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A God Is You

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Sometimes playing as a mere mortal just isn't awesome enough. Some games are content to give the player godlike power over their worlds, or a nigh-omniscient perspective, but others make no bones about it and say "A God Is You!"

This is a gaming trope that comes in two flavors:

  • Flavor A - The main character of the game is a god or powerful spirit, facing down godly threats, on a quest to reclaim their power or leading their civilization to glory.
  • Flavor B - The game breaks the fourth wall by casting you the player as a (or the) god.

Surprisingly, this is not always an alternative to An Adventurer Is You. As it's a common revelation in the Tomato Surprise and can be a literal Deus ex Machina, you might need to watch out for spoilers below.

Not the same as God Mode. And not to be confused with A God Am I, although playing as one may invoke it.

Games featuring this often have the potential to have ridiculously extreme Video Game Cruelty Potential, see also Cruel Player-Character God.


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Flavor A

    Tabletop Games 
  • Nobilis, where you play as a mortal that has been raised up to be an Anthropomorphic Personification of any element of the world, from Dreams to Water to Computers. From the start of the game any Noble has enough power to destroy the world or change great parts of it, and you only get stronger. Most of the conflict of the game tends to revolve around using social maneuvering, politicking, and in general not using your whole power to flatten everything in the way, because when your opponents also have enough power to blow up the world, it pays to play nice and be indirect.
  • Scion, where the player characters are "merely" children of the gods to start with, but can eventually become a mighty pantheon.
  • The original Dungeons & Dragons just had a list of mythological creatures for it's 4th supplement Gods, Demigods, & Heroes; while Basic Dungeons & Dragons had the Immortals Rules box, detailing the transition of a character into divinity. Although the word "god" was never uttered to avoid the wrath of the Moral Guardians.
    • The First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons book Deities & Demigods didn't even bother and just made ascended characters into NPCs. AD&D 2nd Edition had Faiths and Avatars, by way of the Forgotten Realms setting, with enough details on divine beings to make custom deities (and examples from Faerun), but had nothing on modifying an existing character.
    • Third Edition's Deities and Demigods provided two things: stats for various pantheons (D&D, Greek, Egyptian, Norse), and rules for building your own deities. Along with suggestions for how to get your PC party into godhood/keep the game running afterwards.
    • Demigodhood is one of the possible "Epic Destinies" for characters in Fourth Edition. Though you don't get to actually play the character as a god (or, at least, there aren't any rules for it).
  • Exalted, wherein you play already heroic mortals granted power by the gods to become veritable divinities in their own right. Or corrupted versions of these divine champions that serve Eldritch Abominations. Or The Fair Folk, who in this world are more than powerful enough to qualify for the trope. Or, if you feel like dying, ordinary mortals.
    • With the Broken-Winged Crane Infernals can eventually mutate into new beings called Titans, resembling Primordials (the beings who created the gods), yet still retain some beneficial human traits and are able to choose powers & a grave; la carte to avoid being Blessed with Suck. Of course, going behind the back of an entire pantheon of Eldritch Abominations to even start the transformation is extremely difficult.
  • The Whispering Vault: player characters are godlike beings right from the start.
  • Genius: The Transgression, a fan-written New World of Darkness game about playing mad scientists. Letting characters become powerful enough to change history or conquer the world was a deliberate design goal.
  • Amber Diceless, which is based on The Chronicles of Amber novels. Basic PCs come in two flavors (Princes of Amber and Lords of Chaos), each of which can use their special power (the Pattern and the Logrus, respectively) to essentially create Alternate Universes at their pleasure and shape and outfit them how they choose. The corebook notes repeatedly that spending creation points on personalized weapons, servitor creatures, and even private dimensions for your character is a luxury (it ensures that the character will always be guaranteed access to them), and that the characters can just create or find whatever they want for themselves once the game actually begins.
  • In virtually any superhero game that allows custom characters, one could theoretically play any member of any pantheon in the world. Case in point, when playing with stock characters from Marvel Super Heroes, you can play Thor or Hercules just for starters; or in DC Heroes, you could play Orion or Lightray.
  • One of the supplements for Ars Magica presents a set of spells that a magus can use to transform himself into a Daimon, which is either a minor god or a very powerful spirit (depending on who you ask). A set of quite detailed rules are then provided for continuing to play the Daimonic magus as a PC.
  • Heroes Unlimited has a chapter in the Powers Unlimited 2 sourcebook specifically for immortals of all sorts, including demigods and godlings (lesser types of gods). In addition there's the sort-of-compatible Rifts book Pantheons of the Megaverse which presents the two character types as an add-on for other game lines.
  • The little-known game Lords of Creation has its players start as "ordinary" adventuring types. By raising their "force" stat enough times they eventually become Lords of Creation, demigods with the power to go anywhere in space and time, and create pocket universes of their own (this was meant to allow players to create their own settings and trade off G Ms every once in a while). There's even stats for members of various mythological pantheons in the pack-in material, so players have a chance to rub shoulders with their peers.

    Video Games 
  • ActRaiser, you are God himself (well...the Master in North American versions) and have incarnated through statues into a spell-casting swordsman who fights Satan (aka Tanzara) and demons of the Seven Deadly Sins, while trying to develop the human race.
  • Too Human, you are a bionic Baldur in this sci-fi version of Norse mythology.
  • The game of The Darkness might qualify, since you're a vessel for the titular Darkness, the manifestation of the very soul of evil. So you're a DARK god, but still a god... And no, Dark Is Not Evil is not present.
  • The Fermi Paradox: The player assumes the role of the invisible "galactic gardener", who has the power to drastically change the history of the game's galactic civilizations and prevent catastrophes that would otherwise mean a whole species' extinction as long as they have enough Synthesis.
  • God of War II, which takes place after the hero has overthrown Ares and taken his place. He ends up having to regain his lost power, however.
  • Godzilla Unleashed lets you play as Mothra (who is worshiped as a goddess on her home island).
    • In the PS2 version of the game, you can also play as Battra, who is something along the lines of a God of Destruction in Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth and is Mothra's Evil Twin.
    • The Wii version of the game allows you to play as King Seesar. A guardian god-like monster that's loosely based off of the Shisa of Okinawa folklore.
    • Both versions of the game allow you to play as King Ghidorah and Baragon as well. Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Baragon were gods/guardian monsters in the film ''GMK.
    • To say nothing of GOD-zilla himself. And Megalon was the god of the Seatopians...
    • For that matter, you can play as Mothra in both NES Godzilla games, and most Godzilla games in general.
  • Ōkami casts you as Amaterasu, the Shinto goddess of the sun. Not only do you kill monsters and fight an Eldritch Abomination, you also make plants come back to life and grow, and answer the smaller and larger prayers of all kinds of people you meet on your way. Most don't suspect that a white dog has anything to do with it, but hearing them praising the sun and making offerings to show their gratitude really makes you feel good.
  • Ōkamiden: You play as Amaterasu's son, Chibiterasu (literally called 'Child of the Sun'). Just like his mother, you also kill demons and make plants come back to life, as well as doing good deeds for the living beings of Nippon. Also, like his predecessor, his markings cannot be seen by most people in the world, but Chibi still grows in strength with praise from people and animals.
  • In Summoner 2, you are the Child of Prophecy, the Divine Queen, and about as close to being a goddess as you can get without living in Heaven. You rule a kingdom, have your own temple, and people build huge statues in your honor. You also have some wicked powers, of course... Heck, the ORIGINAL Summoner revealed that you're 1/9th of a dead god.
  • In Terranigma, "Light Gaia" and "Dark Gaia" are powerful other forces that will eventually be corrupted into being called "God" and "Satan", but nonetheless, Ark is told that he is what mortals would call a god.
  • Every "major" character in Valkyrie Profile either starts out as a god of some kind, or becomes one when Lenneth Valkyrie picks them up to be her einherjar (they even get their goodhood ranked), except for the character Celia, which is by some regarded as having the saddest storyline because of the fact that she doesn't die, everyone else does and she's left alone.
  • The main idea of the Dominions series; the players are gods seeking to become the one supreme god after the previous holder of the title, the Pantokrator, vanishes.
  • Spore puts you in position of an almighty being in charge of your own personal galaxy and tasks you in guiding a species from a single-celled organism to a far-reaching galactic empire, influencing their development through LEGO Genetics and decisions you make through each stage. Also qualifies as this if you've been in the space stage for awhile. Destroy a planet? Easy. Create life and then uplift them to a space faring empire? Done. Turn a dead rock into a lush planetary oasis? Yep.
  • In Darkspore, the player character is a Crogenitor, a Precursor who's spent the last millenium in cryosleep and now tasked with reviving and modifying heroes from different species to combat the eDNA threat. This may be a mixture of both types, though.
  • SimEarth puts the player in the role of Gaia. If you think it sounds like a hard job, you're right.
  • Dwarf Fortress Adventurer Mode offers type B, as one of the charged options is 'Demigod', and you have the potential to achieve a worshipped reputation over the course of the game.
  • Darksiders and its sequels have you play as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (a different Horseman in each game). Even Heaven and Hell are scared of the Horsemens' power.
    • There's a subtle distinction made to keep the game interesting: you play as the beings whose permanent roles are to be the Horsemen, not with the invincible power of the Horsemen themselves. While this still puts you in this trope's territory, that you're always acting "outside of your office" means it's possible to actually be challenged or to lose.
  • From Dust, which borrows heavily from Polynesian mythology, casts you as "The Breath", the guardian spirit of an island tribe who uses its ability to manipulate land and water to help the tribe recover its lost history.
  • Doshin the Giant casts the player as a sun god who dies each evening, but is reincarnated the next morning.
  • God of Thunder: You play as Thor. He doesn't seem to have particularly godlike powers, though.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk becomes one in the ending, although he throws away his power in favor of recreating a world without gods.
  • Reus, much like SimEarth, also casts you as a Gaea-like entity - albeit in a much more stylized fashion. Rather than acting directly, however, you alter your world through 4 tools known as The Giants - each a gargantuan being larger than a mountain. Commanding the Giants, you can alter the planet's surface on a grand scale; digging oceans and raising up mountains, or making fertile woodlands spring up from the ground; or on a smaller one - creating lush orchards and packs of wild beasts for the emerging humans to hunt, or pockets of valuable minerals and materials for them to mine, etc. Interestingly, you have no direct influence over the path taken by the human tribes that spring up on your surface - you can only assist them in whatever pursuits they choose to favor, or destroy them if they displease you. If you play your cards right, they'll worship the Giants as gods and revere them. If you don't... well, turns out even mountain-sized giants aren't ENTIRELY invulnerable, if enough humans pile on them...
  • The Civilization series, sort of. You play as one of history's greatest leaders (Alexander the Great, George Washington, Mohandas Gandhi, etc.) except you're now immortal and have to build your civilization up from the Stone Age to the Modern Era. "Can you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?" indeed. Some critics have argued that the player isn't really playing as Alexander the Great or Washington or however, but rather a personification of the abstract concept of a nation-state: Washington etc. are just figureheads.
  • In King's Bounty Armoured Princess, the main character Princess Amelie is actually the daughter of a god and will create an army in another dimension to bring back to her own.
  • In Demigod, you are the child of a fallen god and the rest of the gods have pitted you against all your half-siblings in a tournament to see which child will take your father's place.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Notably averted in Morrowind. Despite being in possession of the three tools necessary to to become a god in the presence of Heart of Lorkhan from which godhood can be extracted, you're never given instruction on how to do so. You're only choice is to use the tools to destroy the enchantments on the Heart, unbinding everyone who had previously used it to achieve godhood, including Big Bads Dagoth Ur (of the main game) and Almalexia of the Tribunal expansion. It's not all bad though, as you get to keep your Semi-Divine status, including being The Ageless and having Ideal Illness Immunity as a result of the disease you have which was based on the power of the Heart.
    • Lorkhan/Shor, one of the two deities who appears in every pantheon of every culture on Tamriel, embodies a mythic role with striking similarities to the real role of the player in a roleplaying game. Lorkhan is "the missing God" and the patron of mortals. The Divines who took part in creation in the game's lore are named after developers, writers, and play-testers. Lorkhan, on the other hand, is dead and missing, yet by divine mystery his influence on the world and patronage of mortal heroes is still strong. In metaphorical terms, Lorkhan represents the player's contribution to the dynamic narrative, just as the Divines represent the developers' contributions. Theoretically players should be able to visit Shor's spirit in Sovngarde in TES V: Skyrim, but Shor's spirit is absent. You could see this as evidence that Lorkhan may be busy, his spirit inhabiting the player character at that time.
    • At the end of Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion, the mantle of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, is passed on to you. The effects are not immediately apparent, but by the time of Skyrim 200 years later, the Sheogorath met in that game is heavily implied to be the Champion of Cyrodiil having fully grown into the role.
    • In Skyrim, the Dragonborn is a rare mortal gifted with the soul of an Aedric (loosely angelic) entity by the Chief God of the Divine pantheon, Akatosh. Some sources suggest that the dragons (and Dragonborn) are not merely Akatosh's creations, but fragments of his very being, meaning that you could be part of Akatosh himself.
  • Diablo III declares that the player is a Nephalem, a hybrid of angel and demon who is so much more powerful that they are able to handily defeat all the top demon lords combined into one being, followed by the incarnation of death. The only actual god in the setting is dead, and the player appears to be more powerful than anything else remaining.
  • Hades puts the player in charge of Zagreus, the Prince of the Underworld and son of Hades. Zagreus is in fact a real god from Classical Mythology, albeit a very minor and obscure one with very few surviving records about him.
  • In Dominion of Darkness you play as evil overlord who has just woken up from a dream after a previous defeat and intends to take over the world again. As part of infiltrating the Free Peoples countries, you can e.g. create religions that worship you as god.

Flavor B

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering features the tagline "You Are A Planeswalker". Planeswalkers are the closest you can get to godhood in the MTG universe: with enough study, a planeswalker can do just about anything short of creating life.
    • In the Theros block, we even have an example of a planeswalker becoming a god.

    Video Games 
  • The 1989 Populous is probably the Trope Maker for type B or at the very least the Trope Codifier. You are an unseen God whose goal is "leading your civilization to glory". That is, by crushing a civilization worshiping a rival god.
  • You have a sort of character in Black & White, but you never see it and supplicants address the screen directly. The other gods you see are points of light with a hand. And in the sequel if you're playing for too long the game starts calling you by your real name.
  • Super Paper Mario uses this as a way to lampshade the gameplay instructions. Mario doesn't know what all of this "Press A" business is, but the other characters assure him that the great being that watches over them all understands.
  • This is the twist at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga.
  • A controller of The Sims' world is you!
    • The Sims Medieval makes this explicit by having the player fill the role of "The Watcher," a deity that made the land and gently guides the hero characters to making either right or wrong decisions. There are even two religions based on you: Jacoban and Peteran. Jacobans believe that The Watcher is cruel, while Peterans believe that The Watcher is benevolent.
    • This is also lampshaded in The Sims 2 (PSP), which the main antagonist, a mad scientist called Doctor Dominion, claims that an "outside force" uses a green crystal (the plumbob, that appears above the heads of sims controlled by the player) to control everybody.
  • In Patapon, you're the god of the Patapons, called the Almighty.
  • In Drawn to Life, you are the Creator, a god who drew the entire world, and brought life. In actual gameplay, your godly duties are basically drawing things when your Avatar retrieves pages of the Book of Creation. All the fighting is handled by the aforementioned Avatar; an animated mannequin.
  • In the Civilization games, you're cast as the ruler of a civilization, but you stick around for however many millennia you feel like playing, remain in power through any and all revolutions, and have the power to manipulate any of your cities without having to route through whatever system of government you have in place at the moment. Democracy? Bureaucracy? Theocracy? Feudalism? This micromanaging god cares not.
    • It's possible that you're not playing as that particular nation's leader per se, but rather the nation itself.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • The original game has the player as a "Guardian Spirit" guiding the protagonists.
    • The sequel uses the same principle. Before actually pulling a Tomato in the Mirror on the player, revealing you as part of the God of Darkness.
  • The merest subtle nod to this in Baldur's Gate: one of Jaheira's selection quotes is "Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure?"
    • At the extreme opposite is the insane Tiax with: "One day, Tiax will point and click."
    • Edwin has one too: "I do not understand this 'mouse magic' that makes me do your bidding."
    • A minor character in Beregost exclaims "Don't click me! I don't want any trouble!"
    • A few other quotes subtly nod to the mouse interface too. Minsc has "You point, I punch!", and Anomen has "Point the sword and I shall strike!" (The cursor is a sword when hovering over a hostile unit or when a weapon is selected.)
    • Similarly, Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil game has the characters directly acknowledge your commands. Again. And again. And ag- TOEE.exe has performed an illegal operation and must close.
  • In Ever17, it is all but stated that you are Blick Winkel, the 4th dimensional being who helps the protagonists at the end. While not technically a god, you are still a being of a higher dimension than the protagonists who can travel through time.
  • In the opening movie of Tak and the Power of Juju, Jibolba the shaman addresses the player as a "guardian Juju spirit" who was summoned to guide The Chosen One.
  • Implied in the first series of Dawn of War games, as the units (barring the silent Necrons) seem to talk to the player as if they're even higher-ranked than their commanders, or if the commanders themselves are referring to someone higher ranked than them. To really drive it home, weak Chaos units will ask the player to bless them, although other units will sometimes talk back to the user.
    Ork Boyz: "Up yours!"
    Chaos Lord: "Don't think you can order me around!"
    Imperial Psyker: "You know not... what you... ask..."
    Tau Shas'o: "As Aun-Va wishes." (About as close to a god reference as the Flat-Earth Atheist race gets.)
    • Dawn Of War 2 starts to move away from this, since your units in campaign mode are apparently responding to orders from your Heroic Mime Force Commander. Played straighter in Retribution, where all units go back to referring to the player as their CO.
  • Dwarf Fortress Fortress Mode — popular speculation is that the player is Armok, God of Blood.
    • Another popular theory is the exact opposite — no, player, you are the Hidden Fun Stuff.
  • The "Virtual Villagers" series of games has always done this to a certain extent, with villagers engaging in festivals to honor the "Guiding Hand," a reference to the hand-shaped cursor. The fifth game, "New Believers," takes this one step further, giving the player godlike powers that they earn by building their "god points"
  • Godville: The player is a god with only one follower: an Idiot Hero which can only be influenced into being less idiotic.
  • Warcraft III: While it's implied in other lines the player is a king or a commander, one of the "pissed" lines of the Human Knight is "I have been chosen by the big metal hand in the sky!" as an allusion to the cursor for the human faction being a gauntlet.
  • Mother: The games have the characters thank the player for their assistance towards the end of the game. EarthBound (1994) takes it a step further, by having the player deal the most damaging attack in the entire series (capping out at nearly 25,000 damage) using nothing but a prayer, and it's the final coup de grace needed to destroy Giygas.
  • Tearaway casts you in the role of a god-like being, using the touchscreens on your PlayStation Vita to interact with the game world and help the Messenger in his quest to deliver his message.
  • One Shot initially declares the player the world's god by name, but it ends up subverted when it's explained that the player is only called a god because that is what the characters in the game are coded to recognize them as. In actuality, they're nothing more than someone running a game program on their computer with very limited control over the world.
  • Simmiland Cast you as a god trying to advance your creations from prehistory to Spaceage through a unique card game mechanic.
  • The Universim puts you in the role of a creator who guides a civilisation through the ages. You can influence the world using creator powers, which makes more Nuggets believe in you.
  • Bravely Default Casts the Player as a 'Celestial', and several characters break the fourth wall to address you directly.
  • Choice of Games has a user-created game called The Aether: Life As a God that's about the player creating and nurturing the growth of a sentient race.
  • Discovery (2011): The player can create and destroying land, beings and worlds.
  • WorldBox casts you as God and gives you absolute free reign over a Constructed World of your own (or randomly generated/Steam Workshop) design.

Alternative Title(s): God Game