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First-Person Ghost

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Anne from Jurassic Park: Trespasser, or what little you can see of her at least.

"And a nagging fear began to creep up in his mind. Questions that had been there all along; he just hadn't noticed them yet. For example, why couldn't he see his feet when he looked down?"

In many First-Person Shooters you might notice that something odd about your character: you don't seem to have much in the way of a bodily presence. Instead of feeling like you're actually there, in the game, you almost feel instead like you're simply controlling a flying RC helicopter with a camera attached to it, or driving a robot on tank treads that has a two-way TV screen for a face.

For example, you see your arms holding the gun in front of you, but everything else about your body seems non-existent. Looking down, you don't see your torso or legs. Rather, your whole body seems to rotate with your view, making it look like you're not touching the ground at all. Further, you seem to have a curious lack of interaction with the environment: water is undisturbed by your steps, and walking through snow/mud leaves no footprints. You don't cast a shadow, even if NPCs do. You never see yourself in any mirrors or reflective surfaces. Walking up to a door, when you press the "open" button on the controller, nothing seems to happen in-game; the door just magically opens up. For the most part, it seems like the player might as well be a ghost.

This is because, from a technical perspective, you are. The game engine is built so that you are essentially just flying a camera around, with animated arms being "painted" on the screen that only you can see. As far as the game engine is concerned, the player's viewpoint is just a camera. In some cases, the player's physical body might never actually be modeled or tracked in-game.

In early games, this was considered an Acceptable Breaks from Reality, as rendering something that wasn't in view the majority of the time would be a waste of limited hardware resources. Also, many older raycasting engines had to purposefully limit vertical camera rotation to well under ±45° in order to minimize perspective distortion artifacts. However, as hardware has become more powerful and software more sophisticated, this trope can become particularly jarring. Often, even games that have the option of first-person and third-person views, like the 3D The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, will render the player character model in third-person but have it disappear in first-person.

Another reason is that most GPUs and graphics APIs tend to clip geometry that's closer to the edge of the screen, hence the reason why in most cases using the same third-person model for a first-person camera would result in visual artifacts. Modders who write first-person camera hacks for third-person games such as Grand Theft Auto would disable the head model to keep it from displaying stray polygons or getting in the way of the camera.

Also, the reason for using a separate view model is that animations and weapon or item positions on a third-person model tend to look jittery or awkward when viewed on a first-person camera, as well as so that models that are close to or held by the player, eg. guns, can be given more detail. The latter also goes with racing simulators which use separate, more intricately detailed interior models whenever a cockpit camera is used; the interior on a third-person car model is usually of lower quality, or in some cases do not exist at all (especially with early racing games where the first-person "interior" is just a two-dimensional sprite).

To combat this, some FPS games have begun to include more and more model parts of your body. For example, if you go to open a door, you'll actually see an animation of a hand reaching out and turning the handle. You sometimes will also see your body in cutscenes, such as if the player is knocked down by an explosion and you briefly see your legs as you're bodily thrown back. However, as soon as the cutscene is over, and you have control of your character once again, you'll find your legs mysteriously absent once more. As a consequence this trope is rather less jarring if used in conjunction with Unbroken First-Person Perspective, as at least the third-person cutscenes don't remind players of its presence.

See also Invisible Anatomy. If there is a model, but it lacks a full set of animations, see Model Dissonance.


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    First-Person Shooter 
  • Most VR first-person games either render your character as a floating pair of hands or sometimes a pair of arms. Spoofed in this Angry Joe review of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
  • The Blackpine Outbreak: All you ever see of your character is his hands.
  • Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Not only did you see your arm but also your breasts, an essential view since they had a tattoo that represented your health meter. There's a code to play the game in third-person, but this reveals that you are literally a one-armed levitating pair of boobs with a gun, with an invisible rolling cube for "legs".
  • In Half-Life, the "thirdperson" console command would allow one to have a third-person view over Gordon, with a complete model, though you still can't see anything other than your arms in first-person mode. Amusingly, in the Half-Life: Blue Shift Expansion Pack, Barney Calhoun still uses Gordon's model, and in Half-Life 2, using the same command would result in seeing just Gordon's arms.
    • On another occasion, using the developer console to play Half-Life 2 in third-person led to the revelation that Gordon Freeman is apparently a vaguely humanoid glass statue that doesn't move so much as glide around.
      • Garry's Mod can have this subverted by player made addons and gamemodes by rendering the legs and torso (and arms/hands if using a swep that makes you unarmed), although there can be the occasional artifact depending on the player model.
  • Parodied in Hand Cop, an FPS where your titular character is... just a disembodied, floating hand. Holding a gun.
  • Paladins has separate models for first-person and third-person views, the former used by players, the latter used when viewing players on the battlefield. The game also used to have a third-person view toggle via a keybind (which, mercifully, was disabled in Ranked), added back in Open Beta 64 (around October 2017). This was removed in Update 2.09 (released in January 2020) because Word of God admitted that barely anyone used the feature to begin with.
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has much like the first HL2 example. Like the preceding Jedi Knight, Kyle is fully modeled and animated in third-person, but has the usual "arms only" thing when in first-person. While the lightsaber in Jedi Knight was properly modeled and animated for both first- and third-person (though very much meant to be used in third-person, even having a toggle option in the menu to automatically switch to third-person when using the saber then back with anything else), in Jedi Outcast, trying to use the lightsaber in first-person turns Kyle into nothing but a pair of hands with maybe half of their attached forearms fading out into nothing, gripping onto said lightsaber and using the third-person animations. By the time of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, which added dual and double-bladed lightsabers, the devs completely gave up on trying to make convincing first-person animations for the saber and forced the third-person perspective when using it.
  • As with Mirror's Edge, the developers of Dead Island opted to use the same third-person model for the first-person viewpoint; toggling third-person, especially on the pre-patched PC version, would end up with the player character being no better off than a typical zombie.
  • Deus Ex: While you can see JC Denton in mirrors and other reflections, you can't see his feet when you actually look down (though you would see a “blob shadow” under him.) The same holds true for just about any game based on the early builds of the Unreal Engine: Unreal, Clive Barker's Undying, etc. Particularly odd in the case of well-polished floors, where you could see the soles of JC's boots reflected back at you.
    • In the prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player doesn't ever see Adam Jensen's reflection in mirrors or shiny surfaces. Adam's body is modeled in-game, since the camera very frequently switches between first and third-person. Yet when you're in first-person perspective, you never see your legs and your hands are just drawn on-screen, but you can see them moving back and forth when you sprint without anything in your hands.
  • In Prey (2006), the very first scene in the game shows the player looking at their own reflection in a mirror. Later in the game you can see yourself in other mirrors/reflections/portals. However, you can't see your feet.
  • Duke Nukem 3D was one of the first FPS games with mouselook, and therefore one of the first examples of this trope. Of course, in early versions, you could see both of Duke's feet, but only when attacking with them (the left foot was the Quick Melee and the right foot the melee Emergency Weapon), but the effect was closer to making Duke perform Hopak than actually watching him walk from his own perspective.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 does away with seeing your legs and feet in first-person, no matter what your settings are. Word of God says that the removal of legs was needed in order to allow more zombies in the game world and cutting out legs in first-person would allow this goal, since rendering legs can get taxing on the Source engine. Notable because the first game is in the exceptions list below.
  • One of the few things that's almost always present in an FPS are the hands and held items. Ironically, one example of a game which lacks even that is? Ghost Recon.
    • SWAT 3 did this mostly the same, with the caveat that your crosshair changed to mimic the sights on whatever gun you were using as a rudimentary attempt to avert this trope. Entering the code "handsup" causes the game to display your third-person model, this averting this trope.
    • So did early Rainbow Six games before Raven Shield's presentation upgrade (and yes, Ghost Recon ran on the same engine).
    • The Sum of All Fears, that - again - ran on a modified Rainbow Six engine.
  • Taken to the extreme in the TimeSplitters series up until the third one. Even then they didn't do a perfect job:
    • Jo-Beth Casey shares the same FPS view as her changeling counterpart, despite the changeling having mirrored clothing and tentacles instead of arms.
    • Renzo, The General, and Ghost all have brown gloves in first-person even though Ghost and The General wear black fingerless gloves and Renzo doesn't wear gloves at all.
    • Some characters also have their arms "off sync" and the part where their arms end is visible.
  • Particularly tasty in GoldenEye and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 since you can freely look down to the floor. Try it while standing in a corner and look for your feet...
    • No matter what character you've chosen in Goldeneye's multiplayer, you'll always have Bond's arms, which becomes pretty jarring if you pick a character wearing gloves and especially the black May Day and Baron Samedi. Perfect Dark fixed this, but then fell into the trap of every NPC referring to you as a woman, even when you're playing as a big hulking Scandinavian man or a little grey alien half anybody else's height.
  • Portal lets you see Chell by looking through the portals, but you can't look down to see her legs and she doesn't cast a shadow (even in rooms in Portal 2 when other objects do). As with Half-Life 2's gravity gun, you use the portal gun to pick up objects, but before you get it Chell seems to pick up things by glaring at them. Looking at yourself through the first portal, or the same portal's cameo in Portal 2 shows any object you're holding floating in midair.
  • System Shock and System Shock 2. The Hacker's Guide to Sin goes further: not only does the main character have no feet, but he's able to activate healing stations from 13 feet away, yet unable to search bodies across a gap, so he most likely has boneless tentacles that snake along the ground. The remake of the first System Shock averts this, showing your legs.
    • Spiritual Successor BioShock has both of your hands visible at different times (left hand is Plasmids, right hand is guns), but your feet are missing. One of the lesser goals of the sequel was making it possible to see your feet. And your shadow, if you happened to step in front of one of the few dynamic lights in the game. Basically, you're just a pair of sweater-sleeved arms, as revealed by this third-person mod. This also applies to your later conversion into a Big Daddy, in which you are STILL portrayed as a pair of sweater-sleeved arms, despite wearing a full-body diving suit. But the trope is played straight again in BioShock Infinite, where you can only see Booker's hands, but not the rest of his body, although a third-person model for him exists.
  • A difficult call for No One Lives Forever and its sequel, where you can occasionally make out your character's facial features (typically while dying).
  • Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light do not render the first-person player model (notably, there's a point in Last Light where you can look in a mirror, but not see yourself), even though scripted events sometimes have Artyom's arms or even his legs. Oddly though, he and his weapon's shadow are rendered with a decent degree of detail.
  • Your player character in Receiver is never visible. The items in your "hands" simply float in front of you, moving around as you manipulate them.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved plays this quite straight; unless you get into a vehicle, the only parts of yourself visible are your arms.
    • A skull available in every main game in the series except Combat Evolved Anniversary allows you to take this to the extreme: unlocking and activating it makes your weapon and your entire HUD invisible, leaving actively firing your weapon as the only way to determine what you have (or whether it has ammo).
    • Halo Infinite averts this like all the games after Combat Evolved, but lets you un-avert it by playing with the FOV slider. Setting it any higher than the default of 78° will hide your legs, likely to prevent you from seeing that there isn't an upper body connecting them to your arms.
  • Overwatch provides an interesting example. Every hero in the game plays this straight, except for Orisa, who has visible legs when looking down.
  • The Metroid Prime Trilogy shows only Samus's arm cannon and occasionally her left hand when using the Grapple Beam. When switching to and from morph ball mode, the camera changes and shows a full 3rd person model of Samus. Cutscenes will always show off Samus's model fully.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the first three games in the series (Arena, Daggerfall, and Morrowind), only the player character's hands and arms are visible in first-person mode. Morrowind is the first in the series to offer a third-person playing mode.
    • In Oblivion, you cannot see anything but your arms in first-person. Additionally, you cast a shadow in third-person view but not in first-person. This gets even more strange when the horse you are riding always casts a shadow so if you look at the ground while riding your horse in first-person you will see the shadow of a horse with no rider. For PC users, the TFC console command gives you a ufo-camera option, using this in first-person will auto-set the camera into third-person pan without actually zooming out, leaving two arms floating in midair. More egregiously, you don't see your arms moving when swimming in first-person. Also, there are actually differences in the animations between first and third-person, noticeable with where the character holds their weapons between the two modes (as with pretty much every complaint about Oblivion, there's a DLC that addresses this).
    • There are mods for Skyrim however that avert this, by simply having your third-person model rendered while in first-person as well, except for the head (and arms when equipping weapons).
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas both inherited many of the above examples from their Elder Scrolls sister series. Fallout 3 had an additional weird instance when ever you used zoom with a non-scoped weapon. In third-person the character would use the weapons sights like they should, but in first-person the camera just zooms and the players arms don't move at all. New Vegas fixed this issue, but added a lot more of the "differing first-person to third-person animation thing" with its melee weapons.
    • New Vegas also made this a bit worse with its card minigames. Even though they're presented in-universe as your character playing on the in-game table, you still never see your hands- the cards just appear to float whenever you play one or shuffle the deck.
  • Interesting example in Fallout 4: when in third-person perspective the player-character's shadow will be rendered, but as soon as you switch to first-person perspective, the shadow disappears.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Not just FPS games suffer from this. The Myst games are a series of first-person puzzle games that had a First-Person Ghost whose only visible appendage was a floating hand cursor. Justified in Myst and Riven due to movement limitations, but by the time Myst III: Exile rolled around, the player could not only look down and see that they had no feet, but also wind up standing on thin air just off of the edge of a cliff. It's worse in Myst IV: Revelation when the hand cursor gained a more realistic look. You could even inexplicably tint the hand strange, unearthly colors other than 'skin tone' or 'heavily pigmented skin tone'. The developers thankfully fixed this in Myst V: End of Ages. All of this was done in the name of maintaining a Featureless Protagonist.
    • Obduction, also made by Cyan Worlds, does the same thing for the same reason, but includes the option of adding a generic male or female shadow, which if nothing else makes screenshots look marginally more realistic.
    • While most of The Lost Crown isn't first-person, there are a few such scenes in which objects must be handled and Nigel's arms are nowhere to be seen. This was probably deliberate, as it makes a story about ghosts just a little creepier not to avert this trope.
  • Justified in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, during the Desmond's Journey sections, as the puzzles are made of pure Animus data, and Desmond can't even feel or see his own body.
  • Minecraft lets you see only your arm and if you are holding an item, you only see the item itself while your arm is nowhere to be seen (unless you are holding a map, which both of your arms are shown then). Of course, hitting F5 turns you third-person, showing how you look in multiplayer. Your entire body is very, very visible.
  • In Façade (2005), only Trip and Grace have (very blocky) models. You are purely a free-floating camera, with any objects you pick up levitating around with your cursor movements. If you move a full drink glass to the bottom of the screen, it animates to show you're drinking from it, but still does so in empty space.

  • Justified in The 7th Guest, as the player character is a literal ghost. Not so justified in its sequel, The 11th Hour, which only shows you the beam of Carl's flashlight; he still apparently opens doors or manipulates puzzles telekinetically.
  • All Is Dust (2015): Thomas. The only part of his body you ever actually see is the hand holding the lantern.
  • In Bendy and the Ink Machine, you can never see how Henry Stein looks, to the extent that his exhibit in The Archives is just a placard next to an empty stand where Henry is supposed to stand on there himself.
  • Gone Golfing: You never really see the Player Character's body.
  • The Penumbra series and its Spiritual Successor Amnesia: The Dark Descent play this trope completely straight, due to engine limitations. In Penumbra, you don't even see your own hands - even when you're holding a flashlight or swinging a pickaxe in front of you.
  • In flight simulators using fully modeled 3D cockpits you will often see your flight controls, which in some cases move based on the player's control inputs. But you almost never see the "body" of your pilot. Apparently the pilot is controlling the plane via Telekinesis.
    • A weirder example: In the Novalogic combat simulation games (F-16 Multirole Fighter, F-22 Lightning 2/Raptor/Lightning 3, Mig-29 Fulcrum), you can freely look around the cockpit, and the pilot's body is there, but not his head, giving the impression that we're looking through a camera hovering over a headless, neckless dummy.
  • Euro Truck Simulator and American Truck Simulator, while using the external view cameras, has your in-game character being a male with an average profile. However, your hands are never seen in the first-person view, as the developer intended so the player can see the dashboard details.
  • The protagonist of Welcome to the Game doesn't have a body or cast any shadows, even when you get up to turn the light-switch on and off. In fact, they don't even scream or react to the presence of a person coming to kidnap them. This melds into The All-Concealing "I", as one of the hidden endings reveals exactly who she is.
  • Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality: The "Morty clone" you play as is just a floating Morty head and hands.
  • In Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion, the Player Character's body is only seen during some cutscenes, but it remains ambiguous enough. Looking into a mirror even produces a glare to hide their appearance.
  • A grand majority of Virtual Reality games do this as most systems up to this point only track your head and hands, leaving you nothing more than a floating head and pair of hands. Some games do model a full character and move their legs automatically in those instances.
  • Tecmo's Deception is the only installment of that franchise played from a first-person perspective, and it employs this to the hilt, with your character, a Zemekian prince, running around his castle and interacting with invaders and traps as a free-floating camera.
  • Anatomy has an entirely featureless protagonist, where even if they walk into the bathroom to shine their flashlight on the mirror, only the glowing orb of light faces back. This is a case of this trope being invoked however, as the ending of the game implies that the player is a figment of the imagination of a Sapient House who had Gone Mad From The Isolation.
  • Vanish: The only part of your character you can see is their hand when they pass out or hold up a glowstick.
  • Shut Eye: In at least one version, the Player Character's body is never visible.
  • The Ghost Train: Kensuke Tanaka, the Player Character, is never seen. He doesn't even have a reflection in mirrors (mainly because of the game's own technical limitations).
  • In Death Trips, the investigator may very well be invisible; none of their body-parts appear on screen.
  • In the Quest 2 version of Resident Evil 4, you never see Leon's body in first-person POV, just his hands. Even if you have the weapon holsters set to "immersive" they'll just float on the airspace that should be Leon's chest and hips. The only exceptions are cutscenes (which were not made immersive).
  • The Hex: In-Universe, one of the patrons and the potential future murder suspects in Six Pint Inn is a Featureless Protagonist of the first-person interactive game. Predictably, said patron, named ???, looks like a pitch-black silhouette with purple question mark for a face, with only their hands being textured.
  • Taken to the extreme in Visage where aside from the Golden Ending (and maybe the intro), the player character Dwayne is completely invisible. He doesn't even have hands or arms, despite interacting with things being the main gameplay loop. It can get pretty jarring in cutscenes where he appears to manipulate things with telekinesis. You don't even see his jaw if Lucy manages to rip it off.
  • Mega: The only part of James Ward that's seen is his hands.

    Parodies and fictional examples 
  • Wreck-It Ralph lampshades this trope: the player-character of Hero's Duty, the only game played in first-person, is a robot called "The First-Person Shooter" with a pair of arms mounted on caterpillar tracks and a TV screen for a head. The player only sees the arms.


    Action Adventure 
  • Geist: While not allowing you to see your legs by not letting you pan down to look, the game does show you doing EVERYTHING in the corner of the screen when you're possessing someone in the main single player mode.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • You can see Samus' eyes reflected in the Visor whenever a flash of light comes close, you can see her reflection in various reflective surfaces, etc.
    • When you go into third-person view via Morph Ball or Screw Attack, Samus clearly has a model and it moves fluidly. However, her model vanishes the minute you go back to first-person view. You can also aim her arm cannon straight down, but you'll never see her feet.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption not only allows you to see Samus' lower body and arms when she's sitting in her spaceship, you can also view her skeleton when using the X-ray visor.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • America's Army 3 allows you to see your character's entire body when you look down. Interacting with objects (turning valves, opening doors, etc.) however, still seems to be done telekinetically.
  • F.E.A.R.'s development articles drove this point home. You can see the main character's feet, even while performing kung-fu. You also need to use your hands to climb ladders and swim, although curiously not to press buttons or open doors. If you look down you can see your legs, and the game actually renders your character model in the game world. There's even a unique character model for the player character, even though the player never is actually able to see themselves fully.
    • In FEAR 2 there are a small number of mirrors where you can see your character model. They also changed it so that you do have to use your hands to press buttons, turn wheels, and move objects - but still not to open doors, unless you like to loudly bash them open with melee attacks, since that was a mechanic added in the first game's expansions and kept for the rest of the series.
  • The Darkness allows the player to see Estacado's lower body when looking down.
  • Same for the Syndicate 2012 reboot (see above).
  • Far Cry 2 allows the player character's entire body to be seen, though usually only in specific circumstances like using a mortar, driving a vehicle, or healing yourself by pulling sticks out of your belly and shrapnel out of your knee.
    • Ditto Far Cry 3 and its sequels. Outside of the introductory cutscene, presented as a video recorded at least in part by someone else, the game never leaves first-person mode; not even during cutscenes, which all play from Jason's perspective. Additionally, while you can't see your legs if you just look down in normal gameplay, nearly every interaction with the environment is animated with your character's full body, including opening doors, climbing ledges, looting bodies, skinning animals, entering vehicles, and so on.
  • While previous games in the series play this trope straight, Killzone 3 averts it and allows you to see your legs in real time when you look down. Ditto for Mercenary, which is quite a technical achievement for a handheld game, and Shadow Fall.
  • Halo:
    • Games from Halo 2 onward have visible legs. It's perfectly possible not just to look down and see your thigh, but sometimes even to stick a plasma grenade to it. And in Halo 3, if someone leaves the party while playing co-op campaign online, the game freezes and glitches allowing you to look down directly into your torso.
    • Games from Halo 4 onward totally avert this trope. Not only can you see your character's legs when you look down, but every onscreen prompt (i.e. "press X to open door", "press X to activate console") is fully depicted onscreen, with your character reaching out and interacting with the world. That said, modding reveals that the model you see in (at least) 4 isn't the same model everyone else sees. If the player replaces their model with a different hacked one, then the first-person view will still show the default Spartan arms while the third-person view will show the hacked model.
  • Likewise, in Bungie's Destiny series, the player can look down and see their guardian's legs.
  • The 2008 Turok relaunch has visible legs.
  • Operation Flashpoint is one of the earliest games that does an honest attempt at not doing this trope. Of course, it'd invoke some really obvious Fridge Logic if you couldn't, since it also allowed you to use a third-person view. Its Spiritual Successor, the ARMA series, go a step further and enable you to rotate your character's head independently of where their weapon is facing. In ARMA III, your character has impressive control over his movements - from leaning, three levels of standing, crouching, and laying down based on what cover you're shooting from, to being able to choose whether your character keeps the weapon up at the low ready, the high ready, or simply slung across his torso, it can be a challenge at first to remember all the controls to manipulate you character's rendered body.
  • Left 4 Dead also lets you see your feet and legs (including the infected if you play as one) when you look down, but they don't appear if your graphic settings are too low. Humorously, the height at which your body is situated makes it look like your arms are sprouting out of your neck, at least from your point of view. However, this function was removed in the sequel Left 4 Dead 2, even in the backported levels from the first game.
  • Crysis permits players to view their character's lower torso and legs, arguably to show off the extreme level of detail that was put into the game's Nanosuits.
  • Battlefield 3 averts this, with the player character's body fully visible during most actions.
  • The Call of Duty games, in their multiplayer matches, feature an interesting example: the players bodies are rendered separately, so that the third-person version you see of another player isn't the exact same thing that they see in the first-person. While most the time the two match up more-or-less seamlessly, some interesting things can happen when they don't match up; for example, most modern CoD games will "smooth out" the player's third-person movement to look more fluid and natural, rather than the herky-jerky movement that would result if you showed their actual first-person movement.
    • Because of lag, what one character shows in third-person might be delayed from what they're doing in first-person. This can lead to situations where you get shot by someone who appears to not even be facing you; their bullets will seem to exit the barrel at an angle to hit you. This is especially common when using riot shields to keep an attacker at bay, with the killcam frequently showing you failing to track a hostile moving around behind the shield to shoot you, when from your perspective you clearly kept it pointed at him the whole time and he apparently responded by just cheating and shooting through it anyway.
    • If you are hit with a flashbang grenade, your character will appear to cover their eyes and shake their head, with their gun pointed at the ground and off to the side. However, from the first-person perspective, your gun is still up, meaning that you can still shoot and kill the person who flashbanged you.
    • Going prone actually takes into account the position of your limbs in multiplayer; it's possible to be "prone blocked" and be unable to turn without standing up or at least crawling to the side to put some distance between yourself and the wall if your legs are up against it.
    • Also played with in the single player campaign of Black Ops. When the game first starts, the player is strapped to a chair in front of several television monitors. You can see your character's face on the monitors, his arms strapped to the chair, and the like.
  • Completely averted in Duke Nukem Forever. The game has no first-person model, and all you see of Duke's body in first-person is the third-person model that is actually present in the game. Mirrors reflect Duke's body, whose position is always exactly the same as what you see in first-person, whatever you're doing (walking, shooting, reloading, or even just standing in place letting an Idle Animation run). Of course, you can see your feet, although, for obvious reasons, the lower part of your body is blocked out of view when Duke is pissing.
  • This can almost be completely averted in Team Fortress 2 with a console command designed for use when playing with VR. Entering "cl_first_person_uses_world_model 1" in the console sets the first-person view into a mode in which, as the command would suggest, the view model is replaced with an eye-level view of the player's world model, allowing the player to see their entire body and their own shadow, along with any of the many fashion items the player may have decked on their character. While not perfect (parts often disappear or prove excessively obstructive), it works surprisingly well.
  • Both Propagation games comically depicts you as a pair of floating limbs holding guns.
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard allow you to see the entirety of your character's body from the neck down. Examining the game with a third-person camera mod reveals that, even though you can still see it in their shadow, the player's actual character model has no head; convenient for showing the effects when an enemy tears or cuts it off.
  • In Bulletstorm you can see the protagonist's body when performing certain actions like kicking an enemy in the face.
  • The FPS Will Rock is one of the earliest games that gives the possibility to see the protagonist's legs when looking down. Also, there's an option that you can deactivate this function.
  • In the 2016 reboot of Doom (2016) you can see your body at certain times in the game, like when you do a finishing move and stomp on the enemy in a gory manner.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront (2015) you can see your body when looking down.
  • All games in the Call of Juarez series, except for Gunslinger.
  • The Project Brutality mod for Doom allows you to see your feet when looking down. Pretty impressive for a game that isn't even true 3D.
  • In Haze you can see your body as a Mantel Solider or Promise Hand Rebel.
  • In Turning Point: Fall of Liberty you can see your body as a man fighting in an alternate WW2 historical world.
  • In Warface you can see the body for your soldier at all times.
  • Metro: Last Light keeps Artyom's body visible in an effort to maintain Unbroken First-Person Perspective. Most actions, like throwing a switch or opening a door, take you into small cutscenes.
  • Prey (2017) has a model for Morgan.
  • Subverted in the Serious Sam games. You can't see your feet when you look down but hitting the H key shifts to third person where Sam is fully modeled. Taken to the extreme in Serious Sam 2 which goes out of it's way to avoid showing you Sam's arms in first person (by way of having weapons like the shotgun cycle automatically) even though you can still see him in full when you enter a vehicle.
  • Viscerafest - while using 2D sprites for the characters - manages to (optionally, can be toggled off in the options) avert this, letting you see Caroline's pixelated legs whenever you look down.
  • Deep Rock Galactic almost completely averts this trope; you can't see your own body if you look down, but your Dwarf does leave footprints and interactions with the environment (pressing buttons, for example) are properly depicted.
  • The Citadel is another case of a first person shooter that despite using 2D sprites for the characters still lets you see The Martyr's chest, legs and even her belt-clad pelvis whenever she's sliding.
  • Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer is yet another shooter with pre-rendered character sprites that nonetheless allows you to see Zane's legs if you look down. Amusingly, if you crank up the field of view setting high enough, you'd also be able to see Zane's own upside down head if you look straight up.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Borderlands 3 allows you to see your body for the first time in the series.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 lets you see your whole body, including any cybernetics you have.
  • Besides using the same third-person model in the first-person mode for the eighth-generation and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar opted for using separate weapon and movement animations in order to better adapt combat to a different view, and also as recycling the same third-person animations would be awkward in first-person.
    • The addition of a first-person camera mode for GTA V marked a break in Rockstar's tradition of not producing any first-person shooters. In addition, it was first proposed during early development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but memory limitations kept them from doing so.
    • Red Dead Redemption II uses a similar approach.
  • You can see your body in Grounded by looking down.

  • Alien: Isolation allows to see Ripley's feet when looking down.
  • Same for Condemned: Criminal Origins and its sequel.
  • In the Mount & Blade series, you can see you arms and legs during first-person gameplay. Even when you die.
  • The Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne FPS-Mod makes the game probably the most realistic FPS game, in the context of this trope.
    • The similar FPS mod for Just Cause 2, meanwhile, takes this to the extreme - you can even see inside your own head with it, unless you download/create a mod that removes Rico's head from his character model entirely.
  • Mirror's Edge lets you see Faith's legs. Good thing, too, because the game requires a lot of precision platforming. Additionally, you can see her full arms, shoulders, and torso, body position permitting (your camera is constrained to the directions Faith's eyes could actually be looking at any moment).
    • And as far as interaction goes: When you press a button, she actually presses the button.
    • Mirror's Edge provides a good example of why this trope exists in the first place: designing animations that will look convincing from a first-person perspective is a very different task from animating a character in third-person, and the character animations in the game that look impressive in the game's intended gameplay mode look rather stiff and awkward when the game is hacked to play in third-person.
    • The use of Nvidia Ansel in Mirror's Edge Catalyst shows that not only is there a full model, it's rendered in an extremely high level of detail.
  • Jumping Flash!. Since this game was a Platform Game and an FPS, it was important to see where you were going to land. The developers of this game had the camera pan down as you fell. Not only did you get to see the character's feet, but a shadow as well.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows you can see yourself in first-person.
  • Iron Storm allows you to see your character from first person to third person.
  • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin lets you see your legs, feet and hands while in first-person view, with third-person view being its default mode.
  • Dark Messiah of Might and Magic not only lets you look down at your body, but also shows you visibly lifting objects, kicking enemies, etc.
    • This also leads to a strange issue or oversight, while your body is fully visible it does not cast a shadow. This leads to objects being visibly in your hands while carried but the shadow projected is just the object floating unsuspended in mid air.
    • And oddly enough if you switch to a third-person view, you're largely invisible except for the occasional limb flickering into existence. For the most part, legs stay visible.
  • A non-FPS example, the early Wing Commander games showed Blair's body seated in the cockpit, including animated arms manipulating the flight stick.
  • First-person Survival Horror game Outlast makes the protagonist's chest, arms, legs and feet visible when looking down. Additionally, he frequently interacts with the environment physically; you can see his hands turning valves, pushing buttons, etc. The game adds several other features to avoid this trope, such as Miles visibly putting his hand on a wall when close to one, and leaving bloody footprints if he walks through a puddle of gore. Also, Mile's shadow is synchronised to his body movements, meaning that if he holds the camera his shadow also does.
    • His model, however, has an invisible head, making it easier for the decapitation death animations to play. The invisible head is still picked up in the shadows, however.
  • Layers of Fear allows you to toggle your character's reflection on or off. Various updates prior to its full release enhanced the clarity and movements of said model, among other things.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, Sigma's face is not seen and his voice is not heard, though in a flashback CG and the promotional anime his face is shown and he is voiced by Troy Baker. His face is shown in the True End route, and is a massive spoiler. Troy Baker also voices the perspective character in the Secret End, a dead giveaway that the player is no longer Sigma.
  • VR Chat averts this for a VR based social game, although obviously your point of view did not always match your character model.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay allows you to see the title character's arms and legs, as well as his shadow. This proves very useful in making a lot of the jumps, as well as creating a more immersive experience.
  • Zeno Clash, although more of a brawler than a shooter, makes a point of being very detailed. The main character's hands are visible as his default weapons, his leg shows up during counterattacks, and when hit by a heavy blow, you can see him realistically scramble to his feet through his eyes.
  • Montezuma's Return, an obscure first-person action/puzzle game, was one of the first games to attempt to show your character's limbs.
  • In the obscure game named Breakdown, not only you can see your character's reflection in the mirrors, but even his lower body when you look down.
  • Dead Island allows to see the lower body's character when looking down.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance allows you to see Henry's legs (and arms, if they're resting) while walking. Unfortunately, it looks very awkward when he's moving.
  • Dying Light also lets you see protagonist Kyle Crane body from the neck down. Much like Mirror's Edge example above, this is fitting considering that the game involves a lot of platforming and parkour movements across rooftops. Not only that, but every single interactions in the game will have Crane reaching out to do it such as opening doors (the game will also have two different animations that depends whether the door is locked or not), searching objects for materials (which also differs based on the object being searched), sliding, climbing ladders, etc.
  • You can see your character's arms and legs in Hello Neighbor, which aids in jumping.
  • Trenches (2021): If you look down, you can see the soldier's body.
  • The Caregiver: If you look down, you can see The Caregiver's body. You can also see their reflection in mirrors.


Video Example(s):


Stanley Parable: Insane Ending

Going down the stairs will take you to a location which repeats as you walk along, which results in Stanley pondering about this being a dream.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnnaturallyLoopingLocation

Media sources: