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* Interestingly, with ''VideoGame/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'' being a video game adaptation of the film instead of a sequel, [[spoiler:Gwen never shows up on screen, the Green Goblin's role is demoted to only his fight scene, Norman is already dead, and the Max Dillon/Electro subplot is given only slightly more attention than the Goblin]].
* ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing: New Leaf'' completely removed the various character arcs that had been central to the series up to this point. Blathers no longer talks about his childhood as you donate more and more to his museum, Sable only becomes a little more sociable, nary talking about her past with Tom Nook and Labelle as you befriend her, Resetti and Lloyd's HiddenHeartOfGold traits are never brought up, etc. As a result, these characters, who were once the most well developed and deep of the cast, have effectively been reduced to bit characters who have little to no charactertization aside from their status as shopkeepers or, in Blathers and Resetti's case, game mechanic overseers.
* Jessica got this in the second ''VideoGame/AnotherCode'' game. While her role was never huge to being with, mainly getting Ashley to go adventuring either by getting kidnapped or talking her into it, she at least provided some exposition in both her appearances in the first game. In the second game, she only has lines in her second time on-screen via a phone call that serves more as a recap that really moving anything.
* Many playable characters from the first ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' game make cameo appearances as [=NPCs=] in the sequel.
* In the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' pastiche game ''VideoGame/BattleMoonWars'', this is transferred from Sacchin to [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Servant Assassin]] instead. All Servants made it to the game, even [[spoiler:True Assassin]], who only appears in one route and is obviously less popular. Sacchin is at least playable and can be acquired. But Assassin wasn't even included in any of those series, [[spoiler:''not even as Caster's Servant'']]. Kotomine is also conspicuously absent, even though [[JustifiedTrope the plot explains why he isn't there]]. Then there's the representation of ''Literature/KaraNoKyoukai''...we only got Ryougi, Touko, and [[spoiler: Araya]].
* For all the hype and assumed importance about Columbia, ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' isn't really ''about'' the flying city.
* Deis from ''Franchise/BreathOfFire'' was slowly demoted from sequel to sequel: In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireI'' she was a normal (and very powerful) party member, in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'' she became an non-essential optional (but still very powerful) party member, ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' saw her a plot-important {{NPC}} and [[{{Mentors}} Master]] character to the party and ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' left her only a plot-important {{NPC}} (though she's somewhat part of the party. [[spoiler:as she lives in Ershin]]). ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireDragonQuarter'' didn't even featured her, thought she was at one point planned to appear.
* The ''[[CapcomVsWhatever Capcom vs. SNK]]'' series does this a lot. Popular characters expected to appear (such as [[VideoGame/FatalFury Andy Bogard]], [[VideoGame/ArtOfFighting Robert Garcia]], [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Goro Daimon]], [[Franchise/StreetFighter Yang]], [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Jill Valentine]] [[VideoGame/IkariWarriors Ralf and Clark]] and even VideoGame/{{Mega Man|Classic}}) either get cameo appearances or don't appear at all (Though it should be noted that Capcom's two entries in the series restricted themselves to fighting game characters; SNK's games, not so much.). Some characters who appeared in the handheld title, ''Match of the Millennium'' (such as [[VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}} Felicia, B.B. Hood]], [[VideoGame/TheLastBlade Akari]] and [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Leona]]) appeared in that game and then got cameos or nothing. On the plus side, the ''Card Fighters'' series contains nearly all major characters (and several minor ones) from practically all Capcom and SNK games... in the forms of cards, as it is a trading card game series.
* Tawna, the title character's original girlfriend from the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series, only made a few returns appearances following her role as DamselInDistress in [[Videogame/CrashBandicoot1996 the first game]]. The game designers decide to explain away her absence in [[Videogame/CrashBandicoot2CortexStrikesBack the second game]] by stating in the ([[MissingEpisode now-defunct]]) official website that Tawna left Crash for Pinstripe Potoroo.
* Butcher Joyce barely gets screen time and only optional dialogue in ''[[VideoGame/TheDarkness The Darkness II]]'', whereas he had a mission devoted to him in the original game.
* If a [[CapcomVsWhatever Versus game]] or some MascotFighter by Capcom (''Capcom Fighting Jam'' or ''Pocket Fighter'') is going to feature one of the ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'', it's usually going to be Morrigan or one of the other female characters in the series (Felicia, Hsien-Ko, and B.B. Hood). Q-Bee is not as lucky and Lilith often gets upstaged/overshadowed by Morrigan. They did use Demitri for ''Capcom Fighting Jam'' and ''[=SVC=] Chaos'', as well as Anakaris in ''Fighting Jam'' and ''Marvel vs. Capcom 2''. Lord Raptor is a RecurringBoss in ''Namco X Capcom'', Donovan manages to get into ''Puzzle Fighter'', Pyron appears in ''Capcom Fighting Evolution'' and Jedah appears in ''Capcom Fighting Evolution'', and in ''VideoGame/CrossEdge'' and ''VideoGame/ProjectXZone'' as a non-playable boss. Besides cameos in ''Pocket Fighter'', J. Talbain, Rikuo, Bishamon and Sasquatch get nothing, while Victor and Huitzil have gone forgotten. Q-Bee and Huitzil also appear in ''VideoGame/NamcoXCapcom'' and ''VideoGame/ProjectXZone'' (Q-Bee only), though as minor enemies.
* Heavily lampshaded in the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series, where former main character Laharl is quite annoyed with the fact that he's been delegated to an optional unlockable unit from ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' onward.
* Franchise/DonkeyKong was only a playable character for the first ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry''; after that he was just someone who needed rescuing in the SNES games, though later be becomes playable again in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' and ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns''.
** Squawks in ''Donkey Kong Country Returns'' is demoted from his role in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry2DiddysKongQuest'' and ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry3DixieKongsDoubleTrouble''. In those previous two games, Squawks was controllable and could fly around and shoot enemies. In DKCR, he's reduced to sitting in the corner of your screen and letting you know when there's a puzzle piece nearby to be found. Incidentally, Squawks as a playable character actually made him an AscendedExtra from the very first [=DKC=] where all he did was hold a flashlight for you in one level...before eventually being demoted again.
* In the original arcade versions of the first two ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'', Machine Gun Willy was undoubtedly the main bad guy, as he was the final boss in the first game and the guy who shoots the Lee brothers' girlfriend Marian in the second game. In the NES version of the first game, he is simply the last guy Billy faces before the final battle with his brother Jimmy and is a complete no-show in the second NES game. The people who made ''Battletoads & Double Dragon'', aside from demoting him into a lackey to some made-up new villain, didn't even bother to get his name right. His BigBad status was restored in the GBA version though.
* The Grey Wardens in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. While some of the fandom complained, this was actually justified. With the Blight defeated in the first game and the Darkspawn driven back into the Deep Roads, what exactly was there left for the Grey Wardens to actually ''do?''
** In the first game, Jowan was meant to be a companion who would have joined after Redcliffe and taught the Blood Mage specialisation, but was cut early in development and his role in the story reduced to simply appearing in the Mage Origin and the Redcliffe questlines.
* While Sun Quan was often [[OvershadowedByAwesome overshadowed]] by his father Sun Jian and (To a lesser extent) his brother Sun Ce in the ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' series, [=DW6=] ups this to the point where ''his father'' gets a story mode over him, the ''actual ruler'' of Wu. Keep in mind that only five characters (Plus two in the special edition) per faction as well as "other" characters Diao Chan and Lu Bu. Practically, ''Wu itself'' could be considered this compared to Wei and (especially) Shu.
** And in [=DW7=], with the addition of new faction ''Jin'', guess which one of the three kingdoms will be focused in the earlier eras instead of the later eras?
** Pang De. He debuts in [=DW5=], and was quite the welcome addition. In [=DW6=], he was turned into a generic officer as WordOfGod thinks he's not unique enough, and his weapon and personality got transferred to Zhang Liao, but then again lots of characters were cut. In [=DW7=], most of the cut characters return... and still no Pang De in sight. [[TheBusCameBack Although Pang De made it back for the Xtreme Legends expansion]], making the only one not yet cured from this trope being Zuo Ci.
** Zuo Ci now appears in DW8, although he only have one personal stage of him.
** Even if he appears in all games since his debut, Guan Ping has been suffering this since ''7''. First, the most canon appearance he gets will be just about Fan Castle, where he will be unplayable and proceeds to die doing a failed YouShallNotPass. And with the inclusion of Liu Shan, his budding romance with Xingcai, which was introduced in ''5'', vanishes out of thin air as Xingcai focuses more on babysitting Liu Shan (may be historically justified as Guan Ping would've died far before Xingcai would come to age). They still give teases like they're still close friends in case of free modes, but that's it.
** The Qiaos (Daqiao and Xiaoqiao) and Cai Wenji of Wu and Wei respectively suffer through this. In ''7'', its best described that the Wu and Wei stories took place in a universe where neither existed while in ''8'' their only appearance in the story (let alone as playable characters) is in the ''Hypothetical'' path.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', Paladin Vargas, right-hand man to Sentinel Lyons and an [[GameplayAllyImmortality essential ally]] during "Following in his Footsteps", is reduced to an expendable RedShirt during "Take it Back!".
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** Terra in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' gets this treatment. The entire first half of the game is all about her origin and her [[HalfBreed half-esper-ness]], then TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt happens. Then Celes becomes the star and Terra's barely mentioned in the second half.
** Although ''Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren'' is meant to be a sequel to the game, practically nobody other than Cloud, Vincent and Tifa get any screen time, so practically the ''entire cast'' falls into this trope. Ironic in Vincent's case, as he was an OptionalPartyMember in the game while his role in the film is much larger than regular characters like Barrett, Cid and Red. ''VideoGame/DirgeOfCerberus'' fixed this for many characters; while Cloud and Tifa were given nary more than a cameo, Barret unfortunately was grouped with them. Red XIII meanwhile was by far the least shown named character in both installments and can barely even be called an extra at all by now.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', Freya features rather prominently in the first disc after her introduction, but pretty much as soon as [[spoiler:her race is massacred]], she only appears in battle until the epilogue. Painfully ironic given that her character quote is "To be forgotten is worse than death."
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' winds up doing this to the so-called "hero" Vaan and his girlfriend Penelo a quarter of the way through the game once the other party members join and steal the plot. You'll hear nary a peep out of them for many hours until the end of the end, where they only finally get a starring role again in the epilogue. WordOfGod is Basch was supposed to be the main character, which makes more sense considering the vast majority of game events revolve around him. All things considered, Vaan's really more of AudienceSurrogate than a true protagonist, even if he [[SupportingProtagonist figures into]] Ashe's character arc.
** Prior to the release of the game, [[spoiler:Jihl Nabaat]] was given quite a bit of attention for an Extra from the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' trailers and information released on them. Just when you think [[spoiler:she would play a major part in the game and fight you, she gets killed off in a rather unceremonious fashion by Galenth Dysley before she has the chance to do so. Talk about getting taken out like some punk.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' was also originally meant to have seven party members, but implementation problems led to Serah being reduced to an NPC. This led to [[TheHero Lightning]] becoming a more serious character which then led to [[SixthRanger Fang]] [[GenderFlip becoming a woman]].
** In ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy XIII-2}}'', the entire original cast suffers from this, but especially Sazh. While the others make either physical appearances (Hope, Snow, Lightning) or are significant to the backstory [[spoiler: (Fang and Vanille)]] Sazh is only referenced a few times in passing, last seen flying an airship and mysteriously disappearing. (Though one of Snow's temporal messages implies he saw him floating around in the [[TimeTravel Historia Crux...]])
*** Only way for Sazh have an actual physical appearance in the game is via [=DLC=].
** Also done in ''LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'' where the focus is [[CaptainObvious obviously on Lightning for majority of the game]]. She's the only playable character, although Hope plays a somewhat important role as her MissionControl. The rest of the characters are turned into [=NPCs=], some of which you fight, team up with or just talk to. Sazh, [[RunningGag once again]], gets the shaft by isolating himself in the game to seem to be doing nothing (unless you glimpse him walking around a city).
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem''
** The series has its own way of dealing with this. If a character is vital to the story, they'll get critically wounded and will never be able to take part in battles again, though they'll still be present for the story segments. It's still common for characters to get demoted out of the story once they're recruited, thus allowing them to die their FinalDeath, though. [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe The seventh game]] manages to do this with the Tactician, your PlayerCharacter. Yes, this game managed to [[MindScrew render the]] ''[[MindScrew player him/herself]]'' [[MindScrew to be of minimal importance to the overall plot.]]
** Most characters cease to have dialogue by the first 1-3 chapters after you've recruited them. Although slightly subverted by the revolutionary character development advent of ''Support Conversations'' in the majority of later games (including almost every game released in English, save for a single oddity and a sequel), as well as the base conversations of FE 9 and FE 10 (which incidentally served the character development purposes in FE 10).
** Evident in FE 9,where the mysterious Volke [[NoMoreLies tells Ike the truth]] after getting 50,000 gold. Results in a [[DidntSeeThatComing Didn't See That Coming]] where [[spoiler: Volke was originally hired to kill Ike's father if he lost control, and to do research on the medallion.]] After that, Volke has little to no relevance in the entire game aside from being a good unit.
*** Even worse in FE 10, where Volke is hired to do research [[spoiler: by Count Bastian ''himself'']] about [[spoiler: the feral potion, because apparently, Elincia's uncle has been turned feral]] in Part 4. Which ends up not being relevant at all, because the person in question gets [[spoiler: healed by a heron]] and ends out fine. Volke shows up the ''last chapter'' before Endgame, despite apparently having been doing this for the entire game.
** Downplayed with Lyn in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemElibeBlazingSword''. She's not exactly irrelevant after her tale, but she doesn't hold quite as much importance to the overarching plot as Hector or Eliwood. She still contributes greatly to the army, however, and remains a valuable member of the group.
** Largo is the only unit in ''[=FE9=]'' to not be playable in the sequel (this is due to losing his arm in the interim between the two games).
* A common complaint about ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSun Golden Sun: The Lost Age]]'' was that this happened to everyone but Isaac, Felix and Kraden once the two parties met up. The sequel, ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', attempted to fix this, but that ended up causing [[MandatoryLine another problem]].
* Isn't it sad, [[VideoGame/GuiltyGear Justice]]? After the first game, sure its understandable you're dead, but you barely had any lasting impact beyond [[spoiler:possibly being Dizzy's mother]]. Even this wiki has forgotten it was YOU who was the first to use the Gamma Ray move in a ''GG'' game. Also, Kliff Undersn, who after ''[=GG1=]'', story-wise, dies offscreen with barely any mention why or how. When they do appear they're probably only added due to fan demand and are usually removed due to balance issues.
* The Arbiter from ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' going into ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' gets moved from an intriguing character to a one-line-wonder with the intelligence of a slug. Notwithstanding that your co-op partner plays as him, meaning for such players the Arbiter is the Chief's ertswhile ally and badass-in-arms.
* ''VideoGame/TheIdolmaster'':
** Rei was first released on November 2011 (when the game launched), but didn't get a new card until the Halloween Party gacha in ''October 2013''. She's the idol who has spent the longest time having only one card.
** Yumeko. Hello and goodbye, Ms. Relatively Minor Character! No albums for you!
** In-universe: Nao was the star of the show he and Shiro were originally castmates on, but Shiro is the leader of their idol unit.
* [[WrenchWench Keira]] in ''VideoGame/{{Jak and Daxter|ThePrecursorLegacy}}'': {{Love Interest|s}} and fixer of {{Broken Bridge}}s. Keira in ''VideoGame/{{Jak II|Renegade}}'': {{Love Interest|s}} and source of a few bits and pieces (one of which, yes, fixed a BrokenBridge). Keira in ''VideoGame/{{Jak III|Wastelander}}'': appears in a few scenes doing exaggerated facial expressions and gets somewhere in the neighbourhood of one line (seriously, ''Tess'' had more importance to the plot). Thankfully, she was re-promoted in time for ''Jak X''.
* All the characters from ''VideoGame/JumpStart'' (that weren't eliminated entirely earlier) had this happen to them in the massively multiplayer online game that's now the series' main product; only Frankie remains prominent.
* ''VideoGame/KessenII'' is likely the worst standing culprit to the above. The story opts for a fictional angle depicting Diao Chan as Liu Bei's primary love interest and completely focuses on his and Cao Cao's conflict. Wu is only seen ''twice'' in the entire game.
* Namine and Axel were major characters in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'', but their roles were greatly reduced in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' (probably because, once Roxas was gone and Sora's memories were restored, Namine didn't have much else she could possibly do except remerge with Kairi, and Axel was ''supposed'' to die in the Prologue as a tutorial boss, but he was SavedByTheFans and his role extension had to be small or it would clash with what was already plotted out).
** After ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Donald and Goofy, who were consistent main characters alongside Sora, have been put more and more OutOfFocus, amounting to cameos in ''Birth by Sleep'', unlockable multiplayer mode characters in ''358/2 Days'', {{Guest Star Party Member}}s in ''Coded'', and background furnishing in ''Dream Drop Distance'' [[spoiler: save for the VERY end.]] ''Also'' after ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Kairi was dropped from all importance while just Sora and Riku recieved further focus, [[spoiler: but the secret ending of ''3D'' firmly suggests that this will be changing.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'':
** The series demotes the protagonist of the previous arc for the following arc. Kyo's importance to the plot during the Orochi saga was downgraded to make room for K' in the NESTS saga and then K' himself moved down to make way for Ash Crimson in the Tales of Ash arc. After being demoted the character continues to add to the story (Kyo was used as a base for a series of clones in the NESTS arc and K' got to fight Mukai in ''2003'') but it's the current main character who gets the spotlight and wraps up the saga.
** The American Sports Team from ''[[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters The King of Fighters '94]]'', only returned as playable characters in one game and that was ''KOF '98''. Their other appearances in the series were mostly just background and ending cameos.
** While she isn't the most important character to start with, Ryo Takamisaki's ''KOF: G'' has poor Yuki only ''in one scene at the beginning''. Also qualifies as borderline DerailingLoveInterests: said scene [[{{Flanderization}} makes her few more]] than a ClingyJealousGirl opposing Athena [[MistakenForCheating over Kyo]], and once Kyo explains everything and Yuki relents, she's [[PutOnABus not seen through the rest of the story]].
** Ryuji's the only surviving member of the Hakkesshu, [[ScrewDestiny not that he gives a shit or anything about it]]. With Orochi's justifiably minimal presence after the climax of the Orochi Saga, Yamazaki has only seen one non-Dream Match appearance since ''[='97=]'' (''KOF 2003'').
** Happens to Kensou in some of Athena's games, specially the DatingSim ones where the player character assumes the role of her manager or just an average guy seeking for love. Since said games are from the player character's POV, Kensou serves only as a cameo, in a continuity where apparently he won't compete with the given player character regardless of his feelings, or actually such affections aren't romantic at all. Exception goes ''[[VideoGame/AthenaAwakeningFromTheOrdinaryLife Awakening from the Ordinary Life]]'', as mentioned in this page before, Kensou gets the chance to be a great support to Athena.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'': Bastila and Carth, the two main romance options and the most plot-relevant party members in the first game, become this in the second. Carth is only seen during cutscenes and a brief meeting with the Exile near the end of the game. The only time Bastila appears in person is a cameo near the end of the game, provided the player makes the PC from the first game a Light Side male. Otherwise she only appears as a vision in Ludo Kressh's tomb and if the first game's PC is Dark Side, as a hologram of a Sith holocron in the abandoned Sith Academy. Depending on the first game's PC's gender, Bastila or Carth also appears as a hologram of their message to T3-M4.
* ''VideoGame/TheLastBlade'':
** Yuki is the main heroine of the series, but has ''never'' set foot outside her own series, unlike Akari and Hibiki. Also, she took a tremendous dive in [[CharacterTiers character rankings]] in her transition from ''The Last Blade'' to ''The Last Blade 2''.
** Juzoh and Mukuro/Shikyoh are reduced from playables to just mini game-only characters in the GBC version of the game. Musashi [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome just disappears completely]].
* ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon]]'':
** Volteer and Cyril. Both were chatterboxes in the first two games, but in DOTD they each get a single line.
** A DeletedScene originally was intended for them to have their normal chatterbox statis, but [[CaptainObvious it was cut]].
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** Impa. According to the ''Hyrule Historia'', originally Ganon was just the bad guy and it was Link, Zelda, and Impa forming a PowerTrio that protected Hyrule. Then ''Ocarina of Time'' came around and Ganon became the third member of the trinity.
** Princess Zelda herself in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', whose TitleDrop description was but a RedHerring while [[spoiler:Midna, the true Twilight Princess,]] took up the spotlight.
*** In ''TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', she only appears in a vision to make Link "remember" the Song of Time. A JustifiedTrope, since she's busy in Hyrule while he's in Termina.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' does this to [[spoiler:Ganon. While he has a major influence on the backstory by virtue of his role in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'', this game sees him quickly revived by and then [[FusionDance fused with]] Yuga, who did all this just to get the Triforce of Power. After said fusion, his only real role in the plot is as a collective unit with Yuga. On top of that, [[TheVoiceless he doesn't have a single line]] before the fusion.]]
** ''TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'':\\\
There were initially going to be three ''Oracle'' games with Farore playing a large role in the third, but the developers decided it'd be too complicated to link three games so they made her the Oracle of Secrets instead.\\\
Princess Zelda kind of. She's really only seen in the joined game, although the manga indicates that she's the one who sends Link to the aid of Din and Nayru.
* Creator/NipponIchi has a variation of its own: In ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'', the game offered a fight against Asagi, the protagonist of their next planned game as a BonusBoss. Unfortunately, the game got scrapped. Instead of trying again, they've left poor Asagi wandering from game to game, bemoaning her bad luck, and occasionally [[HostileShowTakeover trying to take over the game from the main characters]].
** Speaking of ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'', there's also Zetta's original body. To explain, Zetta loses his original body in the beginning of the game and turns into a book. He regains his original body at the end of the game (it's also an OptionalPartyMember - long story) but in his subsequent appearances in other Creator/NipponIchi titles he only appears in book form. [[spoiler: This is finally averted in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}}'']]
* Examples from the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series:
** The entire hanar ''race'' in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. There are zero conversations with them and only background references.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', most party members from ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. While [[CowboyCop Garrus]] and [[{{Adorkable}} Tali]] are the only ones to return as party members, Mordin, Thane, Legion and Miranda play important roles in the main game. The rest appear in side missions.
** Harbinger, the BigBad of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', despite still [[spoiler:being the leader of the Reapers]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', only briefly appears once at the end of the game. He doesn't get any lines, and the only actual indication that [[spoiler:the Reaper who tries to kill Shepard (again)]] is Harbinger is because you're specifically told that it's him and his appearance is unique among [[spoiler:the other Reapers]].
** Wrex, Liara and Kaiden/Ashley, who all were party members in the original game, become extras in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', forced to undergo their own missions parallel to Shepard's quest. They all become important again, come ''Mass Effect 3'', [[spoiler:depending on who you've left alive]]. Wrex becomes a major ally (and a GuestStarPartyMember in the ''Citadel'' DLC), while the others are available to join as permanent party members again.
** For that matter, even Captain/Councillor/Admiral [[BigGood David Anderson]] receives this treatment in the second game. Although not a party member, in the first game he does serve as a major driving force for Commander Shepard and plays a pretty important part late in the game. In the sequel, he only really has one scene with Shepard, and even then, it's optional. In the third game he again becomes a major figure, serving as a GuestStarPartyMember early on and again playing a key role in the climax.
** Legion and Morinth from ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' Citadel DLC were the only two squadmates without their own lines. Somewhat justifiable as Legion's appearance in the game was tied into the Rannoch arc [[spoiler: which resulted in his death, either way]], while Morinth is said to have been on the run and [[spoiler: likely had been turned into a Banshee by this point.]]
** In a non-character example, the Citadel itself somewhat becomes this in the second game. In the first and third games, it somewhat acts as a secondary HubLevel after the Normandy and was the scene of several important plot developments, while in the second game it's only briefly visited to accomplish a few sidequests, the most important ones being the loyalty missions of two characters. Depending on how the player plays the game, they may be able to accomplish everything they need to do in the Citadel in just ''one'' visit!
*** One of the reasons for the demotion of the Citadel in ''2'' was due to the introduction of Omega as the new secondary HubLevel, rather apropos as Shepard is forced to work with the EvilCounterpart of the Alliance, on their EvilKnockoff ''Normandy'' and make berth in the Citadel's EvilCounterpart in the Terminus Systems.
** Omega in turn gets this in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', due to having been invaded by Cerberus between games. While Shepard eventually allows it to be retaken in the ''Omega DLC'', it's sadly not visitable afterwards.
* It seems like Creator/{{Capcom}}'s once beloved mascot, ''Franchise/MegaMan'', has now suffered from this. After a series of games starring the "blue bomber", Zero, whom was first introduced in ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' has seemly taken over. By ''VideoGame/MegaManX4'', [[SpotlightStealingSquad Zero]] had the storyline with more CharacterDevelopment, while Mega Man was portrayed as one track minded. Then followed a series of handheld games starring Zero called ''VideoGame/MegaManZero''. This alone wouldn't be a problem, but then you had Capcom cancelling the much talked about ''MegaManLegends 3'' which received a huge backlash from fans. And in the ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' series of fighting games, Mega Man was once a playable character, but he once again was replaced by Zero, whom as of ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' is easily one of the best characters in the series. Then there was the promise to put Mega Man in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterXTekken'', only for Capcom to use the crappy American box-art version from the original 8-bit Main/{{N|intendoEntertainmentSystem}}ES game, which again received hateful responses. The streak of bad luck finally ended when the original 8-bit Mega Man was revealed as a playable character in the fourth ''SuperSmashBros'' game.
* Within the Versus series, there's the [[VideoGame/MegaManLegends Servbots]], who started out as both Tron Bonne's helpers and independent {{joke character}}s in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom2'', reappeared as Tron's non-playable helpers in ''VideoGame/NamcoXCapcom'', and finally got stuck in background cameos in ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom''.
* Pat Sprigs (AKA Gemini Spark), from ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'', is a major character in the first game, to being an optional boss in the second, to only having a few references in battle cards in the third game.
* Motaro is the only character from ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'' who is not a fighter in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''.[[spoiler: [[PlotlineDeath He is killed by Raiden in a cut-scene and later appears as a dead body]].]]
** Much earlier, Kano and Sonya went from two of the original seven characters in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' to background stage props in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatII''. The got much better in later games.
** Kitana got a much smaller role as a simple cameo in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat4'' in Liu Kang's ending (though she was intented to be playable and remains DummiedOut) before being restored as a playable character in ''Gold''.
** Ermac went from becoming a canon character in ''Ultimate'' and ''Trilogy'' to a simple background mention in Kenshi's backstory in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatDeadlyAlliance''. Kabal was similarly just mentioned/shown dead in Mavado's story. Both got better in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatDeception''.
** Several characters who were only playable once or twice (like Stryker, Kintaro, Kai, Fujin) returned as {{NPC}}s in ''Deception'''s Konquest Mode.
** In ''VideoGame/MortalKombatShaolinMonks'' the {{Secret Character}}s from ''II'' Smoke and Noob Saibot were demoted from hidden AI-only characters to an optional quest giver and a minor cameo respectively. The third secret character, Jade, averted it however.
* Happens to Chou-Chou in the sequel to ''VideoGame/MugenSouls'', ''Mugen Souls Z''. In the beginning of ''Z'', she loses her powers and gets shrunk down to a chibi sized version of herself. From there, she's practically useless except for being the supporting guide for Syrma, the game's main character, who she rides on.
* Odin gets this pretty bad in ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'', despite being the ''title character''! Despite making a decent role in everyone's storyline (except Cornelius', where he essentially just cameos early on), and all of the truly massive amounts of storyline hyping he gets, Odin gets [[spoiler:knocked off rather easily at the end of the game, where he gets overwhelmed by the undead and killed by a Halja.]]
* [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Mewtwo]] was a playable character in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Super Smash Bros: Melee]]'', but in ''Brawl'', he's now only just a trophy.
** Which is really what happened to him in the games and anime series. Especially since Lucario was currently given WolverinePublicity at the time.
*** ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'' looks to be a big turnaround for him, with two [[SuperMode Mega Evolutions]] and all.
* Flora Reinhold of the ''Franchise/ProfessorLayton'' series was [[spoiler:[[MacGuffinGirl the Golden Apple]]]] in the [[VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheCuriousVillage first game]], and was demoted to being a secondary character in the [[VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheDiabolicalBox second game]], being replaced by [[spoiler:Don Paolo [[LatexPerfection in disguise]]]] for most of the game. The [[VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheUnwoundFuture third game]] fixes this, promoting her to being a playable character, though she only gets a few puzzles to solve, and doesn't appear until about halfway through the game. Flora does not appear in the [[AnachronicOrder prequel trilogy]], but she is a [[TheCameo cameo]] in the FramingDevice of ''Anime/ProfessorLaytonAndTheEternalDiva''.
** Granny Riddleton started off as a mysterious secondary character in the first two games, but was replaced by a [[TalkingAnimal talking bee]], and later by her [[CreepyChild granddaughter]] in the third game, though she did get a small appearance near the beginning of the third game. In the fourth, however, she simply appears as a cameo before being replaced by a cat. She does come back in full force for the [[VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheMiracleMask fifth game]], under the guise of Elizabeth, only to once again be replaced by the cat in the [[VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheAzranLegacy sixth]], making only a brief cameo to introduce said cat.
* Poor, poor VideoGame/{{Rayman}}. Originally the star of his self titled franchise, he has slowly been getting shoved to the sides by those damned Rabbids. This hijacking has gotten to the point where the latest announced game is a Katamari-like game starring the Rabbids. Rayman is nowhere to be found, even in the title. Luckily he got back in the spotlight in ''Rayman Origins''.
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil''
** The series has always been known for bringing in and kicking out new and old characters like a revolving door, but even then, the five characters with the biggest stage presences (Chris and Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, and Ada Wong) aren't immune from this. Claire gets the worst of it - after being a major player character for two games (''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' and ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica''), she's off the map until the CG film, ''Anime/ResidentEvilDegeneration.'' While she's still in the fight against bioterrorism, she takes a passive role at the company [=TerraSave=]. Chris also has less presence in favor of Leon in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'', but his status as the hero of ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvil5 RE5]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilRevelations Revelations]]'' might have something to do with that.
** Luis from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' isn't playable in mercenary mode, despite the fact that he showed himself to be capable of using a gun in story mode and a total {{Badass}}, yet Hunk, who has no bearing in the main story, appears.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}} 2'', Lisa, Cody's girlfriend, has a very bit part compared to the first game. She lampshades this.
* ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier's'' Fuse is much like Sacchin; he was supposed to have his own quest route and be a playable hero and so on and so forth, but when time constraints ate the development team, that got dropped entirely (along with a lot of the playable characters' sidequest material - the game wasn't exactly a polished work). He's recruitable by any/all the other characters but all that remains of what would've been his storyline is a few debug rooms. Woe!
* The Silver Saint Sagitta Ptolemy was one of the bosses in ''VideoGame/SaintSeiyaOugonDensetsu'', but appeared briefly in the prologue introduction of its sequel game.
* ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown''
** Several characters in the series, including Earthquake, Wan-Fu, Genan, Sieger, Jubei and Cham Cham (although a few of them returned as playable characters in later games, and Jubei was included in certain ports of ''Samurai Shodown III'').
** Ukyo Tachibana, despite appearing in nearly every game, is this. He was first introduced as TheRival for Haohmaru (being based on UsefulNotes/SasakiKojiro while Haohmaru is based on UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi). Then in the second game, they introduced Haohmaru's true rival with the story connections to go: Genjuro Kibagami. Afterwards, Ukyo became more irrelevant to the main storyline, going so low as being beaten like a CannonFodder in Haohmaru's ending in ''IV'', but still appear in the games [[EnsembleDarkhorse due to fan demand]].
* Because the ''VideoGame/SDGundamGGeneration'' games obviously can't include everything, something inevitably has to be removed in the end. ''Generation of C.E.'' is an interesting example; it was released around episode 39 of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeedDestiny Gundam SEED Destiny]]'', and so only covers the MS up to Strike Freedom, meaning Infinite Justice, the Akatsuki, and DOM Trooper aren't included. For that matter, neither is the Legend Gundam, despite the fact that it ''did'' appear before S-Freedom.
* Metal Gear Petit Mk2 in ''VideoGame/SDSnatcher''.
* [[VideoGame/SegaSuperstars Sonic and All Stars Racing]] did this to [[VideoGame/NightsIntoDreams NiGHTS]] who is demoted to a cameo. Which is better than nothing: originally [=NiGHTS=] wasn't to appear at all, and it was only after an extensive emailing campaign by a fan site that [=NiGHTS=] was placed in as the flag-bearer.
** The sequel added [=NiGHTS=] to the playable roster, with VideoGame/{{Ristar}} taking it's place as the flag-bearer.
* ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'':
** Kojuro becomes an NPC once again in ''[=SB3=]'' after only becoming playable for an expansion and PSP game. Then he's playable once more in ''Utage''.
** Also in the ''Ranse Ranbu'' manga, at least in the first volume. Partially justified as it was based on the first game (and he appeared in the second one).
** Toshiie like several others, ''Sengoku Basara 3'' made him into an NPC, but was made playable in ''Utage''. He's back to being an NPC in the fourth game.
** Matsu joins her husband in NPC land in ''Sengoku Basara 3'', but became playable in ''Utage''. Like her husband, she returns to NPC status in the fourth game (at least until the expansion).
** Keiji hasn't been a poster boy since his debut in ''2'', and these days even Masamune and Yukimura's second-in-commands Kojuro and Sasuke as well as Motonari and Motochika get far more merchandise released for them in comparison.
** In ''Devil Kings'', Mitsuhide/Reaper got demoted to an NPC. Then, when he becomes Tenkai in ''[=SB3=]'', he's an NPC once again, before becoming playable in ''Utage''. And now Mitsuhide is an NPC again in ''[=SB4=]''
** Oddly subverted in ''[=SB4=]'': Mitsuhide himself is a NPC, but his alter ego, Tenkai, is playable.
** Shingen is an NPC in ''4,'' but isn't PutOnABus, unlike in ''3.''
** As of ''Sengoku Basara 4'' Yukimura's no longer a poster boy, with the more popular Mitsunari taking his place as main character and Masamune's rival. Eventually subverted, since the rivalry is still very much present, and it even gets an exclusive.
** Like Kojuro Sasuke's an NPC in ''Sengoku Basara 3''. And back to a PC in ''Utage''.
** Kenshin goes from PC to NPC in ''Sengoku Basara 3'' due to Shingen's absence. He returns to PC status again in ''Utage'' along with Kasuga, but returns to NPC status in ''4''.
** Like Kenshin, Kasuga's an NPC in ''Sengoku Basara 3''. She returns to PC status in ''Utage'' along with Kenshin as well as returning to NPC status in the fourth game (at least until an expansion comes along). She has one scene in "The Last Party". And she's unconscious when it happens.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTensei'':
** Brahma, except in ''DigitalDevilSaga''.
** Ashtar hasn't appeared since ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII''.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'':\\\
[[spoiler: Beelzebub's role as Dragon has also been taken over by Lilith, and only appears as a BonusBoss.]]\\\
Belial is fought as a boss in Lucifer Palace, the final dungeon in the game on the Neutral and Law routes. However, Nebiros is simply a random encounter found earlier in the game.\\\
While Metatron can be fused, he sadly plays absolutely no role at all in the plot.
* ''Shin Getter Robo'', ''Dancougar'', and ''Trider G7'' have no plot relevance in ''VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars'', while ''Gundam Wing'' and ''G Gundam'' get the bare minimum of its characters. In fact, [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Heero Yuy]] is a SecretCharacter in this game.
* Maggie Simpson only ever appears in ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsTappedOut'' when you give Marge the eight-hour task ''Walk Maggie''.
* In the first two ''{{Skate}}'' games, Reda was the [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] camera man. In the third, he opens up a skateboard shop, puts himself in charge of sales, and hands the camera over to Shingo. He still [[ContinueYourMissionDammit calls you from time to time to constantly remind you that you should do photo shoots and other stuff.]]
* First Umbrella was removed from the initial roster of ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'', then when the DLC began to come out of DevelopmentHell she was replaced by Big Band as the second planned DLC character, and then lost BOTH of the DLC Voting events to Eliza and Beowulf. This is {{lampshaded}} when Squigly and Big Band were funded. [[http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/4731/1361897584898.png Official artwork was created]] [[http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/7690/1363293045574.jpg to thank the fans]] [[http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/127/20130327005900600k.jpg for donating]]. In all of the pictures, Umbrella is looking very annoyed.
* Willie Trombone is only briefly present in the intro and ending cutscenes of ''VideoGame/{{Skullmonkeys}}''. And as a power-up.
* This happened to ''Franchise/SpyroTheDragon'' with ''VideoGame/{{Skylanders}}''. While originally launched as a new ''Spyro'' game it quickly became its own franchise, being more of a spinoff than an actual reboot. Spyro himself does not play a role larger than any of the other characters, and only the first game has Spyro's name in the title.
** For the first ''Skylanders'' Spyro came with every copy, had three variations, and was in the title. In the other titles he's dropped out of the title and Spyro isn't available with a copy of the game.
** Hugo appears in the introductory scene of ''Giants'' to give the Skylanders their mission, but doesn't come along on the adventure.
** In ''Swap Force'', Cali only appears once in an early cinematic.
* In ''VideoGame/{{SLEEPINGDOGS}}'', Tran Ma is originally a minor character who provides Wei and Jackie with cars as they try to get initiated, he vanishes into the background [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration the moment you unlock the better car dealers]].
* Dimitri in ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'', who goes from playable character to informant for the gang as they time travel. Which is strange seeing that he has his old voice actor in the credits.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSmurfs2'', the Winslows are only given a brief cameo contained entirely within a cutscene, where Papa and the others briefly pop into New York to learn Gargamel's whereabouts before immediately leaving them behind.
* Characters such as Robert Garcia, Mature, Daimon, Yang and Andy get only passing mentions, assist roles, or cameos, in the entire ''[[VideoGame/SNKVsCapcom Capcom vs. SNK]]'' series. This is very noticeable in the SNK side, because most of the ''[=KOF=]'' teams (sans the Women Fighters Team) are incomplete in the games. For example, the Art of Fighting Team lacks Robert, the Fatal Fury Team lacks Andy, the Japan Team lacks Goro Daimon, the Villain Team lacks Billy Kane, and so on. Chang also shares his moveset with Choi in ''Capcom vs. SNK 2'', but Choi got into ''SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos'' with Chang only getting cameos.
* In ''VideoGame/SOCOMUSNavySeals'', Kahuna returns as a member of Bravo Element in SOCOM Tactical Strike (Even though he was the protagonist in the first game), while Sandman gets demoted to being under Wraith's command. Let's not forget Lonestar, who gets killed off after being your main ally in the first two Fireteam bravos.
* Every character in ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' who isn't Sonic, Tails, or Eggman had this happen to them to varying degrees. Some of this may be due to the UnpleasableFanbase's reaction to the increase of playable characters before this period. Between {{Sonic The Hedgehog 2006}} and ''VideoGame/SonicBoom'' in 2014, the only playble appearance by a character other than Sonic were Tails and Metal Sonic in ''SonicTheHedgehog4 Episode 2'', as well as Tails piloting vehicles in bonus stages of ''SonicRushAdventure'' and ''SonicLostWorld''. Some other characters were playable in the spin-off game ''SonicRivals 2'' (2007).
** Knuckles and Shadow were not in ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'', and the two and Amy didn't appear in the Wii version of ''VideoGame/SonicColors''. The setting of the latter game logically prevented appearances from other characters, but the DS version inserted random cameos of most of the cast. This continued the trend of other supporting characters solely making cameos in most in other games.
** The Chaos Emeralds also go from being a central plot point of the series to an optional extra sidequest in both versions of ''VideoGame/SonicColors''.
*** Averted for Chaos Emeralds on the DS port. Gathering all of them allows you to access the TrueFinalBoss and also to witness the GoldenEnding.
** Tails does get substantial time as a supporting character even in the games he is not playable in, but considering in-story he is Sonic's partner in heroism, his gameplay role still seems limited.
*** For example in the standalone ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic & Knuckles]]'', he only appears in the closing cutscene if the game is played as Sonic.
** Chaos has no real role in ''VideoGame/SonicBattle'''s plot; his appearance is just for the sake of having Emerl copy skills from him.
** Flickies for ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' where they can be seen on Little Planet yet are not relevant to the badniks like in the other classic games (instead, flowers pop out of them).
** The White Wisps in ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'', who just get cameos since Sonic does not need them to boost, and ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', for the same reason, only being around to give Miiverse items.
** The wisps in general in ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'', since there is no explanation for their presence.
* ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'':
** Berserkers, Assassins and Lizardmen in ''VideoGame/SoulcaliburII''.
** ''VideoGame/SoulcaliburIII'' began the shift of focus more towards certain storylines, even as it fleshed out all of them. As a result, certain characters who were present since the start of the series faded more into the background as it went on.
** ''VideoGame/SoulcaliburV'''s redesigned Story Mode [[ContestedSequel received criticism]] because only the main characters, Patroklos and Pyrrha receive any kind of backstory and characterization. Most of the new characters have an average of only five lines and contribute minimally to the advancement of the plot. Two returning characters actually have NO dialogue and leap out of nowhere in order to be fought. Nine of the returning characters don't make a single appearance in the game's story. Made worse by the fact that it's no longer possible to read character bios in the game. In order to learn what the rest of the characters have been up to since the 17 year time skip, one has to view their official online profiles. Additionay, two major and fan-favorite characters, Talim and Zasalamel, were removed from the story entirely. Unlike others who at least had mention of what they did after ''Soulcalibur IV'', their profiles just stop.\\\
Algol. [[spoiler: Averted with the artbook, revealing he is TheManBehindTheMan. While everybody else is caught up in destroying the Soul swords, he's secretly corrupting the world's energy flux in the hopes of conquering it when everybody is weakened.]]
* ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'':
** Christophe gets only one scene in the Demon Path, after that, you never hear from him again.
** Alexemia only gets one scene in the Demon Path, sadly, and it's being summoned to heal everyone after Revya beats the crap out of them.
* Aldous plays a pivotal role in the first game of ''VideoGame/{{Spectrobes}}'', but by ''Portals'' he is just a supporting character who goes missing for most of the plot, and there's no mention of him at all in ''Origins''.
* Gryvon in Series 2 of ''VideoGame/{{Spellbinder}}''.
* Previously in ''VideoGame/{{Spelunky}}'', the Damsel and the [[spoiler:Tunnel Man]] were secret playable characters, but were removed from the available roster in the remake.
* Victor Coste serves as a partner in the tutorial for ''[[VideoGame/{{Splintercell}} Splintercell: Blacklist]]'', but is put into critical condition by a grenade by the end of it, and remains in the hospital for the game's duration until the ending.
* ''VideoGame/SpriteWars'':
** Alexis hasn't seen much screen time in later comics.
** Dianna like Alexis, has been seen a little less as of late.
** Dorangonnosuke-san.
* ''VideoGame/SpyroEnterTheDragonfly'':
** Moneybags appears in just one level, doing his usual gem-coercing schtick. Despite this, he's listed in the manual along with Hunter and Bianca as if he's a prominent character.
** Bianca, despite appearing in the opening cinematic, shows up only one other time at the beginning of the game and is never seen again outside the background of the ending cinematic.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'', Mojo was prominent in ''Enslavers'' but was only in one mission of ''Dark Vengeance''.
* ''VideoGame/StarcraftIIWingsofLiberty'':
** In earlier versions of the game Lassara was to be initially hostile to Kerrigan, remembering all she did as the Queen of Blades, but seeing Kerrigan show mercy to the other colonists softened her and she began to speak more familiar and openly to her. This entire subplot was dropped from the final game and Lassara is little more than a Protoss to talk two for all of two missions.
** Kachinsky was supposed to have his own mission chain but it was scrapped. He does get to be the default profile picture for people who haven't earned avatar achievements yet, and is seen wandering around every room on the ship, as well as being the voice of the [[spoiler:short-lived committee debating mutiny against Raynor]].
** Scout is seen a few times as a campaign unit but is otherwise replaced by the Phoenix.
** Liberty from the ''StarCraft Novels'', was going to the one behind the news reports in ''Wings of Liberty'', but the developers decided his anti-Dominion bias would limit the scope of his stories, so he was replaced with Kate and Donny.
* About half the cast of playable characters in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'' falls into this. Nel, Albel, and Mirage are fairly important characters in disk 1, then in disk 2 fade into obscurity. Adray, Peppita and Roger do this as well, though they never had a particularly major hand in the plot to begin with (Roger being the only 100% optional character). Since you are only allowed to bring along two characters out of Nel, Albel, Roger, and Peppita, the game has to fit their dialogue in rather awkwardly, and the other characters rarely if ever acknowledge their presence. Mirage is perhaps the most painful example, however - she doesn't even get this courtesy, since she was added in a version after the original released in Japan, and as such essentially gets no dialogue at all after she joins the party!
* Chancellor Martok and Admiral Sela in the penultimate campaign in the first game of ''VideoGame/StarTrekArmada''. You control their ships but they have no lines or actual role in the plot.
* In Season 8 of ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline''. Most of the EMH's part of the tutorial was cut for the redesigned tutorial.
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'':
** Nowadays, R. Mika just gets minor cameos. On the other hand, the UDON comics turn her into an AscendedExtra.
** In between ''Final Fight'' and ''Street Fighter Alpha 3'', Cody was demoted to background cameos and the occasional mention.
* Happened to most of the ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' cast during the ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' series and the [[CapcomVsWhatever Vs. series]], as most of them (such as Balrog, Vega, Fei-Long, and E. Honda) only appeared in ending or stage cameos. But each new Alpha and Vs. game gradually brought back characters from II until the console version of ''Street Fighter Alpha 3'' featured all the remaining characters needed to fill out the entire ''Super Street Fighter II Turbo'' roster. On the other hand, the arcade version of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' only had the original twelve from the first ''Street Fighter II'' in addition to all the new characters (and Akuma) and it wasn't until the console version (and the later ''Super'' editions) that characters from the Alpha and III games (along with the "New Challengers" from ''Super Street Fighter II'') were included in IV as well.
* In ''VideoGame/StreetFighterXMegaMan'', Rush doesn't even appear as a power like Rush Coil--he only appears in the [[UnexpectedShmupLevel shoot 'em up segment]] in Rose's stage, and that's it.
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'':
** Despite the fact that Alex is the true lead character of the ''Street Fighter III'' series, both the [[http://www.eventhubs.com/images/2011/jun/07/street-fighter-3-third-strike-online-edition-artwork-5/ cover art]] and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uPuRm9G-zA E3 trailer]] for ''3rd Strike: Online Edition'' show very little of him. By contrast, Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li (the franchise's three most prominent characters, all of whom were initially never supposed to appear in the series at all) have more presence in both.
** Too bad most of the time, it's just Yun as the player character, with Yang appearing as an AssistCharacter at best.
** Sean was originally supposed to be the only shoto fighter, but due to fan backlash Ryu and Ken were added. This most likely changed Sean from something else completely and since 3rd Strike he's rarely been mentioned in any form.
* ''Videogame/StreetsOfRage'':
** Adam in the sequels. He still appears in the games, but he's been demoted to a non-player role, although he does become a considerable DeusExMachina in ''3''.
** Nora. Specifically to being one of Electra's palette swaps in the sequels.
** In the second game, Bongo is demoted to a GiantMook. To add insult to injury, his [[YouDontLookLikeYou appearance gets changed entirely]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Strider}}'' Hiryu's rival from ''Strider 2'', Hien, went from being a recurring boss character to a PosthumousCharacter ([[AndYourRewardIsClothes represented by an unlockable costume]]) in the 2014 ''Strider'' remake.
* In ''VideoGame/SuikodenV'', Sorensen complains that Lu is stealing the post of Babbage's apprentice away from him.
* In ''SuperDemoWorldTheLegendContinues'', Yoshi in general is a lot less common than he was originally, being mostly restricted to the {{Bonus Stage}}s. In fact, Red Yoshi is the only colored Yoshi to appear in a regular level, and only once.
* The Franchise/SuperMarioBros series and spinoffs has a few. Look at [[VideoGame/MarioandLuigi Fawful,]] who went from TheDragon to minor NPC... right back to BigBad by the next game. Or [[VideoGame/SuperMarioLand Tatanga,]] who went from BigBad, to boss, to vanishing off the face of the planet. King Boo went from BigBad to standard boss after ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', the Koopalings ended up in fairly mediocre roles after ''Yoshi's Safari'' until ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii'' and Professor E Gadd went from important character, to minor NPC, to PutOnABus.
** And [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy Rosalina.]] Despite helping Mario save both Peach and the entire Mushroom Galaxy from Bowser in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', as well as being a playable character in the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' games, in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'', she actually does not appear until ''after'' Bowser is defeated at the end of the game. [[spoiler: Averted in ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'', where she's PromotedToUnlockable instead.]] And then [[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros she became a Smasher]] in a ''major'' aversion.
** Princess Peach in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar''. After some ''well'' deserved CharacterDevelopment and being PromotedToPlayable in the previous two games (even in the first game where she was a DamselInDistress she was still a playable character [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething who actually helped in the final battle]]), she cameos in the intro, and [[spoiler:doesn't reappear until the endgame; the main crisis was the loss of the Royal Stickers and Comet Pieces instead of her (barely mentioned) kidnapping, and her only lines in the game are just replacing Kersti's as a [[VoiceForTheVoiceless voice for Mario]] in the first few minutes of the ending in her absence.]]
** Bowser undergoes a similar treatment in ''Sticker Star'', where [[spoiler: although he ''is'' still the FinalBoss]], he actually doesn't say a single word in the entire game.
** Luigi has actually suffered this, being almost nothing from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' to ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion''.
** Franchise/DonkeyKong was a main playable character in ''VideoGame/MarioParty'' until the fifth installment, since which he became a MiniGame sponsor. And in ''Mario Party DS'', he was just a statue adorning the third board (enchanted to be such according to the Story Mode). A Koopa Kid was a playable character for a couple games as well.
** Foreman Spike went from being the BigBad of ''VideoGame/WreckingCrew'', to TheDragon to Bowser in ''Wrecking Crew '98'', to a mere unlockable character in ''[[VideoGame/MarioGolf Mobile Golf]]'' before vanishing altogether.
** Daisy was the major princess in her [[SuperMarioLand debut title]] but outside of that she hasn't been used in games other than spin-offs. Sarasaland is ignored. It got even worse after [[SpotlightStealingSquad Rosalina]] was introduced.
** After ''[[VideoGame/WarioWare Touched]]'', Mike doesn't have much relevance other than being an important background character around Dr. Crygor and Penny. He does get to host a multiplayer minigame in ''Game & Wario'', though.
%%** Koopa Kid.
** ''Videogame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'':\\\
[[spoiler:Rosalina, who remains unseen (except as the Cosmic Guide, and those who played the first game will probably recognize her) and just sends you letters, 1-Ups, and Star Bits. She only appears at the end of the game. [[HundredPercentCompletion Both ends.]]]]\\\
The Boo Mushroom shows up ''once'' in the entire game. It doesn't even get a second appearance via Prankster Comets or Green Stars. The same can be said for the Spring Mushroom (which appears in only one galaxy for a grand total of two missions, one of which is a Green Star), but that's more [[PowerupLetdown forgivable]]. Luckily, the [[KillItWithFire Fire Flower]] and the [[InvincibilityPowerUp Rainbow Star]], both of which are series staples, did not receive the same treatment.\\\
The Bee Mushroom has significantly fewer appearances in this game as well, and is only in two galaxies. Pull Stars are also much rarer compared to the first game.
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'', Yellow Toad (and the rest of Captain Toad's brigade) now pass out items in the Toad Houses.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsClassic'': Ever since ''Original Generation 2'', Ring has yet to rejoin the playable roster. Justified that she's all tied up with her duties as the CEO of Mao Industries. [[spoiler:Made more unlikely for her to reappear in a Huckebein for future events, given the entire destruction of the Huckebein series in the ''Second Original Generation'']].
* In spite of being the titular character and more or less the hero of his series, Betterman Lamia's reduced to a handful of roles in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsCompact3'' and always is a NPC ally on missions he appears.
* Unless you [[NintendoHard meet the conditions]] [[SecretCharacter to recruit her]], [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Haman Karn]] won't appear in the storyline of ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsDestiny'' at all.
* Compared to the three girls, Calvina tends to get shafted in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgement'' supporting materials and fanworks.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsK'':
** ''Anime/MazingerZ'' gets zero plot aside from some involvement of [[BigBad Dr. Hell]] in the OpeningScroll, and ''Anime/GreatMazinger'' doesn't even show up despite both Mazins being always together. Probably {{justified|Trope}} in that Mazinger and co. have been on a bajillion games already. Then again, it's the same game that gave [[Franchise/{{Zoids}} a war story anime with 50 episodes]] only 6 levels of plot, but [[Anime/KotetsuJeeg a 13 episode one where half are Monster-of-the-Week format]] got 8, so maybe it's just the story wasn't K's best point (Japanese reviewers agree with this).
** Many characters from ''{{Godannar}}'' only appear in intermission scenes; their respective mecha don't even appear at all.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsL'': Isn't it sad, [[spoiler: [[RebuildofEvangelion Mari, Kaworu]] and [[GundamSEEDDestiny Auel]]]]?
* None of the bad guys from {{Braiger}}, MazingerZ, GreatMazinger, GGundam and Goshogun appear in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsNEO''. Domon, the J9 team and the GoShogun team are the only representatives of their respective series. This is because all of them are [[PostScriptSeason post-script]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration Gaiden'' hammers this trope to one of Duminuss' Homunculi, Laliar, [[TheOneGuy the only male]]. In his origin game (''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsReversal SRW R]]''), at least he gets to get involved in the grand schemes along with his siblings, joining some factions to screw them up. But in ''OG Gaiden''... Tis gets to deal with the Wendigo and G Thunder Gate, Despinis gets to guard a {{brainwashed}} Lamia, [[spoiler:and later ends up surviving, unlike in the original series]]... and Laliar? He's relegated into just contacting Tis and Despinis from afar in case they're about to screw up, and doesn't do much in the grander scheme (obviously, he had a bigger role in his original game). Makes this editor wonder if Duminuss prefers an ImprobablyFemaleCast for her main Homunculus.
** A similar case can be seen with the BridgeBunnies. Early in ''OG 1'', Rio becomes a pilot and stays that way until the end of ''OG 2''. After [[spoiler:Daitetsu's death]], Eita and Tetsuya end up taking charge and commanding the Kurogane to the best of their abilities. And poor Eun, best friend to the Hiryu Kai's captain Lefina? She is just there to give bits of information every so often, lacking even the hint of ADayInTheLimelight.
** Warrior Roar is unavailable as a "sub-pilot" for Kouta in the ''Second Original Generation'', in contrast to his previous appearance in ''Original Generation Gaiden''.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsReversal'':
** Fiona Gureden is rendered as a sub-pilot for the Excellence Rescue in the ''Second Original Generation''.
** [[MemeticMutation Yes, we know, Laliar...and we're sorry]].
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsUX'':
** [[Anime/Gundam00AWakeningOfTheTrailblazer Descartes Shaman]] only appears during a MAP event.
** Marvel (also Cham), Lunamaria, and Athrun did not get any new lines at all this game. Especially sad for Marvel since she barely has any recorded lines at all. Lunamaria also has no unique battle lines, while Athrun has a few reused ones from Z (lines for fighting humans and the final boss lines seen here).
** Dimitri Magarov from Linebarrel appears only once to be trashed by three Jinrais in an event.
** Mamoru if he survives, he can only be swapped with Hiroto as the pilot of Mark Funf. Even though they could just remodel the Mark Elf for Mamoru's use.
** Vespasianus who only gets one event map appearance with his Deus Machina, though he is around in conversations.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsW'':
** A variation, where material (characters, missions, etc) for ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed Gundam SEED]]'' are fairly scarce. Aside from a skirmish against Mwu La Flaga, a later mission where you get to play as him, and a couple of cameos, SEED's events and stories don't even appear until halfway through the game, and even then, are mostly passed over in favor of it's spinoff ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamSEEDAstray''. A particularly glaring example being the Artemis Base battle. When the Zaft forces show up, the ''Archangel'' actually ''leaves'' as soon as it exits the base, leaving the ''[[Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico Nadesico B]]'' and the Junk Guild and OriginalGeneration crew to deal with them.
** [[{{GoLion}} Emperor Dai Bazaal]] barely shows up until it's time to fight him at the end of the [=GoLion=] plot, despite being the BigBad and a regular in his series. To add further injury, his death isn't even the point of the scenario, as [[{{GaoGaiGar}} Palparepa]] and [[Characters/SuperRobotWarsW Applicant]] appear after he dies and takes the spotlight. Can be {{justified|Trope}} in that Dai Bazaal's always been mainly an OrcusOnHisThrone and [[TheDragon his son]] [[{{GoLion}} Sinclyne]] is the more active villain. Unfortunately, for any players who don't know much about ''[=GoLion=]'', Dai Bazaal feels like a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere.
** In an odd way, [[DetonatorOrgun Tomoru Shindo]] get's something like this. The other major characters of the series, Youko, Dr. Kanzuki and Orgun, along with some of the villains, show up multiple times in the first half of the game, with Orgun himself being a major presence, while [[TheHero Tomoru]] himself doesn't show up until about the last third of the game.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsZ'':
** Despite being one of the most powerful leaders and Newtypes in Universal Century, [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Haman Khan]] gets shafted into playing second-fiddle to [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Paptimus Scirocco]] and Durandal in ''Z''. When it seems she's about to make her move, she's suddenly PutOnABus, [[spoiler:unless the player takes the secret ZEUTH Route split, allowing her to be recruited (or more accurately, lets her force her way into ZEUTH)]].
** [[MobileSuitGundam00 Soma Peries and the GN Archer]] only appear as an attack for [[MobileSuitGundam00 Allelujah Haptism and the Gundam Arios]] in ''Saisei-hen''; likeweise, [[SuperDimensionCenturyOrguss Athena]] for Kei. In contrast, [[Anime/CodeGeass Nagisa Chiba and Shogo Asahina]] go from attack-only units to full-fledged units in this game.
** [[CodeGeass The Knights of the Round and Jeremiah Gottwald]] do appear in ''Jigoku-hen'', but are not playable. Instead, they are tasked with rescuing [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Relena Peacecraft]] and other important figureheads during scenario 49. Likewise, Athrun and Lunamaria, but are instead a ChekhovMIA.
* Goshogun, Zambot 3, Vigna Ghina, the F91 Gundam, EZ-8 Gundam, Apsalas II and their respective pilots are the only characters that show up from their respective series in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars64''. Daitarn 3 at least gets its supporting characters.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'':
** Pichu and Mewtwo were both playable characters in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee Melee]]'', but were demoted to trophies in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl Brawl]]''.
** Super Mushrooms in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee Melee]]'' made Giant Donkey Kong obsolete; as such, stage 6 in Classic Mode is you plus two allies against any random character (even Ness or the Ice Climbers), giant-sized.
** Metal Boxes in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee Melee]]'' made Metal Mario obsolete; as such, the final fight in Classic Mode before Master Hand is against any random character (even Kirby or Pichu), metallized.
** The Fighting Alloys don't have as big a presence in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl Brawl]]'' as the Wireframes.
** Dr. Mario was demoted to a sticker and two songs in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl Brawl]]'', one of which was just a carry-over from ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee Melee]]''.
** While the others were reduced to trophies in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee Melee]]'', Roy was nothing more than a sticker and unused playable data.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashFlash'':
** [[Manga/{{Bleach}} Renji]] and [[DragonballZ Vegeta]] were originally planned to be full characters in the sequel, but they were demoted to Assist Trophy and background character respectively.
** Super Sonic is a Final Smash instead of a separate character in ''Super Smash Flash 2''.
* By the 2nd season of ''VideoGame/SwordGirls'', the four heroines of each faction are nearly unmentioned in the story. Its only main focus was [[spoiler:Iri joining Vita and befriending Sita]].
--->"If destiny exists, the girls will meet again. They have no say in it"
* Strategy [=RPGs=] with LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters such as ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'' or ''VideoGame/KnightsInTheNightmare'' do this, and they have reason for it. Due to some of them having FinalDeath, the story is purposely written so that they could have been killed off at any point in the story after recruitment, whereas the characters whose death will result in a game over (namely the player character) will remain in the story at all times. In some [=JRPGs=], particularly those where you can change the makeup of your party, characters often stop developing after you recruit them, particularly because they do not necessarily have to be present at any given scene.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny'':
** Woodrow gets considerably less spotlight than the other four Swordian masters. This spreads even to his Swordian, Igtenos, who remains deactivated for a majority of the game, and thus not having a speaking role in any of the scenes or skits until near the last stretch.
** Swordian Igtenos
* Loni Dunamis is the least likely playable ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' character to make cameos or get shout outs in other games, and he was the only one who didn't appear in any escort or spin-off titles between ''Narikiri Dungeon 3'' and ''Radiant Mythology 3''.
* Veigue Lungberg's the frigging hero of ''VideoGame/TalesOfRebirth'', yet he's mostly not included in spinoff games while his friends get in first. Case in points: ''Radiant Mythology 1'' and ''Versus''.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia2'', everyone from the original except Jude and Milla. There's still the Character Episodes, but aside from that, don't have a major involvement in the story arc itself.
* Spoofed in the Franchise/TalesSeries Drama CD ''Viva Tales of!'' to promote ''Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology''. It got Veigue Lungberg of ''VideoGame/TalesOfRebirth'', being the protagonist and all, in the interview. Then he finds out that he's not in the actual game (with other characters like Eugene Gallardo and Annie Barrs actually in). Cue to him crying and shouting '''[[SayMyName CLAAAAAAIIIIIRREEEEE!!!!!!!]]''' (He got in the sequel, though).
* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'':
** Eddy Gordo became an extra costume for Christie in ''Tekken 4''. It's a shame because this meant that the storyline he had in ''Tekken 3'' was cut off far too soon in favour of one which also included Christie. Many people complained and so he returned as a separate character in ''Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection'', and later in ''Tekken 6''.
** While the original games saw Paul Phoenix as a legitimate rival to Kazuya, and a formidable presence in the tournament, all of the games from ''4'' on have seen his story become more silly and less tied to the overall plot with each subsequent game.
*** Really, it set in as early as ''2''. In the first game, he is TheRival to Kazuya, the main character and son of [[BigBad Heihachi]]; in the second, he is TheRival to Kuma, Heihachi's ''pet''.
* Rikimaru, the main protagonist/playable character in ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}}'', was demoted to the {{NPC}} Master of the player's character in ''Tenchu Z''.
** Tesshu went from being a SecretCharacter and third leg to Rikimaru/Ayame in ''Wrath of Heaven'', to a meager small cameo appearance in ''Fatal Shadows''. Gets (somewhat) better in ''Time of the Assassins'', where he gets his own {{Prequel}} story.
* Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Daisy Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto in ''VideoGame/ToontownOnline''.
* All characters in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' (except protagonists Reimu and Marisa, of course) get shunted to the side after their debut game is finished. The exceptions to this are the occasional player characters (Sakuya, Youmu, Sanae, and the other playable characters in the fighting games) and the characters who appear in the [[AllThereInTheManual side materials]] (covering everyone who don't appear or have appeared already in the main games).
** In general, any character that debiuted in either first or second stage of any game. Expect Cirno, who is treated like a mascot.
** Both Flandre Scarlet and Ran Yakumo were Demoted to Extra after their debut in their respective ''Extra'' Stages. Flandre was basically a one-shoot character, and Ran was, after her debut, almost exclusively shown in the shadow of Yukari Yakumo as a helper.
** Yuuka Kazami, from all the Windows games, has a prominent role only in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, as an extra character, and was serving basically a role of a reminder to PC-98 era.
** Sakuya got that treatment after Scarlet Weather Rhapsody was released in 2008. Since then, her only main appearance was in Double Dealing Character, released in 2013, as the playable character. It's today unknown if whether she will appear in a prominent role again.
** Eientei residents (Tewi, Reisen, Eirin, Kaguya) were pretty much out of focus after side works dedicated to them ended.
* While the gameplay of ''VideoGame/TouhouMother'' leans decidedly towards the ''MOTHER'' side of things, the characters from said series are for the most part pushed to the wayside - even [[MOTHER3 Lucas and Claus]] are mere side characters. [[spoiler:There's a reason for this.]] Not so on the sequel though, where Ness enters the scene proper as a playable and important character.
* ''VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron'':
** Ratchet.
** Bumblebee is used for two chapters in the original and only get used in the tutorial here.
** Ironhide goes from one of the main playable characters in the original to not even getting used here, and he's featured in the trailer.
** Warpath.
** Jetfire. Though he's still playable during the final battle.
** Soundwave.
** The Aerialbots.
* ''VideoGame/TriangleHeart3SweetSongsForever'':
** Virtually most characters in this game who carry over to ''Nanoha'' -- especially Kyouya -- suffer a steep decline in importance in the original series, and are virtually phased out in ''A's'' and ''[=StrikerS=]''.
** In-game example: Shinobu is the ''winning girl'', right? So why does she get so few scenes in the anime?
* Sies was playable in ''VideoGame/TroubleWitches'', but never made so in ''Trouble Witches NEO!''.
* In the 2012 reboot of ''VideoGame/{{TWISTEDMETAL}}''. While Axel himself doesn't appear, his vehicle is available as DownloadableContent.
* ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}}'':
** Victor Sullivan in ''Uncharted 2: Among Thieves'', who was a major character in the first game but only accompanies you for two chapters of the second before deciding he wants out. In "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception," Sullivan becomes a main character once again, only for the main female leads of 2, Elena and Chloe, to be demoted to extras.
** Sadly Elena Fisher in ''Drake's Deception'', she's not seen until the middle of the game when she tags along through most of a single chapter. When Drake goes after a captured Sully, he tells her stay behind so as not to risk her welfare. Unlike the first game, she completely understands and helps Drake one more time by helping him get on Talbot's plane, then bows out until the ending.
* Corrosion, Hyena and Memphis went from selectable characters in ''2004'' to AI bots in ''VideoGame/UnrealChampionship2TheLiandriConflict''.
* Though he's important to the storyline of ''VideoGame/UnrealTournamentIII'', Malcolm can't be chosen as playable.
* In early promotional materials for ''VideoGame/ValiantHearts'', the British pilot George was billed to be one of the playable main characters. However, in the game itself, he only shows up as an NPC for a single mission as an aerial spotter.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'':
** Hrist has not been the central character of any ''Valkyrie Profile'' game yet; she only makes a brief appearance in the first game's GoldenEnding (and a mention of her name in the worst ending), and she spends much of the second game hunting her sister's SoulJar. Her appearance in the third is restricted to complaining about not having a starring role in the BonusDungeon.
** So far, Celia's never been playable in any game, and it's heavily implied that her fate was to be destroyed in Ragnarok along with every other mortal.
* This happens ''mid-game'' for everybody but the main protagonist of ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfileCovenantOfThePlume''. Characters are given compelling, interesting motivations and backstories, but the minute they decide to join the party as anything other than guest characters, the only time they say a word or even show up outside of battles is [[ExplosiveOverclocking when you decide to sacrifice them to your Plume]].
* ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'':
** Wolf has a self-contained arc in the anime, but largely unconnected with the major arcs of the stories. Lastly, he doesn't appear in the final battle of the anime, best he got is a mention in recognition of his past arc.
** Jeffry. Much like Wolf above, although his treatment is a tad better in the second season, where he and Lion are blackmailed into fighting each other, in Jeffry's case to save his family.
* Nick in ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead''. [[spoiler: If he survives Episode 2 he is noticeably less involved in the story of Episode 3 and only makes a brief appearance in Episode 4 before being found as a walker.]]
* Ogres suffered this in the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series. In ''Warcraft II'' they were the most important part of the Horde next to orcs and the only non-orcs who led orc clans and there were several important ogre-mage characters. In ''Warcraft III'' they were no longer part of the Horde, and now had the small role of neutral mercenaries and hostile creeps. They were also inexplicably weaker compared to the [[EliteMooks powerful units]] they were in ''Warcraft II'' and resorted to using clubs rather than GoodOldFisticuffs. In the expansion pack a [[NonhumanHumanoidHybrid half ogre]] was introduced, and an ogre/goblin HeroUnit was introduced. Most importantly they rejoined the Horde in the story hinting at a greater role in future games. But then, in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' the ogres' home is destroyed by [[GoodColorsEvilColors black]] [[AlwaysChaoticEvil dragons]] and they show up for a minor role in one zone. As of the extension ''Cataclysm'' they are the only race from ''Warcraft II'' not playable in some form.
** Happened to the Blood Elf race - except for Kael'thas - in the ''Frozen Throne'' expansion of Warcraft 3. The "human" campaign largely on the plight of Kael'thas and his Blood Elf remnants... for about two and a half missions. Then they grew OutOfFocus as the story importance shifted to Illidan and his Naga (the fact that the Blood Elf forces were completely irrelevant compared to the much stronger Naga didn't help). By the middle of the Undead campaign, the Blood Elves were out-and-out {{Mooks}} with the exception of [[TheDragon Kael'thas]] himself.
** While trolls in general seem to be the go-to race for evil mooks, troll heroes tend to either vanish into obscurity or be DrivenToVillainy. And the playable Darkspear tribe—a late (and somewhat rushed) addition to the baseline game to begin with—have been largely sidelined.
** The draenei have pulled up even with trolls in that regard. While they did get quite a bit of focus in the beginning of the Burning Crusade, they were overshadowed by the blood elves after the Black Temple. Like the trolls, they didn't do much of anything in WOTLK. And finally, in Cataclysm, they're the only race to not get a new class—despite rogue, druid, and (if you stretch a point) even warlock being at least theoretically possible. At least they make up a decent percentage of the Earthen Ring faction...but seeing as shamanism is canonically a tiny and new splinter of their culture, that's not saying much.
** Gnomes, considering their lore, have quite the potential for sad or bittersweet storylines. Instead, they're almost strictly comic relief.
** Worgen, who despite being the new Alliance race in ''Cataclysm'', are shipped off to Darnassus at the end of their starting zone and promptly forgotten about. Their only other major appearance is in Silverpine Forest, a ''Horde'' leveling zone, where they are the antagonists. Alliance side, they make only a few token appearances as generic {{Non Player Character}}s, most of who could be changed to a human or a Night Elf without impacting anything. Their induction into the Alliance as well as the effects it had on the Worgen and the other races was instead put into the ExpandedUniverse novel ''Wolfheart'', much to the annoyance of Alliance players.
** Anub'Arak’s first appearance in ''Wrath of the Lich King'' was as a level 74 dungeon boss, which outraged many players. Then the Argent Coliseum was completed, and he turned up again, just a wee bit harder.
*** This has mostly to do with Blizzard scrapping the idea of Azjol-Nerub as an entire underground zone.
** Compared to Illidan and ''especially'' Kael'thas, Vashj receives very minimal attention in ''Burning Crusade''. It consists of a directionless plot in Zangarmarsh that goes entirely unresolved and then, seven or eight levels later, of returning to the area and killing her.
*** She doesn't even make a cameo appearance in the Arthas novel, despite having helped lead the failed Illidari campaign in Northrend.
** Tyrande Whisperwind in ''WorldOfWarcraft''. At the end of ''Cataclysm'' she makes appearances in the time-traveling adventures leading to Deathwing's demise, as a boss in End Time and as an ally in Well of Eternity
** Vol'jin essentially did nothing but hang out with Thrall after turning Rexxar and Rok'han into spirit wyverns in ''Warcraft III : The Frozen Throne'', until taking back the Echo Isles just before ''Cataclysm''.
** Rokhan is just a quest giver who helps players taking down a frost wyrm in ''Wrath of the Lich King''.
** After leading the Horde forces in Hellfire Peninsula and setting up Thrallmar in ''Burning Crusade'', Nazgrel has more or less faded into the background in ''World Of Warcraft.'' He isn't mentioned as a candidate for Warchief despite being Thrall's close advisor and he never gives his thoughts on Garrosh's appointment.
** Rehgar Earthfury is a major character in a few novels and comics, but has never actually appeared in any of the Warcraft games.
** Famously, being able to play as a Revantusk Troll is one of the most popular demands of Horde players (Next to being able to play as a Mag'har). While the Revantusk tribe have a very large role in the Hinterlands questing, unlike their Alliance counterpart, High Elves, they are practically unknown outside of it.
** Many of the Warcraft Mangas were written about Trag Highmountain, 6 issues, but he's only an NPC in game. His gossip text claims he wanted to join in on the Ashen Verdict's assault on Icecrown Citadel, but he was never present.
** Roanauk Icemist’s a very important figure in the Horde's side of Dragonblight questing. You rescue him from Icemist Village, which has been overrun by undead Nerubians. You save him before he's sacrificed, and you and he work together to slay the Crypt Lord that's spearheading the assault, leading to the very emotional speaking of the Blood Oath. After this, he's never heard from in anymore quests.
** Lor'themar Theron had a somewhat important role in the comic as the SecretKeeper, but nothing ultimately came of it, though he casts off the trope in ''Mists of Pandaria''.
** While ultimately not a super-important player, Nathanos Blightcaller being demoted from being quest-giver and target of two extensive questlines in vanilla to a simple class trainer is pretty damn degrading.
** Cairne Bloodhoof played a big role in ''Warcraft III'' but doesn't do much in WoW. And when he finally plays a major role, [[ADeathInTheLimelight he dies]].
* Mike, despite getting his own ImageSong, seems to do nothing now besides show up in scenes with the Crygors in ''VideoGame/WarioWare''. Penny is kind of on the fence between this and [[AscendedExtra Ascended]] [[strike: [[AscendedExtra Extra]]]] [[AscendedExtra Supporting Character]], considering she has a considerable presence in DIY and actually interacts with Wario on a significant level. In the tutorial.
* Mercy's role in ''VideoGame/TheWarriors'' is far smaller and less significant than in the movie. As her subplot with Swan is removed in the game, she barely does anything throughout her time in the game.
* Joseph [=DeMarco=], one of Aiden's main targets in the trailer for ''VideoGame/WatchDogs'', ends up as an illegal auction organizer in the game. You kick his ass at the end of the [[spoiler: Human Trafficking]] sidequest.
* ''VideoGame/WrestleAngels'':
** Chigusa Yuuki. While she is part of the roster for ''Survivor'', she has the "honor" of being the only returning character from previous games to not have any events or an alternate persona.
** Kayo was the only one of the three cut from the roster altogether for ''V3''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'':
** By the time Disc Two rolls around, Fei, Elly, Citan and Bart are the only playable characters who are really important to the plot anymore. By that point in the game, the ''villains'' get more dialogue than most party members.
** This fate eventually befalls most of the secondary playable characters, but a notable example involves the NPC Hammer. During the Kislev story arc, Hammer is almost omni-present. His network of black-market goods, information, and mechanical skill are vital in eventually helping the main character escape imprisonment. After the escape, Hammer virtually disappears for twenty-odd game hours, only re-appearing near the end of the Solaris arc. [[GenreSavvy He understands]] that he has been DemotedToExtra, and the knowledge drives him to cross the MoralEventHorizon at a certain point.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' has MOMO Mizrahi, a little Realian girl. In the first two games she was one of the most important characters because her father/creator Joachim placed the "Y-Data" (which included coordinates to a planet that EVERYBODY wanted to get to) inside her mind. One of the main points of the first game is to get MOMO to a research facility where this data can be analyzed, and in the second game that actually occurs. She also serves as a foil and love interest for Junior (she was modeled after his old romantic interest, Sakura, who happened to be Joachim's biological daughter, effectively making MOMO her sister). And...then the third game comes, and she has very few lines and one or maybe two scenes that actually give her any real attention. It's as if she lost any real importance once they got the Y-Data out of her and just stayed on as a playable character because people were used to her being around.
* ''VideoGame/XMenLegends'':
** Emma Frost. Playable character in the first game, NPC in the second. Still, that's better than some other characters who were playable in the first game (such as Jubilee) who don't appear at all in the second game. Probably to make room for the Brotherhood characters.
** Beast himself suffered from this in the first act [[spoiler: until he's captured and BrainwashedAndCrazy, then returned to this after being defeated, which also undoes the brainwashing.]]
** Poor Magma only ever gets mentioned in a trivia question in the second game, despite being the main character from the first.
* Kai is a major character as a romance option in his origin games (the Anime Sim Dates and ''VideoGame/MemoryDays''), but has only a supporting role in ''VideoGame/XolgaAndMrToko''. However, it's not as bad as other examples, since his perspective of the story is shown in episode three.
* Sohei Dojima in ''VideoGame/{{Yakuza}}''. We still know almost nothing about him, despite being awesome enough to [[spoiler:have both his wife and son be accepted almost automatically as Chairmen of the Tojo Clan.]]
** He's actually implied to be [[spoiler: quite the bastard. For one thing, he cheats on his wife with multiple women (including Yumi, which sets off his own murder at the hands of Nishiki).]]
* Luciana Rune Artwaltz is ''very'' important in ''VideoGame/YggdraUnion'' (although she appears under [[TagTeamTwins her sister's]] name for most of her appearances), but does almost nothing in its prequel, ''VideoGame/BlazeUnion'', instead shifting the focus onto the aforementioned twin sister Aegina. Then again, you can't do all that much on an injured leg. Aegina herself falls out of the spotlight in two of the three MultipleEndings - but in the third one, Luciana dies.
* ''VideoGame/YggdraUnison'':
** [[{{Narrator}} Nessiah]], Marietta, and Nana-chan in the original; in the remake, Nessiah finally has a role in the story (and is an unlockable player character), but Marietta and #367 still don't even get so much as a mention.
** And in the drama CD, most of the cast that doesn't join the Royal Army in ''YggdraUnion'', along with half of the Imperial Army. The fact that Elena seems to be absent has been met with many complaints from the fanbase.
** Pamela, Gordon, and Nessiah aren't even in the key visual.
** In an amusing aversion, this is about the only game in the whole of the Episode II part of the franchise where Luciana ''doesn't'' get shafted for once. She even gets her own story in the drama CD.
* Poochy, who got his own level in ''VideoGame/YoshisIsland'', appeared as a selectable character in ''[[VideoGame/PanelDePon Tetris Attack]]'', had a minor role sniffing out fruit in a couple levels of Yoshi's Story, and since then has only gotten two cameo appearances in ''VideoGame/MarioKart: Double Dash!!'' and ''VideoGame/MarioParty Advance''.
* ''VideoGame/YouDontKnowJack'':
** Schmitty, who hosted ''TV'', part of ''The Ride'', ''Louder, Faster, Funnier'', ''5th Dementia'', ''Mock 2'', and ''The Lost Gold'', was reduced to the announcer of each episode's Wrong Answer of the Game prize in ''2011''. [[note]] On the other hand he was the announcer for "Sports", Volume 2, "Movies", Volume 3, and Offline.[[/note]]
** Same goes for Buzz. After Volume 2, he only has a little participation in ''The Ride''.
*** Also Bob.
** In the game show, Cookie Masterson was demoted from TheHost to TheAnnouncer.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'':
** Dogi in ''Memories of Celceta''
** Lilia, the heroe's love interest in ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} II'', was reduced to a minor supporting character in ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} IV'', and [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome completely forgotten]] afterward.
* ''VideoGame/YuGiOhTheSacredCards'':
** Yugi. A painful example since the story still revolves around Marik seeking the God Cards and destroying Yami Yugi, yet you're the one who faces all the Rare Hunters and Yugi is basically not in the game until the finals begin.
** Joey, too, since you defeat all of the players that he dueled in the manga/anime.
* Crow in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'':''World Championship''. [[spoiler:In 2010, He was suposed to be the fifth Signer, but was scrapped so the Player can become it instead. And in 2011, he is injured through most of the final chapter (Alongside everyone else, minus you, Yusei and Jack), forcing you to take his place.]]
* Deadra, Ghat's partner[=/=]love interest from ''VideoGame/ZenoClash'', is absent for most of ''VideoGame/ZenoClash2''. She left Ghat after his sulking about the Golem's laws became unbearable, hoping the Golem could bring prosperity to Zenozoik. She eventually becomes disillusioned with the Golem's laws, though, and leaves for the wilderness to start her own town. You briefly meet her about halfway through the game, and you can recruit her as part of an optional sidequest near the end.
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'':
** Leo goes from being the main character in the first game, to a supporting character in ''The 2nd Runner''
** Early on in the ''The Fist of Mars'', if you decide to spare [[spoiler:Nadia]], you begin a process which will lead to her having a HeelFaceTurn. There could have been a virtual goldmine of tension between her and the EvilerThanThou newcomer Amante, or at least something about her learning and growing. Unfortunately, she doesn't even get twenty more lines in the whole game.
** Nohman is the BigBad of the entire series, serving as a PostClimaxConfrontation HopelessBossFight in the first game, and the primary antagonist for the whole of the sequel. But in ''Dolores, i''? He's just some cocky jerk who shows up to mock Pleminger's BAHRAM unit.[[spoiler: It's revealed in backstory materials that Nohman was running his own gambit to take over Bahram via the chaos Radium's plan created.]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/SeventhDragon 7th Dragon (2020-II)]]'' Rin is largely outside the spotlight. The personal drama now centers around Emelle.
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