Limited Loadout

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So many guns, so little room.
A form of Player Inventory.

Some games let the player carry an impossibly huge array of weapons. Not these games. When this trope is in effect, the player character is stuck with just a certain fraction of the total amount of firepower in the game at any one time. If you want another option, you'll have to trade in one of your weapons to get ahold of it. Very popular in modern titles compared to the Hyperspace Arsenal days of Doom. A common modern variant will limit the player to just two main weapons at any time as popularized in Halo: Combat Evolved.

RPG games will sometimes allow the player to queue up a few preset selections of items from their inventory to be swapped through on the fly. For this, see Real Time Weapon Change. For RPGs where the player can't carry every single weapon in the game, but their bulging pack of death dealing devices still approaches Hyperspace Arsenal levels, see Inventory Management Puzzle. Frequently a cause of Throw-Away Guns. Often a way of mixing up the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness. Compare Mutually Exclusive Power Ups and Limited Move Arsenal.

Examples:

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     Action 
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo you can have four sets of two guns each and about five or more grenades, then you have to switch something out.

     Action RPGs 
  • In Digimon World 4, each character can set up to three equipped weapons at a time. If you want to use that shiny new sword you picked up from a defeated enemy, you'll have to go back to base and equip it at the Digi Lab. Justified in that this is the Digital World and the Digimon probably have to load the weapon data.

     Adventure Games 
  • Ether One in many ways plays like a point-and-click adventure game of old, albeit with a first-person free-roaming perspective: the player collects inventory items and rubs them against objects in the world to move the plot along. Unlike many of those games of old, however, this one limits the player's inventory to one item. An Inventory Management Puzzle is averted, because the player may at any time teleport to "the case", store excess items on ample shelving space there and then teleport right back to where they were in the game world, but it can still be a bit annoying having to constantly jump back and forth to switch out key items.

     First-Person Shooters 
  • BioShock handles this a little oddly. In the first two games the player has a Hyperspace Arsenal as far as weapons go, but the player is limited to only a select number of plasmid powers at a time, with additional slots costing precious ADAM. BioShock Infinite, however, decided to give Booker acess to every Vigor at once while guns were limited to just two at a time. After that, Burial at Sea brought back the hyperspace arsenal (without telling anyone).
  • Brink limits the player to a primary weapon, a backup weapon, some grenades, a few class-specific weapons (such as specialist grenades for a soldier and landmines for an Engineer), and possibly a knife if they use a pistol as one of their weapons.
  • The Call of Duty franchise follows this, limiting the player to any two weapons, with a third slot for a pistol in the original game, and some non-gun odds and ends (generally frag grenades, adding smoke grenades and other alternatives starting from the second game; the maximum is two grenade types and two other thrown/placed explosives). Rare occasions allow for the player to carry a third weapon, such as killstreak rewards.
  • Duke Nukem Forever implemented this despite Duke Nukem 3D featuring a Hyperspace Arsenal; a later patch doubled the limit because of fan outcry.
  • Fire Warrior has the player able to use two weapons and the bonding knife, but one of those weapons (the standard-issue Pulse Gun) cannot be replaced, forcing the player to drop any good gun they find to get another one.
  • GoldenEye: Rogue Agent only allows the player to carry a single two-handed gun, or go Guns Akimbo with two one-handed guns.
  • Halo is the Trope Codifier for modern shooters. For all their super strength and other perks of being Super Soldier Space Marines, Master Chief, Noble Six, Fireteam Crimson, Blue Team, and Fireteam Osiris can still only carry the same amount of hardware as the Badass Normal ODSTs: Two guns and a few grenades. In fact, depending on the game, the ODSTs can carry more of the aforementioned grenades, and throw them farther as well.
  • Left 4 Dead: You can carry one primary weapon (generally rifles and shotguns) from a selection, one secondary weapon (either an unlimited ammo pistol or two, with the sequel adding options of a single bigger pistol or a melee weapon) and one equipment item of each type (a pipe bomb or molotov, a medkit, defibrillator, or box of incendiary or explosive bullets for the primary weapon, and a bottle of pills or an adrenaline injector).
  • The Mertro 2033 series:
    • Metro 2033: You can carry a primary weapon (one of a selection of assault rifles or an SMG), secondary (shotguns/pneumo guns), a revolver, an Emergency Weapon knife, a medkit containing five syrettes, five pipe-bombs of each kind and five throwing knives.
    • Metro: Last Light allows Artyom to wield any three guns (which are customizable) and up to 5 of each of three types of explosives and the same amount of throwing knives. The Emergency Weapon knife from the first game has been swapped to a Call of Duty style Quick Melee stab. It's still used in Press X to Not Die situations.
  • Perfect Dark Zero has a variant incorporating a basic form of Grid Inventory: Joanna is allotted four slots for weapons, each kind of weapon taking up one (pistols), two (submachine guns and assault rifles), or three (sniper rifle, rocket launcher or machine gun) slots. Gadgets get a similar, separate set of slots, though you can only swap out for a single gadget because two of those slots are dedicated to a gadget that's required for the mission and which you can't otherwise select whenever you want, like the audioscope and CamSpy.
  • Rise of the Triad: The player can hold at one time any number of the infinite-ammo bullet weapons (of which there are three: single pistol, dual pistols, and machine gun) and only one of the limited-ammo missile/magic weapons.
  • Soldier of Fortune 1 and Payback only allowed the player to carry a max of three guns (depending on their size) and a knife, but the second game had a significantly higher loadout limit, e.g. Mullins may lug around a sidearm, shotgun, assault rifle w/grenade launcher, light machine gun, and sniper rifle at once.
  • Crysis uses a weird version. The player has a pistol slot that can go Guns Akimbo (there's only one kind of pistol in the first game, though Warhead adds an SMG that can be dual-wielded), an explosives slot for remote-detonated charges and a missile launcher, and a long arms slot that can hold assault rifles, submachine guns, sniper rifles, and shotguns (pick two).
  • The Far Cry series:
    • Far Cry 2 allowed the player to carry a machete, one primary weapon (typically an assault rifle, though shotguns, sniper rifles and submachine guns are available), one secondary weapon (typically a pistol, though machine pistols, a flare gun, a grenade launcher and remote-detonated IEDs are available) and one special weapon (heavy weapons like machine guns or rocket-propelled grenade launchers), alongside two grenade types (frags and Molotovs).
    • Far Cry 3 allows the player to carry up to four guns and a separate Quick Melee machete, as well as grenades (again, frags or Molotovs) and explosives (C4 packs or proximity mines), though the player has to unlock the ability to carry even a second gun by hunting and skinning animals to make holsters and bandoliers out of their pelts. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4 use almost the exact same system, other than that the former doesn't require you to unlock slots, and the first slot in the latter is dedicated to sidearms.
  • Years before Halo implemented this trope, Jurassic Park: Trespasser gave the player the ability to carry only two items: one in hand, and one stowed.
  • Borderlands plays with this somewhat. You can have up to 4 guns and no more set to your hot keys. However, there is limited space in your backpack to carry extra weapons, and the ones in there are probably just Vendor Trash. The limited space disappears as you progress, though, since you can upgrade your backpack to hold more items - 3 per upgrade. The extra guns in your pack aren't feasibly usable as extra firepower, however, since you're still limited to 6 ammo types (7 in the first), and the game doesn't pause in multiplayer while you swap weapons. A rare and well-executed combination of this trope and Hyperspace Arsenal.
  • Resistance 2 dispensed with the weapon wheel from Fall of Man and imposed a two-weapon limit just like Call of Duty. Fans of the first game reacted with dismay, so the weapon wheel was brought back for Resistance 3. The portable Gaiden Games Resistance: Retribution and Resistance: Burning Skies also averted this trope in favor of the weapon wheel, making Resistance 2 the odd game out in the series.
  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy offers a variant where you start each mission with a limited loadout - your lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and your choice of two bigger weapons and one thrown explosive - but otherwise keeps the traditional hyperspace arsenal the rest of the series has, allowing you to end a mission (or start the second/third part of a multi-part level) carrying two to three times as many weapons as you came in with.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death allows the player to carry two guns, but you are unable to drop the Lawgiver in the single player game.
  • The first PlanetSide 1 limits players to a certain number of ready-to-fire weapons based on their armor's holster slots; a Reinforced Exosuit can carry two long guns and two one-handed pistols or tools, while an Infiltrator can only carry a single one-handed weapon. Each armor also had a different sized backpack to carry ammo, extra tools, grenades, and sometimes even entire weapons, though they must be put in a holster before use. Planetside 2 uses a more rigid class-based system, where players can have one primary weapon, one pistol, a tool, one class ability, and so on.
  • Blood II combined this with Hyperspace Arsenal. Excluding the knife which couldn't be dropped, every weapon you picked up was assigned to a number key in the order you found them rather than a predetermined order, and the only way to carry more than one gun in a single slot was if it was able to be used two at a time. This meant having to drop weapons if you wanted to pick up new ones after a while, since you only had room for nine guns but the game included about twenty.
  • Team Fortress 2 has this as part and parcel of its class system. Every class has (usually) three slots — primary, secondary, and melee — and each slot is (usually) taken up by the same type of weapon — the Soldier's primary will always be a type of rocket launcher, for example.
  • In Titanfall, your pilot has three weapon slots, one each for their primary weapon, anti-Titan weapon, and sidearm. However, you can drop your sidearm to pick up another primary weapon.

     Hack-and-Slash 

     Isometric Shooter 
  • Hatred: The Antagonist can only carry three weapons at a time.
  • Hotline Miami: The player character can only use either a single weapon or their fists. Guns are not reloadable, and tossing the Throw-Away Guns and melee weapons at enemies is a viable and encouraged tactic.

     Real-Time Strategy 
  • Warcraft III: Each hero has six inventory spaces, but units can be upgraded to carry two items (but not use them). There is no limit to the type of item carried, so your character can can six swords around and the damage will stack (custom maps have evolved a wide variety of inventory systems to limit the items used while increasing the items carried).

     Stealth-Based Games 
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, Sam and the two co-op characters Archer and Kestrel are only able to carry one main weapon (a rifle or shotgun) and a pistol. Sam can carry every type of gadget at once but the co-op characters get just any two at a time.
  • Death To Spies: You can only carry one long gun and one pistol at a time. You have a slot for one knife, and if you take more knives they go into the 18 slots used for most other items. You need a backpack to carry mines, wirecutters or dynamite, but you can carry more small items in the backpack if you run out of slots on your personal inventory.
  • The Metal Gear series:
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had a downplayed example, where while your entire arsenal was always available to you, you could only actually select from eight guns or items in your active inventory - everything else was stored in your backpack and had to be swapped out with an active item in the pause menu to use it in-game.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots uses the same system as Snake Eater, although the active weapons allowed are reduced to 5 at a time.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops allowed soldiers to carry four items and four items only.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker uses a similar system to 4, restricting the player to five weapons and eight items that have to be selected before setting out on a mission. The game makes a distinction between primary weapons (actual firearms) and secondary ones (grenades or other tossed/deployed items), and the ratio of each that you're allowed to carry (maximum of three primaries) depends on the outfit your soldier is wearing.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gives Snake access to one sidearm (Pistol or SMG), one primary weapon (Rifle, shotgun or grenade launcher) and one optional heavy weapon (Sniper Rifle, rocket launcher or machine gun).

     Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark 2008: Carnby's inventory consists of what he can hold in his hands and the very limiting confines of his jacket, although you can also keep caches of things scattered about whatever stage you're playing in.
  • Dead Space: Isaac can only equip 4 weapons at a time. The rest must be either kept within the safe (accessible from any of the Ishimura's store consoles) or sold to those stores to free up space.
  • In the Commodore 64 game Project Firestart, you can carry two laser rifles at a time, and there's no way to recharge or swap ammo. If you want to pick up a brand new rifle from the armory, you need to empty out one of the ones you're carrying.

     Third-Person Shooters 
  • In Transformers: Prelude to Energon, you could equip up to four Mini-cons at a time when going into a level, but only two of which (assigned to the R1 and R2 slots) were actual weapons. When you collect a new minicon you have the option to swap it in, but otherwise you have to exit the level and re-enter if you want to change your current set.
  • The first three entries in the Gears of War series give the player access to two primary weapons, a pistol, and grenades on a cross-shaped menu. The fourth game, Judgment, ditches this menu, making pistols just another weapon you carry in your two slots, and grenades throwable at any time with a press of a button. It also sped up weapon switch times and melee speed considerably, and its multiplayer ditched the firepower boost from a perfect active reload, forcing players to utilise their limited arsenal to its fullest effect rather than simply relying on the Gnasher Shotgun to carry them through battles.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has two "special" weapon slots (that can't be used when wielding a thunder hammer or wearing a jump pack) in addition to the chainsword + bolt pistol and the bolter. Special weapons include a storm bolter, plasma gun, remote grenade launcher, sniper, bigger sniper, meltagun... You can also replace your melee weapon from the standard Astartes pattern chainsword to anything from a combat knife to a power hammer.
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Walker can carry any two guns, most of which have a unique alternate fire mode.
  • The first three Syphon Filter games had hyperspace arsenals, but in the second trilogy, they switched to a limit of one of each weapon type(melee, grenade, shoulder arm, sidearm, and auxiliary arm).
  • Max Payne 3 limits the player to carrying one rifle-sized gun and two pistols, and to use the two pistols at the same time you have to drop the rifle.
  • S4 League allows each player to carry up to three weapons and one special skill into a given match. Players are not allowed to swap weapons or skills in mid-match.

     Turn-Based Strategy 
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
    • Every one of your troops gets a primary weapon (the type of which is determined by their class), a secondary weapon (a pistol, unless they're a Heavy in which case they get a rocket launcher instead) and a slot for extra utility items like medkits, grenades, or armor. Support troopers unlock an extra utility slot once they reach a certain rank.
    • Enemy Within DLC:
      • The MEC Troopers have a primary ranged weapon and a secondary, limited use weapon that can be either medium-range (flamethrower) or close-range (Kinetic Strike).
      • A facility called "The Foundry" allows you to upgrade your entire force in some way. One of these upgrades is pure Boring but Practical: giving every one of your soldier an extra item slot. Support troopers have their class granted extra slot replaced by an extra use for any limited use items.

     Western RPGs 
  • Done various ways in Mass Effect, which also makes a point of averting Informed Equipment as your weapons appear in a collapsed form on your character model.
    • Mass Effect, being more of an RPG that happened to have guns in it than a shooter, had a standard RPG Hyperspace Arsenal inventory (hard-capped at 150 items.) However characters were limited to one of each weapon class equipped at a time, were usually only proficient with a couple weapon classes, and couldn't change which weapon went where during combat.
    • Mass Effect 2 only allowed most characters to carry one copy of two weapon classes. Shepard got a heavy weapon as well and depending on his/her class might have additional weapons, and during a particular plot mission could either gain an additional slot or get an infinity plus one gun version of his/her primary weapon (for example, an Infiltrator could add the M-98 Widow Anti-Materiel Rifle to his/her sniper rifle selection). Soldier classes could choose any of the three infinity plus one guns, due to being able to carry all weapons except sub-machine guns from the start, and the game engine only being able to handle Shepard knowing how to hold up to five guns at a time.
    • Mass Effect 3 restricted Shepard's party members to two weapon classes out of five, (and can not deviate from the default encumbrance level) but, as seen in the page picture, Shepard had access to all five slots. Using all five weapons made his/her powers recharge extremely slowly but nobody actively stopped you from doing it. Soldier Shepard can level up to carry a hell of a lot to compensate - Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard Shepard can also carry more than Shepard's other non-Soldier classes/the multiplayer crew. Also, Shepard's class-specific perks only affect certain weapon types. Heavy weapons change to Throw-Away Guns that are placed on the map, replace the equipped weapon when picked up, then tossed when they run out of ammo. Multiplayer characters also had access to all 5 slots, but are limited to a choice of one or two weapons plus a weightless Cobra rocket launcher (classed as a missile launcher despite not locking on) that they always carry, even when empty, and are also under the same weight limitations as Shepard, with carry capacity roughly equal to that of his/her Engineer/Adept classes.
      • ME3 is an interesting case, in that the game expects you to be over-encumbered at any given time, and averts Critical Encumbrance Failure while doing so. The base cooldown for any given power is actually the cooldown time you get if you're exactly 200 weight points over your base capacity (including passives), and that time is added to or deducted from by up to 200% either way, with the minimum times being gained from not being over-encumbered at all, and the worst times coming from being a whopping 400 points or more over-encumbered. Justified by the use of element zero-powered mass effect fields compensating for a fighter's inability to carry their load without slowing down or harming their muscle or skeletal structures, at the cost of taxing their tech generators/biotic abilities.
  • In The Witcher, you can only carry up to four weapons at a time: two Witcher swords (steel and silver), a short weapon (such as a dagger or a small axe), and a heavy weapon (e.g. a large axe or a morningstar). You cannot carry any weapons in your inventory at all, at least in theory: your Fantastic Fighting Styles only actually apply to your Witcher swords, so any other weapon you pick up tends to be Vendor Trash that you're storing in your extra weapon slots until you can sell it.
  • Automated Simulations' Temple Of Apshai. Your character could only carry one weapon (a sword) at a time. If you wanted to pick up a sword you found in the Temple, you had to drop (and lose) the one you were holding.

     Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Dead Rising 2, you are limited to carrying only a certain amount of items in your inventory, as well as certain items you can't keep in your inventory while equipping another item (like the chainsaw). Fortunately, as your level increases, so does the amount of items you could carry.
  • A new mechanic introduced in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and carried on from there is weapon categories, from melee weapons to shotguns to thrown weapons to gifts. It's more than one would expect a normal human being to be able to carry, but it does prevent situations like carrying both a rocket launcher and a flamethrower as was possible in Grand Theft Auto III. This was dropped in Grand Theft Auto V, but even there, you're still better off carrying no more than one weapon of each class of firearm.
    • Saints Row uses a similar system. You have inventory slots for every weapon category but can only carry one of said category in the slot.
  • Just bought some shiny new Pursuit Tech in Need for Speed Rivals? Surprise, your car can only have two. This is especially egregious as a Cop, as apparently an officer with two weapons on his car suddenly loses the authority to radio for helicopters or roadblocks.

Alternative Title(s): Two Gun Rule, Two Gun Limit

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