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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_gfs_107557_2_30_6046.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:349:Pictured: Kanji, and Kanji's face, talking to his friends.]]

Certain games have a drawing of a character's face, usually in a portrait style. In {{RPG}}s or other games with menus, these are usually displayed next to the character's name. Also, in some games with talking {{NPC}}s where one can't directly see characters' faces, a portrait may be displayed next to their text box. If they don't, then they may be of NominalImportance. (Some games may try to give everyone a portrait, but there are usually unique ones for important characters.) Prevalent in {{RPG}}s, since there tend to be a lot of [=NPCs=] in them, as well as a staple of {{Visual Novel}}s.

Certain games may also have different portraits for the same character to indicate facial expressions and the like. [[GoingThroughTheMotions A few facial expressions, anyway]].



[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. There's some interesting variations: Balrog's head is so large that his character portrait can only show half of his face, and Misery's hair is a different color in the portrait than it is on her sprite.
* ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' has portraits for most every character, excepting the ''absolute most minor'' of [=NPCs=], and most characters have at least one alternate portrait for different moods or facial expressions. Some major characters not only get face portraits but also full-body portraits that show up for dramatic moments or soliloquies.
* ''VideoGame/{{The Wonderful 101}}'' has a series of different portraits for each character, these change as the cut-scene continues and there are quite a few for each of the characters and they're partially animated. In-game you can press a button to reveal the character's eyes (they're wearing masks) for no reason to boot.

[[folder:Adventure Games]]
* Seems to be pretty common in adventure games. The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series, some of the ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' games, and ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' all had text boxes with pictures of the characters' faces. ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' (which had very detailed pictures featuring most of the character's upper body) and ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' had pictures whose mouths moved when they spoke.
** ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'' was one of the earliest games to feature these, with close-up images of Cedric, Icebella, and Beetrice, among others. ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'' featured 16- and 256-color versions, and they were even voiced and animated in the talkie edition.
%%* Most CING games like VisualNovel/HotelDuskRoom215 and VideoGame/TraceMemory.
* The PC adventure game ''VideoGame/SecretsOfDaVinciTheForbiddenManuscript'' shows an ''interactive'' portrait of Valdo, the protagonist, on the inventory screen. It indicates what he's wearing and is where the player changes his outfit. After Valdo meets the character Marie, she also appears in his portrait, and their relative position to one another indicates the current state of their relationship.

[[folder:First-Person Shooters]]
* This was a very common feature in FPS games back when they were still called "''VideoGame/{{DOOM}}'' Clones," and faded from popularity sometime after the first ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}''. The portrait was usually tied into your health display and would become [[ShowsDamage increasingly bloodied or otherwise damaged as your health went down]].
** ''VideoGame/CatacombFantasyTrilogy'' and ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'' both predate ''VideoGame/{{DOOM}}''[='=]s use of the device. ''DOOM'', for its part, made it into a somewhat useful gameplay element by having the marine's face turn and look in the direction from where he was taking fire.
** ''VideoGame/Nitemare3D'' was LighterAndSofter than most early FPS titles, and had Hugo's portrait turn moldy and skeletal rather than bloody, an effect that was actually fairly creepy.
* In a surprisingly recent example, ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' has a portrait next to the health bar that shows what character you're playing, and what skin you're using for the character.
** ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' does something similar, with the portrait of the class you're playing on the HUD being a fully animated 3D model displaying the current weapon and cosmetics that class has equipped.
* [[Videogame/ShawsNightmare Shaw's Nightmare]] has a portrait that gets progressively sick as you lose health.

* ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'' actually uses this ''despite'' having the characters in question in clear view, right next to the heroes and with their faces visible. They do this for the bosses as well as certain other characters.
* ''[[VideoGame/BatmanSunsoft Batman: Return of the Joker]]'' for the NES shows small character portraits of Batman and the boss in every boss stage.
* The occasional dialogue sequences in ''VideoGame/MetroidFusion'' use portraits, although one of the three characters with speaking parts doesn't have much of a portrait, being an AI, and the other two don't talk outside of one or two scenes.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' used them in the first game onwards, and passed it on to the ''[[VideoGame/MegaManZero Zero]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MegaManZX ZX]]'' games. Classic ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' followed suit in the SNES and UsefulNotes/PlayStation titles (one of which was later ported to GBA stateside). ''[[VideoGame/MegaManLegends Legends]]'' used them in places (not necessarily for dialogue, though). ''[[VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork Battle Network]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MegaManStarforce Starforce]]'', by virtue of being [=RPGs=], use them the most extensively.
* ''VideoGame/SonicRush'', ''VideoGame/SonicRushAdventure'', and the DS version of ''VideoGame/SonicColors'' use these.
** The 3DS version of ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' use these as well, but with 3D models.

[[folder:Puzzle Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PanelDePon'' and ''[[VideoGame/PanelDePon Tetris Attack]]'' both use them for dialogue. Both games animate blinking; [=PdP=] animates mouth movements, TA does not.

* The ''Franchise/BaldursGate'' series uses portraits for the main character and all party-joinable [=NPCs=]. In the [[VideoGame/BaldursGateII second game]] and [[VideoGame/BaldursGateIIThroneOfBhaal its expansion]], major villains and some other plot-central [=NPCs=] also get their own portraits.
* The ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series uses them in all their {{Metroidvania}} style entries since ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight''.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' has portraits in text boxes and menus, though ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' only has them in the menu.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games use them on the menus; the only ones that use them in dialogue are the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' games and the Game Boy Advance re-releases.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' brings them back in the same manner and unique NPC units have their own portrait as well instead of reusing a generic one.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun''. If they have a portrait, they're either important to the story or selling you stuff.
* ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'' and ''VideoGame/GrandiaII''. Perhaps vitally important as the character models don't even have ''mouths''.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGranstreamSaga'', all character emotion is depicted via portraits as the 3D models don't even have ''faces''.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' has them in conversations. It has to, since outside of full motion video cutscenes, the models always have the same blank stare going.
** In ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Re:Coded]]'', in order to avoid the jarring effect in ''358/2 Days'', the developers blended the way dialogues were portrayed in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' with the well known 2D pics of the 3D renders of the characters.
%%** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''
* The ''Franchise/{{Lunar}}'' series started making use of character portraits in its first game back in 1992, and kept with it for every game in the series. The remakes started adding extra portraits to express emotions.
* The ''VideoGame/{{MARDEK}}'' series uses character portraits for every single talking character in the game. Facial expressions and all.
%%* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork''.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights''
** In the first one, the player chooses a portrait for their character, which doesn't need to be remotely connected to the PlayerCharacter's actual appearance. The same goes for all the {{NPC}}s, who all have portaits from among the few dozen stock ones available in the game, only a small handful of the most important ones getting unique portraits. Given the [[OnlySixFaces repetitiveness]] and unavoidable occasional inappropriateness of the portraits, it doesn't exactly make each character a unique snowflake.
** Normally averted in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'': the portrait is rendered directly from the PlayerCharacter's 3D face, including whatever equipment they currently have on. Played straight with the companions in the ''Mask of the Betrayer'' expansion, however.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' series.
** Of particular note, the PSP remake of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' gives portraits to several characters who didn't have them them originally.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' plays with the rules of NominalImportance by leaving a seemingly-incidental character (to be specific, [[spoiler:the gas station attendant from the opening]]) without a character portrait until [[spoiler:she's confronted in the true ending and revealed to be the one truly behind everything]].
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' has drawn potraits of the characters appear during dialogue scenes, and even occasionally has the character portraits rip through the screen to punctuate a particularly emotional or tense moment. In a case of PaintingTheMedium, the traitor is revealed as such when they suddenly gain a much more [[TraitorShot sinister-looking]] portrait than their usual set. Weirdly, Morgana always has a portrait for his humanoid FunnyAnimal appearance, even when masquerading as a house cat in the real world. [[spoiler:When he permanently loses said humanoid appearance at the very end of the game, it's conveyed as such by his portrait switching to a house cat one]].
%%* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment''.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'': In ''Rescue Team'', only story-important [=NPCs=] and the starting forms of the Hero and Partner had portraits. In ''Explorers'' and ''Gates To Infinity'', every Pokémon has a portrait, but only certain [=NPCs=] and the starters' first evolutions have alternate portraits for different moods.
** Also done rarely in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', only used when characters are talking via the [=XTransceiver=] or when talking with N.
* Most ''VideoGame/RPGMaker'' games.
** ''VideoGame/LastScenario'' has different portraits for facial expressions and emotions for certain characters, as well. So does ''Videogame/TheWay'' and ''VideoGame/TheReconstruction''.
** Completely averted in ''[[VideoGame/VisionsAndVoices Visions & Voices]]''. There aren't even menu portraits.
** ''VideoGame/ExitFate'' uses very large portraits, featuring not just the face, but usually the character's entire upper body as well.
** ''VideoGame/TheInfynPrism'' has all important characters having one. Lampshaded by one NPC in a house in Tarnset.
-->“I hate being an extra. How can I tell? There’s no face in front of my text.”
** ''VideoGame/{{Lunarosse}}'' uses these for anyone who is either a recruitable character or an plot-important NPC.
** ''VideoGame/RakenzarnTales'' implemented these in Version 2 for important characters.
* ''VideoGame/SandsOfDestruction'' gives portraits to named characters; random villagers don't have them. Playable characters also get a menu portrait, and dialogue portraits change with emotions. Beastlords also lose their portrait when they [[OneWingedAngel transform]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}''. Anyone who has a portrait is either important to the story in some way, or they're one of the 108 Stars of Destiny [[GottaCatchEmAll you can recruit]]. ''VideoGame/SuikodenV'' in particular takes things UpToEleven by giving most characters in the game multiple portraits to represent different moods.
** ''VideoGame/SuikodenTactics'' gives generic characters [[EyelessFace eyeless portraits]].
* Skits in the ''VideoGame/TalesSeries''. Most of the games also have these by each character's status in and out of battle. In the former case, they often have their expressions change based on what's happening to them.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' and [[VideoGame/TalesOfXillia2 its sequel]] also have character portraits pop in for the heroes at the top-left corner of the screen for the heroes, and the top-right for enemies. Besides BossBanter, the character will call out enemy weaknesses, status effects, and other events that happen in battle.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'' series from ''[[VideoGame/UltimaVI VI]]'' on, until it goes 3D in ''[[VideoGame/UltimaIX IX]]'' and just zooms in on people.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' has portraits which take up approximately half of the screen when dialogue boxes are present. There are several portraits for each playable character which help reflect the emotional aspects of the dialogue.
* ''VideoGame/InazumaEleven'' has a unique face portrait for every single character in the game. [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters All 1000+]] [[CastOfSnowflakes of them]]. Although only characters important to the story have multiple portraits for different facial expressions.
* ''VideoGame/WildArms'':
** In ''VideoGame/WildArms2'', you can name every storyline-important NPC one meets, but only a very few of them have portraits when naming them or talking to them; this can lead to some {{Interface Spoiler}}s. For example, Tim is a seemingly unimportant NPC met early on, but it's obvious he'll end up being important since he has a character portrait. It's even more amusing considering one meets the "leader" of Tim's little circle of friends first - who ''doesn't'' have a portrait.
** A similar tactic can be used in ''VideoGame/WildArms3'' and ''VideoGame/WildArms5''. ''VideoGame/WildArms4'' and ''VideoGame/WildArmsXF'' had portraits for pretty much everyone, but there were still "generic" and "unique" portraits, allowing the player to tell them apart.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' uses basic portraits in the dialogue boxes.
%%* The PSP remakes of ''VideoGame/StarOcean1'' and ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' featured this.
* Used oddly in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. [[PlayerCharacter The Warden's]] character portrait is a freeze-frame from the character model, but then the player gets to choose the exact angle at which s/he is drawn.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series, [=NPCs=] in important conversations have portraits that take up at least a third of the screen.
* The ''Franchise/KisekiSeries'' has a variety of expressions for several characters, not just party members. [[TheHero Estelle]]] in particular, has a wide range of emotions.
* Important characters in ''VideoGame/MachineKnight'' get portraits with a CheekyMouth that flaps as the dialogue scrolls; they do occasionally change expression, but naturally make use of InformedEquipment. Unimportant characters get no portrait.
* An interesting case in ''VideoGame/EnchantedArms'', mixing this with GoingThroughTheMotions; minor conversations and events are portrayed by the character models shifting through a set of emotions during a split-screen, instead of just a head- or bustshot. Similar to ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheLastHope'', but fully animated instead of frozen poses.
* ''VideoGame/EndlessFrontier'' takes this to 11, with every character having a set of [[CostumePorn lavish]] portraits that go down to their thighs and is able to stuff four people onto a single screen at a time.
* ''VideoGame/TouhouLabyrinth'' featured these, being as simple menu avatars to full portraits during character conversations, with varying degrees of quality. It's updated re-release, Special Disc, later added the ability to use custom character portraits.
* In ''VideoGame/HolyUmbrella'', characters have animated portraits displayed next to their speech boxes. The portraits usually fit a small rectangular frame, though some of their emotes exceed it. One character described in another character's InfoDump also gets a portrait.

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* Starting with ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon64'', ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' games have used the "multiple portraits for different emotions" version when they're not using GoingThroughTheMotions. You can tell how important a character is by how many portraits they have; {{Love Interest}}s will have five or six, while minor characters sometimes have only one.
* ''[[VideoGame/MitsumeteKnight Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen]]'' uses the text box version of this trope for all voiced characters of the game. Their facial expressions however change in real time as the dialogue is unfolding, instead of waiting for the dialogue to finish to change the expression, and instead of using the swapping a new portrait method.
* The ''Videogame/TraumaCenter'' series, with multiple portraits for different emotions.
* ''[[VideoGame/NavalOps Warship Gunner 2]]'' uses portraits whenever someone's speaking.

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'': Used alongside character speech, as the game had no voice acting. It also functions as an indication of Jennifer's emotional/physical state during normal gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ib}}'': Each character (except for one-liner [[{{NPC}} NPCs]]) has several portraits for each emotion. Sometimes, the character's portrait appears with no text accompaniment, just to show the player how they're reacting without words. [[SilentProtagonist Despite the fact that Ib herself never speaks]], her portrait ''does'' appear in the save menu (due to the game being made in RPG Maker).
* ''VideoGame/TheWitchsHouse'': Viola's appears in the menu. Under certain circumstances, there's a chance that [[spoiler:it'll be replaced with a nightmarish SlasherSmile version]]. Normally, there aren't any portraits displayed beside text, making the appearance of [[spoiler:Ellen's]] near the end quite shocking.
* ''VideoGame/MadFather'': There is an extensive and detailed range for each character, particularly Aya, who has 22 different portraits for every occasion.

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' uses them in the dialogue boxes.
* Most of the ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' games use these. Interestingly, these ones have a few different expressions, move their mouths when speaking, and blink, even if their portrait isn't currently the "active" one. They also have a tendency to move around to simulate the person they represent moving.
* The ''Franchise/ShiningSeries'' use these for all the characters in the party. The ''VideoGame/ShiningForce Gaiden'' games also used them for cutscenes. Only characters who are in the eponymous force or have speaking roles got portraits, though.
** Taken to a bizarre level in ''Videogame/ShiningWisdom'' where Mars gets a portrait despite being a HeroicMime and the game itself having only a bare ExcusePlot.
%%* ''TacticsOgreTheKnightOfLodis''
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', being based on anime and manga, uses these to an extent.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* All characters appear like this in ''Franchise/AceAttorney''; either looking directly at the camera or, in case of attorneys and assistants during courtroom sessions, looking at the side. Notably, all the characters have many unique animations, ranging from sweating, waving, bouncing up and down, and a "[[WildTake freak out]]" to name some.

[[folder:Non-Video-Game Examples]]

* [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/horriblesubs_mahoujin_guru_guru_2017_21_720pmp4_snapshot_0954_20180416_132243.jpg Parodied]] in episode 21 of the 2017 series of ''Manga/MagicalCircleGuruGuru'', when the G-Fantasy guys gets one [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment out of nowhere.]]
-->'''Nishiji:''' The portrait cut-in technique makes you the star, no matter the context.

[[AC:Fan Works]]
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm'', being done in the VisualNovel style of the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, uses them in exactly the same manner; though [[AnimationBump they are only animated during courtroom sessions]], the rest of the time being stills of the characters.
* ''Devil's Attorney'' uses these in an ever better way, seeing as the two series featured (''Franchise/AceAttorney'' and ''{{Franchise/Disgaea}}'') also used these extensively, leading to a situation where Phoenix's courtroom portraits were used in cutscenes resembling the ones from Disgaea, and they do not look out of place at all.[[note]]Oh, and by the way, ''Devil's Attorney'' pre-dates ''Turnabout Storm''.[[/note]]

%%* Used by ''Webcomic/ThePocalypse''.
%%* Used by the [[WebComic fake]] AdventureGame ''Webcomic/SilentHillPromise''.

[[AC:Web Original]]
* LetsPlay/MarioPartyTV: Mr. Doom, Steeler, Holms and Clel use pictures of themselves to mimic the portraits used in the in-game Ranking charts, which change appropriately in accordance with their status.
* LetsPlay/PinkKittyRose utilizes these during non-voiced playthroughs, accompanied by captions illustrating her feelings about whatever is on-screen. [[SweatDrop Sweat drops]] and [[FacePalm facepalms]] are the most common.