Bisected8 on Mar 10th 2018 at 3:42:16 PM
Last Edited By:
Bisected8 on May 11th 2018 at 12:04:48 PM
Page Type: trope
Name suggestions (Vote on the crowner HERE):
- Customization Invariant Moniker
- Featureless Protagonist Fixed Pseudonym
- Fixed Player Character Moniker
- Player One Moniker
- Player Character Moniker
- Customisable Character ID Tag
- Name Of The Nameless
- Multiple Characters Epithets
- Canon Identifier
- The Playable One (or The Playable Ones)
Draft begins below the line.
When the protagonist of every game in a series is completely customisable or a Featureless Protagonist, this can present a problem in aggregate. They aren't a blank slate (since the player comes up with a personality of their own), but at the same time, they can't have any canonical traits to distinguish them from any other Player Character (especially if the game's part of a series which has a new customisable character every time). Even their name might be up to the player.
The simple solution is to give them a default title (ideally one which fits into a vague backstory, or corresponds to something the player must do early on) which can be used to distinguish them from other customisable player characters in the same series (or, indeed, other series).
This can also apply to a few series which don't have character customisation, but have very similar (or deliberately bland) main characters who are still established as separate from one another. It can also be used to specifically mean "the character you chose at the start of the game" in cases of Schrödinger's Player Character. Very rarely, it can also apply to an NPC in the case of Static Role, Exchangeable Character.
Compare Canon Name (where the player can call their character anything, but there is a specific canon name), Prestigious Player Title and Only Known by Their Nickname (which both often overlap when Hello, [Insert Name Here] doesn't extend to voice acting).
- The Links in the various The Legend of Zelda games all have the same Canon Name, but typically pick up some sort of title, which makes it easier to specify which game's protagonist you're talking about (e.g. The Hero of Time for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Hero of Winds for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, etc).
First Person Shooter
- The FEAR series gives the protagonist of the first and third games the title of The Point Man (distinguishing him from Becket, the PC of the second game). Of course, this also happens to be his Canon Name.
- Far Cry tends to Zig Zag the trope. The third and fourth games have fairly fleshed out and named protagonists, but:
- The first Far Cry's protagonist is known as "the guy with the shirt" in Enemy Chatter, after his most distinguishing feature; a loud Hawaiian patterned shirt he never removes.
- Far Cry 2 features one of 12 potential player characters collectively called "The Mercenaries" (the rest of which occasionally pop up to offer bonus objectives). Since there's no set canon for which of them the player picks , and therefore kills the rest in a shootout in the finale so they can do something vaguely more heroic than just take the money and run, the PC is typically just called The Mercenary. All part of driving home that the player is just another faceless asshole taking advantage of the war in the country it's set in.
- Far Cry 5 puts the player in the shoes of a lawman who's been sent to arrest the Big Bad. Unlike the previous two entries, they're a blank slate who only ever goes by The Marshal.
- In Super Solvers: The PC is, of course, the Super-Solver. Super Seeker, is a spinoff game for younger children which changes the player's title accordingly.
Role Playing Game
- The Persona series gives each player character a Canon Name in expanded material and adaptations, but also distinguishes them by a title from the third game onwards ("The Protagonist" for Persona 3, "Main Character" for Persona 4 and "Joker" for Persona 5).
- Every protagonist of a Fallout title receives an In-Series Nickname based on their background:
- Fallout 1's protagonist leaves the comfort of their vault at the behest of the Overseer, becoming known as The Vault Dweller.
- Fallout 2's main character is The Chosen One, the descendent of The Vault Dweller who was sent forth on a quest to save the town which was founded when TVD was exiled at the end of the first game.
- Fallout 3's hero leaves the comfort of Vault 101 in search of their father (and because his leaving prompted the Overseer into trying to kill them), picking up the title of The Lone Wanderer from the resident disc jockey in the course of their quest.
- Fallout: New Vegas opens with the PC getting shot in the head and buried alive by a gangster who wanted a package they were carrying. They become known by the job title that got them into this mess: The Courier.
- Fallout 4 stars a pre-war citizen of the USA who was frozen along with everyone else in their vault before the bombs dropped. They see their spouse shot dead and their infant son kidnapped, leading to them being known as The Sole Survivor. This one proved controversial, as it gave the PC a far more specific background than previous titles, which some players found limiting.
- Mass Effect:
- The original trilogy gives the PC the surname Shephard and lets the player choose their own first name. The spinoff Mass Effect: Andromeda gives the player a choice between either half of a Brother–Sister Team with the surname Ryder; the one they pick gains the title of Pathfinder (while the one they don't retains their canon name of Scott or Sarah).
- Some non-player characters also get canon identifiers in cases where the player can choose which one of them plays a specific role in their current playthrough/canon. The most prominent of these is the "Virmire Survivor" (at the end of the Virmire mission in the original game, the player must decide who of their two human squadmates, Ashley and Kaidan, is left behind to die holding off Saren's forces, while the other survives).
- In Final Fantasy I, the four Featureless Protagonists who make up your party are generally called the Light Warriors. The individual characters are simply known by their class. Dissidia: Final Fantasy represents them with a Composite Character known as "Warrior of Light", who can't remember his own name because of the events of the original game.
- Every recruitable character in Citizens of Earth has a customisable name, but they default to an epithet which sums them up (e.g. Conspiracy Guy, Pilot, etc).
- Dragon Age:
- The protagonist of Dragon Age: Origins is referred to as the Hero of Ferelden or simply as "the Warden" in later installments.
- The protagonist of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is known as the Warden-Commander of Ferelden, unless it happens to be the same person as in Origins thanks to Old Save Bonus.
- The protagonist of Dragon Age II is known mostly by their surname, Hawke, but is also often referred as the Champion of Kirkwall, or simply "the Champion".
- The protagonist of Dragon Age: Inquisition has many monikers, including the Inquisitor, the Herald of Andraste, and simply the Herald. They are also often referred by their race-specific surnames (Trevelyan for humans, Lavellan for elves, Cadash for dwarves, and Adaar for qunari).
- In The Elder Scrolls, each Player Character (aside from Redguard) is customizeable and has no default name, and has a title distinguishing them from the other player characters in the series:
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena: The Eternal Champion
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall: The Agent
- The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire: The Apprentice
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: The Nerevarine
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Stormhold: The Master Tunnel Rat
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Dawnstar: The Hero of Dawnstar
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey: The Soul of Conflict
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The Champion of Cyrodiil
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The Dragonborn/The Last Dragonborn
- The Elder Scrolls Online: The Vestige or The Soulless One
- The Elder Scrolls Legends: The Forgotten Hero
- In Diablo 3, All of the player characters are referred to as "The Nephalem",a title with in-universe connotations of beings with limitless potential, distinguishing them from the protagonists of the first two titles.
- Divinity: Original Sin II: Players can control one of six available origin characters with preestablished backgrounds or create a custom avatar. Regardless of choice you take on the role of a Sourcerer , one able to wield magical Source, and eventually Godwoken, a Sourcerer chosen by a god to become the next Divine and the majority of characters refer to the members of your party by one of these titles or your chosen race.
- System Shock lets you name your Player Character however you like, but outside of a few emails without voice acting, most characters simply call you "the hacker" since you're running around the station infiltrating its cyberspace and hacking its security. The sequel doesn't even bother with a customisable name, having characters call you "the soldier".
- Deus Ex begins with you giving your character a "real name", but for the sake of voice acting, characters call you by your alias "JC Denton". The sequel puts the player in control of his brother Paul (who looks very similar). The prequel games abandon this in favour of giving the Player Character a fixed name.
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