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Contrasting Sequel Main Character / Video Games

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Examples of Contrasting Sequel Main Characters in video games.


  • Ace Combat:
    • Blaze and his Wardog Squadron from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War are a bunch of idealistic, but talented rookie pilots who fly the planes command has given them and identify strongly with their nation (to the point of fighting against their own when they come to believe that their cause is unjust). Cipher and Pixy from its prequel Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, meanwhile, are both jaded, battle-scarred mercenaries who bring their own planes and hold no particular attachment to their cause except money - though Pixy finding a cause beyond money to fight for is what fuels his defection to a terrorist group and becoming the Big Bad - and even on the Knight path (which is implied to be canon through a Mergingthe Branches, shooting down all variable squadrons despite in game Karma Meter status), Cipher's armor is mostly sour.
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    • The Wardogs in turn differ noticeably from the player character they succeeded, Mobius One of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. He always flies as the only member of his squadron (save for a hasty restructuring in the final mission of his game), he identifies more with a multi-national alliance than any one country, he never questions his orders or his military's plans because a need to do so never comes up, and - also distinct from every other Ace Combat protagonist - he remains in the military after the game he was introduced in, putting down further Erusean insurrections in 2006 (the Arcade mode of 5) and 2014 (the VR mode of Ace Combat 7).
    • Protagonists from the series after 04 also contrast themselves with Nemo from (the Japanese version of) Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere, who flies as part of small, generally elite squadrons, starts out identifying with a peacekeeping organization but has several opportunities to change factions at will - even to the one closest to being the clear villains - and he's revealed in the Omega Ending to be an AI running several simulations of a possible Corporate War, programmed specifically to kill one person, with a side-benefit being that he's good enough that his choice of who he owes his allegiance to almost entirely determines which faction wins the war.
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    • Trigger from 7 has a direct contrast to all other human predecessors in that while everyone else are professional air force pilots or (in the case of Phoenix from 2 and Cipher from 0) mercenaries, Trigger is implied to have been unwillingly roped in to serve in the OADF by his first squadron commander, Clown. A far more dramatic one is Trigger being framed for assassinating former President Harling and getting canned to a penal squadron where he languishes for a good chunk of the war. Even Wardog, who were also framed, got right back into the critical action as Razgriz Squadron after faking their deaths. Everyone else is following commands. Trigger briefly does so before communications are lost and he essentially stumbles into ending the war. That said, despite this radical difference he is probably the deadliest human, save for Mobius 1 who has at least a decade on him in experience.
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  • While they are the secondary main characters of their respective series, this is played straight with Ky Kiske and Jin Kisaragi in Arc System Works' two fighting game franchises, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue respectively. Ky is a rather straight example of a Knight in Shining Armor being chivalrous and all around morally upright, if somewhat naïve despite the Crapsack World he lives in. Jin is more of a Knight in Sour Armor by comparison and barely holds his contempt for everything around him and is pretty nihilistic on top of it all. Surprisingly, this trope is averted with the actual main characters Sol Badguy and Ragna the Bloodedge, who while having some key differences they both more or less have similar dispositions.
  • Whenever the Assassin's Creed series introduces a new assassin protagonist, you can bet that they'll be different from previous protagonists in some way. The series never sticks with one assassin for too long.
    • Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad of Assassin's Creed is a no-nonsense (if overconfident) veteran Professional Killer.
    • Ezio Auditore da Firenze of Assassin's Creed II is a playboy youth from a wealthy banking family who chooses to enter the cloak-and-dagger world of the Assassins to take revenge on the Templars who betrayed and killed his father and brothers, only officially joining the Order in the final mission.
      • The contrast between the two goes even further when their complete lives are viewed. Altaïr was extremely cynical all the way to the end, taking the view of Humans Are the Real Monsters and seeing a Crapsack World. Ezio gained a real appreciation for life, taking the view that Humans Are Flawed, but overall decent people and that The World Is Just Awesome. Even their deaths are portrayed in contrast. Altaïr dies alone, locking himself in a vault, having lost his wife and one of his sons to inter-factional conflict within the Order. Ezio dies on a bench, watching his wife and daughter in the market, content with his life.
    • Connor Kenway of Assassin's Creed III is an idealistic rookie Assassin who's treated as an outsider because of his Mohawk ancestry, and ends up directly at odds with his father Haytham, the Grandmaster of the Templar Order in the course of his mission. Altaïr and Ezio's moveset tended to be quick, elegant and graceful while Connor is capable of knocking around foes with nothing but his raw strength.
      • Assassin's Creed III: Liberation has the series' first female and (mixed-race) black protagonist, Aveline de Grandpre. She can switch between different "personas" for different situations, which is a lot more subtle than Connor. She rebels against her assigned role as a nobleman's daughter, while Connor's Native American background was clearly dominant. She's also more conflicted than Connor about morality, and tends to be impulsive in contrast to his stoicism. She too, has a hat.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag stars Connor's grandpa, Edward Kenway, a nigh-alcoholic, selfish pirate who ends up getting mixed up in this Assassin and Templar nonsense entirely by accident and spends most of the plot insisting that he's not in it for their revolution. He also spends a good portion of the game pining over his lost love. And he's blonde. At the same time, he and other pirates attempt to establish their own Republic, which harkens back to Connor's beliefs in freedom.
      • Adéwalé, Edward's Number Two for much of the game, is the protagonist of Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry. By that point, he's a slave-turned-pirate-turned-Assassin. Having experienced life from multiple sides, he has finally found a purpose in life with the Assassins, which puts him in contrast with Edward, who wanted nothing to do with the group. In the DLC, Adéwalé is ship-wrecked on Saint-Domingue and ends up getting involved in the Maroon rebellion, helping free hundreds of slaves. The Assassin-Templar conflict is only tangentially involved here, and the main struggle is against the British slave-owners. While Adéwalé is reluctant to spend so much time away from his Assassin duties, he eventually grows to sympathize with the Maroons and helps them greatly, to the point of a Heroic BSoD when the British governor opts to kill slaves en masse rather than allow them to be freed.
    • Assassin's Creed Rogue: has Shay Patrick Cormac - a one time Assassin who betrays them and becomes a Templar. He kills the very people who took him in and helped raised him. He also works with the villains who were in part III, making himself a Villain Protagonist. And while he's given a Freudian Excuse for this, it still doesn't justify his actions. Especially since the ending shows him committing the assassination at the beginning of Unity that led to the French Revolution.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity features Arno. While the son of an assassin, he was partially raised by the templars, only coming back to the assassins later in life. He also places more value on relationships than ideology, demonstrated by his willingness to join his Childhood Friend Elise (a templar) on her quest for vengeance, while also dancing around the assassin's council and different factions for the sake of those he cares for most.
    • And this is in turn contrasted in Assassin's Creed Syndicate with the twin Jacob and Evie. Both of them are career assassins, with commitment to the cause first, though they differ over methodology. Jacob is also Hot-Blooded and tends to leap first at the templars before wondering about consequences. Evie meanwhile is methodical almost to a fault, devoted to her father's ideals (Jacob personally holds some resentment towards him due to being Always Second Best) and more the stoic than most of the previous 3 protagonists.
    • Bayek in Assassin's Creed Origins technically precedes everyone else listed above making him Contrasting Prequel Main Character in many aspects: first, he is deeply religious and believing in the afterlife in contrast to most Assassins who were secular, agnostic or straight up atheistic. Also unlike other Assassins who would form families in their later lives - a given considering they would leave descendants behind - Bayek is already a father at the start of his game.
    • Desmond, the true protagonist of the first three numbered titles, has run away from the Farm, unwilling to spend his life in a Secret War against an Ancient Conspiracy, and becomes a bartender, until said conspiracy finds him and pulls him back in. He's reluctant, but ends up personally experiencing the lives of several of his Assassin ancestors, filling him with renewed confidence in the Assassin cause, as well as using the "bleeding effect" to learn his ancestors' skills. His ultimate Heroic Sacrifice sets him aside from all the other protagonists.
    • The protagonists of the present day plot, unlike Desmond, are regular everyday schmucks who managed to get roped into Assassin-Templar conflict. The protagonist of Black Flag and Rogue are both new employees at Abstergo who are given a chance to aid the Assassins and the Templars respectively. The protagonist of Unity and Syndicate are normal citizens that the Assassins manage to come across while hacking into the Helix.
    • Origins marks the return of an established, named protagonist in the present day plot. Layla Hassan is an ex-Abstergo employee. A tech genius, she created the latest version of the Animus which has mobile capabilities. But she decides to leave the company behind when she doesn't get credit for her work and seen as a threat for being too smart. Unlike Desmond, Layla isn't a hero trying to save the world from the Templars, but a selfish, ambitious woman at war with the people who rejected her.
  • Baten Kaitos has Kalas, who is (initially) a jerkass who cares nothing of anyone's problems other than his own. Meanwhile in Origins, Sagi is quite the nice guy, and is often eager to help out others. Also, while Kalas is a spiriter, Sagi is a malideiter, his power coming from a dark god.
  • BioShock
    • Jack from BioShock, as an ordinary human who fights mostly with scavenged small arms and improvised weapons, had a distinct feeling of vulnerability to him even as he acquired more powerful Plasmids and began to prove himself in battle. This is compounded by the revelation that he was little more than a mind-controlled slave of Fontaine's from the very start, devoid of free will. Subject Delta, on the other hand, is a hulking, heavily-spliced monster of a man, clad in an armoured suit and capable of braving even the ocean floor unscathed. Meanwhile, others regard him as nothing but a mindless automaton, but the fact that he actually does possess free will is a large part of his character and motivation.
    • Atlas from the first game is the polar opposite of Sinclair from the second. Atlas claims he has no interest in gaining power (in a political sense or a physical sense), and just wants to survive and save his wife and son. It eventually gets revealed that this is all a ruse, he's the real villain of the game, and he spends his last moments trying to kill Jack. Meanwhile, Sinclair makes no attempt to hide his greed and is unashamed of how many people he's conned. When it's revealed that he's responsible for Subject Delta's creation and enslavement, it's actually not that big of a twist - it's more of a twist that he regrets his actions, still wants Subject Delta to escape, and doesn't try to save himself when Sophia Lamb captures him.
    • Unlike the first two, Booker DeWitt of Bioshock Infinite has a significant identity outside of his mission, which isn't a quest for survival; he's hired to rescue Elizabeth, who is herself a marked contrast to the loneliness that permeated the first few games. He speaks and comments much more on the things going on around him, in that he speaks and comments at all. His fighting style is also significantly more violent and mobile, as he has a soldier background.
  • The four non-DLC Vault Hunters from Borderlands 2 each contrast with a different Vault Hunter from the original:
    • Roland and Axton were both former soldiers who utilize turrets in battle. However, Roland's the closest thing to a good guy Pandora has, and he left because of corruption in his unit. Axton, on the other hand, is a Glory Hound and Military Maverick who was dishonorably discharged because of his proclivity for excessive collateral damage.
    • Lilith and Maya are both Sirens, two of six women spread across the universe with mysterious powers, who came to Pandora looking for more information about the Sirens. Lilith is Hot-Blooded with an addictive personality, and tends to enjoy violence more than she knows she should. Maya is of a more sophisticated upbringing, the Team Mom and Token Good Teammate of her gang, and while killing does seem to amuse her, she's not as bloodthirsty about it.
    • Mordecai and Zer0 both fill the sniper role, but in very different ways. Zer0 is a stoic, mysterious, soft-spoken, and Ambiguously Human Assassin with a sleek, high-tech appearance that favors cutting-edge Hyperion weapons. Mordecai's a loud, brash, alcoholic, and definitely human Hunter that's visibly wilder and more rugged and favors old-fashioned Jakobs weapons .
    • Brick and Salvador are both violence-loving berserkers who manage to come off as the Token Evil Teammate even for Pandora. Brick turns out to be a Bruiser with a Soft Center with Hidden Depths who occasionally comes across as the Only Sane Man. Salvador is completely Ax-Crazy and doesn't really have an off switch. Even their physiques and specialties are different: Brick is massive and relies on his fists to pummel foes, while Salvador is The Napoleon and a Gun Nut.
  • Borderlands 3:
    • Axton was a shameless showboater and a bit of a pretty boy, while Moze is a gruff, no-nonsense Cute Bruiser and The Lad-ette.
    • While Lilith was a bit of a power addict and Maya a scholar, Amara is an Amazonian Beauty vigilante who was The Cape on her home planet. She's also a bit more melee-oriented than either of her predecessors.
    • Zer0 and Zane are both infiltrators and hired guns. But Zer0 was quiet, aloof, graceful and poetic. Zane is a cocky Fighting Irish thug. Their iconic action skills are opposites: Zer0 uses a hologram to split his enemies up, then sneaks in close to his true target; Zane gets into the thick of it and then uses Swap Teleportation with the hologram to pick off the brawlers at a distance. Zane's also less of a sniper, with a more diverse skillset.
    • FL4K has Mordecai's affinity with animals and Brick's imposing stature, but is full of Dissonant Serenity in contrast to their boisterousness.
  • Darkest Dungeon and Darkest Dungeon 2: while both could be described as a virtual Non-Entity General, the Heir in the first game is a virtual cipher about whom all that can really be said is that they are related to the Ancestor somehow, while the expedition leader in the second game is known to be somewhat older, one of the Academic's old colleagues, who delved into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know with him, regretted it and went into hiding. Gameplay-wise, playing the Heir generally encourages you to take a certain cold, calculating attitude where a willingness to sacrifice your heroes is a neutral to positive trait, while playing the expedition leader means you have a team of exactly four people you need to take very good care of. Similarly, the narrator, while still voiced by Wayne June, is different between the two games: the Ancestor from the first game is a ruthless and nihilistic figure who doesn't show much concern for the victims of his actions and takes a long time to reveal the true scale of the threat you face, while the Academic is a Knight in Sour Armour who encourages you to do what you can to ease the suffering of the apocalypse refugees you encounter and maintains that victory over the eldritch doom of the world is eventually possible.
  • Dead Rising stars Frank West, a calm, cocky photojournalist who is nevertheless altruistic. Dead Rising 2 stars Chuck Green, a straight-laced and extremely serious stunt man who cares deeply for his daughter. Dead Rising 3 features Nick Ramos, a panicky mechanic who is immune to the zombies.
  • This was supposed to be the case in Devil May Cry 4, with the protagonist Nero. He is a demon hunter for a religious cult, who is fighting for the love of his girlfriend and his faith. However, he hides the fact that he was born with a demon arm which gives him special abilities, which makes him insecure. Dante is a freelance demon hunter for hire. He doesn't have an established love interest, despite working with two attractive women. He is proud of his half demon heritage and the abilities that come with it. Ultimately, subverted, however, because in battle Nero has the same cocky personality as Dante, not separating the two.
  • In Disgaea (which has a new protagonist in each game, plus cameos from the previous cast) the personalities of each main character alternated for the first four games. The first and third games had characters who were after power (Laharl wanted to become an Overlord, while Mao was in it For Science!) and the second and fourth games had characters with more noble goals (Adell wanted to end the curse which turned everyone into demons and Valvatorez wanted to keep his promise to the prinnies he's trying to emancipate). Played with in the later games: Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness had a post-character-development Laharl as the main character again, who was not quite as power-hungry as previous appearances, and Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance Killia, who was plenty noble, but had been more like pre-character-development Laharl in his backstory, then that gets inverted with Zed in Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny, who was a weak softie in his backstory and then developed a more of a Jerkass personality when he got stronger.
  • While the Builder from Dragon Quest Builders was more snappy, stubborn, easily exasperated and sometimes even rude according to how the NPCs responded to him in conversation, the Builder from Dragon Quest Builders 2 is always jolly and fun to be around even in the face of flat out war or constant death threats from Captain Whitebones. Only Bonanzo (who is an Expy of Rollo from Chapter 1 of the first game) gets somewhat snappy responses from the Builder and it's more of a Call-Back to how rude the first Builder was to Rollo than any mean spiritedness. It's only when the residents of Moonbrooke essentially trick the Builder into creating a jail cell for Malroth to be trapped in, and the ensuing fallout and damage to their friendship, that the Builder's happiness fades a fair deal (their expression is even locked to "serious" instead of the default smile) and they become a bit more short-tempered in their implied dialogue.
  • The "hero" of Drakengard, Caim, is a bloodthirsty Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Hero, only saved from Villain Protagonist status by The Empire he fights being worse. In the sequel, he's something of an antagonist and the protagonist, Nowe, is a fairly standard Wide-Eyed Idealist who doesn't know things he logically should. The fact that they're related, as Nowe is Caim's nephew, makes this even more notable.
  • The protagonist of Far Cry 4 is Ajay Ghale, a Kyrati-American twenty-something former-troublemaker who gets swept up in a civil war in a foreign land involving a resistance started by his father, becomes their strongest warrior through his own talent, happens to really have a way with animals, and is able to directly call upon the help of others, whether NPCs or another player. Compare the protagonist of Far Cry 3, Jason Brody, a Caucasian twenty-something rich So-Cal asshole who gets swept up in a resistance movement in a foreign land that he had no ties to previously, becomes their strongest warrior through being granted a magical tatoo, and never gets much in the way of real support, even from NPCs. Oh, and Animals Hate Him. A lot.
    • The two above are similarly contrasted by the various possible player characters of Far Cry 2, men of several different nationalities and ethnicities who get swept up in a civil war in a foreign land, but end up playing both sides of the conflict to further their own mission. Almost all of them are also noticeably older than Jason or Ajay (save Xianyong Bai, who's the same age as Ajay at the time of their respective games, even the youngest among the mercs have at least half a decade on Jason or Ajay), and all come from backgrounds of military service, mercenary work, VIP protection, and/or any other sort of activity that means all of them have some sort of body count before the game even starts. None of them are able to boost their inherent attributes except by purchasing new gear to carry more ammo and supplies, and - in further contrast to Jason - they all work together in some way, the ones you don't choose to play as becoming NPCs who you can do side-missions for, who will assist you in story missions, or who can even swoop in and pull you to safety if you get downed in combat.
    • The mercs of the second game, in turn, are contrasted by Jack Carver of the first Far Cry, a man with prior military experience who just wants to retire from it and pilot boats in the tropics, who happens upon a secret military project and ends up with everyone actively wanting him dead save for the person who chartered his boat and a Voice with an Internet Connection who turns out to be The Starscream in the last five minutes. His adventure veers much further into a science-fiction angle than most other games in the series (even the more grounded PC version still grants him thermal-vision goggles and a highly-advanced assault rifle/grenade launcher combo to fight mutated apes that turn invisible or constantly launch rockets at him), he only acquires upgrades by finding new gear in the field, and, while later protagonists tend towards slow descents into madness (Jason), Dull Surprise (Ajay), or old-fashioned heroic mimery (the FC2 mercs and the later Deputy of FC5), he's constantly spitting out snappy one-liners.
    • The (customizable) player characters in Far Cry 5 and Far Cry: New Dawn also contrast each other, at least in terms of what happens to them. The Deputy frequently gets captured by Joseph Seed's heralds, gets tortured by them via various forms of Mind Rape, and ultimately fails to stop Joseph Seed, ending up as his prisoner and being forced to fight for him as The Judge in New Dawn. The Captain, meanwhile, gets blessed with Joseph Seed's divine gift, getting access to various supernatural powers, decides to confront the Highwaymen and their leaders, Mickey and Lou at their own pace, and ends up not only killing Lou and possibly Mickey, but also being given the option to Mercy Kill Joseph Seed or inflict Cruel Mercy on him.
    • Yet another main character who contrasts with Jason and Ajay is Takkar from Far Cry Primal. Takkar is an Ambiguously Brown caveman with Barbarian Longhair and a beard, compared to the white, clean-shaven Jason and the Kyrati Ajay, who has stubble at most, and both of whom have short hair. Jason and Ajay speak American-accented English, Jason with a very dry but normal tone, Ajay in a very stoic way- perhaps a little too stoic. Takkar, by contrast, speaks entirely in the fictional Wenja language, and has a deep, growling voice, thanks to being voiced by Elias Toufexis. He's also in his 30s-40s, whereas Ajay and Jason are twenty-somethings. Jason and Ajay fight with compound bows, firearms, and machetes/kukris. Takkar fights with a flint knife, a simple wooden bow, and a club. Ajay and Jason eventually get betrayed by their erstwhile allies- Citra in Jason's case, Agent Willis and Amita/Sabal in Ajay's case- whereas none of Takkar's allies betray him. Jason ends up entering He Who Fights Monsters territory in the way he deals with his enemies, while Takkar, despite being Good Is Not Soft, gains respect and sympathy for his enemies, and tries to spare those he doesn't want to kill, such as Dah, Roshani, and Ull's children. Also, Ajay's way with animals consists of throwing meat next to soldiers and letting the animals attack them, but those animals are just as likely to attack him once they're done with the soldiers. Takkar can actually tame the animals he faces through implicitly magical means, and they stay loyal to him throughout the game. He can even ride them into battle, be they woolly mammoths, sabretooths, or cave bears.
    • Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt is a contrasting spin-off main character to Takkar in his own game, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Both are Guttural Growlers and each is a One-Man Army, but they differ significantly in various ways. Takkar is a literal caveman, Rex is a Cyborg Super Soldier. Takkar has Barbarian Longhair and a beard, Rex has short hair and Perma-Stubble. Takkar is silent whenever he kills someone, Rex is constantly churning out Bond One Liners. Takkar tames wild prehistoric animals and sends them to attack his enemies, Rex lures Blood Dragons into attacking his enemies by throwing cybernetic hearts for them to follow. Takkar gains a level of respect and sympathy for his enemies, the Udam and the Izila, whereas Rex starts with respect for, but ultimately comes to deeply hate, Colonel Ike Sloan. Most prominently, Takkar is a Celibate Hero, whereas Rex forms an Official Couple with Dr. Elizabeth Darling, and eventually they have children together.
  • Final Fantasy likes to vary its tone a lot:
    • Final Fantasy's heroes were Heroic Mime characters with no names and fixed Jobs, so Final Fantasy II stars the main character with a Canon Name (Firion), flexible skills and a whole game mechanic based around talking. Then Final Fantasy III is back to using something in the middle - the characters have dialogue but it isn't assigned to one character in particular, and while you can change their Jobs you are restricted to using specific Job classes instead of the more flexible approach taken by Firion.
    • Cecil of Final Fantasy IV is an emotional man atoning for the sins of his past, a highly decorated soldier, and has dramatic and intense relationships with his party members. Bartz of Final Fantasy V is a laid back Idiot Hero with no particular qualifications beyond birthright, who has a bickering, 'normal' relationship with his party members.
    • VI and VII:
      • Terra of Final Fantasy VI is an insecure former enslaved soldier, with amnesia from mind control, who has to come to terms with her repressed, monstrous inner strength to succeed. Cloud of Final Fantasy VII is a swaggering former elite SOLDIER with monstrous physical strength, who remembers too much due to mind control and has to come to terms with his repressed inner weakness and mental problems to succeed. (Cloud's personality draws somewhat from VI's deuteragonist Celes, another cocky and aloof magic soldier who was designed to contrast Terra in much the same way.)
      • Romantically, Terra has no real love interest, and her discovery of love ends up being platonic love. She's shown as being kind-hearted and, while she will hurt people for the sake of her cause, she is not naturally confrontational and tries hard to get on with everybody. Cloud is an All Girls Want Bad Boys Chick Magnet (and Guy Magnet at times) who is hated by a few males NPCs for his obnoxious girlfriend-stealing. He's caught up in a story-important Love Triangle with two party members, can date four of them, can hit on every Fanservice Extra NPC the player runs into, and acts like a jerk about it the whole time.
    • Compilation of Final Fantasy VII:
      • Zack Fair from Crisis Core is more hotheaded, attitude-driven, laid back, and friendlier than the colder, thoughtful, insane Cloud Strife from the previous game. Various motifs are set up to contrast the two - Zack Fair and Cloud Strife, how the compassionate Zack uses the blunt edge of his blade while the intimidating Cloud always uses the sharp edge, and the Animal Motif that compares Zack to a puppy and Cloud (in Advent Children) to a wolf.
      • The main characters of the original VII are Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, and Barret, with Cid getting a lot of important things to do towards the end. Dirge of Cerberus's protagonists are Vincent and Yuffie, who had been Optional Party Members in the original, and Reeve, the alter ego of party member Cait Sith; Cloud, Barret, and Tifa appear only in a brief cameo and get a couple of lines each.
    • Squall of Final Fantasy VIII was intentionally written to be more 'human' and 'normal' than the FF heroes so far. Where Terra and Cloud's troubles are about self-identity, Squall's troubles are about his relationships with his friends and family, with his teenage identity problems more in the background. In comparison with Cloud's overpowering Chick Magnet status in the middle of a Love Triangle, Squall has a single love interest in Rinoa and they only have minor effects on the love lives of the other characters. Previous FF heroes (even the most everyman ones) existed strictly in a fantasy world, but Squall goes to high school, rents cars and reads his classmates' blog posts.
    • Zidane of Final Fantasy IX was a lot more friendly and sociable than Squall. Zidane is also much more altruistic than the professional mercenary, his motto literally being "You don't need a reason to help people." Romantically, Zidane is a flirt who slowly develops real feelings for Garnet; while Squall had no history before Rinoa and spends a lot of time sorting his feelings out when he realizes he has them.
    • Tidus from Final Fantasy X is a Fish out of Water in comparison to the experienced Zidane.
    • Vaan in Final Fantasy XII, while a ray of sunshine compared to Cloud and Squall, has a chip on his shoulder compared to Zidane and Tidus. And while Tidus and Zidane developed full-fledged romances with the High Summoner's daughter and a princess, Vaan has a very low-key relationship with his childhood friend.
    • Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII is back to being moody and serious, with elements of her character and look designed to be a Distaff Counterpart to Cloud and Squall.
    • Noctis of Final Fantasy XV has a Meaningful Name (Noctis Lucis Caelum) which is supposed to indicate his contrast to previous Tetsuya Nomura-designed heroes - 'Lucis' (clear) to contrast with Cloud, and 'Noctis Caelum' (night heavens) to contrast with Sora (daytime sky). Note also that Lightning's name contains the word "Light" and she is themed around Light Is Not Good, while Noctis is themed around Dark Is Not Evil (with the usual Nojima idea that Darkness is an element of rest and peace: Noctis is laid-back and a little lazy, while Lightning is extremely highly strung and judgemental.) Both Lightning and Noctis have promotional renders displaying them in the same pose, with Lightning bathed in shafts of white light and Noctis lurking in shadows. In addition, while Lightning had no official love interest, Noctis begins betrothed to Lunafreya.
    • After Noctis, we return to Cloud again with Final Fantasy VII Remake. Noctis's most notable characteristic is the value he places on friendship, holding them close to himself even when separated from them, while Cloud's most notable characteristic is his detached, independent spirit, who retains his own personal freedom and agency even as he learns to truly value the group. Noctis reluctantly accepts his duty even if it goes against what matters to him, where Cloud chases after his own personal goals to the extent of being pretty irresponsible at times. Noctis is engaged, while Cloud is an overpowering Chick Magnet. Some have commented that Noctis has a gothy appearance but is upbeat, modest, and supportive, while Cloud has an adorable face and blond hair but is a cynical, intimidating Jerkass with an Inferiority Superiority Complex even bigger than his sword.
  • A couple of Fire Emblem protagonists do this to each other.
    • Marth of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light is a young prince, raised knowing he would one day inherit the Falchion and knowing his ancestry. Alm and Celica of Fire Emblem Gaiden (and its remake) were both raised as commoners despite their royal heritage, with Alm in particular not even knowing about his.
    • Alm and Celica were dual protagonists, and were meant to be contrasts to each other while simultaneously working for different goals. Sigurd and Seliph of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, meanwhile, are both the protagonists of their games at different times as each other, and rather than being opposed to the other's goals, Seliph instead works to finish what his father started by cleaning up the corruption that has overtaken the continent.
    • Seliph was raised in a hidden village alongside a resistance, but he himself has a lot of self-doubt about his ability to lead it. Leif from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was raised in similar circumstances, but is much more certain about his own abilities.
    • Roy from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade is quite similar to Seliph, making his contrasts to Leif the same.
    • While Eliwood from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is very similar to Roy, Hector and Lyn are both very different. Lyn was raised as a nomad, and never knew of her royal lineage. Hector meanwhile is a much less diplomatic lord than Eliwood or Roy are, as well as being the first lord to not use swords (Celica technically was more of a magic-user, but she had access to swords too).
    • Eirika from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a huge contrast to Lyn from The Blazing Blade. While Lyn was raised as a nomad away from royalty, Eirika was raised within a castle as a princess. Lyn is confident about her abilities in battle, while Eirika has had little experience with battle before the game's events. Also, Lyn can potentially marry either of the other lords of her game, while Eirika is actually related to her fellow lord.
    • Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the only lord in the series with no royal lineage at all, making him one of these to every other lord.
    • Micaiah from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is one for Ike. Ike started out buying into the fantastic racism of his world against laguz, but quickly learned to overcome it and work towards peace between all. Micaiah starts out working towards a peaceful goal for Daein, but ends up becoming a well-intentioned extremist.
    • Kris from Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem is a new recruit of the Atlean army, who has little plot relevance and only serves to be a standard avatar. Robin from Fire Emblem: Awakening, meanwhile, had amnesia about their entire past and was a vital part of the main plot of the game.
    • Robin knew nothing about their entire past, and ended up being a necessary part of the main villain's plans. Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates had their past rewritten to remember a different one, and was actually a huge part of why the villain was able to be defeated.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Corrin is a sheltered prince/ss who spent their early years cooped up in a fortress thanks to an abusive father and acts extremely naive. Byleth is a stoic mercenary who spent their early years wandering the continent with their loving father and is experienced enough to teach the next generation of nobility and royalty the ins and outs of combat. In addition, Corrin's Big First Choice is very clearly presented as a Sadistic Choice with world-changing implications while Byleth's is a simple decision between which class of students to teach and is only sadistic in retrospect.
      • Most Fire Emblem protagonists are perfectly morally squeaky-clean, with only maybe Micaiah's judgment being seriously questioned (and she was Forced into Evil). While Claude fits this paradigm, Edelgard has a nasty Well-Intentioned Extremist streak and Dimitri undergoes severe Sanity Slippage, and without Byleth to keep them in check they devolve into a Knight Templar and a revenge-obsessed madman respectively.
  • Friday Night Funkin' mods which overhaul the entire game with brand new weeks, and replace Boyfriend and Girlfriend with new protagonists tend to make those new protagonists contrast with the original two in some form.
    • In Friendly Night Funkin', Lexi is the first female protagonist modded in Boyfriend's place, and is the youngest as well, being only eight years old. While Boyfriend was a rapper who wanted to get Daddy Dearest to approve of his relationship with Girlfriend by rapping whoever he sent his way, no matter the danger, Lexi is a young singer whose parents went on vacation and left her under the care of her babysitter, Aoki. She sings with her opponents just for fun, and they hardly pose any threat to her (except ???). Aoki also contrasts Girlfriend by being a human rather than a demon, and actually getting off the speakers and being Promoted to Playable when Lexi gets possessed by ???.
    • In Salty's Sunday Night, we have Salty and Itsumi. Boyfriend and Girlfriend in the base game were Fearless Fools who would rap against opponents who threatened their lives, yet were too stupid to understand said danger. In addition, they only got themselves in those situations out of Boyfriend wanting to prove himself to Daddy Dearest so he can date his girlfriend. Similar to Lexi and Aoki, Salty and Itsumi's battles don't put their lives on the line, but they are genuinely fighting for the cause of freeing the trapped souls from the arcade machine (which Salty got trapped in because he accidentally spilled coffee on Daddy Dearest). Salty has a nicer, more genuine smile compared to Boyfriend's confident smirk, and Itsumi is a Perpetual Frowner as opposed to Girlfriend's Perpetual Smiler. A special thing to note is that unlike Boyfriend and Girlfriend, Salty and Itsumi are not in an established relationship. Word Of God states they do like each other, but Cannot Spit It Out.
    • In Friday Night Fever, while Boyfriend was dating a demon, Cesar Fever is a demon, making him the first non-human main protagonist. He himself is dating Tea, an alien space rabbit. Cesar settled in Fever town and became its mayor after retiring from his criminal past. The plot ends up kicking into action when he accidentally makes a law while drunk that anyone who can beat him in a rap battle will become the new mayor, forcing him to rap and win against every opponent who tries to take his title. While other protagonists remain focused on their task at hand, Cesar tends to get too caught up and excited in the action to the point where he forgets his goals, forcing Tea to send him back down to earth. While Girlfriend was a Brainless Beauty who went with whatever shenanigans Boyfriend was up to, Tea is the Only Sane Woman who often lampshades how ridiculous each of their situations are.
    • A rare prequel example. Pico, who was originally the antagonist of Week 3, received his own mod, Friday Night Shootin'. Pico is different from Boyfriend and the other mod protagonists in that he prefers to freestyle when rapping in the songs rather than copy off the opponent. He also has the deepest voice of them all, and it sounds closer to actual rapping than singing. Boyfriend is also in Girlfriend's place, making him the first male character in that position, and he stands carrying a boombox rather than sitting on speakers. He's also capable of fearing more than just thunder as demonstrated by Piconjo, and he challenges Pico to one more song in addition to the Tutorial, unlike Girlfriend. Finally, Pico and Boyfriend are the first duo to be a same-sex couple.
  • Subverted in the Golden Sun games: All three games star a Heroic Mime as a protagonist with the exact same powers and class, (and the first and third are father and son, making it a case of Generation Xerox as well), but the protagonist of the second game (Felix) is the one the first game's protagonist (Isaac) was spent running after to prevent the return of Alchemy to the world and rescue his girlfriend. It turns out the world is certain to be destroyed if Alchemy isn't restored while restoring it has a high chance of mankind abusing it and destroying the world, and the kidnapped girl is Felix's sister, who quickly comes to understand why Felix went along with the plan. The third game returns to a character who doesn't need to convince the player he's a good guy.
  • In Grandia, the protagonist is Justin, a wide-eyed, optimistic youth who eagerly sets off on an adventure to explore the world. In Grandia II, the protagonist, Ryudo, is a cynical "Geohound" note  who more or less gets dragged into the plot against his will.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City gives us Tommy Vercetti in contrast to Grand Theft Auto III's Claude. Claude has very little known about him or his past (he never even gets called by name in his game), only wears one outfit across the whole game, only ever does missions for other people, never speaks, and gives the impression of The Stoic. Tommy has an extensive criminal background, can change outfits depending on the mission or the player's choice, starts working for himself about halfway through the game, never stops talking, and proves himself to be a complete lunatic in combat.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: Both Toni Cipriani and the Leone Crime Family. Their main role in Liberty City Stories is a huge contrast to the Grove Street Families from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Unlike them, they have no problem with things such as drug trafficking, torture, and supporting sociopaths like Donald Love.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: Niko Bellic is this to various degrees.
    • He marks a huge contrast to the previous protagonists. While Tommy Vercetti and CJ led a criminal life to fill their pockets, Niko is not happy with this lifestyle.
    • Ironically, despite wanting to get away from his past, Niko also marks a huge contrast in terms of coldness. Yes, Vercetti was a mafia enforcer for years and CJ committed very reprehensible crimes, but none of them committed human trafficking in their past as Niko did. Besides, Niko's work directly involves killing people. After all, he's a Professional Killer working for the police, criminal organizations, or committing acts of vigilantism. It doesn't help the fact that Niko has the highest body count in the entire series.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • Both Michael and Trevor make a huge contrast when you compare them with Niko. Unlike Niko, who is a man who wants to get away from violence, both Michael and Trevor are much more enthusiastic in this lifestyle, especially Trevor.
    • On the other hand, Franklin marks a contrast to Luis Lopez. While Luis wanted to leave this lifestyle to focus on legal business, Franklin wants to be a better kind of criminal.
  • .hack R1 Games' Kite is an optimistic Kid Hero, while .hack//G.U.'s Haseo is a darker, more brooding figure who prides himself on killing Player-Killers.
  • King's Quest: King's Quest III had a quiet, bookish wizard's slave named Gwydion discover he was a prince named Alexander and endure an arduous quest to rescue his sister. King's Quest IV follows spirited, Plucky Girl Princess Rosella as she is disguised as a peasant on a quest to rescue her dad.
  • The Halo games' primary protagonist is the Spartan-II super-soldier Master Chief, a famed war hero and brilliant leader with a fondness for pithy one-liners who otherwise is all stoic professionalism and pretty much defines himself by his job, having been kidnapped as a child by the UNSC so they could raise him to become the perfect soldier. Naturally, the other player protagonists tend to be quite different:
    • In Halo 2, the other player character is the Arbiter, a disgraced Covenant commander seeking to regain his honor by dying gloriously in battle; he's very much a Proud Warrior Race Guy with a flair for oratory.
    • Halo 3: ODST has you play as a group of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, unaugmented special forces soldiers who are relatively normal in terms of their personalities and interests. Additionally, ODSTs tend to resent Spartans and compete against them (though the Spartans themselves are too mission-oriented to really care).
    • Noble Six, the super-soldier protagonist of Halo: Reach, is not one of the famed Spartan-IIs, but one of the still-secret (and cheaper) Spartan-IIIs. Additionally, Six is a lone wolf with little experience working in a team. Ironically enough, Six fights alongside other Spartans for most of Reach, while the Chief is usually the only Spartan in his own games.
    • Halo 5: Guardians's other protagonist is Spartan-IV Jameson Locke, who did not join the UNSC until relatively late in his life, and unlike the Chief willingly volunteered to become a Spartan. Also, Locke comes from an intelligence background that often requires him to be far more diplomatic than the Chief ever needs to be.
  • The Last of Us: The Player Character for the part I is Joel, a middle-aged man who starts the story grief-stricken over the tragic loss of his daughter at the cusps of the apocalypse, and slowly comes out of it after he comes to love Ellie as the daughter he lost. In part II, we play as Ellie, a young adult girl who loses Joel in the prologue and spends the game descending deeper and deeeper into grief and rage. There is also the game's Deutertagonist: Abby, the woman personally responsible for murdering Joel. In contrast to the dainty-looking Ellie, Abby is more muscular and athletic in appearance, and her story deals with the fallout of her murder of Joel and how it not only gradually destroys the relationships she has with her friends, but drives her even further into despair.
  • Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 have four playable characters each and while they do share some similar traits, they also have many contrasting ones:
    • Bill is a Vietnam War veteran that leads the survivors like a group of soldiers, has a knee injury, and treats the Zombie Apocalypse like another war. Coach also has a knee injury and while he also leads his group of survivors, he's a lot more jovial and caring compared to Bill's no-nonsense attitude.
    • Louis is The Idealist that believes the world will return to normal eventually and used to work at an office. Ellis used to have a job as a mechanic and he also shares Louis's optimism. While Louis was more level-headed, Ellis dips into Cloudcuckoolander territory based on his very enthusiastic attitude on killing zombies, his wild stories about his friend Keith, and wanting to go on every ride in Kiddieland when his group travel through it.
    • Francis is The Cynic that treats the zombie outbreak like the world's biggest bar brawl and constantly berates and makes fun of Louis. Nick in comparison is far more cynical and constantly complains how screwed they are. He is also heavy on Deadpan Snarker, is a germaphobe, and makes fun of Coach and Ellis for their southerner stereotypes.
    • Zoey is a zombie film aficionado and will make references to zombie movie tropes and cliches whenever she can. While Zoey is overall friendly towards her fellow survivors, Rochelle dips into Sassy Black Woman at times whenever she snarks at her group. Unlike Zoey, Rochelle no knowledge of anything zombie-related.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • Blood Omen's Kain is a former nobleman destined to become the Balance Guardian of Nosgoth; he's assassinated by the Death Guardian and turned into a vampire. Initially, he starts off seeking revenge against his assassins, before being drawn into a progressively bigger plot. Eventually, Kain is left to decide the fate of the entire country, but chooses to damn Nosgoth so the vampires can rule it.
    • Soul Reaver's Raziel is a former vampire hunter who was resurrected as a vampire by Kain - who, after many years of service, executed him. He returns from the grave as a wraith and starts off with the intention of killing Kain and his vampire children - both to save the world and get revenge - before being drawn into a much bigger plot. However, where Kain eventually takes charge of his life and remakes himself as a master manipulator, Raziel spends most of his plot being manipulated by everyone, including the man he's trying to murder.
  • In the first The Legend of Kyrandia, the protagonist is a classic heroic Prince Charming. In the second, the protagonist is a Plucky Girl alchemist. In the third, the protagonist is an Omnicidal Maniac (the Big Bad of the first game).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link is The Stoic, was orphaned, had the fairy Navi as a companion, was The Chosen One, and sealed Ganondorf away. In the Alternate Timeline shown in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Link has dorky elements, grew up with his sister and grandmother, was The Unchosen One, worked without an Exposition Fairy, and outright killed Ganondorf by impaling him through the head.
    • The Hero of Winds from Wind Waker was only cast into adventure by chance, with his little sister being kidnapped in place of the intended target. His combat is focused on agility and throughout the adventure he has to prove his worth to the gods and the Triforce that he is worthy. He also has no connection to the Hero of Time other than taking part in a celebration ritual. The Hero of Twilight from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was chosen by the gods since birth, already giving him blessings that save him from the Twilight. His fighting style is more focused on brute strength, and he is a descendant of the faded into myth Hero of Time.
  • Life Is Strange: Max Caulfield, the first game's protagonist, is a shy girl in her senior year of high school, dedicated to her photography, one day, she gets the power to mess with time and uses this to try to save her friends from strange things happening in town. Sean Diaz, the second game's protagonist, is a more outgoing boy who is younger than Max, he is an artist but is not inclined to follow that career path, and he does not develop powers, with his little brother being the one to get telekinesis. While Max tries to save the town, Sean only needs to protect his brother. They also diverge in their romantic relationships: both have a pretender of each gender, but Max's sexuality is much more ambiguous and subtle, and her feelings for both Warren and Chloe are hinted more than shown, never going past a kiss with either; Sean is much more open to the advances of Finn and Cassidy and can even sleep with Cassidy; even if he doesn't do anything with either, his journal has clear romantic subtext with both, which Max never wrote about.
  • Machina of the Planet Tree -Unity Unions-: Unlike Cram from Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler-, who starts as an accomplished student and is already contracted to a Machina, Corona starts as a seemingly Inept Mage and has to find her Machina partner after overcoming a few missions by herself. While Cram is a snarky rough-around-the-edges type of protagonist who sometimes bickers with his partner, Corona is an unambiguous Nice Girl who is polite and patient with her partner, even when he accidentally insults her.
  • The Mafia series:
    • Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven's protagonist, Tommy Angelo, was originally an innocent taxi cab driver who joined the mob for protection, ultimately turned against the mob and got killed for it.
    • Mafia II features Vito Scaletta, a World War II vet who only joined the army to avoid jail and turned to the mob to help his family pay a loan shark, deciding afterward that he liked being a mobster and having money, being willing to hurt people, and even along with his best friend, Joe Barbaro, killed Tommy.
    • Mafia III features Lincoln Clay, a vet of The Vietnam War and member of the black mob with no ties to the mafia and in fact, is targeting them after they killed his family. Depending on the choices the player has Lincoln make, Lincoln can be killed by Father James Ballard for having gone too far, contrasting Tommy being killed by Vito and Joe for testifying against Don Salieri.
  • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ryder contrasts Shepard of the original trilogy in several ways:
    • Shepard starts the series as an elite, well-regarded soldier being considered for SPECTRE status (which basically means being above the law). Ryder is less experienced and more visibly in over their head.
    • Only one of Shepard's three origins has any living relatives, and even then their mother only contacts them by phone. Ryder's family has a much bigger impact on their personal story, starting with them being one of two siblings.
    • Shepard's iconic outfit is N7 red and black. Ryder is generally depicted in blue and white.
  • The Mega Man franchise does this all the time.
    • The innocent, childlike Mega Man of the original series was followed by X, who both looks and acts more grown-up.
    • The titular protagonist of Mega Man X was contrasted (both in his own series and the sequel) with Zero. Where X is deeply conflicted about violence and morality, Zero loves to fight and doesn't worry much about gray areas, choosing to believe in his friends and fight for their sake.
    • After Zero came Aile and Vent in the first Mega Man ZX game. Zero is a robot who's missing his memory but knows how to handle himself; Aile and Vent are humans with no mental problems, but they have a lot to learn about the heroism business.
    • The second ZX game pulls this trope on the first in two ways. The new player characters (Ashe and Grey) have more complicated pasts and more adult perspectives than Aile and Vent. Their partner, Model A, is very different from the easily heroic Models X and Z — he's selfish and unmotivated for large parts of the game. (He doesn't even change forms the same way they do.)
    • The spinoff series Mega Man Legends has Megaman Volnutt. Rather than being a robot-fighting hero, he's an Adventurer Archaeologist exploring ancient ruins for treasure. In addition, by default, he doesn't even wear a helmet like his contemporaries, instead of letting his spiky brown hair loose.
    • In the Alternate Universe, Mega Man Battle Network's optimistic and fun-loving heroes Lan and MegaMan were succeeded in the Mega Man Star Force games by the mopey Geo and his gruff, strange-looking alien friend Omega-Xis. This has often been compared to the original/X series change.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Solid Snake, a hardened, battle-hardened, cynical ladies' man and Anti-Hero, of Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid as against Raiden, an optimistic, idealistic rookie with no real combat experience and a steady girlfriend, of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Made particularly explicit as Snake is the protagonist of the introduction to the latter game.
    • Raiden is in turn contrasted by Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Naked Snake was energetic and confident, experienced, and sleeps with the Chinese spy EVA at the end of the game. And Naked Snake in turn was contrasted by Old Snake (Solid Snake after some Rapid Aging) in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Now nearly a Death Seeker, a man without a place in the current battlefield and almost no attraction to his female allies.
    • Which was contrasted by Big Boss (formerly Naked Snake) in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, a disillusioned veteran without a country or cause, seeking a purpose. Unlike Snake, Raiden, and even his younger self, he forms a sort of ersatz family out of his mercenary company, compared to the series' typical lone wolf approach.
    • Which was contrasted by Raiden in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a mercenary who claimed to fight for justice but also sought, well, revengeance. Which was contrasted by "Jack the Ripper", Raiden's Combat Sado Masochist persona who just plain likes to kill things.
    • Which is contrasted in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain by "Venom Snake" (an even older, grumpier Big Boss), who contrasts both Raiden and himself from "prequel chapter" Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (which takes place less than a month after Peace Walker). While Venom is still a charismatic leader who's A Father to His Men, he's also a revenge-driven man well on his way to becoming a villain. He's also a lot more subdued in personality compared to previous protagonists (including the Snake Eater and Peace Walker versions of himself). Also, while Raiden ultimately decides to follow his own path, Venom Snake is actually a Body Double who's been carrying out the will of the real Big Boss.
      (wearily) Kaz...I'm already a demon.
    • The protagonists' attitudes towards sex are a conscious attempt at this. Solid Snake's an irrepressible flirt with everyone (women, men, posters...) but shuts things down when things look like they're going to get serious, eventually falling in love with Meryl but quickly ditching her in favour of a partnership with Otacon. Raiden is in a steady relationship with a woman who he marries after the events of the game, and while he shows hints of attraction to various other characters he ultimately remains loyal to her. Naked Snake/Big Boss/Venom Snake is uninterested in casual sex, refuses to flirt with EVA and is largely clueless about sexual topics as well, but values serious relationships (which are usually brief).
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The original protagonist of the series was Liu Kang, an honorable Shaolin monk who didn't kill (in the first game at least) and whose sole motivation was protecting Earthrealm. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero offers a contrasting prequel protagonist in the form of Bi-Han, an assassin who starts out working for the villains before being guilted into stopping them by Raiden. Even their powers are a contrast; Liu Kang uses fire while Bi-Han uses ice.
    • Jax serves as the main protagonist in the second MK prequel, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Unlike Sub-Zero or Liu Kang, Jax has no mystical abilities, instead relying on firearms, explosives, and cybernetic enhancements.
    • Shujinko from Mortal Kombat: Deception contrasts Liu Kang, Jax and Bi-Han by being far older than them. Additionally, Shujinko primarily relies on his ability to copy other characters' powers while the previous three heroes relied on their own skills and powers in Supernatural Martial Arts. Finally, Shujinko is The Atoner.
    • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon has Taven as the main protagonist. Taven is the first and thus far only MK protagonist who is neither human nor from Earthrealm. Instead, Taven is an Edenian demigod who has been asleep for thousands of years.
    • While he was the Big Good in previous games, Raiden becomes the main protagonist of Mortal Kombat 9. He is a full god, unlike Taven or any of the other heroes. Raiden also does very little fighting throughout the story instead trying to focus on gaining or revealing information.
    • Cassie Cage from Mortal Kombat X is perhaps the biggest departure in the series. For starters, she is white instead of Asian or black like most of the other protagonists. She is also the first female main protagonist of the games. Throughout story mode she doesn't use any supernatural abilities until the climactic battle with Shinnok.
      • By the same token, her father, Johnny Cage, is also given a greater deal of focus as a protagonist. Unlike his more straight-laced predecessors (and like his daughter), he is a humorous character who likes to tell jokes, bringing levity to the otherwise grim and violent narrative of the series. He is also more of a Combat Pragmatist who isn't shy about hitting below the belt.
  • Mother 3: Both Lucas and Kumatora contrast their predecessors from EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound (1994).
    • Ness and Ninten both have loving families that they can go home to and they hang out with kids their age (with the exception of Teddy). Lucas had a family like theirs, but it soon ends up broken: His mother infamously dies, his little brother runs away and never returns, and his father neglects him in order to search for his missing brother. In addition, his party consists of a teenager, an adult man and his pet dog.
    • Kumatora is a foil to Ana and Paula, the other two Squishy Wizards. While the two of them have parents that dote on them, Kumatora is an orphan. While Ana and Paula are very feminine, Kumatora is a tomboy. She's also not the Implied Love Interest to the main character.
  • Neptunia.
    • Neptune is a cheerful, childish, ditzy, lazy, but confident girl who loves to break the serious mood and is always positive. She balances her flawed personality with her Goddess form Purple Heart, a true Lady of War and Only Sane Woman among the four goddesses. Neptune's younger sister however is dutiful, calm, polite, but lacks self-confidence, and her Goddess form Purple Sister is barely different from her human form. Since Nepgear is too plain and not as amusing as her older sister, Neptune becomes the protagonist of the next two main games again.
    • In terms of goddesses from another dimension, there are Plutia from Victory and Uzume Tennouboshi from Victory II. Both are newcomers from their respective installments, but they differ greatly in terms of personality and importance in story. Plutia is very calm, to the point where she seems to be perpetually tired. She is kind but ditzy, with a minor sadistic tendency and tends to ignore her duties and responsibilities as Goddess, as she spends most of her time either sleeping, making dolls or playing around with Neptune. Occasionally, she goes overboard when showcasing her somewhat twisted sense of humor. Her Goddess form Iris Heart is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Dominatrix who indiscriminately and mercilessly frightens anyone else, friend or foe alike. She doesn't care how long her victim(s) suffer from her "lecture", as long as she gets her kicks. Uzume, on the other hand, is mannish but fiercely loyal and honest to her friends, and she rarely speaks ill of them, and unlike the other Planeptune goddesses, she is the most responsible. As Orange Heart, she becomes childlike and bubbly, although she is no less serious about doing her job, particularly when it comes to protecting her friends and her dimension.
  • Arnice of Nights of Azure is a naturally created half-demon, very old, and a veteran Holy Knight. She is familiar with the shadier aspects of the Curia, was cold and aloof before she met Lilysse, and has a very individualistic streak when it comes to her superiors pushing her around. That said, she's a passionate woman when it comes to her Love Interest, and openly declares and displays her affections towards her. In contrast, Aluche of Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon, is an artificially created half-demon, only 17 years old, and was just dubbed a Holy Knight at the start of the game. She is naive about the darker side of the Curia, easily gains companions that trust and care about her, and goes with the flow when others take command. That said, she's Oblivious to Love and is quick to change the subject when it gets brought up, much to the frustration of one of her love interests.
  • The protagonist of Princess Connect! Re:Dive, Yuuki, is one to himself. In Princess Connect and certain flashbacks in Re:Dive, he can be a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and often is the Only Sane Man. Following his memory loss in Re:Dive, he more or less becomes a completely different person, becoming extremely innocent and openly kind towards others with his Deadpan Snarker tendencies being replaced with Cloudcuckoolander ones.
  • [PROTOTYPE] and [PROTOTYPE 2], complete with making the protagonist of the first the villain of the second. Alex Mercer, the original protagonist, was amnesiac, manipulated somewhat easily, and sullen. The protagonist of the second, James Heller, was rage-filled, remembered everything, and saw through his enemies' plans. Alex also became more verbose in 2, in contrast to Heller's bluntness and propensity for swearing.
  • Makoto Naegi in Rakenzarn Frontier Story is this to Kyros and Kyuu from Rakenzarn Tales. In Tales, Kyros and Kyuu are gifted with a very rare class, granting them the potential to become the strongest of all the party members. Kyros is physically more fit while Kyuu is a Great Detective. In Frontier Story, Makoto Naegi is neither of those. Naegi has classes that aren't very stand out and his level of strength relative to his teammates remains about the same throughout the game.
  • Arguably the case with Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, highly trained pros from Resident Evil, and Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2, the first a rookie cop on his first day on the job, the second a civilian with minor training.
  • Sakura Wars
    • Erica Fontaine, the leading lady of Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning?, is a bit different from Sakura Shinguji, the female lead of the series since the first game. Sakura hails from Japan, is a swordswoman who works as an actress in a Takarazuka Revue-style theater, and pilots a pink mech. Erica, meanwhile, is a Frenchwoman who works both as a nun and a cabaret dancer, uses a machine gun as her Weapon of Choice, and pilots a red mech. Furthermore, while Sakura is her team's lancer, Erica is more of a Combat Medic.
    • Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love has a double does of this trope with Shinjiro Taiga and Gemini Sunrise. Shinjiro is the nephew of previous male lead Ichiro Ogami, and in comparison to his experienced uncle, he is a fresh-faced navy graduate who finds himself thrust into New York rather than defending his native Japan. Gemini, meanwhile, is a Texan cowgirl and Occidental Otaku who idolizes samurai, contrasting her heavily against Erica while giving her more in common with Sakura, as far as combat styles go. Personality-wise, she is more Hot-Blooded than either Sakura or Erica.
    • Sakura Wars (2019), being a Soft Reboot, has two new protagonists in Seijuro Kamiyama and Sakura Amamiya. In contrast to Ogami, Kamiyama is already an experienced naval officer who commanded a ship of his own before leading the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division. Sakura, meanwhile, contrasts with her namesake by a fan of the original Revue that Shinguji was a member of, following in her footsteps. Furthermore, while Sakura Shinguji and Ogami first met when he was transferred to the Flower Division, Kamiyama and Sakura Amamiya are Childhood Friends.
  • This is prevalent in the Shin Megami Tensei games.
    • The Player Character of Shin Megami Tensei I started as an Ordinary High-School Student and a Momma's Boy. In Shin Megami Tensei II, Aleph is an Artificial Human and is a good enough dancer. The only thing they both have in common is that they have no affinity for magic, making both of them Badass Normals.
    • The Demi-Fiend/Hito-Shura of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne started out as an Ordinary High-School Student until he was dragged into the Vortex World and forcibly transformed into a Half-Human Hybrid. On the other hand, the protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is an adult Badass Normal military officer deliberately getting himself involved in the plot.
    • Flynn from Shin Megami Tensei IV is a blue-clad Samurai from feudal Mikado with a Hime Cut. This is contrasted by Nanashi of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, who is a green-clad Hunter of Monsters from post-apocalyptic Tokyo with Delinquent Hair.
    • Devil Survivor 2's protagonist (Hibiki Kuze) is pretty much the exact opposite of the protagonist from Devil Survivor (Kazuya Minegishi). DS2's protagonist wears white-blue in complete contrast to the DS1 hero's black-red, and his dialogue options are overall much more upbeat and silly. Also, DS2's hero is much more proactive about getting to understand his party members, helping them change, and saving the day, while DS1's hero is just trying to keep his and his friends' heads on their shoulders and doesn't take action until the final day (and even then, one of his options is to run his ass off).
    • This is also prevalent in the Persona sub-series:
      • The main character of Persona doesn't have any personality whatsoever, other than a few people commenting that he's a surprisingly good leader, a Chick Magnet, a bit underperforming at school, and liking arcade games. The various adaptations of the first game give him different names, but by far the most popular is the manga one (Naoya Toudou), which depicts him as secretly angsting over the death of his twin, and being a bit of The Gambling Addict.
      • Tatsuya Suou from Persona 2 Innocent Sin is a Deconstruction of the '90s Anti-Hero, and we have the most information about him out of any main character. He has a Canon Name from the get-go, he's a third year student instead of a second year, is socially awkward and has hard time making personal connections, has a bad relationship with both his family and his school, and he angsts a lot (for good reason). He also has an I Work Alone attitude, and many guilt issues. He's also the only protagonist to be playable in a main installment post his game, and the only canonically LGBTQ protagonist, being bisexual.
      • Maya Amano from Persona 2 Eternal Punishment stands out not only in the Persona series, but the entire franchise. We're given as much information about her as Tatsuya. She is the only canonical female protagonist, the only adult at 23 years old, has a nine-to-five job, is the only one who doesn't use a melee weapon and instead prefers dual guns, and she's the only one who was introduced and was playable in a previous game (she's a party member in Innocent Sin). She's also a Genki Girl and eternally optimistic, but with some deeply hidden and serious trauma.
      • The Persona 3 male protagonist is depicted as cold and detached to the point of apathy - especially in the animated and manga adaptations - but he loses it when his friends are threatened. He also looks rather feminine. He has multiple names of ambiguous status in canon, such as Minato Arisato or Makoto Yuki among others.
      • The female protagonist from the PSP version of the same game comes off as a Genki Girl, and the Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth depicts her exactly as this. She also appears to be better at forming personal connections than her male counterpart, as she's able to form Social Links with people that male counterpart couldn't (such as Shinjiro), and many fans note that the SEES appear to be getting along better with each other in her version of the game.
      • The Persona 4 protagonist is depicted as far more social with his friends, has a very good relationship with his family and his school, very masculine and in adaptations he's depicted as a Comically Serious Cloud Cuckoolander who never loses his cool. He also has a few names, but the canon one is Yu Narukami, which he got in later installments.
      • The Persona 5 protagonist shows the most personality in-game compared to his predecessors. Unlike all the others who use swords, he's a Devious Daggers user and a suave Large Ham during combat who chews the scenery. In school, he has a very bad reputation due to his criminal record and only attends out of obligation, unlike the P4 one who genuinely enjoys it. He also forms contacts with various questionable characters, most of which being adults, and tries not to draw attention to himself in the school or the streets. Many dialogue options also imply that he's a huge Troll. The manga initially gave him the name Akira Kurusu, but the anime changed it to Ren Amamiya.
  • The protagonists of Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II, John Marston and Arthur Morgan, are two very different men who came from the same gang in the Old West.
    • Player choices aside, in RDR1, John is reluctant to turn to violence, typically only doing so either in self-defense or the defense of others. Arthur, on the other hand, is more hot-headed and willing to throw down.
    • Arthur is a Cultured Badass who frequently references Romeo and Juliet and is shown to enjoy reading, writing, and drawing. By contrast, John is Book Dumb, and his only real talents lie in gunplay.
    • While John's relationship with Abigail and his son Jack is initially rocky, he eventually becomes Happily Married and settles down. Arthur, on the other hand, is a Celibate Hero whose previous relationships ended poorly: his engagement to Mary ended because he couldn't put his outlaw ways behind him for her sake, and his relationship with Eliza ended in tragedy when she and their son were murdered.
    • At the climax of both games, John and Arthur die following a Heroic Sacrifice. The manner in which they die vary greatly: John dies in a blaze of glory protecting his family, while Arthur succumbs to tuberculosis saving John (or, if his honor meter is low, he is murdered by Micah Bell).
  • The first two Silent Hill games feature this. Silent Hill stars Harry Mason, an implacable Papa Wolf who, in the best ending, is painted as Messianic Archetype. In Silent Hill 2, the new protagonist, James Sunderland, is quite the opposite: cowardly, self-centered and even responsible for at least two deaths.
    • Heather from Silent Hill 3 is a frightened but rather sassy young woman. Silent Hill 4s protagonist, Henry Townsend is quiet, agoraphobic and almost emotionless. Silent Hill: Origins stars Travis Grady, a calm, lonely trucker. Alex Shepard from Silent Hill: Homecoming is a delusional though determined vet and Silent Hill: Downpours Murphy is a thoughtful yet violent inmate.
    • The first game's reimagining Silent Hill: Shattered Memories does this with the same person. Here, Harry retains his drive, but lacks the physique to, say, fight off monsters with his bare hands. What's more, he loses his role as a Chaste Hero, and has gone through a divorce instead of having his wife die. Also, the game silently judges you on what your real intentions are; if you're not focused enough, it'll turn him into a drunk, a womanizer or a coward.
  • Pearl and Marina, the Off the Hook duo, from Splatoon 2 contrast with Callie and Marie, the Squid Sisters, from the first Splatoon. While the duos still have Odd Friendships, they're played differently. Pearl is similar to Callie as they both play the role of Boke and are energetic; however, Pearl is aggressive and boastful while Callie is laid-back and playful. Marina and Marie are both the more level-headed ones of their respective duos, but Marina is earnest, a bit awkward, and clearly admires her senpai Pearl, while Marie is sarcastic, outspoken, and definitively nobody's junior. The Squid Sisters are modeled off Japanese Idol Singers, while Off the Hook is more Americanized with their rap and vaguely more English sounding Conlang. Finally, both Callie and Marie are Inklings, while Pearl is an Inkling and Marina is an Octoling who once served in the Octarian Army and became a Defector from Decadence upon listening to, coincidentally, the Squid Sisters' iconic song, Calamari Incantation.
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • While both protagonists were canonically light-sided by LucasArts fiat, outcry over making Revan yet another white, male, heterosexual video game hero (like every Star Wars game hero had been up until that point) led to the Exile being an Ambiguously Brown female. On a more thematic level, Revan's presence in the Force has been described as looking straight into its heart while the Exile's is compared to a walking wound; a black hole that will lead to its death. Also, while both have a great deal of influence over others, Revan got to where he is due to it being preordained by destiny, while the Exile is in her position and got as far as she did due to her own willpower. The contrast is perhaps best exemplified by the second game all but outright stating that the two didn't get along, given that Malachor V, where the Exile was the general commanding the Jedi/Republic forces, was revealed to be a crucible for weeding out or eliminating those who weren't completely loyal to Revan.
    • The mentor figures for both games are also basically polar opposites: Bastila and Kreia. The former is a youthful, self-righteous Living Legend, praised throughout the Jedi for defeating The Dreaded Revan. The latter is an old, jaded Consummate Liar who was expelled from the Jedi Order for teachings they felt were heretical. Bastila really likes to stress following the light side to a fault, where Kreia derides both extreme light and dark side choices equally and, as a more specific contrast to Bastila, is actually a Sith Lord bent on destroying the Force entirely. Both comment throughout the game based on choices the PC makes, and both end up leaving the party mid-game to become primary antagonists: Bastila becomes the Big Bad's new Dragon in I, and Kreia becomes The Man Behind the Man of II.
  • Maia of Summoner 2 compared to Joseph of Summoner. Joseph shunned his destiny, and only answered The Call because The Call Knows Where You Live - twice. Maia's been raised as The Chosen One and embraces her destiny, seeking to accomplish it. It makes her more headstrong, but also less likely to listen to others - believing she knows best, unlike Joseph who was far more willing to take advice - but could be (and was) manipulated as a result.
  • Tales Series:
  • Tail Concerto's main protagonist is Waffle Ryebread, a Nice Guy police officer that would rather avoid confrontations, trying multiple times to talk down Alicia and The Black Cats Gang from attack Prairie, who's main method of attack is to use his Bubble Gun to restrain kittens long enough for him to capture them safely. Red Savarin of Solatorobo is a hot-blooded Jerk with a Heart of Gold that works independently on odd jobs who's first instinct of dealing with any problem is to punch it until it explodes. He's also quite immature, constantly getting into petty squabbles with his sister Chocolat and friend Elh, where as Waffle is at least responsible with his words and actions.
  • In Conduit 2 the main character, Michael Ford, is the same of the first game, but his personality is so different he might as well be another character, despite the sequel continuing immediately where the first game left off.
  • The Secret World
    • The player character is a Heroic Mime who spends most of the game taking direct orders from one of the three secret societies; you have no past, no life outside service to your employers, and no problem taking the fight to the enemy. Empowered with Functional Magic and Resurrective Immortality (apart from a few rare occasions where you powers are temporarily disabled), you may not have much of a say in your fate, but you still have the power to side with Gaia or the Dreamers.
    • By contrast, Lorraine Maillard from the tie-in game The Park is a perfectly ordinary woman - not a Badass Normal, not an Action Survivor, but just an ordinary human being with no desire for violence. A single mother from Kingsmouth, Lorraine is searching for her son Callum in the ruins of Atlantic Island Park, and is determined to rescue him at any cost. However, it soon becomes clear that her love for Callum is tangled up in some very deep-seated emotional problems, and the Bogeyman is able to exploit this my subjecting her to a brutal Mind Rape and forcing her to hate her own son - eventually killing him. In the end, TSW player characters may not have much of a choice in what they do, but at least they get to be heroes; Lorraine has no such luck.
  • The Trails Series has quite a varied set of protagonists.
    • Estelle Bright is an energetic, Book Dumb rookie bracer who wears her heart on her sleeve, and whose optimism lifts up everyone who's near her.
    • Kevin Graham, by contrast, is an Experienced Protagonist who has been an agent of the church for years, and is much more guarded about displaying his true emotions, which tend to be darker or more cynical.
    • Lloyd Bannings splits the experience difference between Estelle and Kevin, being a rookie police officer, but also the only one in his division with actual detective training. In contrast to the Book Dumb Estelle, Lloyd is more conventionally intelligent, and he frequently solves problems with his analytical and deductive reasoning skills.
    • Rean Schwarzer is the Stock Light-Novel Hero to Estelle's Stock Shōnen Hero, being a Ordinary High-School Student at a Military Academy. Where Lloyd was a Determinator with a clear goal and drive to achieve it, Rean starts out with no meaningful aspirations and often has to be forced into action. Lloyd was also very much a Badass Normal, while Rean has been gifted a number of hidden superpowers and unique assets that essentially make him the closest the series has to The Chosen One. And while Kevin starts as a cynic who gradually becomes more optimistic over time as he confronts his traumas, Rean starts more idealistic and becomes more jaded as more traumas are piled upon him.
    • "C" is a radical departure from the previous protagonists as his real identity is Rufus Albarea, who was one of the antagonists of the Cold Steel arc. As such, he is far more pragmatic in his methods when achieving his goals and is perfectly willing to play the villain when he needs to. While Rean initially looked towards others to give him his life's purpose, Rufus pursued all of his ideals and beliefs on his own as his Quest for Identity on why he was born. Additionally, where much of Rean's Character Development is getting him to abandon his Martyr Without a Cause tendencies and take more care to ensure his own happiness, Rufus learns to stop treating others as disposable tools and be willing to put himself on the line to protect them.
    • Van Arkride already has experience under his belt as a Spriggan, which will work jobs in the shadier side of society and accept any client no matter what, from bracers to jaegers and even Ouroboros. While the previous protagonists start out with few connections (Estelle, Lloyd and Rean because of their rookie status, and Kevin and "C" because they initially reject forming bonds), Van starts his arc very well-connected on a professional and personal level, even having crossed paths with several characters from previous arcs. Also, unlike Estelle, Lloyd, and Rean who have a Thou Shalt Not Kill policy on humans, Van has no issues with killing his enemies or even pulling a Mercy Kill on someone in their last moments.
  • Logan Brown and KayKay from Unavowed, though not the Player Characters, works as this to The Blackwell Series' Rosangela "Rosa" Blackwell and Joey, as the games are set in the same universe. Both Logan and Rosa are spirit mediums or so-called "Bestowers", who are able to see and and talk with ghosts and are tasked with helping said ghosts complete their Unfinished Business so they can finally rest, and Joey and KayKay are their spirit guides, a special type of ghost who works as their link to the World of the Dead and help them with their task. But that is where the similarities more or less ends:
    • Where Rosa was a white woman who was shy and socially awkward and without much in the way of a physical presence, Logan is a soft-spoken, but confident black man in excellent psychical form. Where Rosa worked alone and was only vaguely aware that there was more to the supernatural world than just ghosts, Logan becomes a member of the titular Unavowed, an organisation centred around protecting civil society against all manners of hostile supernatural activity.
    • Joey was a hard-nosed, cynical and somewhat crotchety Badass in a Nice Suit with a soft center from the 1940s, who was generally dismissive of modern technology (which tended to short out in his presence anyway), whereas KayKay is a plucky 10-year-old girl from the present day, as well as a bit of a video game junkie.
    • Rosa and Joey had an occasionally fractious and always snarky working relationship — gradually becoming close friends, but mostly in spite of their differences and through sharing the work. Logan, meanwhile, sees himself as a parental figure (or at least a cool uncle) to KayKay, patiently trying to set boundaries but also making sure she can still have fun — basically trying to make sure she has something resembling a normal childhood, even though she's... passed on.
  • Super Mario Land and its sequel Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins naturally had Mario take the lead on his adventures to rescue Princess Daisy and free his land from his Evil Counterpart Wario respectively. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 thrust Land 2's Big Bad Wario into the player role. Contrasting the heroic Mario of the prior Land games, Wario is a greedy, miserly Villain Protagonist whose motives are entirely selfish. Wario's adventure involves plundering treasures with the goal of building a castle of his own and make Mario jealous.
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has Chloe Frazer step in as the protagonist now that series main stay Nathan Drake has gone steady. Besides the obvious of being a girl with mixed ancestry from Australia, Chloe differs from Drake in personality as well. Chloe tries to keep her partners in a strictly business relationship where Nate usually made fast friends with his. Chloe keeps her feelings bottled up while Nate usually wore his heart on his sleeve. Heck even the way they react to the random problems that a MC faces is different, Nate is usually annoyed in a Why-Me fashion while Chloe tends to laugh it off as a bit of extra fun and excitement. Though that said they also share more then a bit in common, such as being fiercely loyal to those they care about.
  • Enforced in the Valkyria Chronicles games; Welkin Gunther from the original is a brilliant but rather absent-minded and eccentric intellectual, Avan Hardins from II is a Book Dumb and Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero with lots of charisma, and Kurt Irving from III is a studious and military-minded pragmatist with No Social Skills.
    • III's Power Trio as a whole definitely contrast the trios from previous games. Whereas Welkin-Alicia-Isara and Avan-Zeri-Cosette are fighting for a clearly honorable cause, earn plenty of public accolade, and are supportive of each other from the beginning; Kurt-Alicia-Imca are fighting in morally dubious missions, will never have their heroics made public, and start with a lot of venom between themselves. That said, III's trio are all good at heart, just like their predecessors.
  • In Telltale's The Walking Dead, the protagonist of Season One is a grown man, Lee Everett, who (both metaphorically and quite literally) crashes into the Zombie Apocalypse and has to adapt from day one, but is given a chance to start anew and find redemption. Whereas the protagonist of Season Two is a young girl, Clementine, who comes of age during it, and has her happy life ripped from her and needs to avoid succumbing to corruption.
    • Season Three introduces a new playable character, Javier. He had a much bigger name than the previous two protagonists for being a disgraced baseball player. He's also the first protagonist to have lasting and significant difficulties with his family members and is the only one to meet some of them during the apocalypse. Their fighting styles are also different: due to season two Clem being only eleven, she was forced to rely on her pistol to deal with walkers, due to being too small and weak to reach their heads. Javier, on the other hand, was a fully-grown man with an athletic past, and prefers to deal with zombies by hitting them with a baseball bat.
    • Season Four once again stars Clem as the Player Character. This time about sixteen, Clem is more or less fully grown height-wise, but prefers to take down zombies with a knife or a bow and arrows, contrasting Javier's preference for blunt weapons. Clementine is determined to keep the Boarding School community safe, with that being her main motivation, while Javier was concerned first and foremost about his family and closest allies, and can completely disregard the Richmond community.
  • Marcus Holloway of Watch_Dogs 2 is this Aiden Pearce of Watch_Dogs even though both are hackers fighting against a corrupt society. Aiden is a cynical, aloof loner who is driven by avenging the death of his niece. In contrast, Marcus is a much nicer person who is motivated to not only clear his name but to also help others incriminated by the very system that screwed him over in the first place.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: In the first game of the series, you have Shulk, a shy and insecure military engineer that accidentally gets his hands in the Monado while studying it, he grew up in a colony and has many friends, including Fiora, Dunban, Reyn and Dickson, he is facing a war between his continent and another, but his main drive when the story starts is finding revenge against Metal Face for destroying his home and killing Fiora and he wants his side of the war to win. Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an outgoing and happy go-luck guy who works as a freelancer savager and sends most of his money to his village, he lives mostly alone with only Gramps as his company and gets roped in the story by taking a shady job, his reaction to the war is also different, since whereas Shulk wants to win the war to end it, Rex wants to present a third option that allows the war to end peacefully. Much like Shulk, his main motivation is a girl, but whereas Shulk tries to avenge his childhood friend, Rex tries to help a girl he just met in a quest.
  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z has Yaiba Kamikaze. Ryu Hayabusa, the original protagonist of the Ninja Gaiden games, was calm, level-headed, ruthless to his enemies yet also respectful of them. Yaiba, on the other hand, is the most foul-mouthed character in the entire franchise, rude towards everybody and fights only to fulfill his blood lust.
  • There have been many POV characters within the Yakuza series, but the first six games of the main series have focused on Kazuma Kiryu. A new series protagonist has been introduced as of the seventh game in the series, named Ichiban Kasuga, to coincide with the series experiencing a shift from being a brawler with RPG elements to a straight-up JRPG. While there are some similarities between the two, it's obvious that Ichiban is a very different character than Kiryu, both in their personalities and the way the narrative treats them.
    • Kazuma Kiryu is introduced as a stoic badass, a rising star in the Tojo clan who is very good at his job, who takes the fall and goes to prison for a crime he did not commit to retain the clan's honor. His fight to retain said clan's honor after emerging from prison eventually makes him become a living legend in the entire Japanese criminal underground. Kiryu's reputation as a man of honor who you do NOT want to cross is amplified as the series goes on, and his stoicism in the face of ridiculousness provides a lot of the series' trademark wacky humor.
    • Ichiban Kasuga is introduced as a Tojo clan member who's too kind-hearted to actually be good at his job. Although he also endures a lengthy stint in prison for a crime he did not commit, he emerges only to realize that things can change a LOT in 18 years, and his former rank is essentially meaningless. He more-or-less hits rock-bottom, barely escaping homelessness, and him getting back into the Yakuza scene is less about honor and more about just trying to make ends meet. In addition, he's a much more-flamboyant personality than Kiryu, being obsessed with Dragon Quest to the point where he sees street brawls as JRPG fights, and much of the game's humor is derived from Ichiban rolling with the punches and playing along with goofiness rather than just expressing confusion.

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