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- Super Smash Bros.:
- Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The latter was highly demanded by fans who wanted to see him in a fighting game with Mario (which was why he was added in the game). Solid Snake is a unique case. Hideo Kojima originally asked for Snake to be added to Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, since that game was too far in development, Snake was added in Brawl.
- In the fourth game for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Mega Man and Pac-Man were added as new guest characters, while Sonic makes a return. Ryu from Street Fighter, Cloud from Final Fantasy, and Bayonetta also join them as Downloadable Content characters.
- Some guest characters have brought along friends to help (or hinder) them: Shadow the Hedgehog, Cyborg Ninja (in Brawl only), Elec Man and The Ghosts can be summoned with Assist Trophies, but its random who will pop out.
- In Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, 3rd party enemies also appear in Smash Run. Eggrobo, and Mettaur represent the Sonic and Mega Man series, but the Pac-Man universe has no representation in this mode. Instead, Pooka and Bacura represent Namco's universe.
- Smash 4 also has some trophies of characters who are not owned by Nintendo. The list includes CommanderVideo from BIT.TRIP, and Rayman, Globox, and Barbara from Rayman.
- Aside from trying to improve on the gameplay, Project M was going to add four newcomers, including Knuckles the Echidna.
- Smash 4 also included DLC costumes based on Protoman, Mega Man X, Zero, Mega Man.EXE, Tails, Knuckles, Jacky Bryant, Akira Yuki (in a blocky, polygonal form) Heihachi, Lloyd Irving, Gil, the Hunter's Blademaster Armor and the Rathalos Blademaster Armor, Geno, and Chocobo. In an example of What Could Have Been, at least two of those characters (Heihachi and Geno) were considered for the game, but for one reason or another, could not be added.
- Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion had Captain Planet who was an Unexpected Character to everyone. In the story mode, he made a Big Damn Heroes moment where he saved the other 14 heroes from The Narrator's Evil Remote Control. And he can use all the elements for attacks.
- The earliest known fighting game with a guest fighter would have to be the first Fighter's History game by Data East, which its final boss is Karnov from the arcade game of the same name, who also appeared in later titles in the series (and also appeared as an enemy in Bad Dudes and Trio the Punch). However, he wasn't playable until the arcade game was ported to the SNES with a cheat code to play as him.
- In Fighter's History Dynamite (known in Europe as Karnov's Revenge), another guest fighter appears as a Bonus Boss, which was the Ox from Data East's 1984 Karate Champ.
- In the Japan-exclusive Super Famicom title in the series, Fighter's History: Mizoguchi Kiki Ippatsu!!, the final boss this time is another guest fighter, Chelnov, from the run 'n' gun arcade game Atomic Runner.
- Makoto Mizoguchi from this series made two appearances as a guest fighter: the first was in Suiko Enbu: Fuu'un Saiki (with Liu Yungmie), while the second was in KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A.
- Although both the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting franchises take place in the same universe, Ryo Sakazaki from the Art of Fighting series appearing in Fatal Fury Special (an update of Fatal Fury 2) as the secret final boss counts.
- Geese Howard from Fatal Fury appears as a secret final boss in Art of Fighting 2, though with a different appearance, due to Art of Fighting being placed chronogically before Fatal Fury, thus making the Geese in AOF younger.
- Truly a remarkable example because from one simple guest appearance, the entire The King of Fighters franchise was given birth (which is like "Guest Fighter: The Game", at least in its original design, as not only did characters from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting appear on the roster but so too did non-fighting game characters from games such as Psycho Soldier and Ikari Warriors). KoF in itself has had a few guest fighters (particularly in XI where characters from fighting games like Savage Reign and Buriki One got to join the cast). And while it features characters from multiple universes, KOF '94 can be considered the earliest cross-over fighting game.
- Leaving aside the games that explicitly fold into it, The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 has fun with this trope. Hanzo Hattori and Fio both show up... and are quite confused (Hanzo wonders what happened to ninjitsu when he meets Mai, and Fio mistakes Ralf and Clark for Marco and Tarma, respectively). Its update, Regulation A, also has Mizoguchi, though he's notably the first and only non-SNK character to join the KOF cast.
- Clark and Ralf make appearances in Metal Slug 6 and 7, as well as one or two of their signature moves. Leona is an add-on character in Metal Slug XX, the PSP re-release of Metal Slug 7. Additionally, Metal Slug Defense has all 3 of them, plus Kyo, Iori, Benimaru, Goro Daimon, Mature, and Vice, as purchasable units.
- The King of Fighters 2000 has Assist Characters known as strikers to help you out. Some og them are from other SNK games, such as Rocky from Robo Army, Duke Edwards from Burning Fight, and Neo & Geo from Quiz Dai Sousa-sen. (The first two are from Beat 'Em Ups, but Neo & Geo are from, oddly enough, a quiz game.)
- The King of Fighters XIV has a subversion: The Another World Team is a team seemingly loaded with this trope. Led by Nakoruru, its members include two heroines from Pachislot series: Mui Mui and Love Heart. The subversion is that there is a high chance that they're not being temporary guests: Rumors has it that the Big Bad of the game has the power to yank beings from another timeline/dimension into the current dimension, possibly forcing the team to take part in canon as opposed of being 'bonus'.
- Gon in the console port of Tekken 3. Almost two decades later, Akuma from Street Fighter crashes Tekken 7: Fated Retribution on a mission to hunt down Heihachi Mishima.
- The Soul series is downright notorious for this:
- Link, Heihachi and Spawn in Soulcalibur II. The catch is that each of these three are exclusive to a single console (GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, respectively). The HD remake for the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN brings only Heihachi and Spawn back (not Link for obvious reasons), but now both are available across both platforms.
- Lloyd Irving in Soulcalibur Legends.
- Darth Vader, Yoda and "The Apprentice" in Soulcalibur IV; the latter is effectively an Early-Bird Cameo. The catch for the first two is each of them are playable from the start exclusively on one console (Vader on PlayStation 3 and Yoda on Xbox 360) and are paid Downloadable Content on the other, making the pair from a technical point of view the first fighting game DLC characters, predating Makoto Nanaya by almost two years.
- Kratos in Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. The eponymous God of War, not the Tales of Symphonia character despite Lloyd's earlier presence.
- Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Soulcalibur V.
- In Soul Calibur III, It is possible to create KOS-MOS in the Character Creation by using all of the "Type X" parts.
- Likewise, Soul Calibur V has a fighting style based on Devil Jin. Tekken's producer, Katsuhito Harada, appears as a bonus character in Quick Battle mode using this style. In the game, he's known under his Twitter handle Harada_TEKKEN, and wears an outfit resembling Heihachi's gi.
- While not Guest Fighters in the same sense as the others, there are also a number of characters who were created for the series by well known artists. In this sense, they count as well.
- Necrid was designed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane for Soulcalibur II, the game which McFarlane also made a toy line for (the making of which was conditional on Necrid's inclusion). He was available on all three console versions.
- Angol Fear was created by Keroro Gunsou creator Mine Yoshizaki. She is a cousin to Angol Mois from that series and made a one-off appearance in chapter 148 of the manga after her debut, making her a genuine retroactive guest.
- Ashlotte Maedel was created by Oh! Great.
- Kamikirimusi was created by Mai-HiME character designer Hirokazu Hisayuki.
- Scheherazade was created by RahXephon creator Yutaka Izubuchi.
- Shura was created by Gantz creator Hiroya Oku.
- All these guest fighters have background stories and plots that sufficiently explain why they are in the series. However, they are never actually referenced again or even hinted about having existed at any point, and have zero impact within the story. The 5 created characters for IV, including Angol Fear, are an exception as they are actually mentioned as part of the story, with Ashlotte having the strongest connection due to her part in the story for V's new Astaroth.
- On another note, Ubisoft's Word of God on Ezio's presence is that it is easily explained through the Animus, the decidedly time-spanning but not universe-spanning Framing Device of the Assassin's Creed universe. Though at one point the Soulcalibur community manager noted the fuzziness of Ezio's timeline during the events of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (the incarnation used in V), suggested that it was actually time/dimensional travel instead of Soul Calibur V itself being a video game inside the Animus. The latter seems to be backed up by Ezio's official profile, which has him retrieving an item from the Templars that seems to briefly transport him to 1607, this leaving erratic readings in the Animus.
- And Yoshimitsu could be considered one, atleast in spirit, given a similar character exists since the first Soulcalibur. While vaguely hinted at first, it was confirmed for V that this Yoshimitsu is the founder of the group the Tekken Yoshimitsu forms part of, and the first in a long line of successors carrying the same name.
- Nicole-458, a female Spartan from Halo who appears in Dead or Alive 4. It's worth noting that she has never appeared in any actual Halo media, since she was created specifically for DOA4.
- Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant, and Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter are playable characters in Dead or Alive 5. Jacky Bryant joins up as well in Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate.
- In 2016, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round received Naotora Ii from Samurai Warriors and, later in the year, Mai Shiranui from The King of Fighters/Fatal Fury (quite fittingly).
- The Japanese version of Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter had Norimaro, an original character created by Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi. He carried around a little satchel full of props as he fought. His super move was to fling every prop in the bag in a giant shotgun-blast of random objects. When he won, he'd pull out a little camera, hold it at arm's length, turn it around, and snap a picture of himself. He was removed from the US version, although data for him still exists in the game.
- Preceding that, Akuma appeared in X-Men: Children of the Atom. After that there was Anita from Darkstalkers in Marvel Super Heroes. Similar to The King of Fighters example, the use of Capcom-owned characters in their Marvel Comics-licensed fighting games predicated the start of the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
- Akuma also appeared in the console version of Cyberbots as a mecha under the name "Zero Akuma". This characters was very likely inspired by Cyber Akuma, the final boss in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
- Sakura also shows up in the first Rival Schools game.
- The now-discontinued PC mouse game Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation had several crossover characters from other licenses, namely Wuxia novels by Jin Yong, Cyborg 009, Kiminori Wakasugi from Detroit Metal City and the title character from Space Sheriff Gavan.
- MegaMan.EXE and Zero are unlockable fighters in Onimusha Blade Warriors.
- K-1 fighter-turned-comedian Bobby Ologun appears as the final boss in the PlayStation 2 port of Power Instinct Matrimelee. He uses much Gratuitous English and has a Beam Spam super called "Bobby Beam".
- In Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3, Arale Norimaki from Dr. Slump is an unlockable character. Justified in that Arale did appear in episodes 55, 56, and 57 of the first Dragon Ball anime series, so when they said they would put everyone in Budokai Tenkaichi 3, they really meant everyone.
- And in an example of Guest Stage, Penguin Village is an unlockable stage.
- The Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 had an alternate costume for Frieza, as his son Kuriza from Akira Toriyama's self-parody manga Neko Majin Z. Neko Majin himself appears as a guest assistant character in the Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2 for the Nintendo DS.
- Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 allows you to use Lars Alexandersson from Tekken 6. Namco Bandai has the rights to both series and Naruto author Masashi Kishimoto designed Lars's alternate outfit, so he reappears here with said outfit and redesigned to fit with the art style of the game.
- Similar to the WWE Smackdown: Just Bring It! example, Fred Durst was also featured as an unlockable character in the ill-advised fighting game adaptation of Fight Club.
- Similarly, rocker Henry Rollins has a sizably role in Def Jam: Fight for NY, featuring the eponymous rap label's performers. Actors Omar Epps and Danny Trejo also make appearances and are playable characters.
- While not a playable character, Donkey Kong is a not-so-secret challenger in the Wii Punch-Out!! title. He would only appear during the last phase of Career Mode: Mac's Last Stand. Win or lose, once you met him, you could fight him any time in Exhibition Mode. But because all opponents at this point are random, you ran the risk of him being Lost Forever if you lost the Last Stand before fighting him.
- For the GameCube port of EA's Fight Night Round 2, you can play as Little Mac in his SNES appearance.
- Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 has hidden boxers including basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, Bill & Hillary Clinton, and Michael Jackson.
- Could possibly count Rumbleman, who's basically boxing announcer Michael Buffer hopped up on Venom.
- Three Raving Rabbids with different movesets in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up (One normal, one in Splinter Cell gear, and one in TMNT getup). This caused an eruption of "ruined" cries among the TMNT fanbase.
- Parodied here.
- Ryougi Shiki of Kara no Kyoukai in Melty Blood.
- Fate/Unlimited Codes had a guest appearance by the Lancer from the 4th Grail War, who is from the same fictional universe but from a different time period than the one covered by the game.
- Earthworm Jim has appeared as a guest fighter in Clay Fighter 63⅓ and the PC edition of Battle Arena Toshinden. In the former, he has his own moveset and even his own story and stage, but in the latter, he is just a bonus skin for Rungo Iron.
- Mortal Kombat
- Kratos again in the PlayStation 3 version of Mortal Kombat 9. Given that Mortal Kombat is set in a multiverse and and has a penchant for gore-tastic fighting, Kratos fits right in.
- In Mortal Kombat X, fellow horror icon Jason Voorhees appears as a DLC character. His announcement date was also fitting — he was announced on a Friday the 13th. A second guest character in the form of Predator also comes over as DLC.
- The Japanese Sega Saturn version of Fighting Vipers had PEPSIMAN! as a secret playable character. Only in the original Japanese Sega Saturn release, sadly..
- Interestingly, the Arcade version has some unused Guest Fighters that were Dummied Out in the final release, that were likely added as a joke and not meant to be in the full game: Sonic, Tails and Takashi Iizuka (director of Sonic Team). However, they are still playable thanks to emulation hacking. Source links. Sonic being there was the result of a bored programmer, and Yuji Naka saw it and loved the idea, thus Sonic the Fighters was born.
- Sonic the Fighters originally had Honey the Cat, an original character based on the same character from Fighting Vipers. She was Dummied Out in the original Arcade version of the game and the Sonic Gems Collection re-release, but she's now avaliable for play in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 digital re-release.
- Fighters Megamix, aside from being Virtua Fighter 2 vs. Fighting Vipers, also features many weird and out-of-place characters from other Sega AM 2 works, who were added clearly Just for Fun. Including Bean the Dynamite, Bark the Polar Bear, Akira and Sarah (from Virtua Fighter Kids), Siba (a scrapped character from the first Virtua Fighter) Janet, Rent-A-Hero, Hornet (yep, you can fight as a race car), Deku, Mr. Meat and Palm Tree (A 3D version of the palm tree from Sega AM2's logo!). Needless to say, as crazy as this game and it's roster was, it was great because it was 100% grade A Guilty Pleasure.
- Cloud, Tifa, Yuffie, Vincent, Zack, and Sephiroth (the latter two making their first playable appearances) in Ehrgeiz, plus the final boss's first form looks suspiciously similar to Red XIII. Incidentally, this was the only reason most fans bought the game.
- Street Fighter X Tekken on PlayStation 3 and Play Station Vita had FIVE Guest Fighters.
- Firstly, there's Cole MacGrath of inFAMOUS. He's then joined on the same platforms by two cats (Toro and Kuro) that are Sony's mascots in Japan. Plus Bad Box Art Mega Man, and Pac-Man riding a Mokujin robot. The former three are avaliable from the start of the game, while the later two were released as free Downloadable Content. Needless to say, the five of them are major Base Breakering Characters.
- To an extent, Poison counts as this. She was from the Final Fight video game series, and while she did make an appearance with Hugo in Street Fighter III, she wasn't playable. Street Fighter X Tekken is the first time she's playable in a Street Fighter game.
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has several characters that are from third-party games: Big Daddy (2K Games), Heihachi Mishima (Namco), Dante (Capcom), and Raiden (Konami) are in the launch roster, and Isaac Clarke (EA) is in as Downloadable Content.
- Vattroller X for the Game Boy Advance features Zoro, Kogenta and Beet as secret characters who are unlocked by passwords available in Japanese cards of the Vattroller X manga.
- Spider-Man was a guest fighter in the Activision title X-Men: Mutant Academy II.
- Arm Wrestling (a Punch-Out!! spinoff) involves this; the third round is against Mask X. But, during the round, pull off the mask and looky here, it's Bald Bull from Punch-Out!! The text also says, "Wow!!! Bald Bull!!!"
- Terry Bogard and Benimaru Nikaido in Xuan Dou Zhi Wang. The fact that XD clearly takes inspiration from The King of Fighters has not been lost on fans, which is probably the reason SNK struck a deal with Tencent to put the two in the game in the first place.
- Scorpion is part of the cast of Injustice: Gods Among Us as DLC. A little unusual, sure, but doubles as a Mythology Gag towards Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
- Baoh's Ikuro Hashizawa in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, but only technically as Baoh is another manga by JoJo's Bizarre Adventure creator Hirohiko Araki.
- Akira Yuki again in Sega and Dengeki Bunko's 2D Massively Multiplayer Crossover fighting game Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, acting as a boss character. Pai Chan serves as his Assist Character.
- Divekick has Johnny Gat of the Saints Row series as one of the new characters in the "Addition Edition". Shaundi also appears as an assist character in one of Gat's moves. The fencer from Nidhogg also arrived in a later update.
- Aggressors Of Dark Kombat has Kotaro Fuuma from World Heroes making a guest appearance.
- Alongside its original cast of characters, indie game Project G featured Zero from Mega Man X two years before Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 did.
- Killer Instinct (2013) brings in Rash from Battletoads, the Arbiter from Halo, and General RAAM of Gears of War.
- Newgrounds Rumble's second release included Fancy Pants from Fancy Pants Adventures. Unlike the other characters in the roster, he's not a Newgrounds original.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy video game included General Skarr as a secret character. While he did appear as a minor character in the series down the line, he was originally from Billy and Mandy's sister show, Evil Con Carne.
- The online game American Dad vs Family Guy has Ryu appear as the final boss.
- Cartoon Network's other fighting game, Titanic Kungfubot Offensive has some playable characters from shows that did not originate from CN, which includes JohnnyTest, Duncan, and Chef Hatchet.
- Whenever a big crossover fighting game is coming out, you know that someone's gonna make a fake leak. Some of them are outright jokes. Take this "leak"◊ of John Cena in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for example.
- For April Fools Day, Skullgirls released a prank saying that Zone-Archive's Zone-Tan would be a playable DLC character. Zone's... *ahem* "fans" would know that her bio and playstyle have references to Zone-Tan's creation and short appearances, such as having a demon slaying mother, welding a size-changing key as a weapon, and, of course, having her pet tentacle monster Lemmy help her out in the fight.
- In the PSP rerelease of Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom Fighting Evolution's Ingrid was a playable character. Interestingly, Capcom now retroactively considers her a Street Fighter character with series producer Yoshinori Ono even considering her a possibility as DLC for Street Fighter V. Her appearance in Project X Zone 2 even lists her origin as Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX despite that obviously not being her first game.
- The Super Puzzle Fighter and Super Gem Fighter featured Super-Deformed versions of Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters. However, both games had one character that wasn't from either series. Puzzle Fighter had Devilotte from the Giant Mech Fighting Game Cyberbots appear as a secret character, while Gem fighter had Tessa from Red Earth.
- Mischief Makers' Marina Liteyears made a playable appearence in the Japan Only Rakugaki Showtime. She can even use her trademark shaking abilities after picking up a Smiley Ball
- Nitroplus Blasterz Heroines Infinite Duel features Saber in all of its versions while Homura and Heart Aino are available as Downloadable Content in the console versions.
- Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner features a guest appearance of Gradius's Vic Viper as a Transforming Mecha.
- The promotional sample disk version of NiGHTS into Dreams..., Christmas NiGHTS, had a mode where you could play through Spring Valley as Sonic. Dr. Eggman is also a boss in this veraion of the game, though he's just a reskinned version of the boss Puffy.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance had a world based on The World Ends with You, making it the first Square-Enix world to not be based on Final Fantasy.
- In The Cat Lady, you actually get to meet Joe and Ivy from Downfall. Similar to the Street Fighter-Final Fight example, both Downfall and The Cat Lady share the same universe.
- In the alien invasion game Under the Skin, one of the areas your alien prankster attacks is Raccoon City and your antagonists in that area include Jill Valentine (the Resident Evil 3 version of her).
- The Wonderful 101 has Bayonetta, Jeanne, and Rodin as hidden playable characters.
- Rumble Roses's Reiko wasnote a multiplayer skin on Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
Beat 'Em Up
- In an ironic twist, Ryu is a guest fighter for Asura's Wrath, but he also comes with a complete change in gameplay from the main game to be like Street Fighter IV, Gauges and Life bars included.
- Akuma and Evil Ryu are also Guest Fighters.
- Bayonetta is a Guest Fighter in Anarchy Reigns if you preordered the game or bought the DLC.
- In the battle against Matt Groening in The Simpsons Game, Groening will summon Zoidberg and Bender as mooks. Before that, The Simpsons Arcade had the Life in Hell bunnies gang up on you in Krustyland if you weren't careful.
- Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law from Tekken appear in Urban Reign as playable characters.
First/Third Person Shooter
- A stylistic reimagining of Team Fortress 2's Pyro was added to the retail version of Killing Floor for those who had both the game and Team Fortress 2 during the Twisted Christmas event. What a 1960s mercenary is doing in a second millennium Zombie-clone outbreak in London is anyone's guess.
- Although the Pyro's history is a complete mystery, to the point where no one even know's his or her gender so maybe it makes complete sense that the Pyro'd be there, it's just that we don't know why yet.
- Due to being released by LucasArts, Han Solo and Indiana Jones skins are available to any character (even the girl) in the first Mercenaries game.
- Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict has Raiden as a playable character and Shao Kahn as an announcer.
- Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot are also playable in the arcade shooter The Grid.
- Scorpion’s definitely Mortal Kombat’s version of Wolverine- he’s playable in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy.
- A fair amount of DLC characters in Payday 2 are characters from films or games added in as part of a cross-promotional campaign. So far, there's John Wick, "Jacket" of Hotline Miami, Bodhi of the original Point Break and Jimmy from Hardcore Henry.
- Michael Myers and Predator are special items known as Field Orders in Call of Duty: Ghosts. They can only be played as in the Fog and Ruins maps, respectively.
- Cannon Spike is a game that had more Guests than original characters. Cammy, Charlie, Baby Bonnie Hood, Mega Man and Arthur basically band together with some Original Generation characters and shoot shit up.
- While they're not technically fighters due to the game being a Dating Sim, Namco High includes three characters from Homestuck (Jane Crocker, Terezi Pyrope, and Davesprite) due to the author being a major part of the development. All three are referred to as "weird exchange students" in the character info.
Hack and Slash
- Warriors Orochi 3 has five guest fighters: Joan of Arc, Achilles, Nemea, Ryu Hayabusa, and Ayane. The Ultimate version introduces Rachel, Momiji, Kasumi, Sophitia and Sterkenburg Cranach.
- Bayonetta2 has special costumes that replace the original sound effects.
- The Mushroom Kingdom Princess and Sarasaland Princess costumes replace Halos with Gold Coin, and Bayonetta can summon Bowser instead of Madama Butterfly to attack when using Wicked Weaves. She'll even have a cute Mario or Luigi plush doll attached to her hip. Bayonetta can also use the Chain Chomp as a weapon, while donning a Mario Costume.
- The Hero of Hyrule costume replaces Halos with Rupees and the sounds effects with SFX from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Hideki Kamiya's favorite Legend of Zelda game. The Shuraba will be replaced with the Master Sword, and can allow her to damage flaming enemies without taking damage. The Hylian Shield on her wrist will also allow her to parry attacks.
- The Galactic Bounty Hunter costume will have Bayonetta use the Arm Cannon for gun attacks. When she uses Panther Within, she uses Samus's Morph Ball mode, and double jumping makes her use the ScrewAttack.
- Finally, the Star Mercenary gives off Star Fox 64 sound effects, and replaces Love is Blue with mini Arwings that shoot lasers. If you wear this costume in Chapter 16: Sovereign Power, you'll control and Arwing instead of a jet, and can fire Smart Bombs.
- If Jeanne wears these costumes, her sound effects will be from the game's first entries: The Legend of Zelda I, Metroid, and Star Fox.
- WarioWare: Do It Yourself! used to have microgames based on Shantae, World of Goo, Super Meat Boy, BIT.TRIP, Swim, Ikachan!, Max And The Magic Marker, Toki Tori, Jett Rocket, And Yet It Moves, and Chronos Twin that could be downloaded through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but they are now unobtainable thanks to the servers being shut down.
- The Cartoon Network MMORPG FusionFall has representation from almost every major Cartoon Network show from the 90s until 2009. There's also appearances from Johnny Test and Dukey from Johnny Test, which was a Canadian show created for Teletoon, Agent K9 from the movie Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galorenote , and TOM, the host of Toonami, which was canceled at the time.
- Costumes based on Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole were featured when the movie was released.
- Lost Saga Has a boatload of guest characters: Ragna, Jin/Noel, Rachael, Hakumen, Platinum, and Hazama from BlazBlue, Sol and May/Johnny from Guilty Gear, Hoahmaru, Nakoruru, and Galford from Samurai Shodown, and Kyo, Iori, and Mai from The King of Fighters. The can only be bought win in-game currency, and typically have stronger equipment.
- Mega Man Universe would had have Ryu as one of the playable characters. Arthur also shows up in the cinematic teaser trailer.
- LEGO Adaptation Game
- Indiana Jones can be unlocked in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Likewise, Han Solo is unlockable in LEGO Indiana Jones (both cases doubling as an Actor Allusion).
- Adam West, Kevin Smith and Green Loontern are unlockable characters in LEGO Batman 3, with Adam West doubling as the "In Peril" character for the game and the narrator of the bonus mission.
- Dante pops up as an unlockable player character in the PS2 version of Viewtiful Joe.
- The Baz from Two Best Friends Play appears as a fighter in Divekick and an optional boss in Shovel Knight. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game features Kratos and the Battletoads as bosses.
- Donkey Kong and Bowser are playable in the Wii U version of Skylanders: SuperChargers and the Wii and Nintendo 3DS-exclusive spin-off Skylanders: SuperChargers Racing. Their figures function as Skylander figures in the games and can also double as amiibo.
- Meat Boy is a recurring character in the BIT.TRIP series, appearing as a background character in RUNNER, Runner2, and FLUX, and as a powerup in FATE.
- Nearly every character with an amiibo figure is playable in Super Mario Maker as a Mystery Mushroom costume. This means the entire vanilla roster of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii Unote , the squid kids and a squid from Splatoon, Chibi-Robo, and almost every major NPC from the Animal Crossing series. Additionally, Nikki, Slippy, Peppy, an Arwing, Dr. Lobe, Tingle, the Wii Balance Board from Wii Fit, Ashley, and Totem Link are unlockable costumes despite not having amiibo.
- Toonami's TOM made an appearance in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, basically acting like a reskinned Alarm Clock.
- One of the playable characters in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is the Bullshit Man, the star of a different webshow made by James Rolfe called You Know What's Bullshit?
- They Bleed Pixels' bonus worlds are based on Seraph, exp. magazine, and Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure. They were actually made by the original creators themselves.
- The Kirby series' reoccurring bosses Lololo & Lalala were actually stars of their own series before they fought against the pink puffball.
- Runbow has 19 playable characters from other franchises: Shovel Knight, Rusty, Swift from Sportsball, Juan, Tostada, Scram Kitty, CommanderVideo, Commandergirl Video, Xeodrifter Max, Princess from Chariot, Drifter, Teslamancer, A.R.I.D., Gunvolt, and even Unity-Chan! A DLC later added Lilac from Freedom Planet as a playable character. Another DLC guest runner that will be added is Shantae from the series of the same name.
- In the Wii U Scribblenauts Unlimited you could summon characters and items from the Mario and Zelda series. They have their own voices and have special reactions to certain items. (For example, if you summon a go-kart, Toad will run towards it and hop on!)
- Because the Original Scribblenauts was published by Konami in Japan, you could summon Old Snake, Solid Snake, Big Boss, Alucard, Goemon, Ebisumaru, Vic Viper and Manaka Takane... so long as you own a Japanese copy.
- Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat were also characters you could summon in Unlimited. However, Warner Bros was sued because both cats' use were unauthorized. The lawsuit was later worked out. Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat will make future appearances in the series, but the creators will be paid.
- Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie for the Xbox 360. The other versions of the game are merely Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing; Mario was considered for the Wii version, but alas existed the Olympic Games, uhhh, games...
- The sequel has Danica Patrick, a real-life NASCAR and ex-IndyCar driver, and Ralph from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, along with members of the RED team from Team Fortress 2 exclusive to the Steam version of the game. Other Steam-exclusive characters include a Football Manager, General Winter from Company of Heroes 2, Willemus from Total War: Rome II, and one of the members of the Yogscast (the last one is DLC, released for charity).
- Miis and Xbox Live Avatars have been playable in the Sonic and All Stars racing games since the start.
- Test Drive 5 for the PlayStation had the Fear Factory (one of the bands who supplied the music) wagon.
- Klonoa in Moto GP.
- Similarly (again), the arcade Mario Kart games (by Namco) have Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky, Mametchi (a Tamagotchi), and Don (from Taiko Drum Master); this is notable for being the first crossover between the Namco and Bandai halves of the merged Namco Bandai.
- Meanwhile, Mario Kart DS offered R.O.B., and beginning in Wii you can play as your Mii. DLC for 8 adds more crossover characters; Link of The Legend of Zelda fame and the Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing.
- The Blue Falcon from F-Zero made its Mario Kart debut in Mario Kart Wii, and was a DLC kart in Mario Kart 8.
- The Mii is a secret character in Mario Kart Wii, 7, and 8. Wuhu Loop and Maka Wuhu from Wii Sports Resort are also tracks in the game
- A Mercedes-Benz GLA was actually DLC in MK8, making it the first time a real car is in the Mario Kart series.
- Mario Kart 8's DLC stages include Mute City, Big Blue, Animal Crossing, Hyrule Circuit, and Excitebike Arena, each with little references to their original series.
- In the Excite series, Boulder from Excite Truck was a guest racer in Excitebots.
- The fan-favorite Hornet car re-appears in Daytona USA 2, alongside USA 2's new cars. It's identical to the way it preformed in the first game: same build, same speed, same camera angles, and it can pull off 4-1-4 shifting!
- Hornet is also available as DLC for the PlayStation Vita version of Ridge Racer, '94 blocky look and all.
- The Virtua Formula in the Sega Genesis port of OutRunners, only accessible through a code but is the fastest and grippiest of all the selectable cars in the game.
- Mario Kart's notoriously difficult Rainbow Road race track makes an appearance in F-Zero X.
- Chocobo Racing had Ava Brae from Parasite Eve and Jack from The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner appear as secret characters.
- Diddy Kong Racing's case is actually a subversion. Its the first time Banjo or Conker made an appearance in a video game. note However they were later owned by Rare, who was bought by Microsoft. Banjo and Conker did not appear in the Updated Re-release Diddy Kong Racing DS. On the other hand, Tiptup did. He also made his first appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, but became a minor character in the Banjo series. His status as a minor character is probably the reason he stayed in the roster.
- Atari Karts' entire roster is original- except Bentley Bear who was from Crystal Castles.
- Power Drift has hidden bonus tracks in which the player controls guest vehicles from Sega's previous deluxe arcade racers: the Hang On bike and the After Burner jet.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog spinoff series Sonic Riders had guest characters in the first two games. NiGHTS was in both games, along with Ulala and Aiai in Riders and Amigo and Billy Hatcher in Zero Gravity. An Extreme Gear based on Crazy Taxi also appeared in both games.
- In a Rhythm Game example example: the song "Just Mario", by "Ubisoft meets Nintendo", in the Wii version of Just Dance 3. The in-game dancer is even dressed in a Mario costume.
- Vocaloid GUMI appears in Popn Music as an opponent character in the songs that she sings, but unlike 99% of other characters, she is not playable.
- Persona 4: Dancing All Night had Hatsune Miku. Project Diva was developed by Dingo who assisted in Dancing All Nights development.
- Taiko No Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken features a number of unlikely guest characters in Adventure Mode, including Kirby and King Dedede, Jibanyan, the Felynes, Phoenix Wright, Reimu, Marissa, and Sakuya, and even Koro-sensei.
Role Playing Game
- A rare Massive Multiplayer Crossover version: Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 (by Banpresto) featured Temjin, Fei-Yen the Knight, and Apharmd the Hatter, three mechs from Sega's Virtual-ON series.
- Rondo of Swords features Izuna and Shino from Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja and Cotton from Fantastic Night Dreams Cotton as hidden characters. They are ridiculously broken.
- While not unique characters, Haseo and Ovan have costumes in .hack Link belonging to characters from Tales of Graces. They are the only characters in the game to do so.
- What Could Have Been example: the developers of the Wii port of Marvel Ultimate Alliance considered putting Link and Samus as characters.
- Dante of Devil May Cry fame appears as a boss in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. And with a little effort, he can be added to your party's ranks.
- Cloud is a secret character in Final Fantasy Tactics. Aerith makes a cameo appearance, but isn't playable. The PSP version adds Balthier and Luso, who are technically from the same universe as Tactics, but from a different time period.
- Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. lets you play as characters from Fire Emblem if you scan their respective amiibo on the 3DS's touch screen.
- Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII had made an appearance in Final Fantasy XIV through random events and she would help players fight Final Fantasy XIII themed monsters. Completing the event would earn players gear and hairstyles based on Lightning's game.
- Project X Zone 2, being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega franchises, has a couple guest characters from Nintendo: Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles and Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening.
- MetalFace appears as a boss and Risen are enemies.
- In Digimon World Re:Digitize, you can battle against Lili and Sebastian from Tekken. Her Digimon is a slug-like Numemon named Catherine, who's evolution line is a total Ugly Duckling story. It transforms from a slug, to a literal piece of crap, to a giant teddy bear, until it finally evolves into Lilithmon. Sebastian on the other hand has a Seraphimon, who frequently butts heads with Catherine when she's fully evolved. And then there's the fact that you can fight Lili when she's in a pink Monzaemon costume...
- Indivisible includes appearances from Lab Zero Games's own Annie from the Skullgirls universe as well as Shantae, Shovel Knight, Red from Guacamelee!, and others.
- One of FNAF World's secret bosses is none other than "Chipper's Revenge", an evil robot version of the protagonist of Scott Cawthon's Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. series. These kid-friendly games were heavily criticized, and that criticism influenced Cawthon to create Five Nights at Freddy's. Chipper's lines after defeating him references this.
Chipper's Revenge: "My world was lush and beautiful, full of strange and colorful creatures! But no, that wasn't enough for you. You wanted to be scared. You wanted to feel dread. And what happened to me? What happened to us? Obscurity..."
- A later update to the game also added Coffee from The Desolate Hope as a secret party member.
Shoot 'Em Up
- Armed Police Batrider has guest appearances from what the Attract Mode calls "Raizing All-Stars"—five Mahou Daisakusen charactes and two Battle Garegga characters (each with two ships to their name).
- Gunbird 2 featured Aine and Morrigan as hidden characters (the latter being only in the Sega Dreamcast version, which was published by Capcom).
- In Blue Wish Resurrection Plus, Eden's Edge/Eve is available for play. In the creator, X.X's next game, Eden's Aegis, Eve and Ridmie from Eden's Edge and Green Wind respectively are available for play if certain conditions are met.
- Paul Phoenix and Heihachi Mishima of Tekken in Xevious 3D/G, of all things.
- Dangun Feveron has the cat from Cave's Puzzle Game Uo Poko as a hidden ship.
- New International Track & Field is a sports game for the Nintendo DS. The characters are big-headed and Super-Deformed, and overall it has a kiddie aesthetic. It was also published by Konami, who thought it a good idea to put a bunch of their characters in it. These vary from the fitting, such as the mascot of their Pro Baseball series with similar styling, to the somewhat out there but not terrible weird, like Simon Belmont and Sparkster, to completely family-unfriendly characters like Pyramid Head and Evil Rose.
- The Gamecube version of NBA Street 3 has Mario, Luigi and Peach as playable characters to make up for the console's lack of online play. Plus, all versions of the game have the Beastie Boys as a secret team.
- SSX On Tour also had the trio (Cube only, obviously.)
- SSX 3 also had Stretch, one of the characters from NBA Street, as a secret character, as well as all the characters from the previous games.
- And in that same game, the secret character Churchill debuted as a Quake III: Arena custom skin. Yes, it's true!
- Stretch's inclusion in SSX 3 mirrors SSX riders Zoe and Moby's status as unlockable characters in the original NBA Street, along with Tracey from Sled Storm. Also in that game? R&B group 3LW.
- Also Zoe and Psymon were playable in Sled Storm.
- Also notorious for this: the Tony Hawk's series had some weird guest skaters. Some are from Activision's game catalog (the Doom guy, Guitar Hero characters), others licensed by the company (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Shrek), and musicians as well (Billie Joe Armstrong, Travis Barker, MCA). The rest are there just for fun, fictional (Darth Maul and Jango Fett; Eddie; Bigfoot) or not (Benjamin Franklin?!).
- Similarly, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 featured a White Mage, Black Mage, Ninja, Moogle, and Cactuar from Final Fantasy, due to Square Enix being the developer. Mario Sports Mix featured the same guest characters, plus Slime from Dragon Quest, and added Behemoth as a boss.
- NBA Jam featured anyone and everyone from the designers to President Bill Clinton as hidden characters.
- Of particular note is that the NBA asked Midway to remove Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile of Mortal Kombat fame from later revisions of NBA Jam Tournament Edition because they were not at ease with MK being Rated M for Money. You read that right.
- Then again, a notable guest in Electronic Arts' installment is Isaac Clarke from Dead Space. Apparently, either NBA has issues with characters from fighting games and yet has no problem featuring a character who gets graphically chopped up by necromorphs or the times have changed on the subject of video game violence since the Mortal Kombat controversy.
- They seemed to change their minds on this early, as Raiden and Shinnok are playable in NFL Blitz. Scorpion and Sub-Zero also made appearnces in ‘’MLB Sluggers’’, but that was made by a different company.
- Virtua Striker 3 and 2002 has a Sonic team consisting of the hedgehog and his friends. Yuji Naka is also an announcer and coach of Sonic’s team.
- NHL 12 features an All-Legend Team, made up of NHL greats like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe, Ray Bourque, among others. You can even put them on your favourite teams, presenting interesting situations all around.
- Jak, Daxter, Ratchet, Clank, Kratos, Sackboy, Kat, and Toro have all made appearances in some of the later Hot Shots Golf games.
- Needles "Sweet Tooth" Kane, Sir Daniel Fortesque, and Gex appear as unlockable characters in the American and European releases of Hot Shots Golf 2.
- In Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip, you can play as one of the Helghast from Killzone (and recruit another as an umpire), but you have to beat them first.
- The Surf's Up video game had Elliot from Open Season as a secret character.
- One mission in Warcraft III is infamous for having a Hydralisk you can add to your forces. The character models for Terran Marines and Zerglings are also available.
- Interestingly, Plague Inc, a game about killing humanity with diseases, got its first official Guest Fighter in the form of the Simian Flu from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was a result of a partnership with 20th Century Fox.
- A few Resident Evil titles have a habit of including playable characters in their minigames that are not involved in the main story.
- An update to Zombie Army Trilogy added the 8 characters from Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 as playable characters. This was relatively simple to do, as Zombie Army does not have voice acting, so all they had to do was get the license rights then plug the character models into their engine.
- The specimen in Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion are all Homages and expies of various horror tropes and creatures. With the exception of White Face, the main villain of Imscared.
- Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst is a playable character in WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It! Rumor has it, this was one of the conditions for allowing the developers to use the song "Rollin'", which was Undertaker's entrance theme at the time, in the game.
- The more recent WWE games feature hidden "legends"; in other words, popular wrestlers from WWE's past.
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 also features Rob Van Dam, who hadn't been in WWE for a couple of years prior to the game beginning development and, indeed, signed with TNA shortly after its release. He's listed as a "Free Agent", not as a Legend (the only other characters so designated are the Red and Green demonstration models, Paul Bearer, and the Undertaker's druid). Apparently, the dev team were just really big RVD fans and wanted to use him in the game very badly.
- WWE '12 featured the returns of Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE '13 featured Mike Tyson.
- WWE 2K15 features Sting, the first wrestler to be featured in the game despite never actually having wrestled for WWE.
- WWE 2K16 features not one, but two versions of the Terminator.
- Twisted Metal
- While not "characters" per se, Rocket League features a few "guest cars: first is the PS4-exclusive Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal, and DLC later added the DeLorean from Back to the Future. And with the announcement of an Xbox One version, a variation of the Warthog from Halo and the Armadillo from Gears of War join the roster.
- Beyond Games' Motor Mayhem included three characters from Ultra Vortek, a mediocre Mortal Kombat clone: Volcana, Grok, and Buzzsaw
Non Video-Game Examples
- In a non-Video Game example, one episode of Celebrity Deathmatch had Beavis And Butthead fight against each other. While both shows were on MTV, Celebrity Deathmatch focused on parodies of real celebrities fighting to the death, not animated cartoon characters, making their match rather unexpected.
- Hayden Moss is known for competing in Big Brother, but he also competed in Survivor: Blood vs Water. He got in because his then girlfriend was a former Survivor contestant, and former Survivors competing against loved ones was the main gimmick of the season.
This isn't Big Brother, it's Survivor. We do things different here.
- Fellow contestant Gervase Peterson references this in one of his voting confessionals.
- In a related example, Big Brother 17 contestants Jackie Ibarra and Jeff Weldon first appeared in The Amazing Race.
- Big Brother 15 contestant Caleb Reynolds appears as a contestant on Survivor's 32nd season.
- Miyamoto Usagi is known for his frequent appearances in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles media. His appearance in the 1987 cartoon (In which he was actually called "Usagi Yojimbo") was a set up for his own cartoon that was never made due to Creative Differences. He's more accurately portrayed in the 2003 cartoon. His world is the setting for a few episodes, characters like Tomoe and Gen appear, and Usagi is as close as a brother to Leonardo.
- The Simpsons episode "A Star is Burns" had Jay from The Critic guest star. It's the only episode to not have Matt Groening's name in the opening and closing credits, as he felt that it was a 22-minute advertisement for The Critic.
- Queen's Gate Sprial Chaos, an ecchi redesign of the Queen's Blade series, has had a girl from pretty much every major fighting game featured as a playable character. This includes Lili, Mai, Mina, Cham Cham, Iroha, Dizzy, Noel, Kasumi, Ivy, Taki, and Phyrra. The only girl not from a fighting game is Wonder Momo.