Previous Player-Character Cameo

Sometimes, in a video game sequel, you meet the Player Character of a previous game in the series. This sometimes leads to branches being cut off, if the previous game had any choice in character creation/development or Multiple Endings. One way to achieve this (also averting the problem of Cutting Off the Branches) is through an Old Save Bonus.

Supertrope of Rogue Protagonist, where the previous player character is now a major villain. Compare Legacy Boss Battle. See also Continuity Nod and Player Data Sharing (when another player's player character cameos).


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    Action Adventure 

    Action Games 

     Adventure Games 

    Eastern RPG 
  • Pokémon:
    • The true champion of the Johto Pokémon Gold and Silver games is Red, the hero from the Kanto Pokémon Red and Blue games. He is a secret boss found at the end of the post-game dungeon in the second generation games and their remakes. His sprite matches the first game but to further drive home the point, he is completely silent and his team is one giant Continuity Nod to the first generation, containing the three starters in their fully evolved forms, Pikachu, the storyline Pokémon (Snorlax, and Espeon, an evolved form of Eevee, who is given to you as a gift by an NPC (the Generation 4 remake swaps Espeon out for Lapras, another gift Pokémon). Even Blue, Red's rival, refers to Red during his own cameo appearance.
    • You never actually see the character, but in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, you hear about the player character from Pokémon Black and White. You can even visit the character's mother in Nuvema Town, and she'll tell you that you remind her of her son/daughter.
  • Suikoden:
  • MOTHER 3 contains a film depicting actual scenes from previous installment EarthBound at one point, featuring its four protagonists. Also, the "Friend's Yo-Yo" belonged to Ness, as did (probably) the Red Cap and the Real Bat, both found only in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Sora is mentioned multiple times throughout the game, and when you fight her, Xion calls on Sora's memories to power herself up, taking on his appearance in the process. But Sora himself is never seen in the game's story: he is an unlockable character in Mission Mode, though.
  • Golden Sun:
    • In The Lost Age you take on the role of Felix, who was a minor antagonist in the first game, and take on three new party members with him. Eventually, you run into the original party from the first game. And they join up with you.
    • Isaac and Garet make an appearance in Dark Dawn's prologue, though they cannot be directly controlled by the player. The other party members are mentioned at least once each, but none of them appear in the game.
  • In Endless Frontier EXCEED, the party of the original game shows up and joins the new protagonists' party... as well as almost every boss in the original game. It's a big party.
  • Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island allows you to recruit Liese (the main character of Atelier Liese) as one of your allies about a third of the way through the game.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2 players have the option to download DLC containing the main characters from the first game (such as Lightning and Snow) and fight them in order to add them to their party.
  • In Wild AR Ms 5, every party member from the previous games appear as cameos, including the temporary ones, with the notable exception of Luceid from Wild AR Ms 2.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest Monsters, Terry, the PC from the first game in the series, appears during the Playable Epilogue. He allows you to breed monsters from the first game with the second game when you speak to him.
    • In Dragon Quest IX, connecting to Wi-Fi will occasionally reward you with a party member from one of the previous eight games checking into the Quester's Rest (though the actual main characters appear to be absent). You can also fight previous games' Big Bads and Disc One Final Bosses after finding special treasure maps.
      • You can buy the main characters' clothing on an in-game store which you need internet connection for but are ridiculously expensive. Though it seems this server no longer exists. As people say they can't access it anymore. Yet said server also unlocks new quests which those are still able to access.
  • Shin Megami Tensei uses this a lot.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
  • Chrono Cross has you meet Crono, Marle, and Lucca midway through the game as shades, the real ones having since been victims of a Bus Crash between games.
    • Lucca, as she was Kid's foster mother before Lord Viper murdered her, and Robo called by his actual name of "Prometheus" right before he gets deleted are further alluded to in dialogue, the Dream Eater is actually Schala fused with Lavos and driven insane by the And I Must Scream situation, and Kid and maybe Harle are implied to be reincarnations of Schala.
  • Paper Mario:
  • Avin and Mile from Legend Of Heroes IV (I in English) pop up again in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.
  • The Tales Series does this a lot by including Cameo Bosses as extra challenges. Occasionally the cameo will be a villain, but more often it's popular player characters. A few examples:
  • King's Field 2 (or 3 as it was known in Japan) features a cameo by the ghost of Alexander, the player character of the previous game, who has since died.
  • The image above comes from the browser game Crystal Story, which features 4 adventurers who fought to defeat an evil witch. In the next game, those four adventurers are living their own lives while they assist the next group of adventurers in some way or other. Despite what the image above shows very little time has actually passed between the two events, and the protagonist of the first game is just playing around with a fake beard and pretending to be a elderly veteran.
  • In Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, Ichiro Ogami, the protagonist of the previous four Sakura Wars entries, appears in the introduction as the one who assigns new hero Shinjiro Taiga to the New York Combat Revue. Sakura Shinguji, franchise poster girl, also cameos in the opening scenes.
  • It's never stated, but it's heavily implied that the family of three you meet in SaGa 3 are in fact the Player Character and parents from SaGa 2 - after all, talk to them and they state they are looking for the Lost Ark!

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Deus Ex: J.C. Denton becomes a boss in Deus Ex: Invisible War - some endings require you to kill him. He is the default pale-skinned, black-haired Denton.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Soap MacTavish of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the Player Characters' CO in Modern Warfare 2 and 3.
    • Dimitri Petrenko and Viktor Reznov from World at War reappear in Black Ops, though the former only in a flashback mission where you play as the latter.
    • Another one from Black Ops. The agent who conducted Mason's psyche profile is named C. Miller, the same name of the American Player Character in World at War. Given that Miller would be about 41 years old by the time of Black Ops...
    • Reznov also briefly appears in Black Ops II as part of a flashback from Mason's perspective. It counts since he was playable in a level of the original Black Ops.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3: ODST: Sort of. During the ODSTs' drop to Regret's flagship, a tiny human ship can be seen approaching it: In Amber Clad, which main Player Character Master Chief was aboard during the events of Halo 2.
    • Halo: Reach: Master Chief also appears briefly in an Easter Egg in "The Pillar of Autumn"; the cutscene of Keyes' Pelican flying to the Pillar of Autumn is partially interactive, and if the player moves their control stick to the right while the Pelican lands in the hangar, they will get a brief glimpse of Master Chief in a cryotube, just like he was at the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved. Additionally, Edward Buck, the squad leader from ODST, shows up as a potential escort objective in "New Alexandria"; this serves as a combined Call Forward (given ODST was released first) and Call Back (given Reach is a prequel), since in the final level of ODST Buck refers to a Covenant capital ship firing on Earth itself as being "just like Reach all over again!".
    • Halo 5: Guardians: Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, the deuteragonist of Halo 2 and Halo 3, plays the role of Supporting Leader during the levels set on Sanghelios.
  • All the Expansion Packs for Half-Life have a brief brush with Gordon Freeman at some points. In the sequel, Barney Calhoun, protagonist of Blue Shift, shows up as a supporting character.
  • In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the PC of all the previous games in the Dark Forces Saga (excepting one expansion pack) has moved on to become The Obi-Wan to a new PC, whom you can even fight as a Bonus Boss if you choose the dark side. Since the previous games have buffed him into a Memetic Badass, this is commonly regarded as the hardest fight in the game. You don't even kill him in this case, either. You only incapacitate him long enough to make an escape.
  • The original Left 4 Dead survivors appear in "The Passing" campaign in Left 4 Dead 2. Every time the campaign starts, one of the original survivors (it's random every time) tells the current survivors that the bridge to the other side is out and asks them to go around to bring it down.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas and Vegas 2 put Ding Chavez, the intended player character of the first three games, in charge of the entire organization. In addition, Logan Keller from Vegas 1 is one of your squadmates in the first mission of Vegas 2, and as the two games take place during the same general time-frame, his exploits are mentioned every now and again as you progress, most notably where the penultimate mission forces you to go alone because your squadmates are called in to replace Logan's squad that was kidnapped at the end of the first game's opening level. In a more minor example, Kevin Sweeney, one of the Recon specialists in the original game and Rogue Spear, appears in Raven Shield as an advisor in the same manner as the head honcho John Clark rather than a returning field operative, giving you more technical details on what the enemies of the mission are up to.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior has the player in the role of a Tau Fire Warrior named Shas'la Kais. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War — Dark Crusade features a character named Shas'O Kais as the leader of the Tau forces on Kronus. While not officially confirmed (and not at all helped that A) "Kais" is apparently the Tau equivalent of "John Everyman", and B) the Fire Warrior was driven completely insane by the events of his game), it is suspected within the fandom that the two are the same person.
  • The Vault Hunters from Borderlands return as major characters in Borderlands 2 and in certain missions will fight alongside the players.
  • Hawkins from Vietcong returns at the very first level of the second game's US campaign. And drunk. You can even have a conversation with him.
  • The Classic Team return to Team Fortress 2 in the comic "A Cold Day in Hell". All of the members are present, except for Classic Medic, who had his spot filled in by Modern Medic.
  • The Medal of Honor series seemed fond of this. The second game of the series, Underground, featured the protagonist, Manon (who had been Mission Control in the first game, making her an inversion) escaping North Africa on a plane piloted by Jimmy Patterson, the protagonist from said first game, though he was only revealed in briefings. A later game, European Assault, played it straight and had the player character rescue Manon from the Germans.
  • A major plot point of F.3.A.R. is the Point Man and Fettel trying to meet up with Michael Becket, the protagonist of F.E.A.R. 2, to find out what he knows about Alma. He doesn't last very long once you physically catch up with him.

  • Diablo II:
    • The champion from the last game was possessed by Diablo and is always a few steps ahead of you. He mostly shows up in the cutscenes, but you do encounter him once ingame.
    • Blood Raven and The Summoner are the two other possible player characters from the first game.
    • Later, the ghost of the Sorceress appears as the Wizard's mentor in Diablo III.
  • While not an officially licensed game, the Touhou/Castlevania crossover game Koumajou Densetsu II featured Sakuya Izayoi as the player character rather than Reimu Hakurei, who was the player character of the first game. The fourth boss of the sequel is Marisa Kirisame, who was a support character for Reimu in the original, and the fifth boss is Reimu Hakurei herself.

    Light Gun Games 
  • In the Crisis Mission mode in the home console of Time Crisis 2 the final mission has you face Richard Miller, the original protagonist of the first game, in a gun duel.
  • In Time Crisis 5, the two new player characters are under the command of Robert Baxter, who was one player character sin the second game. What's more they're after Keith Martin, the other player character whose turned into a villain. This gets flipped when it turns out Robert is the true villain of the story and Keith was trying to stop him. After which the player character switch sides.
  • Lets Go Island has a brief cameo by Ben and Norah, the heroes from the first game, Let's Go Jungle!, in photos before the stages as well as walking by in the ending.
  • G in House of the Dead 2 shows up a bit wounded but giving the player characters critical information about the monsters they'll face before sending them on their way. Subverted in the third game and the special mode in the 4th game where he's playable once more.

  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, both Revan and the Exile (as a Force Ghost) make appearances and are part of a special questline.
    • And now he's back again with the new expansion. And he's pissed.

    Platform Games 
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent you meet either Vent (when playing as Ashe) or Aile (when playing as Grey) halfway through the story.
  • Cranky Kong is this in the Donkey Kong Country series. That is, Cranky is the guy who kidnapped Mario's girlfriend and threw barrels at him that one time, now an old ape who spends his time criticizing modern video games.
  • Super Joe is a background character in the NES version of Bionic Commando, a very loose sequel to his earlier game Commando.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Richter Belmont appears as an optional boss in a dream sequence. Defeating him there turns the game's weak starting weapon into an Infinity+1 Whip. It's also revealed late into the game that Wind is actually the ghost of Eric Lecarde.
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Richter shows up as a Rogue Protagonist. Optional Party Member Maria is a friendly NPC, helping Alucard figure out just why Richter went rogue.
      • Alucard, himself, has appeared in various games. Outside of the beings that dwell within Dracula's Castle, he's the only character to constantly appear throughout the series, since he's immortal. Doppelgangers also have a tendency to transform into characters from prior games when they're not mimicking the player character or some other main character.
  • In Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Alex's brother Igul/Egle/Iguru was also the hammer-wielder knight of PitPot.
  • Sonic Generations, being a homage to Sonic's 20th anniversary, plays a lot with this trope. MANY playable characters from previous games appear in side missions, either helping or acting as rivals, and using moves and gimmicks from old games (such as Tails, who flies and lifts Sonic through a particular mission just like he used to do in Sonic 3).

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer:
    • It's kind of implied in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun that General Solomon was the player character in the GDI campaign of the original C&C (in that he is stated to have led the attack on Kane's Sarajevo temple, which was the final mission of the first game). In Tiberian Dawn itself, the player 'character' is a Nonentity General.
    • In Tiberium Wars, there are a few statues of Nick "Havoc" Parker from Renegade in the single-player campaign, and he's cited as being a right-wing pundit.
  • In Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars, the Player Character of The Breath of Winter makes an appearance as the shadow warrior who helps you lead his race in a massive Mook–Face Turn. And in that game's sequel, Dragon Storm, Spellforce 2's Player Character shows up as a dragon!
  • StarCraft has this, as Artanis in Brood War is said to be the Protoss commander (PC) from the original game. The same happened in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: Brood War's Protoss commander is revealed to be Selendis.
  • In the Battlestations: Pacific, during the Japanese campaign you can actually kill one of the two player characters from Battlestations: Midway by sinking his PT Boat at Pearl Harbor; the other player character can also be killed during the same battle by shooting down his plane.
    His name was Henry Walker. This is not his story.
  • Dawn of War II:
    • The game has both Gabriel Angelos and Davian Thule (from the first Dawn of War campaign and the Dark Crusade campaign respectively) as major characters, with Thule even returning to playable status as a Dreadnought, while Eliphas (from Dark Crusade) makes a surprise return in Chaos Rising.
    • This trope really comes into play in the final campaign mission of the base game. Angelos pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment, reaching the recruitment worlds just in time to prevent the Chapter from being overrun and drops down to the planet for the final battle, wielding the Daemonhammer he was given by the Inquisition in the first game.
    • You also can't keep Gorgutz down.
  • In Pikmin 3, Captain Olimar only appears at the end of the game. Louie appears a while earlier in the story.


    Simulation Games 
  • In X3: Terran Conflict, the Aldrin Expansion plot has a brief cameo by Julian Brennan, the Player Character of X2: The Threat and X3: Reunion. Also, the player ship of X: Beyond the Frontier, the Xperimental Shuttle, is a plot reward and arguably the best M3 fighter in the game.
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Mobius One, the player character from the fourth game in the series and the arcade mode of the fifth, is the final enemy in a bonus stage that you unlock by beating the game. Later games with boss rush modes also let you fight Blaze from 5 and Scarface One from 2. Furthermore, later games very often allow you to unlock or buy the paint schemes of prior protagonists, many of them also featuring Gauntlet-like stages where you get the chance to fight them.
  • In the first 4 Wing Commander games, your Player Character is Christopher Blair. Then comes Wing Commander: Prophecy, where Blair is an NPC, and you take on the role of a rookie pilot.
  • In Trauma Center: New Blood, Derek Stiles, the protagonist doctor of Under the Knife and Second Opinion, and his assistant Angie Thompson make a brief appearance in Episode 7. Later, they appear in Challenge A-4, the only Challenge operation with any plot: Derek and Angie are developing a medical simulator for training doctors to handle GUILT and Stigma, and have chosen Markus and Valerie to test it out.

     Stealth-Based Games 

    Survival Horror 
  • In Trapt, if certain actions are taken the player could meet and battle Millenia, the main character in Deception II: Kagero.
  • The main draw of the Left 4 Dead 2 DLC "The Passing" is this trope. Though, as the title indicates, Bill is dead.
  • In Silent Hill, the previous games' characters tend to limit their cameos to the (joke) UFO Endings, but in Silent Hill: Homecoming an older Travis of Silent Hill Origins is the one who gives Alex a lift back to Shepherd's Glen at the beginning of the game.
  • Drakengard 2 sees the return of Caim, the silent protagonist of the first game. If you know anything about what kind of person he is, it's almost too fitting that he's one of the villains this time (in part because the Big Bad of the last game is in your party).
  • In Project Zomboid, if your character dies, you get the opportunity to restart with a brand new character in a random position on the map. If they got zombified, you might even bump into them by heading back to the spot.

     Third-Person Shooters 
  • Tommy Angelo, the protagonist of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, briefly appears again in Mafia II, where it's revealed that the two goons who murdered him at the end of the first game are actually Vito and Joe, the current protagonists.
    • Vito of Mafia II is one of the protagonist's lieutenants in Mafia III.

     Turn-Based Strategy 

     Visual Novels 
  • Da Capo's protagonist Junichi Asakura returns in Da Capo II as the wise old grandfather of Otome and Yume.
  • Dead bodies count as cameos, right? In Sentimental Graffiti 2, the sequel to Sentimental Graffitti, the game starts with the new protagonist at the first protagonist's funeral, as he'd suffered a fatal car crash between games.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, you learn partway through the game that Tenmyouji is Junpei from the previous game. And in the end, Akane was (in one timeline) K all along.
  • The final trial in Super Danganronpa 2 has Makoto Naegi pulling a Big Damn Heroes with Kirigiri and Togami.

    Western RPG 
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Jedi Exile meets and fights the Player Character from the original Knights of the Old Republic in a vision. Also, various party members make return appearances, either joining the new party or as NPCs. Star Wars: The Old Republic then contains the Fully Absorbed Finale for both Knights' PCs: a Republican Flash Point concerns rescuing Revan from the Sith Emperor's prison, during which rescue a Force ghost of the late Exile is encountered; while an Imperial Flash Point concerns locating the now-free Revan and seemingly killing him. He returns, but claims to have genuinely have died and come back.
  • Fallout:
    • The player character from Fallout reappears in Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel as an NPC.
    • There's also a joke random encounter in Fallout 2 where you meet various unnamed NPCs from Fallout, including character models who were "rejected" from playing the lead role. There's also your trusty dog, Dogmeat.
    • Not exactly a full cameo, but in Fallout: New Vegas, it is possible to stumble upon the car used by the playable character from Fallout 2, with some approriate items inside. There is, however, a popular fan theory stating that the character No-Bark Noogan is the PC from Fallout 2, given his proximity to this vehicle and some of his lines.
    • Fallout 4 was originally supposed to feature the Lone Wanderer, the player character from Fallout 3 at some point. There are still many assets in the game files that reflect this, but ultimately the cameo was cut.
  • Dragon Age:
    • You can meet Alistair, Leliana, Zevran, and Nathaniel from Origins in Dragon Age II, as well as getting Anders from Awakening in your party, but the Warden is only mentioned, never shown on-screen. Anders delivers a faint nod to the fourth wall by reminiscing about the events of Awakening... and how Hawke reminds him of his old friend he used to follow back then.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Hawke pops up nonchalantly at Skyhold soon after the Inquisition takes over it to help the Inquisitor in investigating the game's Hidden Villain. The Warden doesn't appear in person, but you do get a letter from them if you complete a certain mission (assuming their survival). Varric returns as a party member, Leliana serves as your spymaster and Morrigan and Alistair serve as plot-significant NPCs. Loghain can also be part of the story if he became a Warden.
  • Dialogue from Sheogorath in Skyrim implies that he might be the Champion of Cyrodiil from Oblivion, who, because of the events of Shivering Isles, got the mantle from the previous Sheogorath.
    • In Oblivion itself, while you don't actually meet him, there are occasional references to "The Nerevarine," the PC of Morrowind (The events of Morrowind take place only a few years before Oblivion, so it's still relatively recent news). The Nerevarine is also referenced in Skyrim, though that happens a couple hundred years later.
      • Likewise, the Champion of Cyrodiil, the PC from Oblivion, gets brought up once or twice in Skyrim.
  • In Lands of Lore 3, Copper has a meeting halfway through the game with Luther, the protagonist of Lands of Lore 2.
  • Jake Armitage, the protagonist of the SNES Shadowrun game, winds up in your party a couple of times during the first campaign of Shadowrun Returns. In a further reference, he once again wakes on a slab in a morgue — but this time, it's apparently just because he's in the habit of taking naps there.
    "Bad memory. Poor sleep habits. Knows the game like no one else."
  • In Cthulhu Saves the World, Dem from Breath of Death VII is a Bonus Boss and Optional Party Member. In the alternate campaign Cthulhu's Angels, you're fighting Sara (the first party member you get in BODVII) instead due to the Improbably Female Cast.
  • Wasteland 2 starts out with the funeral of the ranger Ace, an Optional Party Member from the original Wasteland, and the player is then tasked with finding out what killed him. Additionally, the player can recruit Ace's lover Angela Deth, another Optional Party Member from the first game.

     Wide Open Sandbox