RC1 save data found. Free weapons!
— Gadgetron vendor, Ratchet & Clank: Going CommandoThe ability to use old save data (or in rare cases, use of the physical game) from an old game in a new game (often a direct sequel, though unrelated examples aren't unheard of) for a bonus. Mostly, this means a tiny change (such as an acknowledgment of your accomplishments in the first game), or an item that may or may not be useful, but in some RPGs (the main originators of this) it is possible to import the character from the last game, levels intact, to start the new one (the monsters would sometime be scaled up, of course). Sometimes, this is a way of avoiding the Bag of Spilling problem. Mission-Pack Sequel games are especially prone to using this, as the sequel is usually built on the same basic code as the previous entry, so it's easy to port over content. Related is the specific bonuses achieved from linking a handheld with a specific game to a console with another. This began with the Nintendo 64 title Pokémon Stadium, which has a special adapter for importing Game Boy save data. The Game Boy Advance system has a link cable for connecting to the Nintendo GameCube, the Nintendo DS uses its Slot-2 to connect to GBA games and can connect wirelessly to the Wii, and the PlayStation Portable uses a USB cable to connect to the PlayStation 2. However, this can quickly enter One Game for the Price of Two territory. On one hand, this is a fun way to reward players who have played previous games. On the other hand, this can be frustrating to those who don't have the time or money to invest in another game. Compare to New Game+ and Another Side, Another Story, which reward you for playing the same game again after completing it once. Also compare One Game for the Price of Two, when both games are related to each other and released at the same time (like the Pokémon series).
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- If you have an ICO save file on your memory card, the mark on Agro's forehead in Shadow of the Colossus will resemble the hornlike letter "I" from the ICO logo.
- If you visit a certain store in Scuttle Town in Shantae: Risky's Revenge and you have a Mighty Flip Champs! and/or Mighty Milky Way save on your Nintendo DSi or 3DSnote , you'll earn some gems. Completing the games in question results in additional gems on top of those earned by merely owning the games.
- inFAMOUS 2 has various bonuses you get from getting trophies in the previous game, including bonus experience at the start and a full level of karma in whichever direction you played the previous game in.
- If you have a save file for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, you can unlock ten alternate costumes in Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
- A saved game of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence would net you a special item near the start of Curse of Darkness that could either be sold for a good amount of cash or be used once to heal 573 HP.
- Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines can connect to each other, so that in AC II, you get the weapons from each of the bosses that you defeated in Bloodlines as well as some extra money, and in Bloodlines you can now block with the hidden blade, fire knives from your hidden blade and get a health extension.
- If you have a save for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, you'll get a Courtesan avatar for Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Having played Brotherhood and Revelations, respectively, gives a Courtesan and Deacon costume for Assassin's Creed III.
- You can unlock new content in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation by hooking it up to a PS3 playing Assassin's Creed III, which gets you Connor's tomahawk as a weapon for Aveline, and a bonus mission starring Connor himself.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag gives Edward the outfits of the protagonists of the previous entries in the series for having data of the games on your Uplay account (so it's unlocked even if you're on another platform).
- In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, if you start with Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow you can get a Rare Ring for free at the start. There's also a cute Mina doll in the background of Yoko's shop that's only there if Aria of Sorrow is in the GBA slot.
- Ganbare Goemon: Toukai Douchuu Ooedo Tengurigaeshi no Maki has several character cameos and a demo of Space Manbow that can be unlocked by putting Kessakusen! Ganbare Goemon 1+2 in the GBA slot.
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons were meant to be played one after the other (in either order). Data was transferred between the games by a generated password allowing you to fight Twinrova and rescue Zelda in the second game. There were also dozens of passwords you could get from NPCs to perform multi-game sidequests, unlocking bombchus, special rings, the Master Sword, Biggoron's Sword, and arrow/bomb capacity upgrades. You could also get a new code to port it all BACK to your old game letting you play through the ending AGAIN with few if any additions. One Game for the Price of Two indeed.
- Little known fact: If you played either game on a Game Boy Advance, there is a door that would be open in the same building as the normal shop that would be just a closed door if you played it on a Game Boy Color. If you entered the door, you would be greeted by a man telling you that you are in something called an "Advance shop". One of the things for sale is a ring. If you get it appraised, the guy appraising it will tell you that it's a ring proving that you have a Game Boy Advance. Might as well call this a Future Save Bonus.
- Lego Star Wars 2 has an "extra" that allows the user to import characters from a Lego Star Wars (1) save file for use in the "Free Play" mode. Of course, this (and the two games themselves) was made obsolete with The Complete Saga.
- In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! starting a new game on the same memory card as an already 100% completed save grants the player with the use of the permanent superflame powerup at the start of the new game.
- Several of Konami's games for the MSX, when played with another Konami game in the second cartridge slot, could gain various bonuses. To list a few examples (see here for a full list):
- Playing Gradius with Twinbee in the second slot, or Gradius 2 with Penguin Adventure in the second slot, would replace the Vic Viper with the other game's player character and change the power-up icons to match. This started the whimsical crossover concept that would continue in the Parodius series.
- Salamander needed to be played with Gradius 2 in the second slot, or else No Final Boss for You.
- When Q*bert was placed in the second slot, it unlocked cheat codes in Gradius 2; with many other games it had the same effect as Konami's Game Master cheat cartridge.
- The original .hack series of games is a serial game, one game in four parts. You're really encouraged to finish the prior game before going on to the next game in the series, as the monsters are very strong for a first-level character. You keep all of your items, equipment, money, levels, etc. if you have a completed save from the prior game, as it is supposed to be taken as a single large game. Fortunately, if you do start your game fresh, you'll be started at a reasonable level (30 for part 2, 50 for part 3, 70 for part 4) with generic level-appropriate equipment, so you're not totally screwed for not having played the previous games, though certain things may be unavailable if not imported. The sequel, .hack//G.U., is a set of three games that works the same way.
- .hack//G.U. also names one character after your main character in the original games, if you import as save file from any of the original 4 games, and gives you a secret Email. You get second secret email if you import from the original game's fourth volume. The other three only give you one.
- Save data from Yakuza will allow you to start Yakuza 2 with a collection of goodies in your item storage box, none of which you can acquire in any other way. They're presumed to be gifts from Haruka, the little girl you spend most of the first game protecting, and they include some pretty nice equipment and powerful healing items. Similarly, the Playstation 3 games (starting with Yakuza 3) all gives bonuses if you have save data from any of the previous Playstation 3 game, each game providing a different bonus.
- Champions of Norrath characters can be imported into Champions: Return to Arms.
Beat Em Up
- Unlocking the Captain Olimar trophy (required for 100% Completion) in Super Smash Bros. Melee requires having a Pikmin save file on your memory card.
- The PS2 edition of Samurai Warriors 2 lets you play as Hattori Hanzo and Uesugi Kenshin from the start if you have the save file from the first game, as well as letting you use Honda Tadakatsu for having save data from Samurai Warriors XL. Otherwise, they would need to be unlocked.
- Other Warriors XL series games give bonuses based on saves from the original series as well.
- The Flash RPG series Arkandian Legends not only gives you bonuses for achievements from earlier installments but allows you to play "extra" races if you played as a particular race/faction in the previous game.
- The Flash RPG series MARDEK allows the player to carry over stats and items from chapter to chapter (all chapters are separate games), along with several other variables that are carried over (conversations with NPC's, prior events being referenced in later installments, etc). With the release of Chapter 3, a change in the gamecode made it so that older save files wouldn't be able to import, although it appears that this practice started up again due to the author remaking Chapters 1 and 2.
Card Battle Game
- Not quite the same, but Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2 let's you get three copies of a specific card when you use its UMD recognition system (think a handheld version of Monster Rancher's "monsters from CDs" gimmick). What makes this an Old Save Bonus is what you get when you first use it with the first Tag Force game: one each of the Egyptian God Cards, very much playable and legal in-game.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4 takes it one step further... sort of. Using UMD recognition with each Tag Force Game will unlock the Effect Monster (i.e. versions of the cards that can be used IRL) version of each of the God Cards as well as a lot of rare cards (including anniversary edition versions of popular cards, like Dark Magician Girl). Tag Force 2 and 3 also unlock alternate versions of Akiza Izinski and Kalin Kessler, respectively for you to duel.
- Using UMD Recognition in Tag Force 3 unlocks Bastion Misawa by having the game recognise Tag Force 2.
- If you connect your DS with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's World Championship 2009: Stardust Accelerator to your Wii with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Wheelie Breakers, both games receive cards that you couldn't normally get without hacking them.
- This is the main selling point of Poker Night at the Inventory and its sequel. Getting bounty items will unlock items for Team Fortress 2 and (in Poker Night 2) Borderlands 2. The iOS port doesn't do this however...
- In the Xbox 360 version of the sequel, the player can also unlock items for their avatar.
- In the Game & Watch Gallery games for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, you can eventually unlock the ability to link with previous games in the series to unlock more Museum pictures of classic Game & Watch games. To do this between 2 and 1, you have to get over 1000 points in every game in 2; between 3 and 1, you have to get over 1000 points in every game in 1.
- In Sonic Mega Collection, you will immediately unlock Flicky or Blue Sphere upon start-up if you have a Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or Phantasy Star Online file (respectively) on your memory card.
- In Sonic Mega Collection Plus, having a Sonic Heroes save file will unlock The Ooze and Comix Zone (at least in the PlayStation 2 version).
- In Sonic Gems Collection, you can unlock Vectorman by having a Sonic Heroes or Sonic Mega Collection on the GameCube version, or Sonic Heroes or Sonic Mega Collection Plus on the PlayStation 2 version.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series loves to do this with their Drama Series and Substories spin-offs:
- In the 3rd game of the Drama Series, Tabidachi no Uta, having a Data save of the first two Drama Series games, Nijiiro no Seishun and Irodori no Love Song, in which the games were completed at least once and have their Albums unlocked, allows you to unlock two Bonus scenarios named "Nijiiro no Sotsugyoushiki" and "Irodori no Sotsugyoushiki", which act as the True Epilogue of both games ;
- In the 3rd game of the Substories series, Memories Ringing On, having a Data save of the first two Substories games, Dancing Summer Vacation and Leaping School Festival, in which the games were completed at least once and have their Albums unlocked, allows you to unlock extra dialogues and Events in the sub-characters storylines.
- Final Fantasy:
- The original release of Final Fantasy VIII had a tie-in game, Chocobo World, which was released exclusively for the Pocketstation portable system in Japan. Playing and exporting data from it allowed you to get additional items in VIII, including exclusive gear like Mog's Amulet (which allows you to teach the miniMog command to a GF), the Ribbon and the Friendship item (which summons a Moomba). With the release of the PC version, the mini-game was integrated into the launcher and can be imported into the base game.
- If a player owns an active Final Fantasy XI account and links their Play Online ID with Final Fantasy XIV, a special in-game item (a pair of "Heroes' Shoes" that increases movement speed) is unlocked for the latter title.
- In Final Fantasy XIII-2, if you have a Final Fantasy XIII file, you unlock a PS3 theme or Xbox 360 gamer picture, along with the Eternal Crystal item. In addition, you can find masks of Lightning and Serah as adornments if you beat XIII.
- In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII you'll get Lightning's outfits from the previous two games for her to wear if you have save data from the games in question.
- Dissidia 012 Duodecim allows the player to transfer the levels of characters, many things unlocked from the PP Catalouge (Such as the villains and bonus chacters, costumes and player icons) as well as a few other things, from their saved data of the previous game. The player is also give the choice of importing everything, or everything but the levels (or as they call it, Restarting from Level 1.) The player can also import data from the demo bringing all the items they won in it and doing so is the only way to unlock Aerith as an assist-only character.
- Playing the demo for World of Final Fantasy and importing the data from it into the game proper will net you a free Magitek P Armor Mirage.
- Wild AR Ms 4 will give you bonuses if you have a Wild ARMs: Alter Code F save.
- In Xenosaga, possessing Game Clear data from Episode I when starting Episode II gave your entire party the ability "Swimsuit", which dressed them up in swimsuits of various appeal, but more importantly boosted your Speed (And was one of the only ways to) and couldn't be obtained any other way. Game Clear data from Episode II to Episode III also unlocked a couple new costumes as well (Such as Shion's Vector uniform from I/II), which were again otherwise unobtainable. Both game's save data also allowed for a bonus in starting XP and skill points for characters in the next game, though the benefits were severely curtailed; maxed-out levels in the first game would add perhaps 4-5 levels to your starting total in the second.
- Lunar Knights gives different bonuses for having the various Boktai games inserted in the GBA slot, in the form of reading the sunlight input. The Boktai games themselves have passwords at the end that can be used to carry over a character's rank.
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age gives players golden equipment if they send clear data from the first game to the second game if the player triggers certain events from the first game. Finding out through an NPC that the thieves from Vault escaped will appear in the second game and fight your party. A girl from one of the towns from the first game appears halfway through the second game to give Isaac a gift for helping her friend. The warriors from the Colosso appears late in the sequel once Isaac and his party joins your party and they fight you, accusing Isaac of cheating when they fought him.
- Unlocking Japanese as an audio option for Theater Mode instead of the default English in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ requires having a finished Re: Chain of Memories save file on the memory card. Notably, Final Mix+ added a few cutscenes not in the original edition of the game, which means that there is no English voiceover available for them. This, in turn, means that these cutscenes are essentially muted until you get around to finishing the other game. Which, naturally, is entirely in Japanese. At least Re: Chain of Memories comes with Final Mix +...
- In Legend of Mana, one of the early quests introduces the player to the mechanics of catching monster eggs, which would eventually hatch into friendly monsters the player could bring along. The starter monster would always be a Rabite (a small, relatively weak rabbit monster) unless the player happened to have a save from Final Fantasy VIII on their memory card - in which case the monster would be a Chocobo. Also, having a SaGa Frontier 2 save file allowed you to find a secret sword in Bone Fortress, and having a Chocobo Racing save net you a ring accessory from Polpota Harbor.
- Putting any GBA Mega Man Battle Network game in Slot 2 while playing Battle Network 5 DS would net you bonuses in-game. A Boktai or Boktai 2 cartridge would also net bonuses; 2 (3 in Japan) netting MegaMan the overpowered Sol Cross.
- Also, if you had a GBA copy of BN5 in Slot 2 that had the Bass/Forte icon on the title screen (acquired by beating said boss not once, but twice, and he's stronger the second time), you could access Bass Cross, with different bonuses in that form depending on which version-half of BN5DS you were playing.
- Not just Bass Cross. You could import your old folder from the GBA version to the DS version - the only restriction being you have to be able to equip it as you are (which, if you're using Sol or Bass Cross, you most likely can't, due to -1 Mega Chip). Importing a folder made for the endgame at the start of the new one makes it so easy it's almost funny.
- Also, oddly enough, the bonus for the Japan-only 4.5 game exists in non-Japanese versions of 5.
- Putting a Battle Network game in Slot 2 while playing the first Mega Man Star Force would unlock a mini-quest that got you the BN Buster, which was quite a good weapon for the entirety of the game. A similarly unlockable sidequest in Mega Man Star Force 2 provides not only a new weapon but also an epilogue to the Battle Network series.
- Panzer Dragoon Saga will give you extra money based on how long you've played Panzer Dragoon Zwei. You can also get a music box as a bonus item later in the game, and Saga will also unlock any bonus features in Zwei that haven't been unlocked yet.
- A game-clear save from Phantasy Star Generation:1 is required in order to even attempt the long, arduous road to reviving Nei after her Plotline Death in Phantasy Star Generation:2.
- Pokémon Black and White have two ways to transfer Pokémon from previous versions: the normal way is a "Poké Transfer" minigame download to another system that has a Gen IV game in it available after getting the National Dex, while the "Relocator" is a secret method to move over a few specific Pokémon from promotional events that were held for the previous games just before the new games' release. It can be used as soon as you reach the city it is in.
- A similar thing happened earlier, when Pokémon Gold and Silver allowed players who'd reached a certain point in the game to use a Time Capsule to trade with the earlier games in the series. In this case, you could only trade back Pokémon that existed in the old games and had moves from them. This was the only way to get several Pokémon.
- Ordinarily, Pokémon games that are part of the same "generation" can trade with each other no matter when they were released, but FireRed and LeafGreen require you to complete a sidequest before trading with the Hoenn games is allowed.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl allow you to transfer Pokémon from your Game Boy Advance games to the Nintendo DS games after getting the National Dex. Also, having different cartridges in the second slot will make new monsters appear in the wild. Naturally, this is the only way to obtain several Pokémon in D/P. HeartGold and SoulSilver have the same function.
- Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 have the Memory Link function, which connects the game to a Pokémon Black and White save file and adds a few bonus cutscenes to the game as well as references by name to the previous game's protagonist. Also, in the companion game Pokémon Dream Radar, after catching Landorus, it's possible to unlock new search methods to get Dream World versions of Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Ho-oh, and Lugia by inserting a copy of Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold, or Soul Silver (respectively) into the 3DS while starting the game. (These Pokemon are only available once per both each Dream Radar save and each save of Black 2 or White 2).
- Pokémon X and Y begins the trend of utilizing the cloud service-based Pokemon Bank, which is intended to allow for forward compatibility of Pokémon between games from the sixth generation onwards. A free Poketransporter app is provided to help you bring forward Pokémon from the fifth generation. And yes, this means you can transfer a Pokémon from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Fire Red/Leaf Green to Diamond/Pearl/Platinum/Heart Gold/Soul Silver, from there to Black/White/Black 2/White 2, and finally to X, Y, Omega Ruby, or Alpha Sapphire. If you use all these transfer methods to bring a Pokémon from the original Hoenn games all the way to their remakes, you can get a special certificate for your Secret Base. The Transporter is also compatible with the 3DS Virtual Console releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow versions, meaning Pokémon obtained in those games can be transferred to Pokémon Sun and Moon and later games in the series. However, even with the Bank, Pokémon still can't be transferred back to older games.
- Tales Series
- A completed Tales of Symphonia save file nets you a reward in its sequel if you plug the Gamecube's memory card into your Wii. Said reward is random, ranging from small/cheap healing items that end up saving you some cash to experience boost items for monsters.
- Tales of Symphonia Chronicles rewards the players who have Save Datas from previous Tales games on the PS3 with costumes from said games (and Tales of the Abyss as well,) with them being Tales of Graces, Tales of Xillia and Tales of Vesperia; the funny thing is the Western version of Chronicles rewards the player for having a Save Data from Vesperia too, the Japanese Data, Vesperia on the PS3 never got released outside Japan. The only other way to unlcok said outfits is to beat the game once.
- Tales of Xillia 2 gives the player a pair of attachments, if the console contain previous Tales' save data. Having a save file for Tales of Graces gives the player a plushie Yuri Lowell and Sophie. And having the prequel's save data gives the player a plushie of Jude and Milla in their Xillia attire. DLC is also carried over to X2, and rather conversely, certain Xillia 2 costume DLC can be carried back over to the first game.
- Tales of Zestiria carries on the tradition. The same saves (Graces, Xillia, Vesperia in Japan) add the same Sophie and Yuri plushies as well as Jude and Milla's for a Xillia 1 save, and now a save from the Chronicles versions of Symphonia and its sequel gets you a doll of Lloyd Irving and Marta Lualdi respectively, and a save from Xillia 2 gets you a Ludger Will Kresnik doll too.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 had a ton of save bonuses if the player had completed the first game. Bonuses included improved starting stats, special abilities, anti-element rings (gained by defeating the Bonus Bosses in the first game), and even getting Heat back into your party.
- In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, you get some bonuses for having a completed save from Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.
- While we're talking Shin Megami Tensei, there are also a few examples of this in the Persona series:
- Most American gamers were unaware of the fact that Persona 2 was a duology. If you completed Innocent Sin, you could transfer Tatsuya's stats to Eternal Punishment.
- If you have an existing Persona 3 save when you load FES, you can transfer your attributes and Personae Compendium, effectively making FES a New Game+.
- Predating all of these is Shin Megami Tensei if.... Upon reaching the World of Sloth, having save data from other Atlus games would get the player a large number of bonuses; having all the correct saves can get the player 3 free points in strength, 5 in intelligence, and 10 in agility. While this may not sound like much on paper, in gameplay it's like getting 18 extra levels, leaving the player just shy of being able to max out every stat.
- The Suikoden series uses this trope liberally.
- By importing save data from the first game, a lengthy bonus scenario involving several of the previous game's main characters would be available in Suikoden II. Additionally, one of the recipes (Gremio's Special Stew) can only be obtained by importing a savefile with all 108 Stars recruited.
- Likewise, data could be copied from Suikoden II to Suikoden III to unlock hidden plays (with further bonuses for copying a save from Suikoden II that had had its bonuses unlocked by the copying of data from the first Suikoden — and in Japan, yet further bonuses for routing a Suikoden II save through the two Suikogaidens and then into Suikoden III, but those games never came to the US), and between Suikoden IV and Suikoden Tactics to unlock two extra characters. Sadly, with the release of the fifth game in the series, this practice seems to have been discontinued.
- This may be an issue of in-game timing rather than discontinuing what has always been a popular feature of the series. Data from Suikoden I could be used in II because the events in II happen shortly after I, and the same went for data from II being used in III. But because IV jumped back in time 150 years, it didn't accept load data from the earlier games... and V jumped back ahead to shortly before the first game, so it didn't accept load data either.
- Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard had some minor bonuses if you entered a password obtained by beating the original game. While no characters transferred over, people recognized the name of your Guild and that you were "experienced adventurers", and several password-exclusive secrets were unlocked. note
- If you unlock mecha in Super Robot Wars Link Battler, you can transfer them over to Super Robot Wars 64
- Valkyria Chronicles:
- Valkyria Chronicles II will allow you to unlock several bonus characters, including Isara Gunther who died in the original game if you have save data from Valkyria Chronicles moved over from your save there. She's an Armored Tech, and a good one too.
- Having save data from II will get you Anisette as a playable character in Valkyria Chronicles III.
- Completing demo versions of some Nintendo 3DS games will allow you to carry things over into the main game.
- Etrian Odyssey 4 can transfer your saved gamed from the demo over to the main game. You can do the same with Etrian Odyssey Untold, but the demo only lets you play Story mode (premade characters) instead of Classic (player-made guild).
- Bravely Default allows you to unlock bonuses in the main game by achieving certain objectives in the demo, and to transfer your villagers from the demo over to the main game.note
- The sequel, Bravely Second, will do the same.
- Sonic Lost World just transfers your save from the demo, but you can only play the tutorial and one level.
- The Special Demo Version of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire allows you to transfer a special Glalie (or Steelix, if you're playing the Japanese version) along with its Mega Stone into the full version of the game, as well as a set of Poké Balls, Heal Balls and Heart Scales. Secret missions also allow for the transfer of a Nugget.
- The demo for the first The Denpa Men lets you carry over your completion of the first dungeon, Digitoll Cave, as well as all the Denpa Men and items you acquired, into the full game.
- Various games in the Monster Rancher franchise would generate certain special monsters by reading other Tecmo game discs, such as Dead or Alive. Previous games in the series would also unlock special monsters, as would certain CDs (or DVDs for the PS2 titles).
- Fossil Fighters Champions allows you to send over fossils from the first game. This makes certain vivosaurs much easier to obtain, as some 'saurs that are only available late-game can be gotten from the start in the original FF. There are also some fossils that can only be obtained in FF, as some vivosaurs only have head fossils in Champions.note
- In The Denpa Men series, you can use your hero from any previous game in the later ones. You can also import any caught characters from earlier games in later ones. In the second game, importing caught Denpas is free and you can do it as often as you like. In the third game, it costs money to import older Men, but they gain new powers as an additional form of bonus.
- If you have a save file for Twisted Metal: Black in the game card when you start a file for War of the Monsters, you get exclusive access to Agamo's fourth skin - patterned after Sweet Tooth.
- If you have a savefile from Dead or Alive 3 or Xtreme Beach Volleyball on your Xbox and play Story Mode as Ein, you unlock Hitomi in DoA Ultimate.
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will give you the DLC costumes from the vanilla release should you own them on vanilla. Also, DLC characters Jill and Shuma-Gorath will transfer over if you own them, complete with their own alternate cotumes as well. Furthermore, You unlock Galactus Mode, a special one player mode where you play as Galactus, which you would normally have to unlock via racking up 30000 player points.
- Loading your save data from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift into the Updated Re-release, Continuum Shift EXTEND, lets you keep your progress through Story Mode. Unfortunately, Blazblue Chronophantasma averts this with its EXTEND version in terms of story save data, although having DLC from the vanilla version unlocks said item in Extend.
- Done without a memory card with Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 through Disc Fusion on the PS2, not present in the Wii version. Having the game discs of the first two games would unlock two modes in Ultimate Battle, and clearing them rewarded you with a special item, one for each. The items aren't terribly powerful and the one item you get from collecting all items excludes these two from it's requirement.
- Both the Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi series did this off an on throughout its run - usually the reward would be the early unlock of a character (usually Bardock or another movie character) that you normally wouldn't get until much later in the game.
- In the Onimusha Fighting Game spinoff, Onimusha Blade Warriors, Gargant could only be unlocked if you had data on your memory card from Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, in which the panda costume could only be unlocked with data from Blade Warriors.
- If you have save data for Pikmin and Super Smash Bros. Melee on the same memory card, then you'll immediately earn a Captain Olimar trophy upon booting Melee up.
- Having Street Fighter IV data in your memory would unlock two additional color schemes in Super Street Fighter IV. In addition, any DLC costumes you bought for the original will be unlocked in Super.
- Furthermore, having save data from Street Fighter X Tekken unlocks alternate costumes for Decapre, Elena, Hugo, Poison, and Rolento in Ultra Street Fighter IV.
- Having a save file from the Iron Man video game on your system unlocks Iron Man (in Hulkbuster armor) as a playable character in the Incredible Hulk video game.
- The Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series of video games reward you for having save files from the previous games on your memory card, typically with in-game cash and (quite mysterious) ninja (info) cards.
- Playing Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny with an existing save from the previous Battle of Aces game will instantly unlock the Valkyrie costume for Nanoha, the Klonoa costume for Fate, and the Wonder Momo costume for Hayate. Those without a BoA save will need to unlock them by having the three characters finish Time Attack Mode in 300 seconds.
- The amiibo feature first introduced in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U does something similar. When used in the game in which it was introduced, you can transport the fighter depicted in the amiibo into the game and level it up by giving it items and fighting with it. However, when using select amiibo on other compatible games, certain features become unlocked depending on the amiibo scanned. For instance, using select amiibo in Mario Kart 8 will unlock a costume of the character on that amiibo for your Mii. The Nintendo 3DS has also been updated so that it can scan amiibo. (Mario Party 10 has its own amiibo, though.)
First Person Shooter
- In Battlefield: Bad Company and its sequel, players who owned previous games in the series (or played the free game Battlefield Heroes) were considered "Battlefield Veterans" and received a free F2000 (first game) or M1 Garand (second) for use in multiplayer. Continued in Battlefield 3, where Veterans receive three versions of the M1911 for multiplayer, and in Battlefield 4, where Veterans received a "Veteran Battlepack" including a camo pattern, the ACB-90 knife from BF3, and a scope for the .44 Magnum revolver.
- In Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, you get an experience bonus based on how much experience you earned online in the first game.
- Halo: Reach gives you extra money for armor if you've made progress in Halo 3 and ODST beforehand.
- A Perfect Dark Zero save automatically unlocks four cheats on the Xbox Live Arcade version of Perfect Dark — the same four cheats that could also be gained through a Transfer Pack and the Game Boy Color Perfect Dark game on the Nintendo 64 version.
- Having Resistance 2 for the PS3 linked up with Resistance: Retribution for the PSP will allow for PSP Plus, giving the player an almost entirely different storyline and locations to access within the PSP game.
- The Borderlands franchise has several loyalty bonuses that are unlocked if the player has one or more savefiles from previous titles.
- Having a savefile from the original game on your computer unlocks a set of heads and skins styled after the original Vault Hunters for Borderlands 2.
- Having save data from Poker Night 2 (a Telltale Games tie-in product) and acquiring all of the bounties in that game unlocks several skins and heads for 2 (including Salvador's "Nothing Ventured" skin, Gaige's "Hippity Hoppity" mask, Axton's "Guy With The Gun" head, Maya's "Bluffer's Bane" poker visor, and Zero's "Are You Still There" skin).
- Savefiles from one or both of the previous games unlock additional bonuses when importing into Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!. If data from one game is imported, the player receives a blue-quality weapon, 10 Moonstones and a set of skins (while importing only a file from 2 gives additional Badass Ranks). Importing data from both games gives all of the additional skin/head customizations, 30 Moonstones, two weapons and 500 Badass Ranks.
- Importing data from Tales from the Borderlands into Pre-Sequel awards an additional set of head/skin customization options.
- Importing data from a previous version of either 2 or Pre-Sequel into the Handsome Collection next-gen release offers 75 Golden Keys, a large chunk of Badass Ranks and additional customization options for both games, regardless of whether the data was imported for one game or the other.
- Garry's Mod is capable of porting models from other games on the system for use in the program. Of course, games that run on the Source engine are amongst the first to be ported, since that's what the program was made for.
- On a related note, Source Filmmaker is compatible with Gmod models and vice versa. However, Gmod models have a tendency to not render correctly in SFM; the most common problem being missing eye textures.
- Armored Core games within the same generation tend to allow you to transfer your pilot data between them— the reward being starting with your mech and cash from the other game.
- Although unfortunate, the option isn't available if you're playing the PAL version of Armored Core 2 and Another Age
- Having Gundam Breaker save data will transfer all the Master Grade parts you've earned into Gundam Breaker 2, albeit scaled down to High Grade Lv.0.
- Putting a Sega game in the GBA slot while playing Feel The Magic XY/XX on Nintendo DS unlocked special hats for the girl. The same items can be unlocked without the GBA games, but it takes a lot longer.
- Placing a WarioWare: Twisted! cartridge in the GBA slot of your Nintendo DS while playing WarioWare: Touched! will unlock the Mona Pizza music video. North American gamers probably didn't know about this Easter Egg at first, because Touched! was released before Twisted! in the States (in Japan, the reverse is true).
- Although it's an online game and thus has no 'save' option, Guild Wars uses a related mechanic. In Eye of the North, there is a Hall of Monuments that can store mementos of character's personal achievements. The developers have announced that it will be possible to obtain special bonuses for characters in Guild Wars 2, based on the contents of the Hall.
- In a rare browser-based game example, beating Anime Versus gives you the ability to send a piece of equipment to a Billy Vs SNAKEMAN account that gives "+1 Hotness [one of the five main skills in AV, but means nothing in BVS] and +20 Daily Stamina [means nothing in AV but useful in every phase of 100%ing BVS]".
- Another browser game example: Mega Man vs. Metroid and Mega Man vs. Ghosts 'n Goblins have interacting save files - beating Samus gets you the Missile Launcher and beating Arthur gets you the Lance, and both weapons can be used in either game. Beating both games unlocks the ability to play either game as Protoman.
- The two Phantasy Star Portable games: characters created in the downloadable demo for both games can be imported into the full games to save time and effort. In addition, importing a character from PSP1 to PSP2 allows you to import certain base features of the character's appearance (name, height, build, class), gives you whatever costume parts you had equipped on them at the time, one of four different special-effect accessories depending on your chosen class (all of which are normally received at much higher levels), the special title 'Veteran Guardian', and also gives you the Exam saber, an ice-elemental sword that is one of the most powerful single-handed swords you can get during the first chapter.
- Phantasy Star Online Episode 3 allows you to unlock certain cards if you have save files of certain Sonic games, Billy Hatcherandthe Giant Egg, and Phantasy Star Online Episode 1+2. It would also transfer your friends list directly from Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 and 2.
- A quasi example. When the original release of Final Fantasy XIV was a colossal failure, Square Enix did not instantly close its servers. They instead allowed players to continue playing for free while they improved the game working towards its rerelease. When it was relaunched as 2.0: A Realm Reborn all accounts from 1.0 were transferred to the new servers. This let players come into the newly released game with fully level and geared characters (and also saved them from having to repurchase a new game), in much the way some games allow final phase beta players to keep their progress.
- Playing Kirby: Canvas Curse with another Kirby game in the GBA slot allows you to play as a Waddle Doo before unlocking it regularly (which is extremely late post-game).
- Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle have Chao systems that are cross-compatible with each other as well as with the Sonic Advance games. Using the GBA it's possible to bring Chao from one game into the other. A few other games, such as the GameCube version of Phantasy Star Online included a downloadable Tails Chao that could be brought into the other games. The original Dreamcast versions of the games allowed imports from the first Adventure to the second, but not the reverse.
- "Stop 'n' Swop" in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie was meant to be a rare cartridge-based form of this, whereby you could swap the two games over during play, taking items from one game to another to unlock secret bonuses. Changes to the Nintendo 64 prevented the idea from being fully realized until the Xbox Live Arcade remakes, where Stop 'n' Swop also unlocks additional content in Nuts & Bolts. Doing Stop 'n' Swop between the Xbox Live Arcade versions of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie will give you three new bonuses in Tooie on top of the original four: a Gamer Pic, a Banjo-Kazooie Theme, and Stop 'n' Swop II, which apparently involves three new eggs.
- Putting one of the Game Boy Advance Kim Possible games into the GBA slot when playing the Nintendo DS game Kimmunicator would unlock one of three bonus outfits for the title character, one for each title.
- In Mega Man X8, having a Mega Man X: Command Mission save on your memory card will let you fight Cut Man from the original Mega Man as a bonus boss in Optic Sunflower's stage, right before the boss proper. The PC port scratches that (mainly because Command Mission never had a PC release), instead having you complete every area of the stage at the highest level to be allowed to meet Cut Man.
- Putting Mega Man Zero 3 or 4 in the GBA slot when playing Mega Man ZX allows you unlock a door that lets you fight the bosses from said games.
- Metroid: Fusion and Metroid Prime can be linked together with the Gamecube/GBA cable. You can wear the Fusion Suit in Prime, and play a port of the NES Metroid on your GameCube.
- You can connect Metroid Fusion to Zero Mission (via link cable) for some bonus pics, including all the ending images from Fusion as well as the Japanese-exclusive ending pictures.
- Metroid Prime 3 has an unlockable feature that gives your ship bumper stickers for other Wii games on your system. These include Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which came out after Metroid Prime 3.
- Ratchet & Clank:
- The Ratchet & Clank (2002) sequel Going Commando rewards players of the previous game with the five returning weapons (Bomb Glove, Tesla Claw, Walloper, Visibomb Gun, and Decoy Glove) being sold for free at the Gadgetron vendor on Barlow if you bought them in the first game. The third game, Up Your Arsenal, does it for the two previous games separately, with 10% price discounts on all Gadgetron weapons if you have a Ratchet & Clank save made after the Hoverboard race on Kalebo III, Ratchet's Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal outfit from the first game as a skin if you have any save from the first game, and the five returning Going Commando weapons (Bouncer, Plasma Coil, Shield Charger, Lava Gun, and Miniturret Glove) for free from Slim Cognito on Aquatos if you have upgraded them to Mega in that game. The first one is because the player is told by the Gadgetron head after the race in the first game that the player is entitled to the employee discount in two years time. The second game takes place in a different galaxy with a different main corporation you buy things from. The third game returns to the galaxy in the first game; these games are developed at a rate of one a year, so the third game was released almost exactly two years from the time the first game was... turns out the man was true to his word.
- The Future Story Arc does it too: While Quest for Booty doesn't get anything unlocked from Tools of Destruction, A Crack in Time gets separate bonuses from both predecessors (a Tools of Destruction save gets you a discount on the Buzz Blades, Mag-Net Launcher, Mr. Zurkon, and Groovitron Glove, and a Quest for Booty save earns you a skin that consists of Ratchet's current skin with a pirate hat).
- Early Sonic example (though also applicable in Mega Collection): The number of Chaos Emeralds obtained and level reached in Sonic 3 transfers over to Sonic & Knuckles, to say nothing of the Lock-On Technology of the latter game allowing either Knuckles in Sonic 2 or the minigame Blue Sphere to be played with certain Genesis/Mega Drive games.
- Playing Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on a system which has a saved game file for Episode I will unlock Episode Metal, in which you can play through several levels from Episode I as Metal Sonic, as well as using the updated physics engine from Episode II.
- Super Mario 3D World lets you play an altered version of the original Mario Bros. (entitled Luigi Bros) if you have New Super Luigi U data in celebration of The Year of Luigi. Without the previous save, you have to beat the game first in order to play Luigi Bros.
- Tomba! 2 had several quests that could only be accessed by completing the first Tomba to a certain point and transferring the data over.
- In the Gamecube version of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, you can unlock the original Prince of Persia by linking the GCN and GBA versions — but this isn't the only way to do it.
- The 2009 Bionic Commando game has an unlockable "retro" skin for players who own both Bionic Commando and Rearmed on the same system, in addition to a secret room in Bionic Commando for players who have beaten Rearmed 100%.
- This is a major mechanic in Skylanders. Because the toys save all the data for the characters, it is not only possible, but encouraged to get a character to maximum level in the first game and just roll through the first few levels of the sequel.
- The sequel also has an in-game "Accolade" and accompanying EXP multiplier for having Spyro, Gill Grunt, and Trigger Happy, the three characters packaged with the original game. (You can also get this by buying the sequel's versions of the characters separately, but those who bought the first game will have them by default.)
- Some hats in Team Fortress 2, once purchased and in a player's backpack, will then be available in Portal 2 co-op.
- We Love Katamari, the sequel to Katamari Damacy, can import the star data created in the previous game into the new cosmos map.
- Professor Layton has a sort of reverse example: in addition to the first game giving you a password to unlock content in the second, the second game contains a password that can be used in the first game to unlock bonus content there, as well as a password for the third game. The third game has its own password that works in the second game. The pattern is repeated in the second trilogy of games. In all but the last two games, the passwords from future games unlock a Concept Art Gallery, while the passwords from the previous games unlock a bonus puzzle. (In the case of the last two games, using the password from Azran Legacy unlocks an extra Sequel Hook cutscene in Miracle Mask, while using the Miracle Mask password, or just having a save file on the 3DS, unlocks a concept art gallery for the whole series along with an extra set of the daily download puzzles.)
- Rockstar Games made two games for the launch of the PlayStation 2: Smuggler's Run and Midnight Club. Players who had a save file from Smuggler's Run on their memory card got to drive the Baja Buggy from that game in Midnight Club, but only in free roam mode.
- Burnout Revenge rewards Burnout 3: Takedown players with a borderline Game Breaker - the second most powerful crash car in the game unlocked right at the start. And if you had a Madden NFL 06 save game on your memory card, a special Madden van will be unlocked when you start up Burnout Revenge on PlayStation 2.
- Gran Turismo 4 gave a 100,000 credit bonus to those who possessed a GT3 save file. Also a possible gamebreaker... considering that the majority of difficult races in the series are at the start, when it's tough to simply out drag race and bumper car the AI.
- Linking the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions of Crash Tag Team Racing unlocks two Battle Arenas and several PS2 cars.
- Forza Motorsport 4 will handsomely reward players with a Forza 3 game save in the form of extra credits, up to 8 free cars depending on the save level along with all the ultra-rare Unicorn Cars transferring, and an achievement.
- Forza Horizon rewards the player who has any Forza Motorsport game save on their console with free cars, as well.
- Forza Horizon 3 rewards players who have either Halo 5: Guardians or The Master Chief Collection with a code that adds the franchise's Warthog to the list of available vehicles, which really doesn't look that out of place on the game's Australian setting.
- F-Zero GX actually allows the sharing of data between itself and the Arcade Game F-Zero AX. As AX machines are hard to find in the US (at the height of their popularity there were a grand total of 20 of them available to the English-speaking world) and few people read the back of the box, hardly anyone ever noticed. The AX version did contain a semi-exclusive cup, which could be unlocked in GX if you beat the courses in AX with a GC memory card inserted to the machine; but because of the rarity of the AX machines, the only way to unlock this AX cup that most players have access to is to beat every cup on Master difficulty. This becomes slightly less hard to do when it was discovered that AX is actually contained within GX!
- Jak X Combat Racing for PS2 and Daxter for the PSP mutually unlock game features for both games when linked via the PS2 USB port.
- You can also unlock Jak's three previous incarnations from the earlier Jak games, (the first Jak game's save data unlocks Jak's incarnation from that game, and so on), the Sand Shark dune buggy from Jak 3 if you have save data from it and Ratchet as a playable driver if you have a Ratchet: Deadlocked save file.
- On Mario Kart Wii, having a save game from Super Mario Galaxy and then playing 50 races is the easier method for unlocking Rosalina as a playable character.
- Arcade Games with card systems will often allow you to transfer data from the previous game in the series, carrying over data that would otherwise have to be earned all over again. Some examples:
- Initial D Arcade Stage, up to version 3. Initial D Arcade Stage 4 uses a new card system and does not allow transfers from Ver. 3, but transfers to the next version work all the same.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, along with providing bonuses such as new tachometers for completing the previous game's Story Mode without a single loss. Maximum Tune 4 uses an online network with the player's card being used solely as an authenticator, but allowed transfers from Maximum Tune 3DX+ until October 2013.
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2005 started you off with $30,000 to buy your first car, which basically meant a choice of three out of the four initially unlocked cars. If you were playing this game on a system that also saw the release of Need for Speed: Underground 2, if you had the save file for that game (all platforms) or at least installed it (PC), you get an extra $10,000 to start with, expanding your available starter choices to all four.
- Pokémon Dash unlocked extra maps based on the Pokémon in the active party of the game in the GBA slot.
- Split/Second: The decal "Have We Met Before?" which requires you to have a save file from Pure. It's the only decal that doesn't also grant you an achievement/trophy.
Real Time Strategy
- Starting with the first Crusader Kings game, Paradox Interactive began including features in its games that allowed you to port a save to the next game in the chronology, allowing the player to play a single game all the way from the High Middle Ages through the Renaissance, Enlightenment, the Pax Britannica, World War One, World War Two, and the Cold War and on up to (almost) the present day.
- Patapon has an unusual example; if you use the full game to load a save file created from the game's downloadable demo, it gives you a powerful, special sword for one of your troops to use.
- Additionally, Patapon 2 allows you to carry over a saved file from the first game- you don't get to keep any of your troops or weapons, but you keep all of your materials, you can find a select few of your previous file's weapons during the first hunting mission, and any Rarepons you had can be made instantly without having to go through the whole evolution tree.
- The Dance Dance Revolution games for the Wii offer a varation; Hottest Party 2 can unlock all the songs on Hottest Party, Hottest Party 3 can unlock all the songs on Hottest Party 2, "Hottest Party 4" can unlock everything on Hottest Party 3, etc. The majority of Japanese PSX and PS2 games in the series had similar functionality.
- 3rd Mix included a disc swap option that would let you play all of the songs in 2nd mix with 3rd Mix's interface.
- DJMAX Portable 2 has the Link Disc feature, which, with a copy of DJMAX Portable, allows you to play all of DJMAX Portables songs on Portable 2s interface. With UMDs, this is easy enough, but with ISOs, which most players are using, the process is more complicated. DJMAX Portable Clazziquai Edition's Link Disc is limited to unlocking songs in Clazziquai, and DJMAX Portable Black Square enables Portable 2-style linking with Clazziquai.
- If you own a copy of Rock Band and its sequel on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, you can import nearly every song from the first game and play it on the second one at little cost.
- This trend has continued for the numerous spin-off games in the series, such as Lego Rock Band (where you can export the tracklist to Rock Band and Rock Band 2, and play child-friendly import and DLC songs) and Green Day: Rock Band (which is also compatible with pre-bought Green Day DLC). The Beatles: Rock Band does not include this feature, however. Harmonix are also working on not only securing the rights to import the songs from Rock Band 2 to Rock Band 3, but also bring back the songs they couldn't relicense at first from Rock Band.
- Implemented similarly to Rock Band's Track Packs in Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero with respect to Guitar Hero World Tour and Smash Hits - you only need the manual, whose code on the back is unused, and enough money to cover the cost of relicensing. The reason is that instead of exporting the data, you actually download revised data (same charts, only with new features like band moments and Expert+ for Drummers where applicable). The disc is not needed at all.
- The Dreamcast version of Space Channel 5 Part 2 allowed you to unlock Mr. Blank and Cecil right off the bat if you had save data from the first game.
- If you have save data from Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, any character costumes you acquired in that game will be unlocked right away when imported to Project Diva F 2nd without the need to purchase them again.
- The JauntTrooper games could be completed in order by a single character.
- Castle of the Winds came in two parts. The Shareware first part allowed you to save your game after beating the Big Bad of the game, where you could then continue it in the commercial second part exactly as left. This created a bit of a problem for characters created anew in the second part, since it was tuned for an already-leveled and geared character. It got around this by giving new characters some instant levels and gear, although characters brought forward from the first part were typically significantly better off.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red (for GBA) and Blue (for DS) can connect to each other. In addition to item trading and rescue missions, the dual slot mode allows you to fight your Red team as a Bonus Boss in Blue.
Shoot Em Up
- There is a system in Geometry Wars Galaxies for both the Wii and DS which is unlocked by linking them via wireless connection. As these are among the highest-scoring levels in the game, it is nearly impossible to ascend the scoreboard without linking.
- In the Xbox Live Arcade version of Radiant Silvergun, having at least one achievement from Ikaruga unlocks Ikaruga Mode, which uses the chain combo system from that game.
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku, you can unlock all of the characters from its predecessor Scarlet Weather Rhapsody by linking the two together via a text file.
- Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War had a couple of these. If you had an Ace Combat 04 save on your memory card, you could unlock one of the superplanes, the X-02 Wyvern, after the very first mission (rather than having to complete the game twice with two different Ace styles). If you had an Ace Combat 5 save, you could unlock the ADF-01 FALKEN without having to get all three Supreme Ace medals (instead settling for 3 normal Ace medals like with the ADFX-01 Morgan). If you had saves from both games, both the Wyvern and the FALKEN would be unlocked after the first mission.
- Animal Crossing: City Folk lets a player import a character from the predecessor Animal Crossing: Wild World. Only the name, face, hair, and catalog transfer; relationships, clothing, items, and money do not. The data on Wild World stays intact after this is done, so the data that isn't transferred isn't gone for good.
- If it counts, Resetti will also thank you for buying both games during the first encounter, if you do transfer your character from Wild World to City Folk.
- In New Leaf - Welcome amiibo, there is a new option in the title screen menu called "Link HHD Data", which unlocks the Happy Home Challenge furniture from Happy Home Designer if the player has it. The game makes a distinction between the retail and downloadable versions — if the player has the retail version of Happy Home Designer, they'll need to replace the New Leaf or New Leaf - Welcome amiibo Game Card with the one for Happy Home Designer in order to read its data.
- In Monster Farm DS, one method of unlocking monsters is by inserting a game - any GBA game - into the GBA slot, and some formula works out what monster to make, but is still played straight as there are two special monsters that can only be unlocked with this feature, with the required games being the two GBA games of the Monster Farm franchise. (That is, the Japanese versions of those games. Monster Rancher is the English name of the franchise, and the English versions of the game do not give the special monsters.)
- Harvest Moon:
- In Harvest Moon Friends Of Mineral Town (GBA) connecting to a Gamecube with Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life unlocked Van and Ruby, from whom you could buy certain bonus items. On the flip side: playing AWL with FoMT connnected would unlock the hot springs (Where your character could recover lost health and stamina without the use of foodstuffs).
- If you played Harvest Moon DS with Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town in the GBA slot, the inhabitants of Mineral Town would visit Forget-Me-Not Valley periodically. You could even date and marry some of them, though the game would end the moment you married them. Going even further, if that particular copy of Friends of Mineral Town had linked up with a copy of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, then a tombstone for that game's character will appear in game.
- On the PC, the SimCity series has a long history of cross-version and even cross-product Old Save Bonus:
- SimCity 2000 allowed you to load SimCity games
- SimCity 3000 let you import SimCity 2000 and SimCity games
- SimCity 4 let you import sims from the first The Sims as citizens.
- Streets of SimCity and SimCopter both let you import SimCity 2000 cities.
- The Sims 2 allowed you to import small cities from SimCity 4 as a neighborhood.
- Players of The Sims 4 receive special plumbob-shaped lamps if they also own The Sims 3, one each for the base game and every corresponding Expansion Pack.
- WWE Legends of Wrestlemania would use a save file from SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 to import characters from that game. Whilst it didn't include the entire roster (Anyone who was no longer part of the WWE roster didn't carry over) or the DLC characters, it did let players import their created characters.
- Inazuma Eleven 3 has a "Super Link" feature where you can import many (but not all) characters from your save file on the second game. However, to prevent you from immediately assembling a team of Disc One Nukes right out of the gate, EXP and learned techniques can't be imported; you simply get a clean-slate copy of the character.
- A save for Backyard Basketball unlocks Barry Dejay in Backyard Baseball.
- Most EA Sports titles reward players for playing earlier versions of the game, specifically versions from the previous year.
- The College Football players you create in recent edition EA's NCAA Football series can have pro careers by being imported to your copy of corresponding editions of the Madden NFL series. If you also owned NFL Head Coach 09, you could use its advanced play editor to import custom plays into Madden 09.
- If you load up EA Sports UFC 2 with an EA Sports UFC save on your profile, then you get to play as Bruce Lee (normally a DLC character) for free.
- Unlocking the hidden character Jake "The Snake" Roberts in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 requires connecting with the PSP version of the same game. Yes, that's right, you need to own the exact same game on two different platforms for this one.
Stealth Based Game
- If data from the mobile game Deus Ex GO is imported into Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with several accomplishments completed (namely, completing the main campaign, getting Mastermind Status for every level and completing two weekly level packs), the player will begin the game with up to five extra Praxis Kits.
- Metal Gear Solid:
- The first game used the save data to mess with the player's head. Psycho Mantis can read your mind (actually, your memory card), and will not only comment on your playstyle, but also tell you what games you like to play. In the original PSX version, it looked for Konami titles (such as Suikoden, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and even Snatcher and Policenauts in the Japanese version - having a save file for both unlocks a special message from Hideo Kojima); in the GameCube version (The Twin Snakes), it looks for Nintendo titles (including Super Smash Bros. Melee and Eternal Darkness, made by the same team behind the remake). This also appears in Metal Gear Solid 4, when Mantis returns and tries to read your memory card... then realizes there is no memory card, and freaks the hell out.
- Completing both Metal Gear Ac!d and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater allowed you to hook your PSP up to the PS2 via a USB cable and automatically unlock three bonus items which could only be obtained otherwise by long, difficult and arduous means. This also applies to the Subsistence edition of MGS3 and Metal Gear Acid 2.
- In the PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, having a save from the two Acid games and the Digital Graphic Novel unlocks Teliko, Venus and Zero respectively for the second playthrough.
- Data from Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes can be imported into the associated mobile companion app to unlock additional officers, soldiers, armored vehicles and Metal Gear models based on certain feats that have been done during the main game.
- Likewise, data from Ground Zeroes can be imported into Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This includes any soldier or POW extracted by helicopter (who become units in Mother Base over the course of the first 12 missions). Additionally, depending on whether certain missions were completed ("Deja Vu" and "Intel Operative Rescue"), you can unlock Hideo as an S-Rank Intel specialist, as well as get the SV-Sneaking Suit and Solid Snake uniform from the game. Additionally, any savefile imported unlocks a gold-plated Bionic Arm once the Bionics Specialist is rescued in Mission 5.
- If you have a saved file of Sakura Wars 1 on your PS2 memory card, it will allow you to unlock otherwise un-playable levels and secrets when you play Sakura Wars 3 and Sakura Wars V: Episode 0 with the same memory card. The Dreamcast version of Sakura Wars 3 also opened up new dialogue options if you had a save from the first two games.
- Having a save from Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness on the same memory stick as the PSP port of Disgaea 2 will unlock the Shrine Maiden class.
- The various Arc the Lad sequels have bonus content and characters that can only be unlocked by save files from the previous games.
- Having Yggdra Union in the GBA slot while playing Knights in the Nightmare gives you the opportunity to recruit Pamela at a random point later in the game, and the tutorial will have Yggdra as its guide instead of Maria, with arranged music from Yggdra Union in the background.
- Playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in the GBA slot unlocks the Clan Privilege Libra early (which shows traps).
- If you have a GameCube memory card with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance save data plugged into your Wii when you make a new game on Radiant Dawn, characters that were in both games (most of the cast) can have their stats improved. In theory anyway. A rather nasty bug in the North American version of Radiant Dawn, caused by the arbitrary renaming of difficulty settings in the localization, makes the game crash when this is attempted if there are any easy difficulty saves on the memory card.
- Also, Path of Radiance had some bonus unlockables of its own that could be achieved by linking up with a GBA with Blazing Sword, The Sacred Stones, or (Japanese version only) The Binding Blade inserted.
- In order to hear a conversation between Soren and Ike in Radiant Dawn, you would need a save game file from Path of Radiance. The relationship level between both characters needs to be A in both games. There are other requirements but this is the main one.
- Super Robot Wars W and K both give you very good mech parts if you use one of the Japanese GBA cartridges in the Slot-2. And a very good part if you use the Game Boy Super Robot Wars 2 (part of the Famicom Mini collection).
- Resident Evil Outbreak File #2's option menu allows you to import your purchased characters/costumes from File #1, as well as export those you purchased in File #2 back into File #1.
- They planned ahead and had characters and costumes that would have appeared in File #3 had it been released, but these can only be accessed with a cheat device or by hacking the game.
- In Dead Space 2, starting a new game with a save file from Dead Space will give you access to a "refurbished" plasma cutter - which is really just the weapon from the first game (that can't be obtained any other way). Starting a new game with a save file from Dead Space: Ignition will net you a Hacker RIG (which can be very useful in later parts of the game).
- Silent Hill 3 has an Easter Egg only available if you have a Silent Hill 2 save file on your memory card. Examine a toilet in one of the mall's bathrooms, and the game will say there's something stuck in here, then ask if you want to retrieve it. If you say "yes", Heather will try to get whatever is stuck here, but will eventually gross out and refuse to do it. This is a Shout-Out to Silent Hill 2, where you must retrieve a safe box combination from a wallet stuck in a toilet.
- You can find a few other easter eggs if you examine the mailboxes in Woodside Apartments, inspect the fencing on the roof of Brookhaven, and look around Heaven's Night.
Third Person Shooter
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves awards bonus in-game money for playing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, up to $100,000 for unlocking the Platinum Trophy.
- The Suffering lets you do this. The sequel not only has multiple ending but multiple beginnings. Normally you start with the neutral beginning, but having a savegame from the first game lets you chose the appropriate start.
- Unlocking three achievements in the first Gears of War game would unlock three multiplayer characters in Gears of War 2.
- The core element of the Mass Effect series is the ability to transfer saves from one game to the next (and drastically impact the plot and background events as a result):
- Importing a save from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 will give the player an experience point bonus for 2 depending on what level they finished the first game at. It also preserves all the decisions made in the first game: whether or not you saved/killed the Rachni Queen, the Council and Wrex, the Virmire survivor, etc. In fact, the sequel takes a decidedly different tone if you've imported a game (some conversations and dialogue actions will be different). Playing without importing a save gives you the worst possible start (a Shepard that is assumed to have taken all Renegade options and killed the Council/Wrex/the Rachni Queen). Oddly enough, one sidequest (conrad Verner) isn't carried over properly, as both a Paragon and Renegade flags are set and the game defaults to the sidequest's Renegade conclusion.
- If the Mass Effect: Galaxy mobile game is completed and its save data imported into Mass Effect 2, additional dialogue options will be available if both Jacob and Miranda are in the party during the Omega: Packages for Ish sidequest.
- Mass Effect 3 carries over the player's level and skillpoint allocations from 2 as well as carrying over many of the player's plot choices from both games (including the Mass Effect: Genesis interactive comic, the DLC-only characters Zaeed Massani and Kasumi Goto and DLC missions (see below) which have direct influence on the world). Depending on which characters lived or died, certain sidequests will have different dialogue/cutscenes or will be permanently inaccessible. And again, starting 3 from scratch leads to certain assumed decisions; apart from the defaults to 2, DLC squadmates were never recruited, virtually no loyalty missions were completed, Tali was exiled, and Grunt, Thane, Jack, Samara, Legion and virtually the entire Cerberus crew of the Normandy SR-2 are dead.
- The events of the DLC missions from 2 all happened in universe but have slightly different effects on 3 depending on whether they were completed by Commander Shepard or by someone else, for example completing LOTSB results in Feron being alive and providing you a bonus intel upgrade and completing Arrival results in Shepard being on trial for mass murder (in addition to working for the terrorist group Cerberus).
- Likewise, the Citadel DLC carries over certain characters (like Wrex/Wreav), romance options and plot flags from the main game.
- There is even a special Intel Bonus that is unlocked by importing a save from 2 where Kelly Chambers is alive and you bought the Prejak Paddlefish, completing that save for 3, then importing that save again. There is no hint whatsoever that this exists until you actually unlock it.
Turn Based Strategy
- Having Advance Wars 1 or 2 in the Nintendo DS and starting Advance Wars: Dual Strike would unlock certain items to be purchased in-game.
- One of the PS2 Romance of the Three Kingdoms games unlocks a couple of bonus characters such as the two Qiaos if one has specific Dynasty Warriors and Dynasty Tactics save data on your memory card.
- Jagged Alliance 2's expansion, Unfinished Business, allows to start with your party from the base game, with all the experience they gained during the playthrough. However, it adjusts the difficulty of the game accordingly.
- In a rather painful example, if you import a character from Alternate Reality: The City into Alternate Reality: The Dungeon, they are woefully underpowered compared to a native created character. The original concept of the Alternate Reality series was to be 8 games which, when complete would form one large world which the player could move around at will. It would not be necessary to import saves from one module to the next, the character would move to a new/previous area just by inserting the appropriate data disk (this was before hard drives were common, let alone standard equipment). Unfortunately, due to corporate problems the game only made it as far as the second installment, and ended up with a one-way import from the first game to the second.
- Penny Arcade Adventures allows you to keep your characters' levels by transferring a completed game save from Episode 1 to Episode 2. Any extra experience points that you earned above the initial level cap of 15 are still counted toward the next level, and will make your quest for earning level 30 a bit easier.
- The Might and Magic series did this amazingly well, and was a rare two-way example. Characters could travel back and forth freely between games IV and V, Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen. Having both games installed at the same time also opened up a new high-level endgame called World of Xeen.
- Though this was dead for many years, it's not really all that new on computers: in early installments of Ultima, Bard's Tale or Wizardry, it's possible to import a player from each game in the same series into the next game - although this ended at least a decade before the release of Ultima IX.
- The ultimate example is Sierra's Quest for Glory. Every game in the series after the first allows importing earlier characters, meaning that if you played your cards right you could start each game significantly stronger than a brand-new character, and with a ton of cash to boot. In Quest for Glory II, a player who's conducted the entire game virtuously and gone well out of his way and against common game mechanics (for instance, returning a reward) to do so will have his character receive a Flaming Sword and the hidden "Paladin" class as the last scene of the ending; both are only usable in the sequels. Fittingly enough, the Paladin's hat is selfless good. Since it's permanently missable, Quest for Glory III features a Paladin quest that only takes up half the game, while Quest for Glory IV lets one change an imported character due to a bug in reading the old save files.
- This trope resulted in the quirk of a game that in itself does not favour a gender having a Game-Favored Gender: in the first two Bard's Tale games, the gender of the adventurers was not selectable, and they were all male. In the third, females were an option, and equal to creating a male character... but since they hadn't been in the earlier games female characters couldn't get any of the very useful old save boni.
- The Wizardry series of video games let you do this in the second, third, and fifth games by letting you import characters from previous games (except the fourth, which was a standalone adventure) to make descendants as playable characters. These had greatly lowered stats, and were at level one. However, they kept the same job as their parents, letting you start out with the advanced classes.
- Likewise, early Ultima games, Might and Magic, The Bard's Tale Trilogy, Quest for Glory, and just about every other RPG series on personal computers. Even weirder, certain Ultima games allow you to import characters from the competitor's game Wizardry.
- Wizardry VIII, the last game of the series, pushed the envelope by having you not only keep your character, but some of the allies and affiliations they had made in the previous game. This changed your starting location to your ally's base, and severely altered the way in which you could resolve the plot... assuming, that is, you were one of the few who still had their Wizardry VII saves from nine years ago!
- Both Neverwinter Nights games allow you to save your characters and load them into the Expansion Packs and free content modules so that you can continue their adventures over multiple stories.
- The Baldur's Gate series has this in spades:
- In the first game, you could do this to great benefit, quickly collecting some magical gear and starting the game much better equipped than usually.
- Baldur's Gate II allowed you to import player characters from the first game. Barring an exploit, you lost most of your equipment, but you could start at a higher level this way if you installed the expansion pack and made it to the (increased) level cap from the first game. In addition, some of your equipment from the last game would turn up in-game. This included the golden pantaloons, an item that could be combined with the silver pantaloons from the second game and the bronze pantalettes from Throne of Bhaal to make a very powerful suit of armor and accompanying weapon.
- Going from Baldur's Gate II to the Throne of Bhaal expansion, it was much better to start the expansion by replaying the last battle of the game and going straight through to the expansion as opposed to creating a new character or even importing your character from the last game.
- With the semi-official Ascension mod installed, if the player picks up the Sword of Chaos from Irenicus' dungeon in Chapter 1, holds onto it for the entirety of the game and has it on them when importing into Throne of Bhaal, then chooses to recruit Sarevok, the former villain will (via a special conversation) recognize his old sword and give it a power boost, turning it into a much deadlier weapon.
- The popular Baldur's Gate Tutu and Baldur's Gate Trilogy mods allow you to combine the original Baldur's Gate and it's expansions with Baldur's Gate II and the Throne of Bhaal expansion, forming a single massive game played on the BGII engine. There are even extra bits of cutscene dialogue in order to smoothly transition from one game to the next. As somebody once explained, "Somebody made a mod for BGII; the plot is that of BGI."
- Originally, Neverwinter Nights was intended to be compatible with character files imported from the BG games. As it spent five years in Development Hell, and was ultimately released using 3E rules rather than 2E AD&D rules, however, this became impossible, and was left out of the final release.
- Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, being released more than a decade after the other games, is basically an Interquel between the two main games, which naturally complicates any save progression between the two. It is possible to import from the first game, play the interquel, and then export to the second, though the extra XP seriously disrupts the balance of the first half of II.
- Fable II had a little quirk which meant that in order to achieve 100% Completion on it, you also had to buy the Xbox Live Arcade game Fable II Pub Games, which basically used a relatively obscure gameplay mechanic of Fable II to give the player otherwise unobtainable items which were then transferable to the main game. They later released the DLC "See The Future" which allowed players to obtain the items via an in-game store tacked on with the DLC.
- The Expansion Pack Awakening allows you to import your character from Dragon Age: Origins. If you don't take precautions you can lose all the uber-gear that was equipped on your teammates for the Final Battle, as well as most DLC gear other than that from Return To Ostagar. It's still better to start with your old character (who is already regarded as a national hero, as opposed to an interloper from a neighbouring and rival nation) from the original game than with a new one—you can start at a much higher level, with more talent and ability points if you found tomes throughout the original game.
- Dragon Age II imports decisions from Origins, including some from the expansion and DLC. Most of these result in certain events getting a mention, particularly during Alistair's cameo.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition can do this either from reading the data from your save files or through Dragon Age Keep, which includes allowing you to retell pretty much all the events of the past two games, as well as playing around with The Hero of Fereldan's and Hawke's appearance to use in game.
- Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden save files can be brought over to its sequel, transferring data, items, and character choices.
- In Unlimited Adventures designs, every time you save the game, the characters from your party are also saved as .cch files which can be transferred to another design (try dropping a powerful party into a low-level design and wipe the floor with all enemies). The general unwritten rule among the community is that every design should offer the player a chance to save at the very end, after all the battles are fought and all the treasure and experience is gotten; designers who forget that incur the players' wrath.
- The Millennium RPG series by Aldorlea Games allows the player to import their characters' weapons, armor, items and skills across all five of its installments. Notably, this is the only way to keep certain powerful weapons and skills (such as one character's "Omega Red" skill, which is only found in a secret room in the third game and cannot be acquired again any other way). However, the save transfer doesn't carry money, titles bestowed at shrines or levels over, meaning that players are encouraged to spend their money on valuable items to resell at the beginning of the next chapter.
- Putting the Japan-only Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney GBA games into their corresponding DS remakes will unlock all cases from the start.
- If you play don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story having already completed Digital: A Love Story, Ichigo's friend will have your surname.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In the second Creatures game, an item called the Nornverter would allow you to import Creatures from the first game.
- Having save data of No More Heroes on your Wii gives Travis's room an aesthetic change in the sequel.
- Your Pod, outfit, and unlocked stuff in LittleBigPlanet (if you had any) is carried into the sequel upon startup. You also get a slightly altered opening narration that welcomes you back to the world of LittleBigPlanet.
- This also carries over into LittleBigPlanet Karting. Though you cannot import things like your pod (after all, it's big enough to fit four cars now), you do carry over costumes and some items, DLC included.
- The Sega Dreamcast version of Shenmue II allowed players to transfer collected items over from the first game. Unfortunately, the American version was never released, so the few U.S. gamers who imported the European version could only exploit this feature by hacking the Shenmue I save file to add the flags indicating it is a European save file (though the game does play fair by giving Ryo a few collections by default to sell for cash).
- Having a save of the 7th gen (Xbox 360 and PS3) version of Grand Theft Auto V on your XBLA or PSN account will get you an exclusive rail gun weapon on the 8th gen (Xbox One and PS4) version.
- Also works cross-platform (PS3 -> Xbox One, 360 -> PS4) if you've linked both your Xbox LIVE and PSN accounts to the same Rockstar Social Club account.
- Having a prior-gen-console save also unlocks several side-missions and bonus items in the storyline, such as Gotta Catch Them All missions involving taking photos of well-hidden murals.
- However, only online game progress is transferred, meaning if you only played the storyline of the 7th gen version of GTAV, you don't get access to most of the bonus features, and game progress in the storyline isn't transferred over, regardless. (Despite this players can still engage in some of the additional content, such as the monkey mural collecting, and receive some awards for doing so, just not all.)
- Also works cross-platform (PS3 -> Xbox One, 360 -> PS4) if you've linked both your Xbox LIVE and PSN accounts to the same Rockstar Social Club account.
- Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell will base its version of The Boss on your character from Saints Row IV, otherwise it will default to the first male Boss.
- In Sleeping Dogs, having save data for Just Cause 2 will unlock a Rico Rodriguez costume for Wei Shen, which is alternatively available as DLC; true to its inspiration, the costume makes it easier to hijack moving vehicles.
- Many, many Dungeons & Dragons licensed games published by SSI featured this, forming several separate continuums. The classic "Gold Box" games included two separate series set in Forgotten Realms, and one in Krynn, in addition to the sci-fi Buck Rogers games. Later series which also allowed character importing include Eye of the Beholder, Dark Sun and Ravenloft series.
- SSI also made a Mini Game and Side Quest compilation, Hillsfar, in which you could import your Gold Box characters and play through a series of events which would give the characters increased experience, skill and valuables before you exported them to another adventure.
- None of the sequels actually let you keep your loot from the prior games - instead, each started with something happening to take away any equipment you might already have, such as being teleported thousands of miles away or being captured by the enemy.
- This also happens quite a bit in tabletop D&D. It's not at all uncommon to dig up old, high level, characters for an epic campaign.
- Due to the immortal nature of many PCs in The World of Darkness, in the Classic WoD and Vampire: The Masquerade especially, it was entirely possible to carry a PC from the 12th Century (The Dark Ages) to the 19th Century (The Victorian Age, and related) to the modern nights, and as such, you'd end up as a massively powerful being.
- Interestingly enough, Warhammer 40,000. All of the old Rouge Trader models are still technically legal to use in play. This can be useful in building larger armies by simply using the older models. The interesting part comes when said models have different sizes then the newer models. The Land Raider, Rhino, and Tau Broadside were quite smaller then their current sizes. Another unit is the Space Marine Terminators, as the models used to be on smaller bases. This is due to a GW ruling stating that models use the base they where supplied with.
- In the four-part Sorcery! gamebook series (part of the Fighting Fantasy series), you can carry over all your equipment and stat modifications from one book to another. The benefits range from minor shortcuts to vital hints to allowing you to skip particularly annoying Luck Based Missions.
- It is very well advised to Play the Lone Wolf Gamebook series right from Book 1 to the end and ESPECIALLY Book 2 for a super-powerful magic sword called the "Sommerswerd" if you don't want hair-rippingly frustrating and frequent "instant death" entries from Book 3 on. Though a couple of battles are actually easier without the Sommerswerd.note
- NES Remix 2 contains Championship Mode, a game mode inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championship, where players play through three consecutive challenges based on Super Mario Bros. 1, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario and post their cumulative score on Miiverse. It requires the original NES Remix to play.
- The StreetPass function of the Nintendo 3DS creates a few of these thanks to how Miis are collected in StreetPass Mii Plaza. For example, playing Mario Kart 7 online will collect a number of Miis, which will then appear in Super Mario 3D Land to give you items.
- Frogger: Ancient Shadow (a game for PS2, GameCube, and Xbox) and Frogger: Helmet Chaos (a game for PSP and DS) have codes that be used in the other game to get things.
- In addition, playing the latter game while you have certain games in the GBA slot will earn you secret costumes.
- The Wii U includes a built-in Wii Menu, with a Wii Shop Channel within which the Virtual Console games released for the Wii can be purchased. If you get a VC game in the Wii menu by either buying it or transferring it from the Wii, you get a discount (having to pay only $1 for NES games or $1.50 for SNES games) on the Wii U version, allowing you to pay only for the new features.
- After upgrading to another version of Microsoft Windows (starting with Vista), the system will drop a "Windows.old" folder in the root of the hard drive. This folder contains files from the older operating system that weren't overwritten or removed during installation. If you rummage around the folder a bit, you'll find your previous version's pre-installed wallpapers, sounds, and cursors, among other things.
- Most franchised arcades that use power cards can be used at other locations of the same franchise, meaning you can use your card anywhere.