->''"Disperse, loyal Battle Monkeys! Do my bidding and bust a cap!"''
-->-- '''[[TheHero Zetta]]''', ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom''

Generally, in a video game, the characters you control and play with are part of the plot. They are the Main Characters and they're the movers and shakers in the story, no matter how simple.

Then, there are ''these'' player characters.

These characters have no names, unless the player [[HelloInsertNameHere gives them names]]. They have no personality, and they don't act in the plot at all.

Essentially, they're {{Mooks}} and {{Red Shirt}}s that you get to control.

This is a Player Mook. a PlayerCharacter that is a character strictly in the game mechanics sense. They can be defined by a few features that differentiate them from the Story Characters:
* The Player Mooks use [[YouALLLookFamiliar the same set of appearances.]] Often whatever class the generic character is will dictate how they look.
* If there are mechanics to raise and develop characters, Player Mooks can learn only "generic" abilities. While they'll have access to all the default classes and skills, the Story Characters often have a unique class, plus they can access all the generic classes.
** This is sometimes subverted in that there are {{Prestige Class}}es that ''only'' Player Mooks can have.
* While Story Characters come and go at the whims of the plot, you can make as many Player Mooks as you want [[ArbitraryHeadcountLimit within limits]] and dismiss them whenever you want if you desire to do so.
* Because their number and makeup is entirely determined by the player, these Generic Characters will never appear in a cutscene or do anything in the plot. The one usual exception is when they are first introduced, the one time in which the game can know who/what and how many they are.

Because they're always present and eminently customizable, quite a few benefit from getting nearly as much experience as the main character, so they are never OverratedAndUnderleveled nor do they require LeakedExperience.

Because of the amount of time and effort many players put into training and equipping these kinds of characters, they often become the target of VideoGameCaringPotential.

Also see LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters and CastOfSnowflakes.
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!!Examples

* This is a common trope in Strategy {{RPG}}s:
** ''FinalFantasyTactics''
*** Strangely, there are actually some specific, non-generic Mooks in the Final Fantasy Tactics games: In the first, the generic characters at the introductory monastery fight (that you keep once you get into chapter 2) all have set names. Also, the plot-relevant Chocobo, Boco, is otherwise just a generic monster (who has dialog when using "help" on his name in the formation screen while real generics just say "..."). The original release had exactly enough space to keep every named character, including these, and no more. In Tactics Advance, there are recruitable 'generic' characters with story ties which come with powerful skills pre-learned.
*** Generic units in Tactics Advance and its sequel are ''slightly'' less generic in that they can at least get a fair bit of dialogue if you opt to deploy them as the leader for a sidequest battle. Each race has their own unique pre-battle and post-battle dialogue, and with all of the dozens of sidequest battles, that amounts to a lot overall.
** ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}''
*** In particular, Prinnies are even treated like mooks by the plot, and all [[WeHaveReserves that]] [[WhatMeasureIsAMook entails]]. Parodied by the platform spin-offs where 999 other Prinnies serve as ''lives'' for the main character, whose only distinction is an apparently easily transferable red scarf.
*** Though in ''Disgaea'', your non-Mook player characters have a harder time learning magic (except Flonne) and can never change class, as your Mooks can, so the Mooks can actually easily outdo the non-Mooks (except [[OneManParty Laharl]]) unless you abuse the Mentor/Student system to teach your named characters a wider variety of magical spells (and even that is hard for the less magically-inclined among them, especially the monsters-type ones who can't use staffs).
*** 3 adds a bit more personality to generic characters, with an introduction scene for each class that plays upon creation, and the ability to talk to them to get some often amusing dialogue from them. 4 lets you individualize them a little by choosing one of three personalities for them during the creation process, which determines their battle quotes and voice, and also allows you to place them in the hub to provide conversation or run the various shops and services.
*** In fact, 4 has Valvatorez say that the 60,000 enemies the party is about to face resolve to 10,000 per character - there are six plot party members. When one character who is an unofficial part of the party points out that she's included in this, Valvatorez hastily says that her ten thousand were actually being counted among the Prinnies. Yeah, the humanoid player mooks are, plot-wise, beneath the ''[[MascotMook Prinnies]]'' in importance.
** ''PhantomBrave''
*** Particularly odd is the theme on how ''alone'' Marona is, only counting Ash as company. The gazillion of other Phantoms she summons do not count at all.
** ''MakaiKingdom''
*** Easily the biggest example of this trope from NIS -- ''no'' plot characters join you until the post game, all of your playable characters until then are generic nameless mooks.
**** Even {{lampshaded}} by Zeta, who calls them "Battle Monkeys".
** ''Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity''
** ''SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' (NipponIchi seems fond of this trope)
** ''OgreBattle'' and its SpinOff ''TacticsOgre''
*** In ''Knight of Lodis'', there is a way to actually ''turn'' a Player Mook into a named character. By following a certain sequence of events, SecretCharacter Deneb can [[GrandTheftMe take over]] a Player Mook's body.
** ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'' (Although they're always {{Guest Star Party Member}}s)
** ''Destiny Of An Emperor'' seemed like a pretty standard RPG based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, until you realized that that's not HP, but soldiers! Wow, so many dead bodies!
** ''{{Wild ARMs XF}}''
* Several heroes in ''Dota2'' have the power to either temporarily control or summon minions; Enchantress, Enigma, Chen, Nature's Prophet, Beastmaster, Lycan, Warlock, Broodmother, and Undying can all do it on their own, and anyone who purchases a Helm of the Dominator or a Necronomicon can as well.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'' had this. Other than TheHero, you could go to a tavern at any time and make new characters.
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'' has this too, as a throwback to that
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' and ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVI'' feature [[{{Mon}} recruitable monsters]]. Their only personality is that they come with names.
* Similarly to ''Dragon Quest III'' and ''IX'', ''VideoGame/{{Makai Toshi SaGa}}'' lets you choose which kind of character TheHero is, and you can recruit up to three more generic party members at a guild. ''VideoGame/{{SaGa 2}}'' has the Hero take three of his classmates with him.
* By nature of the genre, most RealTimeStrategy games use this.
* {{Pikmin}} are cute little versions of these. They almost reach the level of RedShirtArmy. That is, if the player doesn't feel horribly guilty letting just one die; [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esYm9q-bi4w this video can change that opinion quickly]].
* ''{{Overlord}}'' has the Minion Army, which function as basically evil uglier versions of Pikmin.
** The sequel partly averts this by naming every single Minion you summon and allowing you to resurrect specific ones if you desire.
* ''TheLastRemnant'' has a mixture of unique, more powerful leader-type units, and loads more generic soldiers. The Xbox version only allowed a limited number of leaders, but the PC version removed this restriction.
* {{Mons}} games thrive on this trope. ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'', ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' and ''VidoeGame/MonsterRancher'' are the most famous examples.
** A minor subversion in the ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'' series: Any non-required party members will appear in cutscenes (Assuming they even let you bring any to a plot-related dungeon in the first place) and will wordlessly react to what happens, but never actually get any dialogue. The main characters don't even acknowledge their existence save for one instance in the first game.
* As do Atlus's Persona (and several other ''ShinMegamiTensei'') games. New players tend to have a mental hurdle to overcome fusing or disposing of their old demons to make way for new ones.
* ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'', from the third game on, allow the player to recruit bodyguards and armed them, but they just ended up being kill-stealing player mooks.
** Later ''Dynasty Warriors'' and ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' games added Create Your Own Officer options and allowed you to play as a Player Mook in campaign. Every created officer had the same storyline.
*** Even later games in the Empires sub-series mixed Mook and non-Mook offices into the slush during game play. Based on your "friendship" with the various officers you commanded different ones would appear in cut scenes. If you where close to your Player Mooks, then they showed in the events.
* Noticeably averted in the tactics-RPG ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', where every character you can recruit for your squad has a unique model, personality and skills.
** Though if you lost enough soldiers, you'd get faceless mooks with limited stats to replace them.
* Similarly averted in ''ValkyrieProfile 2''. The einherjar all fall into four general categories (light knight, heavy knight, mage and archer) but they all have their own names and models and different stats.
* Possibly averted in ''VideoGame/BahamutLagoon''. The non-plot characters in there blur the line between unusually well-defined PlayerMooks and badly-realized regular characters.
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}} 2'' allows you to hire expendable mercenaries in town to aid you.
* ''Mario Superstar Baseball'' and its sequel, ''Mario Super Sluggers'', uses this trope like there's no tomorrow. In fact, the only {{Palette Swap}}s available in those games are for the mooks themselves (complete with individualized stats), with the thin justification that those same mooks had palette swaps in the main games to begin with (except for Magikoopa and Dry Bones, who only had palette swaps in the VideoGame/PaperMario series). Interestingly, while Yoshi gets palette swaps in the sequel, Birdo still doesn't, despite different colored Birdos blatantly appearing elsewhere in the game.
* The title soldiers in ''VideoGame/CannonFodder'' mostly play this straight, but they each have names, and they're so darned cute that they tend to provoke VideoGameCaringPotential. Mind you, since this game attempts to avert DoNotDoThisCoolThing, an average player will see more than 200 of them meet {{Family Unfriendly Death}}s, each adding another tombstone to the hill on the pre-mission screen and deepening the player's angst.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront'' is this trope in spades - you even jump between random {{Mooks}} (somehow keeping your experience and bonuses) if your current character gets wasted.
* While most ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}'' games follow this trope, ''Wizardry 8'' has an interesting subversion. While you do create and customize your players in a fashion similar to Player Mooks, you can also give them their own distinct voices and personalities. They talk as necessary whenever the plot demands, and often they feel like story characters rather than Player Mooks.
* One of ''PerfectDark'''s multiplayer modes had player 1 try to complete a single-player mission while player 2 controls the mooks. The mook usually has only 2 weapons. If the mook gets stuck (or player 2 needs to get to a closer mook) he can use a cyanide pill to effectively BodySurf to another mook.
* ''{{X-Com}}'' and its sequels/successors/clones. Due to [[NintendoHard the nature of the game]], players can expect casualties, lots and lots of casualties.
* ''VideoGame/ScarfaceTheWorldIsYours''. No matter how many times your Enforcer, Driver or Assassin gets wasted, you can call up another one. The regular drivers/co-pilots that assist Tony come in differing flavors and talents and skills (this last part may not be intended). It's so cute to hear them scream curses like the boss. Their highly efficent fighting skills definitely invokes the above mentioned Caring Potential when an enemy mook rushes out of the bushes and shoots them point blank in the face.
* ''[[FireEmblem Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon]]'' gives you these if you get enough normal characters killed. ([[VideoGameCaringPotential Most players STILL Start over on a single death anyways]].)
** This series as a whole tends to avert it, though, because everyone in your control is unique, with their own sprites, portraits, and stats.
*** Although ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Fire Emblem Thracia 776]]'' played this straight in one chapter, where Glade joins along with a couple of generic knights under his command, who have names such as [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Lance Knight and Bow Knight.]] Since they're only available for the one chapter, most players just strip them of their weapons and use them as cannon fodder.
* Averted in the JaggedAlliance series, which plays like a tactical strategy game, but instead of giving you generic soldiers, it has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, each with their own dialogue and personality. Played straight with the militia, who are AI controlled allies that you train to defend your towns. You will probably lose dozens if not hundreds of them during the game.
* ''CityOfVillains'' and the Mastermind class, which the player has a bunch of {{mooks}} to do their bidding.
** They do go a bit beyond the norm for this trope (or for MMORPG player pets); players can not just name them but [[SlashCommand play puppeteer and ventriloquist]] with them. A good roleplayer/macro scripter can give them distinct personalities.
* Franchise/MetalGear featured playable mooks in certain installment.
** The now-defunct online multiplayer mode for ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 3|SnakeEater}}: [[UpdatedRerelease Subsistence]]'' had players controlling the enemy soldiers (from the KGB, GRU Spetsnaz, and Ocelot units) from ''Snake Eater'' in addition to Snake and other "unique characters".
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps'' involves Snake creating his own army by capturing enemy soldiers and persuading them to join his side. The player can then control any of these former enemy soldier and if the player happens to be infiltrating an area patrolled by the same enemy type, the player character can blend in perfectly by not acting conspicuous (read: not shooting anyone randomly).
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' has a similar army-building system, except recruited soldiers (and [=POWs=]) that are added to MSF (Snake's army) are all forced to wear standard MSF uniforms instead of keeping their original wardrobe, leading to a more homogenized army compared to the FOXHOUND precursor in ''Portable Ops''.
* ''VideoGame/BioShock2's'' mutliplayer has you play as the [[{{Mooks}} Splicers]] to avoid having six [[LightningBruiser Subject Deltas]] running around at once.
* {{Gradius}}' Big Core MK I gets a starring role in ''Gradius NEO Imperial''.
* ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' uses these in order to build your party. The storyline involves your adventuring group as a whole rather than a single character, so no preset character is necessary.
** The actual party play is a throwback to old school CRPGs which had the player create and control an entire party. The twist (and what makes the characters {{Mook}}s) is the fact that any character can be replaced.
* In ''VideoGame/MrRobot'', there are four plot-essential robots that join your party (by having their personalities [[PartyInMyPocket copied into your head]]), one for each "class". But you can also get a couple more robot personalities to help you in battle by exploring the world thoroughly, and their existence isn't mentioned at all (even when the main character whines about how crowded it's getting in there).
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. Being awesome enough means one can recruit fellow gang members to assist on missions. They will follow, fire, pursue and then try to get in the car with you to go back home.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'' does this over and over again. There's a generic Black Mage (named "Black Mage") and a generic White Mage (named "White Mage") who join you in both Ceodore's and Porom's chapters - between the two chapters, they're actually on your team about as long as Palom and Porom were in the original (and in the same places to boot!), but their generic names, nonexistent personalities, and lack of special abilities make them feel a lot more impersonal. In a similar vein, you get "Monk A", "Monk B", and "Monk C" in Yang's chapter; Edward's, meanwhile, has "Guard A", "Guard B", and "Guard C". Then again, this game has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters to begin with, so it seems the game designers were just trying to give you some [[CrutchCharacter Crutch Characters]] without overloading the player.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has the ghosts in the Phantom Train. Most ghosts are enemies but a few will offer to join your party. They have no backstory, a unique class, and a stat set randomly chosen from three presets. You can only recruit up to however many to fill your party; if they are KO'd or use their "Possess" skill they leave you party and you can recruit another one, endlessly. However, they always leave at the end of the level.
* ''VideoGame/HellgateLondon'' [[ThatOneLevel confounded players]] with an UnexpectedGenreChange in which {{Mook}} troopers had to be endlessly expended fighting through creatures that the players could, by that point, have strolled through themselves.
* Starting with Delta, [[RType R-Type]] allowed the Pow Armor power-up carriers to be playable, and they could [[LethalJokeCharacter hold their own pretty well]]. Then Final gave players the chance to play as the [[GoddamnedBats Cancer]], known as the TL-T Chiron, even getting its own force module. An interesting aspect of the Chiron is that it transforms into the Cancer when the force module is attached.
* Starships owned by the player of an [[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]] game, but not used for the player ship, don't even have pilots[[note]]Specifically, the player's name is listed as pilot on the ship's info screen.[[/note]] unless the player gives them one by activating a script that adds a named pilot. Even then, their name is randomly generated based on the species that owns the sector, and you never interact with the pilots in person beyond giving them orders from a command console.
** Averted in ''Videogame/XRebirth'', where your starships are crewed by actual people who you speak with to give orders.
* The player's generic gang members in ''SaintsRow2'' and ''SaintsRowTheThird''.
** SaintsRowIV follows suit of course, with one good variation: a late game unlock gives you several super-powered homies to be summoned. They are actually [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall default player character models for Saints Row, Saints Row 2, and Saints Row 2 co-op]].
* In ''[[SoulSeries Soul Calibur 3]]'''s Chronicles of the Sword mode, the player can create mooks equal to the number of normal custom character slots they have purchased. Given that these will stay with the player even when, post TimeSkip, the previous allies are all BrainwashedAndCrazy or had a FaceHeelTurn, not to mention retaining their levels during NewGamePlus, they tend to form the most effective parties.
* Since ''[[VideoGame/MegamanLegends The Misadventures Of Tron Bonne]]'' lets you [[VillainProtagonist play as]] the QuirkyMinibossSquad from the previous game, naturally it gives you access to their army of Servbots.
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