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Missing Main Character

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The inverse of Can't Drop the Hero— Rather than the game forcing you to use Bob at all times, the game makes you pick someone other than Bob to be the hero for one reason or another. Popular storyline reasons include Bob going missing, being incapacitated, or just not being allowed in whatever town the rest of the group is going to.

Forcing Bob out of the party can lead to serious issues if your team always consisted of Alice, Bob, and Carol and you never leveled up anyone else—Now Dave, who is at level five, has to try to fight level fifty monsters ...poorly.

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See also And Now for Someone Completely Different if Bob's time as the main character simply ends because his story is over. Expect spoilers ahead.


Examples:

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     Eastern RPG 
  • There's a section in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean where the player has to take control of Xelha while Kalas, the main character for the other 95% of the game, does various spoiler-y things.
  • Towards the end of the main quest in Chrono Trigger, Crono is removed from the party, forcing the player to choose another party member to replace him. Fortunately, due to Leaked Experience, the character will be the same level, but they won't have as many abilities as the characters that the player was using on a regular basis, both due to having to learn their abilities via Tech Points that're only given to characters in the battle party and because every Triple Tech up until that point used Crono as one of the necessary party members. Once the player reaches the point that only Sidequests and the final boss remain, it is possible for Crono to rejoin the party.
  • The fangame sequel to Chrono Trigger, Crimson Echoes, forces you to fight solo with Marle for a single chapter. The developers admitted that Marle was not intended to be a solo character.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, there's a portion of the game during which Terra Branford leaves the party due to transforming into her Esper form for the first time and then flying off in a frenzy, thus making Locke, Celes and the party go after her. In the second half of the game (dubbed 'The World of Ruin') the party is scattered and you start with only Celes in the party. Terra does not need to be re-recruited during these events. However, she is the only character who always appears in the ending regardless (aside from Celes, Edgar, and Setzer, who are required no matter what).
  • In Final Fantasy VII, there's a short period of time where Cloud is removed from the party and presumed dead, and later found in a braindead state. During these times, Tifa and Cid take turns being the party leader.
  • There's a point in Final Fantasy XIII-2 during which Noel Kreiss, one of the game's two protagonists, gets separated from Serah, the other protagonist, due to Alyssa Zaidele sabotaging the time gate the group used in Academia, splitting the party up and then taking them straight to Caius. During this section of the game, Serah has to find and rescue Noel from the dream world Caius trapped him in.
  • After the completion of the 4.3 main scenario in Final Fantasy XIV, the player is briefly given control of Alphinaud for an instanced duty, when he is separated from the Warrior of Light and attacked by the Emperor's soldiers on his way to Garlemald with Maxima. This marks the first occasion of the player controlling an NPC.
  • Some parts of Sonic Chronicles have the party split into two groups, with Sonic leading one team and another party member leading the other.

     Western RPG 
  • While Dragon Age: Origins normally has Can't Drop the Hero in effect, there are a few portions of the game in which the Warden is removed from your party. The first involves entering the Fade to kill a demon -since only Mages can enter the Fade voluntarily, if your Warden is a Rogue or Warrior you have to send someone else. The second is a mission in which your other characters have to break the Warden out of prison (though you can also choose to escape as the Warden). The third is a Duel Boss Combat by Champion against Loghain, which can be fought as any party member other than Dog. And finally, a small segment of the final battle has whatever party members you didn't take with you Hold the Line against the Darkspawn to buy your main party time to kill the Archdemon.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords did this when you had to attack two installations simultaneously: one on the planet surface and the other, on the planet's moon. Basically, you had to decide which three of your teammates would go to the moon and which two you take with you to the planet. The choice was made slightly easier by the fact that KOTOR gives equal amounts of XP all characters, even on the Ebon Hawk but there was still the small matter of all the cool items being concentrated in the hands of your Top Three characters...
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda has a brief section where you play as your twin. Additionally, your twin has just woken up from cryo-sleep and as a result, has gained no levels. Furthermore, they aren't packing all the awesome gear your party has. Bioware seems to be in love with this trope.

     Turn Based Tactics 
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Non-Video Game Examples

     Comics 

     Webcomics 
  • In Homestuck, John Egbert finds a MacGuffin that allows him to move around outside of reality. Consequently, when the reader tries to switch the POV over to him, they get this page.

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