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).


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    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 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 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, although the protagonist of the first game is just playing around with a fake beard and pretending to be a elderly veteran.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Deus Ex: J.C. Denton becomes a boss - some endings require you to kill him. He is the default pale-skinned, black hair Denton.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Soap MacTavish of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the Player Characters' CO in Modern Warfare 2.
    • 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 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...
  • Halo: Reach: Master Chief appears briefly in an Easter Egg. The cutscene of Keyes' Pelican flying to the Pillar of Autumn is partially interactive. If the player moves their control stick to the right while the Pelican lands in the hangar, then they will get a brief glimpse of Master Chief in a cyrotube, just like he was at the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved.
    • Not to mention Buck showing up briefly when you help him out on one of your missions.
  • 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 Master Chief was aboard during the events of Halo 2.
  • 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 Academy, the PC of all the previous games (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 can't even kill him. 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.
  • 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.

     Hack-and-Slash 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    MMORPGs 
  • 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 him 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 Plus One 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 previous player characters from Battlestations: Midway by sinking his PT Boat at Pearl Harbor; you can also shoot down another one's 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.

    Roguelikes 
  • In Dwarf Fortress you can meet your retired adventurer and dwarves from your former fortresses if you play in the same universe. Also, dwarves from old fortresses might rejoin the next one you play if they're close enough to where they escaped to. This, of course, can lead to a Disk One Nuke if said dwarf is a legendary warrior...
  • In NetHack you can occasionally run across the graves of previous adventurers, complete with an epitaph displaying their level and how they bought their plot. You can loot the graves of your former selves, complete with all of their equipment... 80% of which is cursed. (Had that spellbook of Polymorph? Guess what you just found!)

    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, the paint schemes of Mobius One, Yellow 13, and Blaze are unlockable/buyable in the sequels to their initial appearances.
  • 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.)

     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.

     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.
  • 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 
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the quiet player from Grand Theft Auto III (Claude) makes a cameo as the new boyfriend of CJ's ex-girlfriend, Catalina. CJ refers to him as "that mute asshole."
    • This trope is also frequently reversed in other GTA games, where NPCs from previous games are given their own storyline, as is the case with Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These Gaiden Games also play this trope straight occasionally: The Lost and Damned wastes no time at all and gives Niko a cameo right in the opening cutscene.
      • In addition, Niko appears right in the opening cutscene for The Ballad of Gay Tony, pulling a heist on the very bank that Luis happens to be in, although it's hard to know he's there without having played the original mission in the base game due to him wearing a suit and mask.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, Johnny Klebitz of The Lost and Damned DLC of the previous game makes an appearance where he is killed by Trevor Phillips. It's also possible to spot Niko Bellic's Life Invader profile.
  • In the Dead Rising 2 epilogue DLC Case West, Frank West appears alongside Chuck Greene, and replaces the Chuck clone as the second playable character. His camera-taking abilities are also being brought over from the first game. Then Capcom decided to make Off the Record, a What If? scenario that replaced Chuck with Frank as the man on the scene in Fortune City, making a Previous Player-Character Cameo out of Chuck by having him as one of the Psychopaths.
    • Dead Rising 3 features Chuck Greene in the best ending and, if you make the right choices and earn Overtime mode, he partners up with you for the final fight.
  • In Saints Row IV, the default player character designs from the first and second games show up in one mission as enemies. With the latter, you have to fight two of them, because the other guy is the co-op character.