Player Character that is a character strictly in the game mechanics sense. These characters have no names, unless the player gives them names. They have no personality, and they don't act in the plot at all. Essentially, they're Mooks and Red Shirts that you get to control. They can be defined by a few features that differentiate them from the Story Characters:
- The Player Mooks use the same set of appearances. Often whatever class the generic character is will dictate how they look.
- If there are mechanics to raise and develop characters, Player Mooks can learn only "generic" abilities. While they'll have access to all the default classes and skills, the Story Characters often have a unique class, plus they can access all the generic classes.
- While Story Characters come and go at the whims of the plot, you can make as many Player Mooks as you want within limits and dismiss them whenever you want if you desire to do so.
- Because their number and makeup is entirely determined by the player, these Generic Characters will never appear in a cutscene or do anything in the plot. The one usual exception is when they are first introduced, the one time in which the game can know who/what and how many they are.
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- In Soul Calibur 3's Chronicles of the Sword mode, the player can create mooks equal to the number of normal custom character slots they have purchased. Given that these will stay with the player even when, post Time Skip, the previous allies are all Brainwashed and Crazy or had a Face-Heel Turn, not to mention retaining their levels during New Game+, they tend to form the most effective parties.
- Star Wars: Battlefront is this trope in spades - you even jump between random Mooks (somehow keeping your experience and bonuses) if your current character gets wasted.
- BioShock 2's multiplayer has you play as the Splicers to avoid having six Subject Deltas running around at once.
- Hellgate: London confounded players with an Unexpected Genre Change in which Mook troopers had to be endlessly expended fighting through creatures that the players could, by that point, have strolled through themselves.
Hack and Slash
- Dynasty Warriors, from the third game on, allow the player to recruit bodyguards and armed them, but they just ended up being kill-stealing player mooks.
- Later Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games added Create Your Own Officer options and allowed you to play as a Player Mook in campaign. Every created officer had the same storyline.
- Even later games in the Empires sub-series mixed Mook and non-Mook offices into the slush during game play. Based on your "friendship" with the various officers you commanded different ones would appear in cut scenes. If you where close to your Player Mooks, then they showed in the events.
- In Mr. Robot, there are four plot-essential robots that join your party (by having their personalities copied into your head), one for each "class". But you can also get a couple more robot personalities to help you in battle by exploring the world thoroughly, and their existence isn't mentioned at all (even when the main character whines about how crowded it's getting in there).
RPG — Eastern
- Dragon Quest III had this. Other than The Hero, you could go to a tavern at any time and make new characters.
- Similarly to Dragon Quest III and IX, Makai Toshi SaGa lets you choose which kind of character The Hero is, and you can recruit up to three more generic party members at a guild. SaGa 2 has the Hero take three of his classmates with him.
- The Last Remnant has a mixture of unique, more powerful leader-type units, and loads more generic soldiers. The Xbox version only allowed a limited number of leaders, but the PC version removed this restriction.
- In the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, any non-required party members will appear in cutscenes (assuming they even let you bring any to a plot-related dungeon in the first place) and will wordlessly react to what happens, but never actually get any dialogue. The main characters don't even acknowledge their existence save for one instance in the first game.
- Final Fantasy IV The After Years does this over and over again. There's a generic Black Mage (named "Black Mage") and a generic White Mage (named "White Mage") who join you in both Ceodore's and Porom's chapters - between the two chapters, they're actually on your team about as long as Palom and Porom were in the original (and in the same places to boot!), but their generic names, nonexistent personalities, and lack of special abilities make them feel a lot more impersonal. In a similar vein, you get "Monk A", "Monk B", and "Monk C" in Yang's chapter; Edward's, meanwhile, has "Guard A", "Guard B", and "Guard C". Then again, this game has Loads and Loads of Characters to begin with, so it seems the game designers were just trying to give you some Crutch Characters without overloading the player.
- Final Fantasy VI has the ghosts in the Phantom Train. Most ghosts are enemies but a few will offer to join your party. They have no backstory, a unique class, and a stat set randomly chosen from three presets. You can only recruit up to however many to fill your party; if they are KO'd or use their "Possess" skill they leave you party and you can recruit another one, endlessly. However, they always leave at the end of the level.
RPG — Strategy
- Final Fantasy Tactics
- Strangely, there are actually some specific, non-generic Mooks in the Final Fantasy Tactics games: In the first, the generic characters at the introductory monastery fight (that you keep once you get into chapter 2) all have set names. Also, the plot-relevant Chocobo, Boco, is otherwise just a generic monster (who has dialog when using "help" on his name in the formation screen while real generics just say "..."). The original release had exactly enough space to keep every named character, including these, and no more. In Tactics Advance, there are recruitable 'generic' characters with story ties which come with powerful skills pre-learned.
- Generic units in Tactics Advance and its sequel are slightly less generic in that they can at least get a fair bit of dialogue if you opt to deploy them as the leader for a sidequest battle. Each race has their own unique pre-battle and post-battle dialogue, and with all of the dozens of sidequest battles, that amounts to a lot overall.
- In particular, Prinnies are even treated like mooks by the plot, and all that entails. Parodied by the platform spin-offs where 999 other Prinnies serve as lives for the main character, whose only distinction is an apparently easily transferable red scarf.
- Though in Disgaea, your non-Mook player characters have a harder time learning magic (except Flonne) and can never change class, as your Mooks can, so the Mooks can actually easily outdo the non-Mooks (except Laharl) unless you abuse the Mentor/Student system to teach your named characters a wider variety of magical spells (and even that is hard for the less magically-inclined among them, especially the monsters-type ones who can't use staffs).
- 3 adds a bit more personality to generic characters, with an introduction scene for each class that plays upon creation, and the ability to talk to them to get some often amusing dialogue from them. 4 lets you individualize them a little by choosing one of three personalities for them during the creation process, which determines their battle quotes and voice, and also allows you to place them in the hub to provide conversation or run the various shops and services.
- In fact, 4 has Valvatorez say that the 60,000 enemies the party is about to face resolve to 10,000 per character - there are six plot party members. When one character who is an unofficial part of the party points out that she's included in this, Valvatorez hastily says that her ten thousand were actually being counted among the Prinnies. Yeah, the humanoid player mooks are, plot-wise, beneath the Prinnies in importance.
- Phantom Brave. Particularly odd is the theme on how alone Marona is, only counting Ash as company. The gazillion of other Phantoms she summons do not count at all.
- Makai Kingdom is easily the biggest example of this trope from NIS — no plot characters join you until the post game, all of your playable characters until then are generic nameless mooks. Even lampshaded by Zeta, who calls them "Battle Monkeys".
- In Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, there is a way to actually turn a Player Mook into a named character. By following a certain sequence of events, Secret Character Deneb can take over a Player Mook's body.
- Destiny Of An Emperor seemed like a pretty standard RPG based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, until you realized that that's not HP, but soldiers! Wow, so many dead bodies!
RPG — Western
- Diablo 2 allows you to hire expendable mercenaries in town to aid you.
- Most Wizardry let you recruit and customise minions. Wizardry 8 lets you give them their own distinct voices and personalities. They talk as necessary whenever the plot demands, and often they feel like story characters rather than Player Mooks.
- When you storm the Tower of Ishal in Dragon Age: Origins, you are temporarily given nameless Player Mooks to fill up the party. Depending on your class and Origin, you get either a soldier, a Circle mage, or both. This is because at that point, the only permanent Non-Player Companion you have is Alistair and the Tower of Ishal is where you get drilled in the party controls until you really get them. Regardless of what you do, both Player Mooks perish at the end of the segment, when the tower collapses on itself.
- Mario Superstar Baseball and its sequel, Mario Super Sluggers, uses this trope like there's no tomorrow. In fact, the only Palette Swaps available in those games are for the mooks themselves (complete with individualized stats), with the thin justification that those same mooks had palette swaps in the main games to begin with (except for Magikoopa and Dry Bones, who only had palette swaps in the Paper Mario series). Interestingly, while Yoshi gets palette swaps in the sequel, Birdo still doesn't, despite different colored Birdos blatantly appearing elsewhere in the game.
- Metal Gear featured playable mooks in certain installment.
- The now-defunct online multiplayer mode for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence had players controlling the enemy soldiers (from the KGB, GRU Spetsnaz, and Ocelot units) from Snake Eater in addition to Snake and other "unique characters".
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops involves Snake creating his own army by capturing enemy soldiers and persuading them to join his side. The player can then control any of these former enemy soldier and if the player happens to be infiltrating an area patrolled by the same enemy type, the player character can blend in perfectly by not acting conspicuous (read: not shooting anyone randomly).
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has a similar army-building system, except recruited soldiers (and POWs) that are added to MSF (Snake's army) are all forced to wear standard MSF uniforms instead of keeping their original wardrobe, leading to a more homogenized army compared to the FOXHOUND precursor in Portable Ops.
- One of Perfect Dark's multiplayer modes had player 1 try to complete a single-player mission while player 2 controls the mooks. The mook usually has only 2 weapons. If the mook gets stuck (or player 2 needs to get to a closer mook) he can use a cyanide pill to effectively Body Surf to another mook.
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon gives you these if you get enough normal characters killed. (Most players STILL Start over on a single death anyways.)
- Scarface: The World is Yours. No matter how many times your Enforcer, Driver or Assassin gets wasted, you can call up another one. The regular drivers/co-pilots that assist Tony come in differing flavors and talents and skills (this last part may not be intended). It's so cute to hear them scream curses like the boss. Their highly efficent fighting skills definitely invokes the above mentioned Caring Potential when an enemy mook rushes out of the bushes and shoots them point blank in the face.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Being awesome enough means one can recruit fellow gang members to assist on missions. They will follow, fire, pursue and then try to get in the car with you to go back home.
- The player's generic gang members in Saints Row 2 and Saints Row: The Third. Saints Row IV follows suit, of course, with one good variation: a late game unlock gives you several super-powered homies to be summoned. They are actually default player character models for Saints Row, Saints Row 2, and Saints Row 2 co-op.
- Starships owned by the player of an X-Universe game, but not used for the player ship, don't even have pilots (specifically, the player's name is listed as pilot on the ship's info screen), unless the player gives them one by activating a script that adds a named pilot. Even then, their name is randomly generated based on the species that owns the sector, and you never interact with the pilots in person beyond giving them orders from a command console.
- Averted in X Rebirth, where your starships are crewed by actual people who you speak with to give orders.