A video game-specific variant of The Voiceless or The Speechless. In many RPGs, the main hero doesn't seem to talk (Visible Silence might be used). The official explanation for this is that the main character is the player, and dialogue would either interfere with the player's train of thought or knock them out of the viewpoint of that character (compare the Featureless Protagonist). An aversion of this would be to allow the player to actually talk to the characters through a microphone or the AI be able to comprehend any text entered, but this is beyond current technology, except in online games where you're talking to other players instead of AIs — or through the limited means of a Dialogue Tree.
Some characters might be like this when under the player's control, but perfectly normal and talking characters as NPCs, or even just when they aren't the leader of the group. And some characters do talk when the player chooses how to answer a question.
Nevertheless, this often results in the fandom discussing whether or not a character is mute. Most of the time when somebody makes a Novelization or a Webcomic Of The Game, odds are that it'll have the character speak in Visible Silence and be treated as The Silent Bob.
This trope can get very frustrating when the character has, for example, undergone an Involuntary or Emergency Transformation, and has allies who weren't there to see it. It's also hard to grow too fond of a Heroic Mime, since they don't show thoughts or feelings that can't be expressed with grunts, sighs, and body language. This is one thing when they're fighting all alone, without so much as a Exposition Fairy or a Voice with an Internet Connection to listen to, but when there are other characters around it's a different story. Even The Stoic says something.
One fairly common variation of this is to suggest that the main character actually does speak, we just can't hear them or see their text boxes. However, the other characters in the game can, and we can sometimes infer what was said from their reactions. Another common variation used to compromise between immersion and characterization is to allow the player character to speak, but only during non-interactive cutscenes.
How well you take this trope can often depend on how you approach video games in general. If you like to imagine you "are" the character, as the developers seem to expect, it could arguably increase immersion. On the other hand, many players prefer to imagine themselves in a role similar to that of a movie director; controlling the action without being a part of it. To them, having a Heroic Mime is like being saddled with a boring, wooden actor in the lead role.
Will often be paired with an Exposition Fairy who talks far, far too much. Is not the opposite of Monster Clown or Enemy Mime.
This trope occasionally crops up in other media, but it may be more difficult to pull off, unless done comedically.
They may or may not be an Audience Surrogate.
See Silent Antagonist, for when the villain is like this. Being a Heroic Mime does not necessarily preclude Voice Grunting.
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Link from the Zelda series never says anything, though other characters sometimes react as if he had, meaning that his dialogue is possibly meant to be imagined by the player. (In later games, he often has an Exposition Fairy that speaks in his stead during cutscenes, asking questions and so on.) In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, there are a few cutscenes that show Link and another character chatting, but none of the words are texted or vocalized. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker he would say "Come on!" to a companion NPC in some dungeons as a command to make them return to him, but that was it. Lampshaded in Twilight Princess, when Midna, when her true form is revealed, notes his silence by saying "What? Say something! Am I so beautiful you've no words left?"
Link's muteness was intended to allow players to project their personalities onto him. Indeed, he was named so because he was the "link" between the player and the game world. Over successive games, however, he has very gradually obtained a personality of his own. While he's still generally mute, in later games he reacts to the world around him and emotes more like a normal person.
Link can sort of speak, when the player is given decision of "Yes or No" questions, the quantity of supplies he or she want to buy, and etc. Easily explained
This became amusing when Link appeared in Soul Calibur II. Ivy can taunt him with "You're all talk!" ...when he hasn't even said a word.
In the auction minigame, you can see Link speak whenever he gives a bid.
Generally, Wind Waker's Link seems to be the most "talkative" one, even aside his "Come on!", since much of the games (including The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass) dialogue works by characters asking questions and the player picking an answer for Link from two choices. The choices are never just "Yes" or "No", but tell rather a lot about Link's true feelings regarding the topic. More than often, both answers would even actually mean pretty much the same, giving Link some actual dialogue, in theory. This also happens, to a lesser degree, in other 3D games.
Even before The Wind Waker, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link's Link actually said "I found a mirror under the table" once. He never says anything else, though.
Link is definitely a Heroic Mime. Not only does he never speak (apart from the player's Yes/No choices), but he can explain things completely to everyone without saying a word. In Twilight Princess, he even told Mayor Bo about the problem with the Gorons and what Renado had said just by nodding.
In Phantom Hourglass, at one point you blow into the mic so that Link can shout through a brick wall to check if anyone is on the other side. It shows a dialogue balloon along the lines of "HEY! ANYONE OVER THERE?", so yeah, Toon Link can talk. He's just usually quiet.
In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Link can be seen "speaking" (with mouth movements) during some cutscenes, but the game displays no text to show exactly what he is saying. Presumably the developers intended that the player would understand the gist of what he was saying, since you would have already seen what he was talking about. Miyamoto and Aonuma have actually stated that the reason the game didn't have voice acting was because they thought having voiced characters would clash with having a Heroic Mime.
It has since been confirmed that the Hero's Shade from Twilight Princess is the Hero of Time incarnation, so his dialogue counts.
Cave Story and its silent robot protagonist, Quote.
Inverted in the WiiWare port: Curly Story gives Curly Brace several lines where Quote had none previously. Quote is still mostly mute (scenes involving him have Curly speak for him), except for one situation in the Plantation; performing a sidequest required to access the Bonus Level Of Hell actually gives Quote a couple of lines.
Not really a hero (unless you go for the not-so-evil ending), but the new overlord in Overlord never says anything either. This continues in the sequels and prequels, with none of the Overlords ever speaking (Lord Gromgard of Dark Legend yawns in the beginning at least, though this is before he even becomes an Overlord).
Amaterasu in Ōkami never says anything, being a wolf. Instead the sidekick, Issun, acts as her mouthpiece... at length. Ammy's own emotions generally get expressed in appropriately canine ways, including gnawing on Issun when he gets too rude.
Often, and amusingly, Issun will interpret Ammy's intentions even when she shows no outward indication of a response, particularly when accepting a quest when she is usually just panting and looking around nonchalantly.
The fact that she doesn't talk is very weird though considering the rest of the zodiac animals do talk.
Ecco the Dolphin uses his voice for just about everything: echolocation, defense, activating ancient technology, and initiating conversations. Of course, the player never hears his half of them beyond the original generic sonar cry.
Mike Jones in Startropics has an odd variation of the trope, but only in the first game. He manages to carry on numerous conversations without us directly hearing what he says. Instead, the game uses the rather clunky solution of having a narrative box pop up in place of Mike's dialog, explaining what Mike is saying ("You tell her that you are looking for your uncle.") The character will then react in normal dialog, often repeating what was just explained. ("Oh! So you're looking for your uncle!") One wonders why the game didn't just give us Mike's dialog if it was going to explain it all anyway, but then again it is a Nintendo title, and they've not huge fans of chatty protagonists. In any case, Mike begins talking in Startropics 2, directly to the player.
Both of the Gungrave games give protagonist Beyond the Grave no lines whatsoever - he doesn't even let out so much as a grunt when taking damage. Most of the time the only sounds you ever hear from him are either gunfire from his twin pistols or the strange squeaky noise of his coffin weapon when he moves. He's fully capable of speaking, he just chooses not to, making gestures (such as raising a finger or nodding his head) that only his ward Mika seems to understand. The only time he ever speaks comes at the end of Overdose, in which he says exactly one line—to Mika, the one person who has no need for him to speak.
Interestingly, this trait was (mostly) carried over in the anime series - Grave and by association, Brandon Heat rarely speaks, but he does get at least a little use out of his vocal chords, in the very few lines he gets.
This was also carried over into his appearance in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover strategy-RPG Chaos Wars; he has no lines of dialog beyond "......", and is the only character with no vocals when acting in combat. It is specifically commented on and lampshaded by other characters at several points.
Much Hilarity Ensues when the protagonist Hyouma tries to get a meaningful response (whether it be asking Grave why he doesn't eat to flat out asking him if he's mute or not) out of Grave, only to be shot down by Grave giving Hyouma his "negative" expression and an ellipsis. It's not that Grave is ignoring Hyouma, Grave is just being himself, and Mika usually has to explain to Hyouma why Grave acts the way he does.
Rookie One in the first Star Wars: Rebel Assault game says little apart from "yes sir", etc. Averted in the sequel, though.
The Rookie in Ghostbusters: The Video Game never talks. Clear effort is put into his facial expressions and mannerisms, though; it's obvious what his thoughts on any given matter are, it's just that the others don't really care since he's only there for his willingness to test stuff that might explode, not for scientific input.
Yuu Kajima, the protagonist of the Gundam video game Blue Destiny, is silent in his own games (as well as most of his appearances in the G Generation series) due to his status as a player surrogate; that's also the reason for his Punny-slash-Meaningful Name, a homophone of "You". However, in adaptations like the novelization and manga, or cameos in other manga, he does have a voice and a distinct personality.
The nameless protagonist of Sierra's Quest for Glory speaks only a handful of times in the span of five games: telling the potion maker about the dryad in the first game, grumbling to himself in the first game, and saying "Right", "Just the facts", and "What's a pomegranate" in the second game. Otherwise, he's your standard Heroic Mime.
Lampshaded in the Fan Remake of King's Quest II, when King Graham (who was a Heroic Mime himself in the original version) triggers an Easter Egg unleashing the Quest for Glory hero. "You don't say much, do you? Surely, you might speak to me of your adventures!"
The fan remake of the second game has an onscreen image of your character baby talking to Simba. The kid shuts you up with a complex commentary about poltergeists.
In the case of Angel Devoid, your PC literally CAN'T talk, since you've been given surgery to make you mute and look like the Big Bad before being dumped into the mean streets. Your "dialog" choices consist entirely of two buttons that allow you to act either intimidating or receptive in response to conversation.
1213 never says anything, but his thoughts are often conveyed to the player in text boxes anyway. Westbury hangs a lampshade on it by yelling at 1213, "WHY DON'T YOU EVER SAY ANYTHING?! I know you can! We taught you! Just a 'yes'! A nod of your head! A grunt! Just tell me you UNDERSTAND!"
Roger Wilco in Space Quest started out as one; starting with Space Quest IV, he has since been given regular dialogue.
Incidentally, this is also the first "talkie" game of the series.
The protagonist of The Crystal Key is a Featureless Protagonist, so he / she initially seems to be one of these. However, this is horribly, horribly subverted if he / she is caught by the villain and tortured to death, although the resultant inhuman screaming contains no words and can't be identified as male or female.
The protagonist of Spider And Web is a borderline example: he/she can answer "yes" and "no" to the interrogator's questions in the Framing Device interrogation scenes. He can also say "tango" and "waltz" (keywords to turn a device on/off). Of course, this is because he's being interrogated, and is therefore trying to say as little as possible.
In Journey, you are the Red Robe. You travel through the desert, release cloth creatures, avoid getting caught by the war machines, and never give up on your goal without a single word coming out of you.
The game's most innovative feature is its form of multiplayer. At any level except for the beginning, there are high chances you'll meet a companion in the game online, regardless of his/her appearance or gender. Unlike most other multiplayer games, you can't see the other player's names, so the only way to communicate is singing a note - there is no text or voice chat in the game, so you must rely entirely on your in-game abilities to work with your partner. He/she may help you over the course of the game if the player wants to. Justified as not just everyone including you but almost the whole game is visually and aurally wordless.
In Dark Cloud, Toan gets no dialogue, though he clearly carries on conversations with other characters. It gets ridiculous, with him making hand gestures to indicate he's saying something, but nothing comes out. Averted in the sequel.
The main character in Lone Siren never says a word. The exceptions are 'Oh!' and 'Ah!', though they're just sound effects.
Played with in Knytt Underground. The main character is mute, and has a bit of trouble with it until chapter 3, where she gets two fairies (a nice idealistic one and a cynical snarky one) that talk for her. It's also possible to learn magic in the game, but you can't actually use it because it requires speaking.
In The Journeyman Project trilogy, the protagonist Agent 5 never says a word in the first game. In the second game, your version of Agent 5 (now known as Gage Blackwood) never says anything, but you have several interactions with Gage's future self who talks quite a bit. In the third game, Gage talks in live-action cutscenes and, apparently, talks to other people through the Chameleon time-suit's voice modulator that adjusts his voice to match a projected image. Then again, we don't get to hear that voice. Note that the third game is the first to allow interaction with characters from the past thanks to the Chameleon's suit holo-projection technology. Attempts to interact with characters in the second game in the old-fashioned bulky time-suit result in a Nonstandard Game Over (French knights will kill you, while pre-Columbian Mayans will worship you as a god).
Taken to a ridiculous extreme in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Adventure Mode, where nearly everyone is a Heroic Mime plotwise. Even the villains. Even the characters who do speak in their own games. At times it seems like the characters are communicating telepathically. You had to read the official website just to find out what was going on. The only exceptions are Snake (who gets one line) and a few instances of Calling Your Attacks.
In the interest of fairness, the reason for the necessity of All There in the Manual is due to two scenes that were removed from the final version. Most of the plot and character interactions can be inferred from their actions... just not the most important ones.
Def Jam Vendetta has four generic protagonists with the exact same story and cutscenes, and not one speaks a single word except for the occasional "Yeah!" or grunt. Very awkward, especially considering all the smack talk, threats, and jabbering dished out by everyone around them.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has two player-controlled characters, USMC Sergeant Paul Jackson and SAS Sergeant "Soap" MacTavish. Both are unable to respond verbally, although when you get a choice you can respond physically. ("Want to run through the training-house again? Just rearm yourself and slide down the rope." You also play as Lieutenant Price for two missions, and he doesn't speak while you have control of him.
This gets even weirder in multiplayer, where other players on your team will shout out useful information such as "grenade", "changing mag", or "planting claymore" when they're performing these acts - but when YOU do them, you don't hear yourself say it, but your teammates are able to hear you saying it.
This can end up getting you killed, as the other team can also hear your chatter, which can give away your position.
Lampshaded in World at War - while crawling through a burnt-out building in Berlin, a bunch of soldiers start complaining about the smoke, at which point Sgt. Reznov tells them to shut up, mentions how he and Dimitri (your character) "crawled through smoke and rubble in Stalingrad", then says "do you hear him complaining?"
In the very first mission, when you are playing as Miller, your Japanese captor says to you, "You think because you say nothing, you're strong?"
Interestingly enough, Soap MacTavish is the player-character's NPC squad leader in Modern Warfare 2, which means he has actual, pre-written characterization. This in itself isn't all that bad, and indeed is a clever Continuity Nod, but Soap's personality is sure to have conflicted with what some players imagined him to be while playing as him during his Heroic Mime phase. For other players, it was Soap's ridiculous hair that conflicted with their ideas.
Black Ops also had Dimitri Petrenko return as a NPC with both his face shown and his voice revealed, as well as a semblance of a personality, in "Project Nova."
Black Ops averts this on the whole: It's the first time the character the player controls talks often.
For the first time in the series, the Thermal Imaging TV Operator aboard the AC-130 in Modern Warfare's "Death From Above" mission could be heard speaking during the mission. Call of Duty: Black Ops is also the first game to have every protagonist speak during the mission, allowing them to actually communicate what they see and do to the rest of the group.
Modern Warfare 2 and 3zig zag all over the place with this trope.
In MW1 you play as a Soap MacTavish, and you spend the entire game mute. Then, in MW 2, Soap is an NPC and your commander, and now is just as talkative as anyone else. Later on, you play through a mission as Soap again, and once again, you're mute.
In MW3, you start the game from Soap's perspective, still mute this may be fridge logic because you are bleeding to death. Later on in the game you play from someone else's perspective and Soap is now talking again.
Several missions have you playing as a character named Yuri. While the character plays as Yuri, he is a Heroic Mime. However, in the last mission of the game, you switch to Captain Price. You then play alongside Yuri, who is now just a talkative as Price is. Even more interesting is that, when you're playing as Price, the trope is averted, as you can clearly hear Price speaking to Yuri.
The Battlefield 3 campaign has both Staff Sergeant Blackburn and "Dima" not say anything when you're playing as them, although Blackburn speaks during the interrogation cutscenes between the levels. The "Kaffarov" level subverts the trope with the "Kaffarov" level, as when you switch to Blackburn at the end of the level, Dima appears as a speaking NPC. The trope is played straight however with Corporal Jonathan Miller.
Coincidentally, "Dima"'s NPC appearance at the end of "Kaffarov" is the only time he actually speaks; the ending cutscene only has him doing a voiceover of a possible suicide note.
The Rookie from Halo 3: ODST, to the point where he doesn't even have a credited voice actor. This is lampshaded by Dutch when he hands you the silenced SMG:
Now's one of those times, pays to be the strong silent type.
However, it just feels odd when you finally find Dare, and she asks the Rookie questions about the situation. He just stares back.
Fireteam Crimson from Halo 4's Spartan Ops campaign. They never speak, and get no characterization, except for being highly efficient at their job. Indeed, given that they are the players' multiplayer avatars manifest into a canonical setting, the variation of possible Fireteams Crimson is too heavy to be able to give them a set character of any sort.
In Marathon, the main character never talks in-game, leading to the conclusion that he is a heroic mime. He doesn't even type anything on the terminals; Durandal just talks for him. However, in the chapter screen from "Simulacrums," we see him talking to a few BOBs, but again, no dialogue is actually heard.
Speaking of WWII FPSes, this also applies to the Medal of Honor games. In fact, the series' first PS2/Xbox/GC installment, Frontline, sort of pokes fun at this: During the mission Nijmegen Bridge, a fellow soldier asks you to disarm some charges placed along the bridge, and quips "Good. I take your silence as a "yes"."
Joseph Griffin in Rising Sun gets a physical appearance, yet he's still a heroic mime in the cutscenes.
So that they could have the enemy characters shouting things like "Eat a bowl of f#@*, Mason!"
Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life series (and pictured up the top) is one of the most famous. Being a Valve game, there is heavy Lampshade Hanging, with characters remarking that Gordon is a man of few words or offering to do the talking for him. He apparently also makes off-camera expressions that the NPCs will react to (for example, viewing some of the objects in Black Mesa East will prompt different lines from Eli). He does however express concern over getting shot, burned, hitting the ground after a long fall and drowning with moans, grunts and other noises that living creatures use to make others know that they are, as a matter of fact, in pain.
Barney is an example that speaks when the player isn't controlling them, as he doesn't say anything in Blue Shift yet is quite vocal in Half-Life 2 and Episode One. If Adrian were ever to return to series (please?) it's most probable he would finally be able speak as well.
Blue Shift goes out of its way to make it clear that Barney is in fact speaking, but that we can't hear him.
The Opposing Force tutorial does the same with Adrian: "What is your name, soldier?!... SOUND LIKE YOU GOT A PURPOSE!!!... Corporal Shephard, eh?" Unique from the others, not only we never hear Adrian speaking but we don't even see his face as he's wearing a gasmask during all of his screentime and no concept art exists either, except this pre-game image.
Oddly, we do get to hear the voices of Gina and Colette in Decay, though that might be because there are two of them.
Naturally, this is mercilessly mocked and parodied in Concerned, which states Gordon can command squads of La Résistance soldiers by staring hard enough in a certain direction. When Frohman tries this however, it's just creepy.
Played around with in Freeman's Mind, in which we get to hear what Freeman is thinking, if not saying. It shows, as per the show's tagline, that it's perhaps for the best that he kept his thoughts to himself.
John Blade in SiN Episodes is a semi-silent protagonist (apart from a few voice clips and one-liners that don't always make sense in context), and disconcertingly because it's a sequel to SiN and the Expansion PackSiN: Wages of Sin, in which the same main character never shuts up.
Before future episodes were canceled, the developers mentioned in an interview that they thought John Blade worked better like this, but were surprised both by the negative reaction they received and by the fact that opinion seemed literally split down the middle. Had the second episode been released, Blade would've had a much more robust voice track hearkening back to the original game...and an option to turn it off.
Doom 3 and its sequels. This is sometimes awkward when the NPCs are talking to the marine in ways that invite response. It's especially noticeable in the final cutscene, where a group of marines ask the protagonist if he's okay, and he just stares at them, looking dazed. On top of that, in neither Doom 3 nor its Expansion PackDoom 3: Resurrection of Evil was the character given a name, and they're both referred to as "Marine", and it gets used practically as their names.
The original two Doom games, of course, featured no interaction with anybody at all, so this trope doesn't even get a chance to apply.
In Quake IV, the protagonist, Matthew Kane, never speaks, not even when reacting to other characters.
It's possible that he may not even be able to talk normally after what happens to him after being captured. This doesn't explain why he's silent before that, of course, and why when he's rescued he doesn't even nod or shake his head. People talked about him basically every time they saw him before or after, and sometimes asked him questions.
Kane does speak once, in one cutscene, before he's taken by the Strogg. That's it.
Probably the only sign of any personality, at all, in the game happened in the cutscene where he saw a new kind of enemy, the female cyborg zombie and the first on-screen female in the game - she didn't do anything at first, so he got closer, then lowered his weapon and reached for her face with his free hand. That's it. That's all. Generic Space Marine Stoicism all the way.
In First Encounter Assault Recon, the main character Point Man is both unnamed and never speaks, despite having a radio. The other FEAR operatives respond to this by talking about you in the 3rd person while you are listening in and in the loading screens.
In the sequel F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, main character Michael Becket also never speaks.
If he could speak and report his findings to his squad, quite a few of their problems would have probably been avoided.
He may have lost his speech due to the Harbinger treatment.
Averted in the DLC F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn. The main character Replica Foxtrot 813 can be heard responding to other Replicas during the first third of the DLC. However, Foxtrot 813 stops talking after his first encounter with Fettel. Foxtrot 813 speaks in a normal (although slightly deeper) Replica voice, but his last spoken words are in a voice which strongly resembles Paxton Fettel's.
Pointman still doesn't speak in F.E.A.R 3, he seems to communicate solely with glaring and nondescript facial expressions.
In Aliens Vs Predator 2, the main character never talks during the gameplay, but does talk during cutscene. Somewhat justified by saying your ability to transmit via radio was knocked out early in the game (but you can still receive).
Jack from BioShock has one line of dialogue during the intro movie and then never speaks again, unless you count the audio recording of the time he, as a child, was forced to kill a puppy.
Subject Delta, protagonist of the sequel, is completely silent besides occasional shouts of pain. This time, it might be justified by the process that turned him into a Big Daddy also changing his vocal cords; all the other Big Daddies in the game are also silent.
Averted in BioShock Infinite, where protagonist Booker DeWitt comments on his situation to himself, as well as talking to others.
In a strange semi-subversion of this trope, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect has wormholes that you can walk through that allow Cortez to interact with his past or future self. While future-Cortez throws out a multitude of one-liners during these segments, and when you play as the future-Cortez he never talks, but the past-Cortez does instead. It gets especially confusing when Cortez gets backup while hacking a terminal from three future Cortezes, requires you to play all four, one after the other, muting the Cortez each time.
In Geist, player character Raimi, who was separated from his body and ended up on a game-long Body Surf, doesn't speak even when he's trying to convince a friend that he's Raimi. Instead he gives the friend a secret handshake, and somehow all relevant information is transferred; Bryson knows that the nurse is Raimi, who is a ghost, who is going to get him out of there. Raimi's not actually mute, though - late in the game he makes a parrot say "Die!" and a dog trainer say "It's okay boy!"
Averted in Strife. Being an early FPS/RPG, the Mercenary talks to other character via dialogue windows. All the player hears him say are grunts, screams, and "Nope" when trying to use things that can't be used.
Averted with Nomad in Crysis, but played straight with Alcatraz in the sequel. He suffered fatal injuries in the introduction (including his lungs and vocal cords) and only the Nanosuit is keeping him alive.
Subverted in the end, when Alcatraz appears to speak.....but Prophet has taken over his mind. As such, this trope is totally averted in Crysis 3 and Prophet is completely talkative.
Resistance: Fall of Man both averts this trope and plays it straight. While Nathan Hale, the protagonist, does speak and interact with other characters-if somewhat infrequently, his partner in co-op mode does not. The only time we hear his voice is when he calls Hale over.
This trend is continued in R3, with Joseph Capelli's partner John Harper. In Harper's case, however, it may be due to the trauma of losing his family to the invasion.
The series in general zizags this trope. While Hale in RFOM and R2 and Capelli in R3 both speak in cutscenes, they are totally silent during actual gameplay-never commenting on their situation or responding to other characters' dialogue.
Averted with Resistance 2, which has lots of in-game dialogue between all the characters, Hale included.
The game Singularity has an interesting example: the main character is mute for the majority of the game, with one major exception: near the beginning of the game, you are saving an unconcious man in a burning building when you hear an NPC yell out, specifically imploring you not to save the man. Then the NPC he gets killed by falling rubble. You later find out that this was yourself, from the future, having gone back in time to try and prevent the mess you're about to create.
And to prevent the player from figuring this out early, both the main and his NPC partner Devlin are voiced by Nolan North, meaning that when the player hears the shout, he'll likely think it's Devlin shouting.
Metro 2033's protagonist, Artyom, says one word and one grunt when he isn't narrating. Since a railcar is about to crush him at the time, it is, of course, a Precision F Strike.
Subverted in Men Of Valor. Dean talks in loading screens, intermissions, and cutscenes. But outside of that, he's silent.
Hack and Slash
Caim from Drakengard becomes the Heroic Mime when Functional Magic dissociates him from his voice in return for the allegiance of a powerful red dragon. A fair trade-off, some would say. This carries over to the second game, where Caim is STILL mute - but the new protagonist, having made no such deal, talks quite frequently.
Light Gun Game
Time Crisis 4 introduces dialogue to gameplay segments, yet during those segments only NPCs will speak; the main characters will only do so during cutscenes, like the protagonists of 2, 3, and Crisis Zone.
Richard Miller in the first game and Project Titan plays this trope completely straight, never speaking a single word, cutscene or not.
Falcon in the first Silent Scope, and the player character in Silent Scope EX.
Averted in Aion, where you can choose your character's voice and they actually do have lines in voiced cutscenes.
Lampshaded in The Secret World, where one character refers to you as "the strong and silent type" and another complains that one of her visitors spoke too much and too loudly, a trait she's glad you don't share.
Various Nintendo characters, but especially Mario and company usually function as heroic mimes during play. The humorous extremes occurs in Super Mario RPG for the SNES and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the GBA. They pantomime everything.
Super Mario RPG actually took it one step further, as (when he was pantomiming something) Mario would depict the other characters by literally turning into them. One example is when Mario's describing the actions of Bowser, and suddenly Bowser's standing there, pantomiming everything. The catch is that everybody else can see Bowser as well, causing everyone to jump back and hide behind something.
...and then he turns into the Princess (everybody comes out and runs toward Mario), and then back into Bowser (everybody runs and hides again)...
However, Mario does say "Thank You" when you raise him from the dead.
Well, to be fair, most of them can speak ("It's a-me, Mario!" and sometimes "Mama-Mia!" as an exclaimation), they just doesn't do so very fluently so it's still an example.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door parodies the trope in Chapter 4 where Mario and the fake Mario, aka Doopliss, swap bodies and Mario has to find a way to get his name and body back. When you find the fake Mario and the real Mario's allies, one of the allies mention how weird it is for Mario (the fake) to be suddenly chatty when he's been quiet all this time.
Luigi's Mansion subverts this, actually. For most of the plot-related scenes in the game, such as the conversations with E. Gadd and the Toads, Luigi only says single words like "yeah" while doing some approving gestures, but if you snoop around the mansion with the Game Boy Horror and examine many things, he will make many, many snarky comments on most of the objects, not to mention screaming Mario's name at the tap of A.
Luigi himself is inconsistent, even when he's playable; in Super Paper Mario, he talks. In the Mario & Luigi games, he doesn't. In Super Mario Galaxy, the NPC Luigi talks, and the PC Luigi (who is actually a different character... sort of) doesn't; Super Mario Galaxy 2 only features one playable Luigi, who talks, but only while you're controlling Mario.
Jak doesn't speak at all during the first Jak and Daxter game, though he amusingly enough does periodically open his mouth as if about to say something... only to have Daxter speak for him. He becomes a lot more talkative starting from the second, after a long and traumatic stint as a live experiment. Just before he speaks his first line, Daxter begs him: "Say something, just this once!" Daxter makes occasional references to Jak's previous silence throughout the games ("Maybe he's mute, like you use to be").
Crash Bandicoot never spoke a single word (not counting his "Uh-oh!" in the first game), communicating only by his actions and, in the later games, nonsensical babbling... however, in the ending of Crash Of The Titans, he does actually manage to speak one word, "Pancakes". Based on the reactions of the other characters and even his own reaction, it seems very likely that this is the first time he's ever spoken a single word.
Zeke from The Haunted Mansion video game. He doesn't speak during the adventure, but he does narrate the opening and closing scenes.
Classic Sonic in Sonic Generations, due to the fact he never spoke in the Genesis games. Modern Sonic is an aversion, which makes seeing them both converse in cutscenes a little weird. Many characters do lampshade hanging with this when trying to get the mime to talk.
Sackboy/girl doesn't speak, only making squeaking noises when collecting prize bubbles or using bounce pads. Whether online voicechat/typing counts is debatable.
Chell from Portal, another Valve game. Mind you, she doesn't have anyone to talk to but a mad AI trying to kill her and a cube.
It's lampshaded by GLaDOS, naturally. Chell's lack of response to her monologues leads her to say "Are you even listening to me?"
The game's co-writer Erik Wolpaw suggested she's just in a sulk:
I always had this feeling of Chell as a character who's just pissed off the entire time at having to do this, and just not giving them the pleasure of saying anything. She probably can talk.
Portal 2 parodies it in an early scene where Wheatley asks Chell to speak, and a prompt appears telling you to press the button that you usually use to jump, to speak to him. Obviously, once you press the button, Chell just jumps instead. This is Played for Laughs starting when Wheatley suggests that Chell has suffered brain damage from her long sleep, and then continues to hint at it throughout the rest of the game. After completing a small puzzle: "It just goes to show, that people with brain damage are the real heroes." Also, both he and GLaDOS say that she's a mute.
At one point, GLaDOS calls Chell a "dangerous, mute lunatic" to her face.
At another point, early in the game, GLaDOS delivers a thinly disguised insult, and then a few minutes later decides to spell it out for her, because "You didn't react, so I was afraid it sailed right over your head".
A cut scene has GLaDOS stop the elevator halfway down and ask Chell if there's anything she feels like apologising for. The player (presumably) can't respond. GLaDOS gives up after a few tries and say she'll "ask again in a few decades."
Lab Rat, a comic tying together Portal and Portal 2, goes slightly out of its way to preserve this: the page of her personnel file where she's asked a question reports "Subject refused to answer."
The protagonist's silence is justified at the very end of Sequester—he hasn't spoken a single word since his sister died. Even when he has nightmares (like the one the whole game may have been), he doesn't scream in his sleep.
Real Time Strategy
In the single-player component of World in Conflict, the player takes on the role of Lieutenant Parker, who never speaks and in cutscenes is seen mostly from behind, hiding his face. Or something else prevents a clear view of his face.
It's actually strongly implied that it is Parker who provides the Narration between missions, but as far as gameplay itself is concerned, he's a Mime through and through.
Taken slightly further with the Soviet Assault counterpart Lieutenant Romanov, who never even is present for the cutscenes.
While the first campaign was ambiguous on the matter, Chaos Rising made certain that he was a "talks but isn't heard by the player" variation, as he makes frequent inquiries during the mission briefings. Retribution moved away completely from the trope however, as every character except The Ancient speaks and this is due to a vow of silence he made.
The Force Commander does speak in the intro, although it's hardly canonic.
The original commanders in StarCraft are all silent and nameless (only referred to by their title: Magistrate/Commander, Cerebrate and Executor), and hence don't really have much say in their comrades' actions. The Protoss Executor was retconned to be Artanis while the Terran and Zerg commanders appear to have been removed from continuity entirely, replaced by Raynor and Kerrigan acting independently.
For clarification. Both the Zerg Commanders were Cerebrates, the one in the main game was killed by Zeratul, the one during Brood War would have been likely killed off by Kerrigan after the events of the Brood War. The Terran Commander of the main game was the Magistrate of Mar Sara, in a novel s/he was stated to have left Raynor's Raiders after escaping from Mengsk. The Terran Commander in Brood War was a UED Captain who either died to Kerrigan's Swarm or managed to be one of the few survivors. The Protoss Commander of Brood War has yet to be elaborated upon (as Artanis only returned to an executor position during the last mission of the game), there's an idea in the fandom that it could have been Selendis (who is introduced in StarCraft II as Artanis's protege).
In Pikmin, Captain Olimar provides exposition and comments on the Pikmin and their properties. In Pikmin 2, this role was taken over by the Hocotate Ship's AI, leaving Olimar (and his new sidekick Louie) silent.
The Protagonist in Baroque is... confusing. He initially starts off without talking, and is even established as being unable to speak in an early cutscene and NPC dialogue. Then, later in the game, he starts talking in cutscenes. This is about normal for the game.
In the first two Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, the only time your character actually gets proper lines is in the ending ( When they say goodbye to their partner), as they resort to implied speech and inner monologues otherwise. Attempting to speak to them while they're in a dungeon in Explorers only gets you some Visible Silence, while in Rescue Team, they use the same generic quotes any other Pokemon of their species would.
There's another minor exception in Explorers' "Sentry Duty" minigame, where the PC is the one who shouts "The footprint is [Pokémon]'s! The footprint is [Pokémon]'s!"
Growlanser I, III, IV, V, and VI feature a silent protagonist. The player can select many dialogue options, but there is no voice acting for them nor do they speak in cutscenes.
Crono from Chrono Trigger is the big one — so big, in fact, that this is lampshaded in one of the endings (his first and only line of dialogue is met with a surprised "Crono talked!"), though a ghostly version of him in Chrono Cross did speak.
The main character in Chrono Cross actually has the title "Silent Protagonist" in his status window. When the he switches bodies with the false antagonist Lynx, Lynx begins talking through Serge, with Serge's mugshot accompanying. A few party members will point out that Serge had, up to that point, never said a word, but still remain entirely fooled. Of course, Serge never says a word as Lynx.
In fact, the only times Serge (the main character of Chrono Cross) is seen even possibly talking are three fold: Twice, it fades to black as he supposedly is explaining something (once with Norris in the back half of the game, I remember), and once his dialogue box does say, with the quotation marks—"..."—when someone asks him what's wrong and he passes out.
How about that time when Korsha ask Kid to be his wife and that Serge suggest what to do, getting Kid to kick him?
Lampshaded in Super Mario RPG. One boss has the ability to create clones of Mario and his party members. Using Mallow's Psychopath ability, which can read an enemy's mind with good timing, on a Mario clone will throw up a message box full of ellipses.
In the GBA Golden Sun games, Issac and Felix are Heroic Mimes when you play as them, but have a number of speaking roles when you're playing the other. Both have speaking roles in the ending, where you're not playing as either, Felix also says "why" once when you are in control of him.
...which is just a mistranslation. The original line is "?"
One scene in The Lost Age has Jenna and Sheba demanding Piers to tell them his age and they tease him over it when he refuses. Piers begs Felix to stop the girls from teasing him but Felix says nothing, causing Piers to think Felix is in on the girls' shenanigans.
Isaac's first speaking appearance in The Lost Age shattered quite a lot of notions fans had about him from the first game— up until that point he'd been presumed to be a total Nice Guy from his actions, so it was a little startling for him to start snapping at people.
Rudy Roughknight, from Wild ARMs for the Playstation. This becomes even more apparent in the remake Wild Arms: Alter Code F for PS2, where Rudy never speaks, but his two companions never shut up, even when they're all by themselves and are the sole party member controlled by the player. He has one whole line in the original if you skip Cecilia's intro and keep playing as Jack, allowing you to talk to him.
He does have one other line, where he apologizes to Calamity Jane for saving her life.
The main character in Legend of Mana, who is given a yes or no option (although some of the variations have quite the attitude in them). It is even parodied in the quest Gilbert: School Amour, where the hero/heroine tries to convince the kids to return to school. One states that "Adults are boring and they only answer questions with a yes or no. I bet you're no different, aren't you?" Your only responses are "Yes" and "No".
They do get a single line of dialogue at the end of the Jumi quest line. After being cured of their petrification, they return home and tell Bud and Lisa "I'm back!"
The heroes of every Dragon Quest game are heroic mimes, which is quite ironic since they often get to become kings and rule fairly large countries in DQ 1, 3, 5, and 6 (the "State of the Kingdom" speechs must be quite short) and also often become role models for characters who happen to speak A LOT. The main character of Dragon Quest VIII is not only a mute, he falls in love with a princess who spends most of the game mute herself, due to being turned into a horse.
That's only "mute" in terms of the English/Japanese/Whatever language. She whinnys quite a lot (she's so loud, you can even hear her during Party in My Pocket moments.)
In terms of him, he actually pantomimes alot, making one think he is actually mute rather than just a silent hero. Which is sort of odd, because there is a (voiceless) scream ability in combat.
In Dragon Quest IV, each chapter has a different main character - the main character for that chapter doesn't speak, but if you meet main characters from other chapters (e.g. Torneko can meet Ragnar in the Endor casino) then they talk like normal. The only exception is Chapter 4, where Maya and Meena, the two main characters for the chapter, speak freely between themselves. The DS port also had the "party talk" option that greatly expanded the main cast, but this was inexplicably missing in the English release.
Played with somewhat in the ending of Dragon Quest Swords. After the heroic mime defeats the villain the City of Avalonia is in celebration. Anlace and Fleurette encourage the hero to say something inspirational to the assembled masses. The hero's father Claymore then puts in his own opinion, "Take no notice of them, lad. Now's not the time for words."
The Hero's awake world counterpart in Dragon Quest VI is able to speak normally like any of your party or NPC.
Interestly, in Dragon Quest V there's a point where due to Time Travel, you meet your older self as a child, and your younger self as an adult. In both cases, the "other" you speaks freely.
Ryu, from the many Breath of FireRPGs. In Dragon Quarter Ryu talks, and this time, Nina is silent for plot-related reasons.
In Breath of Fire I, Ryu has two lines. When you briefly gain control of Nina, you can talk to the sleeping Ryu who will mumble a few words about his sister. He also says, "Well, there is one thing..." when asked by the King of Winlan what he wants as a reward for saving the King and Nina.
Ryu actually does talk in IV's ending, when he reunites with Fou-Lu and becomes a full dragon. He's also quite verbose, with a sprite that actually shows him talking...but not actually letting you see what he says. Other characters react as if he just explained something quite complicated, and you get the impression of what he said, but really, Capcom?
Adol from the Ys RPG series always has his dialogue summed up in the third person; for example, "Adol explains what he saw at the shrine".
Ys III: Wanderers From Ys gives Adol many lines of his own in the original version. The new age remake Oath in Felghana changed that to bring it more in line with the rest of the series.
In the PC Engine CD version, where most characters are voiced, he only speaks in text.
He also speaks once in II: "Wait! I Was Once a Man, Dalles turned me into a monster."
Also averted/subverted in Mask of the Sun.
Again averted/subverted in the crossover Ys vs Sora no Kiseki and even then he hardly says any lines.
He has one speaking line in Ys Seven, when he's switched in as the active character he will say "All right!".
"Raidou explained the circumstances of the investigation to * insert name here* "
Ari, the protagonist in Okage Shadow King is perfectly capable of speaking, but is so unimpressive that no one pays any attention to what he says anyway, literally overshadowed by his own shadow. Also every dialoge choice aways offer a choice of "......" or a line in that's only spoken in his head.
The Avatar in the Ultima series. The series lampshades this at one point, in the form of a stage play making fun of the Avatar's propensity for silence.
The play actually makes fun of "hi", "name" and "job" being the only three lines that the Avatar speaks, or at least that he uses over and over.
This is Averted in Ultima IX where the Avatar gains a voice actor and personality. Which the fan backlash really does prove that some characters are better off voiceless.
The player character Trainers in the Pokémon series don't talk a lot, although there's a short and very confusing conversation with a mimic in Pokémon Red and Blue in which the player character does say a couple of lines, asking the mimic girl if she likes imitating people. It's also lampshaded in Gold and Silver, which ends with fighting Red, the protagonist of the last game, who only speaks in ellipses, although the dead-serious delivery of it definitely makes it a Moment Of Awesome for the series.
In HeartGold and SoulSilver, the mimic girl returns, "imitates" the main character saying that s/he will help her find her doll, and then adds that she knows that's not what you said, but wants you to help all the same.
Lampshaded again in HeartGold and SoulSilver - you can talk to your Pokémon and one of the responses is "[Pokémon name] seems nervous. Want to say something?". If you say "Yes" it responds, "Whoa! Your Pokémon seemed surprised!"
In Black and White, there are two instances of what might be Hilda/Hilbert speaking aloud to themselves, in which they express curiosity as to the source of the sounds coming from the top of Dragonspiral Tower. The messages are expressed in an unusually personal-sounding tone, and appear in unique text boxes at the top of the screen rather than the bottom. Their true nature, though, is ambiguous, as no other characters are around to "hear" them.
Also, while you are silent, there's a lot more implied talking than in other games.
Partially subverted in Black 2 and White 2. The player character still keeps their traditional silence throughout the main course of the game. As an actor at Pokéstar Studios however, the character is able to recite full lines of dialogue during the movie.
In Pokémon Colosseum, this is usually the case. Wes doesn't speak, except during Pokémon Battles when the player uses the Call command, a game mechanic unique for this game, most often used to make a Shadow Pokémon snap out of the rage it tends to fly into due to the dark corruption that Shadow Pokémon are cursed with. When this happens, Wes simply shouts its name.
The protagonist in Pokémon X and Y is the most vocal yet. You still have no real pre-created dialogue but several times throughout the game you're given options with dialogue.
Subverted in Pokémon Conquest; while the main character does not speak during cutscenes except for surprised expressions and reactions, outside of cutscenes and during battle, s/he is pretty talkative, though his/her lines are mostly stock phrases for the situation.
In Earthbound, whoever is the current party leader (which varies between chapters) won't utter a peep, but will promptly start speaking once the leader role changes. Ness is only heard once, through a magical mind-reading screen.
Though NPC's have implied your character saying things. Such as a Cultist saying to Ness "What? You're saying I can only stand in one spot? I'll prove you wrong"
Also done in Mother 3 where the character the player controls never talks, but will once the player is controlling someone else. One scene, which takes place at the start of Duster's chapter, is a repeat of a scene from Flint's chapter, with Flint actually saying something this time around, to symbolize the role of player character moving to Duster, who doesn't speak for the rest of his chapter.
Lucas, as the main character, does have a single line of dialogue; however, it's easy to miss as he's repeating a line an NPC said. Most players won't check the name of the person saying it and dismiss it as Welcome to Corneria.
All the Shin Megami Tensei series, and its subseries (Digital Devil Saga, Persona), use this.
Except for Devil Children, where the protagonists talk just as much as the other characters.
The protagonist of Persona 3 is a borderline example who is more of a heroic The Quiet One than a Heroic Mime. He makes sounds in combat, including persona invocations, and the player must make him respond to other people's dialogue, but he never speaks more than one sentence at a time. Around SEES, he's generally rather quiet, sticking to one-on-one conversations with the rest of the cast, causing Shinji to lampshade his general quiet; he does talk outside the player character giving him lines (small talk and discussions with Social Links/other SEES members), but the player never sees these lines. (This is not so much the case with the alternate female protagonist, whose personality as indicated by her dialogue prompts is considerably more energetic, but her conversations with characters aside from player-chosen prompts are similarly glossed over.)
Ditto with the protagonist of Persona 4. Some personality can also be gleaned from the dialogue options. In P4, for example, the option of telling people to 'calm down' comes up repeatedly - almost to the point of it being a bit of a running joke.
Persona 4 is an odd case. The addition of full team control means that the protagonist is actually telling each character what to do in real time, even though the player never hears them. Also, in a number of group situations and meetups, the protagonist is seen talking among the group quite casually and easily. While spoken dialogue is almost non-existent, in-universe he's reasonably chatty.
Persona 2 has a variation of the trope. The main characters of Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment (Tatsuya and Maya, respectively) are party members in the other's game. So in the game one is the protagonist, he/she will be mute; in the other game, he/she will be able to talk. Anyone who played both versions can confirm the strangeness of hearing a previously mute character talk, which is quite interesting.
Stranger with Maya, who in the first game is established as being chatty and scatterbrained, but doesn't utter a peep in the second. Tatsuya always maintains his calm, cold personality, even when he starts talking.
Serph, the main character of Digital Devil Saga, does not make so much as a noise in the first game. He gets a sort of confused grunt near the beginning of the second, which may not be enough to prepare the player for the flashback sequence in which he is downright chatty.
Only sort of. The talkative Serph in the flashback is not actually the player character, but the man (now dead) your Heroic Mime was based on. Your Serph is always silent. And it is actually a plot point, hammering the point the two are nothing alike.
Serph does have a few text options that are more than Yes or No. One of them even prompts hilarity from Heat.
The Protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is actually quite talkative, and in fact this is a major gameplay aspect for recruiting demons, but all of his dialogue must be chosen by the player. While out in the field, with few people to talk to, all his lines occur in Demon Negotiation unless he's receiving instructions from other Strike Team members in the area; during plot scenes, he will restrict himself to choosing from several alignment-defining options, but is otherwise The Stoic as far as the crew is concerned.
The Protagonist of Devil Survivor is this as well; however, he has many dialogue options, some that can even influence events that take place. His default characterization seems to be stoicism, however.
Averted in Fable: the hero has no dialogue, but he says single words (such as "Follow" or "Shit") when you use certain commands, and mouths "Mum!" when his mother is killed right in front of him.
The Hero of Fable II has no speaking lines aside from grunts and screams and the occasional "Yeah!". These mostly appear when performing expressions. The Hero of Fable III however has several lines of dialogue though they are few and far between.
Solar Boy Django is almost silent in the first Boktai game. (This gets a bit strained in the longer cutscenes — Otenko or Sabata has to do all the talking for him.) He has a few lines in the sequel, and in Lunar Knights, where he and Sabata are on a more even keel as protagonists, he has plenty to say.
Gogo in Final Fantasy VI is a literal heroic mime, who talks to you a couple times. He (or she) can imitate anything the other characters can do right after it is done.
In Lufia, the GBA installment Ruins of Lore. Eldin reacts a lot, and vocalizes a lot of "..." and "?" and the like, but only gets one speaking line: "I'm Eldin."
Played with (and possibly deconstructed) in the Japan-onlyDigimon video games for the Wonderswan. Ryo Akiyama starts off talking normally, but Taichi notices that he stopped responding to people once he reveals that the D-1 Tournament was actually just an elaborate Training from Hell so that Ryo could go defeat Milleniummon for the umpteenth time. In Brave Tamer, he says his name and "card slash", but that's about it. It's implied to be voluntary, as he's been pretty traumatized in these games.
Indie RPG Breath of Death VII ruthlessly parodies the concept with the mute skeleton hero Dem. Other characters constantly go against his desires and suggestions since he can't express them, and the one character who can understand him, a mind reader, ignores his opinions anyway.
The main protagonist in Dark Cloud. Altough the game is text based he is never seen speaking more than an occasional Ellipsis or two. The other playable main characters do speak during cutscenes and other times, while playing as them in a dungeon they are silent save for a few attack noises.
Despite no one having any voiced lines in the game Metal Saga (All dialogue is in text form) the player character gets special mention because he says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING the entire game. His normal line is "...." If he sees something curious he goes "...?" Something startling? "...!" A giant peach emerges from the sand wielding a knife? "..?!" Of course, he has answer choices with plenty of "dialogue," but it is unknown if these are merely his thoughts, or if he is communicating them some other way, like writing it down.
Other than the player-chosen dialogue trees and Voice Grunting, the protagonists (Vault Dweller, Chosen One, Lone Wanderer, Courier, etc.) in the Fallout series are never heard speaking.
All the players characters in the The Elder Scrolls series unless you count spin-offs like Redguard.
Though possibly subverted in Skyrim Sheogorath IS the hero from the previous game, due to the result of a certain expansion pack, though one could argue that The Champion of Cyrodill no longer exists at this point being all of his/her previous personality being overwritten but still keeping the memories
As a first for the mothership titles in the Tales Series, Ludger, the protagonist of Tales of Xillia 2 is completely silent, save for some grunts, yells (In which regard he manages to outdo the entire cast) and the usual calling of attacks in battle (Though even in that case, he only ever says the attack's name, leaving out the usual Badass Creed from his solo Mystic Artes, and letting his partner say it for the dual Mystic Artes). The only actual lines you can hear from him are for the dialogue choices you pick in skits and cutscenes, and they aren't actually voiced until you enable the option in a New Game+. On the few instances where he runs into an Alternate Self, however, they do talk.
The New Kid in South Park: The Stick of Truth, and the other characters all treat him as if he can speak but is merely choosing not to, usually out of some misplaced sense of entitlement. Even his own parents get irked at his silence. The only time he speaks is in the ending, where when the guys ask him what he wants to play next, he tells them "Screw you guys, I'm going home".
Shoot 'Em Up
In the first Star Fox, Fox McCloud never says anything other than the occasional "All ships report in!" The later games make him a bit more chatty.
Subverted in Hydorah. About two thirds of the way through the game, something happens that is so random that the usually mute protagonist blurts out "What the hell was that".
Blaze in Ace Combat 5 is apparently only capable of saying yes, no, and basic orders to his wingmen. This becomes especially noticeable in missions where the flight leader must speak; in those cases, another character takes over as lead.
He apparently speaks enough for one character to be able to recognise his voice.
Ace Combat in general is populated by a parade of extremely heroic and extremely silent Ace Pilots as in the last five games in the universe the leads have yet to utter so much as a grunt...
Completely averted in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon with all three of the playable pilot characters (Colonel William Bishop, Major Janice Rehl, and Doug Robinson) speaking in both cutscenes and gameplay, although the AC-130 gunner Spence plays the trope straight. Unlike previous Ace Combats, they're also named and have their faces shown.
Protagonists in Harvest Moon rarely speak aside from "Yes" or "No" answers. They do appear to speak at times, but no dialogue boxes are shown. Recently some games give Inner Monologue.
The nameless main character in Sky Odyssey never talks. However in this case this trope might just be justified. Throughout the entire game he is alone in his cockpit, flying through largely uninhabited wildernesses. Aside from the rare flight control operator there is literally no one else for him to talk to.
Even the iconic, richly-characterised Solid Snake of Metal Gear fame used to be one of these, back in the original game, Metal Gear. While not entirely mute, he spoke a single line, which served more as proof the computer was responding, whenever he attempted to contact an ally via his radio communicator - "This is Solid Snake. Your reply, please...". Oddly, even this little line is so at odds with his later characterisation (he was retooled from a refined, cynical Bond-type into a bitter, highly-intelligentWarrior Poet, although easily for the better) it's difficult to imagine him saying it, even knowing what his voice sounds like...
Dishonored, has Corvo, though ironically most game critics and reviews state that his lack of speaking is one of major flaws of this game, as he pretty much has no personality.
Averted in the DLCs focusing on Daud, who gives narration between missions and speaks to others in cutscenes.
In Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, we have Ralph, although he's more of an anti-hero. Curiously, he does speak in some of the shorts from the original cartoon series, it's just the game that renders him mute. All we ever hear from him in the game is some grunts and heavy breathing.
The real protagonist of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a newly-hired Abstergo Entertainment employee whose task is to go through the extracted ancestral memories of Desmond Miles and find good footage for a video game. In this case, the life of pirate/Assassin Edward Kenway. Unlike the games before this one, the protagonist is this trope, and all modern-day gameplay is done from first-person.
Torque of The Suffering is one of these. It even gets lampshaded by a pot-smoking corrections officer:
Sergei: What? Did you say something? No, I only think you did, hehehehehe... you're a quiet man.
Interestingly, they give him several lines of dialog in the sequel.
Played straight and averted in Metro 2033 game. Artyom, the protagonist, never speaks during the game itself (besides uttering Fuck during one accident), even if on multiple occasions other characters speak to him or even ask questions (which is also lampshaded few times). On the other hand, Artem is narrating the story during the loading screens.
Artyom can be seen as a quiet, introverted person. In his room, in the beggining of the game, he is seen daydreaming about the world before the war. He also has an extensive collection of books, like "On the origin of species"
Jennifer in Rule of Rose isn't entirely mute, but she never takes part in any conversations, just passively listening to the other characters, probably to show how detached she is from the rest of them. She only speaks to call for her dog...until near the end of the game when she's finally had enough, and tells exactly what she thinks about the "Aristocrats".
The Lauras from the D Trilogy (D, Enemy Zero and D-2) are all mute characters. But E0's Laura subverts this trope, by grunting, gasping, screaming, sobbing and talking in several occasions. (when you load the game and when you beat the game)
Ib: Ib herself. The only speech we get from her is when the player answers a question, and implied speech (for example, when she first meets Garry, he asks her name, pauses and then says "Ib... Ib you say").
Isaac Clarke in Dead Space, speaking little except in anguished screams of pain or grunts/yells of exertion while using melee attacks. He does, however, take notes on his mission objectives in the main menu. According to the dev team, the debate between this approach and having Isaac speak continued right up to the game's launch. The only time he speaks proper is when he yells a distorted "Come on!" at the end when the door to the shuttle's bridge is locked.
According to the aforementioned notes, Isaac has the expected reaction when trapped on a space station that's crawling with mutated undead. He's scared out of his mind.
Isaac drops this in all subsequent games in the franchise, the dev team having apparently decided that the Heroic Mime trope wasn't working for them.
The Silencer of Crusader doesn't even shout a warning to his fellow Silencers before they're gunned down, he's such a Heroic Mime. He does grunt when he gets hurt.
It's taken to the point of absurdity in Shining Force III, which rotates the viewpoint through three main characters. Each one has scenes where he's implied to be saying something, but all that displays is "...", and the other characters get Repeating so the Audience Can Hear lines to show the player what the main just said. And then there are the scenes where two main characters talk to each other - despite the fact that there's a script for both characters, and everyone in the scene reacts as if both of them are talking, the main character's dialogue just displays ellipses, meaning you have to play through the same scene twice just to hear what everyone in the game can understand fine both times.
Max actually does speak in Shining Force'' (at least, in the GBA Remake)? He only becomes mute because of plot circumstances.
Bowie, the Hero in Shining Force 2, is not entirely mute, either. His lines are few and far between (sometimes hours of gameplay apart) and mostly gratuitous, though.
The playable character Arthur from Shining The Holy Ark is for the most part completely silent. The player does get the choice of some Yes/No answers but regardless of what answer you give the same thing will happen, just with a slightly difference conversation.
Shining Wisdom has yet another mute hero, Mars. Whats particularly annoying is the princess is turned into a swan and replaced by a fake and the fake pretends you recused her. You can't say anything so the fake steals a special object that almost certainly dooms the kingdom.
Revya, the main character from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Sociopathic Hero Gig usually speaks for the both of them, often to the great disadvantage of the player and usually followed by some rather sharp, pointed and violent disadvantages to any offended parties resulting from Gig's verbal lambastings.
The protagonist does, however, have a fairly clearly defined personality; it's just that his/her lines have no voiceovers, probably due to the fact that he/she can be either male or female, which would effectively double the amount of dialogue to be voiced.
Revya makes a cameo in Disgaea 3, however, in which her lines are nothing butVisible Silence. This drives Mao utterly nuts.
Commander Agress from Vandal Hearts 2. Playing with the trope, she is not the main protagonist. In fact, you get her rather late. It seems she's just very softspoken; one party member actually gets angry when another tells her to speak louder.
The main heroes in the Suikoden series tend to be mute. Kinda weird given they command large armies in their games. It's clear that they actually do talk, because whenever your character is given a decision to make (even answering a simple yes-or-no question), you're given specific dialogue options what the hero will say in response. Sometimes you're even given only one dialogue "option" to choose. Though even after voice acting was implemented in the series, you won't hear them speak the lines you pick. Since outside of these situations they pretty much have other characters speak in their place, apparently the heroes of the "main" games are each The Quiet One. Except for Suikoden III, which has three main heroes, all of whom have plenty to say in-game.
The Prince in the fifth game has a lot of personality for a Heroic Mime, though. Like the other characters, he has a very detailed character model, so while he never says a word, his body language and facial expressions speak volumes.
"Claude," the main character in Grand Theft Auto III does not say anything throughout the game. He makes a cameo in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and also says nothing, causing CJ to call him a "mute asshole".
The protagonist of Saints Row does not speak for the majority of the game; various friends and the occasional enemy lampshade it repeatedly during the storylines. You get one (generally completely awesome) sentence in the cutscenes at the end of each gang storyline, and it's startlingly satisfying whenever he opens his mouth. Turns out he was just being a good henchman, and got very tired of being walked all over because of his good henchmanness - in the second and third games, he/she's much more vocal.
Subverted in The Godfather game. During the first tutorial mission the player character does not have any lines at all leading you to believe he's another silent protagonist, but then in the second tutorial mission he begins talking regularly.
Non Video Game Examples
The 1976 film Mohammad Messenger Of God (aka The Message) treats its main character this way, as any depiction of the prophet Mohammed is considered offensive in Islam. Rumors that Mohammed would be depicted on-screen led to its being a Troubled Production and even a threat from an extremist group during the film's US premiere.
The central gimmick of Secret Girlfriend, a short-runningComedy Central series, was that "you" were the main character: the camera would routinely switch to a first person view point and characters would address "you" to move the plot along, leaving the viewer to figure out what the response was by their reactions.
From Phineas and Ferb, Perry the Platypus seems like a normal house pet...but is actually a hyper competent secret agent. This does not mean that he can talk, however. He makes up for this with expressions of pure gold.
This trope is averted in the Paper Mario X series in Mario's case: while he is a Heroic Mime in the original Paper Mario games, he is not here: he doesn't speak a lot, but he does speak, and it's clearly identified when Mario speaks: Mario's dialogue is done script style, while everyone else's uses quotation marks. Mario's even the priest in Link and Zelda's wedding at the end of Super Paper Mario X.
Latchkey Kingdom, a parody of "Legend of Zelda" type games, naturally parodies this trope. In the first chapter heroine Willa Dragonfly doesn't say a word until the last page, where it turns out that she wasn't speaking due to jinx (as in "jinx you owe me an elixir!"). Though in the next chapter a few supporting characters seem to have the impression that she is mute, and truth be told she doesn't say much.
The titular character from Heroman is a robot who never speaks in any single moment from that series.
Seki, the titular character from Tonari no Seki-kun is this. Because his games do not allow the leisure of speaking. He's shown talking when his friends are around, but the readers never get to see him talk.
In Silverhawks, the Copper Kid has mime-like facial markings and is said to come from the Planet of Mimes. Really.