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Legacy Character / Video Games

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Legacy Characters in video games.

  • The Ace Combat games spans some forty or fifty years, yet we get to see multiple versions of Kei Nagase, the apparent twin sister of Ridge Racer's Reiko Nagase, and who is always callsigned "Edge". Apparently the same woman had served as a mercenary in 1997, a pilot for a passenger liner around 2005, a rookie fighter pilot in 2010, then defecting in the 2040s, to say nothing of the various alternate universes, where we see three different Edges between a brief cameo as a NATO pilot in Assault Horizon, the leader of the 19th Task Force in the Ikaros in the Sky novel, and as Number Two of the Ridgebacks in Infinity.
    • The Scarface squadron of the first two games also plays this; same squadron name, same role of crushing coup d'etats, even the same area of operations (the first game's Skully Islands were later stated to be but one part of the Usea continent the second game took place over), but with no indication that any of the pilots in it from the first game are still a part of it in the second.
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  • A clone named Enah appears in every game in the Alphadia series. The character between the first game and Alphadia 2 is definitely the same, but it's ambiguous if the character is the same between the original and Alphadia Genesis titles.
  • Anarchy Reigns has one, with Blacker Baron being a copycat of Black Baron from MadWorld.
  • The Assassin's Creed series runs on this trope, with Desmond Miles being the descendant of Altaïr Ibn La'Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze, both of whom were legendary Master Assassins (and eventual Grand Masters) of the Assassin Order in their day, and Desmond himself being trained to be an Assassin by immersion in Ezio's memories. There are also numerous Assassin Orders (Old World, New World, Caribbean, etc.).
  • The Atelier series of games sometimes re-uses concepts and names across multiple titles, such as a bald blacksmith named Hagel Boldness and a cute ghost girl named Pamela Ibis. In DLC for the Massive Multiplayer Crossover that is Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World, it is even possible for various Pamelas and Hagels to meet each other, proving that they are all different individuals.
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  • BlazBlue: Ragna "the Bloodedge" gave himself that title to honour the memory of Bloodedge, an unsung hero who fought the Black Beast to a standstill for an entire year to give humanity enough time to invent Ars Magus and defeat it. Ragna's signature red jacket and weapon Blood-scythe formerly belonged to Bloodedge, and were gifted to him by his master Jubei, who told him of Bloodedge's exploits. But this trope ultimately ends up subverted upon The Reveal that Bloodedge was really a time-displaced, amnesiac Ragna.
  • The Breath of Fire series has an incarnation of Ryu and Princess Nina for each of its five installments.
  • Champions Online has "Black Mask", the first of whom had apparently fought in the American Revolution. The current "Black Mask" is the tenth one, and the first woman to bear the title. One mission even has you fight all of the Black Mask's previous incarnations when they get revived as zombies.
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  • The Chibi-Robo! series has a strange version of this trope. The titular character is a mass-produced product, so each game stars a Chibi-Robo that is owned by a different person.
  • City of Heroes has an in-universe Legacy Character in Manticore, the Alternate Company Equivalent of Batman, who took up his father's mantle after watching his murder by one of his enemies.
  • At the end of every cycle within the Dark Souls universe a new chosen undead appears and sets out on a quest to become the new monarch.
  • The version of Donkey Kong that first appeared in Donkey Kong Country is the grandson (or possibly just son, depending on who you ask) of the giant ape who antagonized Mario in the original arcade game. And, in fact, the original Donkey Kong appears in that game as "Cranky Kong", an elderly ape complete with long white beard and cane.
  • In Dragon Age II, the Legacy DLC reveals that due to the Malcolm Hawke aiding the Grey Wardens in reinforcing the seals of an ancient prison, the key to unlocking it resides within their bloodline. Due to the death of Malcolm, the Carta attempt to abduct both Hawke and their sibling, hedging their bets that one of them has to be "The Hawke". This leads to the bizarre situation where all three are referred to interchangeably by this title; Malcolm was "The Hawke", Hawke currently is "The Hawke", and Carver/Bethany might be "The Hawke" should anything happen to their elder sibling. Bethany, however, is more often called "Lady Hawke."
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Umbra is a very dark version of this. The name is actually that of a recurring Legendary Weapon enchanted by a witch to be able to devour souls. Unbeknownst to most who take up the blade, it also slowly devours the soul of its wielder, causing them to call themselves "Umbra" and develop Blood Knight traits. This benefits the sword by causing the wielder to seek out powerful foes. If the wielder wins, Umbra gets a new soul. If the wielder loses, the foe takes up Umbra and begins the process anew. Only a few Umbras are known, but many more are implied to have existed. (It also comes with a dose of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as the Player Character can use the sword with no ill effects.)
    • M'aiq the Lair is a recurring Easter Egg Legacy Character who has appeared in every game since Morrowind. According to the dialogue of the M'aiq in Skyrim, they are all related. Each has the same traits of being a Meta Guy Author Avatar Fourth-Wall Observer (and Leaner and sometimes Breaker) who is fond of deadpan sarcasm, is untrustworthy, and who seems very detached from the game world. Based on the appearance of a M'aiq in the prequel The Elder Scrolls Online, which takes place in the mid 2nd Era, they've been at this for centuries.
    M'aiq: "M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, that's what his father said."
    • Oblivion:
      • The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, a cursed Daedric artifact which erases the identity of anyone who wears it and replaces it with that of the notorious master thief, The Gray Fox. The Cyrodiil Thieves' Guild has been led by several people wearing the mask for at least three centuries. The player character can break the curse eventually, making it a nifty free ticket to unprosecuted crimes.
      • At the end of the Shivering Isles expansion, the Champion of Cyrodiil becomes a Daedric Prince by taking on the mantle of Sheogorath. This is lampshaded in Sheogorath's appearance in Skyrim, where he makes several subtle references to various events of the previous game which he witnessed firsthand as the Champion.
    • Skyrim: While the name Ysmir is often mistakenly attributed to the Nordic aspect of the god Talos, it's revealed by the Greybeards to actually be a title bestowed on those recognised as Dragonborn, marking them as the "Dragon of the North". This sheds new light on a legend in which Tiber Septim (Talos) met the spectre of an ancient king also named Ysmir, suggesting that he too was an ancient Dragonborn.
    • The Elder Scrolls Online:
      • There is a new Silvenar and Green Lady of the Bosmer once per generation. Part of the Almeri Dominion plot involves helping the new ones to be crowned.
      • There is always a Wilderking/Wilderqueen in Valenwood - a mortal with an innate connection to the land that becomes essentially the spirit of the forest, with the memories of their past life fading away. A questline involves the Wilderking dying and a new person taking up the mantle.
  • Jack of Blades in Fable is not one man, but a series of men who have all been deceived into wearing Jack's Mask and becoming possessed.
  • In the Lonesome Road DLC of Fallout: New Vegas, Ulysses talks about how Lanius is a mystery and since no one has seen the man under his mask (his personal slaves being blinded), it's possible that it's not even the same person underneath the mask. The fact that you hear several conflicting backstories about him while talking with members of the Legion only contributes to this idea.
    • Throughout the Fallout franchise, three different dogs (thus far) have been named "Dogmeat" and become the companion of a main character.
  • Final Fantasy, over its long history, has a few examples of this.
    • Most of the summons (...most of them) share names and appearances over the series.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, almost all of the fal'Cie are named after and share appearances with previous Final Fantasy summons, often relatively obscure ones like Bismarck and Kjata.
    • The most famous one is Cid. Every game has a Cid, and he always has something to do with the games' airships—to the point that he was retconned into the first game itself by the remakes mentioning him as the creator of the Airship.
      • This is made explicit in the Freemium spinoff Final Fantasy Brave Exvius - Dirnado is a city of engineers that tries to overall stay neutral in world affairs, and the best engineer in Dirnado takes "Cid" as a title to show that they're the best, all in honor of the original Cid, who built the first airships. Soon after the story takes the main characters there, they recruit the current top candidate for Cid - a girl named Lid - and run into the original Cid, who is Really 700 Years Old.
    • Minwu from Final Fantasy II has proven to be startlingly popular, with the result that many later games make reference in their lore to a legendary sage of great power named Minwu.
    • There is only one aversion everyone agrees on: Gilgamesh, who started out as The Dragon in Final Fantasy V. Since then, he's been travelling dimensions looking for weapons and has been frequently getting involved in the other games, even remakes of games that came out before his original game. Unlike almost any other character with the same name, it is confirmed to be the same guy.
    • Two more obscure ones are a dragoon named Kain from Final Fantasy IV, in which there was a child also named Kain in Final Fantasy II who came from a long line of Dragoons, and Cid's nephew Mid from Final Fantasy V had his name carried over to Final Fantasy IV: The After Years as that game's Cid's Grandson.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Adventurer is secretly tasked by Limsa Lominsa's second-in-command Slafyrsyn with retrieving a coffer belonging to the legendary pirate lord Mistbeard. When the player returns, Slafyrsyn opens the coffer to reveal Mistbeard's mask, as well as the fact that "Mistbeard" is a title that has been borne by many pirates. He further implies that he himself was the last incumbent to bear the name of Mistbeard, and that his goal in retrieving the mask is to ensure that the Mistbeard persona is retired for good, having decided that the persona is out of touch with the new, more civilized direction that Admiral Merlwyb wishes to impart to Limsa Lominsa.
      • The Ascians are this, being named after the Scions of Light from Final Fantasy XII (with Elidibus being named after the Bonus Boss from Final Fantasy Tactics). Shadowbringers reveals they're also this in-universe: Each of the Ascians' names is actually a title referring to the job they performed in their ancient society, the titles themselves implied to be the names of the original Amaurotine who held those positions. This is especially true for the "broken" Ascians, whose original souls were separated into 14 pieces by Hydaelyn. The "unbroken" Ascians can elevate these shards of their original soul back into power, though they lack the memories and personality of the original.
    • There have been at least six main series games which include a pair of minor characters named Biggs and Wedge.
  • Halo has the Arbiter, a title with a legacy of at least several thousand years among the Elites. While the original Arbiters were effectively warrior-kings who ruled their entire species, the rank's prestige would fall after the Elites' incorporation into the Covenant; after Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee's failed rebellion, it would be given solely to distinguished yet disgraced Elites who would only be able to regain their honor by undertaking important Suicide Missions (with the expectation that they would both succeed and die at the same time). After the collapse of the Covenant, current Arbiter Thel 'Vadam has brought the rank closer to its original role.
  • The indie game I Wanna Be the Guy has a ridiculous example of this; the titular "The Guy" that your character wants to be is a mantle that was handed down through several well-known 8- and 16-bit video game characters... and whose latest proprietors include your character's father and grandfather, the former of whom killed the latter for the title, and who you have to kill to acquire it.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the name of Darth Traya is described a title passed down to Sith Lords who "[have] been betrayed in their heart, and will betray in turn." Originally, it was Kreia, then later Atris.note 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Link and Zelda in every game are usually the reincarnations or descendants of the original Link and Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While Zelda is born in her own bloodline and has the blood of a goddess, Link can be anyone, though somehow he always looks similar to his predecessors. That said, some Links are related by blood. Link and Zelda are always born at about the same time, and inevitably draw Ganondorf or another evil force to attack Hyrule or a neighboring region. Thankfully, most of their incarnations also wield the Triforce of Courage and Wisdom respectively, so they are usually (but not always) strong enough to force the evil back. While their personalities can varynote , all Zeldas can expected to display a lot of wisdom, while all Links... well, what do you think?
      • The book Hyrule Historia makes note that "Link" is often just a name that the storytellers of series' "legends" give to the hero after the fact, regardless of their real name: probably as a reference to the fact that while Link is his Canon Name, you can name the hero in each game except for Four Swords Adventures and Breath of the Wild. Even games which note that the new Link has the same legacy clothes, legacy weapons, and legacy soul as his predecessor never mention whether he has the same name as the previous hero, or what that hero's given name was, only that he was the Hero of Time, Winds, Men, etc.
      • Apparently, while it had always been common to name Hylian princesses "Zelda" in honor of the one from Skyward Sword, it wasn't until much later when the name became mandatory (in that particular branch of the timeline at least). The brother of the Zelda from The Adventure of Link grew jealous of her mystical abilities, but his plan to take her power resulted in her entering an "eternal" sleep. Feeling guilty, he made a royal decree that all princesses of the Hyrule line shall be named "Zelda."
    • Ganondorf is the only character in the series to be the same individual in almost all of his appearances. The sole exception is the one from Four Swords Adventures; who is the reincarnation of the original one after his death in Twilight Princess. Meanwhile, Word of God has stated that he's dead for good in The Wind Waker timeline. That said, even he serves as the reincarnation of a previous villain, Demise.
    • In the original The Legend of Zelda, Link and Zelda are reincarnations. Ganon, however, is the same individual from Ocarina of Time, having been resurrected between this game and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
    • Hyrule itself is a Legacy Country in Spirit Tracks, where New Hyrule is the country founded by Tetra and Link from The Wind Waker in memory of King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule's sacrifice.
    • Multiple recurring characters (Impa, Malon, Tingle, Beedle, etc.) are an example of Generation Xerox.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2, after the Normandy SR-1 is destroyed during the prologue, when Cerberus reveal they've built a larger and more powerful frigate based on the original's design, it's no surprise to anyone when Shepard and Joker decide to christen it the "Normandy SR-2". Despite several Normandy-class vessels being mentioned as having been built (suggesting there's already an official SR-2 on the books), the Alliance appear to have kept it's numerical designation after taking possession of the vessel in Mass Effect 3.
    • The Shadow Broker is revealed to be one in Lair of the Shadow Broker, the original having been killed and his identity stolen, although his predecessor is hinted not to have been the first either. The dossier about the Shadow Broker hints that he also stole the identity of "Operative Kechlu", the individual sent to kill him after he became a threat to the previous Broker. Finally at the end of the DLC, Liara T'Soni assumes the role of the new Shadow Broker.
    • According to a comic tie-in, Maya Brooks from the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 is actually the name of the Cerberus agent that saved "Maya's" life as a child, who she repaid by murdering her and stealing her identity.
  • Throughout its 20+ year run, there has been one Mega Man for each of the seven series. The only exception, is the eponymous character from Mega Man Zero despite popular beliefs. Mega Man ZX and Advent makes up for it by having "Mega Man" as an actual title used by other characters (including the Big Bads!).
    • There's also Steel Massimo, from Mega Man X: Command Mission, who takes on the title of Steel Massimo after the real one is captured as a POW and killed.
  • The Snakes in the Metal Gear, specifically the two that appeared as playable characters throughout the series: Solid Snake (the original playable Snake since Metal Gear) and Naked Snake (the young version of Big Boss introduced in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), who are both addressed simply as Snake by other characters in the games they appeared in. Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake (Big Boss's two other "sons" from the Les Enfants Terribles cloning project introduced in the original Metal Gear Solid), despite also inheriting the "Snake" codename, are simply referred by their adjectives (Liquid and Solidus). This is particular egregious with Big Boss, who still prefers to go by Snake in the later prequels (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes), despite having already been awarded the "Big Boss" codename by the end of Snake Eater and is even referred as such in promotional materials and character introductions.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain introduces Punished "Venom" Snake, who seems to be Big Boss undergoing another codename change (similar to the switch from Solid Snake to Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots). He is ultimately revealed to be a body double who was brainwashed and surgically altered to look and act like the real Big Boss, essentially serving as the previously unknown fifth Snake. Big Boss ultimately decides that Venom Snake was also the "real" Big Boss, because he contributed so much to their collective legacy.
  • The original Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat was killed off by his rival Scorpion and replaced by his younger brother, who would assume the Sub-Zero mantle from Mortal Kombat II and onward, while the original would later re-emerge as Noob Saibot.
    • Mortal Kombat 11 reveals that "Nightwolf" is a mantle that designates the Great Spirit's Chosen One, and that the current Nightwolf is the last in a long series.
  • If Buriki One and NeoGeo Battle Coliseum have anything to say about it, Mr. Karate is a legacy character, in this case the title of the current master of Kyokugenryuu Karate (Takuma Sakazaki in AOF, his son Ryo later on.)
  • A borderline example in the case of the Chosen of various gods in the Neverwinter Nights fan module Tales of Arterra. Your character is revealed to be the Chosen of the God of Death in the second module, and you meet several of your predecessors in the third.
  • The Overlord games follow different Evil Overlords in each game, with the second game following the son of the one from the first game while Overlord: Dark Legends follows one of his predecessors.
  • Overwatch has Doomfist, which is both the name of the weapon and the title of the wielder. There have been three bearers of the mantle: Adhabu Ngumi, the Savior, Akinjinde Adeyemi, the Scourge, and the current wielder, Akande Ogundimu, the Successor.
  • Hoxton in PAYDAY 2 was this on the game's release. The Hoxton from the first game had been imprisoned between the events of the two games, and Dallas's brother took up the name and mask in his place. Eventually defied when "Old" Hoxton was broken out of prison and immediately demanded the name back. "New" Hoxton complied, becoming "Houston" instead. Even after the name change, it's still a semi-example, since Houston never returned Hoxton's old mask.
  • Lutz in Phantasy Star. Although Lutz has been dead for ages, his successors inherit his will and memory and become the next Lutz, which is a very important secret role in Esper society, and extremely confining. This is why Rune is gallivanting around Motavia when you first meet him; he's Number Five.
  • Every character in Rogue Legacy is the descendant of the character you last played that died.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha has an in-universe example; the player character, who can be given any name, is known by almost everyone in-game as "Raidou Kuzunoha", and he is the fourteenth person to take up the mantle of the eponymous Devil Summoner. There are four families of Devil Summoners with such a system in Japan, all using the surname Kuzunoha: Raidou, Geirin, Kyouji, and an unnamed fourth Summoner lineage.
  • Soul Series:
    • Nightmare has become this. After the original Nightmare was Killed Off for Real by Siegfried at the end of the fourth game, Soul Edge obtained a new host known as Graf Dumas who is implied, though not directly stated to be Raphael, who has also taken up the Nightmare identity. Siegfried even says at one point that "Nightmare" is the name given to the current wielder of Soul Edge.
    • Astaroth is one of many clones that were created using the original Astaroth's heart.
    • Yoshimitsu is a new man who took on the identity after slaying the original Yoshimitsu and became Yoshimitsu The Second.
  • Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions featured Serena Patel, the new Doctor Octopus from the year 2099. She idolized the original Doc Ock, and modeled her villainous identity after his as a tribute.
  • In Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen, King's family has traditionally always been Chrono's King, and his son, Carlos Axion Jr. was supposed to be the next one, but he died in Z2: Saisei-hen.
  • As confirmed in the web comics of Team Fortress 2, each of the game's nine mercenaries/character classes are this to the older, more professional mercenaries from Team Fortress Classic, the latter working for Gray Mann and facing off against the current, more wackier team. In fact, the TF2 Engineer is implied to be the son of the TFC Engineer.
  • In The Swords of Ditto, the title of "Sword of Ditto" is given to a long line of Chosen Ones (usually a teenage child, but sometimes also a Funny Animal) who is charged with protecting Ditto Island from the evil sorceress Mormo. When one is defeated or completes their quest, a new Sword is chosen exactly 100 years later.
  • Tekken has Yoshimitsu (highly suspected to be descended from the Soul Series character of the same name), King (who is in fact King II from the third game onwards), Kuma (who from the third game onwards is the second Kuma), Asuka (who is the niece of Jun, who only appeared in the second game and is presumed killed), Hwoarang (Baek's student), Christie (Eddy's student), Roger Jr. (Roger's wife and son) and the Jack robots (who are all updated versions of the previous one). Jin is Kazuya's son and fights like him. Julia is Michelle's daughter and Xiaoyu is Wang's granddaughter. As a result most of the characters (excepting Hwoarang, and later Jin) fight similarly to their older characters, but not identically.
  • The Garrett in the 2014 game from the Thief series is not the same Garrett that was the protagonist in the previous games.
  • Turok features a Navajo Warrior in the first game named Tal'Set Fireseed. Turok 2 takes place hundreds of years later and features Joshua Fireseed, Tal'Set's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandson; a modern day teenager; who is then replaced by Danielle Fireseed, his Great-Great-Great Niece in the third game.
  • The Cool Cars of the Twisted Metal series reappear quite often throughout the series, but very few of them keep one driver throughout all of their appearances. Drivers come and go otherwise, which may or may not be due to the character survival rate when having their wish twisted by Calypso.
  • The player character in Vermillion Watch is a Legacy Character. You play as the nephew of a long-time member of the Watch; after your uncle dies at the beginning of the first game you're basically told you've inherited his place as one of the Watch's main investigators.
  • In A Witch's Tale, this is seen in the first playthrough's ending. Liddell is forced to become the new Alice after the current one is killed... whether she wants to or not.
  • There appear to have been at least three people known as Wonder Boy in the video game series of the same name: Tom-Tom from Wonder Boy, Bocke Lee Temjin from Monster Land and The Dragon's Trap (who may or may not be Tom-Tom); Leo from Monster Lair, and Shion from Monster World.
  • In Zettai Hero Project, the title of Unlosing Ranger is passed along from person to person, often done very shortly after the previous Unlosing Ranger is killed. After giving up the title to the main character, Pirohiko (the previous title holder) stays with him as a Spirit Advisor of sorts until he is able to fulfill his mission and defeat Darkdeath Evilman.


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