor's case goes farther, as he had a cameo as one of the frozen warriors in ''VideoGame/MarvelSuperHeroes'', alongside SheHulk, who also made the cut to the main roster.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'' universe has a lot of this. First are Malcolm, Brock and Lauren, who were simple skins a player could choose on the first ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament''. Then, ''Unreal Tournament 2003'' showed that Malcolm was the winner of the Tournament, with Brock and Lauren as part of his team. Since that moment, Malcolm is considered the face of the Unreal series. ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament2004'' and ''VideoGame/UnrealChampionship2TheLiandriConflict'' also ascended Gorge and Arclite, (and later, many others, through a patch) from the same game.
* After only one showing in one mission set, for an [[ExpansionPack add-on]] to ''VideoGame/WingCommander II'', Jason "Bear" Bondarevski goes on to become a major character in the non-{{novelization}} Literature/WingCommander novels, as do, to a lesser extent, several minor characters seen elsewhere in the games, like [[WrenchWench Janet "Sparks" McCullough]] and Kevin Tolwyn.
* ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 1}}'' has about three "skins" for all of the scientist models, all of whom exist solely to provide exposition, open certain doors and/or die horribly and thereby show the player how ''not'' to die horribly. Two of these skins were later used as the basis for two of the main characters of ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life 2}}'', which has led to interesting arguments about which of the scientists is the "real" one (Eli is explicitly stated to be the first one to talk to Gordon after the Resonance Cascade; Kliener is generally considered to be the only scientist seen wielding a weapon, appearing at the end of the "Lambda Core" level). Barney, a character similarly based on model skins, this time of the security guards (of which there was only ''one'' originally) is more of a MauveShirt however.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkFall: The Journal'', Nigel is basically someone you have to rescue. In the spinoff game, ''The Lost Crown'', he is the main character.
* Before the final boss of ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters '94'', a blonde woman escorts your team to Rugal's chamber. After a number of victories in ''KOF '95'', a brunette woman informs the unseen Rugal of your team's progress. These two otherwise unremarkable secretaries would go on to become playable characters in ''KOF '96'' under the names Mature and Vice, complete with relevance to the Orochi storyline. And even though they were both killed at the end of the game, they still proved popular enough to return in full-cast compilation games and intercompany crossovers, and may even be rejoining the canon cast in recent games.
** Yup. They come BackFromTheDead (well, [[OurGhostsAreDifferent sorta]]) in ''XIII'' (Mature was actually in ''XII'' before that, but that was -- [[InNameOnly technically]] -- a DreamMatchGame as well).
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'' ''loved'' this trope--numerous party members were minor characters in the original game, and one such party member was so minor as to be an NPC that only appeared in the ending. Meanwhile, TheDragon ascended from being a one-of enemy in a short sidequest exclusive to the original game's Gameboy Advance release.
* Tseng of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. In the original game, he is the leader of [[GoldFishPoopGang the Turks]], but you never fought him, and he only appears for a short while. Come CrisisCore, he becomes Zack's Turk partner, and could fight alongside him in a DMW sequence.
** Vincent Valentine in the original game was just a optional player character. In Advent Children, he's one of the main character along with Cloud and Tifa and he finally got his own spin-off game Dirge Of Cerberus.
* While he's not technically a person per se, the Blue Badger in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney''. He goes from a little plush toy in the first game, to the police mascot and key plot device in the second game, and by ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations'' he's got an entire family and a stage show as well as being the Gatewaterland Mascot.
** Also, [[spoiler:Gregory Edgeworth]]. Besides being the deceased father of one of the main characters, and the victim in the DL-6 Incident, he doesn't get much fame...[[spoiler:that is, until you play a case as him]] in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations 2''.
* Johnny Sasaki from the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' franchise. In the first three games he is shown as a purely comedic character with bowel issues. [[spoiler:In the fourth entry he ends up as Meryl's love interest and more or less evolves into a BadassNormal.]]
* In the ''TotalWar'' series, when an army goes into a difficult battle without a general to lead it, and comes out victorious, the army's captain (up to that point a non-entity) can ascend to General status and become a valued member of your royal family (and a powerful unit in his own right).
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series, Dogi the Wallcrusher was at first a minor character who busts Adol out of jail at one point in the first game and disappears until the end of the second game. However, his bravado and infamous wallcrushing skill instantly turned him into a fan favorite and Dogi became the constant companion of Adol who follows Adol in his later adventures, always busting wall at one point to save Adol in each game. Most recently in ''VideoGame/YsSeven'', he is a playable character.
** Terra originally was a minor character in a bandit gang that harassed Adol in ''Ys V'', but was given a major supporting role in ''VI''. [[TheScrappy Although somewhat annoying]]. Then, like countless other characters, suffered from ChuckCunninghamSyndrome afterwards.
* In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Pokemon Platinum]]'', ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver HeartGold, and SoulSilver]]'', Caitlin just sat in a throne in the Battle Castle, never even battling you. In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', she's the third member of the [[FinalBoss Elite Four]]!
** And the guide guy who stands in front of each gym and tells you about its type is now a named character, Clyde, who gives you a bottle of Fresh Water before every challenge.
** While how much a [[OlympusMons legendary Pokémon]] could be considered an "extra" may be up to debate, [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Rayquaza]], [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Giratina]], and [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Kyurem]] went from relatively minor to much more important in the [[UpdatedRerelease third version]] / [[VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2 sequel]] of their respective generations.
* Deekin ascended to party member near the end of ''NeverwinterNights: Shadows of Undrentide'', and played a significant part in Hordes of the Underdark as well.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** Isabela in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', she was a character who taught a Rogue specialization. In the sequel, she becomes a party member and a love interest.
** Merril in ''Dragon Age II'. In ''Dragon Age: Origins'', she was a GuestStarPartyMember for the Dalish Warden's prologue. Like Isabela, she becomes a love interest and party member in the sequel.
** Also Anders to a lesser degree, he was a party member in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening'' as well, but his role was greatly expanded on and his character was fleshed out much more in ''Dragon Age II''.
** The entire [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Qunari]] race. We saw two or three in Origins and heard a little about their culture, in ''Dragon Age II'' the plot of a third of the game centers around them. ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' takes it even further, as they join the humans, dwarves and elves as a playable race.
** Cullen. In ''Dragon Age: Origins'', he was a minor NPC with only two scenes (three if the player chooses the Mage Origin). In ''Dragon Age II'', he returns as a fairly important NPC. In ''Dragon Age: Inquisition'', he returns as an advisor, a role that has nearly as much dialogue as a party member, and is a love interest.
* {{Animated Adaptation}}s of video game franchises seem to be fond of expanding bit players. This was especially common in earlier shows due to the usually basic (or [[ExcusePlot near non-existent]]) storyline and character involvement in the original material, and thus writers relying on creating extra depths for what cast it has (or in some cases [[CanonImmigrant original additional characters]]):
** The ''[=SatAm=]'' ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' animated series was intended to develop the initial games "small animal" cast (only generic animals that jumped out of badnik enemies in the game itself) into a team of heroes assisting Sonic. Alterations were made to the core cast in the final revision, however the show still used a redesigned Sally Acorn (aka. Ricky Squirrel in the east) who was arguably the most prominant protagonist other than Sonic himself.
** Additionally the ''AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' series expanded some of the badnik enemies from the original games and converted them into recurring henchmen for Dr Robotnik. Scratch (based largely on Clucker from Sonic 2), Grounder and Coconuts frequently appeared as comic relief in the show.
*** This position was reversed around with the promotional SEGAGenesis title ''Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine'', that not only includes said recurring characters as opponents, but uses numerous original badnik characters from the show, the large majority of them background characters from the pilot episode that weren't even given a name or speaking role in the show itself.
** Peter Puppy of ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim'' served as a minor assistant ([[WithFriendsLikeThese or hindrance]]) in the original games. In the [[WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim animated series]] he is promoted to Jim's KidSidekick and HeterosexualLifePartner. ''Earthworm Jim 3D'' uses concepts and character traits from the show, and thus Peter has a similar expanded role, acting as a tutorial character.
* Rebecca Chambers, an extra in the original ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'', became the main character of the prequel, ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil0''. Unfortunately, she suffered from ChuckCunninghamSyndrome afterwards.
** And then there's Ada Wong, whose offscreen role in [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil the first game]] was simply serving as a three-letter name in a memo that provided the solution to a puzzle (a scientist's note mentions that his girlfriend's name is the password). ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' expanded on that bit of trivia to introduce her in Leon's storyline as an important supporting character with a DarkAndTroubledPast, and then ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' elevated her all the way up to a full-fledged DarkActionGirl and Leon's DatingCatwoman adversary.
* Kytes and Filo were named, recurring {{NPC}}s of little importance in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' become fully playable characters in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIIRevenantWings''. Likewise, Tomaj (another named but unimportant NPC that shows up the original game's tutorial) is promoted to supporting character, and Ba'Gamnan becomes a GuestStarPartyMember and recurring [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Quirky Miniboss]]. Heck, even Vaan goes from SupportingProtagonist to MainCharacter.
** Also, Hurdy (one of the Moogling operators from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'') becomes a supporting character in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2''.
* Jiub, a prisoner in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', apparently became a Saint after driving the Cliffracers out from Morrowind. This takes place off-screen, however, and is only mentioned during conversations between [=NPCs=]. He makes a cameo appearance in the Dawnguard DLC of ''Videogame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', where he's involved in a sidequest in the Soul Cairns.
* Adeleine in the ''{{Kirby}}'' games may count, depending on if she is supposed to be the same character as Ado or not. Ado was introduced in ''Kirby's Dreamland 3'' as a simple boss character, and Adeleine was one of the main characters in ''VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards.''
** Bandana Dee from ''VideoGame/KirbySuperStar'' was an extremely minor character, appearing only in the Megaton Punch minigame. In ''Super Star Ultra'', he was given a speaking role and a boss fight in the Revenge of the King arc, and he's playable in ''VideoGame/KirbysReturnToDreamland''.
** Gooey from Kirby's Dream Land 2 was originally a simple health restoring item that sometimes showed up instead of an animal friend, but in Dream Land 3 he was promoted to Kirby's partner in co-op mode (or an optional computer-controlled ally in single-player).
* Rick in the ''HarvestMoon'' series. In ''Harvest Moon 64,'' he was just another shopkeeper. In the PS1 ''Back to Nature'' titles, however, he was promoted to being a rival slash LoveInterest, and has retained this position for the rest of the series.
** In another branch of the series, you have Alisa, novice priestess to the Harvest Goddess. IN her first appearance in ''Island of Happiness'', she's was merely the cute assistant to GoodShepherd Nathan. In ''Sunshine Island'', she was one of your potential love interests[[note]]Though that turned out to be a cruel fake out on the Dev Team's part.[[/note]] In ''The Tale of Two Towns'', she one of two unlockable female love interests[[note]]with yet again another catch - you can't have a child with her.[[/note]].
* Thanks the the experience-based promotion system that ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'' uses and the ability to recall units from previous battles onto the current map, any unit with multiple promotion tiers can go through this in the campaigns, going from "just another generic recruit" to a strong, powerful, and pivotal member of your army.
* Sheogorath in ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series had been nothing more than an interested observer who occasionally handed out {{Joke Item}}s or riddles. ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion: Shivering Isles]]'' gave him a larger role and presence than all other Daedra Princes combined.
** In fact, this applies to ''all'' Daedric lords who've gotten larger roles after ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]''. Sheogorath (the only Daedric lord who played a part in the main story of ''Daggerfall'', even if it was limited to showing up in the final dungeon for no readily apparent reason and handing out commentary and riddles) got, as mentioned above, an entire expansion pack centred around him and his Realm, Azura played a key role in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'''s main story, Hircine turns out to be behind the Bloodmoon in the ''Bloodmoon'' expansion, ''Oblivion's'' main story was closely connected to Mehrunes Dagon, and now Molag Bal has been pinned as the BigBad in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline''. Hermaeus Mora also became a very important character in the Dragonborn DLC of Skyrim.
* In the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' series, Amy Rose was introduced as a DistressedDamsel in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' and then got a few appearances in racing games. After ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', she became a recurring support character (even playable in some games, like ''Adventure'' and the ''SonicAdvance'' series).
* Rudy Beagle, a forklift in the PajamaSam series, only existed in the second game to get Sam into World Wide Weather. In the spinoff game ''Pajama Sam's Lost & Found'', he was an actual playable character, albeit [[IHaveManyNames getting his name changed to Mr. Forklift.]]
* The first ''DigimonBattleSpirit'' featured [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Cherubimon]] as a relatively minor character, the seldom-seen evolved form of a SecretCharacter. For the sequel, he became the final boss, in an attempt to vaguely follow the storyline of [[Anime/DigimonFrontier the anime series which the sequel accompanied]].
* Cookie Masterson of ''VideoGame/YouDontKnowJack'' was first the sign in host for the first 3 games (Yes ''Sports'' did come before volume 2) then finally gets in the limelight starting in ''Movies''.
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'', [[{{Shapeshifter}} Clayface]] appeared as a cameo shuffling between using three other characters' models, unimportant to the story, while Ra's al Ghul showed up as a tagged corpse. In [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity the sequel]], [[spoiler: Clayface is the FinalBoss]] while [[spoiler: Ra's al Ghul is one of three {{Big Bad}}s.]]
* Walter Sullivan, a name mentioned in a newspaper in ''SilentHill2'', ascended to be the BigBad of ''SilentHill4''.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'''s EDI was never precisely an extra, being your ever-present SpaceshipGirl VoiceWithAnInternetConnection, but nonetheless receives a major step up in ''3'', [[spoiler: hijacking a Cerberus robot body and becoming a full squadmate]].
** EDI actually fills this trope in full: [[spoiler:She was the rogue VI in Luna in the first game, or at least she was built from it.]]
** Not to mention Cerberus itself, who go from sidequest baddies to major players in 2 and 3.
* Back in the first ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'', there's one certain generic officer named UsefulNotes/HondaTadakatsu who stood up in defense of UsefulNotes/TokugawaIeyasu during the battle of Mikatagahara, and Takeda Shingen refers him as one of Ieyasu's luxuries. Then Xtreme Legends get announced to have brand new 4 characters, two of them are UsefulNotes/ToyotomiHideyoshi and Imagawa Yoshimoto who already got unique character model despite being NPC in the vanilla version, one of them is a brand new archer babe called Inahime, whose father is... Honda Tadakatsu, who is the last playable character and ascended so great he practically became SW's answer to [[DynastyWarriors Lu]] {{B|adass}}u.
* Both ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' and [[VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings its sequel]] enjoy using this trope. Side characters from the books, such as Triss and Zoltan, get upgraded to main characters in the games, with the former even becoming the protagonist's main LoveInterest. Other characters who largely existed as names dropped in the text, like Iorveth, make actual appearances and get fully fleshed out.
** Understandable given that the games are officially the continuation of the books now, per the original author.
* 5pb, a DLC-only bonus character from ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'', joins the party as part of the regular storyline in ''[[VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2 Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2]]''.
** A weird example because while Neptune is the main character of ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'', she becomes a supporting character to her sister in the ContinuityReboot ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2''. Come ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaV'' and Neptune is now the protagonist again while Nepgear is a supporting character.
* Sothe from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius''. From just another playable character (who couldn't even promote) in ''Path of Radiance'' to an important supporting character in ''Radiant Dawn''.
** Anna, the SeriesMascot, is a playable character after twenty two years of games in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening''.
* A number of characters in ''VideoGame/BlazBlueCalamityTrigger'' became Ascended Extras in ''Continuum Shift'' - some of them being [[EnsembleDarkhorse quite popular]] certainly helped.
** ButtMonkey Bang Shishigami was treated as a joke by a wide variety of characters, the sole exception being Hakumen. However, an offhand comment by Rachel about an inactive Nox Nyctores turned out to be more than met the ear as Bang [[TookALevelInBadass ground his ass off]] and turned into a MinorMajorCharacter as a result - as ''Chrono Phantasma'' is moving into Ikaruga, the fans are undoubtedly going to be quite pissed if he doesn't get a significant share of the spotlight this time around. He may still be an over-the-top anime ninja pastiche with a loud voice and a scruffy face, but that's why we love him.
** Makoto Nanaya was little more than a bit of Noel, Jin and Carl's memories in CT, but she had significantly changed from the FunPersonified role by the time she arrived in Kagutsuchi in CS. A rumor passed around the internet that she was made DLC in vanilla CS due to plot relevance rather than popularity (not that she isn't popular - far from it), but the full extent came out bit by bit up until ''Extend'' - there are ''reasons'' why ''Slight Hope'' in totality is considered an [[Awesome/BlazBlue episode of badassery]], and with that degree of involvement in the main story, she is clearly not going away.
** Tsubaki Yayoi, Valkenhayn R. Hellsing, and Relius Clover also got the relevance treatment - mere mentions or brief appearances turned into characters with full-blown stories behind them and connections to the plot at large.
* Nyarlathotep in the ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' series started out as merely Kandori/Guido's Persona, and wasn't even a final boss. Come ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'', it's revealed he is more or less the Personaverse's BiggerBad, personally responsible for everything bad in ''2'', both ''Innocent Sin'' and ''Eternal Punishment'', and everything that happened in the first game. He's MIA during ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', but ''Persona4Arena'' implies that [[spoiler:he's the Malevolent Entity, who's still at large post-epilogue.]]
* In the Super Famicom version of ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} IV'', Karna is only a minor character that Adol runs into a couple times. However, in the PCEngine CD version, she is a {{badass}} ActionGirl and a major plot driver.
* The main villain in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFullFrontalAssault'' is revealed to be [[spoiler: the Qwark fanboy from ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankGoingCommando'']]. This character was only featured as a VERY minor NPC that had no relevance to the plot, and could easily [[GuideDangIt be skipped]] on a regular playthrough.
** Likewise, Clunk, Clank's EvilTwin, only appeared for a little bit of ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'', but in the spinoff ''VideoGame/SecretAgentClank'' he's the BigBad.
* In the original ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' game, Sasami and Kanata exist primarily as {{Satellite Character}}s to Rin and Haruka respectively. In Ecstasy and the later sequels, they're fully-fledged love interests with routes of their own.
* Blaze from the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' series. First appearing as a background character under the name "Torch" in VideoGame/MortalKombat2 until his [[DarkerAndEdgier major character overhaul]] in VideoGame/MortalKombatArmageddon, where he wound up becoming not only [[BigBad a towering juggernaut and the Story Mode's final boss]], but also the Elder Gods's trump card in deciding the fate of all the realms from preventing Armageddon..
* Name ''any'' character from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' that was playable at least once. Chances are [[ImprobablyFemaleCast she]] debut as a boss character you only see in one or two stage. Notable examples include:
** [[AnIcePerson Ice fairy]] Cirno. She starts out as a Stage 2 boss of ''Embodiment of Scarlet Devil'' with no importance to the actual plot at all. Last we heard from her, she gets [[GaidenGame her own game]].
** [[RascallyRabbit Tewi Inaba]]. She debuts as a stage 5 mid-boss with no dialogue in ''Imperishable Night''. She's a playable character in the next game ''Phantasmagoria of Flower View'' and becomes a main character in the GagManga SpinOff ''Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth''.
** [[CuteGhostGirl Mima]] also counts, before [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome she disappeared off the face of Gensokyo]]. In her first appearance in ''Highly Responsive to Prayers'' she's just a Stage 10 boss (roughly equivalent to Stage 2 or 3 of later games) and like other characters, have no dialogue. Comes the second game ''Story of Eastern Wonderland'', where she's the BigBad. She also appears in the third and fifth game as a playable character.
** Speaking of Mima, there's her [[EpilepticTree pupil/servant/daughter/henchman/whatever]] [[CuteWitch Marisa Kirisame]]. She first appears as Mima's [[TheDragon Dragon]] in ''Story of Eastern Wonderland''. She proceeds to be the second main character of the entire series, being the one of the few which survive the ContinuityReboot between the PC-98 games to the Windows game ([[RetGone her mistress Mima didn't]])
* Suzu from ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' was just an NPC in the original Super Famicom version who got promoted to an OptionalPartyMember in subsequent remakes.
* In the [[VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved first]] ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' game, Sergeant Johnson was just a PlayedForLaughs NPC who happened to be handy with a sniper rifle. He becomes a major supporting character in the rest of the main trilogy, and was one of the protagonists in the novel ''Literature/HaloContactHarvest''. In part to reflect his growing importance, Bungie went so far as to reveal that he was actually [[spoiler: a [[SuperSoldier Spartan-I]]]].
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' has a habit of ascending characters that appear in promotional material:
** Saxton Hale, the Australian C.E.O. of Mann Co., started out as a gag parody of a 1940's Charles Atlas advertisement. The community then embraced him as a MemeticBadass, even giving him a mod where the whole RED team fights him in his honor. Although still not officially in the game, he is a major character in the Mann Vs. Machine arc, hiring the mercenaries after they lose their jobs working for RED and BLU.
** In the Australian Christmas update, the justification for the characters being sent in time to [=DeGroot=] Keep is that "the Soldier angered a magician." In the next Halloween update, said magician, named Merasmus, is revealed to be the Soldier's roommate (as well as the one responsible for the Demoman having only one eye), and they both hate each other. The Halloween update after that, Merasmus finally loses it and becomes that year's Halloween boss, and this time, [[ThatOneBoss he means business]].
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'':
** [[BadassNormal Sergeant Merrick]] has a minor NPC speaking role in the original campaign of ''Dawn of War II''. For the Imperial Guard campaign of ''Dawn of War II: Retribution'', he is finally, [[EnsembleDarkhorse and thankfully]], playable.
** Techmarine Martellus goes from the MissionControl in the original game, to a playable character in the Space Marine campaign.
** Several of the survivors of the Eldar warhost play roles in ''Retribution'' as well. Ronahn and Veldoran are playable in the Eldar campaign, and both were present in the original game, during [[spoiler:the Eldar attack on Angel Forge]] [[note]]Ronahn was the sniper who shouted "Nemerian was the best of us, humans", and takes potshots at your squad from a watchtower, and Veldoran was likely Idranel's second in command Warlock[[/note]]. The female Howling Banshee Exarch who attacks you [[spoiler:at Angel Forge]] is also present as a minor antagonist for one of the optional missions in ''Retribution''.
* From the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' franchise, ''[[Website/AssassinsCreedInitiates Initiates]]'' identifies Gavin Banks and Harlan T. Cunningham as previously unknown Assassins heard speaking in ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations Revelations]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood Brotherhood]]'', respectively. Their appearances in those games are expanded upon and they [[HeroOfAnotherStory became central characters]] to ''Initiates'' own narrative.
* The crossover game ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' ascends several characters from several different games. The [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII Cloud of Darkness]] is upgraded from a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere with no personality to a thoughtful individual whose true desire is to keep the balance between the light and dark. While the originally FlatCharacter [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV Shinryu]] got to be a major player in the game's backstory. While the character Cid of the Lufaine from the first Final Fantasy game (who introduced into the games retroactively) became [[spoiler: the instigator of the game's central plot]].
* The Grid Bugs from the movie ''{{Film/TRON}}'' appear in the [[{{VideoGame/TRON}} arcade game adaptation]] as one of your main enemies in the I/O Tower mission.
* The GameCube ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' has a feature where, if you connect a GameBoyAdvance to your console, then you can access the island, which has its own set of unique villagers. Later games removed the island[[note]]''New Leaf'' has ''an'' island, but it's a MinigameZone with online multiplayer[[/note]] and promoted many ([[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome though not all]]) island villagers to regular villagers.
* In ''Mutant League Football'', all players have the same portrait and quotes depending on their species. When ''Mutant League Hockey'' rolled around, several of the best players from ''MLF'' gained unique portraits and quotes, including Bones Jackson, KT Slayer, and GIL-9000. They're even mentioned by name in the opening credits ("Mutant League Hockey, featuring..."). See also the [[WesternAnimation/MutantLeague cartoon]], where most of the mentioned players were main or recurring characters. Also on the show was the Razor Kid, who while a standout on the Screaming Evils in ''Mutant League Football'' wasn't in ''Mutant League Hockey'' and thus didn't get the "star" label like the others.
* In ''VideoGame/TheMatrixPathOfNeo'' Switch and Apoc are given slightly bigger roles from their original status as {{RedShirt}}s in ''Film/TheMatrix'' in that they speak more than a few sentences. Along with offering and being help against the SWAT teams in the sewers. Plus, in an earlier level, Apoc, without Switch, helps Neo fend off some SWAT and find the group.
* The Sheredyn faction of ''Videogame/EndlessSpace'', the personal bodyguard fleet of the United Empire's emporer, was originally a collector's edition exclusive race, that was a [[CosmeticallyDifferentSides carbon copy of the United Empire with a slightly different aesthetic]]. Come the release of the ''Disharmony'' ExpansionPack, the Sheredyn are included into the base game as a major faction, and while they still share United Empire traits, they now have a unique ability and traits based on honor.
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