[[quoteright:320:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mqdefault_8019.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:Who cares if he's the [[BigBad villain]]? This is [[ATasteOfPower AWESOME!]][[note]] Would be more awesome if you could actually control him during this sequence though...[[/note]]]]

->'''Amalia:''' The situation requires I accept such help as I find. Though it be from thieves. I shall accompany you until we find my companions. No longer.\\
'''Balthier:''' Let's think of her as a 'Guest', then. Unlike Fran or myself, our 'Guest' probably won't be taking orders from anyone anytime soon. And she'll leave when she pleases. So, we keep to our affairs, and she to hers.
-->-- ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII''

This is a character who joins the PlayerParty only temporarily. If this happens early in the game, they'll be [[ATasteOfPower much more powerful than you]]. If you're lucky, maybe you can unequip a DiscOneNuke from them. But if you buy them equipment, beware of SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear!

If you see them again, it will probably be as an enemy; however, if they join your party again, they will seem [[RedemptionDemotion a heck of a lot weaker]]. Unfortunately, what removes them from your party may well be [[SacrificialLion their getting killed after you've gotten used to having them around]].

Despite there being little incentive to keep this character in your party for gaming reasons (lack of weapons sold for them, etc.) it's popular in gaming fandom to force these characters back into your party via cheat codes or GameShark.

Compare with CrutchCharacter, OptionalPartyMember, EleventhHourRanger, and AwesomeButTemporary. Contrast AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent, where an existing party member takes over as the viewpoint character temporarily. May often also be a HeroOfAnotherStory.


[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* Plenty throughout ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series:
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'' has Zelda early in the game, a monkey for one of the early dungeons and a maiden in one of the later dungeons ([[spoiler:she's a demon and the dungeon boss]]). Even later, you can find a treasure chest in a house that will inexplicably start following Link around.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'' has Bow-Wow, a ghost, Marin, and the Flying Rooster. Bow-Wow and the rooster are actually useful, Marin gives you some fun scenes, and the ghost...is just a BrokenBridge character that you have to get rid of to get into the next dungeon.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' has Princess Ruto with you for the whole third kid dungeon. You also briefly get [[spoiler:Princess Zelda]] with you during the final dungeon, as you both escape it.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'' has the three pets- you can get one to join you permanently, while the others will only appear in the quests in which they're introduced in each game.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' has Medli and Makar, who are actually playable for one dungeon each. If a UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance is connected to the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube GameCube]] while you play, Tingle can join in too anytime.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' also allowed you to take control of Kafei in the final part of his lengthy sidequest, and is used to move blocks onto switches while Link battles enemies.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'' has a young Goron that Link briefly joins forces with to overcome parts of a dungeon and the first half of the boss battle. The player controls one at a time and needs to switch between them as needed. The Goron can fight and destroy boulders, but obviously doesn't have the same arsenal of items as Link does.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' has a Phantom [[spoiler:possessed by Princess Zelda's spirit]]. Like earlier examples, you switch between Link and the Phantom.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' has [[spoiler:Groose]].
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' has the girl who you help escape from the Thieves' Hideout, as a ShoutOut to the girl from ''A Link to the Past''. [[spoiler: This time around she ''isn't'' the boss]].
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'', using the Link and Midna amiibo from ''Twilight Princess'' will let Wolf Link accompany you.
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Curly accompanies you like an AttackDrone throughout Labyrinth M. [[spoiler:If you save her life and restore her memory, she will rejoin you in Sacred Ground.]]
* [[spoiler: Yomiel]] in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' for [[spoiler: one very special mission and one single trick]]. [[spoiler:Missile]] joins you a few occasions as well.
* In ''VideoGame/StarControlII'', the Spathi can be recruited as allies by doing an optional quest. However they all leave after only a couple months. Fortunately, you do get to keep any Spathi ships you happened to build during that time.
* The premise of the [=WiiWare=] title ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Rumble'' is that the Pokemon are merely toys and cannot level up. Which means that you'll wind up selling your favorite Pokemon after about two stages.

[[folder:Action Game]]
* ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms''-based video game ''VideoGame/DemonStone'' has a chapter where you are required to exchange control of your least used character for special guest star [[Literature/TheLegendOfDrizzt Drizzt do'Urden]], the dual-wielding drow ranger who ''defines'' melee badassery for many ''D&D'' players. Combined with a nerfing of weapon enhancements, a single-target super attack instead of a multi-target super, enemies that regenerate, and a few segments that even remove the ability to swap into control of your other characters in preference for just Drizzt, playing the super-badass drow just plain sucks.
* ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries SoulCalibur 3]]'''s adventure mode features many characters coming and going in your party. They should in theory start out stronger than characters you always have available, however due to leveling up by fighting (even if you lose) it makes more sense to just keep using your own characters.

[[folder:Fighting Game]]
* During the final route of ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' you gain access to many different units you've fought with or against before, including gamebreakingly powerful units like Muriel Sheerfield, who more or less operates as a super version of your caster unit Lily.
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' has The Director, who appears in several Challenge Tower missions, and is also playable in one despite not being playable anywhere else in the game.

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* ''[[Area51FPS Blacksite: Area 51]]'': [[spoiler:the BigBad actually fights as a member of your squad for several missions (against his own troops!), as part of a BatmanGambit to get inside the Allied HQ.]] However, despite being an augmented super-soldier (who can soak a few hundred bullets in the final battle), when he's on your side he's physically indistinguishable from your other AI-controlled squad buddies.
* In the PC version of ''VideoGame/GhostRecon: Advanced Warfighter'', the ''President of the United States'' himself carries a pistol and follows you around (very briefly) after you rescue him from rebel soldiers.
* At one point in ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Outcast]]'', Luke Skywalker himself fights alongside you
* In the finale of The Passing in ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'', Zoey, Francis, and Louis assist your team by sniping at zombies from a balcony and tossing you items in between waves of hordes. They're also ignored by the zombies so you don't have to worry about protecting them.

* ''VideoGame/{{World of Warcraft}}'' has many EscortMission quests where the NPC can actually fend for himself pretty well. The Wrath expansion also introduced several group quests where the player can call [=NPCs=] to help him if there aren't enough other players around to help with them. There is also a quest to free captive horde soldiers that will join forces with the rescuer for a while as thanks.
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in quests involving Creator/{{Harrison|Ford}} [[Franchise/IndianaJones Jones]] which states that you are either being escorted by him, or are supposed to simply stay out of the way while he does his thing.
** In the War of the Ancients and Hour of Twilight dungeons released at the end of Cataclysm, you were joined by Illidan and Tirande, and Thrall, respectively, that would act as a 6th party member giving the group buffs and attacking mobs and bosses with you.
** Similarly used in a few places in Mists of Pandaria, mostly in lore-heavy Scenarios where they're the focus of the story, and a few fights in raids (like Galakrond in Siege of Orgrimmar.)
* ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE Online]]'': Early on in the game, you complete a quest to heal your former mentor's wounded Cerberus. The Cerberus accompanies you for the next few acts, and can be summoned like a normal demon. However, it suffers from the "Wounded" attribute, slowing it's growth. At the end of Act 3, Snakeman takes Cerberus away to continue his treatment. You can later obtain a fully healed Cerberus as a gift from Snakeman after reaching level 30.
** This is a recurring theme in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei''. In both the first and second game, you can get Cerberus as a mini-DiscOneNuke (it avoids the level restriction too), although you lose them soon after they've had their use; later you can get them back permanently.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' has henchmen who are implied to be working alongside the various players and heroes. None of the heroes "leave" per se, but there are some henchmen who do not follow you to later areas. Most of the time, they are available for the first couple of missions then when you get to the main dungeons and missions, stay behind. A few do decide to not stay behind, or actually go ahead and join in different areas.
** And most of the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters in the ''Guild Wars'' universe don't make the cut to ''Eye of the North'', despite being in your party when you take the quest that begins the main Eye of the North questlines.
** Some quests have you amass a bunch of support characters who actually can fight very well, while others {{Leeroy|Jenkins}} or are noncombat.
** With a few exceptions, the central five (Mhenlo, Eve, Cynn, Devona, Aiden) will always be available. But the biggest exception is in Factions where Mhenlo is a non-henchman NPC who has to be protected at all costs.
** Kormir fits this trope to a T, acting as a CrutchCharacter of a sort before losing her sight and [[spoiler:Becoming the Goddess of Truth in the final battle.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' does it a lot for certain story and class quest encounters, including one in ''Heavensward'' which basically revisits an older dungeon with two significant [=NPCs=] replacing the usual player party. It can also occur in some other places, though usually in a lesser role or more of a EscortMission situation.

* An unusual platformer example is the second and third games in the ''[[{{JakAndDaxter}} Jak and Daxter]]'' series, where some characters will fight alongside the duo. Sometimes, it's also an escort mission, but sometimes it's a full battle. With the exceptions of The Kid [[spoiler:and Damas]], these guests will have a HP bar on the top-left of the screen; if they lose all their health, it's game over. Most of the time, you often get one or two guests, but at one point, you get '''three'''. The party members include Sig, Ashelin, Jinx, Mog, Grim, Samos (old and young), Torn, and [[spoiler:Damas]].
* This is a common occurrence in the ''Franchise/SlyCooper'' games.
** ''Videogame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves'' has the Guru, the Panda King, Penelope, and Dimitri, who were only controllable during certain missions. Similarly, certain missions have you controlling Carmelita Fox, who's not even part of the gang (rather, she's one of the main antagonists).
** In ''Videogame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'', Sly's various ancestors (Rioichi, Tennessee "Kid", "Bob", Sir Galleth, and Salim) are playable in their respective eras. [[spoiler:At the end of the game, they all reappear for the final stage to regain their stolen canes and, in Tennessee's case, save Sly Cooper and Carmelita Fox from Le Paradox]].
** Starting from the second game, there will be certain missions where Sly, Bentley and Murray will work together, with one being playable, and the other two being party members.
* ''Franchise/RatchetAndClank'' also has characters who serve as guest star party members in several games.
** [[VideoGame/RatchetAndClank2002 The first game]] ([[VideoGame/RatchetAndClank2016 and its re-imagining]]) has the Sergeant and the Pokitaru Resort Manager, both as [[EscortMission escort characters]].
** [[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal The third game]] introduces guest stars who combat alongside you; in this case, the [[LovableCoward Galactic Rangers]]. Captain Qwark, Skrunch, and Skidd also join in the escort variation.
** ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureToolsOfDestruction Tools of Destruction]]'' introduces Talwyn Apogee, Cronk, and Zephyr as guest stars. They will all fight alongside you in several battles.
** Talwyn even serves as a party member in ''Quest for Booty'', alongside [[spoiler:Rusty Pete and Captain Slag's head]] in an escort mission.
** ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureACrackInTime A Crack in Time]]'' also introduces a guest star in Alister Azimuth, who fights alongside Ratchet in several missions [[spoiler:until his FaceHeelTurn after defeating Cassiopeia]]. Captain Qwark will fight alongside you in several missions, and so does a group of Fongoids. A Vulcan will serve as an escort character early on.
** In the non-canon game ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankSizeMatters Size Matters]]'', the first mission has a little girl ([[spoiler:really a ''Pinocchio''-like spy who's TheDragon to [[BigBad Otto Destruct]]]]) follow you around while you defeat random enemies.

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} 2'' features the Bulbmin, who are immune to all environmental hazards but can only be used in the dungeon they are found in.

* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers of Time[=/=]Darkness'', you are joined on a mid-game dungeon run by [[spoiler: Grovyle]], who is a huge asset to your team as you can simply stand back and let him do the fighting to conserve strength. And later, you are joined by a [[spoiler:''Shiny Celebi'' of all things, [[CuteBruiser who deals out more ass-kickery than you ever thought possible from a pink fairy thing.]]]]
** [[spoiler: Hydreigon]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonGatesToInfinity'', who shows up after you're [[spoiler: separated from your partner]]. He's likely to be around 30 levels higher then you and can effortlessly plow through the enemies you encounter (Save for the few that can confuse him). Predictably, he doesn't stick around for very long. [[spoiler: He officially joins the team in the post-story at his original level of 64, and is still likely be stronger then anyone else on the team for a very long time.]]
** Almost all of the dungeons in the latter half of ''VideoGame/PokemonSuperMysteryDungeon'' have you accompanied by at least one Pokemon from the Expedition Society who'll most likely be several levels higher then you and your partner. However, the game's difficulty is high enough compared to the previous entries that you'll likely find yourself needing to rely heavily on their assistance to survive, and despite them technically being on the same team as you, you're not actually able to freely bring them on missions until you've totally completed the story.

[[folder:Role-Playing Game]]
* To be expected in a franchise as long-running as ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' has a whole stream of guest party members. Rest assured that whoever joins your party and fills the fourth slot will eventually leave ([[spoiler:the sole exception being Leon]]). In the GBA and PSP versions, some of them ([[spoiler:more specifically, those who died]]) feature in a bonus section after the main game, complete with whatever equipment and magic they had when they left, making SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear actually '''useful''' for once. However, unless you power-leveled all of these characters in the main game, they will likely get murdered by the more powerful enemies.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' has guests for several points in the game. Some of them stick around for multiple dungeons and some for just one. In the original game, they just tagged along as an extra sprite on the map screen, but they have a chance of popping in at the beginning of battles and either casting a spell or attacking in the remake. Their luck varies--a few of them eventually die via HeroicSacrifice and one gets a DisneyDeath, but not all of them.
** In general, the entire party in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' gets well-shuffled over the course of the game, and only a few (Rosa, Rydia, Tellah, and Edge -- out of 11 characters) stick with Cecil for more than three dungeons at a time. Kain and Rosa function as guests when they first join the party, departing again fairly quickly. Fusoya sticks around for only a single dungeon near the end. Edge is really the '''only''' party member who permanently joins when you first get him (and Cecil, though he does change class and gets his level reset to 1). In the GBA remake, as well as the mobile and PSP versions (but not the DS version) most characters are available for the final dungeon and the bonus dungeons, making Tellah and Fusoya the only real guests in those games.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'' follows the grand tradition of temporary party members. Most of them either do not gain experience, or have a lower level cap than the normal characters do.
*** A handful of permanent party members show up as guests in other chapters: Cecil, Cid, and Rosa in Ceodore's Tale [[labelnote:Details]]Cid and Rosa join for real in Kain's Tale, while Cecil returns in the Final Chapter[[/labelnote]]; Palom, Rydia and Kain in Porom's Tale. [[spoiler:Though "Kain" is actually Dark Kain, who is also a Guest in Kain's Tale until defeated by the real Kain.]]
*** In terms of pure examples: Biggs and Wedge are guests for the first part of Ceodore's Tale. PlayerMooks are available in certain chapters. The Elder of Mysidia joins for a single battle in Porom's Tale. Fusoya appears in the Lunarian's Tale.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' has one that would otherwise seem like a permanent party member: [[spoiler:that would be Galuf]]. Don't despair if you invested a lot of time {{level grinding}}, as learned abilities carry over to a replacement character: [[spoiler: his granddaughter Krile]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has a slew of these:
*** Biggs and Wedge, the two RedShirt soldiers who accompany Terra in the intro sequence. They die shortly into the game.
*** The 11 Moogles who join to help protect Terra. {{Subverted|Trope}} in that you can recruit one of them as an optional character later, and you can get another through a {{g|oodBadBugs}}litch. (The Moogles are based on characters you get later; if you {{sequence break}} your way out of recruiting one of them, you get the Moogle back at a mandatory point later.)
*** Banon has a {{game break|er}}ing healing ability. Which is good, because his section of the game is an EscortMission, and if he falls [[NonStandardGameOver it's an automatic Game Over]].
*** The Ghosts in the Phantom Train are pretty useless other than their [[TakingYouWithMe Possess ability]]. You can fill your open party slots with them (up to two if you didn't recruit Shadow) but they will leave before you deal with the engine.
*** General Leo is playable for '''one battle'''. [[spoiler:He dies shortly after.]]
*** Finally there is Shadow, a rare '''Recurring''' Guest Star Party Member. He can be optionally recruited at three different points during the game, though for the first two, he has a random chance of leaving at the end of a battle. He can become a permanent party member if you [[spoiler:wait for him before escaping from the Floating Continent, otherwise he dies]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has a couple:
*** Aerith is an unusual example in that, by all appearances, she's a permanent character [[ItWasHisSled up until she dies]]. She gets everything that all the other characters can: an InfinityPlusOneSword, a full set of {{Limit Break}}s, and more {{character development}} then anyone else up to that point. Of course, if you didn't know she was going to leave, you probably wouldn't come across those power-ups until after the fact.
*** Sephiroth. Though you never actually control him, he is every bit TheAce that Cloud touts him as. [[PurposelyOverpowered He has powerful attacks, powerful magic, and is a great healer, too]]. He also comes equipped with a full set of Master materia, just to break him even further. Too bad you only get him briefly in the flashback; he'd be a GameBreaker otherwise.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'':
*** Seifer is useful for low-level players at the start of the game.
*** Edea is less welcome, as her abilities and LimitBreak are fairly useless by the time you get her.
*** Laguna, Kiros, and Ward are a whole Guest Star Party.
** A number in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'':
*** Beatrix assists the party for a short while early on, and then a little later in a duo with Steiner for a segment that mainly exists so that Steiner [[CantCatchUp can catch up]]. Though she's pretty powerful when she's playable, you can kill her off in the Steiner section so that Steiner gets even '''more''' experience from the ordeal.
*** Cinna, Blank and Marcus. Cinna joins for the first two fights of the game, and earns the distinctions of "lowest attack", "lowest defence", and generally "crappiest character." Blank also joins for the first few fights, leaves for a while, then comes back for the Plant Brain boss fight before getting turned to stone. Marcus is around for the same fights as Blank and Cinna, but he rejoins later when Dagger and Steiner split up from the main group. He's a Zidane clone, with slightly higher attack. (In fact, that last sentence applies to all three.) However, some of these guests transfer their stats to permanent party members (Blank and Marcus carry over to Amarant and Eiko respectively). Leveling with them makes future party members that much more powerful.
** Seymour in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''. He joins you for only one battle: [[spoiler:the second fight against Sinspawn Gui]]. He even has an [[LimitBreak Overdrive]] of his own!
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' explicitly makes guest party members a game mechanic: the character is actually labelled "Guest" in the menu, doesn't count toward the party's ArbitraryHeadcountLimit, has permanently-set equipment, has no Licence Board entry, and does not accept orders in battle ([[UpdatedRerelease except in the international version]]). There are six primary examples of guests over the course of the game:
*** Reks is the DecoyProtagonist for the prologue of the game and promptly bites it.
*** Amalia (who's actually Ashe) and Basch join for the long haul later. Balthier practically {{lampshade|Hanging}}s the trope the first time it occurs, outright calling Amalia the party's "guest" (using the terminology from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', set in the same universe) and basically explaining all the above mechanics without quite breaking the fourth wall.
*** Larsa stays as an important character in the game.
*** The last two guests are Vossler and Reddas. [[spoiler:As with Reks, they get axed.]]
*** There's also a plethora of friendly minor [=NPCs=] during certain Monster Hunts who your party will treat as temporary party members (which can be annoying when they start trying to buff a guy who's got Reflect).
*** Finally there's a character who doesn't join the party but helps out in battle: [[spoiler:Gabranth shows up in the penultimate battle against Vayne]].
** And again in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIIRevenantWings'', with [[spoiler:Ba'Gaman and Fran]]. The latter of these two characters joins your party again, and thankfully there is never equipment to buy for the first character so there's no potential for thievery.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has Gadot and Lebreau, Snow's [[TheLancer lancers]] in his anarchy/resistance group. They fight with him in chapters 1 and 2 and function as {{Crutch Character}}s.
** Lightning and Snow are DemotedToExtra in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2''. While Lightning is temporarily playable, Snow is a straight-up guest.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'':
*** Grand Marshall Cor Leonis helps you out a little bit early on. He even lampshades it in a dialogue with Noctis.
-->'''Noctis''': Life's a lot easier with you around!\\
'''Cor''': Don't get used to it. I'll be gone before you know it.\\
'''Noctis''': I'll enjoy it while it lasts, then.
*** Also joining in on the fun are Iris Amiticia and Aranea Highwind: the former doesn't boast much HP but is surprisingly effective in a fight for being a 15 year old girl, using her dolls, martial arts, and potions to be useful; Aranea, meanwhile, is a powerful dragoon who comes at a time when your party is a man down. And she can also temporarily join your party for tough battles in the field later on as well. And, due to an easy to exploit glitch, she can be made into a permanent member of said party.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyAdventure'' has a couple of [=NPCs=] that join you at certain points of the game: a girl ([[AllThereInTheManual named Fuji in the manual]]), a red mage that shoots fireballs [[spoiler:and turns out to be Julius the Big Bad]], Watts, a knight, a sibling pair of a bard and a dancer, and a robot. Most of them return in the VideoGameRemake, ''VideoGame/SwordOfMana'', with a few exceptions.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyMysticQuest'' gives you a different guest party member for each of the regions of the world. Each one of them joins exactly twice.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyDimensions'' makes this a core feature of the plot, which is divided into chapters. Each of the storyline's two major groups consists of four characters, but the ArbitraryHeadcountLimit is five; at almost all times, the fifth slot is filled by a guest character who possesses a unique CharacterClass, which becomes available to the rest of the party upon completion of the current chapter.
* Many worlds in the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series include a guest who can swap into the party in that world only. These characters never need equipment (most don't need weapons or armor, the rest come with what they need), they leave if you exit their world, and they replace one of your permanent party members (WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck or WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}}). One wonders why the designers didn't just put in a fourth party slot and leave it empty most of the time -- but then Square-Enix has mostly stuck with 3 character parties since ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
** The guest star party members introduced in the original game[[note]]discounting Disney/{{Tarzan}}[[/note]] are Disney/{{Aladdin}}, [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ariel]], [[WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas Jack Skellington]], Disney/PeterPan and the [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast Beast]]. In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Ariel and Peter Pan lose this status, but Disney/{{Mulan}}, [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Auron]], [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Jack Sparrow]], [[Disney/TheLionKing Simba]], and Film/{{Tron}} are all introduced as party members, and [[spoiler:Riku]] becomes one [[spoiler: two areas before the final boss in The World That Never Was]].
** Mostly used in the second game (but occasionally in the others), there are times when characters will join you in battle as an unofficial "fourth" party member, acting as allies but not showing up in the HUD. Examples include Minnie Mouse at Disney Castle, as well as several ''Final Fantasy'' cameos such as Leon (Squall) and Cloud.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'' has practically only this in the story mode: Roxas either fights alone, or with another Organization member specified by the mission. You have no control over them, aside from selecting one of three general behaviour options.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'' does the same thing as ''358/2 Days'', with the guest star party members being the other two Keyblade masters you aren't playing as, [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Prince Philip]], young Disney/{{Hercules}}, [[VideoGame/CrisisCore Zack]], [[Disney/LiloAndStitch Experiment 626]] and MickeyMouse. All only appear for a few battles, but unlike in ''II'', they will show up in the HUD.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' trilogy has four of them. In ''Episode I'', Lt. Virgil, the trigger-happy, misanthropic, BloodKnight [[KnightInSourArmour in Sour Armour]], joins the party for a very brief time (like an hour if you're progressing really slow) at the beginning of the game [[spoiler:and then promptly dies. He comes back, though]]. ''Episode II'' takes a more unconventional route by having both the stone-faced badass Realian, Canaan, and the dopey UnfazedEveryman of the series, Allen, be ''technical'' guest character without them making any actual contributions to the gameplay. This is accomplished by having them appear as "co-pilots" of two of the party's HumongousMecha (Asher for Canaan, and Dinah for Allen). In ''Episode III'', Canaan and Allen are actually playable, however, and are joined by the other GeniusDitz of the series, Miyuki (our protagonist Shion being the original one).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', Alvis and Mumkhar each fight in a grand total of one battle each as party members, and Dickson fights in two.
* Teepo in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' leaves the party near the beginning of the game, whereupon everything he has on him is subject to SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear. Luckily, skills he learnt from enemies beforehand are transferred to the skill note list instead.
* Common in the ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'':
** Chester in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of Phantasia}}''. He rejoins much later in the game, but at the same level he was at when he left (which makes sense, because most of the game actually takes place [[TimeTravel in the past]], so what was weeks and weeks of adventuring for the rest of the party was just a few minutes to him). Add that to the fact that he has no special attacks at all in the original SNES version and he's mostly useless by the time you get him back. The Playstation and Game Boy Advance [[VideoGameRemake remakes]] expanded his arsenal and contained added scenes which allowed Chester to get his levels back up to snuff relatively rapidly, making him even ''more'' BadassNormal.
*** Even in the original SNES game, He's not entirely useless when he returns, if you get his levels up, he can actually hit as hard as Cless just using his normal attacks.
** Leon in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of Destiny}}''.
** Ras in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of Eternia}}''.
** Kratos in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of Symphonia}}''. ''Twice''. [[spoiler:And then optionally again near the ending -- in which case Zelos leaves the party. Which means that Zelos can become one as well, albeit a more long-lasting one.]]
*** In the sequel, ''Dawn of the New World'', most of the party are partial examples in that they will leave and enter your party frequently (having up to four of them in your party at once until the later parts of the game; you '''finally''' get them all at once in the final chapter) but you can never change their equipment, you can't have one of them as your active member, their titles randomly change between one from the first game, and instead of gaining experience or leveling up they have a fixed level that changes depending on what point you're at in the story. Richter is a straight example.
** Asch in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of the Abyss}}''. A rather GuideDangIt glitch can be used to keep him in the party instead of the main character (who he replaces during his stint in the party), at the expense of a few treasures and sidequests. He has two stints[[note]]Well, three; in the third one, he actually is in the party at the same time as the protagonist, but he never gets into any battles so it doesn't really count too much.[[/note]], and manages to get massively depowered between them without a GoodIsDumb moment - he just has the same equipment at the end of the game that he had in the middle, and it turns out that a sword that was pretty damn good 20 hours into the game isn't so great when everybody else has gotten a twofold increase in attack power.
** [[spoiler:Flynn]] in ''VideoGame/{{Tales of Vesperia}}'', who joins for a grand total of one battle. In the UsefulNotes/{{PS3}} version, however, he joins at four points throughout the story (the fourth being the aforementioned one battle). Shortly afterwards, right before TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon, he joins the party permanently.
** Richard in ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces''. In the remake, he becomes a proper party member for the ''f'' arc with a greatly expanded moveset, and can be utilized in battle in the main story with a narikiri doll (Which transforms the user into him).
** A rather controversial example in ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria'': Alisha. [[spoiler: Dezel as well -but he receives a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute in Zaveid]]/
* In the anime RPG ''VideoGame/InuYashaTheSecretOfTheCursedMask'', Sesshomaru joins you for a brief stroll around a castle, until you reunite with your party inside. His high stats and powerful combat abilities make him functionally invincible against the much weaker enemies you encounter. If you jump though a ton of hoops to raise his affection up he'll join the the female PC (but not the male) for the final battle and give you a special ending.
* Nicolai in ''VideoGame/ShadowHeartsCovenant''. All the advertising for the game hid how Yuri would return, so the players were to believe that Karin and Nicolai would be the major characters. Unfortunately, some idiot decided to put Nicolai's actual identity and intentions in his ''profile''. The Director's Cut also added two other temporary party members, with a section where you play as Nicolai, Veronica, and Lenny for a dungeon or so. (Antagonists, but Lenny is seen as the lesser evil and unsurprisingly is the only survivor)
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 1}}'' had a quest for you to rescue Tandi, the daughter of Shady Sands' leader, from a nearby raider camp. The game places her as a party member for the purposes of returning her home, but nothing really prevents you from taking her along to other places.
* Liberty Prime in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', a Pre-War bipedal robotic superweapon armed with laser eyes, spouts [[RuleOfFunny hilarious]] [[EagleLand jingoistic propaganda]], and throws scaled down nuclear bombs like grenades. Also, he's technically a part of the environment, and is thus indestructible. Admittedly, you're basically his guest star party member at that point in the game, but it's still awesome.
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' has this in all four DLC Campaigns, since you can't take them into the main game.
** ''Dead Money'' has Dean Domino, Christine, and Dog / God.
** ''Honest Hearts'' has Follows-Chalk, Waking Cloud, and [[spoiler: Joshua Graham, the legendary Burned Man]]. In fact, the latter can be considered an inversion since that character fulfills none of the functions other companions do, you ''will'' struggle to keep up, and you ''will'' be ditched if you become a hindrance. In effect, YOU are the companion during that sequence.
** ''Old World Blues'' has one you can actually create (multiple times, no less, should she die) - Roxie the cyberdog. However, she won't leave the X-8 facility. [[spoiler: If she's alive in the ending, however, she'll escape the Big Empty and have a litter of cyberpups with Rex.]]
** ''Lonesome Road'' has an odd twist on the concept: [[spoiler: the companion is ED-E, but it is a ''copy'' of the Mojave ED-E with the same stored data but somewhat different abilities]].
* Pops up in the ''Franchise/{{Persona}}'' series:
** Yukino Mayuzumi gets hit with this ''twice''. In the U.S. release of the first ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' game, since the Snow Queen Quest where she is a mandatory party member was DummiedOut, she leaves the party after the first dungeon or so and never returns. Later on, she joins for a large portion of ''[[{{VideoGame/Persona 2}} Persona 2: Innocent Sin]]'', but she'll either leave [[spoiler:or be killed off depending on whether or not you take her with you to Caracoal]] about halfway through, and Jun permanently takes her place afterward. In ''Eternal Punishment,'' a certain rumor you can spread will allow you to recruit either Kei Nanjo or Eriko Kirishima, and they will also eventually be dropped in favor of Tatsuya.
** [[spoiler:Shinjiro Aragaki]] is this in a roundabout way in ''{{VideoGame/Persona 3}}'', as he's only available for one in-game month [[spoiler:before his PlotlineDeath]]. This is covered up by the fact that his Persona, [[spoiler:Castor]], can learn a full list of skills up to Level 70, whereas your other party members will learn their last skill in the mid 40's, and cannot learn more [[spoiler:until they obtain their Ultimate Personas]], but chances are he won't learn them unless you deliberately go and level grind him.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'': "Black Mask" / [[spoiler:Goro Akechi]], TheHeavy for TheConspiracy the heroes have been fighting throughout the story, temporarily joins your PlayerParty for a single late game dungeon, before turning on you when your interests no longer coincide. Unlike your permanent party members, who specialize in a single {{Elemental Power|s}}, Black Mask has multiple [[spoiler:Light and Dark]] and gets a wide range of LevelUpAtIntimacy5 party member perks automatically.
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' uses an unusual variation. There are three main characters, and three other party members that constantly duck in and out of the story, replacing one another in your fourth party slot. Only at TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon can you actually choose which one goes with you.
* The beginning of ''VideoGame/{{Earthbound}}'' had a number of guest party members, including the hero's dog, his next door neighbors Pokey and Picky, and a bee from the future, which was the only one who could do substantial damage to enemies. Picky would mostly miss the target, while Pokey would just cower in fear. Later, while playing as Jeff, one gets followed around by a gum-chewing monkey who's no use in combat. You'll also meet the huge and powerful golem Dungeon Man, who gets stuck in some trees shortly after you meet him, and Jeff's best friend Tony, who follows him around during the escape from the boarding school but never assists in combat.
** None of the "guest" party members in Earthbound are controllable by the player.
** There are also the Flying Men in Magicant, which are useless as anything but a meatshield by that point in the game.
** ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' similarly has characters that follow you around like this in the first few chapters, however straighter examples are [[spoiler:Salsa and Flint]], who are the player controlled characters in two early chapters, but do not participate in most of the game. [[spoiler:Salsa does come back for a short time, but leaves permanently afterwards.]]
*** The first area of Chapter 3 is probably the only time you enjoy Fassad's company: he does the most damage in the first area. [[spoiler:[[{{Jerkass}} He still had it coming.]]]]
** The first ''Mother'' game had Pippi, Teddy, and EVE - Pippi and Teddy were controllable, EVE wasn't. Funnily enough, Pippi has the same base stats as Teddy, and Teddy was depicted as one of the main characters.
* Trask in the [[HeKnowsAboutTimedHits opening tutorial]] of ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''. To some extent, this also applies to [[spoiler:Bastila]].
** The sequel has B-4D4, who you control for a brief sequence during a storyline quest after [[spoiler: stealing and reprogramming him.]]
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'':
** Nei of ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' begins the game in the party, and might be a permanent fixture if not for one little snag: [[spoiler:she is part of Neifirst, who must be slain and takes Nei with her one way or another.]] The Japan-only UsefulNotes/{{PlayStation 2}} remake allows the player to overcome this and keep Nei through the whole story on a NewGamePlus.
** ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIV'' has 5 slots and 11 characters, so naturally 6 of them end up as guests. One of these, Seth the archaeologist, is actually pretty competent, with some nasty spells like Deathspell and Corrosion that certainly help with the Soldier's Temple on Motavia. However, he's a particularly blatant case of holding back his true skills by the time he leaves the party. [[spoiler:You end up fighting him as '''he's actually an incarnation of Dark Force''', one of the insanely powerful demons that have served as the Big Bad for the last three games. Given Seth's scream of horror as he transforms, whether he's aware of his own nature is uncertain.]]
* ''VideoGame/LunarTheSilverStar'' had three: Ghaleon, Laike, and Tempest. Laike has a stupid-high attack rating, while Ghaleon possesses an array of destructive magic that makes Alex's weapons look wimpy in comparison. There's a reason behind both of them, though: [[spoiler:Ghaleon is actually the Magic Emperor, the game's BigBad; and Laike is really Dyne, the legendary Dragonmaster [[FakingTheDead everyone believed to be dead]].]] Tempest? He just shows up for one mission when all of the female party members fall unconscious, and is barely heard from again.
** There's also Ramus and Luna (especially in the original game) who although higher party members than the above three (for example, their equipment can be removed and replaced with better stuff) still don't last that long in the game before being replaced with other characters. Ramus works with Alex for the first three dungeons up until the one in Meribia where he leaves Alex's party to open a shop. Luna permanently leaves Alex's party when he heads to Meribia in the original game. In all remakes, she notably goes with him to Meribia and lasts longer into the story, up until [[spoiler:Ghaleon pulls his FaceHeelTurn and abducts her to awaken her memories as the reincarnation of the Goddess Althena]], after which she's gone for good.
** In the sequel, ''VideoGame/LunarEternalBlue'', aspects of this trope are seen in the heroine, Lucia, who is a party member for most of the game, but is not under the player's direct control. She starts out as a CrutchCharacter, but spends most of the game in a {{depower}}ed state. Then, after leaving the party late in the game, she returns for an event battle at the very end.
*** Played straight with Hiro's grandfather Gwyn. He fights alongside Hiro for the first dungeon or so, then permanently leaves for the rest of the game. There's also Leo, who often fights alongside Hiro's group for a couple dungeons whenever Lucia's not around. [[spoiler: In the game's playable epilogue he joins for good to help Hiro reunite with Lucia]].
* A whole party of {{Guest star party member}}s appear in the tutorial of ''[[VideoGame/BaldursGate Baldur's Gate]]'' game, and leave as soon as it's done. Xan and Branwen do the same in ''Baldur's Gate II'', with [[spoiler:Yoshimo]] being a more straight storyline example.
* The ''VideoGame/{{SaGa}}'' series:
** ''[[VideoGame/SaGa2 SaGa 2/Final Fantasy Legend II]]'' has Mr. S, Ki, Mask, Lynn (who joins briefly for two boss fights), Hana, Taro, [[spoiler:Isis]], and the protagonist's father will join twice. Most of them are around for only a dungeon or two, or a boss fight. The first three are over-powered (Ki is completely invincible to physical damage due to [[spoiler:the [[PlotCoupon Plot Coupons]], Magi]]), while Lynn is pathetically weak (which is even [[LampshadedTrope lampshaded]] in the game manual]]. Everyone else is only marginally more powerful, but your party at those points should be competent. The last party member, [[spoiler:Isis]], is an EleventhHourSuperpower, strong enough to take out the other half of the FinalBoss ''alone''.
** ''[[VideoGame/SaGa3 SaGa 3/Final Fantasy Legend III]]'' actually had a space in your party that was reserved specifically for your Guest Star Party Members: Myron, Lara, Dion, Faye, and Borgin. Myron can one-shot many monsters for a while, while Lara is only around for a short period of time and is fairly weak. Faye starts out powerful, but by the time your party reaches the area where Xcalibur is, she's weak by comparison. Dion joins twice and is powerful, while Borgin is well-rounded. Borgin is notable in that he fights the FinalBoss with you and stays with you permanently.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'':
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'': There are several guest characters follow you that are AI controlled in battles.
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' has Prince Harry. There's also your father and Honey assisting you in a few battles in the early half of the game. Bianca can technically be a guest member if you decide to [[spoiler: marry Nera or Debora instead.]]
** Utterly broken in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVII'', where you periodically get guest party members for a dungeon or two, often including the boss of that dungeon. While you can't control the guest, they have literally infinite HP and MP, and often an infinite number of healing items- and the boss is just as likely to waste a turn attacking the guest as he is the player characters.
** Subverted in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'', in which your party is briefly joined by the contemptuous and utterly incapable Prince Charmles during fights with Argon lizards (evidently just enough to give him some marginal legitimate claim over the prize). He inflicts 1 point of damage (if he's lucky and doesn't miss), and then flees.
* ''VideoGame/ParasiteEve2'' has Kyle, a detective of some sorts, join Aya's side in a few parts of the game. He only has 100HP but can take hits better than Aya can. He cannot be healed at all, so if he dies, [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou Game Over]].
* In ''VideoGame/ArcRiseFantasia'', this trope '''shines'''. In [[spoiler: the first part, you get '''a lot'''. Rastan in Jada, Cecille near Diamant, Adele in Olquinia, (until she turns batshit on L'Arc), Serge in Olquinia AND Ebur Ruins, Leslie starting in Antrax, and crazy batshit Adele in Ebur Ruins]].
** There's even a section of the game where you temporarily play as [[spoiler: [[VillainShoes the bad guys]]. [[RuleOfThree including batshit Adele.]]]]
** Another point to make is that you get two characters with a hefty amount of control of before they're brushed aside by the plot: Alf and [[spoiler: Niko]]. Alf gets better stats and Excel Acts than L'Arc, only to be outdone by his ability to summon Simmah the Rogress. [[spoiler: That is, until he is [[TheReveal revealed to also be a Child of Eesa and can summon Rogress too,]] and goes out his way to fight against his brother's kingdom]]. [[spoiler: Niko]] on the other hand [[spoiler: is a coward and is absent in several boss fights near the later part of the game before he ultimately quits traveling with the team.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Diamond, Pearl and Platinum]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2 Black 2 and White 2]]'' there are several dungeons where a friendly [=NPC=] will team up with the player for a short period of time. These [=NPCs=] have their own Pokémon, which they control alongside the player's in Tag Battles.
** In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver HeartGold and SoulSilver]]'':
*** [[TheAce Champion Lance]] of all people teams up with you in battle at the Rocket Hideout.
*** You team up with your rival to battle Lance and Clair at the Dragon's Den. He's not much more powerful than you.
** In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY X and Y]]'', you get to battle along with Kalem or Serena (depending on your gender) at the secret Team Flare hideout several times, not far from the final battle with the boss, [[spoiler:Lyssandre]].
* In the obscure but high quality Sega Genesis RPG ''Traysia'', soon after starting the game the main character acquires a party of three followers who will follow him through trials and tribulations for the rest of the game. Well, all except the [[FourIsDeath fourth party member]], [[spoiler: Floyd, who turns out to be TheMole after a few dungeons, and manages to end up as the BigBad by the end of the game.]]
* ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'' had Claves, who joined for a dungeon before [[spoiler:getting killed off]]. You can get her to rejoin for the last boss, however, by completing the BonusDungeon.
* In ''VideoGame/SongSummoner: The Unsung Heroes'' for the iPod, you rescue 'Superstars', platinum ranked party members with only 2 deployment. (Deployment goes down every time you use a party member in battle, more if (s)he gets defeated. Zero deployment and you lose the party member FOREVER.) On top of this, YOU CAN'T GIVE THEM REWIND! (+1 Deployment)
* Jenkins in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' kinda fits this trope, but all you can do with him is talk to him on the Normandy and Eden Prime (where he is actually quite knowledgable about the area and wildlife, being from the colony). Once you first meet the enemy, he dies almost immediately. You can even assign him skill points, but they're useless since he dies before he gets to fire a shot.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' gives us Wilson, the chief medical tech in charge of [[spoiler:bringing Shepard back to life]]. He accompanies you for part of the tutorial mission before [[spoiler:being shot by Miranda, who takes his place]].
*** The "Lair of the Shadow Broker" {{DLC}} makes Liara a longer-lasting guest star since she accompanies you for two levels. Unlike other guest party members, she has her own skill tree which you can put points into, and upon beating the mission you can even learn to use her Stasis ability as a bonus power, ''a la'' squad loyalty skills.
*** And then in the "Arrival" DLC, Dr. Amanda Kenson helps Shepard after they bust her out, [[spoiler:until she pulls a FaceHeelTurn and reveals she's been indoctrinated by a Reaper artifact]].
** Continuing the tradition, Shepard's former CO [[FourStarBadass David Anderson]] is a party member during the introduction of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''. [[spoiler:Fortunately, he remains an important [=NPC=] who survives all the way to the end of the game while leading the anti-Reaper resistance on Earth.]]
** Various party members from the first and second ''Franchise/MassEffect'' games, and even one or two characters from the ExpandedUniverse, make guest appearances throughout ''3'', sometimes as party members, and sometimes simply as quest-important [=NPCs=]. [[AnyoneCanDie Be warned, many of these characters are prone to dying dramatic deaths.]]
** The Omega DLC gives both of Shepard's party slots to guest-stars - recurring character Aria T'Loak (Omega's ruler), and newcomer Nyreen Kandros.
** After two games as the krogan SupportingLeader, Wrex returns as a usable party member in the Citadel DLC.
** The Citadel DLC also has the Armax Arsenal Arena, where you can unlock (most of) your squadmates from ''Mass Effect 2'' (and Wrex) as temporary party members in the combat sim. Combined with your regular party members, this means that you can play with every single regular party member from the trilogy [[spoiler:except Thane, Mordin, Legion, Morinth, the squadmate who died on Virmire, and anyone else who dies over the course of the games]].
* In ''SonicChronicles'', Eggman joins the party for a while, and is capable of one-shotting robots if Tails is in the party as well. He breaks off near the second half of the game to make sure you can get back.[[spoiler: He's actually taking over the world while you're gone due to the Twilight Cage's concept of time working differently.]]
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games are notorious for their bad "out-of-the-box" ally implementations.
** The earliest games - ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', etc. - featured any NPC who was with you as a face in the upper corner of your screen and they did not assist you in fighting or get hurt or die. Except for one egregious quest.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', having a "party member" meant that the NPC had the "follow" variable set but the only commands that were available were "Wait here a second" and "Follow me." If that unarmed unarmored low-level peasant you recruited happened to see a mighty Daedroth, he would run off to do battle without a second thought and probably perish in two swipes.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', the most plot-important characters are unable to die. Some of them even join you for a while as followers. There are few tricks to give them strong equipment, turning them into useful party members.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', Mercer Frey, the leader of Riften Thieves Guild [[spoiler: who turns out to be a traitor and the main antagonist of the Thieves Guild questline]] will follow the Dragonborn in a brief quest, although you cannot command him and you cannot sneak with Mercer, nothing stops you from leading him around.
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Gothic}}'' features a variety of individual quest allies who fight alongside you but otherwise do whatever they want. Notably, you are helped more frequently by Diego and Gorn. And then there's Mud.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'' had two, Lavitz and Shana. Similar to the above, when they leave they are instantly replaced with an equivalent party member. Albert may be arguably greater than Lavitz due to joining early and having more time for Character development, while Miranda was practically an AssPull and was thrown in to simply replace Shana so she could fulfill plot purposes, and for the possibility that someone actually ''did'' use Shana religiously (Shana and Miranda are a mixed bag - some players will insist they're underrated, while others will say they're both worthless and Meru can do anything they can).
* Counts for any party member you decide to sacrifice in the ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' games, with a few exceptions. (They become playable near the end of the first but by then, they're too far behind to be of any use to you) Due to ''[[VideoGame/ValkyrieProfileCovenantOfThePlume Covenant of the Plume]]'''s strategy elements, there are literal guest members who sometimes leave but most of the time join at the end of the chapter. Ancel also deserves a mention. He is a guest in the beginning but is sacrificed. In the A ending, he joins as a guest for the final battle.
* Sagacious Zu of ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' is a strong character, but [[spoiler:dies saving the player from Death's Hand at the end of Chapter 3.]] There's also Abbot Song, who joins the player after [[spoiler:the PC is killed by Master Li. He fights alongside the PC until the Water Dragon's power is restored.]]
* There are several of these in ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsTheThirdAge'', including Aragorn (twice), Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf (twice), Éowyn, and some random Elf guy (multiple times). Each of them joins your team for a single battle or a series of consecutive battles, then leaves immediately afterward without so much as saying goodbye.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', the Warden will have a partner or two during their origin story, before they start to meet their actual [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits party-to-be]]: [[ActionMom Eleanor]] for the Human Noble, Jowan and Lily for the Mage, Soris for the City Elf, Tamlen and later Merrill for the Dalish Elf, Leske for the Dwarven Commoner, and Gorim for the Dwarven Noble. It's not even over once they reach Ostagar: there's [[SacrificialLamb Daveth and Ser Jory]], your fellow Warden recruits, and then finally a pair of anonymous {{Redshirt}}s made available for the run up the Tower of Ishal (or just one, if you're the Human Noble Warden and thus have the dog as a party member).
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening'' gives you another one in the form of [[spoiler:Mhairi, who gets disposed of in a {{Player Punch}}ing manner]].
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has Carver and Bethany, though which one sticks around longer depends on Hawke's class (if Hawke's a Warrior/Rogue, Carver is killed, while Bethany dies if Hawke's a Mage). The surviving sibling will either die or be PutOnABus by the end of the first act depending on your actions (though they'll return for [=DLC=] and the final act if still alive). The ''Mark of the Assassin'' DLC has Tallis, who's only around for that story.
* The first ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' game has [[FieryRedhead Jenna]] join the party early on, but she [[spoiler:is kidnapped]] after the first dungeon. She only becomes fully playable in the second game. When you know it's coming you can easily take her stuff, but her [[ChainmailBikini One-Piece Dress]] isn't going to do your now all-male party any good. The most she can [[SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear steal]] at that point is a few herbs and some wimpy armor, anyway. The third game, ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn Dark Dawn]]'', has Isaac and Garet tag along for the first dungeon, though they aren't directly controllable.
* Kai in ''VideoGame/PoPoLoCrois''. Just about everyone if you don't do the sidequests to get 'em, since it's a revolving door of party members in the game.
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace'' has several, whether as a ship that temporarily joins your fleet or as temporary crew members (in which three of them become permanent members later), most notably Cico's Rudianos in Act 1 and both Dietrich and Nele in Act 2.
* Quite a few characters from ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' could be considered this because they join your party before you decide whether or not you want to keep them, and you can choose not to recruit ''any'' character that could join your party besides whatever character you didn't choose to play as. Leon probably best fits this trope as he joins you temporarily no matter who you're playing as, but can only be recruited for good if Claude is your player character. And after you meet up with Ernest (you have to have Opera in your party first) you can choose to let them ''both'' go.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Might and Magic}}'' series had this featured in some quests where you would have to rescue a maiden or a child and they would tag along until you brought him/her to the person who told you to rescue the maiden/child. Another example is that almost every NPC in the could join your group and provide some sort of benefit while they are with you, sometimes, however, some people will join and do nothing at all except eat your food
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeRedemption'' has this twice, once in the Dark Ages Era and once later in the modern era. In both cases, the GuestStarPartyMember becomes an enemy, and in both it's a case of SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear.
* The last two missions of ''VisualNovel/EienNoAselia'' are built around Yuuto getting a powerup along with his girlfriend. However, Lesteena has no combat ability whatsoever. So instead, you get to use the white spirit Io, who has some pretty powerful abilities.
* ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' does this with all your companions before you have the option of having them join you for real. Other {{NPC}}s also join you from time to time, such as Leah, [[spoiler:Adria]] and [[spoiler:Tyrael]].
* In ''VideoGame/XMenLegends'' Professor Xavier is playable for one mission in the Astral Plane and is ridiculously overpowered, he gets taken out about three quarters in and Jean Grey and Emma Frost are forced to carry on without him; in the penultimate mission Xavier is used again (this time in the form of the "Astral Gladiator") for the boss fight against the Shadow King. Additionally, in one mission a computer controlled Havoc fights alongside Cyclops and Wolverine at the Weapon X ruins to rescue several hostage mutants. Later, he and Magneto fight alongside the X-Men party when Sentinels attack the mansion.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelUltimateAlliance'' has three: Dum Dum Dugan, Corsair, and Nick Fury himself (before becoming an unlockable character). Dugan shows up at the beginning of the first mission in Act I and the heroes must fight alongside him while protecting him; if his health runs out the mission must be started over. Corsair shows up during a mission in Act 4 where he will fight alongside the party for the first screen before separating from them and communicating with them over a radio. Fury fights alongside the party at the beginning of Act 5 when the corrupted Stark Tower becomes under attack by Dr. Doom's forces.
* In the original .hack quadrilogy there was Mia, who was available for most of the 1st volume (but not available for important story events that didn't involve her) but only one dungeon and post game only in the 2nd [[spoiler: as the corruption of the game data was starting to affect her]], not available at all in the 3rd [[spoiler: having disappeared completely as the Phases were defeated and the corruption spread]], and only available in the 4th after you finish the post game epilogue dungeon [[spoiler: after which Aura resurrects her, as you had to defeat her in Phase form earlier in the game]]. There was also Orca who was only available for the first dungeon [[spoiler: after which Skeith puts him in a coma]], and then didn't return until the endgame of the final volume. Elk and Mistral are only a partial example as they are available for all of the 1st and 2nd games, but not the 3rd [[spoiler: as Mistral bows out with her player revealing her pregnancy and Elk leaves to find Mia]], but come back halfway through the 4th.
* [[spoiler:Count Arganan]] in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory''. At one critical moment of the game, he forces his way into your party until [[spoiler:the source of the power of the Outsider disintegrates him]]. The game also gives you General Asthar, Sir Therius, and Horace as guest star party members at different points in the game. Asthar is often much stronger than the player party, while Therius is generally on par with them, and Horace is a virtual [[NonActionGuy non-combatant]], being a shopkeeper who gets roped into the group's zany adventures from time to time.
* Practically every character in the official "Dead Man's Switch" scenario of ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns'', as characters generally are either among those you interact with between runs and those that you only use when you're on a run (who have no personality or interactions beyond being PlayerMooks). The few characters that fall into both categories generally only join you for one or two runs and are thus this: Only [[ActionGirl Coyote]] is repeatedly usable for most of the game. As characters bring their own private equipment on runs and you can't edit it in any way, there is practically no way to game the system.
* Both ''WhiteKnightChronicles'' and its sequel give you a variety of guest start party members who run the gamut in terms of usefulness in combat. Raus, a drunkard wagon driver is a [[TheLoad Load]] if there ever was one, as is Princess Cisna for the most part ([[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething out of battle, however, she is a political machine]]). Amir is also kind of useless in combat too. Kara joins the party initially as a guest character on par with the other characters in terms of stats and equipment before joining up permanently. The second game gives you access to Miu, Scardigne, Archduke Dalam and Cyrus as guest characters. Miu is a competent fighter though technically 10 or 15 levels below the party in terms of gameplay numbers, same thing with Dalam, who has strong magic spells but lower stats than the pary. Scardigne and Cyrus, meanwhile, are practically player characters in terms of their strength. Scardigne eventually joins the party full time, [[spoiler:twice-over, actually when he's revealed to be Kara in disguise]].
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' sees the normally peaceful ExpositionFairy Prince Dreambert fight alongside Mario and Luigi when facing Antasma, although he does little more than heal them every few turns.
* ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' has an unusual example. It's not unusual on paper: a recurring villain that you have fought multiple times joins the party seven-eighths of the way through the game, has power that's overall stronger than the main character, spends less than 25% of the game with you before leaving after a DuelBoss battle, is gotten back in the final battle, and then is lost again, being one of the main components in the very final boss fight. No, the odd thing is that the character in question is [[spoiler:Mr. L, aka Luigi, of all people]].
* ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'' has Tia, Dekar, and Lexis as temporary party members. You'll know this if you've played [[VideoGame/LufiaAndTheFortressOfDoom the prior game]], which begins with Maxim and his final party at the end of their journey. [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in [[VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals the remake]]: Tia joins permanently, Dekar rejoins [[spoiler:after returning from his HeroicSacrifice]], and Lexis is [[DemotedToExtra non-playable]] but sticks with the party from the very beginning.
** Arguably, [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/LufiaAndTheFortressOfDoom Lufia]] and [[VideoGame/LufiaTheLegendReturns Seena]]]] are Guest Star Party Members, though the former [[spoiler:rejoins the party for the final boss battle]].
** Bau in ''VideoGame/LufiaTheRuinsOfLore'' first joins as a Guest Star Party Member before permanently joining later. [[spoiler:Dekar]] is a straight example, [[EnsembleDarkhorse sadly]].
* In the web-based Videogame/CrystalStory serie, Reuben and Phoebe, both party members in the first game, come back in the second game for some plot points like when Lina was [[spoiler: kidnapped]]: Reuben filled her slot. Phoebe dragged the protagonist into a sidequest after a temporary party split.
* In the prologue to ''VideoGame/BravelySecond'', Yew's lifelong friends Janne and Nikolai join him on his quest to save Agnès. While their equipment is customizable, they don't gain experience points like Yew, which is a pretty obvious tip-off that they won't stick around for too long. Later on, at the end of the yokai sidequest, [[spoiler:Ringabel]] joins you for the boss fight. He is not directly controlled by the player, instead functioning as an AssistCharacter by periodically attacking the boss.
* In ''VideoGame/HolyUmbrella'', BigBad Emperor Dondera serves as a party member while [[WombLevel inside the Mammoth Whale]].

[[folder: Stealth-Based Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' has Solid Snake assisting Raiden twice in the Plant chapter. At the start of the fight against the harrier, he gives you a Stinger to use against the jet and he'll also toss you some rations and ammo if you run low. During the raid within Arsenal Gear, Snake will fight alongside you with an assault rifle or a pistol (depending on the difficulty) and will give you more ammo if you need it (he also lampshades how he has infinite ammo by pointing to his bandana, which is a CallBack to ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' that gave you the same item in a NewGamePlus). Of course, the game ends if Snake is killed.

[[folder: Survival Horror]]
* A few survival horror games, while not having a proper "party" do temporarily switch control from your main character to a secondary one. Frequently, this is explicitly so the secondary character can save the primary one who is in imminent danger. Examples include Rebecca from the first Resident Evil and Kaede from the first ''VideoGame/{{Onimusha}}''. In a subversion of a few of the RPG examples above, these guests are usually lacking in weapons and armor (Rebecca only has a handgun with no extra ammo) and can be a pain to play as.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' has the [[HoldTheLine Cabin Fight]] where Luis helps you out. He can't die, has an upgraded [=Red9=] with unlimited ammo, and even throws you supplies if you run short. [[NonStandardGameOver Just don't shoot at him]].
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' has scenes where your actual partner will be separated from you and someone else will temporarily take their place. They are ''almost'' the same as your partner, just with a different load-out and you can't issue orders to them (They'll still bail you out if you call for help, though).

[[folder: Turn Based Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' has a fight against Laharl that is impossible to win, quite literally. Winning it ends with a bad ending, but with his level 1200 stats, he's usually impossible to beat your first time through anyways. Once you lose the battle, you're handed level 2000 [[spoiler: True Rozalin]] whom you control and promptly decimates Laharl with nearly no effort. Once you see this power again, it's as a bonus fight in the [[EarnYourBadEnding Worst Ending]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'', Master Big Star and Salvatore join the group for the final battles, and stay until you beat the last boss. They rejoin permanently soon after in the first two post-story events, though.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', there are often temporary members who assist your team in battle. If they accompany your team for multiple battles, they will even show up in your party menus, and you can meddle with their equipment freely. This is even occasionally true of a plot-important character that does not show up in more than one battle, such as Alma or Princess Ovelia, who remains with the team for an extended period but prefers not to fight. However, unlike most GuestStarPartyMember situations, these characters will not be under your control during battle. They will be labeled Guest, to distinguish them from the ones labeled Enemy, but both guests and enemies are computer-controlled. Enemies that are subjected to a successful Invite attempt by one of your Talk Skill users will qualify as a Guest until the battle is won, at which point you will have the option of making them team members or turning them away -- they are not allowed to continue being a Guest beyond the initial battle. Guest characters are the only ones exempt from the "[[FinalDeath three turns KO'ed=crystal or chest]]" rule, primarily because of [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou their importance to the plot]]. Once their role in the story is fulfilled, they can be recruited and at which point they can die for real at any time after that.
** One interesting example is Gafgarion. [[spoiler: When he betrays the party, he does so after the mission begins and keeps the equipment, stats and class that you field him with. Before the mission, if you feel so inclined, you can pull a reverse WutaiTheft and turn him into a talentless, naked White Mage to make him a pushover]].
** You also fight two battles with a permanently ''dead'' guest character.
** Interestingly enough, the first time you meet Boco the Chocobo, he's a Guest for ''the Enemy''. (This was probably done so that Boco can't be [[FinalDeath turned into a Crystal]] or [[HeelFaceTurn Invited]] into your party.)
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' also had guest party members, but unlike the Playstation version, the guests here only aided you in the battle they appeared in and they never join the party afterward, nor can you fiddle with their items.
*** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' has guest units again, but this time by the buttload and several are an EscortMission. There's even a few occasions where monsters are counted as guests! Some missions even has a few ''boss'' characters joining you in a few battles.
** Quite literally playing the "Guest Star" part of the trope name straight with [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud Strife]]]], who you can recruit late into the game through a special sidequest.
*** The remake, ''War of the Lions'', adds [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2 Luso]] and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII Balthier]]]].
* Common in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', though not so often at the beginning - instead, you are able to recruit a boss enemy, and their stats are often downgraded to party member level when they join. Sometimes, however, they keep full power until the next mission, which gives you the fun situation of having a character with 90,000 HP on the field.
** Similar to the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' example above, you are frequently given ally [=NPCs=] in said games, who tag along with you, mostly good-for-nothing redshirts, but occasionally someone will show up who's actually useful to you. Examples that come to mind are [[spoiler: Wodan Ymir,]] in Original Generation 2, whose arrival is much-needed, as you're fighting a near-final boss level character, your only character currently able to fight happens to be so badly damaged that doing anything with him other than just surviving is sheer suicide, and you can't send any reinforcements for several turns. Also from the same game, [[spoiler: Mekibos]], who you [[DefeatMeansFriendship defeated earlier]] and shows up to help fight against Wendolo. Unfortunately, he's defeated by a scripted plot event when Wendolo's mech's HP reaches 1/3rd of its max, and since he shows up when said mech is down to 2/3rds of its max HP, he effectively is only around for a third of the battle.
** [[Anime/ArmoredTrooperVOTOMS The Barcoff Squadron and Gregor, Baiman and Muza]] in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayezowZz52U Scenario 39]] of ''VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}2''.
** The [[LightNovel/FullMetalPanic Tuatha De Danann]] in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgment'' would be a regular member of the team if it could. Sadly, it is a [[CripplingOverspecialization simple submarine]], and thus can only fight with you on certain oceanic stages.
** Advent never joins the party in ''VideoGame/{{Super Robot Wars Z}}3: Jigoku-Hen'', but he helps out a few times.
* The ''FireEmblem'' series has tons of these, but the most extreme example would be [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn's]] [[spoiler:Black Knight, who often randomly appears in battle and is quite literally invincible since Ike is the only one who can hurt him.]]
** Not quite as extreme as you think; [[spoiler:the Black Knight ''can'' be hurt, but it requires a very strong and very lucky enemy to do so. Killed, on the other hand...]] Shinon and Gatrie are also this in the beginning of 9, although both rejoin you mid (Gatrie) to late (Shinon) game. A good chunk of 10 takes this trope to its logical conclusion; the parties remain the same, it's the ''player'' who keeps guest-starring on opposite sides.
** In the same vein as [[spoiler:the Black Knight]] are the laguz royalty--Tibarn, Neasala, and Cainghis (and his loyal aide), who join only at the very end. Athos in 7 does this as well, as does Gotoh. Many times they do this to give characters with low-level parties a chance at beating the final boss.
*** Shinon and Gatrie rejoin you IF you can work out the secret hidden order of people who need to talk to them. Gatrie's not too bad on this, but Shinon is a nightmare, and great at getting himself killed before he can complete his Face Heel Face Turn.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'' also has [[spoiler:Orson]], who shows up in one Gaiden chapter before undergoing a FaceHeelTurn in his first appearance in the main story and showing up eight chapters later as a boss. He's a CrutchCharacter, so most people wouldn't really use him anyway, and he has [[SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear good equipment.]] Which should of course be taken away immediately to keep him from counterattacking enemies, turning him into a nice little meat shield for his one appearance who, of course, you don't care about since if he's defeated, he'll just show up as an enemy again ''anyway''. And you can get him in back in your party post-game.
** In another example of a GuestStarPartyMember being succeeded by an identical party member, Ninian and Nils, the Not-So-SpoonyBard characters in Fire emblem 7. In the prologue, Nils the bard joins. Then during the main game, Ninian joins (with the stats that Nils had in the prologue) but then leaves. At the very end, Nils rejoins ''again'' with Ninan's stats and gear.
** Wallace joins you near the end of the prologue of Fire Emblem 7; he's a very powerful [[MightyGlacier Knight]] and CrutchCharacter for the enemies you face at the time. Not only is he available for only two chapters in the prologue; he also rejoins you late in the main game, when the enemies are tough enough to outclass Wallace easily. And that's assuming that he rejoins you at all; it's fairly easy to play well enough to skip that chapter. Fortunately, SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear doesn't apply to him... any more than it applies to everyone else in the Prologue, at least.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has several due to the structure of the first 6 chapters which take place before the route split. Takumi is briefly controlled during the prologue, and rejoins later on in ''Birthright'' and ''Revelation''. Felicia with a male Avatar, Jakob with a female Avatar, ''Conquest'' and ''Revelation'' Gunter and Kaze, ''Conquest'' Azura, and ''Revelation'' Kaze, Rinkah, and Sakura all downplay this, temporarily joining your party, then leaving, then rejoining for good. In ''Birthright'' and ''Conquest'', you also take temporary control of all of your chosen royal siblings for one battle; they all rejoin later in their respective routes. ''Birthright'' Gunter, ''Conquest'' Rinkah and Sakura, and ''Revelation'' Scarlet all play this straight, joining you for a chapter or two and then leaving permanently.
* ''VideoGame/JeanneDArc'' for the PSP has several characters who join and then leave, but come back but the biggest example is [[spoiler:Liane, who poses as Jeanne and is burned at the stake in her place.]] But the second the longtime GuestStarPartyMember leaves, another identical party member replaces them.
* ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'' has numerous guest star characters; due to branching storylines, some characters will just be guests on one path, whereas on another path they will be permanent additions to your army:
** Lans, Warren, and Leonard are perhaps the best examples of this in ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'', since nearly every GuestStarPartyMember is either recruited or killed in one path ''except'' them. Or you can make everyone be a GuestStarPartyMember by rejecting them when they offer to join. They are also the examples of when the trope overlaps with CrutchCharacter, as they do most if not all of the work for you when you have them on the map.
** The pseudo-prequel Gaiden ''[[VideoGame/TacticsOgreTheKnightOfLodis The Knight of Lodis]]'' also has this, and the only true guest characters are Justin and Lara, later found as enemies. (You don't have to kill them as the only stage they appear on is a DefeatTheLeader stage.) Rictor and Orson are guests only in the "A" path, Cybil is a guest only in the "B" path, Eleanor and Ivanna ask to join regardless. (Shiven does not serve as a guest, being a spy)
* In ''VideoGame/ShiningInTheDarkness'', if you rescue Gila, he joins the party as a non-player-controlled character who occasionally participates in battles, but leaves the party when they next spend a night at the Tavern.

[[folder: Turn Based Tactics]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Odium}}'' has three permanent characters, as well as two other slots which keep changing as various allies join, depart or are killed off. You begin with the three guys, and by the final level of the game you're back to just these three again.

[[folder: FanFic]]
* The Doom Patrol become this for the run of ''FanFic/TheEndOfEnds''.
* Connor Hawke of ComicBooks/GreenArrow turns up for a few chapters of ''[[AngelOfTheBat Angel of the Bat: Times of Heresy]]''. He gives some combat assistance against Star City's own Constantine Drakon and offers some Buddhist perspective to Cassandra when he sees she's struggling with her faith.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/RPGWorld'', the group fights Galgarion at one point, with (former) Evil Soldier #347 joining them as a "computer-controlled" ally for the battle after Galgarion [[spoiler:killed his wife and kids]]. Dialogue later suggests he could have been "[[SecretCharacter unlockable]]" but the party was already "Full".
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** [[ShockAndAwe Celia]] plays this role for Haley and Belkar after the party splits. She can't help them much, though, as she's an ActualPacifist.
** Miko also temporarily joins the group, mostly because Roy is thinking with his [[UnusualEuphemism Trouser Titan]], until the rest of the party (except Durkon) confronts her, refuses to put up with her any longer, and she [[{{Railroading}} beats up everyone except Durkon]].
* Spoofed in ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'', where a character joins and after being given gold armour, [[SoLongAndThanksForAllTheGear leaves]].
* In ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'', a Five Races ActionGirl adventures with the core team every "level" (story). For the first three levels it was merely meet the Action Girl and adventure with her, but after that their roles started to grow more complex.