This is when a character who was computer-controlled (as an {{NPC}} or as a boss) in one installment of a series becomes a potential [[PlayerCharacter player-controlled character]] through the course of the game, or in sequels. They may be hidden unlockable characters, you might get the chance to recruit them, or they might be presented outright at the character select screen.

Typically they are more powerful than your average "normal" character, though of course they may end up a lot weaker than when they were boss characters (expect their HP to be divided by a factor of 10). This may be due to a RedemptionDemotion or for [[PVPBalanced PVP balancing]]. It's also possible that the game has played up a bad guy as such, only for him to become playable near the end of the game. There is no HeelFaceTurn involved; just the bad guy doing stuff on his own or just passively riding the plot along.

Beating the game with/as one of these characters usually reveals a special type of end-game victory screen. A FightingGame series [[VideoGameLongRunner of sufficient length]] will almost always resort to this.
----
!!Examples:
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Action-Adventure ]]

* Shiva was TheDragon to the final boss in ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage 2'', notable for having a move set remarkably close to that of the playable characters. In the sequel to that game, he became selectable from a Continue after being defeated in an earlier level -- however, he lacked one of his special moves when playable, which was available to a later boss version of him.
* Vergil in ''DevilMayCry 3: Special Edition''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Yakuza}} Dead Souls'' has Goro Majima, perennial madman of the series, and Ryuji Goda, TheRival from ''Yakuza 2''.
* In ''VideoGame/MadStalkerFullMetalForce'', Gongs and Kamui were a common enemy and the boss of the fifth stage, respectively. In the PC Engine CD [[UpdatedRerelease re-release]], it featured a much larger Story Mode where players can play as Richard Winston who pilots Kamui and Eve Lurdia who pilots a Gong.
* Any and all [=NPCs=], minor characters, major characters, main characters, villains and supporting characters in the {{LEGO}} movie games can and will be unlocked some way or another. Even the ones who have no weapons and can't do anything. You can play as ''anybody''. Newer games let you create your own character using parts from unlocked characters.
* Most ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' games after ''Symphony of the Night'' let you play as a boss/rival character after you finish the main game. Examples are Richter in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' (and Maria in the Sega Saturn version and a reworked version of Maria in the PSP version), Julius in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaAriaOfSorrow'', Julius again with Yoko and [[spoiler:Alucard]] in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaDawnOfSorrow'', [[spoiler:Stella and Loretta]] in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' (though Richter and Maria are also unlockable), and Albus in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia''.
* OswaldTheLuckyRabbit spends ''VideoGame/EpicMickey'' driving the plot and having a CainAndAbel relationship with MickeyMouse. In ''Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two'', he's playable alongside Mickey.
* The Green Goblin is unlockable in the game of the first Spider-Man movie.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Adventure Game ]]

* Brian Westhouse is an NPC in ''VideoGame/TheLongestJourney'', an ends up being playable in the prologue of the sequel ''VideoGame/DreamfallTheLongestJourney''.
* Clementine becomes the playable protagonist of Season Two of ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'' since [[spoiler:Lee eventually succumbs to the plague or is {{Mercy Kill}}ed by Clem at the ending of Season One]].


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Driving Game ]]

* Many a character from the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' series games.
* Ditto for the characters in ''VideoGame/CrashTeamRacing'', of which most of its cast was formed by the bosses of all 3 previous games in the series.
* Minion was the final boss in ''TwistedMetal'', in subsequent games he's usually featured as a mid-game boss and tends to be unlockable, [[LightningBruiser and generally is as strong when playable as he is when he's a boss]].
** ''Twisted Metal 2'' FinalBoss Dark Tooth became an unlockable car in ''Twisted Metal: Head-Oh''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Games ]]

* Petey Piranha, Ridley and Porky Minch were boss characters in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl''. They became playable in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosCrusade''.
** Waluigi, Shadow and Tingle were assist trophies in ''Brawl'' before being part of the roster in ''Crusade''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fighting ]]

* ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'' added Amakusa to the playable roster in the third game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' made Pyron and Huitzil playable in the second game.
** Oboro Bishamon was a BonusBoss in Vampire Savior, but is made playable in Darkstalkers 3, the enhanced Playstation port.
* Many ''GuiltyGear'' sequels include a playable Justice. Other bosses in the series were playable in their own games from their introduction.
** Baiken initially started as a secret boss in the original ''Guilty Gear''. Since ''[=GGX=]'', however, she appears as a playable character from the very beginning.
* In the ''{{Tekken}}'' series, the first game had Kazuya as a main character and Heihachi as an unlockable boss. The second game had Kazuya as an unlockable boss and Heihachi as a main character. Then Heihachi recovered his unlockable boss status in the third and Kazuya became a main character again in the fourth, and that's without getting into Jin... yeah, the whole Mishima family is like this.
** Lee becomes a main character in ''Tekken 5''. After being an unlockable Law clone he was greatly improved in ''Tekken Tag'' and is a notable part of the story in Tekken 4.
*** As a matter of fact, ''all'' rival/sub-boss characters in the first two ''Tekken'' arcades were unselectable, and thus were promoted for their game's respective PS ports.
** Jinpachi Mishima went from unplayable boss in ''Tekken 5'' to playable in the PS3 port of ''Dark Ressurection'' and ''Tekken Tag Tournament 2'' (albeit in human form).
** ''Tekken 6'' BonusBoss NANCY can be used in some missions in the home port's ''Scenario Campaign'' mode.
* The first game in the ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'', ''Soul Edge'', saw Sub-Boss Cervantes playable in its 2nd revision and FinalBoss [=SoulEdge=] in the PS port; ''Soulcalibur'' saw Inferno selectable in the Dremcast port, only to later invert it in ''Soulcalibur II'' and ''Soulcalibur III: Arcade Edition''.
* Shang Tsung became playable (and young) from ''MortalKombat'' to ''Mortal Kombat II'', where Shao Kahn replaced him as the FinalBoss.
** All bosses eventually became playable at some point: Goro in the GameBoy port of ''[=MK=]'', ''Trilogy'' (PlayStation only), home versions of ''[=MK4=]'' and GameCube's ''Deception''; Kintaro in ''Trilogy'' (PlayStation only), Motaro and Shao Kahn in home ports of ''[=MK3=]''/''[=UMK3=]'', ''Trilogy'' and GameCube's ''Deception'' (Kahn only). And all of them, plus Moloch, Onaga and Sareena (from ''Mythologies'') became playable in ''Armageddon''.
** Unplayable hidden characters as well: Reptile (''[=MK=]'') and Jade (''[=MK2=]'') were added to the main roster in ''[=MK2=]'' and ''[=UMK3=]'' respectively, whereas Smoke (''[=MK2=]'') and Noob Saibot (''[=MK2=]'' & ''3'') were first playable "hidden" characters in ''[=MK3=]'' (Smoke only) and ''[=UMK3=]'' before becoming regulars in ''Trilogy''.[[note]]though Noob still tends to jump back and forth between being a normal or hidden character[[/note]]
*** ''Armageddon'' had everyone. Literally every fighter over the course of the entire series was playable in that one ( except for Human Smoke, and Khameleon continued to be Nintendo exclusive).
** In a rather surprising semi-promotion, the Vita port of ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' included an extra Challenge Tower where the player can play as Tremor, one of the bosses in the [[ObviousBeta not-quite finished]] ''VideoGame/MortalKombatSpecialForces''.
* The four Shadaloo Grand Masters (Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison) from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' were exclusively computer-controlled in the original game, but were promoted to playable characters in ''Champion Edition'' and onward.
** The ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' sub-series received 4 of the CPU-only characters from the first ''VideoGame/StreetFighter'': Gen, Adon, Birdie and (much much later) Eagle.
** Akuma (aka Gouki) was originally the TrueFinalBoss in ''Super Street Fighter II Turbo'', playable only via a cheat code. He became a regular playable character in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha 2'', with an alternate "Shin Akuma" version as a secret boss (who was only playable in the [=PS1=] and Saturn ports).
** In a sort of cross-series example: ''VideoGame/FinalFight'' bosses Sodom and Rolento became playable in the ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' sub-series; Hugo (Andore) became playable in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' and Poison became playable in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterXTekken''. Though Rolento, Poison and Hugo (together with [[CorruptCop Edi.E]], [[EnemySummoner Thrasher]] and [[EliteMook El Gado]]) were first playable in the Sega Saturn fighting game ''FinalFight Revenge''.
* In ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Battle of Aces'' allows you to use the [[FinalBoss Materials]] once you beat the storylines of the three characters each of them is based upon (e.g. Nanoha, Vita, and Zafira for Material-S). Needless to say, they are the most powerful characters in the game, [[spoiler:except [[GameBreaker Unison Reinforce]]]].
* ''FinalFantasyDissidia'' made many villains of the series, including the incredibly popular [[FinalFantasyVII Sephiroth]], (though he had already been playable in ''{{Ehrgeiz}}'') into playable characters.
** ''Dissidia 012'' does it again, adding [[RunningGag Gilgamesh]] into the mix. Also notably--in the first ''Dissidia'' game, many fans wished that the [[FinalBoss Final]] SNKBoss Chaos was playable (he wasn't, not without hacks). But his new and altered form, Feral Chaos, is.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaJudgment'' has Dracula and Death as unlockable characters.
* The ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' series has a tendency to do this with most of its bosses:
** Magneto and Juggernaut started out as boss and sub-boss in ''VideoGame/XMenChildrenOfTheAtom'', to later become playable in ''VideoGame/{{X-Men Vs Street Fighter}}''.
** In ''VideoGame/MarvelSuperHeroes'', Thanos and Doom become unlockable in the home ports.
** Apocalypse went from non-playable in ''VideoGame/{{X-Men Vs Street Fighter}}'' to secret character in the home ports of ''VideoGame/MarvelSuperHeroesVsStreetFighter'', alongside Cyber Akuma.
** Onslaught gained his own "Onslaught Mode" in the Dreamcast port of ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom''.
** Similarly to the above, Galactus got his own "Galactus Mode" in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'''s UpdatedRerelease, ''Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3''.
** In some way, this also applies to Jin Saotome in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'', since he was more a "story path" choice rather than a playable character in ''VideoGame/{{Cyberbots}}''.
* ''VideoGame/BushidoBlade 2'' saw some of the previous game's bosses become hidden characters: Sazanka, Tsubame and Hongou.
* For ''VideoGame/BloodyRoar'' its original FinalBoss Uriko was completely retooled when she became playable in ''Bloody Roar 2''.
* Yuri Sakazaki, the DistressedDamsel of the first ''VideoGame/ArtOfFighting'' game, becomes playable in the sequel and turns out to be a skilled fighter in her own right. She became so popular that she's a mainstay in the ''KingOfFighters'' series.
* With more information being available in the [[Manga/{{Naruto}} source material]], Darui went from a support-only character in ''VideoGame/NarutoShippudenUltimateNinjaStormGenerations'' to a full-on playable character in ''[[VideoGame/NarutoShippudenUltimateNinjaStorm3 Storm 3]]''.
* Metal Mario appears as a boss in ''SuperSmashBros.'', while anyone can be made metal with the green box item in ''Super Smash Bros. Melee'' and ''Brawl''. Similarly, the original game had Giant Franchise/DonkeyKong and ''Melee'' and ''Brawl'' can make anyone Giant with the Super Mushroom.
** Also, [[TrueFinalBoss Giga Bowser]] from ''Melee'' becomes playable through [[SuperMarioBros Bowser's]] [[LimitBreak Final Smash]] in ''Brawl''.
** Wario, Meta Knight, Pit, Olimar, Squirtle (who doubles as the starting platform in Poké Floats) and King Dedede (who also appeared in the N64 installment as a background character in Kirby's stage) all appeared as trophies in ''Melee'' before becoming playable characters, and Charizard was one of the Pokémon summoned in the first two games before it became a playable character itself.
** Special note goes to [[VideoGame/FZero Captain Falcon]] and [[VideoGame/EarthBound Ness]], who demonstrate a variant of this trope: They were unlockable characters in the first game, then ascended into default characters in ''Melee'' before being demoted back to unlockables in ''Brawl''.
** If one doesn't count TheLegendOfZeldaCDIGames, then ''Melee'' marks the first time that Zelda has ever been playable in any game.
** [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]] was [[http://www.smashbros.com/wii/en_us/items/assist/ an Assist Trophy]] in ''Brawl'', and now he's [[http://www.smashbros.com/us/characters/little_mac.html‎ a playable character]] in the fourth game.
* ''DragonBallKai: Ultimate Butouden'' marks the first playable appearance of [[EccentricMentor King Kai]] in '''''any''''' ''DragonBall'' game.
* ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' allows you to play as Labrys from a Drama CD unreleased outside Japan and the BonusBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', [[spoiler: Elizabeth]].
* In the ''Godzilla'' FightingGame for the Turbo CD, Biollante was not playable by any means, but became available to players of the game's SuperFamicom successor, ''Kaijuu Daikessen''.
* Bai-Hu, the FinalBoss of ''Breakers'' for the NeoGeo, can be playable through codes in the CD version and the UpdatedRerelease ''Breakers Revenge''.
* Happens after a fashion in ''[[GundamVsSeries Gundam Extreme Vs.]]''; the boss of the game is the Extreme Gundam from the manga ''Gundam EXA''. The sequel, ''Extreme Vs. Full Boost'', introduces ''EXA'''s protagonist Leos Alloi, who has his own version of the Extreme Gundam complete with [[MultiformBalance melee, ranged, and funnel forms]] based off the original Extreme's MetaMecha. Several of Leos' attacks are taken directly from the original, allowing players to be on the delivering end for a change.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: First-Person Shooter ]]

* ''Videogame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'' is an {{Interquel}} taking place before the second game that features Wilhelm and the Sheriff of Lynchwood (known as Nisha) as playable characters as well as SeriesMascot Claptrap and Athena from the General Knoxx DLC of the first game.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Platformer ]]

* [[SonicTheHedgehog Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik]] is playable in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2''.
** Earlier than that, Amy in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', and Knuckles in ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic & Knuckles]]''
*** Tikal and Chaos were playable in the multiplayer of VideoGame/SonicAdventure2, and believe it or not, you can play as Maria Robotnik in two levels of ShadowTheHedgehog.
** There's also Tails in the [[VideoGameRemake remake]] of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD''. In the original, he just made a couple of [[TheCameo cameos]].
* The ''Franchise/SlyCooper" series made Bentley and Murray playable characters in its [[VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves second game]], while [[VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves the third]] finally upgraded Carmelita Fox, and former antagonists, Panda King and Dimitri, to playable status.
* Previous recurring series antagonist Captain Qwark became playable in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal''. Sort of. (In-game, Ratchet is controlling an interactive "vid-comic where the player controls Qwark"). He also had his own playable dream sequences in the ''VideoGame/SecretAgentClank'' game. He was officially made a playable character in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankAll4One'', alongside Dr. Nefarious as well as ''Full Frontal Assault''.
* ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'':
** Cortex became playable in ''Videogame/CrashTwinsanity''.
** Coco got partly-playable in ''Videogame/CrashBandicoot3Warped'' and fully playable in ''Videogame/CrashBandicootTheWrathOfCortex''.
** Nina too, thanks to EarlyBirdCameo -- she appears as a boss in ''VideoGame/CrashBandicootPurpleRiptosRampage'' before her intended debut in ''Videogame/CrashTwinsanity''.
* DLC packs for ''Videogame/ScottPilgrim'' added Knives Chau and Wallace Wells as playable characters.
* ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosU'' had a villain named Nabbit who would occasionally show up for a special challenge. In the DLC ''VideoGame/NewSuperLuigiU'', he becomes playable - though he can't collect power-ups, he is utterly immune to enemies.
* Rosalina from the ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' games becomes playable in ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'' after beating World Star-2.
** Rosalina is also playable in ''VideoGame/MarioKart Wii'', [[OldSaveBonus though this requires a save file from Galaxy.]]
* Wario was strictly a bad guy in his first few appearances (''SuperMarioLand2'', ''Mario & Wario'', and ''Wario's Woods''). He was first playable in ''Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!'', then got [[WarioLand his own series]], and now he's both a recurring Mario-family playable character and a star in his own right. In the process, he shrank down to Mario's size (he was originally much bigger).
* After years of lamenting the sorry state of modern video games and boasting of his trained-on-the-good-old-hard-games skills in the ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' series, Cranky Kong finally gets to put his money where his mouth is in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreeze''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Puzzle ]]

* After Flora Reinhold was the driving plot force of ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheCuriousVillage'', and [[spoiler:replaced by Don Paolo]] for most of ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheDiabolicalBox'', she finally became playable in ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheUnwoundFuture''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Roguelike ]]

* [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters All the bosses]] from the first ''{{Izuna}}'' game are playable in the second, including the two hidden ones ([[spoiler:Gen-An and Shino]]).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: RPG ]]

* Joachim in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLamentOfInnocence''.
* Magus in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
* General Leo in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', [[spoiler: though only for one battle.]].
* Sarevok in ''BaldursGate: Throne of Bhaal''.
* [[spoiler:Teyrn Loghain]] a.k.a. the Secret Companion in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''.
* ''KingdomHearts'' has the entire Organization XIII [bosses] as playable characters for the first time in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'', along with Goofy, Donald and Riku ([=AI=]-controlled support party members) and Mickey (he would be playable but only briefly if you died in certain boss fights).
** Riku had an entire campaign to himself in ''ChainOfMemories'', and again in ''KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance''.
* ''ValkyrieProfile'' lets you fight Freya, Brahms, and Lezard Valeth in the BonusDungeon, and they join you if you defeat them. You can't use them in the regular game, however, since the bonus dungeon is chosen from the main menu instead of being part of the regular game.
* Bowser, after being an antagonist in the two preceding games, becomes a playable character (and is in fact the driving force behind the plot rather than being a [[VillainDecay mere joke]]) in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]]''.
** Bowser also starts becoming playable in the ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' series from the second game and onwards.
** Way before either of those, Bowser actually joined Mario's part- er, "let Mario join his party" in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG''.
* In ''{{Suikoden}}'', [[spoiler:Kwanda Rosman, Milich Oppenheimer, Sonya Schulen, Varkas, Sydonia, the pirate trio, Alen, Grenseal (though technically their boss is defeated to recruit them), and Griffith (defeated in a tactical battle)]] can be recruited after defeating them. All are necessary to obtain the 108 Stars (best) ending.
** Many recruitable characters are like this throughout the series, to the point that the game may as well shove forgiveness and DefeatMeansFriendship down the player's throats.
* Gaius and Musee become playable in ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia2''. Made especially noteworthy by the fact that they were [[spoiler: the final bosses]] in the original game. They also retain every single attack they possessed in their original appearances.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} Origin'' has [[spoiler: Toal Fact]]. He's encountered several times as an NPC when playing as Hugo or Yunica; completing the game with either of them unlocks him as a player character. Beating the game with him reveals the canon ending.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Simulation Game ]]

* In ''TheSims 2'', {{NPC}}s can be made playable if you have a high enough relationship score and ask them to move in, or marry them. There are also various {{Game Mod}}s to do so.
* In ''VirtualVillagers 5: The New Believers'' another tribe of 'heathens' appears, which is controlled by the AI. The player can 'convert' them individually using various methods and they become members of your tribe.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Shooter ]]

* The {{Call of Duty}} series has several examples of this, including Sgt. Viktor Reznov from World At War being playable in Black Ops, Sgt. Frank Woods from Black Ops being playable in Black Ops 2 and Declassified, and Captain Price from the Modern Warfare series being playable in the present time in the final level of Modern Warfare 3.
* BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea has you playing as Elizabeth during the second part of the story.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' does this all the time. Every one of the Windows games has had at least one boss villain reappear as playable in a later game.
** It started after the ''second-game'' of the PC-98 series.
*** With 2 characters even getting their own games! (to be specific, Aya Shamemaru with what can be most easily described as photography games combined with the bullet hell of the usual series and Cirno, whose game was a bullet hell with bullet freezing mechanics.)
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'': The extremely popular custom mod "Vs. Saxton Hale" lets a single player become the larger-than-life Mann Co. CEO and fight all the other players simultaneously.
* ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' makes the predecessor's main enemy, the Elites, a playable race in multiplayer. While they aren't technically more powerful, the altered hit-boxes has led to arguments on which model is superior and standardization in the MLG circuit.
** Played completely straight in ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' where the Elites have more shield strength and faster movement speed than their Spartan counterparts.
*** But for balance reasons, they possess larger hitboxes, slightly slower shield recharge times and less physical health, though the last balance is somewhat negated by their ability to fully recover physical health over time without a health pack. In ''Halo 3'', Elites were more of examples of ConfusionFu, since, despite the dramatically different character models compared to Spartans, they still had the exact same hitboxes.
* [[TrueFinalBoss Hibachi]] is an unlockable fighter in the iPhone port of [[VideoGame/DonPachi Dodonpachi Ressurection]] after beating the game [[BulletHell (Good luck with that by the way)]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Side Scroller ]]

* Zero becoming playable as the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series went on was pretty much inevitable; first he was an underpowered extra character in ''X3'', but he later became a fully fleshed out alternative to X.
** The PSP remake ''Maverick Hunter X'' allows you to unlock and play as Vile.
** The other PSP remake, ''MegaManPoweredUp'', does this with all eight Robot Masters. Of course, only six of them were in the original ''VideoGame/MegaMan''.
*** Also in the same game, Roll and Proto Man were also unlockable each with their own stories. Roll was a background character in the first game while Proto Man made his debut as Breakman in ''VideoGame/MegaMan3''.
** Proto Man (as well as Bass) was playable way earlier, in ''Mega Man: The Power Battles'' for Arcades. Though Bass was technically playable in a FightingGame-esque EasterEgg mode in ''VideoGame/MegaMan7'', his debut game.
** Inverted in ''X7'' -- X himself is ''De''moted To Unlockable.
** After being X, Zero and Axl's navigator from X5 to X7, Alia is promoted to unlockable in ''Mega Man X8'' with moves similar to X. Unlike X however, she cannot use any of X's armor. Layer and Pallette are also unlockable with moves similar to Zero and Axl, though you have to rebuy the weapons for Layer and Pallete cannot metamorph like Axl.
** Done in an [[PlayingWithATrope odd way]] in the [[MegaManBattleNetwork Battle Network games]]. First example is that all fightable enemies ended up as a battlechip to use. Second was games 4-6 added double soul, which allowed megaman to imitate other navis that he formed bonds with under the right conditions, which included series classics like protoman, numberman, and elecman. 5-6 actually played this straight, allowing you to play as the navis themselves as well as double soul, such playable characters included protoman, numberman, flameman, and aquaman.
* The "Meta Knightmare" sub-games in ''Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land'' and ''Kirby Super Star Ultra'' (which are {{Enhanced Remake}}s of ''VideoGame/KirbysAdventure'' and ''VideoGame/KirbySuperStar'') make Meta Knight an unlockable player character.
** King Dedede was playable in ''Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards'' as a [[PowerupMount Powerup Mount]] then became fully playable in ''Kirby's Return To Dream Land''. As of ''VideoGame/KirbyTripleDeluxe'', he now has his own standalone gameplay mode just as Meta Knight does.
** The Bandana Waddle Dee from ''Kirby Super Star Ultra'' ends up playable in ''VideoGame/KirbysReturnToDreamLand''.
* The Red Arremer that just spent the past few lives terrorizing you in the ''VideoGame/GhostsNGoblins'' series? He's not nearly as nimble when under your control in the ''GargoylesQuest'' subseries, though his fighting game appearances in ''VideoGame/SNKVsCapcomSVCChaos'' and ''Ultimate VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' show greater shades of his abilities.
* Hiryu's rival in ''VideoGame/{{Strider}} 2'', Hien, became playable in a special "Hien Mode" in the PS port of the game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bravoman}}'' enemy Pistol Daimyo became the star of his own SpinOff ShootEmUp game, ''Pistol Daimyo no Bouken''.
* The main villain from ''VideoGame/{{Contra}}: Hard Corps'', Colonel Bahamut, appears as the main character in the prequel, ''VideoGame/HardCorpsUprising''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Sports ]]

* You can play as Barry [=DeJay=], the announcer from ''[[BackyardSports Backyard Basketball]]'', in ''Backyard Baseball'' as an unlockable. [[spoiler: He is actually in Basketball, too, through a secret code.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Stealth ]]

* Technically, Big Boss counts in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'', having been the final boss of the series' first two MSX games.
** Gray Fox is briefly playable in 3 missions in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'''s UpdatedRerelease, ''VR Missions''.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' has a metric buttload of playable [=NPCs=] from the series, from major characters like Ocelot and Dr. Sokolov to minor characters like Johnny Sasaki Sr. and Raidenovich Raikov.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}}: Wrath of Heaven'' marks the first playable appearance of series' regular bad guy Onikage, in the game's Co-op Versus mode. Some of the bosses from ''Fatal Shadows'' (plus a few from older games) became playable in the PSP game ''Time of the Assassins'' for its LevelEditor.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Survival Horror ]]

* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilOutbreak'' lets you play as most of the [=NPCs=] from the game, even though they're pretty much only [[AndYourRewardIsClothes skins that change the appearance of the main characters]]. With a GameShark or Action Replay you can literally play as [[DummiedOut any NPC in the game as well as a few that didn't make the cut]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Strategy ]]

* Hachi the shop owner in the ''AdvanceWars'' series becomes unlockable in ''Black Hole Rising'' and ''Dual Strike''. [[IzchaksWrath Appropriately]], he is one of the game's most powerful [=COs=].
** Hawke and Lash in ''Black Hole Rising'' become playable in the campaign of ''Dual Strike''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' does this quite a bit in the PSP VideoGameRemake ''Dark Hero Days'', making almost all of the formerly unusable optional boss characters playable, perhaps the most notable of them being [[MakaiKingdom Zetta]], who's a GameBreaker due to some retained ContractualBossImmunity, and the absurdly large hit radius on his attacks.
* Guss Tarball from [[JaggedAlliance Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games]] becomes a controllable mercenary in Jagged Alliance 2. He's pretty powerful although quite expensive.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem''
** Some games let you unlock the BigBad and several of his cronies (And some unrelated villains) as playable characters for Trial Maps. That is, those who [[HeelFaceTurn don't join you during the main game anyway]].
** Of particlar note is the BlackKnight from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius''. ThatOneBoss in Path of Radiance, one of the coolest characters in the game, now is playable in a few chapters in Radiant Dawn. And he, in fact, kicks even more ass than before, so players can use him to single-handedly inflict beat downs of epic proportions on their enemies. Only problem is that he is a CrutchCharacter to the max who already has the max level, so using him will cost your other characters much-needed EXP, causing many players not to use Blackie at all.
** Also from the Tellius games, Oliver (the main antagonist for the portion of ''Path of Radiance'' that took place in Begnion) turned out to be NotQuiteDead in ''Radiant Dawn'' and can be recruited near the end of the game. [[JokeCharacter Statwise he's not very impressive, but his conversations with some of the other characters are among the funniest things in the game]].
** There are also several other examples in ''Radiant Dawn'' including the previously busy Sanaki, Sigrun, and Caineghis, the previously neutral Kurthnaga, the previously powerless Leanne and Nealuchi, and (probably the most surprisingly) [[AscendedExtra Gareth]], Kurthnaga's servant who spoke two lines and five words through the entirety of ''Path of Radiance''. Guess they did give him a name for a reason.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' features many bosses and characters from previous games that can be recruited.
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