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Guest-Star Party Member

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Meet our heroes! (And Vossler)
Amalia: The situation requires I accept such help as I find. Though it be from thieves. I shall accompany you until we find my companions. No longer.
Balthier: Let's think of her as a 'Guest', then. Unlike Fran or myself, our 'Guest' probably won't be taking orders from anyone anytime soon. And she'll leave when she pleases. So, we keep to our affairs, and she to hers.

This is a character who joins the Player Party only temporarily. If this happens early in the game, they'll be much more powerful than you. If you're lucky, maybe you can unequip a Disc-One Nuke from them. But if you buy them equipment, beware of So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear! Sometimes, this is averted with Stuck Items applied to all their equipment.

If you see them again, it will probably be as an enemy; however, if they join your party again, they will seem a heck of a lot weaker. Unfortunately, what removes them from your party may well be their getting killed after you've gotten used to having them around.

Despite there being little incentive to keep this character in your party for gaming reasons (lack of weapons sold for them, etc.) it's popular in gaming fandom to force these characters back into your party via cheat codes or GameShark.


Compare with Crutch Character, Optional Party Member, 11th-Hour Ranger, and Awesome, but Temporary. Contrast And Now for Someone Completely Different, where an existing party member takes over as the viewpoint character temporarily. Don't confuse with Guest Fighter. May often also be a Hero of Another Story.

Video Game Examples:

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    Action Adventure 
  • Plenty throughout The Legend of Zelda series:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has Zelda early in the game (you have to break Zelda out of prison and escape from Hyrule Castle with her during the opening sequence), a monkey for one of the early dungeons and a maiden in one of the later dungeons (she's a demon and the dungeon boss). Even later, you can find a treasure chest in a house that will inexplicably start following Link around.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has Bow-Wow, a ghost, Marin, and the Flying Rooster. Bow-Wow and the rooster are actually useful, Marin gives you some fun scenes, and the just a Broken Bridge character that you have to get rid of to get into the next dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Princess Ruto with you for the whole third dungeon. You also briefly get Princess Zelda with you during the final dungeon, as you both escape it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games has the three pets. You can get one to join you permanently, while the others will only appear in the quests in which they're introduced in each game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask also allowed you to take control of Kafei in the final part of his lengthy sidequest, and is used to move blocks onto switches while Link battles enemies.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has Medli and Makar, who are actually playable for one dungeon each. If a Game Boy Advance is connected to the GameCube while you play, Tingle can join in too anytime.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has a young Goron that Link briefly joins forces with to overcome parts of a dungeon and the first half of the boss battle. The player controls one at a time and needs to switch between them as needed. The Goron can fight and destroy boulders, but obviously doesn't have the same arsenal of items as Link does.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has a Phantom possessed by Princess Zelda's spirit. Like earlier examples, you switch between Link and the Phantom.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has Groose, who helps you during the second and third Imprisoned fights.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has the girl who you help escape from the Thieves' Hideout, as a Shout-Out to the girl from A Link to the Past. This time around she isn't the boss.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, using the Link and Midna amiibo from Twilight Princess will let Wolf Link accompany you. In a more traditional sense, Link is accompanied by differing companions when challenging the Divine Beasts — Sidon against Vah Ruta, Teba against Vah Medoh, Riju against Vah Naboris, and Yunobo against Vah Rudania.
  • In Cave Story, Curly accompanies you like an Attack Drone throughout Labyrinth M. If you save her life and restore her memory, she will rejoin you in Sacred Ground.
  • Yomiel in Ghost Trick for one very special mission and one single trick. Missile joins you a few occasions as well.
  • In Star Control II, the Spathi can be recruited as allies by doing an optional quest. However they all leave after only a couple months. Fortunately, you do get to keep any Spathi ships you happened to build during that time.

    Action Game 
  • Forgotten Realms-based video game Demon Stone has a chapter where you are required to exchange control of the sorcerer Ilius for special guest star Drizzt do'Urden, the dual-wielding drow ranger who defines melee badassery for many D&D players. Combined with a nerfing of weapon enhancements, a single-target super attack instead of a multi-target super, enemies that regenerate, and a few segments that even remove the ability to swap into control of your other characters in preference for just Drizzt, playing the super-badass drow just plain sucks.
  • In the GBA/DS adaptation of Revenge of the Sith, whichever Jedi is not the main protagonist is temporarily controllable during the fight with Count Dooku as an inverted Dual Boss.
  • SoulCalibur 3's adventure mode features many characters coming and going in your party. They should in theory start out stronger than characters you always have available, however due to leveling up by fighting (even if you lose) it makes more sense to just keep using your own characters.

    Fighting Game 
  • During the final route of Duel Savior Destiny you gain access to many different units you've fought with or against before, including gamebreakingly powerful units like Muriel Sheerfield, who more or less operates as a super version of your caster unit Lily.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has The Director, who appears in several Challenge Tower missions, and is also playable in one despite not being playable anywhere else in the game.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Blacksite: Area 51: the Big Bad actually fights as a member of your squad for several missions (against his own troops!), as part of a Batman Gambit to get inside the Allied HQ. However, despite being an augmented super-soldier (who can soak a few hundred bullets in the final battle), when he's on your side he's physically indistinguishable from your other AI-controlled squad buddies.
  • In the PC version of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, the President of the United States himself carries a pistol and follows you around (very briefly) after you rescue him from rebel soldiers.
  • At one point in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Luke Skywalker himself fights alongside you.
  • In the finale of The Passing in Left 4 Dead 2, Zoey, Francis, and Louis assist your team by sniping at zombies from a balcony and tossing you items in between waves of hordes. They're also ignored by the zombies so you don't have to worry about protecting them.

  • World of Warcraft has many Escort Mission quests where the NPC can actually fend for himself pretty well. The Wrath expansion also introduced several group quests where the player can call NPCs to help him if there aren't enough other players around to help with them. There is also a quest to free captive horde soldiers that will join forces with the rescuer for a while as thanks.
    • Lampshaded in quests involving Harrison Jones which states that you are either being escorted by him, or are supposed to simply stay out of the way while he does his thing.
    • In the War of the Ancients and Hour of Twilight dungeons released at the end of Cataclysm, you were joined by Illidan and Tyrande, and Thrall, respectively, that would act as a 6th party member giving the group buffs and attacking mobs and bosses with you.
    • Similarly used in a few places in Mists of Pandaria, mostly in lore-heavy Scenarios where they're the focus of the story, and a few fights in raids (like Galakrond in Siege of Orgrimmar.)
  • Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE Online: Early on in the game, you complete a quest to heal your former mentor's wounded Cerberus. The Cerberus accompanies you for the next few acts, and can be summoned like a normal demon. However, it suffers from the "Wounded" attribute, slowing it's growth. At the end of Act 3, Snakeman takes Cerberus away to continue his treatment. You can later obtain a fully healed Cerberus as a gift from Snakeman after reaching level 30.
    • This is a recurring theme in Shin Megami Tensei. In both the first and second game, you can get Cerberus as a mini-Disc-One Nuke (it avoids the level restriction too), although you lose them soon after they've had their use; later you can get them back permanently.
  • Guild Wars:
    • The game has henchmen who are implied to be working alongside the various players and heroes. None of the heroes "leave" per se, but there are some henchmen who do not follow you to later areas. Most of the time, they are available for the first couple of missions then when you get to the main dungeons and missions, stay behind. A few do decide to not stay behind, or actually go ahead and join in different areas. And most of the Loads and Loads of Characters in the Guild Wars universe don't make the cut to Eye of the North, despite being in your party when you take the quest that begins the main Eye of the North questlines.
    • Some quests have you amass a bunch of support characters who actually can fight very well, while others Leeroy or are noncombat.
    • With a few exceptions, the central five (Mhenlo, Eve, Cynn, Devona, Aiden) will always be available. But the biggest exception is in Factions where Mhenlo is a non-henchman NPC who has to be protected at all costs.
    • Kormir fits this trope to a T, acting as a Crutch Character of a sort before losing her sight and Becoming the Goddess of Truth in the final battle.
  • Final Fantasy XIV does it a lot for certain story and class quest encounters, including one in Heavensward which basically revisits an older dungeon with two significant NPCs replacing the usual player party. It can also occur in some other places, though usually in a lesser role or more of a Escort Mission situation.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: In the Fallen Empire expansion and beyond, there have been a handful of these. Darth Marr at the start of the expansion and Darth Acina in one chapter of Eternal Throne, and (if you choose to spare his mother, Senya, who pleads for his life), a subversion with Arcann, who shows up as one of these early on and becomes a full-blown Companion option later.

  • An unusual platformer example is the second and third games in the Jak and Daxter series, where some characters will fight alongside the duo. Sometimes, it's also an escort mission, but sometimes it's a full battle. With the exceptions of The Kid and Damas, these guests will have a HP bar on the top-left of the screen; if they lose all their health, it's game over. Most of the time, you often get one or two guests, but at one point, you get three. The party members include Sig, Ashelin, Jinx, Mog, Grim, Samos (old and young), Torn, and Damas.
  • This is a common occurrence in the Sly Cooper games.
    • Starting from the second game, there will be certain missions where Sly, Bentley and Murray will work together, with one being playable, and the other two being party members. There are also two missions in which you follow Constable Neyla around as she directs Sly to a point he can access- though it turns out she’s really intending to betray him the first moment she gets; the third time you have to follow her, it's a chase sequence.
    • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has the Guru, the Panda King, Penelope, and Dimitri, who were only controllable during certain missions. Similarly, certain missions have you controlling Carmelita Fox, who's not even part of the gang (rather, she's one of the main antagonists).
    • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Sly's various ancestors (Rioichi, Tennessee "Kid", "Bob", Sir Galleth, and Salim) are playable in their respective eras. At the end of the game, they all reappear for the final stage to regain their stolen canes and, in Tennessee's case, save Sly Cooper and Carmelita Fox from Le Paradox.
  • Ratchet & Clank also has characters who serve as guest star party members in several games.
    • The first game (and its re-imagining) has the Sergeant (Cora in the re-imagining) and the Pokitaru Resort Manager, both as escort characters.
    • The third game introduces guest stars who combat alongside you; in this case, the Galactic Rangers. Captain Qwark, Skrunch, and Skidd also join in the escort variation.
    • Tools of Destruction introduces Talwyn Apogee, Cronk, and Zephyr as guest stars. They will all fight alongside you in several battles.
    • Talwyn even serves as a party member in Quest for Booty, alongside Rusty Pete and Captain Slag's head in an escort mission.
    • A Crack in Time also introduces a guest star in Alister Azimuth, who fights alongside Ratchet in several missions until his Face–Heel Turn after defeating Cassiopeia. Captain Qwark will fight alongside you in several missions, and so does a group of Fongoids. A Vulcan will serve as an escort character early on.
    • Starting with Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Clank will sometimes become a full party member instead of functioning as a helipack.
    • In the non-canon game Size Matters, the first mission has a little girl (really a Pinocchio-like spy who's The Dragon to Otto Destruct) follow you around while you defeat random enemies.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin 2 features the Bulbmin, who are immune to all environmental hazards but can only be used in the dungeon they are found in.
  • The campaigns in Warcraft 3 have a few examples.
    • In the Human campaign of Reign of Chaos, Jaina joins for a few levels before leaving. In later parts of the campaign, Muradin joins up, but halfway through the final level he takes an ice shard to the head, and seemingly dies. You end the campaign with only Arthas.
    • In the Orc campaign, Grom Hellscream is playable for two levels. During the second level, he decides to drink Mannoroth's demonic blood to get power to deal with Cenarius. And while it works, it also corrupts him, turning him into an antagonist for the rest of the campaign.
    • In the Night Elf campaign, Illidan is playable for a grand total of one level.
    • In the Sentinel campaign in The Frozen Throne, Tyrande is only playble for a few levels, before she collapses the bridge she was standing on to cut off the undead. The player has to bail her out of encirclement in the final level. Additionally, the main character, Maiev, actually walks out on Malfurion in disgust once he decides to work with Illidan to save Tyrande, and is not playable for the final level. For a more minor examples, Naisha the Huntress is around for three levels before getting crushed underneath the collapsing Tomb of Sargeras, while the Paladin hero the player rescues in one of the later levels is playable for that level only, and does not stick around afterwards.
    • In the Blood Elf campaign, if the player succesfully finishes the secret Tower Defense level, they get a generic Brewmaster hero for the following level only.
    • In the Undead campaign, both Kel'Thuzad and Garithos are only playable for one level each. Kel'Thuzad simply moves out of focus, while Garithos gets You Have Outlived Your Usefulness from Sylvanas, and ends up slaughtered by undead.
    • In the The Founding of Durotar bonus campaign, the player gets several heroes who come and go:
      • Nazgrel helps the party investigate a suddenly silent outpost, which ends up with the first encounter with Kul'Tiras forces. Notably, he is not a hero, instead being a stronger version of Wolf Raider unit.
      • Drek'Thar helps the team in the quest related to the exodus of thunderlizards from their natural habitat. Turns out that Kul'Tiras navy has made their base there and drove the lizards out.
      • Samuro helps the party in distracing another Kul'Tiras base, alowing Rexxar and others to infiltrate Theramore.
      • Jaina joins shortly afterwards, when Rexxar finds said base burned to the ground by Naga. She leaves after Rexxar and co. enter Theramore.
      • Baine Bloodhoof briefly helps you after you rescue him from the harpies, for a limited definition of "helps" since he is significantly lower level and can't carry items.

  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness, you are joined on a mid-game dungeon run by Grovyle, who is a huge asset to your team as you can simply stand back and let him do the fighting to conserve strength. And later, you are joined by a Shiny Celebi of all things, who deals out more ass-kickery than you ever thought possible from a pink fairy thing.
    • Hydreigon in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, who shows up after you're separated from your partner. He's likely to be around 30 levels higher then you and can effortlessly plow through the enemies you encounter (Save for the few that can confuse him). Predictably, he doesn't stick around for very long. He officially joins the team in the post-story at his original level of 64, and is still likely be stronger then anyone else on the team for a very long time.
    • Almost all of the dungeons in the latter half of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon have you accompanied by at least one Pokemon from the Expedition Society who'll most likely be several levels higher then you and your partner. However, the game's difficulty is high enough compared to the previous entries that you'll likely find yourself needing to rely heavily on their assistance to survive, and despite them technically being on the same team as you, you're not actually able to freely bring them on missions until you've totally completed the story.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • To be expected in a franchise as long-running as Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II has a whole stream of guest party members. Rest assured that whoever joins your party and fills the fourth slot will eventually leave (the sole exception being Leon). In the GBA and PSP versions, some of them (more specifically, those who died) feature in a bonus section after the main game, complete with whatever equipment and magic they had when they left, making So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear actually useful for once. However, unless you power-leveled all of these characters in the main game, they will likely get murdered by the more powerful enemies.
    • Final Fantasy III has guests for several points in the game. Some of them stick around for multiple dungeons and some for just one. In the original game, they just tagged along as an extra sprite on the map screen, but they have a chance of popping in at the beginning of battles and either casting a spell or attacking in the remake. Their luck varies—a few of them eventually die via Heroic Sacrifice and one gets a Disney Death, but not all of them.
    • In general, the entire party in Final Fantasy IV gets well-shuffled over the course of the game. Cecil is the only character that you must have in your party, and only a few (Rosa, Rydia, Tellah, and Edge — out of 11 characters) stick with Cecil for more than three dungeons at a time. Kain and Rosa function as guests when they first join the party, departing again fairly quickly. FuSoYa sticks around for only a single dungeon near the end. Edge is the only party member who permanently joins when you first get him (and Cecil, though he does change class and gets his level reset to 1). In the GBA remake, as well as the mobile and PSP versions (but not the DS version) most characters are available for the final dungeon and the bonus dungeons, making Tellah and FuSoYa the only real guests in those games.
    • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years follows the grand tradition of temporary party members. Most of them either do not gain experience, or have a lower level cap than the normal characters do.
      • A handful of permanent party members show up as guests in other chapters: Cecil, Cid, and Rosa in Ceodore's Tale Details ; Palom, Rydia and Kain in Porom's Tale. Though "Kain" is actually Dark Kain, who is also a Guest in Kain's Tale until defeated by the real Kain.
      • In terms of pure examples: Biggs and Wedge are guests for the first part of Ceodore's Tale. Player Mooks are available in certain chapters. The Elder of Mysidia joins for a single battle in Porom's Tale. Fusoya appears in the Lunarian's Tale.
    • Final Fantasy V has one that would otherwise seem like a permanent party member: that would be Galuf. Don't despair if you invested a lot of time level grinding, as learned abilities carry over to a replacement character: his granddaughter Krile.
    • Final Fantasy VI has a slew of these:
      • Biggs and Wedge, the two Red Shirt soldiers who accompany Terra in the intro sequence. They die shortly into the game.
      • The 11 Moogles who join to help protect Terra. Subverted in that you can recruit one of them as an optional character later, and you can get another through a glitch. (The Moogles are based on characters you get later; if you sequence break your way out of recruiting one of them, you get the Moogle back at a mandatory point later.)
      • Banon has a game breaking healing ability. Which is good, because his section of the game is an Escort Mission, and if he falls it's an automatic Game Over.
      • The Ghosts in the Phantom Train are pretty useless other than their Possess ability. You can fill your open party slots with them (up to two if you didn't recruit Shadow) but they will leave before you deal with the engine.
      • General Leo is playable for one battle. He dies shortly after.
      • Finally there is Shadow, a rare Recurring Guest Star Party Member. He can be optionally recruited at three different points during the game, though for the first two, he has a random chance of leaving at the end of a battle. He can become a permanent party member if you wait for him before escaping from the Floating Continent, otherwise he dies.
    • Final Fantasy VII has a couple:
      • Aerith is an unusual example in that, by all appearances, she's a permanent character up until she dies. She gets everything that all the other characters can: an Infinity +1 Sword, a full set of Limit Breaks, and more character development then anyone else up to that point. Of course, if you didn't know she was going to leave, you probably wouldn't come across those power-ups until after the fact.
      • Sephiroth. Though you never actually control him, he is every bit The Ace that Cloud touts him as. He has powerful attacks, powerful magic, and is a great healer, too. He also comes equipped with a full set of Master materia, just to break him even further. Too bad you only get him briefly in the flashback; he'd be a Game-Breaker otherwise.
      • At the end of the first part of the remake Red XIII becomes one, as this part ends after Midgar and Red XIII was only available for a couple of battles in the Midgar section of the original. Also overlaps with 11th-Hour Ranger.
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • Seifer is useful for low-level players at the start of the game.
      • Edea is less welcome, as her abilities and Limit Break are fairly useless by the time you get her.
      • Laguna, Kiros, and Ward are a whole Guest Star Party.
    • A number in Final Fantasy IX:
      • Beatrix assists the party for a short while early on, and then a little later in a duo with Steiner for a segment that mainly exists so that Steiner can catch up. Though she's pretty powerful when she's playable, you can kill her off in the Steiner section so that Steiner gets even more experience from the ordeal.
      • Cinna, Blank and Marcus. Cinna joins for the first two fights of the game, and earns the distinctions of "lowest attack", "lowest defence", and generally "crappiest character." Blank also joins for the first few fights, leaves for a while, then comes back for the Plant Brain boss fight before getting turned to stone. Marcus is around for the same fights as Blank and Cinna, but he rejoins later when Dagger and Steiner split up from the main group. He's a Zidane clone, with slightly higher attack. (In fact, that last sentence applies to all three.) However, some of these guests transfer their stats to permanent party members (Blank and Marcus carry over to Amarant and Eiko respectively). Leveling with them makes future party members that much more powerful.
    • Seymour in Final Fantasy X. He joins you for only one battle: the second fight against Sinspawn Gui. He even has an Overdrive of his own!
    • Final Fantasy XII explicitly makes guest party members a game mechanic: the character is actually labelled "Guest" in the menu, doesn't count toward the party's Arbitrary Headcount Limit, has permanently-set equipment, and has no Licence Board entry. The guest will only level up and be given commands in the Zodiac version. There are six primary examples of guests over the course of the game:
      • Reks is the Decoy Protagonist for the prologue of the game and promptly bites it.
      • Amalia (who's actually Ashe) and Basch join for the long haul later. Balthier practically lampshades the trope the first time it occurs, outright calling Amalia the party's "guest" (using the terminology from Final Fantasy Tactics, set in the same universe) and basically explaining all the above mechanics without quite breaking the fourth wall.
      • Larsa stays as an important character in the game.
      • The last two guests are Vossler and Reddas. As with Reks, they get axed.
      • There's also a plethora of friendly minor NPCs during certain Monster Hunts who your party will treat as temporary party members (which can be annoying when they start trying to buff a guy who's got Reflect).
      • Finally there's a character who doesn't join the party but helps out in battle: Gabranth shows up in the penultimate battle against Vayne.
    • And again in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, with Ba'Gaman and Fran. The latter of these two characters joins your party again, and thankfully there is never equipment to buy for the first character so there's no potential for thievery.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has Gadot and Lebreau, Snow's lancers in his anarchy/resistance group. They fight with him in chapters 1 and 2 and function as Crutch Characters.
    • Lightning and Snow are Demoted to Extra in Final Fantasy XIII-2. While Lightning is temporarily playable, Snow is a straight-up guest.
    • Fang joins Lightning at a couple of points in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and is fully controlled by the AI. Lightning can also fight alongside the Angel of Valhalla in the Wildlands if you complete the quest for that.
    • In Final Fantasy XV, Grand Marshall Cor Leonis helps you out a little bit early on; he is level 52 when you'll be in your teens. Also joining in on the fun are Iris Amiticia and Aranea Highwind: the former doesn't boast much HP but is surprisingly effective in a fight for being a 15 year old girl, using her dolls, martial arts, and potions to be useful; Aranea, meanwhile, is a powerful dragoon who comes at a time when your party is a man down. And she can also temporarily join your party for tough battles in the field later on as well. And, due to an easy to exploit glitch, she can be made into a permanent member of the party. Cor actually lampshades it in a dialogue with Noctis.
      Noctis: Life's a lot easier with you around!
      Cor: Don't get used to it. I'll be gone before you know it.
      Noctis: I'll enjoy it while it lasts, then.
    • Final Fantasy Adventure has a couple of NPCs that join you at certain points of the game: a girl (named Fuji in the manual), a red mage that shoots fireballs and turns out to be Julius the Big Bad, Watts, a knight, a sibling pair of a bard and a dancer, and a robot. Most of them return in the Video Game Remake, Sword of Mana, with a few exceptions.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest gives you a different guest party member for each of the regions of the world. Each one of them joins exactly twice.
    • Final Fantasy Dimensions makes this a core feature of the plot, which is divided into chapters. Each of the storyline's two major groups consists of four characters, but the Arbitrary Headcount Limit is five; at almost all times, the fifth slot is filled by a guest character who possesses a unique Character Class, which becomes available to the rest of the party upon completion of the current chapter.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Many of the worlds you visit include a guest who can swap into the party in that world only. These characters never need equipment (most don't need weapons or armor, the rest come with what they need), they leave if you exit their world, and they replace one of your permanent party members (Donald Duck or Goofy). One wonders why the designers didn't just put in a fourth party slot and leave it empty most of the time — but then Square-Enix has mostly stuck with 3 character parties since Chrono Trigger.
    • The guest star party members introduced in the original game are Aladdin, Ariel, Jack Skellington, Peter Pan and the Beast (there was also Tarzan, but due to copyright complications, Disney prefers to pretend he was never in the game).
    • There is also one special case that doesn’t follow the game’s usual Guest-Star Party Member rules but is still an example of this trope for one battle only. That would be Riku during the first Parasite Cage bossfight in Monstro. He fights alongside you, dealing damage and even healing you, but he doesn’t even have a health meter of his own, let alone a place on the game’s menu like other party members. This makes sense, because while after his Face–Heel Turn, it’s still early enough that he’s on the fence about that decision. Sora refusing Riku’s offer to help for the second battle, due to Riku’s mistreatment of Pinocchio, is what ultimately seals the deal on them truly being enemies from that point forward.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Ariel and Peter Pan lose this status, but Mulan, Auron, Jack Sparrow, Simba, and TRON are all introduced as party members, and Riku becomes one two areas before the final boss in The World That Never Was.
    • Mostly used in the second game (but occasionally in the others), there are times when characters will join you in battle as an unofficial "fourth" party member, acting as allies but not showing up in the HUD. Examples include Minnie Mouse at Disney Castle, as well as several Final Fantasy cameos such as Leon (Squall) and Cloud.
    • 358/2 Days has practically only this in the story mode: Roxas either fights alone, or with another Organization member specified by the mission. You have no control over them, aside from selecting one of three general behaviour options.
    • Birth By Sleep does the same thing as 358/2 Days, with the guest star party members being the other two Keyblade masters you aren't playing as, Prince Philip, young Hercules, Zack, Experiment 626 and Mickey Mouse. All only appear for a few battles, but unlike in II, they will show up in the HUD.
    • Kingdom Hearts III not only continues the trend, but does away with the Arbitrary Headcount Limit, allowing the guest to fight alongside your full team. Party members include Hercules in Olympus, Woody and Buzz in Toy Box, Rapunzel and Eugene in Kingdom of Corona (though Rapunzel leaves permanently after reaching the festival), Sulley and Mike in Monstropolis, Marshmallow in Arendelle, Jack Sparrow in Port Royal, which has now been renamed "The Caribbean", and Baymax in San Fransokyo.
      • During the climatic battle in the Keyblade Graveyard, Aqua, Ventus, Riku, Mickey, Lea, Kairi, Roxas, and Xion.
      • The [Remind] DLC inverts this with two battles where Sora is the guest, one involving Riku in a Once More, with Clarity! boss battle, and one involving Kairi for a Post-Final Boss.
  • The Xenosaga trilogy has four of them. In Episode I, Lt. Virgil, the trigger-happy, misanthropic, Blood Knight in Sour Armour, joins the party for a very brief time (like an hour if you're progressing really slow) at the beginning of the game and then promptly dies. He comes back, though. Episode II takes a more unconventional route by having both the stone-faced badass Realian, Canaan, and the dopey Unfazed Everyman of the series, Allen, be technical guest character without them making any actual contributions to the gameplay. This is accomplished by having them appear as "co-pilots" of two of the party's Humongous Mecha (Asher for Canaan, and Dinah for Allen). In Episode III, Canaan and Allen are actually playable, however, and are joined by the other Genius Ditz of the series, Miyuki (our protagonist Shion being the original one).
  • In Xenoblade, Alvis and Mumkhar each fight in a grand total of one battle each as party members, and Dickson fights in two.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
    • The first chapter places Jin, Malos, and Nia in your party. The former two are both higher leveled and much stronger then the latter of three, which makes it fairly apparent to a savvy player that they aren't going to be around for along.
    • Vandham is only part of your team for the duration of Chapter 3. He takes on the role of Rex's mentor, teaching him how to use the Anchor Shot art to topple enemies and regaling the youth with his philosophies about the nature of war and of the relationship between Drivers and Blades. This, coupled with the fact that he refuses to resonate with any other Blades than Roc, ought to ring some alarm bells. Doesn't take a genius to see where that's going.
    • During Chapter 8, Jin becomes a temporary party member again, except this time you can actually control him if you want to see what has to say about doing quests, gathering items, or falling into bottomless pits.
  • Teepo in Breath of Fire III leaves the party near the beginning of the game, whereupon everything he has on him is subject to So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear. Luckily, skills he learnt from enemies beforehand are transferred to the skill note list instead.
  • Common in the Tales Series:
    • Chester in Tales of Phantasia. He rejoins much later in the game, but at the same level he was at when he left (which makes sense, because most of the game actually takes place in the past, so what was weeks and weeks of adventuring for the rest of the party was just a few minutes to him). With some training it is possible to make him useful in that he becomes a long-ranged equivalent to Cless in terms of damage. The Playstation, Game Boy Advance and Playstation Portable remakes expanded his arsenal (as in not only more weapons but giving him artes) and contained added scenes which allowed Chester to get his levels back up to snuff relatively rapidly when the party slept at inns, making him even more Badass Normal.
    • Although she certainly isn't this in Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, Rondoline E. Effenberg is this in the X update of the original game, joining the heroes at sporadic points in the story and providing her own rather useful set of artes and spells (including a Mystic Arte) before finally being permanently transported away through time just before the final battle.
    • Leon in Tales of Destiny, though the remake had narikiri dolls that let the player turn any party member into a replica of him complete with arte set.
    • Ras in Tales of Eternia.
    • Kratos in Tales of Symphonia. Twice. And then optionally again near the ending — in which case Zelos leaves the party. Which means that Zelos can become one as well, albeit a more long-lasting one.
      • In the sequel, Dawn of the New World, most of the party are partial examples in that they will leave and enter your party frequently (having up to four of them in your party at once until the later parts of the game; you finally get them all at once in the final chapter) but you can never change their equipment, you can't have one of them as your active member, their titles randomly change between one from the first game, and instead of gaining experience or leveling up they have a fixed level that changes depending on what point you're at in the story. Richter is a straight example.
    • Asch in Tales of the Abyss. A rather Guide Dang It! glitch can be used to keep him in the party instead of the main character (who he replaces during his stint in the party), at the expense of a few treasures and sidequests. He has two stintsnote , and manages to get massively depowered between them without a Good Is Dumb moment - he just has the same equipment at the end of the game that he had in the middle, and it turns out that a sword that was pretty damn good 20 hours into the game isn't so great when everybody else has gotten a twofold increase in attack power.
    • Flynn in Tales of Vesperia, who joins for a grand total of one battle. In the PS3 version, as well as the PS4 Definitive Edition, however, he joins at four points throughout the story (the fourth being the aforementioned one battle). Shortly afterwards, right before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, he joins the party permanently.
    • Richard in Tales of Graces. In the remake, he becomes a proper party member for the f arc with a greatly expanded moveset, and can be utilized in battle in the main story with a narikiri doll (Which transforms the user into him).
    • A rather controversial example in Tales of Zestiria: Alisha. Dezel as well -but he receives a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in Zaveid.
    • In Tales of Berseria, Seres accompanies you during the escape from Titania, but is not directly controlled by the player.
  • In the anime RPG InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask, Sesshomaru joins you for a brief stroll around a castle, until you reunite with your party inside. His high stats and powerful combat abilities make him functionally invincible against the much weaker enemies you encounter. If you jump though a ton of hoops to raise his affection up he'll join the the female PC (but not the male) for the final battle and give you a special ending.
  • Nicolai and the Mutant Apes in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. The Director's Cut version (never released overseas) has a Villain Episode, where you control Nicolai, Veronica, and Lenny.
  • Fallout had a quest for you to rescue Tandi, the daughter of Shady Sands' leader, from a nearby raider camp. The game places her as a party member for the purposes of returning her home, but nothing really prevents you from taking her along to other places.
  • Liberty Prime in Fallout 3, a Pre-War bipedal robotic superweapon armed with laser eyes, spouts hilarious jingoistic propaganda, and throws scaled down nuclear bombs like footballs. Also, he's technically a part of the environment, and is thus indestructible. Admittedly, you're basically his guest star party member at that point in the game, but it's still awesome.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has NPCs that will fight alongside you for certain quests, like Deputy Beagle in the Bison Steve Hotel, Logan when scavenging Camp Searchlight, Ranger Bryce Anders helping you kill the Fiend leader Motor-Runner in Vault 3, and Private Halford in the Camp Guardian Caves, as well as New California Republic troopers and rangers if you call for backup on the emergency radio. They lack Gameplay Ally Immortality, and except for Beagle, you can't trade weapons and equipment with them. There's also the companions all four DLC campaigns, since you can't take them into the main game.
    • Dead Money has Dean Domino, Christine, and Dog/God.
    • Honest Hearts has Follows-Chalk, Waking Cloud, and Joshua Graham, the legendary Burned Man. In fact, the latter can be considered an inversion since that character doesn't fulfill most of the functions other companions do, you will struggle to keep up, and you will be ditched if you become a hindrance. In effect, YOU are the companion during that sequence.
    • Old World Blues has one you can actually create (multiple times, no less, should she die) - Roxie the cyberdog. However, she won't leave the X-8 facility. If she's alive in the ending, however, she'll escape the Big Empty and have a litter of cyberpups with Rex.
    • Lonesome Road has an odd twist on the concept: the companion is ED-E, but it is a copy of the Mojave ED-E with the same stored data but somewhat different abilities. Ulysses, the Big Bad of the DLC and the Greater-Scope Villain of the other three, can also become a temporary companion if you convince him to back down.
  • Pops up in the Persona series:
    • In Persona, you go through the prologue and the first dungeon with a party consisting of Masao Inaba, Yukino Mayuzumi, Kei Nanjo, and Eriko Kirishima. Once you return to St. Hermelin, all of them leave the party. Masao will never return on the Snow Queen route while Yukino will never return on the SEBEC route; Kei and Eriko can both be re-recruited later on (and Kei is outright mandatory for the SEBEC route).
    • In the Persona 2 duology:
      • Yukino Mayuzumi accompanies you for the first part of Innocent Sin, but she either leaves or is killed off depending on whether or not you take her with you to Caracoal about halfway through, and Jun Kurosu permanently takes her place afterward.
      • In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, a certain rumor you can spread will allow you to recruit either Kei Nanjo or Eriko Kirishima for a couple of dungeons, but they are eventually dropped in favor of Tatsuya Suou.
    • Shinjiro Aragaki is this in a roundabout way in Persona 3, as he's only available for one in-game month before his Plotline Death. This is covered up by the fact that his Persona, Castor, can learn a full list of skills up to Level 70, whereas your other party members will learn their last skill in the mid 40's, and cannot learn more until they obtain their Ultimate Personas, but chances are he won't learn them unless you deliberately go and level grind him.
    • Persona 5:
      • Goro Akechi temporarily joins the Phantom Thieves for a single late game dungeon by using blackmail to force his way onto the team. Unlike your permanent party members, who specialize in a single Elemental Power, Akechi has multiple Bless, Curse, and Almighty spells, and gets a wide range of Level-Up at Intimacy 5 party member perks automatically. In the Royal edition, he returns for the new third semester content and sticks with you to the bloody end this time.
      • In the Royal edition, Kasumi Yoshizawa downplays this. She fights alongside you for two battles (her awakening on 10/3 or 10/4 and the In Medias Res prologue on 11/19) but doesn't join the Phantom Thieves at this time. She later accompanies you for the mandatory dungeon run on 1/2, leaves the party at the end of that, and finally joins you for real on 1/12.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse features several instances of this trope in one game, generally during its most climactic boss fights:
    • On the Law route, Merkabah will help you during the final battle with Lucifer. On Chaos, the inverse doesn't happen, as Merkabah is already dead once the route is triggered - instead, the ending automatically starts.
    • Hiroshi is a man who joins up with the party for one quest. Very unusually for the trope, you actually have more control over him than you do your actual party members, as you can tell him to buff you, attack, defend or pass. You can still have one of your usual partners alongside him, as he doesn't use the Partner slot.
    • At the very end of the game, Flynn will follow you around and assist in battle. The exact details depend on the route; on Bonds, he only helps in the final dungeon, but also helps outside of battle. On Massacre, he doesn't help in the field, but he follows you everywhere. Furthermore, during the final battle, he forms his own party to help fight YHVH. On Bonds, he's assisted by Jonathan, Walter, and Isabeau, while on Massacre, Satan is his only party member.
    • The final battle of the Diamond Realm DLC has you teaming up with all four of the protagonists from the past main numbered SMT games, which the game implements in a unique way by giving you two alternating playable parties to fight with, much like Flynn's party during the main game's final battle.
  • Skies of Arcadia uses an unusual variation. There are three main characters, and three other party members that constantly duck in and out of the story, replacing one another in your fourth party slot. Only at The Very Definitely Final Dungeon can you actually choose which one goes with you.
  • Several characters, including the Fab Fairies, the Great Sage or the ex-Dark-Lord accompany the main party at some key points in Miitopia, providing a fifth member immune to anything. Many Miis can appear in the Traveller's Hub and join the party during an errand the player completes for them, and sometimes these Guest-Star Party Members can be recurited as Full-Time Party Members!
  • Mother
    • EarthBound Beginnings: Pippi, Teddy, and EVE - Pippi and Teddy were controllable, EVE wasn't. Funnily enough, Pippi has the same base stats as Teddy, and Teddy was depicted as one of the main characters.
    • Earthbound:
      • The beginning of had a number of guest party members, including the hero's dog, his next door neighbors Pokey and Picky, and Buzz Buzz, a bee from the future, which was the only one who could do substantial damage to enemies. Picky would mostly miss the target, while Pokey would always just cower in fear.
      • Jeff's best friend Tony, who follows him around during the escape from the boarding school but doesn't gets into combat. Later he gets followed around by a gum-chewing monkey.
      • The huge and powerful golem Dungeon Man, who gets stuck in some trees shortly after you meet him, and
      • There are also the Flying Men in Magicant unlike others guest party members, they can die and there are a total of 5 of them.
    • Mother 3:
      • similarly has characters that follow you around like this in the first few chapters, however straighter examples are Salsa and Flint, who are the player controlled characters in two early chapters, but do not participate in most of the game. Salsa does come back for a short time, but leaves permanently afterwards.
      • The first area of Chapter 3 is probably the only time you enjoy Fassad's company: he does the most damage in the first area. He still had it coming.
  • Trask in the opening tutorial of Knights of the Old Republic. To some extent, this also applies to Bastila.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has 3C-FD, who you can take control of in the tutorial, and B-4D4, who you control for a brief sequence during a storyline quest after stealing and reprogramming him. In addition, under similar circumstances to the above spoiler character, this technically applies to Kreia.
    • In The Jedi Masters, Kreia briefly returns as a party member when searching for Revan at his last known location.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Nei of Phantasy Star II begins the game in the party, and might be a permanent fixture if not for one little snag: she is part of Neifirst, who must be slain and takes Nei with her one way or another. The Japan-only PlayStation 2 remake allows the player to overcome this and keep Nei through the whole story on a New Game+.
    • Phantasy Star IV has 5 slots and 11 characters, so naturally 6 of them end up as guests. One of these, Seth the archaeologist, is actually pretty competent, with some nasty spells like Deathspell and Corrosion that certainly help with the Soldier's Temple on Motavia. However, he's a particularly blatant case of holding back his true skills by the time he leaves the party. You end up fighting him as he's actually an incarnation of Dark Force, one of the insanely powerful demons that have served as the Big Bad for the last three games. Given Seth's scream of horror as he transforms, whether he's aware of his own nature is uncertain.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star had three: Ghaleon, Laike, and Tempest. Laike has a stupid-high attack rating, while Ghaleon possesses an array of destructive magic that makes Alex's weapons look wimpy in comparison. There's a reason behind both of them, though: Ghaleon is actually the Magic Emperor, the game's Big Bad; and Laike is really Dyne, the legendary Dragonmaster everyone believed to be dead. Tempest? He just shows up for one mission when all of the female party members fall unconscious, and is barely heard from again.
    • There's also Ramus and Luna (especially in the original game) who although higher party members than the above three (for example, their equipment can be removed and replaced with better stuff) still don't last that long in the game before being replaced with other characters. Ramus works with Alex for the first three dungeons up until the one in Meribia where he leaves Alex's party to open a shop. Luna permanently leaves Alex's party when he heads to Meribia in the original game. In all remakes, she notably goes with him to Meribia and lasts longer into the story, up until Ghaleon pulls his Face–Heel Turn and abducts her to awaken her memories as the reincarnation of the Goddess Althena, after which she's gone for good.
    • In the sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue, aspects of this trope are seen in the heroine, Lucia, who is a party member for most of the game, but is not under the player's direct control. She starts out as a Crutch Character, but spends most of the game in a depowered state. Then, after leaving the party late in the game, she returns for an event battle at the very end.
      • Played straight with Hiro's grandfather Gwyn. He fights alongside Hiro for the first dungeon or so, then permanently leaves for the rest of the game. There's also Leo, who often fights alongside Hiro's group for a couple dungeons whenever Lucia's not around. In the game's playable epilogue he joins for good to help Hiro reunite with Lucia.
  • A whole party of these appear in the tutorial of Baldur's Gate game, and leave as soon as it's done. Xan and Branwen do the same in Baldur's Gate II, with Yoshimo being a more straight storyline example.
  • The SaGa series:
    • Final Fantasy Legend II has Mr. S, Ki, Mask, Lynn (who joins briefly for two boss fights), Hana, Taro, Isis, and the protagonist's father will join twice. Most of them are around for only a dungeon or two, or a boss fight. The first three are over-powered (Ki is completely invincible to physical damage due to the Plot Coupons, Magi), while Lynn is pathetically weak (which is even lampshaded in the game manual]]. Everyone else is only marginally more powerful, but your party at those points should be competent. The last party member, Isis, is an 11th-Hour Superpower, strong enough to take out the other half of the Final Boss alone.
    • Final Fantasy Legend III actually had a space in your party that was reserved specifically for your Guest Star Party Members: Myron, Lara, Dion, Faye, and Borgin. Myron can one-shot many monsters for a while, while Lara is only around for a short period of time and is fairly weak. Faye starts out powerful, but by the time your party reaches the area where Xcalibur is, she's weak by comparison. Dion joins twice and is powerful, while Borgin is well-rounded. Borgin is notable in that he fights the Final Boss with you and stays with you permanently.
      • Of interest is that your Cool Ship will assist in fights by opening fire at enemies you encounter while piloting it. It will also bombard the Final Boss during the last phase of its fight.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest IV:
      • There are several guest characters following you that are AI controlled in battles. Some can even be met after their respective departures
      • If you meet with Healie in the cave below the Strathbaile forest, he'll gladly come along with Ragnar and serve as his healer during the first chapter.
      • Oojam joins Meena and Maya's party in Chapter 4, with this being the only time he's in the party.
      • In the fifth chapter, Hank Hoffman fills in as a fourth party member until you land up in Mintos, where he seems to find his true calling.
    • Dragon Quest V has Prince Harry. There's also your father and Honey assisting you in a few battles in the early half of the game. Bianca can technically be a guest member if you decide to marry Nera or Debora instead.
    • Utterly broken in Dragon Quest VII, where you periodically get guest party members for a dungeon or two, often including the boss of that dungeon. While you can't control the guest, they have literally infinite HP and MP, and often an infinite number of healing items- and the boss is just as likely to waste a turn attacking the guest as he is the player characters.
    • Subverted in Dragon Quest VIII, in which your party is briefly joined by the contemptuous and utterly incapable Prince Charmles during fights with Argon lizards (evidently just enough to give him some marginal legitimate claim over the prize). He inflicts 1 point of damage (if he's lucky and doesn't miss), and then flees.
  • Parasite Eve 2 has Kyle, a detective of some sorts, join Aya's side in a few parts of the game. He only has 100HP but can take hits better than Aya can. He cannot be healed at all, so if he dies, Game Over.
  • In Arc Rise Fantasia, this trope shines. In the first part, you get a lot. Rastan in Jada, Cecille near Diamant, Adele in Olquinia, (until she turns batshit on L'Arc), Serge in Olquinia AND Ebur Ruins, Leslie starting in Antrax, and crazy batshit Adele in Ebur Ruins.
    • There's even a section of the game where you temporarily play as the bad guys. including batshit Adele.
    • Another point to make is that you get two characters with a hefty amount of control of before they're brushed aside by the plot: Alf and Niko. Alf gets better stats and Excel Acts than L'Arc, only to be outdone by his ability to summon Simmah the Rogress. That is, until he is revealed to also be a Child of Eesa and can summon Rogress too, and goes out his way to fight against his brother's kingdom. Niko on the other hand is a coward and is absent in several boss fights near the later part of the game before he ultimately quits traveling with the team.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Diamond, Pearl and Platinum and Black 2 and White 2 there are several dungeons where a friendly NPC will team up with the player for a short period of time. These NPCs have their own Pokémon, which they control alongside the player's in Tag Battles.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver:
      • Champion Lance of all people teams up with you in battle at the Rocket Hideout.
      • You team up with your rival to battle Lance and Clair at the Dragon's Den. He's not much more powerful than you.
    • In X and Y, you get to battle along with Kalem or Serena (depending on your gender) at the secret Team Flare hideout several times, not far from the final battle with the boss, Lyssandre.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon has your rival, Hau, team up with you in a few battles again some Team Skull grunts and members of the Aether Foundation. Likewise, Gladion will also team up with you for a few battles in the Aether Foundations. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon keeps the above team battles and adds some more NPCs in the post game content that help you out. During the Rainbow Rocket episode, Lillie teams up with you a few times acting as a Combat Medic with her Pokemon and Guzma joins you for one battle against some Rainbow Rocket grunts.
  • In the obscure but high quality Sega Genesis RPG Traysia, soon after starting the game the main character acquires a party of three followers who will follow him through trials and tribulations for the rest of the game. Well, all except the fourth party member, Floyd, who turns out to be The Mole after a few dungeons, and manages to end up as the Big Bad by the end of the game.
  • Eternal Sonata had Claves, who joined for a dungeon before getting killed off. You can get her to rejoin for the last boss, however, by completing the Bonus Dungeon.
  • In Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes for the iPod, you rescue 'Superstars', platinum ranked party members with only 2 deployment. (Deployment goes down every time you use a party member in battle, more if (s)he gets defeated. Zero deployment and you lose the party member FOREVER.) On top of this, YOU CAN'T GIVE THEM REWIND! (+1 Deployment)
  • Mass Effect:
    • Jenkins in the first game kinda fits this trope, but all you can do with him is talk to him on the Normandy and Eden Prime (where he is actually quite knowledgable about the area and wildlife, being from the colony). Once you first meet the enemy, he dies almost immediately. You can even assign him skill points, but they're useless since he dies before he gets to fire a shot.
    • Mass Effect 2 gives us Wilson, the chief medical tech in charge of bringing Shepard back to life. He accompanies you for part of the tutorial mission before being shot by Miranda, who takes his place.
      • The "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC makes Liara a longer-lasting guest star, since she accompanies you for two levels. Unlike other guest party members, she has her own skill tree which you can put points into, and upon beating the mission you can even learn to use her Stasis ability as a bonus power, a la squad loyalty skills.
      • And then in the "Arrival" DLC, Dr. Amanda Kenson helps Shepard after they bust her out, until she pulls a Face–Heel Turn and reveals she's been indoctrinated by a Reaper artifact.
    • Continuing the tradition, Shepard's former CO David Anderson is a party member during the introduction of Mass Effect 3. Fortunately, he remains an important NPC who survives all the way to the end of the game while leading the anti-Reaper resistance on Earth.
    • Various party members from the first and second Mass Effect games, and even one or two characters from the Expanded Universe, make guest appearances throughout 3, sometimes as party members, and sometimes simply as quest-important NPCs. Be warned, many of these characters are prone to dying dramatic deaths.
    • The Omega DLC gives both of Shepard's party slots to guest-stars - recurring character Aria T'Loak (Omega's ruler), and newcomer Nyreen Kandros.
    • After two games as the krogan Supporting Leader, Wrex returns as a usable party member in the Citadel DLC.
    • The Citadel DLC also has the Armax Arsenal Arena, where you can unlock (most of) your squadmates from Mass Effect 2 (and Wrex) as temporary party members in the combat sim. Combined with your regular party members, this means that you can play with every single regular party member from the trilogy except Thane, Mordin, Legion, Morinth, the squadmate who died on Virmire, and anyone else who dies over the course of the games.
  • In Sonic Chronicles, Eggman joins the party for a while, and is capable of one-shotting robots if Tails is in the party as well. He breaks off near the second half of the game to make sure you can get back. He's actually taking over the world while you're gone due to the Twilight Cage's concept of time working differently.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The series in general has had NPCs join you, often as part of Escort Missions, dating all the way back to Daggerfall. There, they are simply a face in the upper corner of your screen (essentially just a reminder that they are there) and they do not assist you in fighting, and cannot get hurt or die, significantly downplaying the trope.
    • Morrowind is the first game in the series to have NPCs actually follow you, where they do engage in combat and can be harmed/killed. Unfortunately, due to the still-primitive AI, Artificial Stupidity makes virtually every follower in the vanilla game more of a liability than anything else. The only commands available (and they aren't available for all followers) are "Wait Here" and "Follow Me". If they're actively following you, even if they're a withered old pilgrim who begged you to escort her to a nearby shrine, they will engage any hostile enemies you come across in combat. You also cannot give them better equipment (by default) to make them more useful (though one dedicated mercenary follower-for-hire in the Tribunal expansion allows for this), meaning that the unarmed, unarmored, low-level peasant you are escorting will run off, fists a-swinging, at that mighty Daedroth (and will probably perish in two-hits, breaking any quest he is involved with). Game Mods are plentiful which improve followers in many ways, making them much more useful.
    • Oblivion has a number of the same flaws as vanilla Morrowind, but does mark plot-important characters as "Essential", so they cannot be killed. Several essential characters join you in various quests as followers, and there are some tricks (like reverse pick-pocketing) to give them stronger equipment, making them somewhat more useful. Unfortunately, due to Oblivion's broken Level Scaling system, these followers do not level up with you while the enemies of the world do. Expect to see even your essential followers "knocked out" after a few hits in combat once you've reached higher levels.
    • Skyrim overhauls the "follower" system in a similar vein to Bethesda's Fallout sister series, making them markedly more useful. Quite a few are extremely powerful and can function as Disc-One Nuke companions if you recruit them at early enough levels. Some can be hired at any time, while others will only follow you as part of quests or after certain quests. A particularly powerful example is Mercer Frey, the leader of Riften Thieves Guild who turns out to be a traitor and the main antagonist of the Thieves Guild questline. Mercer will follow the Dragonborn during one quest, and although you cannot command him, access his inventory, or sneak with Mercer in tow, nothing stops you from leading him around away from the quest and letting him nuke your adversaries for a few hours.
  • The first Gothic features a variety of individual quest allies who fight alongside you but otherwise do whatever they want. Notably, you are helped more frequently by Diego and Gorn. And then there's Mud.
  • The Legend of Dragoon had two, Lavitz and Shana. Similar to the above, when they leave they are instantly replaced with an equivalent party member. Albert may be arguably greater than Lavitz due to joining early and having more time for Character development, while Miranda was practically an Ass Pull and was thrown in to simply replace Shana so she could fulfill plot purposes, and for the possibility that someone actually did use Shana religiously (Shana and Miranda are a mixed bag - some players will insist they're underrated, while others will say they're both worthless and Meru can do anything they can).
  • Counts for any party member you decide to sacrifice in the Valkyrie Profile games, with a few exceptions. (They become playable near the end of the first but by then, they're too far behind to be of any use to you) Due to Covenant of the Plume's strategy elements, there are literal guest members who sometimes leave but most of the time join at the end of the chapter. Ancel also deserves a mention. He is a guest in the beginning but is sacrificed. In the A ending, he joins as a guest for the final battle.
  • Sagacious Zu of Jade Empire is a strong character, but dies saving the player from Death's Hand at the end of Chapter 3. There's also Abbot Song, who joins the player after the PC is killed by Master Li. He fights alongside the PC until the Water Dragon's power is restored.
  • There are several of these in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, including Aragorn (twice), Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf (twice), Éowyn, and some random Elf guy (multiple times). Each of them joins your team for a single battle or a series of consecutive battles, then leaves immediately afterward without so much as saying goodbye.
  • In the Dragon Age series:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden has a partner or two during their origin story, before they start to meet their actual party-to-be: Ser Gilmore and Eleanor for the Human Noble, Mouse, Jowan, and Lily for the Mage, Soris for the City Elf, Tamlen and later Merrill for the Dalish Elf, Leske for the Dwarven Commoner, and Gorim for the Dwarven Noble. It's not even over once they reach Ostagar: there's Daveth and Ser Jory, your fellow Warden recruits, and then finally a pair of anonymous Redshirts made available for the run up the Tower of Ishal (or just one, if you're the Human Noble Warden and thus have the dog as a party member).
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening gives you another one in the form of Mhairi, who gets disposed of in a Player Punching manner. Mhairi actually has an approval meter, will level up at least once during the level, and even gets what appears to be a set up for personal mission; making her death more surprising and tragic.
    • Dragon Age II has Carver and Bethany, though which one sticks around longer depends on Hawke's class (if Hawke's a Warrior/Rogue, Carver is killed, while Bethany dies if Hawke's a Mage). The surviving sibling will either die or be Put on a Bus by the end of the first act depending on your actions (though they'll return for DLC and the final act if still alive). The Mark of the Assassin DLC has Tallis, who's only around for that story.
  • The first Golden Sun game has Jenna join the party early on, but she is kidnapped after the first dungeon. She only becomes fully playable in the second game. When you know it's coming you can easily take her stuff, but her One-Piece Dress isn't going to do your now all-male party any good. The most she can steal at that point is a few herbs and some wimpy armor, anyway. The third game, Dark Dawn, has Isaac and Garet tag along for the first dungeon, though they aren't directly controllable.
  • Kai in Po Po Lo Crois. Just about everyone if you don't do the sidequests to get 'em, since it's a revolving door of party members in the game.
  • Infinite Space has several, whether as a ship that temporarily joins your fleet or as temporary crew members (in which three of them become permanent members later), most notably Cico's Rudianos in Act 1 and both Dietrich and Nele in Act 2.
  • Quite a few characters from Star Ocean: The Second Story could be considered this because they join your party before you decide whether or not you want to keep them, and you can choose not to recruit any character that could join your party besides whatever character you didn't choose to play as. Leon probably best fits this trope as he joins you temporarily no matter who you're playing as, but can only be recruited for good if Claude is your player character. And after you meet up with Ernest (you have to have Opera in your party first) you can choose to let them both go.
  • The Might and Magic series had this featured in some quests where you would have to rescue a maiden or a child and they would tag along until you brought him/her to the person who told you to rescue the maiden/child. Another example is that almost every NPC in the could join your group and provide some sort of benefit while they are with you, sometimes, however, some people will join and do nothing at all except eat your food
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption has this twice, once in the Dark Ages Era and once later in the modern era. In both cases, the Guest-Star Party Member becomes an enemy, and in both it's a case of So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear.
  • The last two missions of Eien no Aselia are built around Yuuto getting a powerup along with his girlfriend. However, Lesteena has no combat ability whatsoever. So instead, you get to use the white spirit Io, who has some pretty powerful abilities.
  • Diablo III does this with all your companions before you have the option of having them join you for real. Other NPCs also join you from time to time, such as Leah, Adria and Tyrael.
  • In X-Men Legends Professor Xavier is playable for one mission in the Astral Plane and is ridiculously overpowered, he gets taken out about three quarters in and Jean Grey and Emma Frost are forced to carry on without him; in the penultimate mission Xavier is used again (this time in the form of the "Astral Gladiator") for the boss fight against the Shadow King. Additionally, in one mission a computer controlled Havoc fights alongside Cyclops and Wolverine at the Weapon X ruins to rescue several hostage mutants. Later, he and Magneto fight alongside the X-Men party when Sentinels attack the mansion.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance has three: Dum Dum Dugan, Corsair, and Nick Fury himself (before becoming an unlockable character). Dugan shows up at the beginning of the first mission in Act I and the heroes must fight alongside him while protecting him; if his health runs out the mission must be started over. Corsair shows up during a mission in Act 4 where he will fight alongside the party for the first screen before separating from them and communicating with them over a radio. Fury fights alongside the party at the beginning of Act 5 when the corrupted Stark Tower becomes under attack by Dr. Doom's forces.
  • In the original .hack quadrilogy there was Mia, who was available for most of the 1st volume (but not available for important story events that didn't involve her) but only one dungeon and post game only in the 2nd as the corruption of the game data was starting to affect her, not available at all in the 3rd having disappeared completely as the Phases were defeated and the corruption spread, and only available in the 4th after you finish the post game epilogue dungeon after which Aura resurrects her, as you had to defeat her in Phase form earlier in the game. There was also Orca who was only available for the first dungeon after which Skeith puts him in a coma, and then didn't return until the endgame of the final volume. Elk and Mistral are only a partial example as they are available for all of the 1st and 2nd games, but not the 3rd as Mistral bows out with her player revealing her pregnancy and Elk leaves to find Mia, but come back halfway through the 4th.
  • Count Arganan in The Last Story. At one critical moment of the game, he forces his way into your party until the source of the power of the Outsider disintegrates him. The game also gives you General Asthar, Sir Therius, and Horace as guest star party members at different points in the game. Asthar is often much stronger than the player party, while Therius is generally on par with them, and Horace is a virtual non-combatant, being a shopkeeper who gets roped into the group's zany adventures from time to time.
  • Almost every character in the official "Dead Man's Switch" scenario of Shadowrun Returns, as characters generally are either among those you interact with between runs and those that you only use when you're on a run (who have no personality or interactions beyond being Player Mooks). The few characters that fall into both categories generally only join you for one or two runs and are thus this: Only Coyote is repeatedly usable for most of the game. As characters bring their own private equipment on runs and you can't edit it in any way, there is practically no way to game the system.
  • Both White Knight Chronicles and its sequel give you a variety of guest start party members who run the gamut in terms of usefulness in combat. Raus, a drunkard wagon driver is a Load if there ever was one, as is Princess Cisna for the most part (out of battle, however, she is a political machine). Amir is also kind of useless in combat too. Kara joins the party initially as a guest character on par with the other characters in terms of stats and equipment before joining up permanently. The second game gives you access to Miu, Scardigne, Archduke Dalam and Cyrus as guest characters. Miu is a competent fighter though technically 10 or 15 levels below the party in terms of gameplay numbers, same thing with Dalam, who has strong magic spells but lower stats than the pary. Scardigne and Cyrus, meanwhile, are practically player characters in terms of their strength. Scardigne eventually joins the party full time, twice-over, actually when he's revealed to be Kara in disguise.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team sees the normally peaceful Exposition Fairy Prince Dreambert fight alongside Mario and Luigi when facing Antasma, although he does little more than heal them every few turns.
  • Super Paper Mario has a recurring villain who is encountered twice before joining the party seven-eighths of the way through the game, is overall stronger than Mario himself, spends less than 25% of the game with you before leaving after a Duel Boss battle, comes back in time for the final boss, and then is lost again to Demonic Possession in the final final battle. The character in question happens to be Luigi. Yes, really.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals has Tia, Dekar, and Lexis as temporary party members. You'll know this if you've played the prior game, which begins with Maxim and his final party at the end of their journey. Averted in the remake: Tia joins permanently, Dekar rejoins after returning from his Heroic Sacrifice, and Lexis is non-playable but sticks with the party from the very beginning.
  • Bau in Lufia: The Ruins of Lore first joins as a Guest Star Party Member before permanently joining later. Dekar is a straight example, sadly.
  • In the web-based Crystal Story series, Reuben and Phoebe, both party members in the first game, come back in the second game for some plot points like when Lina is kidnapped: Reuben fills her slot. Phoebe drags the protagonist into a sidequest after a temporary party split.
  • In the prologue to Bravely Second, Yew's lifelong friends Janne and Nikolai join him on his quest to save Agnès. While their equipment is customizable, they don't gain experience points like Yew, which is a pretty obvious tip-off that they won't stick around for too long. Later on, at the end of the yokai sidequest, Ringabel joins you for the boss fight. He is not directly controlled by the player, instead functioning as an Assist Character by periodically attacking the boss.
  • In Holy Umbrella, Big Bad Emperor Dondera serves as a party member while inside the Mammoth Whale.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth:
    • Shylphiel will assist Luna when the latter traverses the territory of the former's master, Khaos. When Khaos turns out to be the Big Bad, Shylphiel ends up becoming the first boss of the final dungeon.
    • Ristill, a previous boss, will form an Enemy Mine with party against the Final Boss. She scales to the party's level, which means she won't be as strong as when she was a boss unless the party is very overleveled.
  • Any party member outside of the main eight of Rakenzarn Frontier Story functions as such, only staying for a chapter. They usually boast unique classes and have levels higher than what you would have at that point, letting you breathe easy and grind a bit before you're left to deal with the real threat yourself. If you have a chance to equip them beforehand, they're nice enough to avert So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear.
  • In the penultimate arc of BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the party travels back in time to the First Internet, and a nameless warrior joins them while they climb The Spire. The twist is that he’s actually Boxxyfan, the main villain from the first game, and we’re witnessing the events that led up to his Start of Darkness. Needless to say, he leaves at the end of the chapter. (Although you do get him back for the True Final Boss).
  • Happens on rare occasions in the Etrian Odyssey games:
    • During the main story of Legends of the Titan, you can optionally let a supporting character join you as you explore the last floor of the current stratum, until after the upcoming boss fight: Wufan in Misty Ravine, Kibegami in Golden Lair and Logre in Echoing Library. Afterwards, you can choose whether or not to have them as permanent members of your party. During the postgame, Prince Baldur, Kirjonen and Wiglaf will join you when you confront for the first time the Great Dragon, Blizzard King and Storm Emperor respectively.
    • In Beyond the Myth, Lili will join you during the fight against the Undead King in Fetid Necropolis. During the postgame, when exploring the Bonus Dungeon (Empyreal Bridge), Arken will accompany you as you aim to take her to the final floor (though she cannot fight during battle; at least you don't have to protect her either). Also in the postgame, you'll play sidequests where you're accompained by a supporting character as you look for superbosses: Jenetta when looking for Dryad in Tutelary Forest, Egar when looking for the Primordiphant in Jagged Reach, Solor when looking for the Zombie Dragon in Fetid Necropolis, and Mirina when looking for Lamia in Lucent Hollows (luckily, all of them do help you during battle).
    • Nexus has Charis, who can optionally join you during the fight against the Wicked Silurus in Waterfall Wood (note that, if your party already has five characters, Charis will be added as an extra sixth, and Hero-class characters won't be able to cast Afterimages, and Ninja-class characters won't be able to use Mirages). In other strata and mini-dungeons, whenever a character joins you, they won't fight in battle nor need to be protected, but do have field-based skills that are useful during standard exploration).
  • The The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games love you to load you up with guest star party members and more and more as the series goes on. By the fourth and final game, a total of 39 characters are playable and only a bit less than half of those are considered regulars and not guests. Guests generally have fixed equipiment (either fixed weapons or both fixed weapons and armor/accessories) and fixed quartz (lets you cast magic), but make up for it by having better stats and coming equipped with powerful equipment and quartz early on that the player may not yet have access to. Thus, they can sometimes be a Crutch Character, though they're generally not good to use on a New Game+ if carrying over equipment and quartz, as your own party can easily outclass them.
  • Theia - The Crimson Eclipse: The game desginates certain characters as guests. Their weapons and skills cannot be upgraded, but the rest of their equipment is customizable. The game also warns that guests generally don't stay in the party in the long-term, though some guests also become fully playable if they have an in-story reason to join Seth.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has Solid Snake assisting Raiden twice in the Plant chapter. At the start of the fight against the harrier, he gives you a Stinger to use against the jet and he'll also toss you some rations and ammo if you run low. During the raid within Arsenal Gear, Snake will fight alongside you with an assault rifle or a pistol (depending on the difficulty) and will give you more ammo if you need it (he also lampshades how he has infinite ammo by pointing to his bandana, which is a Call-Back to Metal Gear Solid that gave you the same item in a New Game+). Of course, the game ends if Snake is killed.

    Survival Horror 
  • A few survival horror games, while not having a proper "party" do temporarily switch control from your main character to a secondary one. Frequently, this is explicitly so the secondary character can save the primary one who is in imminent danger. Examples include Rebecca from the first Resident Evil and Kaede from the first Onimusha. In a subversion, these guests are usually lacking in weapons and armor (Rebecca only has a handgun with no extra ammo) and can be a pain to play as.
  • Resident Evil
    • Depending on your actions in Resident Evil you can as Jill get Chris and Barry to help during the final battle, or as Chris get Jill helping you out. In the GameCube remake you can also get Richard to help you fight the snake, or either Barry or Wesker helping you face Lisa Trevor. Be warned they can die in the snake and Lisa battles, and it will change the events of the game.
    • Resident Evil 4 has the Cabin Fight where Luis helps you out. He can't die, has an upgraded Red9 with unlimited ammo, and even throws you supplies if you run short. Just don't shoot at him.
    • Resident Evil 6 has scenes where your actual partner will be separated from you and someone else will temporarily take their place. They are almost the same as your partner, just with a different load-out and you can't issue orders to them (They'll still bail you out if you call for help, though).

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Disgaea 2 has a fight against Laharl that is impossible to win, quite literally. Winning it ends with a bad ending, but with his level 1200 stats, he's usually impossible to beat your first time through anyways. Once you lose the battle, you're handed level 2000 True Rozalin whom you control and promptly decimates Laharl with nearly no effort. Once you see this power again, it's as a bonus fight in the Worst Ending.
    • Disgaea 2 also features cellphones that can be used to summon additional characters (Kurtis, Axel, or a Prism Ranger) to fight alongside your team as NP Cs.
  • In Disgaea 3, Master Big Star and Salvatore join the group for the final battles, and stay until you beat the last boss. They rejoin permanently soon after in the first two post-story events, though.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, there are often temporary members who assist your team in battle. If they accompany your team for multiple battles, they will even show up in your party menus, and you can meddle with their equipment freely. This is even occasionally true of a plot-important character that does not show up in more than one battle, such as Alma or Princess Ovelia, who remains with the team for an extended period but prefers not to fight. However, unlike most Guest-Star Party Member situations, these characters will not be under your control during battle. They will be labeled Guest, to distinguish them from the ones labeled Enemy, but both guests and enemies are computer-controlled. Enemies that are subjected to a successful Invite attempt by one of your Talk Skill users will qualify as a Guest until the battle is won, at which point you will have the option of making them team members or turning them away — they are not allowed to continue being a Guest beyond the initial battle. Guest characters are the only ones exempt from the "three turns KO'ed=crystal or chest" rule, primarily because of their importance to the plot. Once their role in the story is fulfilled, they can be recruited and at which point they can die for real at any time after that.
    • One interesting example is Gafgarion. When he betrays the party, he does so after the mission begins and keeps the equipment, stats and class that you field him with. Before the mission, if you feel so inclined, you can pull a reverse Wutai Theft and turn him into a talentless, naked White Mage to make him a pushover.
    • You also fight two battles with a permanently dead guest character.
    • Interestingly enough, the first time you meet Boco the Chocobo, he's a Guest for the Enemy. (This was probably done so that Boco can't be turned into a Crystal or Invited into your party.)
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance also had guest party members, but unlike the Playstation version, the guests here only aided you in the battle they appeared in and they never join the party afterward, nor can you fiddle with their items.
      • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has guest units again, but this time by the buttload and several are an Escort Mission. There's even a few occasions where monsters are counted as guests! Some missions even has a few boss characters joining you in a few battles.
  • Super Robot Wars, though not so often at the beginning - instead, you are able to recruit a boss enemy, and their stats are often downgraded to party member level when they join. Sometimes, however, they keep full power until the next mission, which gives you the fun situation of having a character with 90,000 HP on the field. You are frequently given ally NPCs who tag along with you, mostly good-for-nothing redshirts, but occasionally someone will show up who's actually useful to you. Examples:
    • Wodan Ymir, in Original Generation 2, whose arrival is much-needed, as you're fighting a near-final boss level character, your only character currently able to fight happens to be so badly damaged that doing anything with him other than just surviving is sheer suicide, and you can't send any reinforcements for several turns.
    • Mekibos, who you defeated earlier and shows up to help fight against Wendolo. Unfortunately, he's defeated by a scripted plot event when Wendolo's mech's HP reaches 1/3rd of its max, and since he shows up when it's down to 2/3rds of its max HP, he effectively is only around for a third of the battle.
  • Super Robot Wars X: Provided the player has unlocked the requirements to recruit Bizon, then Alfried in his Alsiel joins in the fight against Evgeni and leaves after finishing the stage. Meanwhile, Kittan sticks around for several stages before pulling off his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Super Robot Wars Z2: The Barcoff Squadron and Gregor, Baiman and Muza in Scenario 39.
  • Super Robot Wars Judgment: The Tuatha De Danann would be a regular member of the team if it could. Sadly, it is a simple submarine, and thus can only fight with you on certain oceanic stages.
    • Advent never joins the party in Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-Hen, but he helps out a few times.
  • The Fire Emblem series has tons of these:
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • In an example of a Guest Star Party Member being succeeded by an identical party member, Ninian and Nils, the Not-So-Quirky Bard. In the prologue, Nils the bard joins. Then during the main game, Ninian joins (with the stats that Nils had in the prologue) but then leaves. At the very end, Nils rejoins again with Ninian's stats and gear.
      • Wallace joins you near the end of the prologue; he's a very powerful Knight and Crutch Character for the enemies you face at the time. Not only is he available for only two chapters in the prologue; he also rejoins you late in the main game, when the enemies are tough enough to outclass Wallace easily. And that's assuming that he rejoins you at all; it's fairly easy to play well enough to skip that chapter. Fortunately, So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear doesn't apply to him... any more than it applies to everyone else in the Prologue, at least.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has Orson, who shows up in one Gaiden chapter before undergoing a Face–Heel Turn in his first appearance in the main story and showing up eight chapters later as a boss. He's a Crutch Character, so most people wouldn't really use him anyway, and he has good equipment. Which should of course be taken away immediately to keep him from counterattacking enemies, turning him into a nice little meat shield for his one appearance who, of course, you don't care about since if he's defeated, he'll just show up as an enemy again anyway. And you can get him in back in your party post-game.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: The Black Knight, who randomly appears for three chapters and is quite nearly invincible since his stats are all endgame-level.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has several due to the structure of the first 6 chapters which take place before the route split. Felicia with a male Avatar, Jakob with a female Avatar, Conquest and Revelation Gunter and Kaze, Conquest Azura, and Revelation Kaze, Rinkah, and Sakura all downplay this, temporarily joining your party, then leaving, then rejoining for good. In Birthright and Conquest, you also take temporary control of all of your chosen royal siblings for one battle; they all rejoin later in their respective routes. Birthright Gunter, Conquest Takumi, Rinkah, and Sakura, and Revelation Scarlet all play this straight, joining you for a chapter or two and then leaving permanently.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • At the beginning of the game, all three of the main lords in the game (Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude) are playable alongside player character Byleth as they work together to take down a group of bandits. Once an Officers Academy house is chosen in the following chapter, both leaders of the other two houses will never be playable again, and cannot be recruited temporarily to assist with missions as other students can be.
      • After the player chooses one of three school houses at Garreg Mach Monastery to teach, they gain full access to the students associated with their respective house to train and send into battles. You can temporarily recruit students from other houses to assist you in upcoming battles. They won’t gain any experience (aside from Support points) while they are with you and will appear as an allied unit, though they are very much under your control. This becomes subverted should you fulfill the student's recruitment requirements and accept their request to join your house to make them permanent additions.
      • Certain paralogues, extra story chapters unrelated to the main story, will feature characters from different houses assisting in the battle. For example, one paralogue called "Rumored Nuptials," starring Ingrid, a Blue Lions student, also features Dorothea, from the Black Eagles house, as an allied character under the player's control (or vice versa, if you're a Black Eagle). Once more, subverted if you manage to recruit said character before doing the paralogue.
      • One of the game's paths has an unavoidable case of this. Specifically, the Black Eagles. If you side with Edelgard at the end of Chapter 11, Flayn will leave. If you don't, both Edelgard and Hubert will leave. Yes, the main Lord can potentially fall into this trope. This can be troublesome if you made any of these characters your Dancer, as you'll never get another one.
      • During the Cindered Shadows DLC campaign, you temporarily gain control of Aelfric for one chapter. The goal is to protect him from a band of marauders; fortunately, he can heal and do decent damage with his magic.
  • Jeanne d'Arc for the PSP has several characters who join and then leave, but come back but the biggest example is Liane, who poses as Jeanne and is burned at the stake in her place. But the second the longtime Guest-Star Party Member leaves, another identical party member replaces them.
  • Tactics Ogre has numerous guest star characters; due to branching storylines, some characters will just be guests on one path, whereas on another path they will be permanent additions to your army:
    • Lans, Warren, and Leonard are perhaps the best examples of this in Tactics Ogre, since nearly every Guest-Star Party Member is either recruited or killed in one path except them. Or you can make everyone be a Guest-Star Party Member by rejecting them when they offer to join. They are also the examples of when the trope overlaps with Crutch Character, as they do most if not all of the work for you when you have them on the map.
    • The pseudo-prequel Gaiden The Knight of Lodis also has this, and the only true guest characters are Justin and Lara, later found as enemies. (You don't have to kill them as the only stage they appear on is a Defeat The Leader stage.) Rictor and Orson are guests only in the "A" path, Cybil is a guest only in the "B" path, Eleanor and Ivanna ask to join regardless. (Shiven does not serve as a guest, being a spy)
  • In Shining in the Darkness, if you rescue Gila, he joins the party as a non-player-controlled character who occasionally participates in battles, but leaves the party when they next spend a night at the Tavern.
  • Frequent in Chroma Squad, as one of the Kickstarter backer tiers allowed backers to design one. At least two to three times a season, one such character (usually either a fan of the show or a Sentai hero from a different franchise) will show up to support you for a single battle. They commonly have their own unique skills, do not need to transform, and are generally balanced against the season they show up.
  • Deltarune has Susie join your party early game, before leaving again to act as a semi-antagonist. During this time, she will only ever attack in battle, and the player has no say in what she does. She eventually joins the party for real, however, and then the player can control Susie in battle.
  • Telpath RPG chapter 2 Have a mission where you must save a character named General Darkeye. Once you find him you are ambushed and he joins you in the fight but because he's weakened he have poor stats and only have a basic psy attack so it's better to keep him in a corner during all the following combats so he doesn't die.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Odium has three permanent characters, as well as two other slots which keep changing as various allies join, depart or are killed off. You begin with the three guys, and by the final level of the game you're back to just these three again.

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Johnny and Yosaku show up right before the Baratie arc and leave at the end of the Arlong arc.
    • Nefertari Vivi joins the crew for the entire Baroque Works saga, and serves as the catalyst to both bring the Strawhats into conflict with Crocodile and get them involved in the civil war in Alabasta, her home country.
    • After allying with the Strawhats to take down Doflamingo in Punk Hazard, Law joins them for the rest of the Dressrosa saga, as well as the Wano arc after reuniting with his own crew.
    • Likewise, Kin'emon, a samurai from Wano, and his not really son Momonosuke join the Strawhats during Punk Hazard, Dressrosa and Wano.
    • Carrot, a rabbit Mink, is introduced in the Zou arc and joins the Strawhats during the subsequent Whole Cake Island and Wano arcs.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Doom Patrol become this for the run of The End of Ends.
  • Connor Hawke of Green Arrow turns up for a few chapters of Angel of the Bat: Times of Heresy. He gives some combat assistance against Star City's own Constantine Drakon and offers some Buddhist perspective to Cassandra when he sees she's struggling with her faith.


  • In Jemjammer, Grak the Dohwar (penguin-person) joins the group in the episode "Port Meridian", played by Rio.
  • Cool Kids Table has a few guests alongside the regular players, such as David as Caleb in Firefly: : The Zelda Chronicles, Matt as himself in Hogwarts: The New Class, and Cassidy as Sid in Sequinox.
  • Pokemon World Tour United has also had plenty, since one of their patreon rewards is to be a gym leader or trial captain. So far there's been Sky Ertl (as Kent), Matt Hoadley (as Trey), Annie and Jonathan Craton (as Calico and Aegean), and Riley Hopkins (as Emma). There's also regular recurring cast member Shannon (as Cira), and an appearance by Jake's brother Scott (as Raleigh).

  • In the Mrs. Hawking play series: Clara briefly helps with the investigation in Base Instruments (and even provides some important clues and perspectives). She rejoins Team Hawking in Mrs. Frost, largely because the titular villain has kidnapped her husband. The same play also sees Arthur assisting the group more actively via Mary, and Madam Malaika as well.

  • In RPG World, the group fights Galgarion at one point, with (former) Evil Soldier #347 joining them as a "computer-controlled" ally for the battle after Galgarion killed his wife and kids. Dialogue later suggests he could have been "unlockable" but the party was already "Full".
  • In The Order of the Stick:
    • Celia plays this role for Haley and Belkar after the party splits. She can't help them much, though, as she's an Actual Pacifist.
    • Miko also temporarily joins the group, mostly because Roy is thinking with his Trouser Titan, until the rest of the party (except Durkon) confronts her, refuses to put up with her any longer, and she beats up everyone except Durkon.
  • Spoofed in Adventurers!, where a character joins and after being given gold armour, leaves.
  • In Rusty and Co., a Five Races Action Girl adventures with the core team every "level" (story). For the first three levels it was merely meet the Action Girl and adventure with her, but after that their roles started to grow more complex.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, the high level Azha and his familiar Misha appear in Yokoka's party's status screen even though they only travelled together for that single chapter.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role features quite a few of these, as famous voice actors and other nerds beyond the main party join for an episode or two to help Vox Machina or the Mighty Nein accomplish a short-term goal.
    • The first instance of this is when the party is split up to complete the Slayer's Take trial. Team One (Scanlan, Grog, Vex, and Percy) are joined by Klutzy human wizard Lyra (Felicia Day) and tiefling warlock Zahra Hydrus (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn). Team Two (Vax, Tiberius, and Keyleth) are assigned grouchy dwarven fighter Thorbir Falbek (Wil Wheaton) and cynical human cleric Kashaw Vesh (Will Friedle). Kashaw and Zahra later return when Vox Machina are seeking the Vestiges of Divergence, helping them recover the Deathwalker's Ward. They also return for the final battle with Vecna, but are quickly taken out of the fight when the wyverns they're riding are shot down.
    • Critical Role's official artist, Kit Buss, appeared as tiefling illusionist Lillith Daturai, providing some unexpected backup against the Briarwoods in Episode 26.
    • In episode 41, voice actor Jason Charles Miller played a half-orc rogue named Garthok, who works for the Clasp. Vox Machina doesn't generally get along well with the Clasp, but they pulled an Enemy Mine in the wake of the Chroma Conclave's attack, surveying the damage and searching for survivors.
    • In Episode 46, the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick, made an appearance, playing Cloudcuckoolander blue dragonborn necromancer Gern Blanston, who, with his undead thralls (Coral, Carol, Fatty Arbuckle, and Stimpy), helped Vox Machina and the Ashari re-seal the breach to the Plane of Fire that Thordak tore open at Pyrah.
    • Additionally, NPCs sometimes travel with the party, such as halfling paladin Lady Kima of Vord and the mind flayer arcanist Clarota during the Underdark arc. Lady Kima, in particular, has traveled with Vox Machina often enough that they consider her an honorary member.
  • The Adventure Zone
    • The third episode of The Adventure Zone: (K)Nights sees the McElroys joined by good family friend Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays human bard Atreyus Kannon.
    • In the second live episode of The Adventure Zone: Balance, Tres Horny Boys are forced to do a four-person team-building exercise. The fourth member of their team is half-orc bard Brad Bradson, played by Stuart Wellington of The Flop House.
    • Most arcs in Balance also have an NPC who is generally more competent than the boys join them to help them with what they're trying to do, such as Angus McDonald in the Murder on the Rockport Limited arc, or Lieutenant Hurley in Petals to the Metal. This trend is pretty much done after The Crystal Kingdom, as by that point they've got the game figured out.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Temporary Party Member


Think of Her As a "Guest"

"Amalia" joins Vaan, Balthier and Fran as a "guest" in the party in "Final Fantasy XII." Balthier explains that as a guest, she's not likely to be taking orders, and the game explains that guests are limited in the abilities that they can use.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GuestStarPartyMember

Media sources:

Main / GuestStarPartyMember