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Mission Control
Snake can always count on Mei Ling to save his hide again and again.

"Y'know what? ...I'm sick of being the one in the van. You guys are gonna be in the van next time."
Albert Gibson, True Lies

A character or group of characters who, rather than accompany the hero into the field, offers assistance with information and technology from the other end of a phone. Alternatively, a sapient computer that travels with him, but is incapable of rendering assistance physically.

In the modern wired era, Mission Control can provide valuable field assistance by hacking into the local technology by remote, or using ROV's and other remote devices.

The opposite of his partner in the field in many respects. Most times, Mission Control is more intellectual than the heroes, being a planner and strategist rather than a doer. They prefer to sit back and plan, while the hero is brash and forward. If the hero is strong and invulnerable, Mission Control is weak and frail. Various other contrasts may also be built up: if the hero is the strong silent type, Mission Control will be cheerful and will crack jokes. This will often lead to some sort of friction between the two and Character Development as time goes on.

The defining characteristic is that the character provides banter, exposition, information and support, while the hero is still physically alone and isolated. Losing contact with Mission Control can be used as a plot element. Often the hero will mock his backup's unwillingness to risk it all in the field, and be punished when he loses their valuable help temporarily. He'll be all too glad when everything's back to normal, he's risking his neck and MC's back in his chair.

In some series, Mission Control makes up one half of a Spy Couple. If the hero is male, this character is often female, attractive, and in love with him. This type of portrayal is reminiscent of a fifties TV housewife. ("Stay here and mind the base, honey! And don't call unless it's important!")

If a series with a Mission Control runs long enough, they will inevitably be forced into a truly threatening situation. The hero could be captured (see All Up To You), baddies could invade their HQ (a Die Hard scenario ensues), or someone could just catch them off duty. Either the hero will coach them, in a role reversal, or they'll be held captive as a hostage and the hero will have to do his own thinking. Once in a while this results in the death of Mission Control, either we see the death but the hero has no idea, or we and they hear/see it but can't stop it. This often sets up a Dead Sidekick, or if it's in Flash Back, a Dead Little Sister revenge arc. May also fall into A Death in the Limelight.

Sometimes, the bad guy will hack the communications and impersonate mission control, using voice filters and CGI to fool the hero into doing his bidding.

Mission Control has become increasingly common in video games, to put a face and voice on otherwise boring mission objectives and briefings. In such games, as in long-running series, there is roughly an 80% chance (higher in cynical games, lower in idealistic ones) that the Mission Control character will be killed, kidnapped, threatened, have their frequency hijacked by the Big Bad, or otherwise be rendered useless about halfway through the storyline.

Mission Control often overlaps with other character types by function or nature:

Contrast Sinister Surveillance, where the bad guys are watching your every move, contrast and compare Mission Control Is Off Its Meds, where there's a voice, but it's misleading, hostile, insulting, or just insane. Missing Mission Control is a subtrope, which describes any situation where the Mission Control is killed, kidnapped, or otherwise incapacitated.

The sitcom version, where the voice on the other end of the earpiece is Playing Cyrano, is Earpiece Conversation.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Since they can link up via their cyberbrains, various characters in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex serve this role at times, especially Techno Wizard Ishikawa and, even more so, Chief Aramaki (who got to display his calmness under fire when he was caught off duty).
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji Kabuto and Sayaka Yumi were assisted by Prof. Yumi (Sayaka's father, who was the Older and Wiser The Mentor, The Professor and The Lab Rat) and Photonic Research Insitute's Bridge Bunnies, who gave them assistance during missions via communicators.
  • Ryou in Tokyo Mew Mew sometimes serves this role.
  • The Light Bearers from Tower of God. Their main job is to send floating sources of light out to the fighting forces, communicate with all team members and relay information.
  • Two in X/1999: for the Dragons of Heaven (those chosen to save the world), the crippled, blind dream seer Hinoto guides them, while for the Dragons of Earth (chosen to destroy the world), Hinoto's younger sister Kanoe guides them.
  • Emulated in the second half of Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer with the concept of the Second.
  • Hiroshi Ozora in Moldiver.
  • The Long Arch crew in the third season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. We also have the Numbers Cyborg Uno, who takes this role on the villain's side.
  • The Pretenders in Transformers Super God Masterforce drifted into Mission Control territory when Character Focus shifted to the Headmaster Juniors, and completely became this when the Godmasters showed up.
  • This seems to be Yumi Azusa's main purpose, having been shown on several occasions to advise Shibusen people in the field, though she has an effective Weapon form which is used on occasion. Being clairvoyant and having awesome Death Note-style map-drawing skills helps.
  • The GGG Main Order Room is this to the titular robot from GaoGaiGar, not only providing Guy with information but also with the occasional superweapon.
  • This is Koshiro "Izzy" Izumi's role in Digimon Adventure 02, as he mostly stays in the computer room or gives them advice.
  • Yuuji of Class F from Baka and Test often does this. He often doesn't fight directly, since he plans his attacks beforehand and has his classmates do the bulk of the fighting, but he's no slouch himself, and when one rival class tries to sneak attack him, he beats them all up himself.
  • Matsu from Sekirei does this occasionally, providing intel and support for Minato. However, she is also capable of jumping into the fray and fighting, with a motorcycle and rocket launcher, if needed.
  • Yukina from Senkou No Night Raid. However, instead of communicating with wireless technology (which was not that advanced during the time period of the setting), she uses telepathy instead.
  • BC and Magno from Vandread will often perform this role for the Dreads and Hibiki's Vanguard while fighting the Harvesters.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass often performs this role, guiding his forces on what to do and when to attack.
  • Deconstructed in Bleach. While the Mission Control guys work at full capacity during the Vandereich invasion, the sheer turmoil and chaos of the invasion is really making their leader (Akon from the Twelft Division) stretch his resources. And for worse, when the MC area is attacked, they're completely defenseless... because the attack comes from the inside, as they're either Brainwashed and Crazy or externally forced into attacking each other.
  • Shizuki from Hekikai No Ai ON takes this role whenever Seine needs advice or information through the use of mobile phones.
  • Yukina from Senko No Night Raid uses telepathy to act as Mission Control, coordinating movements in silence during spy missions with the Sakurai Organization.
  • Averted in Naruto. The Intelligence Division of the Shinobi Alliance army acts as this to help coordinate their attacks based on the info that pops up in the battlefield. It's not limited to one place, though. It's separated into at least 2-3 control positions, with the main one at their headquarters.
  • Benny is this to the crew of the Black Lagoon.
  • Ruru in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu is in charge of directing Gaiking on the battlefield until he's promoted to Captain of the Daiku Maryu.

    Comics 
  • Aleph from Global Frequency. She was born to be the ultimate Mission Control; she's a "superprocessor" — someone who can "handle any number of separate input processes while performing multiple complex tasks and running deductive strings." A "Baddies Invade Base" moment happened in the original comic.
  • In The DCU, Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, helps out many of the superheroes in Gotham City and around the world as Oracle, since she was crippled by the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. However, she most often serves as actual Mission Control for the Black Canary, Huntress, and even Catwoman in the Birds of Prey comic.
    • Since the 2004 Crisis Crossover Identity Crisis, The Calculator is the villain equivalent of Oracle.
    • As the liaison between his fellow Lanterns and their higher-ups, the Guardians of the Universe, the four-armed bug-headed alien Salaak fills this role for the Green Lantern Corps.
  • The Marvel superhero group Exiles always has one of these in their ranks. In Exiles, the Mission Control figure was the Timebroker, and then Dr. Heather Hudson. In New Exiles, the Mission Control character is Cat Pryde, an alternate reality version of the X-Man Shadowcat.
  • Marvel supervillain Sidewinder acted as the Serpent Society's Mission Control.
  • In Legion of Super-Heroes, Dyrk Magz loses his magnetic powers in a fight with Mordu. However, he can't bring himself to stay in civilian life and comes back to work as Mission Control — though he did serve a crucial role in a battle with the Fatal Five.
    Brainiac 5: You forgot about Dyrk Magz, and all because he has no superpowers. And now — neither do you.
  • A truly awesome/terrifying variant occurs in the Avengers/Justice League crossover, where Captain America, whose group-tactics abilities allow him to tell guys like Thor what to do in a fight, teams up with Martian Manhunter, who's a very powerful telepath.
  • Microchip is this for The Punisher
  • Weasel sometimes acts as this for Deadpool.
  • In Lex the action team is very strongly supported by a remote mission control hub and extra field assets if needed, even though they dont really need it because they're good at what they do.

    Films 
  • Operators in The Matrix. In particular, Sparks in the video game Enter the Matrix.
  • Livingstone Dell in Ocean's Eleven and its sequels.
  • Seth Green's character, Lyle/"Napster", in the remake of The Italian Job.
  • Crease, Whistler, and Mother, from Sneakers.
  • Riley fulfills this roll for Ben in National Treasure. He fulfills it for both Ben and Abigail in the second movie, and also gets a little more in-the-field time himself.
  • Jarvis, Iron Man's AI, would be this if he didn't have a certain amount of control over the suit himself.
  • Mr. Universe in Serenity. He is captured and eventually killed by the Operative.
  • Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight. Also the Gadgeteer Genius.
  • A good deal of Apollo 13 took place in NASA's Houston mission control, and, as in the real event, the operators there were just as much heroes as the astronauts were.
  • Revenge of the Fallen has NEST, a team of humans that coordinate the actions of the Autobots and assist them in combat. Their mission control, in turn, is the Pentagon.
  • Cypher to his son for most of After Earth.
  • Jor-El's hologram takes on this role in Man of Steel to help Superman and Lois Lane escape from General Zod's ship. "Look to your right. Fire." "Move your head to the left." "Strike this panel."
  • Tendo Choi's job in Pacific Rim.

    Literature 
  • Erek King from Animorphs found himself playing this role to the heroes on more than one occasion. See The Android and The Attack for the best examples.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Brainship series, the brainship will serve as a mission control for their mobile "brawn" partner when they leave the confines of the ship.
  • Salem from What Is This Black Magic You Call Science?, who also qualifies under Mad Scientist, Deadpan Snarker, The Voice [ though his mugshot is revealed in Case 5] and Dr. Jerk.
  • A rather confusing example from the Star Wars Expanded Universe: the Timothy Zahn Hand of Thrawn duology features some pirates whose Mission Control is referred to on the radio simply as "Control"... which one would assume is a callsign, but it later turns out that his actual name is Control.
  • Artemis Fowl has Techno Wizard Foaly.
  • The Thorn of Breland trilogy of Eberron novels (written by the setting's creator, Keith Baker) has Steel. A rather unimaginatively-named intelligent dagger that Thorn (the protagonist) carries with her. He's served with 50-odd agents of the Dark Lanterns (Breland's intelligence agency) and has a wealth of knowledge about politics, magic and numerous other fields that would be helpful to his wielder. He can also sense magical auras and make educated guesses at what specific spells the target might have around them. He can also sense when someone is spying on him and Thorn with divination magic and a simple set of touches can allow Thorn to communicate with him without anyone else noticing (Steel's own voice is telepathic and can only be heard by someone physically holding him).
  • One story in World War Z focuses on a downed pilot who is helped through Zombie-infested territory by a mysterious voice on her radio. Later it turns out her radio was broken the whole time, and her mission control was all in her head.
  • A weird fantasy variant was used for a time in the Garrett, P.I. series, when the immobile Dead Man took psychic control of the parrot Mr. Big and used him as a remote-controlled spy and mouthpiece on some of Garrett's cases. Subverted at times because Garrett detests Mr. Big and isn't thrilled about being nagged at long-distance, while the Dead Man is never as forthcoming with information or advice as he could be.
  • Domina gives us MC, also the Voice with an Internet Connection.
  • Heroics: Tess Cassidy, who is identified as this by name and uses "Control" as her radio codename.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander Harris often served in this capacity for the Slayer Organization.
  • Charlie of Charlie's Angels; he never even makes an appearance until the movie adaptation (and even then his face isn't shown on screen).
  • Ocassionally Director Jenny Shephard for Tony during the "Le Grenouille" arc of NCIS. Gibbs sometimes does this with his team as well. More often it's McGee.
  • Harry Flack from short-lived Fortune Hunter.
  • Julian Wilkes, and later Frankie Waters, on Viper.
  • Roger Rees, on M.A.N.T.I.S.
  • Theora in Max Headroom.
    • To a lesser extent, Tina McGee in the live-action version of The Flash, who was also played by Amanda Pays.
  • AI vehicle KITT served this role on Knight Rider, except when he'd go into Auto Cruise and drive himself to the rescue.
  • AI Selma on Time Trax.
  • Al (and, by one remove, Ziggy and the other project staff) on Quantum Leap.
  • Walt in Monster Squad. However, in this series, Walt usually leaves mission control to join the monster heroes in the climactic battle.
  • Penelope Garcia in Criminal Minds.
  • Chloe Sullivan from Smallville adopts the codename "Watchtower" in Season 6 and then on a permanent basis in Season 7 (though she'd been serving as Clark's Mission Control for quite some time before she became this for the rest of the JLA), and the official headquarters is introduced at the very end of Season 8. But as of Season 10, Tess Mercer is the new Watchtower.
  • Stargate Command in Stargate SG-1.
  • Often but not always, Ash on Hustle.
  • Logan on Dark Angel.
  • Wash and Kaylee on Firefly both regularly performed this duty while the rest of the crew were out on jobs.
    • As well as River at the end of "Objects in Space".
  • Marshall Flinkmann, of Alias, usually with any other agents who aren't in the field leaning over his shoulder giving advice.
  • Chloe O'Brien on 24.
  • Starfleet Command never really had much of presence in Star Trek since the various series focus on the whole idea of a group of people cut off from ready assistance. This changes in Star Trek: Enterprise where human deep space travel is just starting, so there are many calls back home; we also get Admiral Forrest as the first Starfleet Command recurring character.
    • Also seen in Star Trek: Voyager but as a subversion. Project Pathfinder actually does very little to get Voyager home.
  • In the new series of Battlestar Galactica, Dualla usually functions as Mission Control for the battlestar's Vipers once they are deployed. The CAG might perform this function if he is in the Combat Information Centre, unless he himself is flying. Indeed, the entire CIC is basically Mission Control, as are the CICs of actual warships.
  • Most seasons of Power Rangers have their mentor and a techie who can summon the zords.
  • Barbara Gordon/Oracle on Birds of Prey, as well as the original comics mentioned below.
  • Birkoff on La Femme Nikita.
  • Wiseguy. Daniel Burroughs, AKA "Lifeguard", a legless Organized Crime Bureau agent who communicates mostly via telephone (posing as Vinnie's "Uncle Mike"). Vinnie calls him daily to pass on and receive information; he also has codewords for when he's in trouble.
  • Barney Collier on Mission: Impossible.
  • Ianto and Tosh in Torchwood.
  • Nate and often Hardison in Leverage.
  • Winston in Human Target, with an occasional assist from Guerrero. Also, in the episode "Breakout" when Chance is rescuing an engineer being held in an Evil Tower of Ominousness, the Corrupt Corporate Executive Arms Dealers have their own Mission Control, complete with wall of monitors, building-wide sensors, etc.
  • The Time Tunnel had an underground, multistory complex, manned by two scientists and a general.
  • In Search, the hi tech detective agency's mission control was manned by an ensemble cast, while the role of field operative switched among a trio.
  • It is strongly implied that Robert Lansing's character (named Control, natch) on The Equalizer once filled this role while McCall was at The Agency, and still occasionally has an odd job for him.
  • Jess from Primeval. While everyone else is out there fighting dinosaurs, she's back at the ARC monitoring the anomaly, tracking the creatures, locking and unlocking doors, and saving everyone's butts.
  • This is often Finch's job in Person of Interest, monitoring everything from The Library and keeping Reese updated through his earpiece.
    • Taken to extremes in the final episode of Season One when Reece and the POI are trapped inside a hotel with the FBI and a hit team of corrupt cops hunting them. Finch is trying to guide them to safety, Agent Donnelly is at Taskforce headquarters guiding an FBI SWAT team towards Reece, Detectives Carter and Fusco (unknown to each other) are sending Reece and Finch information to help them dodge the SWAT team, and a corrupt NYPD officer is helping the hit team avoid the cameras and FBI while guiding them towards Reece and the POI.
    • Inverted in the first-season episode "Super" when Reese, injured and in a wheelchair, acts as Mission Control and Finch is in the field.
  • Topher's job in Dollhouse, although occasionally DeWitt steps into this role (although more as a strategist than a technical expert).
  • Harry Flack was this to Carlton Dial in Fortune Hunter.

    Pinball 
  • Used throughout 3-D Ultra Pinball to give player instructions.
  • Flight 2000 uses it to announce the game's Blastoff multiball mode.
    Mission Control: "All Systems Go... Commence Countdown!"
  • Also used in Space Shuttle as a fill-in for NASA.
    Mission Control: "Three, two, one... liftoff."

    Video Games 
  • All games in the Metal Gear series have varying numbers of people at the other end of the Codec/radio giving the player character (and the player) advice, ranging from plot and gameplay relevant to entertaining (if pointless) banter. The nature of the Mission Control members also varies, either directly associated with the character's mission (e.g. Campbell, Mei Ling, Zero), civilians or ex-servicemen who just want to help (e.g. Kasler, Miller, Nastasha), characters encountered during the game that give their frequency to the player (e.g. Hal, Pliskin, EVA), or agents of a sentient AI combined with the character's expectations.
    • Parodied in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when Slippy Toad unexpectedly shows up to proffer advice on fighting Falco Lombardi.
    • Sam Fisher has a similar team working behind him in the Splinter Cell series. Col. Lambert eventually coordinates Fisher in person in Double Agent. Anna Grimsdottir can also be met in person during the training segment of the original game.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • Bentley in many parts of the series.
    • Sly when Bentley is in the field.
    • Even Murray acts as this when Sly and Bentley are on a joint mission.
  • Cortana from the Halo series. Somewhat subverted in that most of the time Cortana is in the thick of things with Chief...In his helmet. When she is absent for the first part of Halo 3, Commander Keyes and Sgt. Johnson often take this role up.
    • There is a mission in the back half of Halo: Combat Evolved, where you have to drop Cortana off to do her own thing, and you have nobody prompting you to accomplish your objectives. It's a bit eerie, especially considering that the objectives are set by the Chief himself, who is freaked out by the Flood.
  • The player in Invisible, Inc., in the identity of the Operator, is this; you direct your team through buildings and hack equipment with Incognita, Invisible's advanced computer system.
  • Mega Man X:
    • X4 has Iris doing this for Zero and Double for X.
    • Alia, from the later games.
    • X8 adds Layer and Pallette, and lets you play as all three once you meet the right requirements.
    • Nana from Mega Man X: Command Mission deserves a mention, too.
    • Ciel takes over this role in Mega Man Zero. Two more operators are added from Zero 2 onwards.
    • And in the Mega Man Battle Network series, Operators fill this roll for their Net Navis.
    • Roll Caskett in the Mega Man Legends games. In one Boss Battle, the enemy imitated her to try and confuse the hero. It failed.
  • NETRICSA (NEuroTRonically Implanted Combat Situation Analyzer), a computer in Sam's head, in the Serious Sam games.
  • Freelancer does that all the time: in every side mission, Trent is always led by a commisionate officer, while NPCs like Junko Zane, President Jacobi and Casper Orillion show him the way on storyline missions.
  • Happens in Resident Evil 4, although about 1/3 through the game the Big Bad hijacks your frequency and you don't see your contact again until the very last cutscene.
  • General Locke, the computers EVA and CABAL, and Lt. Eva, among others in the Command & Conquer games. Every game in the series had at least one Mission Control character per side. In fact, most of the notable characters are in that role, unless they are special units like Tanya.
  • Mona Sax in certain Max Payne 2 missions.
  • In The 7th Guest's sequel, The 11th Hour, you have what the manual describes (four times in a row, presumably due to a printing error) as "a tele-psychic friend" who directs you and can offer hints for the puzzles. In reality, the mysterious ally sending Carl Denning messages is Samantha, a female victim of the Stauf Mansion, one of the only survivors of it, who is watching his progress on a series of video feeds (actually the game The 7th Guest itself) to guide him to the final showdown with Stauf.
  • In the Galaxy Angel games, Tact, the first playable hero, is the Mission Control. It's not until the Galaxy Angel II series, featuring a new PC working under Tact, that the player character actually gets to fight.
  • Persona 3 features Mitsuru Kirijo as Mission Control, who passes the baton on to Fuuka Yamagishi when she joins the front lines.
    • Similarly, Persona 4 introduces Teddie as Mission Control, a role later taken up by Rise Kujikawa.
  • Commissioner Betters of F.E.A.R., who updates the Point Man's objectives and remotely hacks into the various computers encountered during the game in order to advance the plot or shed some light on the backstory. You only see him in person during your initial briefing at the beginning of the game, and lose contact with him during much of the Expansion Pack.
  • Ford Cruller in Psychonauts serves this role despite being one of the most powerful psychics due to the fact that he is unable to leave his sanctuary for long periods of time without splitting off into multiple personalities (the result of a massive battle in his past).
  • Fiona Taylor from Mercenaries is your Mission Control / Exposition Fairy, giving information through the transceiver and e-mailing mission objectives.
  • Colonel Sawyer in World in Conflict, except a few missions (where he is usually absent for one or another reason).
  • Some characters in the Advance Wars series occasionally take this role, although they are usually also playable. The prime example would be Nell, who isn't playable in the campaigns (except for Dual Strike Hard Mode which allows you to play every CO you unlocked). In some campaigns just about every CO that isn't currently on the field is on Mission Control duty.
    • There was, however, a designated "intel" role that a CO had to fill for their perspective country: Sami for Orange Star, Grit for Blue Moon, Sonja for Yellow Comet, and Jess for Green Earth. Lin falls in for Days of Ruin.
  • You technically play as this in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword as a Tactician.
  • Adam in Metroid: Fusion and Metroid: Other M, though mostly in the role of person giving orders, much to Samus's chagrin.
  • Elizabeth Conway from Time Crisis 4.
  • Various characters contact JC Denton from Deus Ex via his infolink augmentation, most notably Alex Jacobson, Daedalus and Tracer Tong.
    • The Game Mod for Deus Ex, The Nameless Mod has either Evil Invasion or That Guy filling in on this role, depending on your choice of a faction.
    • The mod 2027 has Titan and Xander filling in on this role for a good part of the game. At the last mission, the "leaders" of the receptive factions vying for your help will all fill in on this role.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has Pritchard, Sarif, and Malik filling in on this role.
  • The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) officer from the Ace Combat series gives out orders as well as reports the status of the player, but the only part seen of him is his plane in some cutscenes. Note that while he's sometimes late in reporting stuff (due to the nature of standardized sound clips), he's usually not annoying.
  • Air Force Delta series games also feature this. In Strike, it is done by Amelia, with no explanation as to where she is when acting as your Mission Control.
  • Turned on its head in Portal, where the Mission Control (GLaDOS) is also the Big Bad. See also Mission Control Is Off Its Meds.
  • The same is true for kill.switch and Ground Control II.
    • kill.switch is a fairly unique example, in that fairly early in the game (and alluded to in the manual), you discover that your Mission Control isn't speaking to you, but is in fact using your implants and tech to physically control you, forcing you to do things you would much rather not do. It's not until the last stage that the main character is actually in control of his actions.
  • Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros. 3, who manages to avoid getting kidnapped until after you finish World 7.
  • Parodied in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, where in one mission, Umberto, a guy that loves talking about having "balls" but never actually goes into action personally, tells Vic "I'll coordinate the attack from here," and Vic sarcastically replies, "Sure, big man... We really need a coordinator back here..."
  • Inverted in the old interactive movie game Critical Path, where the player takes the role of Mission Control (in the form of a faceless AFGNCAAP at a security console) guiding the heroine Kat through a deathtrap-filled base.
  • Inverted in Lifeline, where the player takes the role of Mission Control (a faceless male AFGNCAAP), monitoring the heroine via the space station's security cameras, and guiding her via voice commands through the PS2's microphone.
  • Homeworld: ... New sacrifices. The greatest of these was made by the scientist Karen Sjet, who had herself permanently integrated into the colony ship as its living core. She is now Fleet Command.
    • Kind of a borderline example, since like with many RTS games, the player is Mission Control. Arguably, Fleet Intelligence and his slightly more helpful Distaff Counterpart in Cataclysm pull double duty in this role and as Mr. Exposition from the player's point of view.
  • In the creepiest parts of Thief: The Dark Project and Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett seems to always have a friendly ghost to help him... and make the mission longer.
  • In Half-Life 2, Alyx Vance temporarily serves as this while in Nova Prospekt, informing you of incoming soldiers and possible passages.
  • Gears of War has Anya providing Mission Control to Delta Squad. Marcus will actually address Anya as "Control", and during one chapter in Gears of War 2 he is surprised to hear Colonel Hoffman as Command has taken over from Anya due to the importance of his mission.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising. Palutena serves as this to Pit. As well as providing information, she often teases Pit, who seems to take it in good stride. In one early Chapter (VS the Hewdraw) she uses her Light Beam to try and destroy the Boss itself! She also gets some much needed Character Development.
    Pit: Lady Palutena?
    Palutena:Yes Pit?
    Pit: Just us talking this time, kinda nice.
    Palutena: ...Pit, you poor guy. You really need to get some friends.
  • System Shock 2 subverts it; the person you thought was helping you has been dead the whole time and the Rogue AI has just been using her voice to manipulate you.
    • The original System Shock played it straight with Rebecca Lansing, a Counter-Terrorist consultant who helps you through the entire game.
  • Deconstructed in System Shock 2's Spiritual Successor, BioShock. When you arrive in Rapture, your first human contact is a voice over a service radio. Calling himself Atlas, he urges you to help him save his wife and child, who are trapped in a submarine. As you help him to accomplish this, it becomes clear that whoever Atlas is, he has something against Andrew Ryan, the founder of the underwater dystopia. When you finally reach the submarine, it explodes right in front of you, and it becomes personal for both you and Atlas. He then convinces you to track down and kill Andrew Ryan, offering his knowledge of the city to assist you in various tasks along the way. When you finally reach Ryan's office, however, you find out that you've been played. Atlas is actually Frank Fontaine, a New York mobster whom Ryan wanted dead because he cornered the market in ADAM, and was looking to seize control of Rapture for himself. Fontaine assumed the Atlas persona and enlisted the help of Drs. Yi Suchong and Bridgette Tenenbaum to genetically engineer Jack, the player character, then sent him up in a plane that he was to hijack, bringing him down to Rapture to destroy Ryan. Oh, and his "helpful" messages throughout the game were actually mind control using a trigger phrase. After he tries to eliminate all the evidence by having you killed, Tenenbaum becomes your new mission control. It's quite a doozy.
    • Also, in the DLC 'Minerva's Den', you're a cyborg without a past, and a Morgan Freeman-esque scientist named Charles Milton Porter leads you through the eponymous area of the city on a chase to reactivate an AI. In the end, it turns out the player is Charles Milton Porter, turned into a Big Daddy, and the Charles Milton Porter that's been leading you was really the AI, trying to get its traumatized and amnesiac creator out of the city before it all falls apart.
  • In Episode 2 of Burial at Sea, Booker DeWitt or at least a mental recreation of him serves as this for Elizabeth
  • The Suffering has Torque, a con, trying to survive on an prison-island full of monsters. He has the ghost of his dead wife trying to help from the other side in many varied ways. She wants him to survive the night but help others along the way. Other entities do similar, but with the hopes Torque will go evil. Torque will meet a cowering guard and his wife says "He needs help!" and a demon voice says "It will be easier if you kill him."
  • Another inversion in Experience 112. You are the mission control. The entire high tech basement is strangely devoid of speakers, so you must communicate by moving cameras, opening/closing doors and lights — and don't believe you'll get bored, you have so much data to analyze to understand the situation and help the heroine that you'll ofter have to make HR wait for hours. Well... except if you are cheating and using passwords you're not supposed to have found yet. The concept's great, the reviews are not.
  • In the Crusader games, while you're off committing crimes against humanity, your fellow Resistance members occasionally call you via datalink to suggest that you channel that aggression in a particular direction.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II, Atton Rand plays Mission Control for the Jedi Exile for a little while in Peragus, before properly joining the team.
  • In BloodRayne 2, Rayne's Brimstone Society handler Severin fulfills this role throughout the game.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum naturally has Oracle acting as this for Batman, but it also has the Joker acting as Mission Control for his minions (alerting them to when a goon with a vitals-reading "suicide collar" has been knocked out, and providing darkly-humorous commentary and/or threats).
    • The Riddler also hacks your communications to comment on your progress with regard to the various puzzles he's placed throughout Arkham.
  • MadWorld starts with Jack getting Agent XIII as his mission control, advising him on how best to slaughter enemies with the weaponry he finds and occasionally yelling for him to move on. We later meet Amala, who's Jack's mission control in his other ear, his connection to the Chasers/Bureau of Justice. Jack soon breaks XIII's earpiece (though XIII is able to hijack Amala's communications to keep talking), and in the ending breaks Amala's as well to go against justice.
  • Seth Green's character Jeff "Joker" Moreau in Mass Effect serves as this in several missions. The sequel also has EDI.
    • Played with for EDI in Mass Effect 3 ; she will act as this from the ship, or instead bring her with you (in her new Robot Girl form). Same goes for Liara.
  • Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 have Baseplate and Overlord respectively, and MW2 has General Shepherd for missions involving Task Force 141 or taking over in commanding Hunter Two-One. MW 1 also has Big Bird in the Chernobyl flashback mission.
    • In the multiplayer, your team has an announcer. He announces friendly and enemy killstreaks ("ENEMY AC130 ABOVE!"), keeps track of the score and launches the killstreak rewards at the players' request.
  • In the Touhou game Subterranean Animism, various youkai do this via magic to coach Reimu and Marisa through the Underworld. They influence the player characters' ammo/bombs, cutscenes, and the spellcards Satori uses in her boss battle.
  • In Blaster Master: Blasting Again, Roddy's sister Elfie serves this role, since Roddy's the one driving the Cool Car.
  • Alissa in Comix Zone pops up at the corner of the screen every once in a while to describe the levels and warn Sketch of impending dangers.
  • The Administrator of Team Fortress 2 does little more than sit behind a microphone and announces the progression of the mission, revel in bloodshed, or berate the classes for their ineptitude. The same woman gives orders to both sides of the fight.
  • All of the Armored Core games have had similar sounding female mission controls. Most play this trope straight, but a few turn out to be enemy pilots, psychotic AIs, or even the Big Bad. Tellingly, when you cross the Moral Event Horizon in 4A, your operator quits in disgust and digs out her old mecha from 4, to kill you.
  • Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty has two of these: the Adjutant AI and your bridge officer Matt Horner, who give you advice on running your base and troops and highlight your objectives, usually by scanning key points on the map.
    • In Heart of the Swarm, this role is taken by Izsha, a specialist zerg organism created with the express purpose of managing information and serving as your adjutant. Individual missions sometimes feature a second character (such as Zagara, Zurvan, or Stukov) who offers advice particular to that mission.
  • Armor Games' Indestruc2Tank. Dirk Danger has some witty banter (and UST) with the Chief as she gives him his missions in Adventure Mode. She's kidnapped by General Betton, who uses her in a Hostage for MacGuffin to try to make Dirk give up the IndestructoTank. She's killed before Dirk can rescue her.
  • In the Wing Commander series, most missions don't have any information more than what you get at the Mission Briefing before launching, but on occasion (particularly in the later games) the player receives information from their home base, directing them to another task while still in flight or informing them of any changes in the situation.
  • Dark Messiah has an interesting variation in that the mission control character is inside the player character, "fused to their spirit". Xana, the succubus who fills the role revels in the fact that no-one else can hear her.
  • Strife features Blackbird, one of the first Voice with an Internet Connection characters in gaming.
  • In DC Universe Online, the oft-mentioned Oracle acts as Mission Control for hero players. If you're a villain, the Calculator serves as your main source of information. However, characters that sometimes fight for themselves such as Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor, or The Joker give the player information on specific missions.
  • Solatorobo has Voice with an Internet Connection Chocolat feeding Red vital mission points, maps, and statistics during most of the game. She ventures outside once or twice, but rarely.
  • Not long after getting involved with RuneScape's secret agent-esque Temple Knights of Saradomin, the player receives her or his own mission control in the form of a certain member of the order, who communicates with the player via a 'Communication Orb'.
  • Professor E Gadd in Luigi's Mansion, who communicates to Luigi through the Game Boy Horror and gives tutorials/turns ghosts into paintings between areas. He retains this role in the sequel, where he warps Luigi from his lab to the mansions he has to visit and back, and communicates with him through a Dual Scream (Get it ?).
  • In Alpha Protocol, there are eight different characters who can fill this role. Three of them mandatory, the rest are optional. Each has their own perk that they confer on Mike when they act as his handler (which changes, depending on how much they like or dislike him). They are:
  • In Tesla The Weather Man, this role is filled by Mark Twain.
  • Infernal has the demonic Lucius Black, but he's rather grudging about it. He does provide information, but it's mixed with demands that Lennox hurry up in producing results, and he gets impatient with Lennox's cavalier style - when Lennox asks for a recap of something he brushed off earlier, Black just says "You should have paid attention" and hangs up.
  • The first plot in X3: Terran Conflict has either the United Space Command's Commander Mark Jackson or the AGI Task Force's General Rai Ishiyama in this role, depending on the mission. A later plot, Operation Final Fury, has the Split warlord Fjuny t'Scct.
  • In La-Mulana, Elder Xelpud plays this part to some degree, though he often just says silly things about video games instead of useful advice. In the original version, he provides the only Save Point in the game; in the remake, he sends Lemeza coincidentally-timed e-mails about things encountered in the ruins.
  • In Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, there is "Castle", a Rasalhaguian woman (with the accent to boot) running briefings, debriefings, and in-mission intel for Spectre and his mercenary outfit.
  • Hope Estheim in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
  • The newer LEGO Adaptation Games tend to have a mission control character, particularly those based on comic book franchises. In particular, DC Superheroes 2 has Batman's butler Alfred (though his communication with the player is limited to text alerts) and Marvel Super Heroes has Breakout Character/Canon Immigrant Phil Coulson (voiced by the same actor who plays him in the MCU, no less).
  • ROB and general Pepper in Star Fox series
  • Commander Laurence Nelson and Alice in The Wonderful 101

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Vic, who is with mission control, turns out to be mission control for both sides.

    Web Comics 
  • Wrench from Antihero for Hire
  • In a way, this is the role of any server player in Homestuck, but they can also manipulate the client player's environment to some extent.
    • Feferi after her death and Aradia in dream bubbles work as better examples.
    • The Draconian Dignitary serves this purpose for Jack Noir, the Sovereign Slayer, but he does get his hands dirty occasionally, such as attacking Rose or stealing the MEOW code from Dave's room.

    Web Original 
  • This is basically Shelton for the entire first Darwin's Soldiers RP. He never leaves the control room.
  • The Administrator of TV Tropes, as depicted in Echo Chamber, is only ever seen remotely, through a large monitor at the top of a room. From... wherever he is, he issues orders and ultimatums to the team creating his "Trope Of The Week" videos.
  • Arra and Bren in Splinter Cell: Extinction. Bren can handle herself pretty well in combat, taking out a whole SWAT team that tried to ambush her in Episode 6.
  • Loophole's artificial intelligence Carmen in the Whateley Universe.
  • In Chronicles of Syntax, Kelly (aka the Kelly Telly) acts this way for Sian and the rest of her team.
  • Dragon of Worm often fills this role for the Protectorate, when she isn't kicking ass in her extremely sophisticated Powered Armor. It helps that she's an AI who can monitor the entire battlefield.
    • Tattletale occasionally acts in this capacity for the Undersiders and later the combined forces arrayed against Scion when she takes over Dragon's network after the latter is deactivated by Saint.

    Western Animation 
  • Wade Lode from Kim Possible. Only met Kim in person once during the first three seasons of series, and was otherwise an Internet friend. Also had an impersonator moment. In the Uncanceled fourth season, he started appearing in person with some regularity (to Ron's initial startlement).
  • Crystal Kane from Centurions. Hot Scientist, and was pined after by womanizing Ace McCloud. Also had an impersonator moment, by her own clone.
  • In later seasons, J'onn J'onnz takes on this role on Justice League, stationing himself in the Watchtower and coordinating efforts of the entire league. Overlapped with Warrior Therapist, as he tended to select team members who would learn An Aesop in the course of the mission. Eventually, Diana points out that the job has become his life and he hasn't actually gone planet-side in ages. He steps down to try and rediscover humanity, letting Mister Terrific take over coordination.
  • 'Berto on Max Steel. Also a Lab Rat, and had an impersonator moment.
  • Jérémie from Code Lyoko; he has only been to Lyoko twice (plus a failed attempt to virtualize) and mostly just aids the others from the Supercomputer's console; he does still encounter danger in the real world from XANA's attacks, though.
    • All the time. Really, if there's an activated tower, the chances are almost 50/50 that XANA is trying to attack either Aelita or Jeremie. (Or Yumi.)
  • Original Batman Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond (also The Obi-Wan).
  • In Clue Club, Dotty is relegated to the club's mission control on account of being the youngest since she's 13, but at least she makes the most of it since she's a whiz with the base's electronics and forensic equipment.
  • Commissioner Stress in the Pith Possum segments of The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show.
  • In the second season of Young Justice, Mal Duncan seems to have taken on the role of mission control for the team. Sometimes others will step into the role for the episode, usually either Batman or later, Nightwing.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Rhodey in the first season, Pepper in the second.
  • Ratchet in Transformers Prime.
  • The Centsables: The Faceless human Buck much like a good guy version of Dr. Claw who helps out via long distance communications, forensic accounting, data-mining ,and laboratory deductions.

    Real Life 
  • The Trope Namer is RKA Mission Control Centernote , which oversaw Yuri Gagarin's flight into space.
  • The Trope Codifer is, of course, NASA's Mission Control Center located at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. It moved here during the Gemini project from Virgina This concept has only grown more prominent as the emphasis of manned space exploration has shifted more towards scientific research (for example, the vast majority of the day-to-day operation of the systems on the International Space Station is conducted from the ground, leaving the crew members with more time to conduct science exp
    • Typifies the image of the Mission Controller as a somewhat nerdy engineer/scientist wearing a headset and surrounded by computer monitors (which it probably at least partially inspired). Something of a hybrid of the "single character" and "group of characters" types seen in fiction: while Mission Control consists of a large-ish room full of experts (backed up by an even larger room of other experts and a roomful of the original hardware designers), only one of them generally interacts with the orbiting crew directly (the Capsule Communicator or CAPCOM, who is traditionally an astronaut him/herself).
  • Emergency service operators are trained to advise callers over the phone, keeping them calm if possible, and directing them to avoid hazards, apply first aid, etc.


Mad Scientist LaboratoryHome BaseMission Control Is Off Its Meds
The Chains of CommandingSliding Scale of Leadership ResponsibilityOrcus on His Throne
Loner-Turned-FriendThe Index TeamNazi Hunter
Missing MomCharacters as DeviceMister Big
Cyber NinjaImageSource/Video GamesNeck Snap

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