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[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/FinalFantasy http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chocoboes2_5446.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:Chocobos. Notice how it started with "II"? When they remade the [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI first game]], they [[OrwellianRetcon discreetly put these birds in, too]].[[note]]From the games ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII III]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV IV]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyMysticQuest Mystic Quest]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV V]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI VI]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII VII]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics Tactics]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII VIII]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX IX]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX X]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI XI]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII XII]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIIRevenantWings Revenant Wings]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII XIII]]''.]][[/note]]-]

For many {{Series}}, especially VideoGame ones, [[NonLinearSequel the various incarnations are only vaguely related to each other]]. The works may take place on different worlds, feature entirely different characters and have very different stories. In fact, it's only the name of the work that connects it with the previous ones at all...

Only usually it isn't. Most {{Non Linear Sequel}}s or ThematicSeries will have a character, [[RecurringRiff theme]], monster, or item that is emblematic of the series and remains constant. Note that this is often ''not'' the ''same'' character, theme, etc. Sometimes only the name will remain the same. Sometimes there will be a character "inspired by" the original much like a SpiritualSuccessor. In all cases the recurring element is not tied to a particular world, but simply shows up in each installment of the series. Think of it as an internal trope, specific to one body of work.

These elements aren't explicit [[{{Expy}} Expies]], but they serve the same purpose in aesthetics, narrative, or function, or gameplay in the case of video games. Some are officially acknowledged, some are so evident they are given {{Fanon}} names, and others are just there.

See RecurringRiff for music examples, and MascotMook for the enemy monster version of this. Also see MythologyGag, which is where a single work has a reference to another, but there is no example that covers an entire series.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* The ''VideoGame/{{Aikatsu}}'' Franchise, in each series, has a Cute-type idol as the main protagonist with her best friend being a Cool-type idol. The idol academy they attend always references "star" somewhere in the name.
* The Franchise/{{Gundam}} franchise always has a Haro and a CharClone.
* Creator/{{CLAMP}} works and Mokona.
* A ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' anime run will always involve a [[GogglesDoNothing goggle-wearing]] hero with ShonenHair[[note]]with the exception of [[Anime/DigimonSavers Masaru]][[/note]] partnered with a lizard {{mon}}, a [[TransformationTrinket Digivice]] of some description, and some form of temporary evolution of the partnered mons [[SuperEmpowering invoked by]] their humans, also usually wearing blue. Likewise, at one point there will be a SacrificialLion in the form of a Leomon who dies during the course of the series.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' has "the girl with sad eyes" who the hero's will try to save from their own sadness. They've usually {{Dark Magical Girl}}s, though there have been [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs some]] [[AudioPlay/StrikersSoundStageX exceptions]].
* Each ''Anime/YuGiOh'' anime (bar ''[[Anime/YuGiOh5Ds 5D's]]'') will feature a rival character who has a MoralityPet younger brother. The original series had Kaiba and Mokuba, ''[[Anime/YuGiOhGX GX]]'' had Ryo and Sho, ''[[Anime/YuGiOhZEXAL ZEXAL]]'' had Kaito and Haruto, and ''[[Anime/YuGiOhARCV ARC-V]]'' had Reiji and Reira. [[spoiler: The last one has a twist, though: Reira is not only adopted, but is also a female.]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Pretty much everything about ''Franchise/TheCrow'' and its sequels. The basic plot is always the same (Protagonist is killed by bad guys, along with someone else close to him, revenge ensues) and all the protagonists' names reference crow or raven ([[Film/TheCrow Draven]], [[Film/TheCrowCityOfAngels Corven]], [[Film/TheCrowSalvation Corvis]], [[Film/TheCrowWickedPrayer Cuervo]]). Note that the first two are (very) loosely connected, with one recurring character, although played by a different actress.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Douglas Coupland's books recycle small elements in different ways:
** The name of a minor character may become the name of a major/main character in a later book. Lisa is a recurring name for minor characters.
** Backpacking across Europe (and making fun of it) has come up in multiple books.
* The various ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels take place in wildly different parts of the eponymous world, with different casts, in different time periods -- but they all have the same [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: [[The Grim Reaper Death ]]
]]. (Well, except during ''[[DeathTakesAHoliday Reaper Man]]''.)


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* All ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' seasons involve a FiveManBand (or occasionally a PowerTrio) ColorCodedForYourConvenience, {{Transformation Trinket}}s activated ByThePowerOfGreyskull, CallingYourAttacks, {{Ass Kicking Pose}}s, attacks by {{Mooks}} and the MonsterOfTheWeek, the AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever fought with [[HumongousMecha Humongous]] CombiningMecha, and (except for most of ''Sentai'''s early years) a SixthRanger. Add the RookieRedRanger for ''Rangers'' and the SuperMode for both shows in recent years (for the whole team in general in both and Red Ranger-specific ones in ''Rangers'').
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'''s omnipresent elements are a [[UtilityBelt belt]] as the TransformationTrinket, a DivingKick as the SignatureMove, a CoolBike, and some form of {{Phlebotinum Rebel}}lion. Other common-but-not-universal bits include a ScarfOfAsskicking, insect-themed armor (both mostly in the early years), a [[SixthRanger Second Rider]], and a SwissArmyHero with multiple forms (both mainly in the later years).
* Television writer/producer Creator/RussellTDavies tends to assign the same surnames to main characters in his series. For example, there are characters named "Tyler" in ''Revelations'', ''Series/QueerAsFolk'', ''Series/BobAndRose'' and ''Series/DoctorWho''. See also Smith, Cooper, Jones and Harkness.
* ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' shares its setting and tone with the film ''Film/{{Fargo}}'', and there are some pieces of shared continuity between the different series and the film, but each series tends to include a number of distinctive recurring elements and tropes. Most consistently, each incarnation includes a variation on ThoseTwoBadGuys in the form of a pair of quirky hitmen - the film has Carl Showalter and Gael Grimsrud, the first series has Mr Wrench and Mr Numbers, the second has the identical Kitchen Brothers, and the third has Yuri Gurka and Meemo. Likewise, with the exception of the second series, each incarnation has a female police officer with a family as one of the protagonists.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' has several:
** Someone named Cid, often involved with airships or technology;
** Summon monsters (Ifrit, Shiva, and Bahamut are the only ones who are in every single game);
** Common monsters like Bombs, Behemoths, and Cactuars, and recurring bosses like Omega and Tiamat;
** Crystals, often which have some great importance to the world the game takes place in.
*** Not to mention Square Enix are making a whole mini-series where they play an important role: Fabula Nova Crystallis
** Chocobos and moogles.
** Gilgamesh shows up in many games, and save for a handful of appearances, is implied to be the same person in every one.
** In an odd case, a character named Gogo, who is a mimic and dresses colorfully, is in both ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI''; they're different characters though.
** The money is always called Gil (at least once the translations got consistent).
** Starting with Richard from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' you can expect someone to have the surname "Highwind". There's a good chance that said character will be a Dragoon (or at least have abilities evocative of the class). And if not, still expect [[MythologyGag some kind of nod to the name]].
** Starting with ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', there's a recurring weapon (usually a InfinityPlusOneSword) that goes by the name of Ultima Weapon. Other notable equipment that tends to resurface are the Genji and Onion sets of armor, Excalibur, Gungnir, Longinus, Muramasa, Masamune, Godhand, and [[JokeItem Excalipoor/Excalipur]], among others.
** The English-based spell naming convention, as well as the [Element], [Element]ra, [Element]ga, [Element]ja nomenclature system for tiers of elemental and curative magic, like Fire, Fira, Firaga, or Cure, Cura, Curaga, Curaja. (Once again, the translations didn't quite get this at first.) Reinforcing the point, sometimes status-effect magic will use the "-ga" suffix do denote spells that affect all members of a group. Likewise, the ultimate white and black magic spells are often Holy and Flare, with Meteor and Ultima sometimes superseding the latter in rare occasions.
*** This magic naming convention appears in a lot of Square Enix games, actually: ''Final Fantasy'', ''Chrono Trigger'', and ''Bravely Default'' all make use of it.
** Inventory nomenclature. You will always heal with Potions, always recover MP with Ethers, always revive fallen comrades with Phoenix Down, and [[TooAwesomeToUse always hoard Elixirs, Megalixirs, and X-Potions till the final boss]].
** Several games will include a pair of characters named Biggs and Wedge. They could either be a ThoseTwoGuys type, or a GoldfishPoopGang (as in VIII), and are often the StraightManAndWiseGuy.
* Creator/SquareEnix's other series, ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', ''[[Franchise/SaGaRPG SaGa]]'', [[GaidenGame early]] ''VideoGame/WorldOfMana'', etc. have elements from ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' spilling into them. Usually in the form of items, spells, naming convention, and/or Moogles. The translation doesn't always let them [[LostInTranslation keep them]], however. [[note]]In ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' the spell suffix Ja can be replaced by Gun or Za. Others change the names entirely like Firaga to Flame.[[/note]]
* The ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series and some of its spinoff series will have seven generals and one BigBad to be the bosses of its 8 worlds in the 2d platformers. Examples include the Koopalings and [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns the Tikis]].
** In 3d platformers instead of goalposts the player will have to collect 120 {{MacGuffin}}s. Stars, [[VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine Shine Sprites]] and [[VideoGame/DonkeyKong64 Golden Bananas]]
** Usually the Mario series also introduces a new flight item, or at least one for air mobility, that's heavily promoted as a new feature in each game instead of reusing previous ones. In order, [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3 The Racoon/Tanooki suit,]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld The Cape,]] [[VideoGame/SuperMario64 The Wing Cap,]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine FLUDD,]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy Bee Suit (and the secret Red Star),]] [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii The Propeller Suit,]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2 The Cloud Suit,]] the unprecedented return of the [[VideoGame/SuperMario3DLand Tanooki]]/[[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros2 Raccoon]] suits, [[VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosU the Flying Squirrel Suit]], and [[VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld the Cat Suit]].
* The ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' series has Parakarry: he is a partner in [[VideoGame/PaperMario64 the first game]], makes a cameo in [[VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor the second game]], is a Catch Card in [[VideoGame/SuperPaperMario the third game]] and leaves a note in [[VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar the fourth game]].
* The ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' games have several:
** Each game has a different enemy theme: [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperStarSaga bean themed enemies]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Shroobified enemies]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Fawfulized and physiology themed enemies]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam Dreamy enemies]] and [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPaperJam Paper enemies]].
** Each game has a Wiggler as a boss.
** Bowser, either possessed or going OneWingedAngel, is a form of the FinalBoss in all games except ''Bowser's Inside Story'' where Dark Bowser is the Dark Star turning into a Bowser copy.
** There are also at least two different forms of Bowser fought over the course of the game.
** At least one TimeLimitBoss shows up in all games: [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperStarSaga some of the Koopalings]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime the Elder Shrooboid]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory the Fawful Express and the X bosses]], [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam with the X bosses showing up twice]] and [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPaperJam King Bob-omb]].
* The original VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry trilogy has several enemy archetypes that appear in each game. There's a basic rodent based enemy (Gnawty, Sneek, and Neek), a basic kremling enemy (Kritter, Klomp, Kobble), a quadrapedal kremling that cannot be hurt from the front (Klaptrap, Klampon, Krimp), a large, beefy kremling (Krusha, Kruncha, Krumple), and an enemy that jumps around (jumping Kritter, Kaboing, Re-koil).
* Every VideoGame/WarioLand game has an enemy with a large point or spear sticking out in front of them, requiring you to hit them in the back.
* ''VideoGame/WildArms'':
** Take place on a world called Filgaia.
** Generally star a blue-haired hero.
** The victory music, though ''different'' in every game, is always ''called'' "Condition Green!".
** The money is always called "gella".
* Many games that Creator/YasunoriMitsuda worked on have a track called "Kokoro", which is a soft, simple tune, often played as a music box. The tune itself is different in each game.
* The two ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'' have a supporting character, some themes, and being a GroundhogDayLoop MurderMystery in common.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'':
** Although the vast majority of the Demon Compendium is always transplanted from game to game wholesale, the only demons that always appear in ''all'' games, and always with the exact same appearance, are Creator/{{Atlus}} mascots [[MascotMook Jack Frost]] and its close relatives.
** The Demon Summoning Program, the very basis of the ''Shin Megami Tensei'' franchise itself, appears in not just all the mainline SMT games barring ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'', but also in ''VideoGame/MegamiTensei'' and ''VideoGame/MegamiTenseiII'', both ''Majin Tensei'' games, the [[VideoGame/DevilSummoner first]] [[VideoGame/SoulHackers two]] ''Devil Summoner'' games, and both ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'' and ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2''.
** The Sanskrit and Japanese-based spell naming convention as well as the tiered scale system: [[FireIceLightning Agi, Bufu, Zio]] (weak), Agilao, Bufula, Zionga (medium), and Agidyne, Bufudyne, Ziodyne (severe) for the three indispensable elementals; [[HolyHandGrenade Hama]] and [[{{Curse}} Mudo]] for Expel and Curse (or Light and Dark) {{One Hit Kill}}s; [=Raku/Taru/Suku=]-[=nda/kaja=] for buffs and debuffs; and the prefix "Ma" for multi-target vs. single-target spells (Mazionga, Masukukaja, etc.).
** Demon (or Persona) fusion to improve your forces has been the core and purpose of every single game in the franchise since the very first one.
** Shiva is created by fusing Rangda and Barong.
** The ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' sub-series, besides having many of the above-mentioned elements, has some of its own recurring elements (unless explicitly mentioned otherwise, the below examples refer specifically to installments from ''VideoGame/Persona3'' onward):
*** Each game has a female vocalist who sings all the vocal tunes (with the exception of the recurring Velvet Room theme, sung by Haruko Komiya): Yumi Kawamura for ''3'', Shihoko Hirata for ''4'', and Lyn for ''5''. ''3'' also has the male Lotus Juice, credited as the "MC", who performs the rap themes.
*** The BattleThemeMusic against regular mooks has vocals, while boss themes are (usually) instrumental.
*** The background music in the protagonist's place of residence and while exploring the local town/city have vocals, the lyrical content of which usually deals with depressing themes (heartbreak, [[CannotSpitItOut inability to confess a crush]], and LossOfIdentity, to give examples).
*** One of the first party members is a [[ChivalrousPervert perverted-yet-friendly]] classmate of the protagonist that quickly grows to be the protagonist's [[HeterosexualLifePartners best friend]]. He also always has a VitriolicBestBuds relationship with the first female party member.
*** The main plot begins with the protagonist taking a train into [[CityOfAdventure a new town]].
*** There is a primary ColorMotif that pervade the game's artwork and UI: Blue for ''VideoGame/Persona3'' (and pink for the female protagonist in ''3''s remake), yellow in ''VideoGame/Persona4'', and bright red for ''VideoGame/Persona5''.
*** There is always a TeamPet party member; Koromaru from ''3'' is a dog, Teddie from ''4'' is a life-sized teddy bear [[spoiler:who eventually gains a human form]], and Morgana from ''5'' is a transforming cat.
*** When the party first forms, their initial navigator will [[EnemyScan scan]] any foes the player targets, though their scanning ability has a few weaknesses. Later in the game, a new character joins the party and has stronger scanning abilities than the first navigator. The new character takes over the role of navigator and the previous navigator becomes a full-time combatant.
*** After a lengthy and difficult FinalBoss battle, the climax ends with [[spoiler:the protagonist, on the verge of defeat, being encouraged via ThePowerOfFriendship, leading to a scripted PostFinalBoss sequence wherein they unleash one final, extremely powerful attack to wipe the enemy out]].
*** Since ''VideoGame/Persona2'', the games all conclude with a female-sung vocal credits theme, usually sung in Japanese with a few GratuitousEnglish lines during the refrains and clearly told from the perspective of one of the main characters (the one exception is ''Persona 2: Eternal Punishment''[='s=] ending theme, which is performed in English by British singer Elisha La'Verne). This is especially notable as almost all other vocal themes in the series are sung entirely in English.
*** Every game since the first ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' features the Velvet Room and [[SpiritAdvisor Igor]], who are the main source of Persona fusion. Additionally, all the games since ''3'' have Igor assisted by a silver-haired, gold-eyed female attendant dressed in blue - Elizabeth in ''VideoGame/Persona3'', Margaret in ''VideoGame/Persona4'', and twins Caroline and Justine in ''VideoGame/Persona5'' ([[spoiler:though said twins are actually two parts of a single personality named Lavenza, having been split apart by the BigBad]]). In the female route in the PSP remake of ''3'', the attendant can instead be a man named Theodore, but other than gender he matches the look of the other attendants. Although the female route is an AlternateContinuity, Theodore canonically exists. The similarities between the attendants aren't a coincidence; they're all siblings.
*** Butterflies have been a recurring motif since the first game. They're usually associated (either explicitly or via WordOfGod) with [[BigGood Philemon]], but other characters, like Aigis in ''3'' and [[spoiler:Lavenza]] in ''5'', also have butterfly motifs.
*** Characters associated with the Magician arcana tend to have bad luck with their love interests. From having their love interest [[spoiler:being killed]] (Junpei), having their love go unrequited (Kenji and Morgana), or both ([[spoiler:Yosuke]]).
*** There are too many blue-haired orphan party members for it to be a coincidence: the male protagonist of ''3'', Naoto from ''4'', and Yusuke from ''5''.
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFire'' has several elements that repeat in subsequent games (though most of these were ignored in the fifth game, ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireDragonQuarter''):
** The main character is always a blue-haired hero named Ryu, who has some kind of power involving dragons (usually transforming into them). He's also always [[HeroesPreferSwords a swordsman]] and has a passion for [[FishingMinigame fishing]] (save for ''DQ'', but not for [[WhatCouldHaveBeen lack of interest]]).
** There's always a WingedHumanoid girl named Nina accompanying him. She's also very adept at magic casting as well as the princess of the Wyndia Kingdom.
** A very helpful and powerful naga sorceress named Deis (Bleu early on), who's the same character in the first three games thanks to {{Immortality}}.
** Always a town named Dragnier (Drogen/Dologany) and a kingom named Wyndia (Winlan/Windia), related to the respective clans of Ryu and Nina.
** Starting in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'', a member of the Woren/Furen CatFolk clan always ends up joining the party.
** [[TheGoomba Usually the starting enemy]] is from the "Goo" (Slime/Sludge) type family, often a blue blob (save in ''II'', where it's green). There's also always a gold PaletteSwap "Goo King" enemy near the end of the game who's [[BossInMookClothing extremelly powerful]].
** Dragon-named equipment for Ryu (Dragon Sword, Helmet, Armor, etc.), which is always high-level but not the best equipment available.
** All games use Zennies as currency, though it was translated differently in early games.
** In the Japanese version, pretty much every magic spell use the exact same names in each of the five games (for example, fire spells are Pamu, Padamu and Padoraamu). English started using consistent naming for (most) spells since ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII''.
* The ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'' series
** A [[CombatMedic male]] [[MightyGlacier protagonist]] with a striped shirt who uses [[BatterUp bats/sticks]], [[KillerYoYo yo-yos]], and [[WhiteMagic support PSI (Lifeup, Healing, Offense/Defense up)]]
** A [[BlackMagicianGirl female PSI]] user who uses [[FryingPanofDoom frying Pans]] or [[BareFistedMonk their hands]] and also uses [[BlackMagic combative PSI (PK Fire, Freeze, Thunder)]]. She also tends to be on the [[SquishyWizard squishy side]]
** A [[MugglePower non PSI user]] who uses either [[GunsAkimbo guns]] or their [[BareFistedMonk hands]]
** An [[UrbanFantasy urban/modern setting]]
** An unique way of fighting the final boss
** [[MoodWhiplash Mood Whiplash]], [[WackyLand Magi]][[CloudCuckooLand cant]] and Magypsys
** The [[DeflectorShield Franklin Badge]]
** The [[WaddlingHead Mr. Saturns race]].
** Pop-culture comedy and references with weird humor around.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan'':
** The protagonists are colored blue, armed with [[ChargeAttack chargeable]] ArmCannon, able to do PowerCopying and are called Mega Man in some way (Zero from [[VideoGame/MegaManZero his series]] is an exception; though his color scheme in that series does include a lot of a dark purple, he doesn't get an arm cannon [but can charge ''any'' of his weapons], [[AmnesiacHero remembers old moves]] that are similar to what the bosses use rather than copying them outright, and outside of a manga series is not called "Mega Man" in any way).
** For the Classic Timeline: There's Mettaurs (or some variation thereof), as well as the infamous SpikesOfDoom.
** The {{Exp|y}}ies of [[VideoGame/MegaMan Roll]]: [[VideoGame/MegaManX Alia]], [[VideoGame/MegaManZero Ciel]], [[VideoGame/MegaManZX Prairie]], [[VideoGame/MegaManLegends Roll Caskett]], [[VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork Mayl and Roll.EXE]] and [[VideoGame/MegaManStarForce Sonia/Harp Note]].
** There's almost always 8 copiable bosses to beat - the [[VideoGame/MegaManPoweredUp remake]] of [[VideoGame/MegaMan1 the original]] even added a pair of bosses to round out that number - and almost always some kind of BossRush towards the end of the game.
** [[MemeticMutation It's Dr. Wily yet again??!]] [[VideoGame/MegaManX Sigma]] later would follow his trend.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'': The "Link" and "Zelda" characters are, excepting the direct sequels, different people in each game (they just happen to look exactly alike and wear the same clothes and have the same name).
** And Ganon tends to be, but isn't always, the final villain (including in games [[HijackedByGanon you weren't expecting him to be in]]).
** Rupees are always the main Hylian currency, and in some cases the GlobalCurrency.
** Since ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'', birds have been a large part of Hyrule's overall motif.
** Some connection between Link and the Royal Knights tends to show up a lot (mostly in backstory, though ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' actually had him pretend to join).
** In the console games, Link always has a [[RedOnesGoFaster red (or reddish) mode of transportation.]]
** Zelda will almost' be kidnapped at one point or another. The only exceptions to date are ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTriForceHeroes'' , which take place entirely outside Hyrule with Link being the only recurring character (thought Zelda makes a cameo in ''Majora's Mask''), and ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'', where Zelda is placed under an enchanted sleep but not technically kidnapped.
** There have been [[MagicMusic magical music-based tools]] in most every Zelda game. Beginning with ''Link's Awakening'', these tools have been important to the plot.
** Link's arsenal more often than not includes bows and arrows, bombs, sword beams, a boomerang and either a jumping item or a hookshot for crossing gaps.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' and Harold.
** Though Harold was obviously absent from VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas, and seeing how his fate has multiple endings in ''VideoGame/Fallout3'', with all of them, except for one, ending up as AndIMustScream since [[spoiler: he turned into an immobile tree]], coupled with the fact it's doubtful the writers will revisit the Capital Wasteland anytime soon, it's almost inevitable he will be PutOnABus.
** No protagonist has ever been without their Pip-boy. Several weapons that serve as ShoutOut[=s=] recur as well, such as a Smith & Wesson Model 29 ([[Film/TheRoadWarrior with]] or [[Film/DirtyHarry without]] a [[SniperPistol scope]]), a [[Film/AChristmasStory Red Ryder BB gun]], and [[Film/BladeRunner the 5.56mm pistol]].
* The ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' RPG series has numerous. Some of them deviated from over the course of the series, some are subverted (Black and White in particular plays on those elements a lot)
** You start in a small town, where you live with your mom. Somewhere in or near the town will be a portly NPC who extols the virtues of technology and science. You meet your rival, a Pokemon Professor (named after a tree) gives you one of three starters - Grass, Fire and Water, and your rival gets the superior type. Then you get five Pokeballs, a Pokedex, and a mission to catch 'em all (with a tutorial on how to do so).
** A rival, usually male and friendly, whom you face multiple times across the region. Two in V, one boy and one girl, four in VI, two boys and two girls if male or three boys and one girl if female and two male rivals in VII.
** You can get a Potion somewhere early. You get obligatory Running Shoes in III and later (you have them from the start in VI). You also get a Bicycle later on, which is essential because it gives you access to a Cycling Road.
** An early game forest dominated by Bug-types. How early you can access them depends on the generation. [=B2W2=] averts this by making the region's forest a post game area instead due to how those games switched the orders on which cities you have access to from [=BW=]. SM's forest is located much later on in the game, rather than at the beginning.
** Pokemon School.
** Old, Good and Super Fishing Rods, except in V where only the Super Rod is given, and in VII where the fishing mechanic is completely revamped, and only one rod is given.
** Some company that sells pokemon merchandise.
*** Exp. Share is often given to you by such company.
*** Alternatives to such merchandise (such as items that decrease friendship and heal, soft drinks that increase it and heal, a local speciality...)
** Some sort of a communication device echoing the second gen's Pokégear.
** A fisherman with a team of six Magikarp.
** A youngster who states his or her affinity for shorts/skirts. There will also be a Youngster named Joey at some point.
** A Town Map, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a map of the towns]].
** Recurring items list is way too long to be listed here, really.
** Over the course of the game you defeat eight gym leaders. Each leader [[PoorPredictableRock specializes in a type]]. Once defeated, they grant you a TM containing their most powerful Pokemon's best move, as well as a badge granting the ability to control traded 'mon up to a certain level and/or the ability to use an HM move outside of battle. (HM Surf is midgame, HM Fly usually too) Gen VII subverts this by replacing Gyms with Trials and Kahuna Battles, which are slightly different but are still based on battling to progress.
** Oh, hey, the road here is closed. Get a badge first.
*** You are too weak to pass. Get a badge first.
*** [[VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon Alola]] [[SubvertedTrope doesn't have badges]], or even gyms, for that matter. [[DoubleSubversion Beat a trial first.]]
** Once you defeated all gym leaders, you deal with the iconic legendary mon of this version, then proceed to beat the Elite Four. There's four trainers [[PoorPredictableRock with type affinities]] [[BossRush fought in succession]], followed finally by the champion who usually does ''not'' have a full type affinity. Then tadaa, Hall of Fame and postgame. Champion time == expect subverted expectations.
*** In V, this is altered significantly. You fight the Elite Four, then the version mascot, then the villain team leaders, and then you have to fight the Elite Four again to reach the champion. Gen VII also allows you to defend your title as champion against other challengers, rather than just staying champion forever.
** You get access to new locations when you hit postgame.
** There's a villainous team which you stop in their tracks. They usually use poison-types, and their leader is a man (however there's often a woman amongst high command). Gen VII is the first to [[spoiler:have a female team leader]].
** People will offer you to trade a mon over the course of the game.
** There's often an area similar to the Battle Tower from Crystal.
** And now for the long, long list of recurring pokemon locations and categories (Insert Black and White Expies where appropriate)
*** Starters as previously mentioned. One starter will be quadruped, the others will be bipedal.
*** Cave full of Zubats. Geodudes, too.
*** A Pikachu expy, if not Pikachu itself; as fans call them, the [[FanNickname Pika-clones]].
*** Pseudo legendaries - available lategame, usually Dragon-type, have a higher exp curve than normal, evolve really really late, stat sum of 600 in their final form, usually appear in one of the Elite 4's or Champion's teams somewhere.
*** MagikarpPower Pokemon. Not necessarily Magikarp itself.
*** A legendary trio. Two since III - mascot trio and normal trio. Three in V, [[ShoutOut one]] of which [[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers is actually]] a [[OneExtraMember quartet]].
*** One of the mascots for the first two games every generation will have a blue motif, the other a red motif.
*** A legendary duo, usually exclusive to one game edition each, except in V as there are three trios.
*** An "ultimate" legendary, which is usually related to the aforementioned duo, except it's not edition-restricted and has a higher level (usually 70).
*** Legendary Mew expy - 100 in each stat. Possibly more of them, cutesy and small in design. Since Gen VI, whilst the "cute" legendary has remained, they have not received equally 100 in each stat.
*** Fossils. You get one of two fossils, you can revive them later. All fossils are part-Rock type.
*** A Pokémon that is blocking your path until you use an item to trigger a battle where you can catch it. This is usually the only way you can catch that particular Pokémon in that game. Snorlax is the most famous example. Sudowoodo is another good one.
*** With each new generation, new evolutions and/or pre-evolutions of Pokémon from previous generations (Black and White is the exception). Diamond and Pearl was especially well-known for this.
*** All the core games since [=B2W2=] have an animated adaption of the upcoming or previous games released during the pre-release season, usually targeted towards the franchise's older audience. Both [[=B2W2=]] and ORAS received short animated trailers, while XY and SM received the miniseries of ''Anime/PokemonOrigins'' and ''Anime/PokemonGenerations'' respectively.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' will always star a [[HeroesPreferSwords sword-wielding hero]] attached to a [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething noble or royal house]][[note]]with the exception of Ike, for the most part[[/note]] who has [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair blue or otherwise unnaturally-coloured hair]][[note]]with the exception of [[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Leif]][[/note]]. In the hero's service will be [[RedOniBlueOni a pair of cavaliers, one red and one green]], and they will normally be assisted and advised by [[CrutchCharacter a veteran knight of questionable use]]. There will also be a princess on a pegasus.
** Said knight is usually either [[CrutchCharacter a high-level character that has average or subpar stats for their level and tends to get ignored so they don't take experience away from low-level characters]], or [[SubvertedTrope a low-level promoted character that takes a lot of experience to level (especially at the start), but has good growths and remains useful throughout the game]].
** Other than that, expect the first characters that join to be: a MightyGlacier Armour Knight (Draug), a JackOfAllStats (often MasterOfNone) Archer (Gordin), a FragileSpeedster Pegasus Knight (Caeda) who is often a possible love interest of a main character, a female [[HealerSignsOnEarly Cleric]] (Rena), a LightningBruiser Mercenary (Ogma), an honourable Thief who may or may not start out as an enemy (Julian) and a Myrmidon with a Killing Edge who starts out as a mercenary for the enemy but can be convinced to make a HeelFaceTurn (Nabarl).
** Later on, you can expect to see: a noble cleric/troubadour who is held hostage by the enemy (Maria), the Really700YearsOld TokenMiniMoe [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Manakete]], an AntiVillain enemy commander who ''can't'' join your army due to MyCountryRightOrWrong or other reasons (Camus), an AntiVillain enemy commander who ''can'' join your army (Lorenz), the EleventhHourRanger who's FamedInStory and PurposelyOverpowered (Gotoh), the TinTyrant ruler of TheEmpire (Hardin) and the EvilSorceror who wants to resurrect a SealedEvilInACan (Gharnef).
** Anna, a red-haired shopkeeper, is a recurring character in the series who also occasionally runs the game's tutorial and acts as the [[MetaGuy Meta Girl]]. (''Awakening'' revealed that they're all identical-looking siblings) She'll often appear with a boyfriend named Jake.
** Then there's the series namesake itself: even though it may take a different form in each NonLinearSequel, there will always be a MacGuffin called the Fire Emblem.
** There are also minor recurring archetypes that, while not as common as those above, are still quite noticeable: the lord's (usually younger) healer sister, a young red-haired ChildProdigy mage, a sassy (usually mounted) female healer, an unlucky-in-love ChivalrousPervert, a pretty blonde male priest [[DudeLooksLikeALady who looks very feminine]], and a female pale-haired MysteriousWaif with plot-important powers.
** The main lord's love interest is almost always either a pegasus knight (see above), a MysteriousWaif (again, see above), or a healer/spellcaster of some kind, and she and the lord usually meet through one of three ways: ChildhoodFriendRomance, RescueRomance, or LoveAtFirstSight. Even the lords who aren't part of an OfficialCouple have an ImpliedLoveInterest who falls into these criteria.
* The ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'' games have a few recurring trends:
** Kirby will inevitably end up accidentally unleashing the SealedEvilInACan or [[BatmanGambit helping the villain with his plan]]. If for some reason he doesn't, either King Dedede or Meta Knight will.
** If Meta Knight appears as a boss, expect him to give you a sword at the start of the battle. If he doesn't, he's probably a fake.
** The thundercloud boss Kracko appears in just about every Kirby game. So does Whispy Woods.
** The final boss will almost always be a blob-like EldritchAbomination, often with only one eye. That or they'll become one as a OneWingedAngel.
** A BossRush minigame often shows up. Sometimes it is two of them: The Arena, unlocked after beating the normal story mode, and The True Arena, unlocked after completing the hard mode. The True Arena also often ends with a harder version of the FinalBoss whose name features the word "Soul" in it.
* The MCV is such a staple of the ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' franchise that the [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianTwilight sole exception]] to its inclusion was highly controversial. GDI's [[TankGoodness super-heavy, double-barreled Mammoth Tank]] was likewise so iconic of the first game that variants of it show up in most of the spin-offs as the [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlrtSeries Soviet Apocalypse tanks]] or [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals Chinese Overlord tank]]. In fact, the exact same machine, [[PropRecycling down to the sprites]], can be found in ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianDawn Tiberian Dawn]]'', ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert Red Alert]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSun Tiberian Sun]]'', operated by GDI, the Soviets, and the Forgotten respectively.
* Creator/KeyVisualArts visual novels seem to like the name "Minase"; it was the surname of Manami in ''Dousei'', their first game under Tactics, and the surname of Nayuki in ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', their first game as their own studio. Even splinter studio H.I. Design Office named one of the two heroines Minase (though, in this case, it's her given name) in ''its'' first VN, ''Holy Breaker!''
* ''VideoGame/RType'' will always have one stage which consists entirely of fighting a [[BattleshipRaid single giant alien warship]]. Dobkeratops, the iconic armless xenomorph thing, is also very likely to appear as a boss.
* ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}}'': there will be a BossRush, there will be a high-speed section, there will be walls you have to carefully shoot through (sometimes they even regenerate), and there will be [[EenieMeenieMinyMoai Moai]].
* ''Creator/FROMSoftware'' has had one in every game they've made since ''VideoGame/KingsField'', the Moonlight Sword, a LaserBlade made out of, well, moonlight. The only game of theirs that it's absent from is ''{{VideoGame/Bloodborne}}'', and even then it shows up in the DLC.
** Games directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki all feature a character named Patches who will place the player in a death trap, then desperately apologize after they escape and offer to sell them things. No matter what version of Patches you're dealing with, he will be a coward and he hates the clergy.
** The ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' trilogy in particular, as well as its spiritual predecessor ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', have a ''lot'' of recurring elements within them, such as a depressed and apathetic (or "crestfallen") warrior or knight who hangs out in the hub area, a blighted, rickety shantytown-like area filled with filth, poison, and dangerous drops, and a part where you get attacked by a beefy and brutal woman in ragged clothing wielding a giant axe-like weapon, among others.
* ''Franchise/DanganRonpa'': Every installment seems to have a character that matched a certain theme. This includes-
** A GentleGiant in the case for Sakura, Nekomaru, Gozu, and Gonta.
** A TokenMiniMoe in the case for Chihiro, Hiyoko, and Himiko.
** A character with a NonstandardCharacterDesign in the case for Hifumi, Teruteru, Bandai, and Ryuuma
** A dark-skinned female character in case for Aoi, Akane, and Angie.
** A character with an unknown talent in case for Kyoko, Hajime, and Rantarou
** A character with a fighting ability in the case for Sakura, Peko, Gozu, Juzo, and Tenko.
** A cute TinySchoolBoy in the case for Makoto, [[spoiler: Chihiro]], Fuyuhiko, Ryota, and Kokichi.
** A person with an "evil" talent in the case for Mondo, Fuyuhiko, and Kokichi.
** Every game also seems to follow a pattern in its cases:
*** Chapter 1: the victim isn't the person the killer had intended to kill.
*** Chapter 2: it always involves [[spoiler:the character with gang or mafia connections]] as a killer or victim.
*** Chapter 3: it's always a double murder, and the culprit tends to be the least apologetic/sympathetic.
*** Chapter 4: it always involves [[spoiler:the BigGuy character]] as a culprit or victim.
*** Chapter 5: the case is always very complicated, and the death is the most gruesome. In [[spoiler:Mukuro and Ouma]]'s case, the corpse is unrecognisable.
** There will always be a character who obsesses over one half of the main theme of the game, such as [[spoiler: Junko Enoshima (Despair), Tengan, Ryouta, and Komaeda (Hope), and Oma (Lies)]].
** The person that takes the death the hardest is always among the survivors; respectively, they were [[spoiler: Aoi Asahina, Sonia Nevermind, Ryota Mitarai and Himiko Yumeno]].
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' will always have a hapless and put-upon yet nonetheless intelligent and quick-thinking lawyer (Phoenix, Apollo, Athena) and a plucky female assistant with a messed-up familial history (Maya, Ema, Pearl, Trucy)[[note]]Edgeworth and Kay from the spinoffs count as well[[/note]]. They'll first go up against a rather spineless prosecutor (Winston and Gaspen Payne) then a renowned antagonistic but ultimately sympathetic prosecutor with something of a personal history with or vendetta against the protagonists (Edgeworth, Franziska, Godot, Blackquill, Nahyuta). The prosecution is in turn aided by an friendlier detective (Gumshoe, Fullbright, Ema).[[note]]Klavier and Ema invert the antagonistic-prosecutor-friendlier-detective relationship in ''Apollo Justice'', while Fullbright subverts it in ''Dual Destinies''.[[/note]])
* The ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' series has a few traits that carry over between its entries, such as the presence of the [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter Nopon]], a ludicrously high-levelled unique gorilla-type enemy (with an assigned name that translates to 'Redbeard') patrolling one of the early-game locations, and a young female character in the party with some connection to robotics/machinery.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles:'' Shredder will typically have two lieutenants that he admonishes and punishes every time they fail to get the turtles: [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Bebop and Rocksteady,]] [[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesIITheSecretOfTheOoze Tokka and Rahzar,]] [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 Hun and Baxter Stockman (Later Hun and Karai, and even later Karai and Chapman),]] [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012 Dogpound and Fishface]]
** ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'' plays on this. He has both Hun and Karai, AND Bebop and Rocksteady. Who did a HazyFeelTurn on their own Shredder.