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Sometimes in a video game sequel, you meet the Player Character of a previous game in the series. This can range from said character's appearance just being a fun Continuity Nod to them having some level of story importance. In cases of the latter, this can sometimes lead to branches being cut off should the previous game have had Character Customization, any player influence on the plot, and/or Multiple Endings.

For players that have played said previous installment and thus would probably like seeing their personal character represented, some games may use an Old Save Bonus or otherwise give the ability to input the needed information in order to avert the aforementioned "cutting branches" problem. It goes without saying that the latter option will inevitably end up Interface Spoiler spoiling the reveal of seeing your old character alive and well, though.

Supertrope of Rogue Protagonist, where the previous player character is now a major villain, in which case it can also lead to Dueling Player Characters. Compare Legacy Boss Battle. See also Continuity Nod and Player Data Sharing (when another player's player character cameos).


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    Action Adventure 

    Action Games 

    Adventure Games 
  • King's Quest: The protagonists are all members of the same Badass Family (with the exception of King's Quest: Mask of Eternity; one of several reasons it is a Contested Sequel). That said, King Graham (protagonist of most of the King's Quest games) does appear in Mask of Eternity, but he's so different that it's easy to miss.
  • In Exmortis II, Mr. Hannay kills the unnamed player character from the first game.
  • The Daymare Town spin-off Daymare Cat ends with the titular girl meeting the player from the main series. The same encounter plays out as a cameo in the fourth Daymare game, where you can give Cat a vinyl record.
  • Life Is Strange 2 can feature cameos from the player characters of all three previous instalments in the franchise (one is dependent on player choice though):
    • Chris Eriksen from The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a supporting character in Episode 2 and makes minor cameos in Episodes 4 and 5. Unsurprising since Captain Spirit was a prequel/teaser game for the full Season 2 release.
    • Chloe Price, the player character from Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, makes a cameo by proxy in the season finale, though exactly how she appears varies depending on the ending the player chose for Season 1:
      • If Chloe died, her stepfather David Madsen—who now lives with Sean and Daniel's mother in the hippie community Away—will show Sean her picture and reminisce about how he should have treated her better.
      • If Chloe lived, David will have more recent photographs of her along with Max, the player character from Life Is Strange, taken during a visit they paid him in Away; and Sean can later overhear David's side of a phone conversation with Chloe after he leaves the trailer.
  • Life Is Strange: True Colors has very few connections to the rest of the series in the main game, but the Wavelengths DLC bonus chapter includes a voice-only cameo (in flashback) by Before the Storm protagonist Chloe Price (as voiced by Rhianna DeVries).

    Card Games 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, the Vagabond is the protagonist of the Tag Force series of games, and is implied to be the hero in other Yu-Gi-Oh games.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Pokémon:
    • Red, the hero from the original games, appears in Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes as the true final boss at the end of the Kanto quest. His sprite matches the first game, but to further drive home the point, he is completely silent and his team is one giant Continuity Nod to the first generation, containing the three starters in their fully evolved forms, Pikachu, the storyline Pokémon (Snorlax, and Espeon, an evolved form of Eevee, who is given to you as a gift by an NPC, the Generation 4 remake swaps Espeon out for Lapras, another gift Pokémon). Red also returned again in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 as a battle opponent in the Pokémon World Tournament along with all the previous gym leaders, Elite Four members, and champions.
      • Team Four Star did much the same in their Nuzlocke Let's Plays, hacking Lakigr (their protagonist from their Leaf Green Nuzlocke) and his championship team in place of Red when they played Soul Silver.
      • And then Red returned once again in Pokémon Sun and Moon alongside Blue, as a young adult. Naturally, the years have changed his appearance quite a bit. He also seems to have become a character in his own right at this point, with his lack of speech becoming an actual character trait instead of a reference to him originally being the player character, and not only his look changing, but him and Blue being the only opponents who have visibly changed since their last appearance (including Wally, who should be around their age chronology-wise).
      • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! has Red as a postgame trainer once again. And before you can challenge enough Master Trainers to unlock him, you're likely to have battled Green, who's based on both a planned female main character for the original games (that ended up dummied out due to memory limitations) and Leaf, the female player character from the remakes.
    • You never actually see the character, but in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, you hear about the player character from Pokémon Black and White. You can even visit the character's mother in Nuvema Town, and she'll tell you that you remind her of her son/daughter. By mixing data between a completed copy of Black or White with a copy of Black 2 or White 2, you'll get short flashbacks and NPCs name your specific character from the Black or White game.
    • In Pokémon Masters, the game’s ever expanding roster allows for the appearance of player characters from previous games. They tend to have starter Pokémon when they appear.
  • Suikoden:
  • Mother 3 contains a film depicting actual scenes from previous installment EarthBound at one point, featuring its four protagonists. Also, the "Friend's Yo-Yo" belonged to Ness, as did (probably) the Red Cap and the Real Bat, both found only in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Sora is mentioned multiple times throughout the game, and when you fight her, Xion calls on Sora's memories to power herself up, taking on his appearance in the process. Outside of flashbacks and nightmares, Sora is never seen at all because he spends most of the game as a Sealed Good in a Can. His body does appear in The Stinger, at the moment where Roxas visits him at the end of the prelude for Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Golden Sun:
    • In The Lost Age you take on the role of Felix, who was a minor antagonist in the first game, and take on three new party members with him. Eventually, you run into the original party from the first game. And they join up with you.
    • Isaac and Garet make an appearance in Dark Dawn's prologue, though they cannot be directly controlled by the player. The other party members are mentioned at least once each, but none of them appear in the game.
  • In Endless Frontier EXCEED, the party of the original game shows up and joins the new protagonists' party... as well as almost every boss in the original game. It's a big party.
  • Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island allows you to recruit Liese (the main character of Atelier Liese) as one of your allies about a third of the way through the game.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2 players have the option to download DLC containing the main characters from the first game (such as Lightning and Snow) and fight them in order to add them to their party.
  • Wild ARMs series:
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In Dragon Quest Monsters, Terry, the PC from the first game in the series, appears during the Playable Epilogue. He allows you to breed monsters from the first game with the second game when you speak to him.
    • In Dragon Quest IX, connecting to Wi-Fi will occasionally reward you with a party member from one of the previous eight games checking into the Quester's Rest (though the actual main characters appear to be absent). You can also fight previous games' Big Bads and Disc One Final Bosses after finding special treasure maps.
      • You can buy the main characters' clothing on an in-game store which you need internet connection for but are ridiculously expensive. Though it seems this server no longer exists. As people say they can't access it anymore. Yet said server also unlocks new quests which those are still able to access.
  • Shin Megami Tensei uses this a lot.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
  • Chrono Cross has you meet Crono, Marle, and Lucca midway through the game as shades, the real ones having since been victims of a Bus Crash between games.
    • Lucca, as she was Kid's foster mother before Lord Viper murdered her, and Robo called by his actual name of "Prometheus" right before he gets deleted are further alluded to in dialogue, the Dream Eater is actually Schala fused with Lavos and driven insane by the And I Must Scream situation, and Kid and maybe Harle are implied to be reincarnations of Schala.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has appearances by two of the partners from the first game (Parakarry in the opening and Lady Bow in the Playable Epilogue). The Switch remake also includes a photo of Mario with all 8 partners in his house.
    • Super Paper Mario has Catch Cards for every partner from the previous two games, including Ms. Mowz. Paper Mario: Sticker Star have easy to miss nods to Parakarry and Goombella, as well as the word "Rawk" showing up in an ancient language as a reference to Rawk Hawk of the second game.
  • Because of how interconnected all the arcs are in Trails Series, characters from previous arcs are bound to show up in some form or another.
  • The Tales Series does this a lot by including Cameo Bosses as extra challenges. Occasionally the cameo will be a villain, but more often it's popular player characters. Note that these villains also often technically count as "player characters", because some spin-offs add them as playable units. A few examples:
  • King's Field 2 (or 3 as it was known in Japan) features a cameo by the ghost of Alexander, the player character of the previous game, who has since died.
  • The image above comes from the browser game Crystal Story, which features 4 adventurers who fought to defeat an evil witch. In the next game, those four adventurers are living their own lives while they assist the next group of adventurers in some way or other. Despite what the image above shows very little time has actually passed between the two events, and the protagonist of the first game is just playing around with a fake beard and pretending to be a elderly veteran.
  • Uri loved doing this for their Strange Man series.
    • The Sandman (2014) had David Hoover serve a minor role as becoming a good friend to new protagonist Sophie Grundler.
    • The Boogie Man had David Hoover appear again, but with a bigger role as the person following Keith Baring and checking the mystery behind the castle out. Sophie Grundler appears as well, but her role is diminished, but her Character Development from being a passive stepford smiler to being open about her feelings is taken into account.
    • The Hanged Man has all three previous protagonists play minor roles. Sophie and Keith give new protagonist Will Morton a chance to search the abandoned homeless shelter for his pet rat that ran off, with the former also following him around and helping for a while. David has the most diminished role, only appearing in the introduction, where he gets Will out of trouble and lets him stay the night, and in some endings.
  • In Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, Ichiro Ogami, the protagonist of the previous four Sakura Wars entries, appears in the introduction as the one who assigns new hero Shinjiro Taiga to the New York Combat Revue. Sakura Shinguji, franchise poster girl, also cameos in the opening scenes.
  • It's never directly stated, but it's heavily implied that the family of three you meet in Final Fantasy Legend III are in fact the Player Character and parents from Final Fantasy Legend II - after all, talk to them and they state they are looking for the Lost Ark!
    • The DS remake all but confirms it, using the same unique model and design for the FFLII protagonist that appears on the box art.
  • Shadow Hearts seres:
    • The original Shadow Hearts is confirmed to be a Stealth Sequel to Koudelka when titular Koudelka turns out to be The Voice that directs Yuri throughout the game. She plays a large role in Big Bad's plans, and her son, Halley, is a party member. She doesn't join herself only because... reasons.
    • Valentine siblings appear in the games following their introduction. Keith from Shadow Hearts appears in Covenant and From the New World, while Joachim, who debuted in Covenant, appears in From the New World.
    • Margarete shows up in Covenant at the end of the Chain of Deals sidequest, under the name "Malkovich, an Ordinary Citizen".
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, all of the prequel’s party members pop up somewhere, with varying degrees of importance. Anonymous is still a main character, Shrimp and Cornelia are Recurring Travellers who rejoin the team at the last minute, GmasterRED’s antics are a Running Gag, while Adromelk and Jelly only appear for one small scene each. Notably, the only two who are completely absent are Mason and Crissa, who were optional.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls introduces a strange and convoluted cameo in the form of the legend of Artorias the Abysswalker. The whole game is full of references to Artorias. Numerous item descriptions mention him, along with information about his stature, strength, bravery, high status, or tell about this or that incredible feat he achieved. When you play the DLC, you are grabbed by Manus and dragged back in time, where you discover that Artorias was consumed by the Abyss, and it's your duty to right the wrongs, save Oolacile and defeat Manus. Once it's done and you look at what you did, it turns out that the legend of Artorias is actually the story of your questline in the past, attributed to Artorias since he went there to do exactly what you did and you defeated him and Manus before leaving without any witnesses to tell the tale. The legend of Artorias is a cameo of your own character without you knowing - yet.
    • The Final Boss of the third game, the withered husk of a knight known as the Soul of Cinder, is actually an Exaggerated version of this trope: they are not just your previous player character, they are an amalgamation incarnating the souls of every single individual that has ever linked the First Flame, an embodiment of all previous player characters that all Dark Souls players have ever brought to the kiln and sacrificed in order to keep the Age of Fire alive, and all of these characters are still fighting to keep alive, even as the world around them is dying. And if you wish any at all kind of good ending to come out of everything that has lead up to this point, you have to kill them and let the First Flame die.
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory is a Midquel to Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, and as such the new main character Keisuke can catch glimpses of the previous main character Aiba in some scenes. Interestingly, Keisuke eventually meets and befriends nearly all major characters from the previous game, except Aiba themselves.
  • In Digimon World -next 0rder-, it's all but stated that "Mameo" is the player character of the original Digimon World, now all grown up. He wears a yellow shirt and a knitted hat just like his younger self, and he mentions several times that he has saved a different Digital World. Not only that, after the final confrontation of the game, it's revealed that Big Bad Shoma is possessed by the spirit of Analogman, the Big Bad of the original World.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you can pick up Shulk, Fiora, and Elma as Rare Blades. The inclusion of KOS-MOS is done more as a Mythology Gag, until Xenoblade Chronicles 3 goes and strongly suggests that game's world(the amalgam of the post-game worlds of XBC 1 and 2) is in fact the "Lost Jerusalem" that KOS-MOS is seen approaching at the end of Xenosaga Episode 3.

    Fighting Games 
  • If you've imported your Dragon Ball Xenoverse character to the sequel, the character from that game shows up as a recurring character and gets a big hologram statue in the middle of the Hub City.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Deus Ex: J.C. Denton becomes a boss in Deus Ex: Invisible War - some endings require you to kill him. He is the default pale-skinned, black-haired Denton.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Soap MacTavish of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the Player Characters' CO in Modern Warfare 2 and 3.
    • Dimitri Petrenko and Viktor Reznov from World at War reappear in Black Ops, though the former only in a flashback mission where you play as the latter.
    • Another one from Black Ops. The agent who conducted Mason's psyche profile is named C. Miller, the same name of the American Player Character in World at War. Given that Miller would be about 41 years old by the time of Black Ops...
    • Reznov also briefly appears in Black Ops II as part of a flashback from Mason's perspective. It counts since he was playable in a level of the original Black Ops.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3: ODST: Sort of. During the ODSTs' drop to Regret's flagship, a tiny human ship can be seen approaching it: In Amber Clad, which main Player Character Master Chief was aboard during the events of Halo 2.
    • Halo: Reach: Master Chief also appears briefly in an Easter Egg in "The Pillar of Autumn"; the cutscene of Keyes' Pelican flying to the Pillar of Autumn is partially interactive, and if the player moves their control stick to the right while the Pelican lands in the hangar, they will get a brief glimpse of Master Chief in a cryotube, just like he was at the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved. Additionally, Edward Buck, the squad leader from ODST, shows up as a potential escort objective in "New Alexandria"; this serves as a combined Call-Forward (given ODST was released first) and Call-Back (given Reach is a prequel), since in the final level of ODST Buck refers to a Covenant capital ship firing on Earth itself as being "just like Reach all over again!".
    • Halo 5: Guardians: Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, the deuteragonist of Halo 2 and Halo 3, plays the role of Supporting Leader during the levels set on Sanghelios.
  • All the standalone Expansion Packs for Half-Life have a brief brush with Gordon Freeman at some points. In the sequel, Barney Calhoun, protagonist of Blue Shift, shows up as a supporting character.
    • Both Gordon and Adrian Shephard of the Opposing Force standalone briefly appear as companion NPCs in the fan-made single-player mod Azure Sheep by Italian developers Toadman and DAV.
  • In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the PC of all the previous games in the Dark Forces Saga (excepting one expansion pack) has moved on to become the master to a new PC, whom you can even fight as a Superboss if you choose the dark side. Since the previous games have buffed him into a Memetic Badass, this is commonly regarded as the hardest fight in the game. You don't even kill him in this case, either. You only incapacitate him long enough to make an escape.
  • The original Left 4 Dead survivors appear in "The Passing" campaign in Left 4 Dead 2, sans Bill, who is dead. They help the new survivors in the finale map by providing cover fire and tossing down supplies until the bridge is lowered so the new survivors can escape.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas and Vegas 2 put Ding Chavez, the intended player character of the first three games, in charge of the entire organization. In addition, Logan Keller from Vegas 1 is one of your squadmates in the first mission of Vegas 2, and as the two games take place during the same general time-frame, his exploits are mentioned every now and again as you progress, most notably where the penultimate mission forces you to go alone because your squadmates are called in to replace Logan's squad that was kidnapped at the end of the first game's opening level. In a more minor example, Kevin Sweeney, one of the Recon specialists in the original game and Rogue Spear, appears in Raven Shield as an advisor in the same manner as the head honcho John Clark rather than a returning field operative, giving you more technical details on what the enemies of the mission are up to.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior has the player in the role of a Tau Fire Warrior named Shas'la Kais, "shas'la" being his rank. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War — Dark Crusade features a character named Shas'O Kais as the leader of the Tau forces on Kronus. While not officially confirmed (and not at all helped that A) "Kais" is apparently the Tau equivalent of "John Everyman", and B) the Fire Warrior was driven completely insane by the events of his game), it is suspected within the fandom that the two are the same person.
  • The Vault Hunters from Borderlands return as major characters in Borderlands 2 and in certain missions will fight alongside the players.
    • And in the DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the "cameos" are twisted into a totally-meta Ouroboros. As the player, you get to control the same character from among the six of Borderlands 2 that you've been doing all along. But this time it's not really you. Tiny Tina is running an RPG Episode for several of the Borderlands 1 PCs, and your actions are just the visualization of that. So you are a player controlling a character who is not really your player character, but a player character of non-player characters who used to be player characters that you might have already played. Meanwhile, the player characters you the player are used to playing still exist in the "real" world, but now they are non-player characters completely separate from these player characters of non-player characters, and they're just downstairs. One of them even has an interjection into the narration, responding to objections over the use of his likeness for non-player characters that these player characters of non-player characters have to defeat. (Meaning, if you play Salvador, you will kill copies of yourself because one of the old PCs makes you.)
    • In the Telltale Games side-series Tales from the Borderlands, Borderlands 2 assassin Zer0 makes a guest appearance in the first episode (which is named after him), and can join your team briefly if you make the correct choices. A few other Vault Hunters from throughout the series make appearance, including Brick, Mordecai, Athena, and Claptrap.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, an Interquel taking place between the first and second games, feature Lilith and Roland from the first game, though in reduced roles compared to 2.
    • Borderlands 3 has many previous player cameos from all the games: Lilith, Brick, and Mordecai from 1, Zer0 from 2, Claptrap and Aurelia from the Pre-Sequel, and Rhys from Tales.
  • Hawkins from Vietcong returns at the very first level of the second game's US campaign. And drunk. You can even have a conversation with him.
  • The Classic Team return to Team Fortress 2 in the comic "A Cold Day in Hell". All of the members are present, except for Classic Medic, who had his spot filled in by Modern Medic.
  • The Medal of Honor series seemed fond of this. The second game of the series, Underground, featured the protagonist, Manon (who had been Mission Control in the first game, making her an inversion) escaping North Africa on a plane piloted by Jimmy Patterson, the protagonist from said first game, though he was only revealed in briefings. A later game, European Assault, played it straight and had the player character rescue Manon from the Germans.
    • She also made a brief appearance helping Powell in Allied Assault, and was selectable as a skin in multiplayer. More recently she returns as a major supporting character in Above and Beyond.
  • A major plot point of F.3.A.R. is the Point Man and Fettel trying to meet up with Michael Becket, the protagonist of F.E.A.R. 2, to find out what he knows about Alma. He doesn't last very long once you physically catch up with him.
  • Sonny Bonds, the player character of the Police Quest series, is the instructor of the tutorial mission of SWAT 4, the fourth installment of Police Quest's successor series. He also appears in SWAT 2 as a selectable squad member.
  • In Far Cry: New Dawn, the protagonist of Far Cry 5 appears as The Judge, acting as Joseph Seed's enforcer after being brainwashed at the end of 5.

  • Diablo II:
    • The Warrior from the last game was possessed by Diablo and is always a few steps ahead of you. He mostly shows up in the cutscenes, but you do encounter him once ingame.
    • Blood Raven and The Summoner are the two other possible player characters from the first game, the Rogue and Sorceror respectively.
    • Later, the ghost of the Sorceress appears as the Wizard's mentor in Diablo III.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, a Spin-Off of the Fire Emblem franchise, features Byleth, the Ashen Demon, the protagonist from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Their gender is shown to be customizable like in Three Houses.
  • While not an officially licensed game, the Touhou Project/Castlevania crossover game Koumajou Densetsu II featured Sakuya Izayoi as the player character rather than Reimu Hakurei, who was the player character of the first game. The fourth boss of the sequel is Marisa Kirisame, who was a support character for Reimu in the original, and the fifth boss is Reimu Hakurei herself.
  • Drakengard 2 sees the return of Caim, the silent protagonist of the first game. If you know anything about what kind of person he is, it's almost too fitting that he's one of the villains this time (in part because the Big Bad of the last game is in your party).
  • Bayonetta 3 has two alternate Bayonettas, in her character designs from the first two games, showing up to help out the main Bayonetta in the final boss battle, heavily implying that all three games were in different universes.

    Light Gun Games 
  • Time Crisis
    • In the Crisis Mission mode in the home console of Time Crisis 2 the final mission has you face Richard Miller, the original protagonist of the first game, in a gun duel.
    • In Time Crisis 5, the two new player characters are under the command of Robert Baxter, who was one player character sin the second game. What's more they're after Keith Martin, the other player character whose turned into a villain. This gets flipped when it turns out Robert is the true villain of the story and Keith was trying to stop him. After which the player character switch sides.
  • Let's Go Island has a brief cameo by Ben and Norah, the heroes from the first game, Let's Go Jungle, in photos before the stages as well as walking by in the ending.
  • G in The House of the Dead 2 shows up a bit wounded but giving the player characters critical information about the monsters they'll face before sending them on their way. Subverted in the third game and the special mode in the 4th game where he's playable once more.

  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, both Revan and the Exile (as a Force Ghost) make appearances and are part of a special questline. Revan later returns as the main antagonist of the Shadow of Revan expansion.
  • This gets played with for the Midlander Hyur in Final Fantasy XIV. The Hyur in question isn't the player character in a sense due to players being able to change their appearance easily, so the generic male is used as a stand in for promotional trailers. For a while, Word of God teased that the Midland Hyur is and is not the player character, meaning the character is his own and is not when it comes to representing the player. In patch 3.1, players are introduced to a character that's identical to the Midlander Hyur, along with the companions he had in the early 2.0 trailers, who are all now working against the player character.
    • Later, in Shadowbringers, it's revealed that the Midlander Hyur sort of is both the player character and not the player character at the same time. His name is Ardbert, and while he's his own person, he's also part of the player character; everyone on Hydaleyn had their soul sundered into fourteen parts millenia ago, and Ardbert is the First shard's fragment of the Warrior of Light's soul. Ardbert and the player character merge back together at the end of the expansion.
    • It should be noted, however, that Ardbert and the trailer Hyur are two different characters. The trailer Hyur is just a generic Warrior of Light and is officially known as "the Meteor Survivor". His purpose is to simply to act as the Allegorical Character for the Warrior of Light/Player in all the promotional material for the game, which includes the expansions where Ardbert doesn't and shouldn't for story reasons be able to appear in. The differences between the two are further emphasized with the cinematic trailers, which show the Meteor Survivor aging and becoming more battle-hardened over the course of expansions. Meanwhile, Ardbert retains his youthful appearance, since he's already dead by the time he meets the Warrior of Light. In the promotional material for Shadowbringers, both the Meteor Survivor and Ardbert are sometimes shown together, referencing the reveal that Ardbert is the player character's Alternate Self.
  • In the endgame story of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, the player squares off against Elidibus after he transforms into the Warrior of Light as he appeared in official artwork of Final Fantasy and Dissidia Final Fantasy.
  • World of Warcraft plays with this in certain quests, in which you experience the battles against Illidan(in Burning Crusade and Ysera (in Legion) from the boss' point of view. If you've actually fought in those battles, your character will be among the enemies.

    Platform Games 
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent you meet either Vent (when playing as Ashe) or Aile (when playing as Grey) halfway through the story. And thanks to Model A's A-Trans, you can play as them again.
  • Super Joe is a background character in the NES version of Bionic Commando (1988), a very loose sequel to his earlier game Commando.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Portrait of Ruin, Richter Belmont appears as an optional boss in a dream sequence. Defeating him there turns the game's weak starting weapon into an Infinity+1 Whip. It's also revealed late into the game that Wind is actually the ghost of Eric Lecarde.
    • In Symphony of the Night, Richter shows up as a Rogue Protagonist. Optional Party Member Maria is a friendly NPC, helping Alucard figure out just why Richter went rogue.
      • Alucard, himself, has appeared in various games. Outside of the beings that dwell within Dracula's Castle, he's the only character to constantly appear throughout the series, since he's immortal. Doppelgangers also have a tendency to transform into characters from prior games when they're not mimicking the player character or some other main character.
  • In Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Alex's brother Igul/Egle/Iguru was also the hammer-wielder knight of PitPot.
  • Sonic Generations, being a homage to Sonic's 20th anniversary, plays a lot with this trope. MANY playable characters from previous games appear in side missions, either helping or acting as rivals, and using moves and gimmicks from old games (such as Tails, who flies and lifts Sonic through a particular mission just like he used to do in Sonic 3).
  • Daxter is an interquel set during the opening cutscene in Jak II: Renegade, during which series protagonist Jak is in prison. He only appears in three scenes, with Daxter being the player character in his quest to free Jak.
  • In Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, Zangetsu has three new party members - and halfway through the game, the previous trio of Miriam, Alfred and Gebel return.

    Rail Shooters 

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer:
    • It's kind of implied in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun that General Solomon was the player character in the GDI campaign of the original C&C (in that he is stated to have led the attack on Kane's Sarajevo temple, which was the final mission of the first game). In Tiberian Dawn itself, the player 'character' is a Nonentity General.
    • In Tiberium Wars, there are a few statues of Nick "Havoc" Parker from Renegade in the single-player campaign, and he's cited as being a right-wing pundit.
  • In Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars, the Player Character of The Breath of Winter makes an appearance as the shadow warrior who helps you lead his race in a massive Mook–Face Turn. And in that game's sequel, Dragon Storm, Spellforce 2's Player Character shows up as a dragon!
  • StarCraft has this, as Artanis in Brood War is said to be the Protoss commander (PC) from the original game. The same happened in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: Brood War's Protoss commander is revealed to be Selendis.
  • In the Battlestations: Pacific, during the Japanese campaign you can actually kill one of the two player characters from Battlestations: Midway by sinking his PT Boat at Pearl Harbor; the other player character can also be killed during the same battle by shooting down his plane.
    His name was Henry Walker. This is not his story.
  • Dawn of War II:
    • The game has both Gabriel Angelos and Davian Thule (from the first Dawn of War campaign and the Dark Crusade campaign respectively) as major characters, with Thule even returning to playable status as a Dreadnought, while Eliphas (from Dark Crusade) makes a surprise return in Chaos Rising.
    • This trope really comes into play in the final campaign mission of the base game. Angelos pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment, reaching the recruitment worlds just in time to prevent the Chapter from being overrun and drops down to the planet for the final battle, wielding the Daemonhammer he was given by the Inquisition in the first game.
    • You also can't keep Gorgutz down.
  • In Pikmin 3, Captain Olimar only appears at the end of the game. Louie appears a while earlier in the story.

  • A rather grim version in Dungeon Crawl. Previous characters that were killed within the dungeon can later be encountered as vengeful angry phantoms. They are, suffice it to say, not happy to see you. They tend to be quite dangerous, too! Especially if they were spellcasters. On top of that, their flavor dialogue is full of contempt and spite for the living, and assurances that your new character will fail too.
  • In Dwarf Fortress you can meet your retired adventurer and dwarves from your former fortresses if you play in the same universe. Also, dwarves from old fortresses might rejoin the next one you play if they're close enough to where they escaped to. This, of course, can lead to a Disk One Nuke if said dwarf is a legendary warrior...
  • In NetHack you can occasionally run across the graves of previous adventurers, complete with an epitaph displaying their level and how they bought their plot. You can loot the graves of your former selves, complete with all of their equipment... 80% of which is cursed. (Had that spellbook of Polymorph? Guess what you just found!)
  • While not a sequel per se, The Consuming Shadow's Ministry Man is all-but-stated to be Trilby from the Chzo Mythos by the same author. Word of God said it was done to avoid a Continuity Lockout.

    Simulation Games 
  • In X3: Terran Conflict, the Aldrin Expansion plot has a brief cameo by Julian Brennan, the Player Character of X2: The Threat and X3: Reunion. Also, the player ship of X: Beyond the Frontier, the Xperimental Shuttle, is a plot reward and arguably the best M3 fighter in the game.
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Mobius One, the player character from the fourth game in the series and the arcade mode of the fifth, is the final enemy in a bonus stage that you unlock by beating the game. Later games with boss rush modes also let you fight Blaze from 5 and Scarface One from 2. Furthermore, later games very often allow you to unlock or buy the paint schemes of prior protagonists, many of them also featuring Gauntlet-like stages where you get the chance to fight them.
  • In the first 4 Wing Commander games, your Player Character is Christopher Blair. Then comes Wing Commander: Prophecy, where Blair is an NPC, and you take on the role of a rookie pilot.
  • In Trauma Center: New Blood, Derek Stiles, the protagonist doctor of Under the Knife and Second Opinion, and his assistant Angie Thompson make a brief appearance in Episode 7. Later, they appear in Challenge A-4, the only Challenge operation with any plot: Derek and Angie are developing a medical simulator for training doctors to handle GUILT and Stigma, and have chosen Markus and Valerie to test it out.
    • Stiles also features in Trauma Team, never named, only shown from the back, and mostly in flashbacks, as part of Naomi's subplot about the complications from her having GUILT in Second Opinion.

    Stealth-Based Games 

    Survival Horror 
  • In Trapt, if certain actions are taken the player could meet and battle Millenia, the main character in Deception II: Kagero.
  • The main draw of the Left 4 Dead 2 Downloadable Content "The Passing" is this trope. Though, as the title indicates, Bill is dead.
  • In Silent Hill, the previous games' characters tend to limit their cameos to the (joke) UFO Endings, but in Silent Hill: Homecoming an older Travis of Silent Hill: Origins is the one who gives Alex a lift back to Shepherd's Glen at the beginning of the game.
  • In Project Zomboid, if your character dies, you get the opportunity to restart with a brand new character in a random position on the map. If they got zombified, you might even bump into them by heading back to the spot.
  • In Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, after an entire game with only fleeting references to the prior events of the series, Chris Redfield shows up at the final boss fight. Said character later becomes the protagonist of the Not a Hero DLC.
  • Yomawari: Midnight Shadows features the appearance of the protagonist of Yomawari: Night Alone. She and Haru hit it off.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Mafia
    • Tommy Angelo, the protagonist of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, briefly appears again in Mafia II, where it's revealed that the two goons who murdered him at the end of the first game are actually Vito and Joe, the current protagonists.
    • Vito of Mafia II is one of the protagonist's lieutenants in Mafia III. Joe Barbaro, Vito's best friend and the protagonist of the Joe's Adventures DLC pack, makes a cameo as well.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla: Exploring the map, Alec Mason can happen upon and old man in red overalls sitting outside his home, who if he hangs around long enough and listens to will be revealed to in fact be Parker, the Player Character from the first Red Faction.
  • The Splatoon games have done this a few times with Agent 3, the first game's Player Character.
    • In Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion, they appear in a Big Damn Heroes moment near the end of the game. Shortly thereafter, they must be fought as the penultimate boss when they become Brainwashed and Crazy. Later on, they serve as a Superboss who you can fight by collecting all of the mem cakes. While an Old Save Bonus isn't possible due to the Switch being unable to download Wii U files, the game still allows you to customize their appearance, which is first prompted when Cap'n Cuttlefish sketches up a missing poster after you've collected the first three thangs, allowing some level of personal continuity.
    • By the time of Splatoon 3, they have ascended to the rank of the New Squidbeak Splatoon's new commander, complete with Commissar Cap, coinciding with Cap'n Cuttlefish's retirement. Unlike last time, since 3 is on the same console as 2, if the player chose to carry over their save data and had gotten to the point where they were asked to customize 3's appearance in the Octo Expansion, the character will once again have that appearance here.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • This a staple of Nippon Ichi games. To whit:
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, one can, after completing a very long series of sidequests, get Cloud Strife. A little more work, and one can get his Buster Sword. Of course, by this point most players are in their forties or fifties, level-wise, and he starts out squarely at level one, so he's pretty much useless unless one is willing to spend quite a bit of time leveling him up.
    • After a considerably less terrible sidequest in the Updated Re-release, War of the Lions, you can get your hands on Balthier. Unlike Cloud, he's a Game-Breaker - super fast, comes with all of Mustadio's delaying skills and a thief's skills with a higher success rate, and the strongest gun in the game.
    • Similarly, Luso joins in the Updated Re-release as part of the main plot, at a level close to Ramza's, and his base class is essentially Ramza's Chapter 4 "Super-Squire" class, renamed, with an innate Poach mechanic, making the Poaching minigame much easier and providing you with yet another Disc-One Nuke that remains powerful and versatile throughout the whole game.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has Vaan and Penelo join Luso's clan late in the main story, after they first debut in the game as plot-important NPCs. Both of them come with their own unique classes, Sky Pirate and Dancer respectively.
  • Destin Faroda, the player character of Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, is The Mentor of Magnus, the hero of Ogre Battle 64.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia feature Palla, Catria, and Est from the previous game as playable characters in Celica's party. In addition, Echoes allows you to recruit Marth, Ike, Robin, Lucina, Roy, and Corrin through their amiibo.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is a strange example - as a prequel of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, it features several characters from it in their younger years, with Bartre, Marcus and Karel playable. Fae and Sophia make cameos in houses throughout the game, and Roy and Lilina appear in the epilogue as ten-year-old children (being that The Blazing Blade stars their parents in their youth).
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening includes many characters from previous games as downloadable content.
    • Fire Emblem Fates allows you to recruit Marth, Ike, Robin, and Lucina if you have their amiibo. Additionally, Laslow, Selena, and Odin are revealed in various supports and dialogue to be, respectively, Inigo, Severa, and Owain from the above-mentioned Awakening in disguise. There's also the 'Before Awakening' DLC you can play, in which your army teams up with Chrom, Frederick, and Lissa in a battle set right before Awakening begins. There's even unique dialogue should any of the previously mentioned disguised characters, Odin's daughter Ophelia, or Cordelia's Expy (and potential granddaughter) Caeldori talk to them.
  • Tactics Ogre features Lanselot Tartaros, the leader of the dark knights. He is revealed to be a Rogue Protagonist after one gets the "A" Ending of Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, where he was known as Alphonse.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright shows up as the first defendant in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, and generally spends the game hanging back without getting too involved in anything, much to Apollo's frustration. But ultimately subverted when it turns out Phoenix was playing chessmaster all along, with the murder that he was framed for being not a coincidence at all, and he ultimately plays a vital role in the story (i.e. far more than a mere cameo). Also, you get a flashback case where you get to play as him, in the case that got him disbarred.
    • Played straighter in the Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth spin offs. Blink and you'll miss it, but in two cases in the first game, you can see Phoenix and Maya in the background at some point, apparently just enjoying themselves together.
  • Da Capo's protagonist Junichi Asakura returns in Da Capo II as the wise old grandfather of Otome and Yume.
  • Dead bodies count as cameos, right? In Sentimental Graffiti 2, the sequel to Sentimental Graffitti, the game starts with the new protagonist at the first protagonist's funeral, as he'd suffered a fatal car crash between games.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, you learn partway through the game that Tenmyouji is Junpei from the previous game, and the old woman who is found dead in most timelines is Akane. In the timelines where she doesn't appear, she is actually inside K's armor pretending to be him.
    • The third game in the series, Zero Time Dilemma, has both Junpei and Sigma, the protagonists of the previous games, return for the finale. Akane and Phi also return.
  • Danganronpa:
    • The final trial in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has Makoto Naegi appearing in a Big Damn Heroes moment. Except he turns out to be a fake created by Monokuma. A little while later, the real one shows up in an actual Big Damn Heroes moment, and he's brought Byakuya and Kyoko along with him.
    • The non-canon demo for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has both Makoto and Danganronpa 2's Hajime Hinata welcoming the new protagonist, even substituting for two characters during the Class Trial. Makoto also cameos in the game proper, only seen from the back and recognizable by his Idiot Hair.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG features a few cameos of characters from the previous game, Spirit Hunter: Death Mark:
    • In the Urashima case, it's revealed that Kaoru got her information on the Urashima Woman from an OOParts magazine that's run by Moe from the first chapter of Death Mark.
    • In the Killer Peach case, Akira catches part of a music program that's describing the huge success of Ai Kashiwagi, one of the companions for Death Mark's fourth chapter.
    • In the Bad End, Yashiki, the protagonist of Death Mark, arrives too late to stop Akira from being transformed into a monster.

    Western RPG 
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Jedi Exile meets and fights the Player Character from the original Knights of the Old Republic in a vision. Also, various party members make return appearances, either joining the new party or as NPCs. Star Wars: The Old Republic then contains the Fully Absorbed Finale for both Knights' PCs: a Republican Flash Point concerns rescuing Revan from the Sith Emperor's prison, during which a Force ghost of the late Exile is encountered; while an Imperial Flash Point concerns locating the now-free Revan and seemingly killing him. He returns, but claims to have genuinely have died and come back.
  • Fallout:
    • The player character from Fallout reappears in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel as an NPC. For whatever reason, while he's a friendly NPC in the first chapter, the player can fight him as an optional boss battle in the city of Los and kill him.
    • There's also a joke random encounter in Fallout 2 where you meet various unnamed NPCs from Fallout, including character models who were "rejected" from playing the lead role. There's also your trusty dog, Dogmeat.
    • Not exactly a full cameo, but in Fallout: New Vegas, it is possible to stumble upon the car used by the playable character from Fallout 2, with some approriate items inside. One popular fan theory states that the character No-bark Noonan, a seemingly-crazed hermit living in Novac, is actually the PC from Fallout 2, given his proximity to this vehicle and some highly implicit dialogue.
    • Fallout 4, taking place in Massachusetts in 2287, was originally supposed to feature the Lone Wanderer, the player character from Fallout 3 which took place 10 years prior in Washington D.C. in 2277. There are still many assets in the game files that reflect this, but ultimately the cameo was cut during development.
  • Dragon Age:
    • You can meet Alistair, Leliana, Zevran, and Nathaniel from Origins in Dragon Age II, as well as getting Anders from Awakening in your party, but the Warden is only mentioned, never shown on-screen. Anders delivers a faint nod to the fourth wall by reminiscing about the events of Awakening... and how Hawke reminds him of his old friend he used to follow back then.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Hawke pops up nonchalantly at Skyhold soon after the Inquisition takes over it to help the Inquisitor in investigating the game's Hidden Villain. The Warden doesn't appear in person, but you do get a letter from them if you complete a certain mission (assuming their survival). Varric returns as a party member, Leliana serves as your spymaster and Morrigan and Alistair serve as plot-significant NPCs. Loghain can also be part of the story if he became a Warden.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, references to the player characters from the previous games are sprinkled in. Downplayed, however, in that none so far have actually made an appearance. This is stated to be an intentional action taken by the developers, so as not to "make canon" any particular version of those player characters and thus, invalidate anyone's play-throughs.
    • In Skyrim, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, implies in his dialogue that he was formerly the Champion of Cyrodiil, the player character of Oblivion. Makes sense, as Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion ends with the Champion assuming the mantle of Sheogorath. Skyrim's Sheogorath does look and act exactly the same as the previous Sheogorath, however, except for maybe having Taken A Level In Kindness.
    • C0DA, written by former series writer/designer Michael Kirkbride, takes place in the far distant future of TES universe. Numidium, the Reality Warping Humongous Mecha of Dwemer construction, presumed destroyed following the events of Daggerfall, returns after having been caught in a time warp. It continues its war on the Aldmeri Dominion, led by the fascistic Thalmor, leading to an apocalyptic event known as "Landfall", which has forced the remaining inhabitants of Nirn to take refuge on the moon Masser. The supplementary work Landfall: Day One includes the Nerevarine, the Player Character from Morrowind, make an appearance piloting Akulakhan to battle Numidium. Inkeeping with Bethesda's habit of describing past player characters as little as possible so as not to make any one version of them "canon", the Nerevarine is described as a shapeless, multi-racial being.
  • In Lands of Lore 3, Copper has a meeting halfway through the game with Luther, the protagonist of Lands of Lore 2.
  • Jake Armitage, the protagonist of the SNES Shadowrun game, winds up in your party a couple of times during the first campaign of Shadowrun Returns. In a further reference, he once again wakes on a slab in a morgue — but this time, it's apparently just because he's in the habit of taking naps there.
    "Bad memory. Poor sleep habits. Knows the game like no one else."
  • In Cthulhu Saves the World, Dem from Breath of Death VII is a superboss and Optional Party Member. In the alternate campaign Cthulhu's Angels, you're fighting Sara (the first party member you get in BODVII) instead due to the Improbably Female Cast.
    • In Zeboyd Games' later Cosmic Star Heroine both Dem and Cthulhu are superbosses. Lita, one of the party members from BODVII, is one as well. Several party members from Cthulhu Saves the World also appear in this game, namely, Umi appears as an NPC, while October and Paws appear as recruits, the latter can be recruited only after beating him in the Mini-Boss fight during the festival and then talking to him after the festival's end.
  • Wasteland features four default character presets for the player's four-man squad: Snake Vargas, Hell Razor, Thrasher, and Angela Deth. Wasteland 2 features Snake, Thrasher, and Angela as major story NPCs, while Hell Razor and recuitable NPC Ace serve as Posthumous Characters whose deaths kick off the plot. Wasteland 3 similarly features Angela as a major character, with Snake and Thrasher as Posthumous Characters after the events of the previous game.
  • Lucian the Divine, the player character of Divine Divinity, pops up a couple of times as an NPC in later games of the series, though usually in some kind of a major reveal: In Divinity II, everyone presumes him dead, but he turns out to have been merely trapped in stasis in a parallel universe by the Big Bad and is freed by that game's PC and returns to Rivellon as the Big Good. In Divinity: Original Sin II (taking place decades before Divinity II), on the other hand, he has faked his death and reveals himself in the finale as the Well-Intentioned Extremist who has orchestrated the whole Voidwoken crisis to mend the leaky barrier between Rivellon and the Void.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto
    • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the quiet player from Grand Theft Auto III (Claude) makes a cameo as the new boyfriend of CJ's ex-girlfriend, Catalina. CJ refers to him as "that mute asshole." Note that Grand Theft Auto III occurs chronologically later than San Andreas, and Catalina herself serves as a previous-game-Big Bad-cameo, as she's the main antagonist of Grand Theft Auto III. San Andreas is also the first time he's officially called "Claude", as he was previously an example of No Name Given. note .
    • This trope is also frequently reversed in other GTA games, where NPCs from previous games are given their own storyline, as is the case with Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These Gaiden Games also play this trope straight occasionally: The Lost and Damned wastes no time at all and gives Niko a cameo right in the opening cutscene.
      • In addition, Niko appears right in the opening cutscene for The Ballad of Gay Tony, pulling a heist on the very bank that Luis happens to be in, although it's hard to know he's there without having played the original mission in the base game due to him wearing a suit and mask.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, Johnny Klebitz of The Lost and Damned DLC of the previous game makes an appearance where he is killed by Trevor Phillips. It's also possible to spot Niko Bellic's Life Invader profile.
  • Dead Rising
    • In the Dead Rising 2 epilogue DLC Case West, Frank West appears alongside Chuck Greene, and replaces the Chuck clone as the second playable character. His camera-taking abilities are also being brought over from the first game. Then Capcom decided to make Off the Record, a What If? scenario that replaced Chuck with Frank as the man on the scene in Fortune City, making a Previous Player Character Cameo out of Chuck by having him as one of the Psychopaths.
    • Dead Rising 3 features Chuck Greene in the best ending and, if you make the right choices and earn Overtime mode, he partners up with you for the final fight.
  • In Red Faction: Guerrilla, the player can find an old coot residing near the Mohole in the Badlands. Said old coot is Parker, the protagonist of the original game. Furthermore, in Eos, it is possible to find an audio tag from Alias, Red Faction II's protagonist.
  • Saints Row
    • In Saints Row IV, the default player character designs from the first and second games show up in one mission as enemies. With the latter, you have to fight two of them, because the other guy is the co-op character.
    • And if you start Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell with a previous save from IV, that's the character used to portray the President in appearance and voice in the intro.
  • In the fourth entry of the Way of the Samurai series, your character from a previous playthrough can show up wandering around town. Usually they'll pay you little heed, but if you stop close to them, they look momentarily surprised, then immediately challenge you to a duel.
  • Assassin's Creed
  • In Watch_Dogs 2, one of the sidequests involves helping out Aiden Pierce from behind the scenes by bailing him out from the Russian Mob. T-Bone of the Bad Blood DLC is also in the game as a mentor figure to Marcus.
    • Watch Dogs: Legion has DLC that adds Aiden Pierce from the first game and Wrench from the second game as playable characters.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to Red Dead Redemption about the gang that John Marston rode with. As such John and Jack are characters that Arthur Morgan deal with in the plotline. The Playable Epilogue puts players in John Marston's shoes, detailing the events that happened between games.
  • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: the player character from Shadow of Chernobyl, Strelok reappears as an antagonist in Clear Sky and as an ally in Call of Pripyat.

  • Critical Role:
    • In Campaign 2, the Mighty Nein encounter Vilya, the mother of Keyleth, one of the player characters from Campaign 1's Vox Machina. When Vilya finally gets the chance to go home, the Nein briefly see Keyleth through the portal as she runs towards her mother.
    • Campaign 3 has a cavalcade of these. Bell's Hells encounter multiple members of Vox Machina in their quest to revive Laudna, as Keyleth transports them to Whitestone to meet with Vex'ahlia, Percy and Pike. Later, Keyleth leads becomes The Cavalry for the assault on the Malleus Key, where Bell's Hells also run into Beau and Caleb from the Mighty Nein, and when Keyleth gets stunned and is nearly killed by Otohan, Vax'ildan comes to her rescue.