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Always Over the Shoulder

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Want to get a good angle on that head shot.

Since first person views are one of the best ways to avoid Camera Screw, a similar control in third person works just as well.

The three requirements to meet this trope are:

  1. The game is in a third person view.
  2. The view is locked behind the player character (even if not directly behind the player).
  3. When the player turns, the camera turns in synch with the player turning.

A Third-Person Shooter often uses this view since right analog stick (and mouse aim in keyboard + mouse control combination) becoming the norm and the increasingly clunky auto aim being phased out, thus playing just like a First-Person Shooter, save for not being first person. Heck, some first person games allow switching to third person, while keeping the control essentially the same. Note, however, that this isn't limited to Polygonal Graphics; it's also common in older 2D games featuring an "into-the-screen" perspective or a rotating Top-Down View because it reduces the number of angles the most conspicuous sprite has to be shown from.

This trope is named because "Over the shoulder camera" is a common term for this, after the cinematography trope Over the Shoulder.

Compare and contrast "Back to Camera" Pose, Camera Lock-On, Free Rotating Camera, Fixed Camera, Freelook Button.


  • Became a standard in Resident Evil games since Resident Evil 4 (pictured), the Trope Maker.
  • Brandish is a rare example of a sprite-based Three-Quarters View game that does this trope. The game actually loads four level maps per area, and when the player turns, it switches to the map in that direction.
  • The bonus levels in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • The original Splinter Cell (2002) switched to this perspective whenever aiming with weapons. This makes it one of the earliest examples of an over-the-shoulder camera in Third-Person Shooter gameplay. However, it's not always over-the-shoulder, but mostly uses a Super Mario 64 style camera for moving around.
  • In the "Lock-Strafe" mode in the Ratchet & Clank games.
  • The Saints Row games when in aiming mode (otherwise it's just free movement).
  • Gears of War, together with Resident Evil 4, popularized the use of this trope in third-person shooters.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V has this as an available camera option.
    • All of the 3D games' PC ports behave this way as well, when played with keyboard and mouse.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PC version has Free Rotating Camera instead, however by the default Mouse + Keys setting, holding the right mouse button to aim will snap your camera to where you aim.
  • The Elder Scrolls games when in third person view. The games do allow you to rotate the camera angle when standing still, which lets you admire your character customization and gear, but if you move or draw your weapons the camera will snap right back to this.
  • The third person view in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 use this perspective.
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight allowed the user to switch between first- and third-person cameras at any time; there was also an option to automatically switch to third-person view when drawing your lightsaber, which became the default for the later games, to the point that it is impossible to be in first-person view with the lightsaber equipped at all in Jedi Academy (Jedi Outcast still allowed first-person lightsaber combat, but only in singleplayer).
  • Some of the tank games in the Mario Party games.
  • Mass Effect uses this during the combat sections, while exploration sections used free-flying third-person.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron
  • Oddly for the post-3D Duke Nukem franchise, Zero Hour uses this perspective.
  • BattleTanx used this perspective, with the slight variation in that the view is tied to the orientation of the gun turret, not the tank body; this becomes apparent when switching the control scheme to "Arcade Mode".
  • The Ghost Recon series uses this from Advanced Warfighter onward. Ghost Recon Wildlands zigzags the trope-it uses an over-the-shoulder perspective when you've got your weapon out, but holstering it switches the camera to a freely-rotating mode.
  • Call of Duty: World at War did the same for its tanks, which controlled similarly to when the player is on-foot; earlier tank levels in the series were played in first-person like every other mission and controlled more like an actual tank (i.e. the "Forward" button always moved the tank body in the direction it is oriented in, though the player could hold Jump to force the body to realign itself with the turret while moving though).
  • The original Silent Hill had an extra New Game Plus option to change your alternate camera mode into this, although it sits a little higher up and tighter in than the usual position. Another option on the same menu lets you flip the camera defaults around and play the whole game this way.
  • Armored Core games use this as its default view.
  • F-Zero uses this view.
  • Xtreme G Racing games had this as the default view
  • Checkpoint Racing games from Rad Racer to Cruis'n Exotica use this view, though many later entries allow the player to choose First Person View instead.
  • Dead Space uses this while aiming, or moving, but the camera orbits around the player character freely if they're standing still.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, when aiming guns in third-person mode.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade's tanks actually have two camera settings of this manner - the default ties the camera to the tank body, with the turret able to aim away from the center of the screen, while the alternate ties it to the turret, allowing the tank to engage targets to its side or rear while moving away.
  • God Hand makes use of this camera method in a Beat Em' Up.
  • WolfQuest uses this by default, but it allows you to rotate the camera as well.
  • Asura's Wrath has the camera turn to this when ever Asura is shooting projectiles during a battle on the ground (That isn't a running shooter section)
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars does this in the Top-Down View stages.
  • The Fatal Frame series has also replaced its former Fixed Camera with this new perspective since the fourth game.
  • The video game version of Tomorrow Never Dies opted to use this perspective rather than GoldenEye 007's First-Person perspective.
  • Similarly, Everything or Nothing featured an over the shoulder perspective.
  • Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop uses this, as it borrows the gameplay from Resident Evil 4.
  • Namco's System 2 Arcade Games Assault, Metal Hawk and Dirt Fox center the player's tank, helicopter or car in the bottom part of the screen, while zooming and rotation effects are applied to the 2D backgrounds and sprites as the player turns and changes altitude.
  • In Awesome for the Amiga, it's blatantly obvious that the Elapidae spacecraft remains locked in position at the lower center of the screen; turning makes everything else rotate around it.
  • darkSector and its spiritual sequel Warframe.
  • God of War (PS4) takes this to the the extreme; the only time this doesn't apply is in cutscenes, and the entire game plays in a single camera shot.
  • And before God of War released, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice did both those two things!
  • The camera in MDK is positioned behind Kurt whenever you aren't aiming with Scope Perspective.