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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, and even on the Knight path, 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).
  • 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, 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.
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    • Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad of Assassin's Creed I 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 parents, 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.
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    • 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.
      • Assassin's Creed III: Liberation has the series' first female and 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 Nice 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 whom 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 Assassin's Creed: 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 Axe-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.
  • 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 suppose 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 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.
  • 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 Idiot Hero Wide-Eyed Idealist. 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 and becomes their strongest warrior, and he happens to really have a way with animals. 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 and becomes their strongest warrior. Oh, and Animals Hate Him. A lot.
  • 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 a 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.
    • 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 inner strength to succeed. Cloud of Final Fantasy VII is a traumatised young man and swaggering former elite SOLDIER, who remembers too much due to mind control and has to come to terms with his repressed inner weakness 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.)
    • 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. 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, Tidus of Final Fantasy X and Vaan of Final Fantasy XII were more friendly and confident heroes to counter the brooding and insecure Terra, Cloud and Squall.
    • 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 Noct have promotional renders displaying them in the same pose, with Lightning bathed in shafts of white light and Noctis lurking in shadows.
    • 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, Aeris, 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.
  • 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.
  • A couple of Fire Emblem protagonists do this to each other.
    • Marth of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and 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.
    • The playable avatars are this as well to each other.
      • 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.
  • 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 bodycount 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 Dot Hack GU'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 be quite different:
  • 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).
  • 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 Wind Waker, Link has Adorkable 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.)
    • 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).
  • 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.
  • [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 in Rakenzarn Frontier Story is this to Kyuu from Rakenzarn Tales. In Tales, Kyuu is gifted with a very rare class, granting him the potential to become the strongest of all the party members. In Frontier Story, Makoto has classes that aren't very stand out and his level of strength relative to his teammates remains about the same through 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.
  • 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:
      • Persona 3 and Persona 4 do a subtle change off. Both main characters are still blank slates, but P4's protagonist (Yu Narukami) has a larger build than his P3 counterpart (Minato Arisato/Makoto Yuki) and also looks far more masculine. Most likely a result of a few fans complaining that P3's protagonist looked wimpy. Even in the crossdressing contest in Persona 4, it's very hard to mistake Yu as feminine.
        Additionally, the animated adaptations have them show a contrast in a single character archetype: The Stoic. While both Makoto and Yu have Deadpan Snarker and Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies, Yu's eccentric stoicism is played much more for laughs than Makoto's, largely because Yu is a friendly and empathetic individual from the start, while Makoto starts off as cold and detached. Additionally, Makoto tends to get more openly emotional when his friends are threatened than Yu does.
      • The optional female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable has dialogue choices which imply that she's much more upbeat and energetic than her male counterpart. It's even apparent in the color choices for each scenario; the male protagonist is associated with the color blue, and the female protagonist with red.
      • The Persona 2 duology pulls this with its player characters: Innocent Sin's Tatsuya Suou is an aloof teenage loner, while Eternal Punishment 's Maya Amano is a perky, outgoing young woman.
      • Persona 5 extends this trope to the entire cast of playable characters. Persona 4's heroes are Amateur Sleuths. Persona 5's heroes are Phantom Thieves. More specifically, the protagonist of Persona 5 contrasts greatly with previous protagonists; unlike the P4 protagonist who had very straight hair and becomes very popular at school, this protagonist has rather messy hair an is treated with disdain and mistrust due to his criminal background. And unlike the previous two protagonists, he has virtually no school life; he participates in no sports teams or clubs, and only two of his non-party confidants actually have any connection to his school (and most of their events occur outside of school). Furthermore, the previous two protagonists tend towards stoicism and have rather subdued reactions, whereas the protagonist presents himself as a stoic in his day-to-day life only for the facade to fall off as a Phantom Thief, where he's more prone to theatrics.
  • 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. Arthur is a much darker and more violent person than John, but Arthur can swim at least.
  • 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 from Splatoon 2 contrast with Callie and Marie from 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 English translation originally made Marina sassy more like Marie, however they later toned her down. 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.
  • 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 presence in the Force has been described as being its heart while the Exile's is compared to a walking wound, a black hole to be more specific. 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 their position due to their willpower.
    • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 an Adorkable 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 2 is outgoing and happy go-luck guy that 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 up in the story by taking a shady job. 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, 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.

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