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"Prepare to have your life ruined, Troper. Have at you!"

A video game trope in which a scene or dialogue only plays out if a certain character or characters was brought along with the main characters (though usually it depends on being in the party). Mostly used for Character Development but may also be used for humor or to make an otherwise flat location more important.

Often ties in with other "Optional" tropes. Compare/contrast Companion-Specific Sidequest, where the game includes an entire optional mission centered on a particular companion NPC.


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  • Telltale Games have alternate/optional scenes for most of their titles depending on how the selected outcomes affected the characters.

  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The Subspace Emissary mode features variants of alternative scenes with different characters, such as if Kirby decides to free Peach or Zelda in the opening level. Unlocking the other scenes would require a second playthrough.

  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, a few sidequests will play out ever-so-slightly differently depending on who you have in the party. For example, if Tyalie is present during the Christmas sale quest, then she’ll end the scene by wishing the player a Happy Easter. Also, you can’t trigger the Beach Episode in the epilogue (or gain access to the Sky Abyss) unless everyone is with you.
  • Cassette Beasts: Each partner has different dialogue for story events that don't have a Required Party Member. If you beat an archangel with Barkley as your partner, Kayleigh will talk about the latest clue in Morgante's Song at Gramophone Café instead.
  • In Chrono Trigger, most characters get variations on the same line, but there's quite a bit of this as well.
    • Most notably, after Crono's death is reversed, Marle or Lucca will hug Crono and relay how much they missed him; if you have both Marle and Lucca, Marle is given top priority and you miss out on Lucca's scene; and if neither character is in the active party, Frog or Robo will simply welcome him back.
    • The next most notable incident is during the Final Boss battle, where each character you bring gets their own "No More Holding Back" Speech (except Crono).
    • Also done with the enemy- one room in Magus' Keep has a shapeshifter enemy who turns into a trusted figure of whoever's in front (Queen Leene for Frog, Lucca's father for Lucca, etc.) and gives a different line for each. They don't attack you... at first.
  • Dark Cloud has an example. When doing the georama in Queens, You will meet a Gangster named "King" complete his house and he'll "Reward" you with a lamp that contains a very spirited genie named Ruby. She will be added to your party. If you go to Jack's house without having Ruby in your party, you won't get anything from Jack for completing his house. If she is with you he'll explain that he does not give out items but his expression will change to a fearful one when Ruby approaches. He will be very generous given that Ruby is King's Wife.
  • Dragon Age:
    • There's a wide variety of character interactions in Dragon Age: Origins (and Awakening) between different companions in different locations. When entering the Fade to rescue Connor's soul, you can pick from a number of companions or supporting characters to give A Day in the Limelight to.
    • Dragon Age II takes this trope to a slightly different conclusion, where the characters in your party can sometimes join in on a conversation and effect its outcome. E.g. Varric can outright lie and charm to get out of trouble, Merrill and Anders will offer magey advice, Fenris punches through people's chests. The Player Character has similar options depending on what class they are, or what personality (Diplomatic, Charming, Aggressive) they establish.
    • The "Legacy" DLC is based around a mysterious link between Hawke's father and the Grey Wardens, so your surviving sibling and ex-Warden Anders have the most to say. In "Mark of the Assassin", Isabela and Aveline get the most detailed sidequests. Isabela gets to save (or not) some pirates turned to stone by a curse, while Aveline stumbles upon a mystery to do with her family's roots in Orlais.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition naturally has a few moments like this as well, although they don't usually alter the outcome of whole quests.
  • Plentiful in Fallout: New Vegas, as these are usually lead ins or events as part of that companion's particular loyalty quest. These can range from the game's usual Black Comedy to absolute Tear Jerker in terms of content. Your canine companion also has a unique non-quest Timmy in a Well event that only triggers if you elected to flip the Silliness Switch at the start of the game.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI - Multiple for example Bringing Cyan to the Dinner in Vector will make General Leo address him specifically and apologize for Doma. There's another rather odd one; the optional scene where Gau confronts his father has to be triggered by Sabin for some reason, though Gau must be there too. The dialogue changes depending on the other characters in the active party, but some only get lines if they're not active.
    • Also throughout the game in certain cutscenes a certain character will be given certain lines. If that character is not present, then it will simply be a generic line in quotation marks. For example, when the party meets Ramuh, if Locke is present he'll remark that his grandmother told him about Espers. If Locke isn't there, the line will be said but attributed to no one.
      • If Edgar and Sabin are in the party during the opera sequence, a significant twist is revealed about the coin used for Setzer's coin flip... which was used once before.
      • The first time the game let you form a team, if you have Sabin in your party, he is going to leave you as soon as you set a foot on Figaro's Castle, rejoining you when you leave. However, if you have both, Sabin and Edgar, a cutscene will be triggered if you sleep in the castle, and after this Sabin will not leave you party anymore when you wander Figaro. Also, for this same trip, if Locke is with you, when you go to Kohlingen you get to see some scenes of Rachel. Now, if Celes is with you here, and she saw Locke reminiscing about Rachel, she (Celes) will linger a little bit more after the party leaves, staring at Rachel's corpse and wondering about Locke's pain.
      • Before the fight with Kefka, most party members will make a speech. Depending on how many and which characters you brought along, the result can range from moving, to narmy, to surreal.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Upon entering Nibelheim in the present day for the first time, the scene is slightly extended if you have brought Tifa, the other Nibelheim native, along with you.
    • Aeris' death has whoever came with Cloud showing their own reaction.
    • If you don't have both Tifa and (especially) Aeris in your party the first time you talk to Zack's parents in Gongaga, you'll miss out on finding out that Zack was Aeris's boyfriend, an important detail merely implied elsewhere. It doesn't help that there's nothing suggesting you should have those party members, or that it's entirely possible to accidentally skip Gongaga altogether until after Aeris has run away at the end of Disc 1. There are two later scenes which hint at Zack and Aeris's involvement, but both of those are also easy to miss.
    • Costa Del Sol is full of funny character development scenes of the party members causing chaos in a holiday resort, but only if you don't have them in your party (and the last time you could change party members was before a boss battle). This is obviously unappealing if the reason you had those characters in your party is because they were your favorites.
    • The scene in Lucrecia's cave only takes place if you bring Vincent with you.
    • Of special note is a single line of dialogue delivered exclusively by Aeris if you hack her back into the party after the Forgotten City. This is a combination of the Square preparing for any technical problems with characters who shouldn't be in a given scene, and scaling back Aeris's death from the Northern Cave Crater.
    • Yuffie also has a single line of dialogue written for her before it's possible to have her join the party.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: During the Galbadian occupation of Zell's hometown, the party gets a chance to rest up in his room. Depending on which optional party member you bring along, the scene changes drastically. Selphie messes up Zell's bed, Quistis tells an embarrassing anecdote, Irvine tests out Zell's antique gun collection, and Rinoa asks about Zell's grandfather.
      • At the Deep Sea Research Facility, if Zell is in your party prior to entering the ruins, he'll solve a puzzle for you, and allow you to reach Ultima Weapon more easily.
    • Final Fantasy IX - Quan's Dwelling in has an extra scene if you return there with Vivi and Quina in your party at a certain point of the game. In fact, the game's main conceit is the ability to view scenes with characters you don't have with you. All of these are optional, but can sometimes net the player a nice item or piece of equipment via the offscreen characters actions.
    • In the Shadowbringers expansion of Final Fantasy XIV, a new Trust system is introduced which allows the player to bring along NPC party members into dungeons. You have to choose three to bring along, which usually leaves one or two behind, and depending on who you bring you can see them interact differently to each other or react to things happening in the dungeon.
  • Since the Fire Emblem series has Permadeath for all its many characters, oftentimes dialogue will change according to which characters are present and which characters aren't.
    • Path of Radiance goes to particular lengths with this trope, with many scenes having a huge amount of variations depending on character survival. Even some Support Conversations change to reflect specific character deaths! But by far the biggest example in the game, and possibly the entire series, is Chapter 20. Previously, it was possible to recruit Jill, a Wyvern Rider from the country you're fighting. The enemy commander in this chapter is her father. Dialogue here changes depending on:
      • If Jill is deployed. This is also affected by whether or not you viewed an optional conversation with her last chapter, or if she's formed a friendship with Mist.
      • If she is, having Jill fight the generic enemy Mooks results in dialogue, where they yell at her for being a traitor.
      • Shiharam's speech to his second-in-command changes depending on if Jill was recruited or not.
      • And by far the biggest and most shocking: it's possible for Jill to speak to her father. If you didn't develop her Relationship Values just right, it's actually possible for her to switch sides and join the enemy. If this happens, there's no going back: you'll have to kill her.
    • The support/base conversations of the later Fire Emblem games fill this role quite nicely, and are a large part of the series's appeal.
    • Throughout the series, several bosses have different dialogue if fought with certain characters. Even rarer are the bosses that have different death quotes if defeated with a specific character, such as defeating Bryce with Ike in Path of Radiance, or defeating Yen'fay with Say'ri in Fire Emblem: Awakening.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - Bringing certain party members to the tomb of Freedon Nadd will bring up a scene where they are tempted by the dark energy there.
  • The Legend of Heroes - Trails franchise gives every playable character a unique optional scene dependent on whether they are currently in the party. This also extends to conversations; for example in Trails in the Sky - Second Chapter after the group escape the Lotus-Eater Machine, the player can ask whoever was in the party to learn what they experienced during that time.
  • Live A Live will only show a scene (continuing a Running Gag) in the Martial Arts chapter if you picked Hong as the martial arts inheritor.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, various player characters have dialogues with different NPCs, usually ones they have some connection to.
  • Mass Effect is positively STUFFED with these, where bringing along a certain squad mate will give dialogue and sometimes even whole scenes just for them, especially if you're Romancing them. Many of these also take into account actions you've performed earlier in the story, or even in preceding games. Notable examples include:
    • Mass Effect: Bringing Liara along to Noveria or Ilos, taking Ashley to Homecoming or Our Own Worst Enemy. Many elevator conversations will also happen with specific squad mate combinations, such as Garrus and Tali chastising each other's races. A very easily-missed scene on the Citadel only occurs on your first visit there with Kaidan and Ashley, before you recruit Garrus and/or Wrex, meaning there's only a tiny window to see it.
    • Mass Effect 2: Bringing Legion to Tali's Missions or the Overlord DLC, taking Garrus and/or Grunt into Mordin's recruitment mission and Tali to his Loyalty Mission, bringing Jacob or Miranda to Jack's Loyalty Mission. There are also points where specific characters voice their opinions in the hub worlds that are expanded by having another squad mate, such as Thane and Garrus in the C-Sec hallway on the Citadel. Of note is this a conversation between Garrus and Tali on a specific staircase in the Citadel, in a Call-Back to the Scrappy Mechanic:
      Garrus: You ever miss those talks we had on the elevators?
      Tali: No.
      Garrus: Come on, remember how we'd all ask you about life on the flotilla? It was an opportunity to share!
      Tali: This conversation is over.
      Garrus: Tell me again about your immune system!
      Tali: I have a shotgun.
      Garrus: ...Maybe we'll talk later.
    • Mass Effect 3: Bringing your Virmire Survivor to Tuchanka: Bomb, Garrus or Liara to Sur'Kesh, EDI to the Geth Dreadnought, and practically anybody to any Mission in the Citadel DLC. Javik will also tend to give a lot of information about his cycle in the Dreadnought and Thessia Missions, which was notable at the time because he was a Download-only character and a pre-order bonus.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Starting from a character's second chapter, the player may be able to activate one-on-one events depending on their party's composition during key events. For example, during Tressa's second chapter, Cyrus can tell her how actually seeing rare stones is different from merely reading about them, Primrose gives Tressa a pep talk when a rival merchant takes her customers, and Therion can suggest just leaving Ali to die when Mr. Morlock captures him.
    • There are additional scenes between up to four characters at a time available in taverns after finishing any of the characters' quests. These tend to be more light hearted, including drinking contests and the like.
  • Extensively used in Ogre Battle, where you not only get additional dialogue for having optional characters in party (often ones who were optional themselves to even recruit), but for having them be the specific character to lead certain attacks - and to top it off, recruiting certain characters or getting certain items (including ending-affecting items) can be dependent on who you have in your army and who you send to fight key enemies.
  • In the first three Paper Mario games, every party member has a set of dialogue for any event they're taking place in. This format was dropped in all subsequent titles since Sticker Star.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl require you to have Registeel, Regice and Regirock in order to awaken (and fight) Regigigas in Snowpoint Temple.
    • Platinum reverts this: with a Regigigas that you can receive in a Nintendo event, you can fight the other three Regis. Naturally, as Platinum is an Updated Re-release of Diamond and Pearl, you can use the three Regis that you've caught in this way to awaken the Regigigas in Snowpoint Temple. Moreover, you can receive a Gracidea Flower from a girl in Floaroma Town if you show her a Shaymin (that can equally be received only through a Nintendo Event). The Gracidea changes Shaymin between its Land and Sky Forme.
    • Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver have even more of these. You can again receive the Gracidea, this time by showing a Shaymin to a girl in the Goldenrod Flower Shop. Then you can receive a peculiar Pichu (one with a fluff of fur over its right ear, properly called the Spiky-Eared Pichu) by examining the shrine in Ilex Forest while having a Nintendo event shiny Pichu in the first slot of the party. You can unlock a new place, the Sinjoh Ruins, by having an Arceus (itself obtainable only through a Nintendo event, again) in the first slot of the party and talking to a person in the Ruins of Alph. This way, you can watch one weird ritual of summoning and receive either a Dialga, Palkia or Giratina at level 1, each holding its signature Orb. Finally, you can unlock a rather important story cutscene (and battle) if you bring a Nintendo event Celebi to the Ilex Shrine.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, you can transfer four Nintendo event Pokémon - the three shiny beasts Entei, Suicune and Raikou, and Celebi - from a Generation IV game through the Transfer Machine (they're the only 4 Pokémon that can be ported in this way). Transferring one of the shiny beasts unlocks the Illusion Forest where Zoroark can be caught, while if you show the Celebi to a girl in one of the Castelia City gates you'll receive a Zorua.
  • In Romancing SaGa, there are a few of these, often linked to various Sidequests.
    • During a certain period of time around the mid-game, resting at an Inn with Claudia in your party leads to her having a strange dream asking her to return to Mazewood. Agreeing to go with her leads to a special Sidequest that reveals her Secret Legacy. On a wider scale, simply having her in the party can trigger various extra dialogue and mini-scenes during various quests in Melvir, as well as getting attacked without any explanation by the assassins patrolling the capital's streets.
    • While her presence isn't required for completing the related Sidequest, taking Aisha back to the Taralian Camp after a certain point leads to her temporarily leaving the party to search the deserted village, followed by your leader giving her a short pep-talk. She also has an extended scene if you take her along to Merholm, in which she copes with learning about her heritage and deciding not to remain in the Hidden Elf Village with her grandfather and people.
    • Near the end of Jamil's prologue, a short scene triggers with Dowd where he asks to stay behind in South Estamir rather than be dragged along. Agreeing to this sets up a chain of events necessary for making Dowd recruitable in other scenarios, entailing meeting him again later on as a Brainwashed and Crazy masked assassin whom Jamil fatally wounds before learning the truth, making the related Sidequest more personal.
    • Triggering these with Darque is key to his Sidequest, as all of his scenes involve him regaining different memories until he finally discovers who he was. (Which is harder than it sounds, considering he actually has two sets of memories due to being possessed by another's soul, who can completely takeover if you favor her over him.)
  • Late in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, the route split for the true endings essentially determines the party composition for the rest of the game; specifically, the party stays full on Bonds, but is almost empty on Anarchy because Nanashi murdered them all. One sidequest that takes place on the same day as the route split has two different scripts; if the party is full or mostly full (pre-route split or Bonds), the party will be unusually chatty, and comment every time they search a room. If the party is mostly empty, the narration takes over instead.
  • Optional Private Actions are the only way to build Relationship Values in Star Ocean: The Second Story besides special items and fighting a ridiculous number of battles together.
  • Steven Universe: Save The Light gives each character in the party a comment on whichever area they are at during the main story.
  • The Tales of... series has featured these since the second game in the form of skits.
  • There are various scenes in Trials of Mana that have different lines of dialogue depending not only on who your party members are, but when they joined your party. In addition to scenes where certain party members gain priority depending on if they're relevant to the other characters present and the scene itself, there are scenes that play a generic piece of dialogue for a party member in a designated slot, with the selection being consistent across each playthrough.
  • Xenogears has an optional dungeon near the end where you not only get an extra scene for having Emeralda in group, she grows up, or at least takes an adult looking form. The main gameplay benefit this has is giving her vastly improved stat gains when she levels up. The developers seem to have expected you to view this scene, because Emeralda appears grown-up in the ending.
  • Almost all of the sidequests given out by named NPCs in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 have one specific member of the party chiming in with additional dialogue. There's no benefit to doing so, and it can be a bit of a Guide Dang It! when you can only have three party members active at a time, there's no hint at which party member will give dialogue, and some of the quests can be acquired before getting the party member who chimes in.

    First/Third Person Shooter 
  • In the Borderlands series, The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 3 features the selected Vault Hunter with their own given dialogue for all events they are taking part in. The former even had other characters' dialogue change depending on the selected Vault Hunter.

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • Depending on who he saves in the Kubitarou case, Akira can get a unique scene with either Seiji or Kaoru later in the game. Seiji's scene contains a unique CG and a rendition of an idol song from Seiji's VA, while Kaoru's scene has her and Akira pretend to be a couple to lure out a spirit.
    • To a lesser extent, there's a CG in Kubitarou's case that can only be seen if Akira takes Seiji along to the final confrontation with the spirit.