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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 
  • Armored Core: For Answer has the PC from 4 as a potential ally or enemy.
  • In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, Dingo becomes the second runner (or pilot) of Jehuty. During the course of the game, the first runner, Leo, comes to take Jehuty back in his new Orbital Frame/LEV Hybrid, Vic Viper...yes, THAT Vic Viper.
  • In The Last Stand: Union City, the third installment of zombie-survival flash-games, the final quest chain is given to you by the player character of the previous two The Last Stand games, now named 'Jack'.
  • HELLSINKER pulls this with the "Apostles of the Seed" and mixes it with Fridge Horror due to the fact that the Apostles share attacks of the protaganists from Radio Zonde plus the origins of the Prayer's.
  • The Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger game for the PlayStation has Gao Red as an unlockable character. Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger had been made into a very similar PlayStation game, in which Gao Red was in fact the only playable Gaoranger.
  • Another Centurys Episode 3 has an odd example, with the Gunark from A.C.E. 2 showing up...but piloted by Marina Carson, the secondary protagonist, rather than the game's main PC Tak Kepfordnote . They never outright say where Tak is or what happened to him, but Marina implies that he's fine, and that they've undergone a Relationship Upgrade as well.

     Adventure Games 

    Eastern RPG 

    First-Person Shooters 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    MMORP Gs 

    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.

     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.
  • 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.

    Western RPG 
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II, the Jedi Exile meets and fights Revan, the Player Character from the first game in a vision. Also, various party members make return appearances, either joining the new party or as NPCs.
  • 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.
    • The developers are hinting that your Warden and your Hawke could show up in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
  • 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.

     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.


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