Follow TV Tropes


And Now for Someone Completely Different

Go To

"For this chapter alone, you will make your way through a dungeon controlling police detective Lloyd Bannings and Arc en Ciel performer Rixia Mao. Both link attacks and Overdrive are available to them."

You've beaten the first couple of major bosses, you've leveled up, gotten some new powers, and your character has gone from pathetic to useful. A big, epic, climactic scene is occurring. Then the scene ends in a Cliffhanger and you have to start with a brand new character in a somewhat related storyline. Prepare to do this several times for the "Rashomon"-Style storyline to be completed.

If you're lucky, all the characters will meet and party up for payoff later. If not and the story never goes back to the original character then they may have been the Decoy Protagonist.

If the game is an RPG and the new character has to start all the way back at level 1 this can be somewhat annoying as it means that you will have to Level Grind to get them back to being useful. Some RPGs may start the new character off at a higher level to prevent this problem.

A sister trope to this one is Another Side, Another Story, where the player goes through one character's story without changing between scenes but has the option of switching to the other character's story at any time (or after unlocking it) usually from the main menu.

Compare Missing Main Character. The non-video game equivalent of this is Two Lines, No Waiting. For starting back at level 1 in a sequel starring the same characters, see Bag of Spilling.

    open/close all folders 

Video-Game Examples:

  • The first level of The Force Unleashed is played as Darth Vader, but afterwards, the focus switches to his apprentice.
  • Heavenly Sword has players controlling Kai for a few brief portions rather than Nariko.
  • After beating Hotline Miami, you get one last set of chapters as The Biker, a Boss you defeated in the chapter 'Neighbors'.
  • Hyrule Warriors follows the exploits of the Hyrulean forces dealing with the threat brought about by Cia for the majority of the story. Then, just as everything seems to have been cleared up, the game switches to following Ganondorf and his forces as he establishes himself as the actual antagonist of the game. Legends and Definitive Edition add other instances, like Linkle's sidequests at various points throughout the main story wherein she's cleaning up any mooks left behind after Link, Zelda and co. have moved on, and thinking she's the famed Hero of Time despite having No Sense of Direction.
  • Mission Impossible (1990) has one level where you take control of two snipers to protect Ethan Hunt from assassins.
  • Ninja Gaiden Sigma: The PS3 Updated Re-release of the Xbox remake, has you switching between Ryu and Rachel at certain points in the game. The sequels, meanwhile, add Ayane and Kasumi in brief story related missions.
  • Across all three Rogue Squadron games you will be switching out pilots on a regular basis. The first RS has you play as Luke Skywalker almost the entire game, with the exception of the Battle of Calamari, where you play as Wedge Antilles. Rogue Leader has the most pilot changes, with the first three missions playing as Luke, until a mid-mission switch to Wedge, who you play as for the rest of the regular missions. You do play as Luke in a couple of bonus missions, as well as Darth Vader in the alternate reality missions. You also get to play as Han Solo in one bonus mission, and if you use the Millennium Falcon in the "Strike at the Core" mission, you get to play as Lando Calrissian. Rebel Strike has an equal number of missions for Luke and Wedge, in addition to one mission as Arvel Crynyd ("Green Leader"), the pilot who crashed his A-Wing into the SSD Executor's bridge in Episode VI. Granted, all of the ships handle exactly the same regardless of who you're playing; it's just the knowledge of who's piloting your ship.
  • Spider-Man 3 has the player controlling Harry Osborn for a bit during the final battle. You could also play as Harry as the second Green Goblin in Spider-Man: The Movie in what was the same story levels but a new story.

    Action Adventure 
  • Playing as the Damsel in Distress Grace in Alone in the Dark 2 after Edward gets captured by the villains and needs to be rescued.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Mysterious Console DLC has Noni, a Mysterious Waif, being the playable character as Ann is busy elsewhere.
  • Batman: Arkham Series offers one playable villain per game: The Joker (Asylum), Catwoman (City), Deathstroke and the pre-Joker Red Hood (Origins), and Harley Quinn (Arkham Knight).
    • The Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC in City has the player switching between Tim Drake and Batman.
    • The main story of Batman: Arkham Knight has Batman and all his allies playable: Robin, Catwoman, Nightwing, and Azrael. It goes one further and has Jim Gordon, Hush, Officer Owens and Joker playable in specific parts of the story as well as Batgirl and Red Hood in DLC, bringing the total number of playable characters to twelve.
  • Beyond Good & Evil is another game that pulls this trick with sidekicks instead of the main character. About halfway into the game, your first partner, Pey'j — an anthropomorphic, middle-aged pig and Gadgeteer Genius — gets kidnapped and replaced with Double H, a Big Guy with a habit of breaking things down with his head. While you get Pey'j back eventually, doing so marks a Point of No Return.
  • In Bunny Must Die, you play as Bunny, fight five of seven devils, and then fight the Elf Princess Chelsea as the last boss, though Chelsea calls herself the "true protagonist". If you've found enough time upgrades as Bunny, you unlock the game Chelsea and the Seven Devils where you play as Chelsea, fight all seven of the devils, and then fight — Bunny as the last boss? No, you fight the demon Dechronos who is possessing Bunny. But then you defeat the true final boss as a fully-powered Bunny in Chelsea's game.
  • Cubivore: Your character goes through several reincarnations, where they see the benefit of their work in previous lives.
  • Fahrenheit has you jump from character to character, but never permanently. For an added kick, the primary protagonist Lucas is a wanted fugitive, whereas the other two are cops in charge of capturing him.
    • Likewise, its Creator-Driven Successor Heavy Rain switches between the four main characters frequently, sometimes in the middle of a chapter. Additionally, in two chapters you also get to control a young version of the Origami Killer in Flashback.
    • Beyond: Two Souls alternates between Jodie Holmes and the poltergeist connected to her, Aiden.
    • Detroit: Become Human switches between three main characters.
  • Folklore has two player-controlled characters, Ellen and Keats, whose stories unfold concurrently. The player has some choice in whether to alternate between the two or to play through several chapters with one before switching to the other, but either way, each one's abilities and collected items don't transfer to the other.
  • The Last of Us has two instances of this. The prologue of the game has you play as Joel's daughter while the perspective shifts between Ellie and Joel in the Winter chapters.
  • Legacy of Kain: Defiance alternates between Kain and Raziel as the playable character. This gets weird when the two of them end up fighting each other.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has one segment at the end of a very lengthy side quest where you switch between playing as Link and taking control of Kafei as they work together to retrieve the Sun Mask. Link handles the enemies so Kafei's doors open while Kafei has to push blocks on the right switch to open doors for Link.
  • In Onimusha 3: Demon Siege the player primarily controls swordsman Samanosuke and policeman Jacques. Roughly in the middle of the game they also briefly control Jacques' fiancee Michelle.
  • This is a main characteristic of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, where you play as four different incarnations of Spidey and must switch among them between levels.
  • The beginning of Star Fox Adventures has you controlling Krystal for a brief bit, before you control the real main character, Fox McCloud.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness has players controlling Kurtis Trent for two levels as well as a boss fight in place of Lara Croft.
  • Uncharted:
    • Subverted in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. After one level of Nathan Drake getting beaten up in an English pub à la previous games, the second level switches to a kid in South America... but it doesn't take long for the savvy players to notice the Fashionable Asymmetry or catchphrase and realize they're now playing as young Nate.
    • Played straight in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Chapter 5 has you control Nate's brother Sam during his alleged prison breakout. Happens again in the epilogue, where you control Nate and Elena's teenage daughter Cassie.

  • The Centennial Case: While most of the game is an Interactive Movie Chapter 5 is instead mostly a Room Escape Game.
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey has the switching between April, Zoe, and Kian. Its sequel, Dreamfall Chapters, does the same with Zoe, Kian, and Saga.
  • In Farnham Fables, it's not uncommon for the player character to change mid-episode:
    • Episode 1 starts with the player controlling Cally. Once she meets the King, control switches to the three princes as Cally listens to the story of what they did.
    • At the start of Episode 2, you control Wilford in the Fellowship Hall of the church. Once he gets back home, Wilford takes a nap, and control switches to William and Wendy. William leaves the party soon after in order to look after the broken gate. Finally, at the end of the game, Winona briefly becomes playable alongside Wendy.
    • In Episode 3, you start off as Theresa as she makes her way to class. Once she encounters the manticore in the classroom, Philip takes over as the main character for the rest of the episode.
  • Fine Tuned: In chapters 1 and 3, you play as the universally loved action hero Troy Sterling, being able to use your Cool Car to your advantage. In chapters 2 and 4, you play as aspiring opera star Melody Sweet, who can sing different notes and pitches to solve puzzles. Both Troy and Melody have the same goals and frequently interact with each other.
  • Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within switched between Gabriel and Grace.
  • This is the main gimmick of Gemini Rue. You switch back and forth between two protagonists, Azriel and Delta-Six, who are in different -- but seemingly connected -- storylines. The Reveal is that it’s a subversion; you’re actually seeing one storyline in Anachronic Order. Delta-Six is Azriel’s younger self, and his segments are Flashbacks to events that happened a year before Azriel’s. It’s then played straight in the final act, where you switch control to Sayuri for a while, before switching back to Azriel/Delta-Six for the finale.
  • King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride has the player switch between Valanice and Rosella every other chapter.
  • This was one of the more openly touted features in Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals: The player takes the role of Larry in the first part of the game, where he searched for new sexual conquests as usual, and then switches to Passionate Patti in the second part, where she tries to hunt down Larry and his buff, polyester-clad pecks. This mechanic returned in Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work, where Patti assumes the role of an undercover spy in the music industry, and the game takes turns swapping the player's focus back and forth between Larry and Patti.
  • In most of the Nancy Drew games, you naturally play as the titular character. There are six games in the series so far, though, when the POV will switch to one of Nancy's friends so they can make discoveries or find information inaccessible to her:
    • Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon: For one brief minigame segment, you control Frank Hardy while he works in a restaurant kitchen to eavesdrop on critical information from a key witness.
    • The Creature of Kapu Cave: Nancy meets up with the the Hardy Boys at a beach resort before heading into the jungle for her internship; once she's there, a storm destroys the bridge and prevents her from going back to town, meaning that you have to switch to the Hardys anytime you need anything from the resort. For the first swap, you play as Joe to search an office, only for him to get knocked out by a thug acquainted with the culprit. From then on, you frequently swap back and forth between playing as Nancy and Frank.
    • The Legend of the Crystal Skull: On several occasions, you have to switch to Bess Marvin, who is at a curry shop elsewhere in New Orleans, to snoop around the shop and nearby areas and find information to progress Nancy's investigation.
    • Ransom of the Seven Ships: After Bess is kidnapped, Nancy leaves the visitor center starting location to look for evidence to find her, while George Fayne stays there. While out investigating as Nancy, you switch to George multiple times so she can search for clues and get more intel from the visitor center.
    • Alibi in Ashes: Nancy gets framed for arson and arrested, making her mostly unplayable while she's at the station, while Bess, George, and Nancy's boyfriend Ned Nickerson try to clear her name. It doubles as Another Side, Another Story, since you can freely switch between Ned, George, and Bess during the investigation, but certain suspects will be more or less cooperative and have different dialogue depending on who you play. Once Nancy is vindicated and released, you switch back to her.
    • Midnight in Salem: The Hardy Boys come to Salem to help Nancy out with her case, and you play two extended sequences as Frank (with Joe acting as a Non-Player Companion) to investigate for her while she's following other leads.
  • Rakuen: During most of the game you play as the Boy while Mom tags along behind him. But during the Runebearer segments, you get to play as Leeble Gemma in Winston's segment, little bear Christina in Tony's segment, Kazuko in Kisaburo's segment, Puchi in Sue's segment, and Mom in her own segment.
  • Syberia: The World Before alternates between two protagonists: Kate Walker, who starts the game imprisoned in a salt mine in the early 2000s, and Dana Roze, a young piano student in central Europe in 1937.
  • Unrest features five main characters, whom you switch between with each chapter. With the various factions and intrigues at play, choices made by one are likely to impact the lives of others.

    Driving Games 
  • Agent Intercept has one for Penny, in the side mission "Undercover, Under Fire." The main gimmick of this side mission is to keep Penny under the radar, so as to tail Uko to a secret server, in an inversion of the Agent's (i.e your) typical guns-blazing approach, being careful not to arouse suspicion by avoiding collisions and cameras... interspersed with obstructions that require the agent to wreak havoc to keep her rolling, such as diverting patrols and destroying power boxes for key systems.
  • The core premise of Driver: San Francisco has the player character John Tanner leaping into different character's bodies and take control of the car they are driving, usually to drive them headlong into any car you're chasing down. The player still sees John whenever they leap, but other characters treat them like the original person they were, and in many cutscenes this leads to strange reactions to John breaking character when he's thrust into the middle of a conversation. The game even plays around with this more later on, in one mission having the player jump into an antagonist's body following his car, but the player controls their own car from the viewpoint of the car following.

    Environmental Narrative Games 
  • What Remains of Edith Finch is spent seeking out flashback sequences, each of which has you play, still from a first-person perspective, a different member of the Finch family on the day of their death.

    Fighting Games 
  • Dead or Alive 5 does the same thing as Mortal Kombat 9 with its story, although a couple of characters never have a chance to play as them in the story mode.
  • The Story mode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny does this, with each chapter following a different set of characters from the ones before it until the final one, which allows the player to choose which character from nearly the entire playable cast to fight the Final Boss with. It then switches back to this for the Playable Epilogue, with the player controlling the Final Boss herself.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception: A subversion in Konquest mode. You play as Shujinko throughout the game, but depending on who he trained with, you will participate in fights as a physical manifestation of that character. Basically, it's Shujinko fighting exactly like that character he trained with. The same example resurfaced in the story mode of Mortal Kombat 9, minus the whole 'pick a side' option of the previous game. This format would be used in every game developed by Netherrealm.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe You will take control of a character for a few matches before moving on to the next character. The characters you play as depend on either being the MK or DC side.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl does this in the Adventure Mode, where you switch between various groups between levels, until the gang comes together for the grand finale. The levels aren't much of an issue, but you still lose out on sticker bonuses that you applied to the characters. And if they just became playable, you can't use stickers on them until you finish the level, and of course you need to get familiar with the character as well.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In BioShock 2, while Delta is trapped by Sofia, you get to control a Little Sister as she harvests ADAM and collects the pieces of the Big Sister suit for Eleanor.
  • This is commonplace in the Call of Duty games.
    • You'll often switch viewpoints between characters fighting on different parts of the world. Considering the series (especially the Modern Warfare games) often pulls the "Anyone Can Die" trick on you, some of them may not last long.
    • An interesting example in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. If Karma gets captured, you can rescue her in one strike force mission called Second Chance. If you save her, you can play as her during the mission. Unlike the strike force soldiers, though, don't expect a respawn to save you.
    • The Zombie games in World At War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2 has a habit with pitting you with at least one totally different group of characters, either canonically or non-sensibly, such as the generic US soldiers to the four unique characters, to the executives (JFK being one), to famous action actors, etc.
  • Call of Juarez alternates between the stealthy Billy and the heavily armed Reverend Ray in a game of cat and mouse where you play both feline and rodent. Generally, you'd play most levels twice: Once, sneaking around the area avoiding detection from bandits and the like, and then again while blowing away everyone. While quoting Bible verse.
  • Tends to happen in the Halo games. Halo 2 began the trend with the Arbiter missions intercut with the Master Chief's; Halo 3 featured the Chief as the solo playable character, but co-op players take control of the Arbiter and two other Elites. Halo 3: ODST threw the Chief to the wind and played as a heretofore-unseen trooper team, and Halo: Reach rounded it off with the player character being simply another Spartan. By the time the series got to Halo 4, it could be argued that Master Chief was someone completely different by that point.
  • In Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, the player starts as Kyle Katarn, just like the two previous Dark Forces games. However after just three levels, the player changes to Mara Jade for the rest of the game.
  • The final chapter in Killzone: Shadowfall is the only one played from the perspective of someone other than Keller: Echo, out to avenge Kellers' death by assassinating the man that did it. It also marks the first time in the franchise where you play as a Helghast.
  • Medal of Honor: Underground: While you play as female French spy Manon Batiste for most of the game, the final (and bonkers) Secret Level ""Panzerknacker Unleashed" brings back the protagonist of the first game, Lt. Jimmy Patterson. Though the briefing does mention that if they do not hear back from Jimmy in two days then he'll be presumed KIA/MIA and Manon will be sent in after him.
  • WinBack 2 has you play each mission from two different characters' points of view.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Bayonetta 1's epilogue has you play as Jeanne for a while, as she ascends the statue of Jubileus in a bid to rescue the captive Bayonetta. In the same chapter, providing an odd twist, you take control of Jubileus' soul as it hurtles towards the sun, you having to guide it past the planets in the Solar System.
  • Bayonetta 2:
    • One verse has you battle against the Masked Lumen. Just before the Sage's health hits zero, you start playing as Madama Butterfly as she does battle with the Sage's Temperantia.
    • The chapter after that has you take control of Loki. Given that a gihugic angel is chasing him, and he isn't exactly the most sturdy combatant, all you can do is run, run, run as fast you can!
    • And finally, in the final chapter, doubling as a Call-Back, you briefly take control of Loptr's body as it flies towards the open maw of Gomorrah. Unlike the last game, there's no way that Loptr can escape his well-deserved doom, making this double as Controllable Helplessness.
  • Chaos Legion has one stage playable for Arcia Rinslet, the gun-toting young girl that Sieg befriended earlier. She can't summon Legions but can use super-charged shots in place of that. However, an unlockable feature is to play as her in all stages (though she lacks a majority of the cutscenes).
  • Devil May Cry 4 puts you in the shoes of newcomer Nero for the first ten Missions, after which series lead Dante takes over until Mission 18, when you're back with Nero through to the end of the game. Lucky for the player, though, all Proud Souls (the currency used for leveling up abilities) gathered as Nero transfer to Dante, as do vitality levels and Devil Trigger orbs, and Nero gets a metric shitton of Proud Souls when you switch back to him. Special Edition adds two other campaigns alongside Nero and Dante's story from the original game, that allow you to play as either Vergil for the full game, or Lady for Nero's levels and Trish for Dante's levels.
  • The Dynasty Warriors series and its spinoffs enjoy this as well. The installments that follow each nation's story rather than each character's story follow this one most, as characters will join, leave, die, or betray you as the story demands, with few being playable in all story stages in one tale (outside of Free Mode).
  • Kabuki-Z, Taito's old weird side-scroller hack 'n slash, has a samurai as player character for the first three stages, then replaces him with a barbarian hero. There's no plot or anything, so the reason is anyone's guess.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has a couple of levels where you play as Shinobu, and a dream sequence where you control Henry. Both of them end up helping Travis. He doesn't appreciate it.

  • In Blaster Master Zero 2, if you're on track for the Golden Ending, in the final level you play as Eve. Your offense out of vehicle is practically nonexistent, so you'll be avoiding danger rather than blasting away enemies. Even the Metal Attacker you recover later plays differently.
  • In Blaster Master Zero 3, if you're on track for the Golden Ending, you play as a pilot in a more classic Metal Attacker model reminiscent of the aforementioned and the SOPHIA III. Could be justified as Jason simply using a new ride. Up until you pause the game and realize that there are no passengers...
  • Curse Crackers: For Whom The Belle Toils:
    • One sidequest involves letting a little girl called Ema play with Chime; doing so results in a dodgeball minigame where you play as her in order to defend another girl from some bullies.
    • A late post-game quest has you play as Bonnie after Belle and Chime enter a portal and don't return for weeks because they were taken captive. Unlike Belle, Bonnie can't defeat enemies by jumping on them, instead needing to use her scythe or perform a slam attack. She also doesn't jump as high as Belle does, but makes up for it by being able to wall jump instead.
  • The Jak and Daxter series has normally-playable protagonist Jak and small snarky sidekick Daxter. There are occasional times where Daxter is playable, often for minigames or his own Gaiden Game but usually they are joined at the shoulder (Making the single exception in Jak II where Jak is playable without Daxter more noticeable).
  • Mega Man X3 has an instance where X is kidnapped midway through the opening stage, giving us the first time Zero is playable. After X is rescued at the end of the stage, Zero is available to play in limited usage.
  • At one point in Mischief Makers, you must play as Teran instead of Marina. Teran has dramatically different abilities and controls.
  • The Pinocchio video game has players controlling the puppet for most of the game, but the second level actually has them taking control of Jiminy Cricket.
  • Pizza Tower features two levels where Peppino tags out (and later, back in) with the otherwise supporting character, Gustavo, assisted by Brick the rat; one stage has you play as Gustavo for the majority of the level, and the other has both given roughly equal screentime. Gustavo and Brick have completely different mechanics than Peppino, making for a somewhat slower and more methodical breather from the breakneck speed of the rest of the game.
  • In the indie game Psychosomnium, whenever you die in sight of another NPC, you gain control of that NPC. Serves for a few interesting twists.
  • In nearly every Ratchet & Clank game the player mainly controls Ratchet, but at times must directly take control of Clank for various reasons (for example, in the first game at one point there's a planet with a hazardous atmosphere so only Clank can head out on his own while Ratchet must stay behind).
    • The spin-off game Secret Agent Clank inverts this: Clank is the one played as for the majority of the game while Ratchet is the one the player briefly controls at various points.
    • A plot point in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is to play through five episodes of a Vid-Comic series staring Captain Qwark. Later on, in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Qwark is again playable in an (optional) arcade game called My Blaster Runs Hot. Rusty Pete is also playable as the second player character.
  • It's commonplace in the Sly Cooper series. In fact, it's not only always used, but also used more and more with each installment.
    • In the original, you mainly played as Sly but there were a few levels where you controlled Murray driving the van.
    • In the first sequel, Murray and Bentley are both playable characters; it starts using the practice of switching characters within story missions (for example, you may start one mission as Sly and then after a certain point automatically switch to Bentley).
    • In the third game, you not only had the main trio but five other playable characters as well.
    • And the fourth game looks to be following this pattern with the inclusion of Sly's ancestors.
  • Used a couple times in the Sonic the Hedgehog series:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 features two intertwining storylines in Hero and Dark; hero has the players switching between Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails, while Dark has them using Eggman, Shadow, and Rouge. All six characters are used in the final ending.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has three main story arcs for Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, though other supporting cast members in the Sonic series will briefly take over as minor playable characters during each story (Tails and Knuckles for Sonic; Rouge and Omega for Shadow, and Amy and Blaze for Silver). Sometimes even one of the main three characters will be playable in another character's story mode: for example, in Sonic's story the player briefly controls Silver at one point.
    • Sonic Riders Zero Gravity, has two intertwining storylines — the heroes and the Babylon Rogues. The heroes team has (again) Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, while the Babylon Rogues team has Jet, Wave and Storm. Amy gets a level for herself — though, oddly, her level is in the middle of the Babylon Rogues' story, even though she spends most of her time with the Hero team. And her objective is to outrace a computer-controlled Babylon Rogue.
    • The fan game When Tails Gets Bored switches the player character to Tails for the True Final Boss.

    Puzzle Games 
  • In AI: The Somnium Files, you play as Kaname Date (or, more specifically, Aiba as an extension of Date's psyche) as you explore other people's Somniums, with two late-game exceptions. On Mizuki's route, Mizuki ends up being the one to Psync with Date in an effort to wake him up from his psychological coma. Later, on the Resolution route, Date ends up on the receiving end of a Psync again, but this time you play as him as Saito is Psyncing with him to get his original body back. And all you can do is let it happen. During the Resolutioj routel Hitomi is briefly playable during her recollection about Manaka’s death.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death Very easy to implement in the level editor, and they occasionally appear in the main level sets.
  • Portal 2 has this for community created puzzle maps made by players via Steam Workshop. In single player mode, you play as Chell. In co-op, you play as a robot (Atlas or P-body). When you play a community created map, you play as... one of the stick figures from the Aperture videos. The character in question had no name for a while until a patch release notes dubbed him as Bendy.
  • In the Professor Layton series, Layton, Luke and Emmy are “playable” in that they are the ones shown solving the puzzles, complete with voiced lines and animations. In some of the games, however, other major characters gets to solve as few as well:
    • In Unwound Future, three puzzles are solved by Flora, making her Promoted to Playable. Future Luke also solves a few puzzles when he joins the group.
    • In Miracle Mask, you briefly team up with Layton’s childhood friend Randall in a flashback and solve a few puzzles as him. Also the final puzzle is solved by Angela... who is then revealed to be Descole in disguise, meaning you were actually playing as the Big Bad.
    • Azran Legacy adds two new playable puzzle solvers to the group: Aurora and Professor Sycamore. Sycamore is later revealed to be Descole, meaning you were actually playing as him again. You later get to solve puzzles as Descole without any disguises.
  • In Small Town Murders: most levels are played as Nora, but there are levels played as Mike, Mrs. Musgrove or Tess.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • You start off playing Crusader Kings as one character, growing older and (hopefully) wiser as you go, until eventually you meet your demise in one way or another. You then switch to play as your heir, who might be your firstborn child whom you carefully raised and educated from birth, but sometimes it's a random distant relative whom you've never even met before. Either way you'll be continuing the game as a completely different character.
  • The Starcraft campaigns follow a logical story and difficulty order, but when going from one race's campaign to another, you'll take over someone you've never heard of before. In all three campaigns, the first few levels teach you the new base and unit concepts for each race before cranking up the difficulty.
  • Subverted in Total Annihilation: Kingdoms, which caused this to be viewed by some people as a negative trait, in spite of the fact that you are learning all four factions equally.
  • Warcraft III does this several times, sometimes multiple times per section. The most aggravating uses the same character, combining this trope with Bag of Spilling, in the change between the Human and Undead campaign. There Arthas goes from a max-level character with a collection of powerful artifacts and an Infinity +1 Sword to a level one character with a healing potion. He also loses the effect of the sword, despite it being a very important plot point that he is still using it.

    Rhythm Games 
  • Arcaea does this very often, though with minimal effect on gameplay. There are around a dozen different storylines, each following a separate character or pair that must be used when unlocking their respective entries.
  • In Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, while you'll use Raphael/Phantom R most of the time, you will occasionally control Fondue, Marie, Charlie, or Vergier. Each of them also receives a bonus chapter starring them, with Charlie and Vergier sharing one.

    Role Playing Games 
  • This happens a few times in Betrayal at Krondor, but the most egregious is the beginning of Chapter 5, when you lose Owyn for the first time and instead get Patrus, whose stats are... well, he's a very old man. As the story switches back and forth between the two groups, you don't really lose anyone for long.
  • BioWare likes this trope:
    • Knights of the Old Republic set the precedent: Your Player Character, Bastila and Carth are captured by the Sith, and you have to choose one of your party members to bail you out. Not so difficult with Canderous, Juhani, or the droids, as they get to keep their gear. But for a challenge and a good laugh, pick Jolee or Mission. The Game Mod Brotherhood of Shadow also has frequent moments of this as you play through several Nintendo Hard flashbacks as Channa Mae.
    • In Jade Empire, this is limited to a few brief segments, notably two where you command Black Whirlwind and your choice of Dawn Star or Silk Fox during the siege of Dirge. There's also a less obvious instance where you have the option of playing as Black Whirlwind fighting in the arena against his brother.
    • Dragon Age: Origins has this as an option for a sequence in Denerim. You get to choose which two party members come for you. Also, during the Final Battle, you briefly control the party members whom you left at the Denerim gates (i.e. did not put into the active Player Party for the final push), as they Hold the Line against the encroaching Darkspawn.
    • Mass Effect 2 has a segment near the end, where Shepard and their crew leave the Normandy in the shuttle, and in their absence the Collectors invade. You're suddenly and jarringly given control of Joker, who must limp around the ship activating the AI to get the Normandy out of trouble.
    • During the climax of Mass Effect: Andromeda after Archon severs Ryder's connection to SAM the player takes control of their opposite-sex twin as they have to re-establish the connection onboard the Hyperion while it's under Kett attack.
  • One sidequest in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm involves an old, lost diary. When you read it, the game places you in the shoes of its former owner and you get to live through her adventure. The writer in question happens to be a young child with a big imagination, so her adventure is… surreal.
  • Breath of Fire:
    • Breath of Fire I:
      • Ryu tours through two city-dungeons on his local continent before arriving at Winlan where the game switches over to Nina, who is at a much lower level, as she goes off on a quest unrelated to the Dark Dragons. And then you have to save her.
      • Later on in the same game, you switch to greedy fish-merchant Gobi after the heroes are stranded on a desert island; he's the only one who can venture underwater and pick up the MacGuffin needed to escape.
    • Breath of Fire IV: At certain points, you play as Big Bad Fou Lu. Justified as he is Ryu's other half.
  • Chrono Cross does this with both main character and party members, but in an unusual way. Your antagonist body-swaps you. Your old party members stay behind with "Serge" and you're forced to recruit and equip a new party as Lynx.
  • Since the party is broken up frequently in CIMA: The Enemy, the player often takes control of either Ivy or one of the combat-capable settlers.
  • The Code Geass RPG has brief sequences where the player goes from controlling Lelouch to directing Suzaku or Castor. Amusingly, the way to get back onto the anime canon path is to get Castor killed during one of these sequences by trying to Geass a soldier who's wearing a visor that blocks the power.
  • Cosmic Fantasy 2 for the PC-Engine / Turbo Duo starts out with Van, but after he is sent forward in time by the main villain, the game switches to Babbette, a member of the Cosmic Hunters. The change causes a brief difficulty spike because Babbette starts out at Level 1 and is very poorly equipped. After meeting a second character and dealing with a fairly tough dungeon and boss, the focus changes back over to Van, who ends up rescuing an imprisoned Babbette.
  • Dark Chronicle begins with Monica's first fight, within her castle, before confronting Gaspard and following him back in time. After that, you'll play as Max for the entire first dungeon, and meet Monica on the way to Sindain.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku 2 and Buu's Fury, you change between characters constantly. There are doors that only certain characters above level X can open. And you have to level ALL of them separately.
  • Dubloon temporarily switches point of view to Riley and his monkey Ricky when Russel and Anne leave Outcast Island, until they cross paths with each other.
  • In Dragon Quest IV, you go through 4 chapters, each focusing around different characters before you get to control the main hero. The DS remake added a prologue where you played as The Hero.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The remakes of Final Fantasy II adds in a post-game episode, Soul of Rebirth where Minwu is the main protagonist, taking place right after he dies.
    • Due to its ensemble nature, Final Fantasy VI doesn't have one locked protagonist and you can pretty much just have your favorite characters form a party. You start out with Terra, but then she falls unconscious and you control Locke. Then you use the both of them and get Edgar and Sabin. Then the characters are split up and you switch between their own viewpoints. Once they reunite eventually you just have to use Locke and Celes at one point with two party members of your choice, and then after the next couple dungeons you can use anyone. Then you automatically have just Terra and Locke again, and then its back to your choice. And then the Wham Episode comes and you're left with just Celes and have you get your party members back. After you get more than four you can then start switching out anyone you want for the rest of the game.
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, you normally control Cloud for all non-combat gameplay segments. However, there are five points where you assume control of Aerith (just after Cloud gets a massage from Madam M, just after Cloud is forced into a dress, while Cloud is seducing Don Corneo, while Cloud is keeping an eye on some pressure gauges in the sewers, and while Cloud is fighting on the Sector 7 pillar while Marlene needs rescuing), two points where you assume control of Barret (when he falls into an abandoned Shinra lab and when he and Aerith are separated from Cloud and have to fight the Arsenal), and two points where you assume control of Tifa (when her lithe frame is needed to get over a barrier and when the guys and girls are separated in Hojo's laboratory and have to explore separately).
    • Final Fantasy VIII has segments where you play as Laguna and Company living the events of the past.
    • Final Fantasy IX also has several times where control is switched from Zidane to someone else. After the introduction, you actually start the game out playing as Vivi before regaining use of Zidane. Later on in the disc, the viewpoints split between the parties of Zidane, Vivi, and Freya, and Dagger, Steiner, and Marcus, and the game switches between the two all the way up to about 1/3 of Disc 2. Disc 2 also notably has a mission where Dagger becomes the main character even while Zidane is still in the party. Disc 3 again starts out with the player controlling Vivi, and later on your party splits up and Eiko is the default character to lead the Desert Palace group, if you included her as you're expected to do (if she isn't included, the order of command goes Steiner, Vivi, and then Freya, in that order.)
    • Final Fantasy X features a brief moment where the player controls Yuna rather than Tidus.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 actually starts the game out with the player controlling Rikku rather than Yuna, with Yuna actually acting as a boss. Turns out it's an imposter and the real Yuna is currently waiting on the sidelines.
    • In Final Fantasy XII the player starts off controlling a character called Reks. However, Reks's involvement is little more than a tutorial and it doesn't take long before you're given control of the real viewpoint character, Vaan.
    • Final Fantasy XIII spends the whole first half of the game party switching; the first 2 chapters are the most jarring, but since you don't have many accessories at the time, it's not exactly a loss. After Chapter 3, this trope is zig-zagged; characters develop as you use them (frequently, you're stuck with parties of 2, so there's no choice in who you use); when you eventually reach the point where you have the entire party at your disposal, most characters' abilities overlap (e.g. five of your six characters will have the Ravager Role, four of six with have Commando, etc), so its up to you who you use and what roles they focus on (they all become unlocked at this point).
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 starts with Lightning as a tutorial and then it's Noel and Serah (and their pet Mons) all the way, though you can play as Lightning again in downloadable content.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has this, unusually for an MMORPG. Beginning in the third Stormblood patch, there are several "Role-Play" instances during the story in which the player is briefly given control of another character, such as the other Scions. They have a highly simplified set of abilities compared to a fully playable class and are powerful enough that the duties aren't particularly challenging. Amusingly, they eventually get so into this that occasionally they have to specify that "In the coming battle, you will play as [yourself]", just to make it clear that you're done roleplaying for now.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy you play as the mains from I to X and a bit of XI and XII to unlock in separate character storylines. However, characters make appearances in each others' storylines, and you end up all together at the climax. The Museum section allows you to see a video of the whole story in chronological order.
    • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light splits the party into pairs shortly after the first dungeon. Then, thanks to those pairs' misadventures, each of the four protagonists has to spend part of the game's first half running around solo (although they do sometimes have a temporary party member to help out). They don't reunite until the Disc-One Final Dungeon.
  • Fire Emblem does this a few times:
    • Genealogy of the Holy War has the hero Sigurd killed halfway through the game (but you probably already knew that) and control passes to Sigurd's son Seliph 15 years latter.
    • The Blazing Blade does this after the early Forced Tutorial chapters with Lyndis. She later rejoins the brigade a few missions afterward.
    • The Sacred Stones has a single bonus chapter where the player controls Ephraim's group briefly.
    • Radiant Dawn uses this, where the player will bounce between the Dawn Brigade/Daein Army, the Greil Mercenaries and the Crimean Royal Knights (the last 2 later get lumped together). It actually makes the game somewhat unique compared to the others, and allows a Let's Split Up, Gang! near the end.
    • Awakening plays with this in an interesting way: The Chrom and Robin you play as in the Prologue aren't the same as the ones you play as for the remainder of the game. This doesn't become obvious until that same Robin shows up again alongside the one you're playing as.
  • Front Mission 4, which bounces the story back and forth between Venezuela and Europe seemingly at random (though the prospect of something major happening in one branch can facilitate the switch... but mostly it's random).
  • Although the switch takes place during the break between the two games, the two games are still two halves of the same story and thus still count: In Golden Sun, you play as Isaac, Garet, Ivan, and Mia, on a quest to stop Saturos and Menardi's attempts to light the lighthouses. In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the sequel, control switches over to Felix, Saturos and Menardi's right-hand man and Isaac and Garet's former friend, and you continue the quest to light the lighthouses for far nobler reasons than Saturos and Menardi indicated. Once they discover this fact, Isaac's group ends up joining forces with Felix's.
  • Grandia:
    • In Grandia II, you take control of Roan in the epilogue as he visits each of his old friends three years after everyone had already parted ways, after having played as Ryudo for the entire main story.
    • During Grandia III, you take control of Alfina alone inside her subconscious, after she passes out in the real world following Seiba's demise, in order to explore the events leading her brother Emelious to betray her many years ago.
  • Growlanser: Heritage of War is extremely guilty of this trope. It does it not only once but 4-5 times before you get on the main character's story. Although the actions you do with each characters will affect the main story line.
  • Neptunia:
    • Hyperdimension Neptunia: In both the original game and its subsequent remakes, Neptune gets bedridden from poison and IF becomes the party leader while searching for an antidote. Neptune's absence has additional repercussions in the original PS3 version; since she's the once who signed all the party's paperwork for cross-continental travel, the party can't leave Leanbox without her.
    • Megadimension Neptunia VII: Shortly after the second arc begins, all the CPUs and their sisters get separated from each other and have to complete their respective mini-arcs before they reunite. Their party sizes are also mismatched with only Neptune having a full party of 4, which prompts her to send away Nepgear to join Vert's solo party for balance. Later at the start of the third arc, the CPUs get captured and Nepgear has to lead all their sisters to rescue them.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts II: The player spends the first few hours of the game controlling Roxas before resuming control as Sora from the first game. All of Roxas' stats are transferred to Sora after the switch. Additionally, during the final boss battle, the player character briefly switches to Riku after Sora is grabbed and starts having his energy drained by Xemnas. Also, if Sora falls during specific boss fights, Mickey will leap in action to save him, under the player's control. (Though he lacks a finishing move and must revive Sora to deal the final blow).
    • Kingdom Hearts III: Even though Sora is playable through the very end, Riku is playable twice in the Realm of Darkness, fighting the Demon Tower, and again in the [Remind] DLC, during a Once More, with Clarity Boss Battle where he and Sora swap party positions. Aqua is also playable in Castle Oblivion during the boss fight against Vanitas and again during Remind. Roxas and Kairi are optionally playable in the [Remind] DLC. There's also a segment in Remind where the play controls every keyblade wielder, except Sora and Kairi, at the same time, and then a short segment as Mickey.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords by Obsidian Entertainment goes to town with this trope:
    • The game starts with you controlling T3-M4 to repair Ebon Hawk, before you are allowed to play as the Exile for the first time.
    • There are also two segments where you control a team of party members (two and three, respectively) while the Exile is occupied elsewhere. Thankfully, you get to pick them yourself, and the second time, on Dxun, comes with plenty of warning and an option to pause and prepare better.
    • On the other hand, the fight between Atton and the Twin Suns in the Nar Shaddaa cantina comes out of the blue and you will be in trouble if you ignored Atton up to this point and gave your best equipment to other party members.
    • A particularly egregrious case is the Remote's solo mission on Malachor. The thing is level 1, cannot level up, has laughable weaponry and hit points. You can make it easy by first clearing the area, as the main character walks through it first (alone) and can easily handle all its dangers. If you just rushed through it to the area exit while ignoring the monsters, though... well, at least you'll know better on second playthrough!
    • The sequence where Mira fights with Hanharr also counts. She's not yet part of the team so you hadn't had a chance to develop and prepare her. Fortunately, she has access to the group's shared inventory, so depending on what sort of weapons and grenades you have that you did NOT already put on existing crewmembers, that fight can be really easy, or very problematic... There's also the fact that Mira can be cross-classed into Jedi after she joins your party, so some players may want to save her levels during her fight against Hanharr so she could gain more levels as a Jedi later on, thus makes the fight more difficult.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has you seeing the perspective of Rean Schwarzer and Class VII for most of the game. After beating the Climax Boss, the game has a Time Skip and suddenly, you're playing as the previous playable characters, Lloyd Bannings and Rixia Mao, for a brief portion of the game. It then goes back to Rean after the Divertissement chapter.
  • Legend of Legaia does this once with Noa, who has an indestructible (for story purposes) partner before switching back to Vahn, and the two of them unite for the game's first boss.
  • Lie of Caelum: As part of the story, Kyou and Miyu will be required to give Aya advice on what type of Armor Unit to buy. Afterwards, the player is given control of Aya, who is now equipped with whatever armor was recommended.
  • Live A Live, which was the entire point of the game — seven completely unrelated stories happening in different time periods. It all comes together in the end of course. And it turns out the stories weren't completely unrelated.
  • The Longest Five Minutes: Two of the flashbacks are played from the points of view of Haru and Fuzz.
  • Lufia & The Fortress of Doom starts you out in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon as proven, top-level heroes, taking down the four Big Bads. And then it starts you out with a single level-one character just leaving his hometown.
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound (1994):
      • The party is captured and Paula psychically calls another one of the destined heroes to bust you out. He starts out at level one, so he'll need to do some Level Grinding first.
      • Also happens after Ness eats a magic cake, causing another character to show up.
    • Mother 3 does this multiple times. The prologue starts as Lucas, the hero. Then the first chapter has you play through the game as Flint, Lucas' father, up until the first "big" boss. He's joined about halfway through by Duster. The second chapter has you playing as Duster by himself, later joined by his father, Wess, and Rebellious Princess Kumatora. The next chapter switches focus entirely to a monkey named Salsa (though the chapter itself primarily serves to introduce QuirkyMiniboss Fassad). Then, finally, in the fourth chapter, the game switches to Lucas again, and only shifts once more to you, after you watch the effects of the Dark Dragon's awakening unfold, to speak to most of the game's main cast for a bit before the credits roll.
    • In Cognitive Dissonance, you initially take control of Giegue from right after he and his forces abandoned Earth in Earthbound Beginnings, before shifting to first protagonist Alivinar and the events kickstarting his mission.
  • NieR: Automata does this on multiple occasions after Route A. Route B begins with a prologue where you control a random machine lifeform, before shifting control to 9S for the remainder of the route. Route C/D starts off by switching between 2B and 9S, but after 2B's death the remainder of the game alternates between 9S and A2.
  • Not Tonight 2 (a simulation RPG) has has you working as Martyr #201 of the Miami gulag before shifting to Eduardo Suarez' companions Kevin, Malik, and Mari, then shifting back to #201 on the day that you pick up each of them with their appropriate items to set Eduardo free.
  • Odin Sphere does this, as all five of the main characters are part of the same chain of events. After clearing one character's story, you move on to the next character, and so on. For the final confrontation, you then decide which characters fight the final bosses, and selecting them in the correct order is the only way to achieve the best ending. Sadly, selecting them in the wrong order on multiple runs is also the only way to get 100% Completion to earn the true ending, which is uplifting enough to endure the bad endings.
  • The Outbound Ghost consists of five chapters, each of which has a different playable character. The first four chapters focus on a chain of events and their characters frequently interact with each other, while the fifth is treated as Post-End Game Content and stars a complete outsider only concerned with beating the Optional Bosses.
  • Paper Mario:
    • A prevalent trope in the first two games, taking place in between each major chapter. The first and second games had you control Peach in captivity, and the second also had you control Bowser who was on a mission of his own.
    • Not as pronounced in Super Paper Mario. In the game, after completing the first chapter, you play a short segment as Peach wandering through The Very Definitely Final Dungeon with a Koopa Troopa by her side and no enemies to fight. After Chapter Two, it's the same thing again, except you're playing as Luigi and accompanying you are two Goombas. After that, there's no more of these sequences. Two things of note:
      1. Bowser does not get a similar scene.
      2. While Peach fully retains her parasol ablities in her segment, Luigi cannot perform his high jump in his.
  • Phantasy Star III, which features multiple generations of the same family as lead characters. Interestingly, Mieu and Wren, who are cyborgs, retain their levels throughout all three generations. Also made a bit more palatable as you tend to start each generation slightly more badass than the previous one. Take that, dad!
  • During the siege on the Rocket base in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, a Grunt tosses a key into the rafter, causing player control to switch to the partner Pikachu/Eevee in order to retrieve it.
  • Pokémon Rejuvenation:
    • During three points in the game, you play as two different characters other that the protagonist: first as Maria during the intro, and then as Emma as she's investigating Blacksteeple Castle. Finally, as Melia during her first encounter with Spacea and Tiempa during the events at Amethyst Cave.
    • This happens again in V11, not only once, but thrice. First you play as Lavender trying to escape from the Hospital of Hope, then as Melia while she researches in the Blakeory Athenaeum and finally as Ren in the past after you are black out from the stress involving your repressed memories. Unlike the previous portions involving playing as different characters, all three include battles.
  • The Reconstruction features a minor example — after the prologue, where you play as Captain Rehm Sikohlon, the story Time Skips and switches perspectives to the real cast. And stays there.
  • Every game in the SaGa series after the Game Boy Final Fantasy Legend games. Special mention goes to Saga Frontier 2 which is the king of this trope: not only do you have characters who are playable for only one dungeon, one character is actually "playable" only for one cutscene, meaning you never get to do anything with him, and he doesn't even count as having ever been in your party unless you go to the trade city immediately afterwards. At least skills learned are learned for every character in the game, and with no stages after the one you are currently on, there is no reason you'd even want to grind to begin with. This is also a game that will jump years and even generations into the future without warning, and inconsistently at that, since you're following two families separately. Makes your brain hurt, and one can only imagine how far the time gap between them can be pushed.
  • Happens multiple times in Sailor Moon: Another Story. This is because each of the Inner Senshi — Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter — as well as Chibi-Moon have their own plotlines that they follow, in Chapter 2 of the game. All your characters also start off at level 1 (except Sailor Pluto, who you encounter well into the game), so you'll have to control how you level up if you want to try to level them up evenly.
  • The Suikoden series is fond of player character changes. Suikoden II and Suikoden V both had sections where you created 3 different teams of characters to complete a section, and there was a small section of the original where you played a lone Dragon Knight. In Suikoden III you get to see a single story unfold from the perspective of up to six different characters (three of which had to be unlocked via certain game events and the last of them being the Big Bad), and within those perspectives, there are points where you also control other central characters. note .
  • Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World have a form of this when played together. In Dawn of the New World, the opening is narrated by a character from the previous game (which you would have no way of knowing without having played the first), and you briefly get to see the protagonist of the first game. Very soon after, though, you're introduced to the new protagonist, Emil, and the cast of the first game won't show up for awhile.
    • Additionally, Emil's introduction itself can be very jarring if you've played the first game. Despite being the same age as Colette during her journey (and only a year younger than Lloyd), Emil is notably much less brave and significantly more whiny than any of the protagonists of the first game. Defenders of Emil will cite this as a nice change of pace, while detractors often claim it's just a downgrade.
  • Tokyo Xanadu eX+ has side stories that play in between most chapters, focusing on a character besides Kou. Usually these are existing party members, but there are two that put the player in the shoes of the White Shroud. Additionally, the second of these has him teaming up with an unnamed soldier, who turns out to be Gorou a chapter and a half before he joins the party.
  • Treasure of the Rudra has an interesting variant in that you can switch from one character's story to another's at the drop of a hat.
  • Vandal Hearts I & II have small scale versions. In the first, several of your party members are thrown in prison and you assume control of The Stoic Clint. In the second, the prologue chapter has you control The Hero Joshua and his two friends as teenagers, but then skips forward into the future and your friends are replaced by Joshua's new criminal buddies.
  • Wild ARMs:
    • The series tends to open like this quite frequently, introducing us to the characters in separate missions before they all meet up. You can usually choose the order in which you do this, as well. It's part of the series' emphasis on an ensemble cast, rather than one obvious main character and their group of sidekicks.
    • Wild ARMs 3 started off with the cast going on individual flashback missions, each one showing how they ended up on the train they were riding. Eventually they all teamed up and the game started for real.
  • The first Xenosaga pulled this on the player a few times, with the only difference being that the item pool and money carried over between parties until all three groups meet up.
  • Happens multiple times in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 rather briefly. Though you can always change who the party's leader is, you're forced into using a particular character or group of characters during these moments, which often don't even require you to fight anything.

    Sports Games 
  • Mario Tennis Aces has you playing as Mario for the entirety of the single player adventure mode. Towards the end of the game, you play as Peach in a doubles match with Daisy on your side and playing against the corrupted Wario and Waluigi. You resume control of Mario after winning to play against the corrupted Luigi.

    Stealth Based Games 
  • The Assassin's Creed series has multiple examples.
    • Assassin's Creed II has a dream sequence where you control Altair briefly.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations has five segments that star Altair. It goes on much longer.
    • Assassin's Creed III:
      • The game has you play the first three memory sequences (about a fifth of the game) as Haytham Kenway, the main protagonist's father. While Haytham can acquire money and equipment in these sequences, none of it carries over to when you start playing as Connor — but oddly, any exploration or sidequests that Haytham accomplished do. Connor can get the money Haytham had, however, if the player is able to find the Green Dragon Inn (Haytham's base of sorts during his sequences) and picks the lock on the chest inside.
      • Conner's Mother, Ziio, appears on the loading screen before Connor's first segment, and like any other character, you can control her to a limited extent and run about a featureless white void.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity has the opening sequence where you play a Templar Knight during The Purge of The Knights Templar. Then you switch over to Arno Dorian, who lives during The French Revolution.
    • The Freedom Cry DLC for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has you play as The Lancer Adewale via Another Side, Another Story. The 2015 2½D side-games Assassin's Creed: Chronicles has three different games with three different protagonists.
  • Manhunt 2 has you playing Danny, but also Leo in the "6 years ago" chapters.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has quite possibly the most famous example of this. After about an hour and a half of teasing the player with Solid Snake, he was replaced with Raiden, a completely new character who had never been seen in the series before. The storyline shifted, too, from a band of Russian extremists taking over a Tanker to a loony renegade unit taking over an offshore cleaning facility, two years later. All the player's weapons and items were gone, and if they'd spent time Level Grinding their Grip Gauge it was reset to Level 1.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, jokes with this: If the player chooses MGS2 as his favourite of the franchise when starting a game, the player characters starts the game wearing the Raiden mask... which he soon discards after the first cutscene.
    • Played straight in MGS3's now-defunct multiplayer component for the PS2, Metal Gear Online. Depending on the team, if allowed, and who is leading/falling, you can take control as either Ocelot (who has superior CQC abilities and can start with the SAA), Raikov (who has a unique CQC move and is somewhat faster), or Sokolov (who is weaker but starts with active camo). In Sneaking mission, the one player can control Snake who has superior health, CQC, and overall abilities.
    • Continued in the also now-defunct Metal Gear Online on PS3. Sneaking Mission gives you Old Snake, who is considerably weaker compared to Snake from MGO on PS2, but has the same stealth abilities he had in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and performs better than regular soldiers, with a partner (if there are 11 players in the room) taking control as Otacon who can distract or stun soldiers, and deliver dog tags to Snake. DLC included the ability to play as Meryl (can start with a scoped D.Eagle), Johnny (XM8 Compact/Anti-Tank rifle, no nano machines), Mei Ling (can call air strikes and can use a sonar device), Liquid Ocelot (manipulate nanomachines, superior CQC and can use the Thor), Raiden (use the sword and is fast), and Vamp (can respawn on the spot and is great with knives), with Snake being allowed to be used in regular matches.
    • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, you have the option to play as any of the regular soldiers you recruited, provided you are not restricted from using them in a particular stage (such as if you haven't finished a level you want to play on the first time already).
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops also grants the option and a similar limitation. The game will force you to invoke this when Snake gets captured.
    • Taking a cue from Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also allows you to play as other recruited soldiers. Also, the "Big Boss" you're suppposedly playing as in the main story....isn't the real Naked Snake/Big Boss, as was heavily advertised beforehand. You're actually playing as a Body Double the whole time.
  • In Phantom Doctrine tutorial, you aren't playing as Deadpan or Kodiak (respectively the player character in the CIA and KGB campaign), but as a Beholder Initiative agent (i.e. a villain) codenamed "Kingfish". He reappears as an antagonist in a CIA mission.

    Survival Horror 
  • In the very middle of the story in Alien: Isolation, you briefly play as Marlow, as he tells Amanda how his wife came to be infected with the alien.
  • In Bevel's Painting, you typically play as the titular character, Bevel, but in the best ending, you can play as her other self. Subverted in the worst ending, in which you look like the other Bevel, but you still have everything in your inventory.
  • Clock Tower starts you out as Professor Barton, an Exposition Dropping Character who decides your player character and a few other quirks about the game depending on what you have him do. Then you either control Jennifer Simpson or Helen Maxwell for most of the game. In each of their chapters you'll also control either Stan Gotts or Nolan Campbell for a while.
  • In The Crooked Man, you briefly play as David's best friend Paul, and have to save David from Demonic Possession by the Crooked Man. After that's all over you resume playing as David.
  • In Deadly Premonition, after playing through most of the story as York, some sections near the end have you taking control of Emily, Zach, and the Original Raincoat Killer.
  • Eternal Darkness can feel like this if you play the game without having been spoiled of the plot beforehand. As a rule, it's best not to get too attached to the characters you get stuck with. Fortunately, there's no Level Grinding, and once each character finds the Tome, they have all the spells learned up to that point.
  • Fatal Frame:
    • Fatal Frame has the player control Mafuyu for the introduction, before switching to his sister Miku as the main protagonist.
    • Fatal Frame III takes you through the Kuze shrine as Rei, Miku, and Kei, with Rei getting the majority of the screen time. Each serves their own purpose — Kei can move heavy furniture, for example. Each character opens up more of the shrine and reveals pieces of the puzzle that Rei, on her own, cannot.
    • Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse makes Madoka the playable character for the introduction. Then the game switches between Ruka Minazuki, Misaki Asou, and Choushiro Kirishima, following their respective investigations into Rougetsu Island.
    • Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water switches between Yuuri Kozukata, Ren Houjo, and Miu Hinasaki as playable characters in the main game. Post-game side stories feature Ayane from the Dead Or Alive series as a playable character, who has to resort to stealth and evasion due to her martial arts skills being ineffective against ghosts.
  • Fear Effect has the games regularly switch between all available characters at such a rapid pace you can struggle to acclimatize yourself to them.
  • The first two Five Nights at Freddy's games have you play as security guards at a Suck E. Cheese's. The third game, however, has you play as an actor playing the role of a security guard at a horror attraction (while also looking over the place at night). The fourth game, however, appears to be from the perspective of an ordinary child instead (due to the POV being closer to the ground than before, and the assortment of toys around a colorful bedroom).
  • Headless Prisoner must obtain the Good Ending, before unlocking the True Ending. For the True Ending path, the player takes control of the Red Witch, adding a lot of background into how the game's beginning even came into being.
  • In Ib, under some very special circumstances, you can play as Mary. If you're playing as Mary, you're screwed. You are stuck on the path for the worst ending of the game; you've already lost Ib and Garry, and it's only a matter of time for Mary.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil has you take control of Rebecca in Chris' scenario if Chris gets poisoned by the giant snake. Depending on your interactions with Rebecca, she'll also show up again to make a chemical compound so she can save Chris from a giant mutant plant.
    • Resident Evil 2 had short segments where you switched control to Ada (Leon's scenario) or Sherry (Claire's scenario). The game also has an unlockable bonus mode called "The 4th Survivor", which takes place alongside the main story and follows an Umbrella soldier known as "HUNK". The 2019 remake also has free non-canon DLC side-stories called "The Ghost Survivors" which follows gun shop owner Robert Kendo, mayor's daughter Katherine Warner, and an unnamed Umbrella soldier.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis with Carlos, who had the longest character switch in the series, complete with his own area to explore and an optional boss fight.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica does this, but a bit differently than usual. After playing through most of the first half with Claire, she gets captured by Alexia, forcing the player to take control of Chris to rescue her. Any item left on the storage box can be retrieved by Chris, but items that were carried by Claire before the character switch cannot be used by Chris until the game switches back to her for a brief portion near the end. There is also a brief segment where the player takes control of Steve Burnside, testing out his sub machine guns.
    • Resident Evil 0 automatically switches to the other character when one ends up in distress.
    • Resident Evil 4 where you control Ashley briefly. The GameCube version includes a glitch that lets you suplex the Ganados chasing her.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations includes segments of past and current events taking place in the story, where you take control of either Chris, Parker, or Keith.
    • Resident Evil 6 has it with the three story arcs for Leon, Chris, and newcomer Jake Muller.
    • Resident Evil Dead-Aim has a couple of parts where you take control as Fong Ling.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 does the same as Revelations where you play past and current events, only instead you can actually switch between characters.
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard features a completely new protagonist, named Ethan Winters, as oppose to the series' main gang. This ultimately makes sense, as the game inverts the Actionized Sequel trope that had been in effect since Resident Evil 4, and all the previous protagonists have taken pretty large levels of badass beyond that point. You can also switch to other characters in the playable VHS tapes, including cameraman Clancy and Ethan's wife Mia. Near the end of the game you are forced to play as Mia for the ship section when Ethan is captured and Mia attempts to save him. The DLC adds two more playable characters: Joe Baker and Chris Redfield.
    • Resident Evil Village has Ethan as the protagonist again, but briefly switches to Chris Redfield when Ethan is incapacitated near the end.
  • All three games of the Siren Games series, have you hop from one character to the next constantly, also hopping backwards or forwards in the game's timeline. Unfortunately, when you return to the same character you'll often find that no matter how what weapons or ammo you finished their earlier level with, they start off the next level with less.
  • Until Dawn switches back and forth between eight characters for you to control.
  • If your character dies in ZombiU, he/she gets replaced with a totally different character. You are also forced to start from the safe house and encouraged to reclaim that character's backpack, zombie or not.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The 24 game mainly switches out gameplay perspectives behind Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida, and Chase Edmunds. During one section where CTU is taken over early on, the player also controls Michelle Dessler and then Kim Bauer as they try to survive.
  • Gears of War:
    • In Gears of War 3, the character each player controls changes depending on who is along for this part of the story with about 8 total playable. Player 1 is always series Protagonist Marcus Fenix with the exception of part of Chapter 1 where they control Augustus Cole.
    • Gears Of War: Judgement: most of the game is framed as a flashback, each chapter being from a different characters perspective. As such the character being controlled changes each chapter to the one narrating the story.
    • The Aftermath chapter of Judgement is set during the events of the third game and features Clayton Carmine in place of Judgement's Sophia.
  • James Bond:
    • 007: From Russia with Love for the PS2 and GC has an interesting variant. For the second mission you're controlling a notably silent Bond while infiltrating an enemy fortress. Then he gets killed and it's revealed that the "Bond" you were playing as this whole time is actually a fake in a mask; you then switch over to the real Bond in England for the rest of the level. Anyone who's seen the movie probably will see this switch coming.
    • A much more straight use occurs in Tomorrow Never Dies, which has you controlling Bond Girl Wai Lin in the penultimate level rather than Bond himself.
  • Halo 3: ODST. The game starts off as the player controls The Rookie, the newest member of the ODST squad. During the atmospheric drop into the city, a subspace rupture damages your pod and scatters your team across the city. You awake hours later in the middle of the night all alone. The Rookie spends the game exploring the ruined city finding clues as to what happened to his squad while he was unconscious. Everytime a clue is located, the game shifts to the player controlling a different member of the squad. By the end of the game the player will have controlled every member of the squad during their individual mission segments which come together to form the game's ending after the squad is reunited.
  • Left Alive switches between playing as three playable protagonists: Mikhail, Olga, and Leonid.
  • In Max Payne 2, two levels are played from the perspective of Mona Sax.
  • MDK2 stars three protagonists, each with their own 3 levels and their own skillsets. At the beginning of the final level you get to choose who will you play as.
  • Red Dead Redemption: After John is murdered by Edgar Ross at the end, the game features a Playable Epilogue that takes place years later where the player takes control over his now grown-up son Jack, looking to avenge his father's death.
  • Occurs in the Reservoir Dogs game for the simple reason that the game follows the plot of the movie. The only character who doesn't die the second you stop controlling him is Mr Orange, who is only controllable in the tutorial, and possibly Mr. Pink.
  • Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion has you play as an Octoling named Agent 8, who has woken up in an abandoned subway station without their memories. Beating the campaign lets you switch between Agent 4 (i.e., your original Inkling) and Agent 8 as your player avatar at any time for use in multiplayer.
  • The Terminator: Dawn of Fate has three playable characters that usually has a weapon or two unique to each.
  • Warframe:

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, there are two segments in which you play as Maya while she's kidnapped.
    • Done three times in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations: in Cases 1 and 4, you do a flash-back to early cases of Phoenix's mentor, Mia Fey, and naturally play as her. In case 5 of the same game, Phoenix suffers a nasty accident and convinces Miles Edgeworth to briefly take his place as a defense attorney.
    • Also done in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, where you end up playing as Phoenix in his last trial. After that you play as Thalassa Gramarye playing out Phoenix's seven year investigation through the MASON system.
    • Dual Destinies splits up the cases among Phoenix, Apollo, and new character Athena Cykes, giving each of them the chance to be the viewpoint character.
    • Spirit of Justice works similarly to Dual Destinies. The fifth case, while mainly played as Apollo, also includes an investigation segment played as Phoenix.
    • Case 3 of Prosecutor's Path has the player switching back and forth between Miles Edgeworth investigating a poisoning in 2019 and his father Gregory Edgeworth investigating a related murder in 2000. Case 2 also has a brief moment where you play as Gumshoe.
  • In Akatsuki no Goei's fandisk, all the heroines have afterstories. Except Reika, however, because in place of an afterstory we instead get a side story from the perspective of Kaito's "friend" Tominori. He has to beg Kaito to let him be the protagonist though.
  • Corpse Party has this in each Chapter. Chapter 1 has you control Naomi (with Seiko). In Chapter 2, you briefly control Yui-sensei before shifting to Yoshiki (with Ayumi). In Chapter 3, you control Satoshi, then Yuka when the two end up separating. In Chapter 4, you control Ayumi and Satoshi. Finally, in Chapter 5, you can switch control between Ayumi and Satoshi (and briefly control Yuka when she needs to escape from Kizami) in order to meet the requirements to escape.
  • Choices: Stories You Play:
    • Across the Void: The Protagonist is Nova, but you get to play as his/her two siblings, Eos and Pax.
    • It Lives in the Woods: The protagonist is Devon, but you get to play as his/her friends, four of whom are also love interests.
    • A Courtesan of Rome: The protagonist is Arin, but you get to play as her parents, Victus and Delphinia.
    • Rules of Engagement: The protagonist is Katie, but you get to play as her three siblings, Jess, Nicole and Alex, and in some premium scenes, as their cousin Violet.
    • My Two First Loves: The protagonist is Emma, but you get to play as her love interests, Mason, Noah and Ava.
    • Getaway Girls: The protagonist is Teyana, but you get to play as her sister Maia, their cousin Anita and their friend Dee Dee.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Chapter 4 of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has a segment where you play as Nagito Komaeda, investigating an area inaccessable to the normal player character Hajime Hinata.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: The game pulls this during the first Class Trial, switching the player's control to Shuuichi Saihara, when it's revealed that the case's murderer is Kaede Akamatsu, the original player character. In the final trial, after Shuichi temporarily crosses the Despair Event Horizon, K1-B0 gets several playable segments, and the final rally gives Himiko and Maki a playable argument each.
  • This trope is the whole point of Disgaea Infinite, in which you play a Prinny who can jump into control of various classic Disgaea characters and turn back time, in order to replay events from different perspectives and solve a mystery.
  • The intro of Fate/stay night is narrated by Rin Tohsaka, one of the game's major characters and a potential love interest for the actual protagonist, Shirou, who narrates most of the rest of it. On brief occasions the POV will switch to another character such as Saber when Shirou is otherwise preoccupied, most notably when Saber has to rescue Shirou from Kirei and Gilgamesh in the church's basement in the Fate route. The end of the Heaven's Feel route is once again narrated from Rin's POV, notably being one of the only times in the game Shirou's appearance can be seen outside of CGs.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend:
    • The Bad Boys Love route begins with the human girl getting killed. For the remainder of that route, you play as Ryouta. The protagonist-shift goes hand-in-hand with a Genre Shift from a weird dating sim to a weird murder mystery thriller.
    • In the second game there are much more nonchalant POV switches to Yuuya and Nageki as they do things out of the protagonist's sight in the last chapter.
  • Each of The Letter's seven chapters focus on a different character who has read the eponymous letter.
  • In Little Busters! Riki is the main POV character for most of the game, but on occasion the POV will switch to another character with the colour of the text box changing accordingly. Riki has a blue textbox, Haruka has pink, Masato has red, and Saya has yellow.
  • Minotaur Hotel: There are various interludes between chapters that are outside the master's point of view, with the most notable ones being the guest introduction scenes and the Hinterlands, a series of chapters that focus on the characters of P, a Peacock trying to find the titular hotel, and Storm, a runaway Minotaur who P finds in his quest to find the hotel.
  • Misericorde:
    • The prologue is a conversation between two men who are conspiring to overthrow the King of England. The rest of the story is told from the perspective of Hedwig, a former anchoress turned involuntary murder investigator, whose adventure has nothing to do with this conspiracy.
    • Inspecting a particular image in the gallery after you beat the game unlocks a secret scene which takes place 500 years after the events of the main story, starring an American traveler named Alex who encounters a strange woman while boarding a plane to the UK.
  • Morenatsu: Downplayed because the P.O.V. switches to another character for brief moments. The most notable instance is the denouement of Kouya's route where the POV shifts to Kouya when he visits his father after the big concert and begins the process of reconciling with his estranged family while the player character waits outside.
  • In Tyrion Cuthbert: Attorney of the Arcane, you briefly play as Ruby Tymora at the beginning of Case 4 instead of Tyrion.
  • In VA11HallA, you briefly play as Alma when she demands that Jill sit at the bar and talk about her problems and let Alma serve her a drink.
  • Witch on the Holy Night frequently switches POV between Aoko, Alice, and Soujuurou with some very brief switches to Touko as well. The post-game episode Potete dormire, ma nessun rida is solely narrated from Kumari's POV.
  • In Yumeutsutsu Re:Master, the story swaps from the point of view of heroine Ai to Love Interest Nana at the start of the latter's dedicated route. Most of the choices in said route are also made through her.

    Web Games 
  • You play as a Red Freak for part of The Bright in the Screen.
    "Sometimes you may feel like you are one of them... just remember, you're not. Yet."
  • The Single Character Random option in Super Mario Bros. Crossover changes the character after every level or life lost. Thankfully, they retain whatever gear they last had.
  • Ambition's gameplay mostly consists of advising various characters to do things, and the focus shifts very often.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, after Dex's betrayal the game suddenly and abruptly switches to Johnny Silverhand for a quick mission before changing back to V.
  • The player takes control of Malroth a few times near the end of Dragon Quest Builders 2, though the areas are very small and each segment only lasts for a few minutes.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • This is one of its main selling points; the game has a total of three protagonists that you can switch between at the press of a button. In shootouts where at least two of them are fighting alongside each other, this switching mechanic often becomes necessary to prevent the demise of whoever you aren't currently playing as.
    • You spend the first few hours of the game switching between Franklin and Michael, up until the aftermath of the first Heist Mission, at which point the game forcibly switches you to Trevor, and the Switch ability is locked out for several missions while Franklin and Michael lay low.
    • After Trevor and Michael kidnap Patricia Madrazo, you are briefly locked in as Franklin while the other two lay low in the desert.
  • L.A. Noire has the switching from Cole Phelps to Jack Kelso in the last three Arson cases, although control switches back to Cole for most of the final case.
  • Toward the end of Red Dead Redemption, you get to play as Jack Marston for the remainder of the game after the death of his father, John Marston. Likewise, in the prequel, after Arthur Morgan dies at the end of the main story, it goes through a Time Skip to a few years later where the player takes control of a new character — this time the second playable character being none other than John himself.
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run, you switch to a new character every level. But each character is more or less identical in terms of gameplay, and you get a better car with each level, so it's no loss.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2005) switches characters between Spider-Man and Venom.

And now for something completely different: Non-Video-Game Examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Every part features a main protagonist who is completely different from the previous one.
    • Phantom Blood: Jonathan is The Determinator, a Nice Guy, and is as tall as he is masculine. He is a defender of the weak, and is undeniably the softest JoJo in the series. He fights with Hamon, a weird sort of magic energy/martial art that can be channeled into the Power of the Sun.
    • Battle Tendency: Joseph is a Guile Hero Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is slightly less burly than Johnathan. A Combat Pragmatist at heart, Joseph is not above using every single dirty trick in the book to outfox his opponents. However, he deeply values familial ties and shows respect for people who are honorable at heart, or had a good reason to do what they did. Joseph also uses Hamon, though is much more adept at using it practically.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Jotaro is a 17-year old badass who alternates between clever thinking and brutal hand-to-hand combat with his Stand, Star Platinum. He hides a fiery sense of justice underneath his stoic facade, and is fiercely protective of his friends and family. His Stand, Star Platinum, is extremely quick and agile and represents Jotaro's hopefulness for the future. He also mellows out somewhat in Parts 4 and 6.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Josuke is a young teenager with a Hair-Trigger Temper who is just starting high school. Though he gets mad quickly, Josuke is very amicable and quite kind. His Stand, Crazy Diamond, has the ability to repair objects and people, reflecting his kind heart and desire to make friends. Jotaro even notes on it.
      Jotaro: Your ability is the most kind one a person can have.
    • Golden Wind: Giorno is a Robin Hood-like, extremely composed individual, though he is known for occasionally flying off the handle and utterly decimating his opponents. His Stand, Gold Experience, has the ability to give life to objects, reflecting his desire to give endlessly and to make people's lives easier.
    • Stone Ocean: Jolyne is a slightly perverted, thrill-seeking teenage girl who eventually becomes a mature, self-constrained young woman. Her Stand, Stone Free, has the ability to stretch out long distances in the form of strings and represents Jolyne's desire to free herself from the prison and her natural free spirit.
    • Steel Ball Run: Johnny is a cold, cynical anti-hero who is only in the race for the possibility to learn to walk again. Later in the story, Johnny discovers his totally pragmatic mindset, revealing that he is able to do horrifyingly dark acts without emotion. His Stand, Tusk, allows him to shoot his fingernails out like bullets and evolves over the course of the story. It represents Johnny's opening of his mindset, and his desire to reshape his future.
    • JoJolion: Josuke is an amnesiac hero, who wakes up naked on a beach with 2 tongues, 4 testicles, and no idea who he is or how he got there. Josuke's Stand, Soft and Wet, has the ability to 'steal' a trait from something (like the friction from the floor, making it slippery), representing Josuke's lack of identity, and desire to get it back.
    • The JoJoLands: Jodio is a 15-year old that's more or less an Anti-Hero that's commits crimes by way of supporting his mother; an arrogant, impulsive, simple-minded punk perfectly okay with trafficking drugs to minors, and ultimately only interested in becoming rich through his own philosophy called "Mechanism".
  • Tales of Zestiria The X is an anime based on, as one might expect, the video game Tales of Zestiria, albeit with some somewhat major alterations to the plot in places, most likely both to provide a fresh experience and to fit the television format. For two episodes, however in the first season, it breaks from Tales of Zestiria to give viewers the plot and characters of the game's prequel, Tales of Berseria. After these, Berseria is dropped, though the game's main protagonist, Velvet Crowe, is still seen briefly in the intro sequence for the anime's second season.

    Comic Books 
  • Berrybrook Middle School: Every story focuses on a different student at Berrybrook and their own friends.
  • In Holy Terror, right after The Fixer and Natalie Stack are hit with the first nail bomb, there's a cut to 10 minutes ago where the bomber, an exchange student named Amina, detonates herself and kills several people at a party and causes said explosion.
  • A few issues of Robin will switch to Stephanie as the main character with Tim out of focus as a supporting character instead of the usual reverse, and of course there's the three issues where Stephanie was Robin while Tim was briefly retired to civilian life. She was also Robin in the "World Without Young Justice'' tie-in issue.
  • Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: The first prologue shows Superman's side of the story. The second prologue shows what Spider-Man was up to while Superman ended his battle against Lex Luthor. Finally, the third prologue shows what the villains — Luthor and Doctor Octopus — are doing after being arrested and jailed.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In some variants of "The Search for the Lost Husband" (Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type ATU 425 and subtypes), the tale focuses on the supernatural husband in animal shape trying to woo a human princess by fulfilling her father's suitor tasks, e.g, building a larger palace, erecting a bridge between their houses, providing mountains of gold, etc. After this section, it segues into their marriage, into the taboo breaking by the princess and his vanishing. The tale, then, flips the perspective to focus on the princess's long journey to get her husband back.

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: The very first thing you will read is a story from the perspective of a little girl. After this, the role of the POV character will be taken by two men.
  • Danganronpa: Paradise Lost: Daisuke is the POV character for every chapter except the Intermission, which is written instead from Shion's perspective.
  • Hours 'Verse: In Stars Shine Brighter without Sunlight, after 29 chapters focusing on events on the Other Side, Chapter 30 shows Tatsuya and Jun's last day on This Side.
  • In Chapter 2 of The Great and Powerful Ace Attorney, when Trixie finds herself unable to defend Princess Twilight, Sonata takes her place. Halfway through the following day in the courtroom, Trixie takes over the defense again, her explanation being that while Trixie wants nothing more than to put Twilight in her place, only Trixie should be able to do that.
  • The interlude chapters of My Family and Other Equestrians take place from the perspective of a different element of the protagonist's family.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, the story is primarily told in the third-person and focuses on Izuku's perspective with the exception of the interludes, which are told entirely from his point of view. Come Chapter 7, the narrative flips between Izuku and an unnamed wealthy socialite whose grandfather was an infamous supervillain, with the two sharing the same opening lines with the coming of each season. They finally meet in the winter months before the U.A. Entrance Exam, upon which the socialite reveals herself to Izuku as Alexis Lois Luthor. She also informs him that she knows that he's an alien and will be attending U.A. just so she can observe him.
  • The One I Love Is...: Most of the story is told from Shinji's point of view, but some scenes and most of side-stories narrate events from other characters' points of view to flesh the plot out.
  • Persona EG: Most of the story is told from Flash Sentry's perspective, including his narration, but there are a few small scenes that break away from this and show someone else's perspective and narration.
    • This is most prominent in the LTE version of the story, which includes "bonus scenes" Flash was not present for that follow the perspective of characters like Twilight, Pinkie, Rainbow and Fluttershy.
    • There is a short interlude chapter for 2/6, which shifts to the perspective of Eris for a brief scene, just as ZIT are discussing her true identity and Flash reveals that Eris is Fluttershy.
    • The Gemini Hunter Shadow splits itself to attack two targets at once and needs to be fought by two separate teams simultaneously. Flash leads one team to another location to fight the second Gemini while the rest stay behind and are led by Fluttershy.
    • In the aftermath of Twilight and Flash's breakup and Flash being kicked out of the dorm, there are several short interlude chapters told from Twilight's point of view.
  • This is quite common in the Reading Rainbowverse, to the point where brief cameos can evolve into full on cohosts.
  • The Second Try: Most of the story follows Shinji and Asuka's point of view, but the bulk of the final chapter "End" shows the events of the second-to-last chapter from Rei's viewpoint.
  • Snippets of Sirin Shariac's life is told in third person and mainly focuses on Sirin, but the way she impacts others’ lives, so frequent switches to her friends and family are expected. Though more notable examples that barely, if at all, involve Sirin have begun to show up over time.
    • Vermilion is about Hua preparing herself to fight the current era Herrscher of Flames, Himeko, and is noted by the author to be the first chapter to not revolve around Sirin in any way, only involving a short appearance of her in a flashback.
    • Slithering Snake focuses on Mobius and shows the readers what she’d been up to between the end of the previous era and becoming a therapist at St. Freya. It's soon followed by the Breakout chapters, which are about the fallout of Mobius’ connection to World Serpent being discovered.
  • The Twilight Child: The last two flashback chapters focus on the life and exploits of the main character's cousin, and her gradually evolving relationship with a friend of her cousins, and explains her until-then hinted at fate.
  • Two's a Crowd: Chapter 7 abruptly shifts the focus away from Reality Check Summer Camp to the residents of the Owl House. Lampshaded by the chapter title “And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming”.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Lone Wolf's star apprentice takes over in Book 21, starting over from relative scratch. And if you don't want to name him, you can use a table to combine two words to give him a supposedly cool name. Or more likely, something absurd like "Sword Shield"note .
    • The World of Lone Wolf books feature Grey Star the Wizard, a young wunderkind trained in magic by the Shianti, beings so good at magic that the gods had to ask — nicely — for them to leave humanity alone. He's an orphan marooned on the rocks of their island by a storm, and finding him was serendipitous since they are forbidden to leave their island, yet there's this evil sorcerer taking over the world right outside. So they rear him, train him in their ways and send him off to topple an empire.
    • The Updated Re-release usually has a mini-story at the end with a character tied into the plot. Although there is a reoccuring hero named Dire, a Revenant Zombie that Lone Wolf met in The Captives of Kaag.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Law & Order: Criminal Intent, starting with Season 5, there were episodes that focused on a secondary team within Major Case. Goren and Eames usually don't appear in episodes starring them. Season 9 totally focuses on this secondary team, as Goren and Eames left.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 does this a couple times:
    • The Quest of the Delta Knights episode starts with Pearl and Mike switching places and Pearl riffing on the movie in Mike's stead until the first intermission.
    • Time Chasers has a subplot about Crow attempting to go back in time and prevent Mike from getting trapped on the Satellite of Love. He succeeds during the 3rd host segment, but this winds up causing Mike to get killed in the new timeline and his Jerkass brother Eddie to replace him. Eddie is the one now riffing on the movie and does so until the next host segment, where Crow restores the timeline and brings Mike back.
    • Last of the Wild Horses is a Mirror Universe episode, and starts with the alternate universe versions of Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank riffing on the film up until the first intermission, after which things return to our universe and things continue with Mike, Crow, and the misplaced Mirror!Servo.
  • Scrubs, usually told from JD's point of view with JD's narration, featured an average of one episode per season told from the points of view of other characters with their narration instead. After the show's transition to a new network, the final season suddenly switches focus from established physician JD to new intern Lucy.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus is the Trope Namer but is not an example of this trope. The phrase is used as a transition between sketches and a lead-in to the theme song, but as a sketch comedy show that revels in nonsense it's an intentionally redundant phrase.

  • In the Alex Cross novel Cat and Mouse by James Patterson, Alex Cross gets knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital. The next chapter starts with, Thomas Pierce a brand new narrator, who was introduced earlier, while we're still reeling from the removal of Cross. And he turns out to be the second serial killer of the book, the same one he investigated.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club:
    • Many of the Super Special books contain chapters narrated by people other than the club members (most commonly one or more of the children the club is watching).
    • The three books narrated by the club's associate members (Logan's Story, Logan Bruno, Boy Baby-Sitter, and Shannon's Story) also qualify, since Logan and Shannon aren't in the normal rotation of narrators in the series.
  • Very common in Discworld books, as every one has 2-3 main viewpoint characters and occasionally goes into a one off character's POV for a paragraph, sometimes for plot-relevant things, usually for jokes. In fact, Equal Rites probably came across as this as a whole when it was published, as it would have been reasonable for readers of the first two books to think that Discworld was going to be a series about Rincewind.
  • Dungeon Engineer: The seventh chapter, "Weston Lomarec" has the titular protagonist, instead of the titular Dungeon Engineer, Ike.
  • Grimoire's Soul takes place primarily from Ceyda's perspective, but there are Interludes taking place from other perspectives:
    • Interlude 1 takes place entirely from her younger brother Medhi's perspective as he trains to become a Mage.
    • Interlude 2 is from the perspective of Hadrian as they get involved in a car show and later drag race around when Ceyda is getting kidnapped by Kesterline mages.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: The first book is primairly told through the perspectives of Rielle and Eliana. Starting with the second book, other characters are given the point-of-view treatment, including the antagonist, Rielle's main love interest, Eliana's main love interest, Rielle's best friend, and a couple side characters.
  • The Horatio Hornblower novels are all written from the limited third-person perspective of the title character, an equally innovative, imaginative, and self-doubting individual who is constantly thinking. The only book or short story that isn't is Lieutenant Hornblower, narrated from the perspective of his Lancer, William Bush, and set when they first meet each other with Bush as senior to Hornblower. It's notably free from Hornblower's vivid similes and demonstrates Bush's sturdy, uncomplicated character, but also the fact that he's often able to see his friend's qualities more clearly. It also allows for the creation of a mystery around a tyrannical captain's fall down the hatchway with Hornblower as a chief suspect.
  • The Harry Potter novels are presented almost entirely from the perspective of Harry Potter, albeit in the third person. However, there are a few exceptions in the series:
    • In the opening chapter, "The Boy Who Lived," of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, he has just been born, so we're given events mainly from the perspective of Vernon Dursley, Harry's muggle uncle who is blissfully unaware that he and his wife are about to become Harry's guardians for the next seventeen years. The perspective of Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid is also briefly shown as Harry is left on the Dursleys' doorstep. Chapter 11, "Quidditch," also features a brief scene in which the perspective switches to that of Ron and Hermione as they believe that Snape is trying to curse Harry off his broom and Hermione setting his robes on fire to put a stop to it.
    • Both of the first two chapters of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, are from the perspective of other characters. The first chapter, "The Other Minister" is about the Muggle Prime Minister receiving a visit from Cornelius Fudge and later the new Prime Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, informing him that Voldemort is back and wreaking devastation. This chapter was actually re-purposed from a draft from the first book of the series in which Fudge was the Muggle Prime Minister and he received a visit from Hagrid to inform him about Voldemort being at large, only for him to receive another visit about how Voldemort's attack on Harry had seemingly caused him to vanish. The second chapter, "Spinner's End, involves Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange visiting Severus Snape at his home, where Snape makes the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa.
    • The first chapter of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, "The Riddle House," is seemingly this, as it is from the perspective of an old man, Frank Bryce, discovering the weakly-revived Voldemort, overhearing a plan to capture Harry, and getting killed by Voldemort. Ultimately, however, this one is a subversion, as we discover in the next chapter that it was Harry's perspective because he was having a vision of it in his dreams. On the other hand, we read enough of Frank Bryce's thoughts about his past, from long before Harry was born, that it wasn't entirely from Harry's perspective.
  • In Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah, the action mostly alternates point of view between Jackrabbit and Amity Sheridan, almost chapter by chapter. The one exception is the numberless chapter that backtracks "Sixty Paragraphs Earlier" to show what the Big Bad was doing during the previous scene with Amity. There are also two short chapters where the point of view focuses on news anchor and side character Sam Mercer (name-dropped earlier in the book), reporting on the crazy events that the main characters find themselves wrapped up in.
  • Light Realm The Creation has the POV switching between the 5 main characters. To contrast, Matt tends to make a lot of snark in his inner narration, while Cloudcuckoolander Crystal has a bizarre way to narrate the story.
  • In Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series, book 2, Farmer Boy, switches the focus from the Ingalls to Almanzo Wilder. The Author's name is a bit of a spoiler as to what happens in book 7, Little Town on the Prairie.
  • The Lord of the Rings sometimes has shifts in point of view between the chapters. Pretty much all of The Fellowship of the Ring is from Frodo's perspective, but...
    • The first half of The Two Towers frequently shifts between the perspectives of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (in chapters 1 and 2 of Book III); Merry and Pippin (in chapters 3 and 4); and back to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli (the rest of Book III). Then Book IV shifts to Frodo's and Sam's perspective.
    • The Return of the King shifts perspectives in practically every chapter of book V: Pippin in chapter 1; Aragorn in chapter 2; Merry in chapter 3; Pippin again in chapter 4; Merry again in chapters 5 and 6; Gandalf in chapter 7; Merry yet again in chapter 8; and Legolas and Gimli in chapters 9 and 10. Then in book VI is mostly from Frodo's and Sam's perspective, but chapter 4 follows Gandalf; chapter 5 follows Eowyn and Faramir; then the rest of the book follows Frodo and Sam again.
  • The Lost Redeemer: Most of the book is told from Nahlia’s perspective with the occasional chapter from Thane or Ciena. But towards the end of the novel, there are several chapters from Nahlia’s father’s point of view.
  • Geoph Essex's Lovely Assistant sticks almost entirely to the point of view of main protagonist Jenny Ng, with a few minor exceptions: the first chapter (before she's introduced), a chapter where her friends have to work together without her because she's missing, parts of the final chapter, and a very spooky interlude in Chapter Sixteen describing the point of view of the angry cosmic creature that's coming to visit our world.
  • In the Nemesis Saga, the books tend to switch perspectives to various other characters, usually soon-to-be victims of the Kaiju rampage. Occasionally we see the world through the eyes of Nemesis herself.
  • All of the the Nick Velvet stories are told in the thhird person except "The Theft of Gloria's Greatcoat" which is narrated in the first by Gloria, telling the story of how she and Nick met.
  • Fairly consistently in the Parker novels, the books will spend the third of four sections being told from the perspective of somebody else in the story before reverting back to Parker.
  • The epilogue of Skies of the Empire, the first book of Dreamscape Voyager Trilogy, is from the perspective of Nanette, while the rest of the book was confined to Cassidy and Zayne's points of view.
  • One junior novelization of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is presented as the personal journal of Darth Maul and narrated almost entirely from his point of view. When he kicks the bucket on Naboo (or so was presumed at the time), the final chapter is narrated by Darth Sidious, who takes a moment to correct some misconceptions Maul was operating under.
  • Vanas Heritage: In the middle of the book the perspective changes abruptly from Nirvy to Halvor. It turns out, Nirvy was abducted by the enemy and it is now on Halvor and his frends to rescue her.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: The book as a whole is written in the third-person limited point of view and follows the rookie witch Emily as she makes her way through her various adventures at an evil Wizarding School. However, after the orientation arc concludes, Episode 25 changes to follow Lauren, an older student who mentors Emily for mysterious reasons. To rub the point in, that episode features Lauren explicitly ordering people not to tell Emily a secret which they all perceive but which Emily herself (and the reader) does not.

  • Pokémon Adventures, being a fairly liberal adaptation of the Pokémon video games with an increasingly growing cast of protagonists and generally major alterations to the original plots to better fit the new format, generally has at least a few chapters focusing on a different viewpoint character in most of the Chapter story arcs. Gold, Silver & Crystal Chapter is a particularly noteworthy case; after Gold and Silver are defeated by the Masked Man, several of the following chapters focus on various gym leaders, as they are challenged by Suicune.


  • Due to a long history of No Plot? No Problem!, the concept of a player character never truly gelled in pinball. The result is, more often than not, abrupt and rapid switching between player characters, if there are any player characters at all. For instance, in The Wizard of Oz, you are Dorothy by default, but you switch to the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, or even a complete outside perspective, or multiple characters at once, depending on which modes are active. The nebulous nature of player characters in pinball is best observed in how the term "player character" does not actually exist in pinball terminology, but rather, the less specific and more abstract term of "role."

  • Critical Hit. The game master loves to pull this on the players, giving them a set of different characters to play every once in awhile before switching back to the main party. The goal is to demonstrate different classes and character types in play
  • Retsutalk Episode 23 features Chip Cheezum and General Ironicus instead of the usual hosts slowbeef and Diabetus. There have been podcasts where either slowbeef or Diabetus were AWOL, leaving the other one to do the podcast with one or several guests, but in this one, neither of them are there.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Sun setting for Dungeons & Dragons demanded what it called the "character tree," an early form of troupe play. The players had multiple characters and could switch them out between adventures as desired or needed.
  • In Mummy: The Curse, one of the Frameworks suggested is that the players switch out between usually playing members of a cult and occasionally playing the mummy that the cult worships.
  • The Planescape adventure Dead Gods has a lengthy sequence where the players suddenly have to play through a Flashback with a group of pre-made characters. Dead characters. It's a pretty distant flashback and things didn't go well.

    Web Comics 
  • In Blood is Mine Chapter 2 opens not to the protagonist of the first chapter, but a completely new character named Fuse. The perspective switches back after he meets, and is infected by, the original protagonist.
  • Homestuck:
    • The POV can change at very inappropriate times. At one point, it actually shows the POV of a hat.
    • There's also The Midnight Crew Intermission. It's a chapter's worth of story, but has nothing to do with Homestuck. Or so you're led to think, anyway.
  • In Silent Hill: Promise: After the Theme Park arc, the story switches to Evelyn after Vanessa gets apparently killed by Pyramid Head.
  • Springtrap and Deliah: It was confirmed via Word of God that the person who died and ended up possessing Springtrap isn't William Afton in this fan-comic. His real name is never revealed, though.
  • Since the end of Episode 10 of Supermassive Black Hole A*, where it ended with Plank left in the Perriman cloning facility after "killing" Selenis that only activated her next clone in continuing episodes, the story has been continuing from Selenis' perspective.
  • Synodic Reboot: To be expected from a comic with so many protagonists who all start in different locations.

    Web Original 
  • Brennus: While most of the story's focus is on Basil/Brennus and his True Companions as rookie super heroes, most of the interludes and a few entire arc's have focused on completely new characters in entirely different parts of the world, weaving together into a convoluted and expansive Myth Arc.
  • Deviant: As the story progresses, it's common for chapters to bounce between multiple different viewpoints, as the cast grows too large for Cass' viewpoint to fully encompass.
  • The series started by Tactical Cupcakes contrasts the game it's based on by giving the spotlight to other characters occasionally, with Senpai, Sarvente, and Sky being focused on, among others.
  • What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? had Space Guy host the live show for April Fools day.


Video Example(s):


Venom's Rampage

After Harry becomes Venom, the player controls Venom, and kills many Oscorp security guards.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent

Media sources: