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Informed Equipment

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A video game playable character has quite a few sprites (2D) / skins and models (3D) to deal with, which makes it hard to justify changing that valuable art for something as fickle as equipment. Drawing a 2D hero in the starting armor and the most powerful armor alone would double the sprite count for every frame of the hero doing everything in almost every direction; this only gets worse with combinations of different types of equipment. Some 2D titles ameliorate this by superimposing sprites on top of each other, or relying on Palette Swapping. Three-dimensional models make this far easier to avoid, since you can simply change textures/skins, or bolt extra models onto the same skeleton, while reusing animations.

As a result, the hero you see on the game screen usually doesn't represent the hero you see on the equipment screen. It's become so ridiculous that some games will just skip giving the heroes any body armor at all, which is okay because they're heroes and heroes are Made of Iron. Still, by the end of the game, it can be hard to excuse your hero bumbling around in civilian clothes while going up against the 10-story Superboss.

This trope seems to be fading as 3D graphics become more common, space becomes cheaper, and game engine-rendered realtime cutscenes become more prevalent. 3D models are completely free of the exponential increase in artwork that plagued games with single-sprite 2D models, as each additional piece of equipment can be simply added rather than having to re-create every permutation of animation; on the other hand, weaponry and equipment not currently in use are often ignored in third-person games so player characters don't look ridiculous having four full-size rifles dangling off various parts of their body. In addition, armor is often intentionally left Informed Equipment to maintain a recognizable image associated with a character and avoid hiding their face.

Super-Trope to Equipment-Hiding Fashion, where the player can deliberately invoke this trope to better customize their character. Compare No Cutscene Inventory Inertia, where occurrences of this trope are limited to cutscenes, and the more general Limited Wardrobe.

Contrast Virtual Paper Doll, Rainbow Pimp Gear (all gear is visible, and the game lets you mix and match as you like).

Straight Examples:

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    Action Adventure 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Ann's primarily weapons such as swords and launchers aren't shown on her combat suit since they are materialized through a contained energy field.
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail limited passive items to things that logically wouldn't show up on the player character's sprite (pendants worn under his cloak, rings worn under his gloves, and sharpening items for his one and only sword) for exactly this reason; the sprite is hand-drawn and uses frame-by-frame animation.

    Adventure Games 
  • The first four games in the Quest for Glory series did this: your character's sprite was always shown wearing a leather jerkin, despite the fact that the Fighter class was supposed to sell the jerkin in the very first game in exchange for a chainmail vest. In the fifth and final game, which was the only one to use 3D models, the hero's in-game appearance changes every time he puts on a new piece of armor.

    Fighting Games 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has an even more exaggerated version. The characters can equip completely different weapon types (the Warrior of Light, for example, can equip axes as well as swords), but no matter what they'll always use their default weapon in combat, bar alternate costumes that still don't reflect their equipment.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has equipment that fighters can equip. They match up with what the fighter wears (for example, overalls can be worn by Mario, Luigi, and Wario), but it doesn't change their appearance.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Even with the ARMA series' focus on realism, this can happen on occasion — Operation Arrowhead adds a few guns that can load different types of magazines, from normal 30-round boxes to 100-round dual drums. However, the game doesn't make a physical distinction between the two and will have weapons appear to load the standard magazine at all times. ARMA III changed things so the magazine models do change to account for what kind of magazine you've actually loaded, but until an update in 2019, the game was selective about which weapons could exchange magazines (e.g. the sniper version of NATO's MX rifle couldn't take hundred-round magazines meant for the support-weapon version, even though that support weapon could take the standard 30-round magazines meant for the others), and they would also change colors to match the color of whatever weapon they were loaded into.
  • In Battlefield 4, attack jet models are loaded up with a fearsome array of air-to-ground ordnance. These are unusable by the player flying, who is limited to the gun and one secondary weapon for balance.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade tries to avert this, wherein while holding one weapon, the next one in sequence will appear on your character's back. Of course, that ignores that you're still lugging around upwards of ten weapons at any one time (and, similar to the later Call of Duty example above, the pistol is also slung across the back rather than near either hip). Averted further for enemies in singleplayer, however, who typically only have their one weapon, and will wear it on their back while at ease if you manage to catch them when they're not armed and ready.
  • Infamously present in many early shooters: The marine in Doom netgames was always shown carrying the same rifle normal zombies used, making it impossible for other players to tell what they were up against. There are some people working on combating this, for some Doom source-ports, and some mods (like Brutal Doom) have gone out of their way to give the player unique sprites for each individual weapon.
    • A variation on this is the inability to tell what items a multiplayer opponent is carrying in reserve, allowing someone to romp around seemingly helpless with a pistol only to whip out a three foot long BFG at the last moment. A lot of games starting from when Halo 3 and Modern Warfare came out have fixed this to an extent by showing carried weapons (although not grenades and reserve ammo), and the latter also has the odd issue of pistols being stowed on a character's back rather than in a holster (although the upshot is that several games in that series also include ballistic shields, which continue protecting you from bullets to the back if you have the shield stowed on your back). Attachments on the weapons are still a frequent victim of this, where at best you can expect the dropped model of a weapon to show that it has a Grenade Launcher; otherwise your only recourse to see what a gun's previous owner had on it is walking over it to get the "press <button> to take" prompt (and hope that the game you're playing actually tells you what attachments are on it rather than just showing the gun's icon).
    • In Duke Nukem 3D, the sprites do not update to show you what gun a player is holding. However, there is a toggle key which makes an icon appear over their head to show you, making it appear as if Duke is having a very violent Idea Bulb. This was pretty much endemic to Build engine games that came after Duke 3D as well. The original Shadow Warrior, however, at least had separate sprites for when Lo Wang was using his katana.
    • One of the earliest aversions was in Marathon, where player sprites are split at the waist, with the top half changing to account for which weapon that player is currently using, though as above there's still no indication of all the other weapons they have.
  • The Quake and Unreal series only make distinctions when the character is powered up (or has shielding in Unreal). Otherwise, their poly model appears the same regardless of their armor state or health.
    • Unreal, and Quake from the second installment onward, had proper weapon models in the hands of the player(s). Quake, on the other hand, showed the player always with the same gun, though at least there was a separate model for when the player was wielding the axe.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas and its sequel do a form of this — while every weapon you have (barring the riot shield) is always visible on your person, and weapons in a player's hand will reflect any attachments whether you're seeing the weapon in first- or third-person, when it gets dropped on the ground all that flies out the window and you just get a lower-poly, completely unmodified version of the weapon. Weapons dropped by terrorists in singleplayer in particular seem to always spontaneously sprout a 6x scope if you loot one from its previous owner.
  • This is also usually the case for the first-person view itself; games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and Unreal Tournament assume your character is always wearing fingerless gloves, no matter what armor in the former (even fully-enclosed Powered Armor gives you fingerless gloves) or model in the latter (you always appear as a regular white guy with no sleeves on whether your model is a regular Caucasian human, a deathly-pale Necris, a human/Skaarj hybrid or a Nali cow) you're using. Later games have managed to avert this in various ways — some (Unreal Tournament 2004) go back to the GoldenEye idea of not showing any hands on your gun at all, while others (Left 4 Dead, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sequels, and the above Call of Duty post-Modern Warfare) change the appearance of the arms holding the gun depending on what character you play as or what your character is actually wearing.

  • City of Heroes follows the trope by making the player's appearance almost completely independent from their superpowers. While you may be wreathed in flames or partial covered with stone when certain powers are active, you never have to compromise between wearing a cool outfit or effective armor. Most players of the game love that they can look how they want no matter what level they are and what powers they took.
    • And now the game allows you do even chose the colors of most powers, select from different weapon models, and in some cases different attack animations.
    • This of course leads to some rather interesting events in game, such as "Task Force: Fabulous", in which the entire party runs a Task/Strike Force in Cowboy Boots, Swimsuits, and Glitter.
  • DC Universe Online follows the example City of Heroes does and expands it by allowing you to keep the armor you're wearing, but be able to swap it out for a previous look. Your cape gives you better defense, yet you want to keep your Green Lantern-inspired look? Just make the cape invisible!
  • Dragon Nest has some kinds of armor show on the character while others are invisible. There are also many armor pieces that show on the wearer's model but look completely different from their icons.
  • Eden Eternal has entire sets of cosmetic armor unlocked as a character reaches certain job levels. The character's appearance is determined by said armor rather than what he or she has equipped. Cash shop items do show, however.
  • Kingdom of Loathing semi averts this. Most of the time, your character image is the default for your class and gender. However, if you assemble and wear an entire outfit, it will change to that one. This is used in game to disguise yourself to infiltrate places.
  • Star Trek Online plays it straight... for the Klingons and Romulans — they've yet to get models for the in-game armor, so they're still wearing their usual clothing. Federation players avert this as their armor and gear will appear on them, but you can set it so that it goes back to their normal outfits.
    • That has changed in recent updates. Armor and Kit pieces have been added to the Tailor options for all player characters, allowing you to have an armored / geared up look as one of your switchable outfits. This replaces the former "Show / Hide Armor Visuals" toggle as described above, and it allows full customization of armor. On the other hand, it unfortunately removed a convenient way for players to have a "standard uniform/combat ready" switch for the player's NPC landing party. You can save an armored costume for your landing party characters, but those saved outfits can only be accessed at a Tailor making it impossible to switch on the fly when going from casual scenes where regular uniforms are appropriate to a more geared and ready look when going into combat.
  • Vindictus both averts this and plays it straight. Major equips such as armour and weapons are fully present and modelled; not only in-game, but also in cut scenes and the character loading screen. Minor equips such as earrings and belts, by contrast, are never visible. This despite the fact that armour and weapons are often covered in all sorts of little dangly bits that fully utilize the capabilities of the physics engine, as do nearly all hair and fur (but not water) effects for both PCs and monsters.
  • World of Warcraft plays with this for certain races, where boots are concerned. Tauren and draenei both have digitigrade hooves (on which traditional footwear would look odd); worgen in wolf form also exhibit a digitigrade stance (which would again make traditional footwear look odd; the boots appear normally when the worgen are in human form). Trolls simply prefer to go barefoot. Unlike other examples of this trope, however, equipping boots for these races actually does result in a graphical change; the footwear covers the ankles and part of the shin, but stops before the part of the foot that actually touches the ground.
    • The tendency for trolls to go barefoot is referenced by a special transmogrification which turns a player's footwear invisible — "troll style", as the item's flavor text states. This item literally makes your boots Informed Equipment.
    • Played straight with options to hide your character's helmet and cape which, if used, make those Informed Equipment. Also, smaller items (rings, trinkets, and amulet) are not rendered. A recent update allows shoulders and belts to be hidden as well.
    • Mechagnomes have it even worse - the lower portion of whatever pants they wear isn't rendered to show their metal legs, making it look like they're wearing diapers instead of pants.
  • Zig-zagged in Wynncraft. Armor shows up on the player's body just like how it does in Minecraft, but accessories do not.

    Platform Games 
  • None of the equipment collected by Hailey in Gamer 2 is represented on her sprite.
  • The player in Spelunky can equip many pieces of equipment, including gloves, shoes, spectacles and a Hedjet, yet the only thing they are actually shown wearing are their default clothes and either a jet-pack or a cape.
  • In Theta vs Pi 7 when you’re carrying a shield, it’s shown in a box at the top of the screen but you don’t actually have it on you at all. This is averted however with the wizard hat which you do in fact wear on your head.
  • In Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy's sprites show the same sword, armor, and shield no matter what he has equipped... except in his Lizard-Man form, when he had no visible equipment and his inability to use or sword or shield was relevant to gameplay, but he could still equip them normally and still got stat boosts from them.

    Role Playing Games 
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, multiclass fighter/mages use the fighter model, but can still equip mage robes because of their experience as a mage. However, while any piece of armor (that isn't a robe) is shown on their character sprite, robes aren't, so they end up standing around casting spells in their underclothes. Same thing happens when you equip a thief with the use any item ability with armour heavier than studded leather. Aside from these two exceptions (which are probably due to technical limitations of some kind), the series completely averts this trope.
  • Chrono Trigger falls into this trope as well. While weapons change and the characters actually draw them when they start a fight, armor is still non-existent. And Crono's mop still shows up as a katana when he uses it.
  • In an oddball case of this, one of the most popular Game Mods for Dragon Age: Origins is a mod that makes hats and helmets invisible. This seems to owe from a common opinion that the hats and helmets in the core game look really dorky, especially if you're playing a mage.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Buu's Fury allows you to equip all manner of items on the Z Fighters to enhance their stats, ranging from mundane clothing to some truly bizarre things, but since it is a sprite-based game on the Game Boy Advance, none of these items actually show up on the character. A shame, as memorable events like the Goku vs Majin Vegeta fight could have only been enhanced by the sight of Goku wearing a snorkel and a suit of armor carved from wood while Vegeta is wearing a paper hat and a fancy tuxedo.
  • Goes all the way back to Dragon Quest. The first armor in the game? "Clothing". You can go into battle without it, yet the sprite nonetheless showed the hero wearing a full suit of armor. It's also averted as the sprite isn't holding a weapon or a shield unless you have purchased one. The sprite's even altered to showing him carrying the rescued princess.
  • Dubloon is rather egregious with this. Not only are any helms or armour equipped invisible, so are the weapons.
  • This appears in Dungeons of Dredmor, too: During the animations, regardless of what they look like in the inventory, all swords look like normal iron long swords, all potions and drinks are in the same red bottle and the hero is always wearing a leather cuirass over a white shirt. The last point is a bit odd, because you can't equip more than one torso armor piece, and you might not even start with either of those things.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, most equipment (as noted below under "exceptions") does show up on the character model. However, jewelry (including rings and necklaces), belts, and sheathed weapons do not.
  • In Eternal Sonata, neither weapons nor outfits make any visible changes on the characters, despite the fact that said weapons and outfits are often specifically described in terms of their colour and general appearance.
  • Exit Fate. Whether it's fighter types depicted with heavy armour (including females in a rare aversion of Chainmail Bikini) regardless of daytime and occasion, mages wearing robes, a dancer turned mage wearing a skirt and bikini top, and plenty of people wearing casual clothes or fine dresses, they'll always wear that on their portrait and sprite regardless of what they have actually equipped in gameplay terms.
  • Final Fantasy has shown different appearances for weapons in battle since the first game. But not armor, at least until Final Fantasy X. And even then only shields get displayed in the non-MMO games. This means characters could be wearing Diamond equipment over their whole bodies and still be shown wearing their street clothes. The 8- and 16-bit games are the worst offenders, naturally, since various characters' sprites could show them wearing full plate armor yet having nothing actually equipped.
    • In Crisis Core, Zack's outfit doesn't change with his materia and equipment loadouts either. Though he does change his uniform appearance partway through the game, as well as his weapon later.
    • Final Fantasy VIII doesn't even have different armor, as the characters use junctions to boost defense and everything else. In the only cases where changing clothes was important (the formal SeeD attire and the Galbadian uniforms) visibly different models were used.
    • While Final Fantasy XII allows you to change weapons as much as you please, without even restricting which characters can use which weapons, and even allows you to equip armor and hats, the characters keep their default clothing models through the entire game. This is taken to absurd levels when your characters, who start off in rather minimal clothing in the middle of a desert, use same clothing in the middle of snow storms. It's also unfortunate, in that Final Fantasy XI had selectable models for your weapons AND hat, body armor, pants, shoes, and gloves.
    • In Final Fantasy V and VI the shields (and Elf Capes) actually do get shown... but only when the character is actually blocking an attack with them. Surprisingly, they don't all look the same, given the small 16-bit sprites, but the variation is mostly just color.
    • The main characters from the Final Fantasy Tactics series will still be in their artwork clothes, even though they change their job classes.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend games let your party members wear up to eight pieces of heavy equipment, but no matter what you wear, your humans look heavily armored and your mutants look bare.
  • Taken to an extreme in Lufia & The Fortress of Doom and Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. While even the most basic games in the NES era made at least slight changes to weapons so that someone with an axe would attack with an axe, the characters in Lufia II would be still be holding a sword as they attack with a bow, or a whip as they attack with a sword.
    • Improved — slightly — in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals: Dekar is now the only person who can wield multiple weapon types, and it does show him equipping different types, but all weapons of a type still look the same during combat. Except Dual Blade, of course.
  • Machine Knight plays it quite straight. Of note, Frain's portrait shows him carrying a sword on his back at all times, even at the start of the game when he's just an unarmed scientist, making the trope work both ways: it informs you he's going to get a sword before you ever see battle.
  • In NetHack, by virtue of being able to sit safely on cockatrice corpses, players have deduced that heroes wear pants which are not indicated in the inventory. It's probably the circle around the 'a' in the @ that represents them. Oddly, this is also true of all other monsters in the dungeon as well. There's also the Backpack and the Purse, neither of which exist independently, but the former of which can be "stolen." Possibly several times in a row if you made a point of it.
  • In early versions of Neverwinter Nights, the only equipment that appeared on the character's model was the weaponry and armor. They later released a patch to make the cloaks appear too.
  • Played straight in Octopath Traveler, where nobody's weapons or armour is reflected in their sprite. This is because they go for reflecting their job, instead. In a sprite-based game, with eight distinct playable characters and eight jobs with vastly different outfits, none of which are exclusive.
  • Persona
  • Pokémon: Until the third generation of games, all Pokemon on the Party menu were represented with rather generic sprites (with the exception of Pikachu in Yellow, and Gyarados in Gold/Silver). Starting with Ruby and Sapphire, each Pokemon had two sprites of their own for the party menu.
    • The use of held items and special abilities. If the battles were perfectly realistic, it would be incredibly easy to determine whether your opposing Pokemon had a special pair of glasses which boosted Special Attack or was holding a berry which constantly restored health; in the games, there's no way of knowing without the use of a special ability or a move. Similarly, while it should be easy to tell if a Bronzong has the ability to levitate (which makes it immune to Ground-type attacks), there is no indication of its ability.
  • Happens in Project × Zone. No matter what you equip your characters with, or how high they rank up, they will have the same 2D sprites throughout the game: equipment only affects stats. What's more, you can equip against type: characters who canonically don't use weapons (Akira/Pai), dislike weapons (Heihachi), or are more powerful than most weapons barehanded (Heihachi again, Ryu/Ken), can be equipped with any manner of guns and swords, and said equip will often improve their stats, sometimes more than it will for the character it was "meant" for.
  • All over the Realms of Arkania trilogy. Especially noticeable in the third game when the whole party is dropped stark naked into the final dungeon due to a shrinking spell but you still see them wearing robes and armor during the fights.
  • This occurs in Resonance of Fate due to its Design-It-Yourself Equipment system. Not only is it possible to attach various Gun Accessories to your characters pistol at several extension points, higher level mods have extension points of their own that further accessories can be added. At the end of the game, the gun is a ridiculous monstrosity with several scopes that are often stacked on top of one another, additional barrels pointing in every directions, handles attached to super long clips that themselves have barrels attached to them, and other insanity.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has you buy equipment, but it never appears on the characters. For that matter, what the item even looks like is never shown in the stores. Game hacks might suggest that they were supposed to be there, but its unknown
    • While you can equip armor and equipment in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, none of it actually shows up on the model. This gets somewhat ridiculous when you equip a hammer, but it still doesn't show up. Only equipped Chao can be seen in battle, where they float behind the characters in your party.
  • Used in the Suikoden franchise, but they also play with the trope in the sense. Everyone's weapons are fixed, gaining new names as they are further enhanced by blacksmiths, but for armor, if the character is visibly wearing something particularly iconic, they'll likely have a matching piece of armor locked into that slot. Examples include Luc (a wind mage) having a guard robe and a speed ring, Mina (a professional dancer) wearing a magic robe and toe shoes, Pesmerga (a dangerous knight) having dragon armor, etc. You're welcome to throw whatever gear into the remaining slots, though, and their appearance won't change.
  • Played straight in all Super Mario Bros. RPGs ever made (Mario & Luigi, Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG). You can equip them with a ton of gear, badges and other things, but with the exception of the L and W emblems in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you never see any of this stuff equipped on the character models/sprites. Then again, given how you never see what said gear even looks like outside an identical icon in the menu (based on gear type), it could be that every possible piece of clothing in the kingdom looks 100% identical to Mario and Luigi's normal clothing. Which raises even more questions.
    • Super Mario RPG had an informed lack of equipment in one scene; Peach loses several of her accessories during her forced wedding with Booster, requiring Mario to retrieve them, but her sprite shows them all still on her. This was fixed in the Switch remake.
  • The Tales Series usually displays weapons and, if the character wears any, shields. The original SNES Tales of Phantasia would show only the type of weapon Cless was wielding (sword, axe, spear or halberd) and just the presence of a shield, but the remakes changed that.
    • In Tales of Symphonia the character's equipped weapons would be displayed in battle, but cutscenes would show the same ones they'd started with. The Hero gets his cutscene-weapon upgraded from his initial wooden swords to metal ones and later the Swords of Plot Advancement, but it's still not affected by what he's got equipped.
    • Then, in Tales of the Abyss, the weapons would change in the cutscenes to the ones that are equipped.
    • Back to straight in Tales of Hearts. Each character just has one evolving Empathic Weapon, but despite the shape of the weapon changing as it goes up in tiers, the battle sprite remains the same until you reach one of the final postgame forms.
    • Tales of Vesperia displays the character's weapon and special equipment (Rita's spellbook, Karol's bag, etc) but still no armor, headgear or accessories.
      • The PS3 port of Vesperia featured DLC that changed the characters' costumes, so they would look like they were wearing their most powerful armors. This is still only cosmetic, however; you can still have crappy armor equipped with this costume on.
  • Ultima:
    • Ultima VIII, one of the last games released on disks rather than CDs, had only room for one isometric sprite set for the hero — which came with a pot helmet all the time.
    • Ultima VII, on the other hand, didn't have separate sprites for the various kinds of armor and cloaks one could wear, but did have an actual nude sprite for characters.
    • Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle did have a potent paperdoll system that depicted every piece of armor and almost every other item equipped, but the sprite showed no differences other than the weapon equipped. The Exult engine allowed this function for the previous The Black Gate too, which had one humorous side effect; if you recruited 13-year-old Spark, his paperdoll was still the default "huge muscular guy", with the head of a small boy.
  • In Undertale, many weapons and lots of different armour can be found throughout the game, and characters sometimes mention what the protagonist is wearing. However, the protagonist's sprite never changes no matter what they're wearing.
  • Played painfully straight in The World Ends with You, where fashion is one of the key themes in the game. You could have Neku clad head to toe in punk clothing, bargain bin quality threads or even wearing a pink frilly dress, but he'll still be wearing his normal garb in-game and in cutscenes.
    Oddly enough, there's a point in the game where your objective is to talk to a support Reaper while fully dressed in clothes from one specific brand. The dialogue you get when talking to said Reaper has him comment on how the outfit you put together suits you well. Even though that brand has nothing to do with Neku's cutscene outfit.
    Also, the clothes actually shown on Neku's sprite are purchasable, but only relatively late in the game, when you can access the Jupiter of the Monkey shop. So you need to buy a second set of these clothes to benefit from them, even though Neku is clearly wearing one already.
    The sequel continues this trend. For example, on the last day of Week 2, a Reaper asks you to wear a piece of Gatto Nero clothing to get through. Shoka, who has just joined your party notes that it's a "piece of cake," due to wearing Gatto Nero clothing(specifically a Mr. Mew hoodie), but you will still have to put on a Gatto Nero thread in order to pass.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Metal Gear: In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, unlike the previous two games, where Raiden or Naked Snake would at the very least hold a different type of pistol in cutscenes if you entered it with that one equipped, here Old Snake always ignores your choice of weapon and instead brandishes the Operator he gets after the first ten minutes. Where this gets taken further, however, is that when gameplay resumes he'll have put away whatever weapon you were using and still have the Operator in his hands. If you removed the Operator from your inventory completely, it will be back in slot one, having kicked out whatever weapon was there to make space. The M4 Custom is a rare accomplice to this as well, being the only long-arm he'll equip in cutscenes where he does so outside of maybe two exceptions; this essentially forces players who don't want to use the Operator and M4 Custom to dedicate two of their five weapon slots to those guns anyway, since they're going to find their way back after just about every cutscene.

    Simulation Games 
  • In the Ace Combat series, Skies of Deception, Joint Assault, Assault Horizon Legacy, Infinity and Skies Unknown allow you to customize planes by adding parts to them, but the changes are not physically reflected; the only physical change you can make is the paint scheme and, in Infinity and Skies Unknown, the emblem.
  • Animal Crossing series averts this with clothes but plays it straight with tools: carried but unequipped tools are invisible.
  • Due to the game using sprite-based graphics, nothing you fit to a ship in Escape Velocity ever appears on it.
  • In the first four MechWarrior games, the in-game models of your 'Mechs did not reflect what weapons you had loaded on to it, Mechwarrior 3 being a particularly infamous example with mechs vomiting up guided missiles from their cockpit canopy and shooting lasers from missile racks. Living Legends and Online have since fixed that, with missile racks changing in size depending on what is fitted, weapon barrels changing to indicate the type of laser or cannon, and so on.
  • X-Universe: When you fit a gun to a slot on a ship, a cannon appears in a corresponding spot on the ship's model. It looks exactly the same no matter what gun you put there. Other equipment doesn't even do that much.

    Survival Horror 
  • Isaac Clarke of Dead Space has a suit of RIG servo-armour that changes as you upgrade it, but his weapons are apparently stored in his groin, meaning that a pulse rifle just pops out of nowhere when you decide you're running low on plasma cutter ammunition.
  • Resident Evil:
    • While Resident Evil 5 allows your characters to wield a variety of weapons and outfits, only their outfits will change in cutscenes. Throughout the game, Chris and Sheva are shown wielding only their default handguns.
    • Done in a unique way in Resident Evil 6 where you can carry numerous weapons, but only two at most will be shown at a time. If you swap from a long gun to a hand gun, the long gun you previously had equipped will be slung on the character's back. The other five guns are in his side pocket or something.
  • You can get a bulletproof vest in Silent Hill 3. Equipping it makes Heather tankier but a much slower runner, and that's it — it doesn't appear on her model at all.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech, the artwork and miniatures for the Humongous Mecha are often commissioned when the actual loadout is still on the table, leading to informed equipment (which is explained away via Flavor Text), though it has gradually become less common. For example, the art and miniatures for the AS7-D "Atlas" shows it having a cannon on both hips; the right one is the actual Autocannon/20, while the flavor text describes the left as a power and coolant hookup. The informed equipment goes through the roof when the game's Design-It-Yourself Equipment is in play, which was particularly noticeable in the MechWarrior PC adaptations (see Simulation Games, above)
    • Also something of an Enforced Trope at times. Thanks to the "Unseen Era" Explanation , players had to proxy minis to represent machines that had legal stats but were unavailable. This proxy ethos is strong in the BattleTech community partly due to this.
  • Dungeons & Dragons figures rarely look much like the player characters they represent.
    • In fact, this is largely a given if you're using miniatures for any RPG. Players strapped for cash might even resort to using whatever's on hand in place of minis.
    • It's also not unknown to just not use miniatures at all; some players prefer to have the entire game play out solely in their collective imaginations, so a character may end up never being visually depicted at all or get at best a character portrait if their record sheet provides room for that and the player feels artistically inclined. This is of course one of the reasons many tabletop player characters end up carrying around implausible amounts of equipment — since nobody ever quite sees it except as a line of text with maybe an encumbrance value somewhere, it doesn't really "count".
    • Actually partly averted for the Pathfinder Iconic characters; Their portraits show them carrying quite a lot of gear, including multiple backup weapons.
  • Most table top game using miniatures, like Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer have a rule where all unit equipment must be represented on the miniature, or it doesn't get factored into the game. This is to encourage players to embrace the miniature side of the game... and buy more miniatures. Some games will have caveats that certain basic items are assumed to be equipped whether or not they appear.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Starbound has equipment slots for cosmetic items, which override visual displays but provide no bonuses. So you can wear heavy, clunky armor (with the appropriate boosts) while still looking like you wear your uniform, or flower costume, or alpaca suit, or a different heavy, clunky armor.

    Web Comics 
  • Lampshaded in this Adventurers! comic.
  • morphE is styled like a visual novel and many times the text will describe a character holding something which is not on their sprite. Exceptions are made for equipment which is always on a certain character such as cellphones, notebooks or in one case a gun.
  • Return to Player has equipment that may be invisible at the player's option.


    Action Adventure 
  • Sometimes averted, sometimes not in Castlevania.
    • In Symphony of the Night, almost everything Alucard can equip will show changed art on his model. However, even if you completely unequip his cloak, he's still visibly wearing one. Since it's much harder to avert this trope with Game Boy hardware than PlayStation, the GBA games tend to only show changes to characters' weaponry.
    • Present in even the DS games such as Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Even though the best armor for female protagonists is typically a wedding dress (in fact, several fancy dresses tend to be superior to plate armor once you start getting the high-end gear) Shanoa and Charlotte remain in the same outfits they start out in, perhaps because the fetish material would not overwhelm the Narm of someone kicking vampire ass in bridal gear.
  • In Faxanadu, your character's sprite would display the armor he equipped, which was a pretty cool feature when the game debuted in 1987.
  • In Hand of Fate, Xanthia goes through roughly a dozen outfits as she goes to new places (as the prior ones are either damaged in the transition or unsuitable for the new climate), but she doesn't have an unlimited supply, as she mentions at one point that she's running out of clothes. In the previous game she tells Brandon that she's "not giving up [her] wardrobe spell", implying that they're just stashed in an extradimensional space or something.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain had a rather extensive collection of visually distinctive weapons and armor suits each of which altered the way Kain looked, despite the game being completely 2D. Played straight in the pre-rendered cutscenes, though (obviously), Kain would always be wearing his starting equipment, the iron armor and sword. Kind of justified in certain instances; walking into the court of the king wearing a suit of armor made out of bones would probably look suspicious.
  • The Legend of Zelda. Not only the 3D games, but even the 2D ones had different sprites for most equipment.
    • However, all items other than swords, shields, and clothing items are still hidden until you take them out. Link has a quiver for his arrows, but you can't see it — you only see the bow itself, and the arrow currently in use. This trope is particularly obvious when using the Skull Hammer in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, as the hammer is not only invisible when not in use, it is as big as Link and cannot possibly be carried on his person unless he has Hammerspace pockets.
      • Similarly, in games that feature the Iron Boots, he is only weighed down by them when actually wearing them. Carrying them on his person does nothing to affect his mass.
    • Though The Legend of Zelda (1989) cartoon show actually showed in one episode that they DO have Hammerspace pockets, with the items shrinking in appearance to fit inside, then growing when they were taken back out.
  • Averted in Ōkami about half the time and played straight the other half, bizarrely. In some cutscenes, Amaterasu will have whatever weapon she has equipped, and in others, she'll have her default weapon. The cutscenes are all in-engine, so this doesn't make very much sense.
  • Secret of Evermore averts it for weapons (though different weapons of the same typenote  just show up as Palette Swaps, looking nothing like their icon) but doesn't show armor.

    Fighting Game 
  • Soul Calibur IV averts this, modify a character and take the armor away, and they'll be fighting in historically questionable undergarments. As you gain major bonuses from armour and clothing, this makes things a hell of a lot harder. Try it combined with the joke items on hard mode and you'll be seeing the "Stage Failed" screen a lot.
  • Also inverted in Tekken 6, where only certain clothing and accessories found in Scenario Campaign actually give you a stat boost. Narm frequently ensues, as the current best combination of stat-boosting items often makes your character look completely ridiculous.
  • The Warriors plays the trope in both ways. If your character is holding a weapon, it won't show in a cut scene. However, any hats that they happened to pick up and wear will always show up in a cut scene.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Also averted in the ARMA series — one of the above-mentioned guns that can load different types of magazines is the G36 series, which normally use transparent magazines. One can clearly see the number of rounds within decrease as it's fired, though after about 15 shots they're obscured from view by the gun itself.
    • As gaming technology gets better, more and more developers of shooters are realizing that it is indeed possible to model translucent magazines with bullets in them that actually disappear as the player fires them — Rainbow Six: Vegas and F.3.A.R. are other examples.
  • In Borderlands 2 other players can see your character's gun in your hand, your previous gun on your back, and your shield, grenade mods and relics on your back.
    • Though in a strange twist on this trope, other players can't see the unique reloading animation each gun uses, instead seeing a generic sequence of movements regardless of the weapon being used (except for Tediore guns).
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (PSP): The currently selected weapons for each Tachikoma also appear in cutscenes throughout the game.
  • Averted in some cutscenes in Goldeneye 1997 for the N64. The end of the trainyard level has Bond (James Bond) killing two guards on the train itself. It's a bit of a different action for whatever gun you are wielding. In other cut scenes, the game keeps track of grenades.
  • The sprite-based Marathon games featured a peculiar solution to the problem in the form of split sprites: there was one set of sprites for the legs and lower body, and another for the torso (including the weapons carried thereon).
  • Rage (2011) alters your guns' and cars' models accordingly depending on what upgrades you pick up. It also alters your character model twice: once when you get the armor for your Ark suit, and again when you ditch the Ark suit for wastelander clothes.
  • In Team Fortress 2, a Spy disguised as you will reflect your loadout, including accessories and/or silly hats. Unfortunately due to body group incompatibility, the disguise can glitch out and leave the Spy holding a weapon the disguise's class can't equip, or missing textures or even body parts altogether.
    • Also, normally you only see the current weapon any given class has equipped, but certain per-class Weapon types subvert this - the Gunboats and Banner items for Soldier (metal attached to his boots and a backpack, with a flag raised when used, respetively), the Thermal Thruster Jetpack for Pyro, the Wee Booties and Shield items on Demoman, the Gunslinger on Engineer, the unique alternate Medi-guns on Medics (though the Kritzkrieg has the same backpack as stock, having unique medi-beam particles instead), and Back shield/backpack items on the Sniper. These items also have unique Equip region, meaning cosmetics that would normally show up there aren't usable when they're equipped (Soldier can't use boot cosmetics when he has the Gunboats equipped, for example).
  • In XIII, many enemies wear body armor of various styles, which magically vanish when they soak up too much damage. This makes it imperative to sneak up behind and take them down silently, so as to loot their unblemished armor.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In Diablo, there were very few models, though there were some different ones for different kinds of armor: specifically light leathery armor, medium chain-y armor, and heavy plate armor.
    • Diablo II made a branch between early games with no or few extra models and later ones with piles of them, where each class had its own style of armor, and different types of armor each had a different look on each class. Items with abilities that associated with a particular — such as deep green for poison — reflected those colors on the character's model, as well.

  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. Also you can literally fight in the nude, being able to strip male or female characters down to skimpy (and anachronistic) thongs. Yes, you can see nipples.
    • Yahtzee had quite a bit of fun with this feature: Determined to see how long he could go without ever putting any armor on at all, he picked the necromancer class, set all the character sliders to their minimum possible values and dubbed his character "Thinderella the Necromantic Naturist".
  • Anarchy Online plays with this. Armor and certain gear do appear on your character. Shoulderpads are toggled, and only one of the two sleeve slots will be visable. Invoked with the option to show a character's social gear instead of their armor (in some cases, hilarity may ensue), and there's also the polymorph programs...
  • Dream of Mirror Online (DOMO), allows to see your character weapon, shield and armor any moment, cutscenes included. When naked, characters still wears underwear (very skimpy for the Shura/Felin race). anyway, the exact look of an armor changes due to race or gender. Most notably the "newbie clothing", that change from a bathing suit to a formal robe, based on your character creation.
  • Mabinogi. Player characters are fully modeled with all their gear (except accessories, which are effectively too small to see at game resolution), even in cutscenes.
  • MapleStory almost completely averts this. Despite your character only being a inch or three tall, 90% of all equippable items are represented on your character, up to and including earrings and shoes, which might only be a few pixels large!
  • NeoQuest II updates your characters' appearance (clothes and weapons), on the field and in battle, to reflect what armor they're wearing.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Virtually all clothing and weapon changes will be reflected upon both you and your companion, though some companions cannot equip gear other than weapons following the companion system rework that accompanied Knights of the Fallen Empire. The game also has a costume system that overrides this for Player Characters, allowing them to choose between displaying either their currently equipped armor or any of several sets of cosmetic equipment.
  • World of Warcraft (and many other MMORPGs): Every weapon, piece of armor, and article of clothing is rendered fully on each character in the game, excluding jewelry. Because of the overwhelming importance of having the ideal stat combinations from gear, however, this often resulted in Rainbow Pimp Gear for characters at all levels of the game. The Transmogrification feature introduced in patch 4.3 helped to resolve this by allowing players to customize their gear by replacing models and skins with those of other pieces of gear in their possession, with certain restrictions such as requiring both items to be of Uncommon or higher quality. Before transmogrification, roleplayers often kept separate sets of gear worn only for their appearance rather than their combat effectiveness, and many continue to maintain such sets due to incompatibilities with transmogrification's restrictions.
    • Behind the scenes, this creates a great deal of additional work for the art team, as all new character models and changes to existing models must be compatible with every existing item model in the game, and new item models must be compatible with thirteen races times two genders (not to mention non-player races that make use of player armor, such as pre-Cataclysm goblins).
    • Played straight by shapeshift forms, such as druids' animal forms and many gag items. Most shiftshifts have singular appearances (although druid forms have multiple color palettes) that use the same armor models (or lack thereof) regardless of what the player has equipped. Weapons typically still avert the trope, save for the case of druid forms (except for moonkin), which hide equipped weapons entirely.

    Platform Game 
  • All games in the Ghosts 'n Goblins series will show Arthur running around in his boxer shorts if he's not wearing any armor (i.e. got hit).
  • The Mega Man X series utilized sprite overlays for each of X's armor upgrades, in addition to the traditional palette swaps for his alternate weapons.
  • Metroid: Suit upgrades are visible on the model in all games. In the 3D games, the model even changes for weapon upgrades, and in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the suit also reflects Samus's Phazon corruption.
  • Shovel Knight from Shovel Knight gets a Palette Swap to indicate what armour he's wearing.
  • The two Sonic Adventure games show any bits of equipment collected on the character's models. Since the gear cannot be removed, it's completely impossible, for eg, to get Knuckles to take off his sunglasses once he's picked them up.
  • Terraria shows your character with whatever armor they have on, and there are also social slots now. If armor is put in these slots, that's what you see your character in, but gameplay-wise you are still wearing the non-social armour.
  • Wonder Boy in Monster Land had separate palette maps for armor, weapon, shield, and footwear (but they all behaved exactly the same in relation to the frames of animation).
    • In the Genesis version of Wonder Boy in Monster World, most weapons and shields have unique sprites. (In the Master System version, swords have different sprites from spears, but that's it.)

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Units in Age of Mythology would be shown holding different pieces of equipment depending on the armory upgrades purchased and units with line upgrades would look different in each age the upgrade was purchased.
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars: Just like in Generals, many units and buildings will have changes or additions to their models to visually show the upgrades they have. From the relevant research buildings storing the prototype versions of the upgrade. To guns getting bulkier, new guns replacing the old ones, reinforced barrels for weapon upgrades, Tiberium-enhanced Super-Soldier exhaling toxic green grass, tanks getting bulldozer blades and etc.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals, where the 3D model was updated depending on upgrades. A missile upgrade for a jeep resulted in that missile showing up on the side of the jeep, etc.
  • In Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War, any equipment added to your troops is reflected on their models, including weapon and miscellaneous wargear additions. These changes are also visible on their persistent corpses (that can lay there forever, with the appropriate config menu setting). This makes a lot of sense since some of the tournament rules for the tabletop game require that any wargear be shown on the plastic/white metal/resin models.
  • Units in Medieval II: Total War are shown in better armor and carry the better weapons that are researched for them in their cities of origin. Also, the individual units are semi-unique, averting the usual "clone army" look of the typical RTS.
  • Starcraft II: Zigzagged: while some upgrades result in changes to the unit models (the zergling speed upgrade gives them insectoid wings, marine combat shields show up, etc.), most need to be moused over to be verified.
    • In Heart of the Swarm's campaign, several units have a permanent upgrade that gets a different model (the zergling Raptor strain has wings, as mentioned above, while the Swarmling grows a great big dorsal fin) with a general green or purple color scheme.
  • Warcraft III: It's not seen in the basic game, but the game engine does allow you to avert this trope by attaching special effects to various parts of a unit (head, weapon, offhand...). Many RPG custom maps use this, though it eats up a lot of space (requiring a specially made weaponless, armorless model, not to mention the weapons themselves).

  • And averted again in the PS2 roguelike Baroque. A full set of equipment consists of a coat, a pair of artificial wings, and a sword (or the Angelic Rifle), all of which show up over the nameless protagonist's normal clothing and are carried over into cutscenes.
  • Zig-zagged in The Binding of Isaac. Item costumes will stack as much as possible, usually transforming your character into a lovely mutilated demon monster by the end of a run. However, some costumes don't stack properly if they're added to the same area, meaning only the most recently picked up item(s) will be visible. Afterbirth+ also added dressers that can spawn in the starting room occasionally, which will hide most of your items and randomizes which ones are showing each time you use it.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the character art implies that the Warrior always has a sword, the Thief always is Dual Wielding daggers (even though he only starts with one Dagger card), the Inventor always has a hammer, and the other characters are unarmed (though Witch is shown casting a small flame, which isn't always possible in some Witch runs). Even more odd in Parallel Universe episodes, where the starting equipment for Thief and Inventor are completely different, and Bonus Round episodes where the Warrior can start with irregular equipment as well.
  • Averted with the player character in DRL, at least as much as possible for a game with ASCII graphics, as the the color of the @ which represents you changes to match the color of your equipped armor. However, the enemies that can equip armor they come across play it perfectly straight. Since hell knights and barons of hell can also equip armor, this can cause a nasty surprise or two.
  • In Elona, individual pieces of armor show up on your character's sprite when equipped, but you can choose to make them invisible and customize the clothing underneath.
  • Averted in the roguelike Powder, which bolts images of whatever you're wearing to the image of your character. It helps that there isn't any animation to speak of.
  • Every item you collect in Risk of Rain 2 can be seen on your character. They work even if they're being held in improper ways. Part of the game's Video Game 3D Leap from the first was that the devs wanted to show this.
  • In Rogue Legacy, the player character's sprite consists of several pieces of armour that are coloured differently depending on what they wear.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura — not only does equipping no armor or clothing leave your character running around in his or her underwear, but most people you meet refuse to talk to you until you are decently dressed.
  • Despite being an NES game, Crystalis altered your character's look depending on whether he had shields or armor equipped.
    • However, there was no difference based on what armor you wore, or what shield you had, so other than the beginning of the game, you were almost always wearing fur armor. Similarly, all four swords look the same in combat, even though the item screen implies them looking rather different (especially the water sword).
  • Dark Cloud 2 avoids this by not having armor; the characters clothing can be changed, but it bears no stat advantages. Similar to the Grand Theft Auto example above, the clothing differences are worked into the cutscenes.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest IX, every piece of equipment has a unique look to it. This can lead to some rather strange looks as you mix and match the things with the best stat gains.
    • Dragon Quest VIII has unique weapons for each character, but mostly plays the trope straight as far as armor is concerned. A few armors or armor combinations do change the character sprites, though most of these are for Jessica, for some reason. The Updated Re Release made it so that everyone in the party has at least one different costume, however, the initial female character still has the most options.
    • Dragon Quest XI brought back the certain armor sets give costumes from VIII, including the fact that Jade, the most fanservice-y female character, had the most costume options, although not by considerable amount compared to Jessica.
  • Dungeon Siege, by giving every item its own 3D model.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Starting with Morrowind, the majority of equipment and clothing is displayed on the character model for both the Player Character and NPCs. The only exceptions are jewelry, belts, and sheathed weapons.
    • Oblivion continues the trend, now including jewelry and sheathed weapons.
    • And the same with Skyrim. One exception is if you're dual wielding, in which case you'll only see both weapons when drawn. When sheathed, only one weapon is visible.
  • Fable: Your character will always appear to be wearing whatever clothing or armor he currently has equipped. If you unequip everything, he will be forced to run around the game world clad only in his underpants. Almost every quest has a bonus if you do it without any equipment, in fact.
  • Fallout is notable, being fully sprite-based. Every armor in the game has its rendering for each of the available the player models, and each weapon is represented by the class model (small arms, spear, big arms, etc.) visibly wielded by characters. NPCs in the game are generally rendered according to the armor they wear.
    • And averted in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas where every armor used, even on NPCs will be shown and the same thing with the currently used weapon.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X had most of its cutscenes rendered via the in-game engine, and thus changes to weaponry were acknowledged; armor, meanwhile, was handled entirely via shields and other small items. Weapons rarely ever appeared in the prerendered sequences.
    • Similarly, in Final Fantasy XIII-2, the cutscenes show changes to Noel's and Serah's equipped weapons.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time this trope is averted, as any armor, helmet or weapon you equip on any character actually shows, although you can't remove any of these, so no running in the nude or fighting barehanded. However no matter what a character is wearing, the icon of their face (next to their HP and MP on the top screen) remains the same.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has a semi-aversion with its weapons, but much like the above the clothing does not change. However, this was changed in the sequel Ring Of Fates, the first DS entry. Every piece of equipment you equip changes how the on-screen characters look.
    • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light boasts an aversion of this: weapons and armor equipped will change the character's model to match.
  • Gothic, where the player character's changes of clothing show up in-game and in cutscenes, and the Mentor putting on his old armor is a FanServicey nostalgia moment in Gothic II. Unfortunately, if the player for some reason decided not to wear the magic armor during the final boss fight in Gothic, this created a plot hole at the start of Gothic II where it's revealed that the armor saved his life when the cave collapsed.
  • Zig-zagged in the Inazuma Eleven series. Each character has a 3D model for close-ups and a separate miniature (2D sprites in the first three games, replaced by 3D models in Inazuma Eleven GO) for more distant camera angles. The miniatures play the trope straight, but the close-up models avert it; shoes and goalkeepers' gloves are all texture swaps, and accessories are added to the model.
  • Seen in the Kingdom Hearts series:
    • Kingdom Hearts: in the in-game cutscenes, Sora will be holding whatever Keyblade he has currently equipped (occasionally causing problems with clipping if it's one of the larger or oddly-shaped ones). In Kingdom Hearts II, it'll also show whatever Drive Form he's in. However, a few select cutscenes in the numbered titles play it straight:
      • In the first game's ending, Sora is shown to be using the Kingdom Key regardless of which Keychain you have equipped. This is because it's one of a pair, and Mickey has the other one on the other side of the door.
      • In the scene before the Battle of the Thousand Heartless, Sora, Donald, and Goofy have their default Kingdom Key, Mage's Staff, and Knight's Shield. This is because the cutscene has all thousand Heartless in it.
    • Also played straight throughout the whole of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, where Roxas always has the Kingdom Key in cutscenes despite the Gear you may have equipped on him.
    • The series' various Theater Modes always use default loadouts, because you're accessing them from the menus and they can't refer to your current save file.
    • In terms of actual equippable clothing (which consists of bangles, rings, ribbons and other similar objects that are more akin to jewelry/bling than anything else) don't show up on either Sora nor any of his companions.
  • Knights of the Old Republic shows different types of weapons and armor as different models, though some are just different-colored versions of similar armor or weapons. You can, in fact, strip your character to their undies, and it happens at least once in each game whether you want it to or not. You even start both games in your undergarments.
  • Knights of Xentar takes the aversion to the logical extreme. Not only do the various types of armor, shield and weaponry you can equip show up on your character in battle (and, for that matter, when wandering around the map) — but if you de-equip everything, your characters do, indeed, fight in the nude. Including that cute sorceress. It's little quirks like these that help to make the game a perfectly valid RPG, if you can get past the fact that every five minutes you'll be staring at a pair of badly drawn breasts.
    • On the other hand, Ultima VII (and part two, and the expansion, and part two the expansion) have nude sprites available for the protagonist, which are shown at certain points as required by the plot, but cannot be accessed by simply removing all of your gear.
  • The game series Kouryuu Densetsu Villgust — when a character gets a full set of next-level equipment, their battle sprite changes (usually just colors, but in some cases a headband or extra armor gets added) to reflect it. However, only in the equipment screen is each piece of equipment rendered (in a Paper Doll style) — in battle, if you have all the members of the "blue" set and a "green" helmet, for instance, you usually still appear green.
  • Legend of Legaia. Every weapon and armor was represented. In fact, you had numerous different types of armor along with those weapons, so as you progressed through the game, you got to see the characters in constantly changing outfits, though these outfits would mostly match the base clothes in style. You didn't get anyone in the nude, as the default armor was what they wore outside of combat, but considering how old the game is, it was a refreshing change to see all the different armors and weapons shown in battle. Not to mention that the equipment could look genuinely intimidating. Yes, even Gala's battle earrings.
    • The sequel, Duel Saga, only has different models for the characters' weapons. Characters who don't use weapons have no changes whatsoever.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age reflects every change you make to your party's equipment, no matter how mismatched.
  • In Mass Effect, every armor suit and gun is individually rendered. However, your squadmates do still show up in their starting armor in a few cutscenes when they are not currently selected as active party members. Some of the alien squadmates will also show up in default armor while on your ship, the others wear either civilian clothes or crew uniforms. Private Jenkins' model, however, doesn't change based on his equipment. Given that the only ways you can have different items to give him are a New Game Plus (where you know not to bother) or using cheats, this is definitely reasonable.
  • In Mount & Blade and the CRPG mod, all the different types of weapons and armour are clearly or somewhat distinguishable, considering there are hundreds of each this starts to matter very little, as most of armours or weapons of the same class tend to be pretty much the same with only slight differences. Its again not as helpful in multiplayer and even worse in CRPG as anyone wearing armour which has a metallic colour on it is probably too armoured for you to have hope of beating with your handful of rocks and pitchfork. All the horses have different appearances but are all the same to a player on foot as they attempt to dodge the instant kill lances.
  • Neptunia won't show your armor (as they're just bracelets and other rings), but any changes to your weapon, accessories, outfits or processor parts for the CPUs will appear in battle.
  • Neverwinter Nights changes characters' models for armor and weapons, though the game isn't detailed enough to do anything more.
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2 most, if not all, equipment appears on the characters, and magical weapons will usually have a relevant magical effect. Certain pieces of head equipment, such as circlets, also appear on the character portrait.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous display all equipped gear on the character's model with very few exceptions, mainly that scrolls, magic rods, and potions equipped in belt slots for use in combat are represented generically.
  • Persona:
    • This is mostly the case in Persona 3 during mission sequences (outside of missions they wear whatever is appropriate), but every character has a couple of outfits that change the character model's clothes as well. For instance, females can wear the High-Cut Armor, and each also has a separate maid outfit. When you assign these armors to the characters, they tend to get a...bit...flustered. Some of the unique male armor also gets a less dramatic reaction (since none of it is anywhere near as Fanservice friendly). Note that this only happened in the FES version — while the outfits do exist in the vanilla game, you can only get the reactions from the characters while their clothes stay the same.
    • Persona 4 is only a little better; while the characters in Persona 3 have seasonal school uniforms and summer vs winter day clothes, they always go adventuring in their winter uniforms. However their weapons are all unique, with the ultimate weapons being extra cool-looking. The cast of Persona 4 actually do go adventuring in their summer uniforms if they're wearing them in the game (though you still can't go adventuring in their holiday clothes).
      • 4 is pretty good about this: the gang use their school uniforms to smuggle equipment into Junes (The big department store that the gang likes to use as a base because it houses the safest entry to the TV world) because Youske and the protagonist once got arrested for waving around weapons in there. This is actually a fairly conceivable Handwave, as all the armor is usually magical or wearable under clothing, and most of the party members carry weapons that can be easily concealed. Nevertheless the Protagonist somehow sneaks enormous swords/baseball bats/golf clubs into Junes and Kanji is even worse. His first buyable weapon is a DESK.
      • In the remake, Persona 4 Golden, "Outfit" became a seperate equipment slot and each character could wear different outfits that they had previously purchased or received, including swimsuits, holiday wear, and more.
  • In Radiata Stories, every armor changes Player Character Jack Russell's appearance, including in cutscenes. This can be anything from ordinary street clothes to giant suits of armor.
  • Siege of Avalon shows every piece of equipment you put on your character except for the Hand equipment slots, which are presumably either worn under the Gloves slot (and too small to see when not wearing gloves) for rings, or just not shown for books and scrolls. There are a couple dozen different garments and pieces of armor for each armor slot, and at least twice that for the weapon slot, even ignoring the ones that look the same but have different stats.
  • Sudeki averts this completely, partially by virtue of each character only having 3 sets of armor (that are awarded at fixed points in the plot, no less), but each weapon has its own unique model, appearance, and in the case of ranged weapons, projectile. Some, like the Chainsword, even have their own noises.
  • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology averts this to such a degree that equipping a piece of armor that would theoretically cause major overlap issues on your character automatically de-equips the offending piece(s) upon equipping the new one — with each change shown on your character's model, remembering how large each piece actually is comes in handy.
  • Downplayed by TechnoMage: Return of Eternity, where most defence equipment consists of small accessories like amulets and belts, which would be hard to show on Melvin's sprite, due to the low resolution of the time. There is one exception, Merlin's Cape, which is large enough that equipping it does change the appearance of the cape Melvin wears.
  • Wild ARMs 5 has pieces of armor which will change the character's model.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • All equipped gear in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 is visible on your character model, in both the gameplay and cutscenes. It's also accurately reflected in the flashbacks. Understandably though, any flashes of prophecy in the future will use the character's current models as opposed to the impossible task of attempting to predict what equipment the characters will be wearing several hours of gameplay down the line when that scene in question actually comes into play.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X CAN play this straight at the player's discretion, thanks to fashion gear. Got some gear that has awesome game breaker skills but makes your characters have one out of place arm? No worries, just attach the equipment you wish displayed under the fashion gear tab and that's the equipment that will show up on the character model. There's also fashion gear (things like hoodies, trousers, Dragon Ball scouters, business suits and skimpy bikinis to name a few) which is intentionally made for this tab, as most of them have terrible stats and hardly useful skills. This can result in some Narm when an intense cutscene plays and you've got the party members or your character wearing a bunny girl bikini suit for example

    Stealth Based Game 

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Weapons-only aversion in the Disgaea series. Armor isn't shown, but every single weapon (except the Fist-type and monster-type weapons) has a unique sprite. Also, each weapon can be either legendary, rare or normal, and the sprites are recolored to show this.
  • Played Straight and Averted depending on which Fire Emblem game you're playing. Some of the Fire Emblem games use one or two sprites/models for all weapons (Fire Emblem doesn't have "armor" as an item, basing defense purely on a character's stats) of each type in-battle, while others have unique sprites for each weapon. The first two games and portables generally fall in the former, while the SNES and later(non-portable) games fall in the latter. Interestingly, in the games where a single design is used regardless of the particular weapon a character has, the design itself tends to be different according to the class of the character using it, leading to two characters using the same weapon having it appear completely differently in-battle.
    • In addition, the portraits of the characters do not reflect when the characters are promoted into an advanced class. Only few characters has different portraits when promoted like Ike from Ranger to Lord.
  • Jagged Alliance games altered the characters' appearances based on the weapon types they were equipped with although pistols and SMG's looked identical, same as shotguns and rifles. The armor equipped, however, had absolutely no effect on appearance, which became rather ridiculous when the mercenaries were technically wearing full Spectra outfit, complete with a helmet and a gas mask, yet still appeared to wear the same t-shirt they had at the beginning of the game
  • X-COM:

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The Godfather 2 averts this. Upgrades you get from owning certain business types, such as body armour and knuckledusters, are clearly visible on your character.
  • Excellently avoided in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which you can change the main character's clothes and hairstyle, give him tattoos, and even alter his basic body shape (though this last is a long process, involving overeating to get fat or exercise to get muscular). Any changes to the character's appearance are worked seamlessly into all of the game's cutscenes. Body armour, on the other hand, is invisible, even if you are naked from the waist up.
    • Oddly averted in Grand Theft Auto IV. When Niko confronts Dimitri in the Revenge ending, the weapon he holds in the pre-execution cutscene is the same one you used to get the last hit. What makes this weird is that many players used the rocket launcher for its area-effecting ability to get around cover, so in the cutscene, Niko walks up to point blank range and waves the launcher in Dimitri's face like it's a pistol. Aside from that, the game works the same as its predecessor.
      • Similarly, when facing Pegerino 2 missions later (in the Revenge ending), no matter what weapon you were using in the preceeding firefight Niko will have an AK-47 in the scene (even if you had the Carbine Rifle, which takes up the same weapon slot as the AK).
    • In the end of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned no matter what pistol you have when you reach Billy, Johnny will be holding the automatic pistol in the scene.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, body armor is invisible. In Grand Theft Auto Online, however, any character that's supposed to have armor on will be seen having the appropriate type of armor over their shirt. Wearing a jacket can cover it up.
  • In Minecraft, every piece of armour you wear is shown on your character's model. A full set almost completely covers it, kinda making all that painstaking skin design a waste of time.
  • Similar to the San Andreas aversion above, Saints Row 2 incorporates ridiculous levels of character customization, including four separate layers on the chest alone, all of these changes will be visible in cutscenes along with six different voice sets for the player character. But, it does play this trope straight in one very bizarre way. Throughout the game you can obtain alternate handguns, shotguns, assault rifles and the like, but, while every cutscene will accurately depict your character in almost every way, their weapons are prescripted. This can (and does) result in the player character using pistols they aren't carrying on a fairly regular basis.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. At one point you chase down and confront the evil Sheffieldm your lawyer. The death scene plays out differently depending on what you use but oddly, only three ways are available at this point. Using your opponent's clearly seen weapon is not possible, sadly.
  • In Spore, not only is equipment shown in the later stages, but you have to put it on yourself.

Alternative Title(s): Fight In The Nude, Limited Sprite Wardrobe, All Equipment Looks The Same, One Sprite Fits All