Game X gives you the option of naming your character at the start. In the sequel, he or she appears as a Bonus Boss, Secret Character, Previous Player-Character Cameo, etc., and as such the developers had to give them a name. Alternatively, Game X gets a book or movie adaptation, and rather than set it in first person, or have everyone call him barkeep, they just make up a name for him. Occasionally, a sequel to a game will work around this by making the character an old save bonus boss, only showing up if you played the previous game anyway. Another workaround is to give a name that was one of several suggested choices in the first game. This does not include cases where the character's "True" name is revealed in the first work as a Tomato Surprise. See also Cutting Off the Branches, where several possible endings are collapsed into a "true" one for the sequel. Note: This is not about any game that lets you name the characters. Only cases in which you can name the characters in Game A, and the character's official name is shown in Game B, The Movie, or The Book version released later should be added here.
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- Every game in The Legend of Zelda series lets you name the hero; canonically, however, his name is always Link.
- Similarly, the hero's steed is a horse that the player can name in Twilight Princess; however, her canon name is Epona.
- In Crusader of Centy, you name the main character at the start of the game, but the manual identifies him as Corona.
- The Prince of Persia has succeeded in remaining nameless until The Movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, at which point it became absurd, and he was given the name Dastan, which means "trickster", drawn from the Persian epic The Shahnameh.
- There aren't given any default names for the heroes of Secret of Mana, but the Japanese instruction manual calls them Randi, Purim and Popoie. Interesting in that nobody is really sure what gave them the idea to use those names in the Enclosed Instruction Book. Some say that it was from a magazine previewing the game.
- The mobile version does, in fact, give them the default names of Randi, Primm, and Popoi.
- Mega Man Star Force's protagonist can be named in the first game, but Capcom uses the default name (Geo Stelar) for the second and third.
- While Diablo II hints at the fate of the three possible characters from the original game, it only explicitly states that one of them (hinted to be the Warrior) became Diablo, and Blood Raven, the Rogue, is the only one given an actual name. Diablo III states that the warrior of the first game is named Aidan. Further materials reveal the Rogue used to be named 'Moreina' before corrupted into Blood Raven.
- The Sorcerer from the original game also reappears in the sequel, where he's called the Summoner. More of a title than a name, but that's as close as a unique identifier as we got. He does get his name later: Jazreth, but looks like he discarded it when he becomes simply known as the Summoner.
- While the heroes in II remain unnamed so far, in III, if using the Wizard, the Sorceress' name is revealed: Isendra. The Wizard in this case is mostly depicted as a female named Li-Ming, according to the supplemental materials.
- The supplemental materials also named the female Demon Hunter as 'Valla', which carries over when she gets included into Heroes of the Storm. In addition, female Barbarian, male Witch Doctor, female Crusader, male Monk are ported into that game and given the names Sonya, Nazeebo, Johanna and Kharazim respectively.
- Dungeon Siege III states that the hero of the first Dungeon Siege was a female warrior known as Lady Montbarron, who was also the ancestor of Player Characters Lucas and Katarina.
- In Torchlight II, the Vanquisher of the previous game is given the name Commander Vale, though the Alchemist and the Destroyer are still known by their class names.
- The Quest for Glory series has an odd example; the authorized strategy guide has its walkthrough written in novel format, which gives the protagonist the name "Devon Aidendale". However, series creators Corey and Lori Ann Cole stated that "Devon Aidendale" is simply a name invented by the author of the guide and that the Hero was never supposed to have an official name so the player could more easily step into his shoes. However, they also said that if players want to use the name they can, and thus fans tend to use "Devon" in this fashion.
- In the first two Space Quest games, you can name the main character anything you want, but if you choose to leave it blank, the game instead defaults to "Roger Wilco". This is the name used in subsequent installments since they avert Hello, Insert Name Here. The remake of the first game does not let you enter the name and instead goes with "Roger Wilco."
- The hero from Pokémon Red and Blue is officially named Red, and his rival is Green (in Japan) or Blue (internationally). Both names are revealed when you fight them in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
- The characters being named for the first default name on the name suggestion listnote was then assumed to be the convention in the Johto games as Gold and Silver actually use Red as the name of the Bonus Boss, who is meant to represent the original protagonist. The hero is Gold, the rival is Silver, and the heroine (from the Updated Re-release) is Kris.
- This ended around Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, though, when the heroes got "canon" names — the RSE hero is Brendan, and the RSE heroine is May (The Rival is whichever character the player isn't). Similarly, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have Dawn and Lucas.
- Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum have two playable characters and a rival, we end up with Dawn, Lucas, and Barry. Barry was the first name on the list of options for the rival, but incidentally the default name if you don't enter anything at all is Pearl (in Diamond), Diamond (in Pearl), or a random choose between the two (in Platinum), which aren't on the list at all.
- The remakes of Gold and Silver, Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver, establish Gold's real name as Ethan, which was heavily disputed. The new female player character (that replaced Kris) was named Lyra. Silver didn't receive a new name per se, but his default name was changed from 'Silver' to 'Soul'. His data is still stored under the name 'Silver', though.
- As of the remakes, the only character with no default or official name at all is the female choice from Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Fans assume she is either Blue(Japan)/Green(International) or, as popularized by Bulbapedia, Leaf.
- The in-game data refers to her as "Leaf" in Pokémon FireRed And LeafGreen and Pokémon Emerald, and the in-game data uses the correct names for Red and the Hoenn protagonists, but called the rival "Terry" of all things.
- While you still get to decide the names, in Pokémon Black and White, the player characters are named Touya and Touko (Japanese) and Hilbert and Hilda (international) on the Battle Subway, though their pre-release names were Blair and Whitlea (referencing the game titles). In the sequels the new protagonists are Rosa and Nate (a pun on 'Resonate' when said together, though this is usually missed because the male name tends to go first i.e. Nate and Rosa)
- In Pokémon X and Y the official names are Calem and Serena, but their pre-release names were Xavier and Yvonne similar to the Blair and Whitlea above.
- While their original names are still canon, in the pre-release material of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (including the demo), Brendan and May were known as Orlando and Anna.
- Of course, that's just within the canon of the games. Many kids were probably inspired by the anime that followed the Red game's suggestion in naming the hero Ash, and his rival Gary. Likewise with the Japanese games, Satoshi and Shigeru for the characters Red and Blue/Green, respectively.
- Most Pokémon spinoff games follow this rule as well. Surprisingly, the protagonists of Pokémon Conquest avert this; they are literally Hero and Heroine otherwise.
- It is worth noting that in the most popular manga adaptation, Pokemon Special, the 'game name' method was retained. For example, the manga counterparts of the aforementioned Brendan and May are Ruby and Sapphire, Lucas, Barry, and Dawn are Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, Hilbert and Hilda are Black and White and Calem and Serena are X and Ynote . The adaption to Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 plays with this naming convention by naming Rosa and Nate "Whi-Too" and "Lack-Two", respectivelynote .
- The hero of the Boktai games is named Django. The second game's title makes this canon, being Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django.
- Many of the games in the Suikoden series featured heroes named by the player who were usually given names in various media adaptations. Strictly speaking, these names aren't actually canon (official guidebooks and other tie-in products tend to stick to generic titles, see below), but they're used almost universally among fans. When multiple adaptations lead to multiple names, fans almost invariably go with the novelization, presumably on account of the novelization of the first game being the first to offer a semi-canon name for the protagonist.
- The protagonist was named Tir McDohl in a licensed novelization and in a later radio drama until in a later manga, which gave him the name "Ryui."
- The first protagonist is mentioned by his surname only in Suikoden II, but can be recruited in the game as an Old Save Bonus. Due to a glitch, the U.S. version of the game only recognizes the uppercase letters of the player's save file and superimposes them over "McDohl" instead of simply substituting the name completely. If the player named his character "Tir", then his name will become "TcDohl". This was however fixed for the PAL release.
- The hero of Suikoden II is named Rioh in the novelization and audio drama, and Tao in a manga.
- Suikoden IV:
- The Prince from Suikoden V was actually given several different names in various media - promotional memory cards were given away containing save files for the game which called him Faroush, while a manga released for Japanese mobile phones called him Ardil. The novelization calls him Freyjadour. Given fans general preference for novelization names over other adaptations, this presents the problem that (at least in the English release) "Freyjadour" is too long and the game also has no mechanism for including his nickname "Frey".
- However, the official Suikoden card game (only released in Japan, sadly) ignores all of these - the cards for the player characters are called "McDohl", "Hero 2 (Protagonist)" and "Protagonist IV". The game was discontinued before they printed "Prince Protagonist the Fifth".
- The hero of Mother is named Ninten, a name that's not even specified in the Japanese version's manual. The same character is named Ken in the Japanese novelisation.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- The protagonist of Persona 3 has no name; however, in the manga adaptation of the game, he is named Minato Arisato. However, in the movie adaption his name is Makoto Yuki. And finally, the stage play adaptation gives him the name Sakuya Shiomi.
- Persona 4's manga adaptation names the protagonist Souji Seta. The fighting game sequel and anime adaptation, on the other hand, name him Yu Narukami.
- The protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is given the name of Naoki Kashima in the radio play adaptation. However, sometimes the names in the adaptations differ majorly; the aforementioned Naoki/Demi-Fiend is also known as Mana Shin in the Nocturne novelisation, and the protagonist of the original Persona has three Canon Names (though like P3 and P4, the fans usually settle on his manga name, Naoya Todo... which can now get confusing.)
- The Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha series' prequel novelization gave him the first name Jouhei.
- In a somewhat straighter example, the main character of Shin Megami Tensei If wasn't even given a set gender, much less a name. The female version of the character appears in Persona and Persona 2, however, with the name Tamaki Uchida, and in P1 she talks openly about the events of If, establishing herself as the canon hero of that game.
- The player character of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is called Murdock in most of the English manual's screenshots. However, one set of screenshots near the end calls him Langdon Alger. It's unlikely that either is his "real" name, but it's as close as the game gets.
- Subverted and played with in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. Regardless of which path you take, you have to name both the Persona 3 hero and the Persona 4 hero. In both menus, there's an option to randomly generate a name, but, amusingly, none of the names that are usually considered canon (Minato Arisato and Makoto Yuki for the P3 protagonist, or Yu Narukami and Souji Seta for the P4 protagonist) are available in the random generator.
- Final Fantasy uses it at times:
- Final Fantasy III allowed the player to name all four characters. The official manga serialization gave them the names Muuchi, Doug, J. Bowie, and Melfi. Then the DS remake gave them four different names, Luneth, Arc, Refia and Ingus. Dissidia: Final Fantasy simply calls the hero representing the game "The Onion Knight", though his first alternate costume in Duodecim is called "Luneth" as a Shout-Out.
- Final Fantasy I doesn't even have canon characters, let alone names. Similar to how it handled FF3, Dissidia dubs the FF1 representative (the Warrior from the PS1 remake's opening cutscene) "Warrior of Light". The worst part is that the Warrior of Light HAS a name and it IS a plot point as of Duodecim. The player is simply never told it, as (due to FF1's ending) the Warrior of Light cannot remember his past.
- However it showed be noted that in the Final Fantasy - Memory of Heroes novel, the Warrior's name is given as Zest. Whether or not that makes it the official name of the "Warrior of Light" from Dissidia is uncertain.
- The instruction booklet for Final Fantasy Mystic Quest says the main character's name is Benjamin, though you can name him whatever you want.
- In Final Fantasy IV for the SNES, an NPC named Namingway allowed you to change the character's default names (Cecil, Rosa, Kain, Edge, and Rydia). However, since the DS version added voice in cutscenes, you cannot rename the characters. This severely disappoints Namingway and creates a completely new sidequest where Namingway finds his place in life.
- The Final Fantasy VI ending uses movie-style "Character as Himself" credits ("[Player-selected Name] as Canon Name") to show everyone's canon names, including surnames that never come up elsewhere. If you kept the default names, you get something like "Cyan as Cyan Garamonde."
- The Star Ocean games let you rename characters, but in voice clips (both inside and outside battle), the original name is always used.
- In .hack//, as you could rename your main character in the first four games and you could load data from any of them to G.U. and it would change the name of the final boss of Vol. 1 to your character's name in the first series. If you don't do that, however, the character's name is given as "Kite". This is also his name in his appearance in Project X Zone
- Several Dragon Quest examples:
- The Dragon Quest II characters are generally known by their titles: The Prince of Laurasia (or of Midenhall, depending on the translation), the Prince of Cannock, and the Princess of Moonbrooke (or just Laurasia/Midenhall, Cannock, and Moonbrooke for short). When they made appearances in Japanese versions of Itadaki Street, Cannock and Moonbrooke were named Cookie and Pudding, respectively. A Dragon Quest IX cameo later gave Cannock and Moonbrooke English names, Princeton and Princessa respectively.
- The Hero of Dragon Quest III is referred to in other works as Loto/Erdrick, the title they receive at the end of the game.
- In Dragon Quest IV, the male hero is Solo and the female hero is Sofia, according to the instruction booklet for the Japan-only Playstation remake (or so The Other Wiki says), and confirmed by cameos in the Dragon Quest VI remake.
- Dragon Quest V starts giving default names (which you can change) to the twin children of the hero in any remake and modern spinoff: Rex and Tabatha for Japanese locale, and Parry and Madchen for English DS version. The aforementioned DQ VI remake also cameos the V cast, confirming the kids' names and dubbing the hero as Madason (which in the original game was his father's choice for his name before going with the player-provided one). The manga adaption gives uses the names Abel for the hero and Sora and Ten for his children.
- The heroes of Dragon Quest VI, Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest X were named Botsu, Arus, and Soura in magna adaptations.
- The hero of Dragon Quest VIII is known as, well, Eight.
- Oddly enough, the hero of Dragon Quest IX follows the same basic principle, as he/she is named Nine.
- Due to the Massive Multiplayer Crossover element of Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road, featuring Rex and Tabatha as player's avatars, most unnamed supporting heroes are named in this series.
- The Dragon Quest Drama CDs gave names for each of the heroes featured.
- In Fossil Fighters, the hero has no default name—and indeed, you can change his name as often as you like! However, the official mini-manga gives his name as "Hunter," probably after the series' Japanese name (Fossil Hunters).
- Shadow Hearts lets you rename everyone... setting up a gag where you're given the "Rename" screen for Roger Bacon, who promptly informs you he isn't joining your party and you shouldn't be so presumptuous. Covenant reveals that the default names for everyone were the canonical ones, and does away with renaming (except that the screen still pops up for Roger).
- In Golden Sun and its first sequel, The Lost Age, you could name The Hero (along with the rest of the player characters if you punched in certain codes at the naming screen) whatever you wanted. In Dark Dawn, however, the Warriors of Vale all go by their default names.
- Basically every hero from the Shining Series allows you to choose what to call your hero. Most allow you to choose the name of every major character thereafter too.
- Each of the Lufia games past the first have a canon name for their hero (with Maxim's name established in the first game). You can still change Maxim, Wain, and Eldin's names, except in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals where Maxim's name is used during voice acting.
- You're asked to enter a four-letter name without any context when you begin Phantasy Star II. If you leave the space blank, it defaults to Rolf.
- Thanks to Mortal Kombat 9 , we finally have names for the Sub-Zero Bros.: the elder one (the brother that killed Scorpion, then was killed by Scorpion after the first game, and descended into the Netherrealm to become Noob Saibot) is Bi-Han, while his younger brother (the one who took his place from MK2 onward) is Kuai Liang. The same game reveals that fellow (former) Lin Kuei member Smoke is a man hailing from Prague named Tomas Vrbada. This (and Cyrax's ethnicity) lends credibility to the theory that the Lin Kuei is not entirely made up of Chinese warriors.
First Person Shooter
- In Doom, the "Doomguy" is officially called Flynn "Fly" Taggart in the book series. However, John Romero maintains that this does not apply to the games, and that Doomguy is unnamed by design because he's meant to represent the player.
- In the Halo novels, Master Chief was given the name John-117, and Cortana calls him by this name in the ending of Halo 3.
- In Team Fortress 2, the names of certain characters have been cropping up as the game is updated. So far, the Demoman's name is Tavish Degroot, the Engineer is Dell Conagher, the Sniper's surname is Mundy (and his birth name is Mun-dee), the Soldier goes by the alias "Mister Jane Doe", the Heavy's first name is Misha (short for Mikhail) and the Administrator's first name is Helen.
- The novelization of RAGE establishes the protagonist as Nicholas Raine and expounds on his life, noting that he was a lieutenant in the USMC Force Recon and was his Ark's military adviser after they found that the old one had cancer. This also explains why Dan Hagar immediately gave what the game implies is just a random Ark Survivor the task of wiping out a gang of bandits single handedly, and why the protagonist is so capable.
Real Time Strategy
- The canon ending for the original Warcraft has the Orcs winning, making the player the new Warchief. In Warcraft II, it's revealed that the Warchief is named Orgrim Doomhammer, who becomes an important figure for the Orcs. After all, Orgrimmar is named after him.
- The Executor from the original StarCraft protoss campaign is revealed in Brood War to have been named Artanis. From this, Fanon likes to neatly speculate that the Executor from Brood War is Selendis and that the Magistrate from the original terran campaign is Matt Horner (both of these characters show up in StarCraft II). That leaves the UED Commander from Brood War and both zerg Cerebrates. While they all still remain nameless, it's generally assumed that the first Cerebrate is one of those killed by Zeratul in the original protoss campaign, and that the second one was probably killed by Kerrigan (or simply died off without an Overmind to sustain it) some time after Brood War - that Cerebrate might in fact have been the last of its kind. The UED Commander was probably killed anonymously at some point in the Brood War zerg campaign, along with the rest of the UED forces.
- Dawn of War 2 (and Chaos Rising) let you name your captain, but he is called "Aramus" in the novel. Granted, the novel is probably not canon. In the novel, Aramus is never a captain (and barely a sergeant, for that matter), the Eldar never showed up at any point, Administrator Derossa and the Meridian governor both had different names, and Tarkus dies at the end. Retribution lets you ostensibly name your commander for whichever faction you choose to play, but it's more of just a save-slot name as the commanders are all named and referred to as such throughout the campaigns.
Shoot 'Em Up
- The heroine of The Guardian Legend doesn't have a name in the English version, but in Japan, her name is Miria.
- Light and Pastel from the Twinbee series were originally unnamed when they first appeared in Deta na! Twinbee; their names were first used in the Twinbee Paradise radio drama and then canonized in Twinbee Yahoo!. The heroes from the earlier games were retroactively given names as well.
- Star Control II: The Captain's default name is "Zelnick" and the ship's is "Vindicator" when the game was ported to the 3do. Most folks refer to him as this now. This is the name used in the non-canon novel Star Control: Interbellum.
- Harvest Moon:
- The male protagonists name as "Pete" was the default (as in, already filled in) name of the male farmer in 2001's Harvest Moon 3 GBC if playing as a girl. Puzzle De Harvest Moon also names him "Pete". The default name for the female farmer if you were playing as a boy was "Sara."
- Island of Happiness, for instance, names the male and female protagonists Mark and Chelsea, respectively. However, you can't use "Chelsea" as your character's name, since you only get six character slots.
- The A Wonderful Life protagonist is also named "Mark".
- The Magical Melody protagonist, who is based off the SNES version of Pete, is named "Adam" (US) and "Tito" (Japan).
- Wing Commander:
- For Wing Commander III, which used live-action video instead of animated cutscenes, the main character (same as from the first two games) was given the name Christopher Blair. You still got to pick your callsign, which later games (and the novels, and the movie...) would establish as "Maverick".
- Wing Commander and II had a command line Cheat Code that allowed you to select any mission you wanted. This skipped you past continuity bits like choosing a name; in these circumstances your character was known as "BLUEHAIR". Speed it up a little and...
- The reason why Solid Snake's real name was never mentioned in the MSX2 Metal Gear games had little to do with maintaining the character's mystique and more to do with the fact that he was meant to be an avatar for the player. When Snake's character was fleshed out in Metal Gear Solid, he was given the name of "David".
- Big Boss's name in Metal Gear Solid 3 is revealed to be John, or at least Jack. Although this may be a codename/nickname, since he says he's John Doe, which is an anonymous name in the US.
- In Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, the player can choose between a male Lord and a female and name either one. In Ogre Battle 64, the male version of the Lord appears as a character named Destin Faroda, while the female Lord is named Europea Rheda.
- The hero(ine) of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has the default name Revya. The Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice cameo appears to establish Revya as female and taking the Normal Path, but who can say with Nippon Ichi? It literally calls her just the hero from Soul Nomad "(default name: Revya)".
- Fire Emblem:
- In Fire Emblem: The Sword of Flame, the player is the strategist/protagonist that Lyndis finds when the game begins. You're allowed to name him or her whatever you choose, but canonically, he goes by the name Mark.
- Your Avatar in Fire Emblem Awakening is canonically named Reflet in Japanese and Robin in English, further cemented by his/her appearance in Super Smash Bros. Awakening also establishes the canon name of New Mystery of the Emblem's Avatar as Kris. Note how both of these names are gender-neutral and how Super Smash Bros has the option for both male and female Robin, leaving the canon gender of each ambiguous.
- King's Bounty: The Legend lets the player choose the player character's name, but in the backstory of the sequel Armored Princess, he is always named Bill Gilbert, the default name in The Legend.
- While many Super Robot Wars allow the player to rename the protagonist (and sometimes their original mech), the default names are generally taken as canon. Characters who appear in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation subseries always use their default names.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The guy from Grand Theft Auto III is named Claude, revealed in a cutscene in San Andreas. Also revealed by the name of his default skin in the game (Claude) and a quick peek at the player character's name in the previous game's opening cutscene (Claude Speed).
- Aldo Trapani is the name of the ultra customizable player character from The Godfather: The Game.
- Pretty much every Star Wars Expanded Universe game that allows the player to create the PC gives them at least an official gender (and species where applicable). The Exile from KOTOR 2 is female, Revan from KOTOR 1 is male, Jaden Korr from Jedi Academy is a male human, and so on. The AFGNCAAP hero of X-Wing is revealed in a novella included with the Limited Edition to be Keyan Farlander, a human male from Agamar, who the Expanded Universe reveals was later trained as a Jedi by Luke Skywalker and became a Jedi Master in his own right. The one from TIE Fighter is Maarek Stele, and he pops up very sporadically in other Expanded Universe material. Averted in X-Wing Alliance, where the hero has a name (Ace Azzameen) from the start, and although it's possible for the player to change it at the beginning, there's little point as his family relations with the other Azzameens is a big part of the plot.
- Knights of the Old Republic generally uses the name of the hero's original identity, Revan to refer to him, leading to a Late-Arrival Spoiler situation in later games. The Exile's name is later stated to be Meetra Surik in Revan, the book prequel to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Oddly enough though, Revan never has his birth name revealed; as shown by a flashback in a prequel comic he changed his name to Revan upon deciding to leave the Jedi Order to fight the Mandalorians.
- The Force Unleashed includes a variation on this: The main character is codenamed Starkiller (incidentally, the original last name of the Skywalkers in early Star Wars drafts) and his real name, as revealed in the books, but not (overtly) the games, is Galen Marek.
- In the original Fallout there are three premade characters, one of whom, Albert Cole, appears to be the character we see in flashbacks in Fallout 2, though his name is never actually mentioned there.
- The player character of Planescape: Torment is only known as The Nameless One, because his real name has been lost for millennia. Although the character learns his true name towards the end of the game, the player never does. The 1999 novelization (which most fans ignore) has him pick the name "Thane" early on.
- In Always Sometimes Monsters, most of the characters at the party at the beginning of the game (which functions as the "character select" screen) have default names, but you don't learn them until you make your choice and talk to one of the other characters. Three of the potential partners (the character you select in the patio) aren't given names.