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The Hero: Video Games

  • The Player Character of most video games in general.
  • Tidus from Final Fantasy X is clearly the main character to the player, but he's a late-comer to the other characters, who already composed the rest of The Team before he showed up.
    • Yuna takes up this role in the sequel. Very interesting considering that she was The Chick in the previous game. She even fights like Tidus and uses one of his swords in her Warrior dressphere.
  • Sora from Kingdom Hearts was The Hero but not The Leader of his original íThree Amigos! Power Trio. That position went to The Lancer, Riku, who was older, bigger, stronger, and more adventurous. It was Riku's idea to build a raft and leave their home behind to visit other worlds. If Riku hadn't been a little too eager to seek his destiny, he might have become the de facto leader of The Team, with Sora and Kairi functioning as the team's heart and conscience. Sora might lead with his heart and by example, but Riku would have led with his head and from the front. Even after Sora formed a new Power Trio with Donald and Goofy, Donald was initially more the leader due to his drive and seniority.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua is by far the hero. She is the only one to achieve the rank of Keyblade Master, never succumbs to darkness, puts her friends above herself, and always fights to help others above all else.
  • In Sly Cooper, Sly is the hero even though he's a thief. Even though he's considered a criminal because he steals, he only steals to save the world from criminals who actually are evil and have devious intentions.
  • Kazuya Mishima was The Hero of the first Tekken, and his looks and background somewhat supports it. However he proves otherwise in the second series and forward.
  • Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 of the SPARTAN IIs. Not the strongest, fastest, smartest of the Spartans, or the best at anything at all, except in leading the others and always getting the job done. He is so unbelievably Mario in comparison that even though there is at least one SPARTAN that can do something better than him, he wins everything because there is nothing he is bad at. Nothing. And he knows it. That's why he was made The Leader of the rest.
    • Although Cortana says he has one thing the rest didn't: LUCK.
    • Another thing he is the best at is being the Bravest with a capital B, as said by Dr. Halsey herself. Spartans are by definition extremely brave and invulnerable (latter as symbolism, but proven with the best record of survival rate per engagement). However John takes it to the pure insane combined with his luck and courage to do the pure impossible even by Spartan standards.
  • The Player Character in almost every RPG ever written. The Jedi protagonist and the Exile in Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 respectively, the Spirit Monk in Jade Empire, the Hero of Neverwinter and Drogan's Pupil in Neverwinter Nights, the Kalach-Cha in Neverwinter Nights 2, Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3, etc, etc, etc. There's nothing stopping the character being an Anti-Hero or even a Villain Protagonist.
    • Shepard stands out though in that s/he actually talks, giving him/her a more fleshed out personality (though you can still choose that personality).
  • In the Disgaea series, protagonists Adell of Disgaea 2 and Valvatorez of Disgaea 4 play the trope straight, Laharl and Mao of the other two games being antiheroes.
  • Sonic is both the hero of the series and Team Sonic's (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles) de facto leader.
  • Mario. He names the franchise, is the main playable character, is the Jack of All Stats, etc., etc.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link is an incarnation of this trope. In most of the core Canon, Link is specifically titled "Hero" of something: of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda I and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, of Time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, of Winds in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Chosen Hero of the Gods in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Hero of Legend in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Hero Eternal in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
  • Fox McCloud of Star Fox.
  • Although there's the possibility of it being too obvious to be worth listing here, the majority of the main characters in every Dragon Quest game serve as the Hero, to the point that in Dragon Quest VIII the hero's default name is Hero. Nearly all of them have balanced abilities and use (or have the option of using) swords, and many of them have lightning and/or fire in their selection of attack magic. One of the only exceptions is the Hero from Dragon Quest II, who learns no magic at all and serves as the physical fighter of the party.
    • Another DQ Hero-Subversion, in V the hero plays the role as more the party's priest, and his son is the legendary hero. Ironically though the son of the priest hero from V can't function without his father's help considering that the son is inexperienced, and he doesn't know what he's doing.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, Ashe, while not the protagonist, is probably the most standard hero in the series.
  • Rush Sykes of The Last Remnant.
  • Crono from Chrono Trigger
  • Dean Stark from Wild ARMs 5. You can do anything as long as you don't give up
  • Devlin McCormack from The Orion Conspiracy. Unlike a lot of games out there, he is different. How so? For starters, he is a middle-aged guy who has a number of issues. He was not a good father or a good husband. He does feel bad about it. His son and wife are both dead. He fought as a soldier in the Corporation War. However, the game demonstrates that he seems to prefer using his brains and guile rather than a gun and physical combat. He also engages in lying, petty larceny, blackmail and some Shoot the Dog moments. The Chick is also not attracted to him. With all that said, he does lead the charge more than once in the game.
  • Rosalyn from Okage is another case of the hero not being the player character, generally being a superb Hero's Guild Member and overshadowing Ari. But then, everyone does that last bit.
  • Septerra Core has Maya as this.
  • Fear Effect has Hana Tsu-Vachel/Mei Yun in this role.
  • Played straight in most of Fallout 3, but subverted in four of the five add-ons (Broken Steel being a continuation of the main storyline, very heroic, and something of an Author's Saving Throw for the original ending). The main game revolves around one man's dream to bring free, radiation-free water to the Wasteland, and how his child either achieves or subverts that dream.
    • Operation Anchorage requires the player to aid one of the least sympathetic non-psychopathic factions in the game (who only exist as a faction because they broke away from a group that decided it was more important to protect innocents from 8-foot-tall genocidal mutants than to hoard technology).
    • The Pitt forces the player to choose between allowing miserable slavery to continue in the name of rebuilding the only working steel mill on the east coast and finding a cure one of the most devastating mutations in the Wasteland, or freeing the slaves by replacing a Reasonable Authority Figure with his treacherous lieutenant, who then plans to use his former Lord's infant child to find a cure as fast as possible, her health be damned. Also, it is implied that choosing the latter will allow the steel mill to rot, a significant setback for rebuilding.
    • Point Lookout has the Lone Wanderer caught between a Bad Ass and a Chessmaster. While none of his actions are decidedly heroic or villainous, he gets outsmarted by brain-damaged drug addicts and (depending on what side quests he follows), a 200-year-old death trap. Both these events paint the hero as more of a gullible imcompetent than anything else.
    • Mothership Zeta is mostly a fight for survival, ending with the player willingly destroying a craft capable of traveling to other planets. That, you know, aren't ruined.
  • In the Video Game/Fable series, Heroes are a classification of people in Albion who possess the disciplines of Strength, Skill, or Will, and as such have extraordinary fighting and magical abilities. The player character in each game has control over all three disciplines, and can either play this trope straight or horribly invert it.
  • Final Fantasy XIII
    • Lightning Farron. Let us see; The Red Mage (equal in Strength and Magic - her magical abilities are spread between Black Magic and White Magic)/Jack of All Stats, elemental affinity is lightning - it's all in the name - and she uses a sword- that morphs into a gun, no less!
    • Snow Villiers thinks he's the hero and refers to himself as such. Lightning finds him irritating (at first) but he's closer to the Ideal Hero than she is.
    • Her sister (his finance) Serah functions very similarly in the sequel (majors in Ravager, Commando and Saboteur roles, wields a Bow-sword) except she's elementally inclined to both fire and lightning.
  • While Ryu may be the main character of the Street Fighter series, he isn't the actual hero. While he has served as a Living MacGuffin for both M. Bison and Seth to obtain because of his Satsui no Hadou potential, he doesn't actively oppose them. The honor of being The Hero actually goes to Chun-Li, who has always opposed Shadaloo from the time of Street Fighter Alpha to the time Street Fighter IV, and she continues to oppose the new evil organization, the Illuminati, in Street Fighter III.
  • One for each game in the Golden Sun series. It's worth noting that all the protagonists subvert the usual alignment in Elemental Powers - The Hero always uses Earth-based abilities, while The Lancer instead will have Fire-based abilities (reflecting a subversion of the usual Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic).
    • Isaac in The Broken Seal.
    • Felix in The Lost Age.
    • Matthew (Isaac's son) in Dark Dawn.

Anime and MangaThe HeroWestern Animation

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