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Camera Perspective Switch

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Choose between first- or third-person perspective.

This is a gaming trope where the player's perspective will change between views, such as switching from first person perspective to third person. In some games, the player has the option of switching between these views at their whim; some third person games actually have a designated button for switching to first person, usually to get a better look at something, since third person view doesn't always give a good view of details or faraway things.

Other games handle this dynamically, without player input, depending what action the player is taking. For example, a game that's normally first person might temporarily switch into third person view as the player climbs into a vehicle, and is likely to stay there for the rest of a vehicular section. Alternatively, a game that's usually in third person perspective might switch into first person mode as your character uses binoculars or a scoped weapon.

This is very common in racing games (in fact, most driving games will have a button specifically dedicated to switching between several different views), so don't include any examples from that genre unless it's particularly different than the usual convention.

Also this is specifically about the camera switching perspective in-game. Cut-scenes depicting the action from a different perspective don't count, since this is specifically done for the story, not the gameplay.

Not to be confused with Switching P.O.V., a plot trope where a story switches between protagonists/narrators.


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    Action Game 

    Action Adventure 
  • Metroid
    • In the Metroid Prime series, the camera switches to the third person while in Morph Ball mode.
    • Metroid: Other M is mostly played in third person, aside from firing missiles or the grapple beam, where you must tilt the wiimote towards the screen to go into first person mode. The problem here, of course, is that you can't move while in first person.
  • In the 3D The Legend of Zelda games, your view switches from third to first person when using the bow or other items that can be aimed anywhere (Except the boomerang, where the camera hangs over Link's shoulder).

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Battletoads contains an early example: the first boss fight happens in second person perspective (the player sees from the enemy's point of view).

    First Person Shooter 
  • Probably the oldest example for FPS, but Eradicator allows players to manually toggle the view from first-person to third-person. Said feature is available for all three playable characters, too, although kicking ass in first-person is usually easier due to having a crosshair onscreen (and marketing materials tend to focus on the first-person aspects).
  • Every Halo game does this, with the original Halo: Combat Evolved being particularly notable for this when it first came out. Normally you see in a first-person perspective through Master Chief's eyes, but whenever you climb into a vehicle the game switches to third person to give you a better view. The game also switches to a third person camera when the player dies. Later games also switch into third person whenever the player gets on a stationary turret, picks up a detached turret (or flamethrower), gets into the passenger seat of a vehicle, or use certain Armor/Spartan abilities like Armor Lock or Ground Pound.
  • The Call of Duty series, in it's multiplayer iterations, will switch a player's view to third person as they die, and then will rewind and switch to the opposing player's view (second-person perspective) to show how they were killed (known as the "killcam").
  • Left 4 Dead will switch to third person mode during some actions, such as when your character is applying a first aid kit, or when you've been knocked off an edge and are holding on for dear life. The PC version allows switching between the two on the fly via console command.
  • The Jedi Knight series automatically switches between first-person and third-person view, when you switch to a ranged weapon or lightsaber, respectively. You can manually switch to third-person with a ranged weapon, but after Jedi Outcast, not to first-person with a saber.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade is a FPS that switches to third person when riding a vehicle or climbing a ladder (not to mention cutscenes). It also allows you to switch to third-person when on foot.
  • Overwatch switches from first-person to third when using certain Hero skills, such as Reinhardt's Barrier Shield, Junkrat's RIP-Tire, and Reaper's Death Blossom.
  • Games running on Unreal Engine 2 usually have a key (F4 by default) bound as a third-person key, letting the player change perspective when on-foot or in a vehicle (which otherwise default to first- and third-person, respectively). However, some games consider it a cheat (Killing Floor, for example, only allows you to use it in singleplayer and prevents you from leveling perks or unlocking Achievements until you restart the match if you do), not to mention you can't adjust your aim up or downwards while in third-person.
  • Team Fortress 2 switches to third person when you perform a taunt. This can also be useful for looking round corners to see if there's an enemy player or a sentry ahead (or taking them by surprise with a taunt kill). Additionally, the camera also switches to third-person view when your team loses a match, where your character throws his hands up, cowering, un-armed, while the other team gets a speed buff and 100% random critical hits to clear out the losers! Last, the game switches to a 3rd person view of your killer when you die so you can see where you were attacked from (particularly important when dealing with snipers). If you were gibbed and any part of your body is visible in the shot the game helpfully points out where your pieces are and what they are.
  • Like the above TF2 example, Overwatch switches to third person when emoting, as well as upon death. During death, you can also view other members of your team in third person until you respawn.
  • Borderlands switches between first-person (when on foot) and third-person (when using a vehicle).

    Platform Game 
  • The boss battle with the Momma Tyhrranoid in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal goes into second person perspective as the boss chases you down a hall - that is, the camera is from the boss's perspective.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Portal 2's co-op mode will switch the player's perspective from 1st to 3rd when performing a taunt/dance.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Rock Raiders: The game gave you the option of playing things from a Rock Raider's perspective. What makes this a somewhat unique example is that this game is an RTS. You can actually take direct control over a Rock Raider and move him around. While not very practical, it was mostly useful for the fun of it in a low-pressure mission.
  • The Dungeon Keeper games are normally played from a top-down perspective, but allow you take possession of any of the creatures under your command, switching to first person in the process.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Video Game/Albion uses Three-Quarters View for indoor and wilderness environments, while switching to a 3D view for cities and dungeons.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution features first-person gameplay that occasionally switches into third person, such as when taking cover.
  • Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 allow the player to voluntarily switch between first and third person perspective, though the game will automatically switch to third person during a character's death animation. Also, if the player is using V.A.T.S. the camera will occasionally switch to a dramatic third-person shot whenever an enemy dies, showing their death in slow motion.
  • Albion has a first-person 3D perspective for dungeons and a third-person isometric perspective for most other places.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion also allows the same 1st/3rd person camera system as Fallout 3 and New Vegas, as does its direct sequel Skyrim, although the former was considered largely unplayable in third person. Skyrim also includes killcams (similar to V.A.T.S. in Fallout 3), where, if you're playing in first-person, the camera will switch to third-person when you trigger a Finishing Move to show your character decapitating/dismembering/suplexing/etc. the enemy. Thanks to a patch, there are killcams for ranged and magic attacks as well, which are shown in the same way.
  • Likewise, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines switches between first-person and third-person views in certain contexts, such as conversations, and the player can switch between the two at any time. Interestingly, the game will automatically switch to a first-person perspective whenever the player equips a firearm, although it is possible to fire a gun in third-person - it's merely incredibly awkward.
  • Mass Effect 3, like its predecessors, normally has Third-Person Shooter gameplay, but switches to first-person perspective in two situations: piloting an Atlas mech in the vanilla game, and piloting the underwater mech in the "Leviathan" DLC.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse use a third-person perspective for exploration, and a first-person perspective for dialogue, cutscenes, and battles.

    Simulation Game 
  • Orbiter allows for toggling between first- and third-person perspective. The latter is not recommended for controlling spacecraft as it hides the MFDs necessary for such operations like landing, docking or changing orbit.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Metal Gear games switch between 1st & 3rd person depending on the actions the player is performing. If you are crawling through tunnels, guiding Nikita missiles or aiming with certain weapons, the view is 1st person. Otherwise, it is 3rd person. Certain versions of the game allowed the player to voluntarily change to first-person, and from the second game onwards the player can aim weapons in first-person.
  • Hitman games from the second one onwards allow switching to first-person view (though some animations, such as lockpicking, still force a third person view).

    Third Person Shooter 
  • The Splatoon series uses third-person by default, but smoothly transition to a first-person view when charging up a scoped weapon.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft allows the player to toggle into 3rd person view with a press of a button.
  • In Rodina, the player character and their spaceship are normally controlled from first- and third-person perspective respectively, but with a press of a button the latter can be switched to cockpit view.