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What's better than fighting a fire-breathing turtle monster? Playing as the fire-breathing turtle monster.
This is when a character who was computer-controlled (as a Non-Player Character or as a boss) in one installment of a series becomes a potential player-controlled character through the course of the game, or in sequels and spinoffs. They may be hidden unlockable characters, you might get the chance to recruit them, or they might be presented outright at the character select screen.

Typically they are more powerful than your average "normal" character, though of course they may end up a lot weaker than when they were boss characters (expect their HP to be divided by a factor of 10). This may be due to a Redemption Demotion or for PVP balancing. It's also possible that the game has played up a bad guy as such, only for him to become playable near the end of the game. There is no Heel–Face Turn involved; just the bad guy doing stuff on his own or just passively riding the plot along. (Unless there's a storyline twist, like Another Side, Another Story or A Day in the Limelight.)

Beating the game with/as one of these characters usually reveals a special type of end-game victory screen. A Fighting Game series of sufficient length will almost always resort to this. Contrast Previous Player-Character Cameo, where a previously-playable character returns as an Non-Player Character, and Demoted to Extra, where a major character's role is greatly reduced in the sequels.


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    Adventure Game 
  • Nico in the Broken Sword games was George's companion/love interest in the first game, and became the second playable character from the second game onward.
  • Gabriel's assistant Grace from the first Gabriel Knight game was enough of an Ensemble Dark Horse that she became the second playable character in the two sequels, receiving equal screen-time (and a bigger fan-base) than the title character by the end of the trilogy.
  • Several examples in the Life Is Strange franchise:
    • Chloe, the Deuteragonist of Life Is Strange becomes the player character in the prequel Life Is Strange: Before the Storm.
    • A Zig-Zagged example occurs in Life Is Strange 2 and its short companion game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Captain Spirit was released a few months ahead of the first episode of LiS2 as a teaser featuring Chris as the playable character, with the main game's protagonists Sean and Daniel appearing in a cameo; Sean is then the playable character in the main game, so he technically follows this trope. However, playing the game post-release leads the player to be prompted to play Captain Spirit only after Chris is introduced as an NPC in Life is Strange 2, so if you play the game in this order then it's Chris who's (briefly) promoted to playable.
    • Steph Gingrich, who first appeared as a supporting character in Before the Storm, plays a much more significant role in Life Is Strange: True Colors and is playable in the bonus chapter "Wavelengths".
  • Brian Westhouse is an NPC in The Longest Journey, an ends up being playable in the prologue of the sequel Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Clementine becomes the playable protagonist of Seasons Two and Four since Lee eventually succumbs to the plague or is Mercy Killed by Clem at the ending of Season One. She's also the secondary playable character of Season Three, though the player controls new character Javier for the majority of that game.
    • AJ becomes playable towards the end of the fourth and final episode of The Final Season, with control switching between him and Clem after the latter is bitten by a zombie and slowly succumbs to infection. After her apparent death, AJ becomes the sole playable character, mirroring Lee and Clem's fates from the first season. However, it's later revealed that Clem survived (thanks to having her infected leg amputated), but she never becomes playable again, with the player controlling AJ for the whole last chapter of the finale.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Shiva was The Dragon to the final boss in Streets of Rage 2, notable for having a move set remarkably close to that of the playable characters. In the sequel to that game, he became selectable from a Continue after being defeated in an earlier level — however, he lacked one of his special moves when playable, which was available to a later boss version of him. Streets of Rage 4 has him as a playable character via DLC and his Streets of Rage 3 incarnation is also playable.
  • In the older games based on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, April O'Neil and Splinter had standard NPC roles, which usually had them be kidnapped or idle witnesses. The modern arcade-style tribute game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, has both of them be playable characters for the base roster.

    Card Battle Games 
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft:
    • Illidan Stormrage was originally (besides his appearance as a tutorial boss) a Legendary card from the original card set, and for such an iconic character in the series, his card ended up being incredibly subpar. His stat distribution was bad, his effect of summoning a 2/1 minion whenever you play a card was a mediocre payoff and was too expensive to combo with, and even his niche as a Neutral demon didn't give him any decent use. Come the Ashes of Outland expansion, which introduced the first new class in the game, the Demon Hunter, with Illidan being chosen as the class representative, and to fully transition his promotion, his card was replaced with Xavius, who has the exact same crappy stats and card text as the original. In this case, Illidan became both literally and metaphorically playable.
    • March of the Lich King added Death Knights as a playable class, and Arthas the Lich King would end up being the class representative. Though in this case, his original card counterpart from Knights of the Frozen Throne from four years back, being a decent (albeit power crept) card on his own, didn't receive any changes.

    Driving Game 
  • The main campaign in Angry Birds Go! consists of beating recurring characters in the series who appear as bosses in their particular levels, and are unlocked as playable characters upon the player's victory.
  • Many characters in Crash Team Racing, of which most of its cast was formed by the bosses of all 3 previous games in the series. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled turns Nitros Oxide into a legitimately playable character, available either through an Adventure Mode unlock or as part of the game's Special Edition. In the original game, he's the only boss character who can't be accessed through normal means, leading to all kinds of false rumors surrounding how he could be "unlocked". The bosses from Crash Nitro Kart, who were only selectable in its Game Boy Advance version, are also made fully playable in this game. The game's Grand Prix events would proceed add almost every named character in the entire Crash series, many of them (like Komodo Moe, the trophy girls, Chick and Stew, and Iron Checkpoint Crate) having never been playable before.
  • Amy Rose and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman made their first playable appearances in Sonic Drift, years before they would become playable in the main series in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 respectively.
  • In Jak X: Combat Racing, it's your allies who become playable.
  • Multiple characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise made their first playable appearance in the Mario Kart series, most notably Bowser (and Koopa Troopa) in Super Mario Kart and Lakitu in Mario Kart 7. Other characters, while having already been playable outside of Mario Kart, would become playable in later titles after being background characters in earlier ones, like Shy Guy in DS, Wiggler in 7, and Monty Mole in Tour.
  • Twisted Metal:
    • Minion is the final boss in the first game, in subsequent games he's usually featured as a mid-game boss and tends to be unlockable, and generally is as strong when playable as he is when he's a boss.
    • Twisted Metal 2 Final Boss Dark Tooth became an unlockable car in Twisted Metal: Head-On.
    • Oddly inverted with Darkside, who was fully playable in Twisted Metal but removed from the second and only appears as a boss in Twisted Metal 3. Especially odd in that he's fully functionally playable in 3 with a cheat device and certainly isn't overly Game Breaking in any way (unlike Primeval, the Final Boss who has overpowered stats and a devastating special, Darkside has overbalanced stats putting him between a regular vehicle and Minion with a special that simply fires a freeze missile and a flamethrower simultaneously).

    Fan Games 

    Fighting Game 
  • Yuri Sakazaki, the Damsel in Distress of the first Art of Fighting game, becomes playable in the sequel and turns out to be a skilled fighter in her own right. She became so popular that she's a mainstay in The King of Fighters series.
  • Each BlazBlue game promoted at least one NPC from a previous game:
    • Continuum Shift promoted Hazama and Tsubaki Yayoi, although Tsubaki only appeared in The Stinger of the first game. Further DLC promoted Makoto Nanaya and Valkenhayn R. Hellsing. The Updated Re Release, Continuum Shift Extend promoted Relius Clover.
    • The console version of Chronophantasma promoted Kokonoe, Yuuki Terumi and Kagura Mutsuki, the latter of whom first appeared in the arcade version as an NPC. From the wider franchise, it also promoted Celica A. Mercury.
    • Almost all the new characters in Central Fiction were this: Hibiki Kohaku (Kagura's attendant), Nine (one of the Six Heroes), Izanami (the other Big Bad) and, nine years after his initial appearance, Ragna's mentor Jubei. From the wider franchise, it also promoted Naoto Kurogane, Mai Natsume and Es.
  • For Bloody Roar its original Final Boss Uriko was completely retooled when she became playable in Bloody Roar 2.
  • Body Blows: Max, who was unplayable in the first game and also a weaker version of T-17 prior its Robotic Reveal after losing one round to its opponent, was made playable in the sequel Ultimate Body Blows. T-17 remained the unplayable Final Boss of that installment.
  • Bai-Hu, the Final Boss of Breakers, can be playable through codes in the CD version and the Updated Re-release Breakers Revenge.
  • Bushido Blade 2 saw some of the previous game's bosses become hidden characters: Sazanka, Tsubame and Hongou.
  • The Capcom vs. series has a tendency to do this with most of its bosses and cameo appearances:
  • Castlevania: Judgment has the recurring villain Carmilla playable from the start, while Dracula and Death are unlockable characters.
  • Darkstalkers made Pyron and Huitzil playable in the second game. Oboro Bishamon was a superboss in Vampire Savior, but is made playable in Darkstalkers 3, the enhanced PlayStation port.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy made many villains of the series, including the incredibly popular Sephiroth, (though he had already been playable in Ehrgeiz) into playable characters. Dissidia 012 does it again, adding Gilgamesh into the mix. Also notably—in the first Dissidia game, many fans wished that the Final SNK Boss Chaos was playable (he wasn't, not without hacks). But his new and altered form, Feral Chaos, is.
  • Divekick allows Saints Row fans to play as the Johnny Gat for the first time ever, as he's a guest character.
  • Dragon Ball Z Kai: Ultimate Butouden marks the first playable appearance of King Kai in any Dragon Ball game.
  • In Eternal Fighter Zero, we have the final bosses Unknown and Kanna:
    • Unknown was originally the Final Boss, later, in the Blue Sky Edition, Kanna took her place and Unknown became a Secret Character instead, till finally, she became fully playable from the beginning in the Bad Moon Edition. Although her moveset was toned down, her boss version remains as powerful as before.
    • Kanna started as the unplayable Final Boss in the Blue Sky Edition; she later became playable in Memorial, however, unlike Unknown.
  • Fatal Fury:
    • Fatal Fury 2 featured Axel Hawk, Laurence Blood and Billy Kane, a trio of sub-bosses who were only playable in the home ports. All three, plus the final boss, Wolfgang Krauser, would eventually be made playable in the Updated Re-release, Fatal Fury Special.
    • The intro to Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 showed Rick Strowd beating up a pompadoured brawler named Lao. The Neo Geo Pocket Color remake, Fatal Fury: First Contact, added Lao as an unlockable character.
    • In a cross-series example, Alice Nakata from the Fatal Fury: Legend of the Wild Wolf pachinko game was later added to The King of Fighters XIV as the newest member of the Women Fighters Team.
  • Guilty Gear, being more story-driven than other fighting games, does this quite often.
    • Guilty Gear X promoted Johnny, the captain of the Jellyfish Pirate crew that May is a part of, who first appeared in May's ending in the original game.
    • Guilty Gear XX promoted Robo-Ky, who first appeared as a CPU-controlled opponent in the Japanese exclusive Guilty Gear X Plus. Further iterations expanded on this and gave him his own unique playstyle. The game also promoted I-No, the second assistant of That Man, who originally debuted in one of the light novels. Guilty Gear XX Slash also brought A.B.A. into the main series after her debut in Guilty Gear Isuka.
    • Guilty Gear 2: Overture promoted long-time NPC Raven, after years of him sitting on the sidelines in side material and story modes.
    • Guilty Gear Xrd does this in spades.
      • Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-'s console release promoted Sin Kiske, the son of series rival Ky Kiske, into the fighting game scene proper after his debut in Overture, as well as after being an NPC in the arcade release. Further DLC promoted Elphelt Valentine and Leo Whitefang, who started off as NPCs in Story Mode. In terms of lore, the game also saw the return of Zato-1, who was previously dead and had his corpse possessed by Eddie, the creature seen fighting alongside him.
      • The arcade release of Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- re-promoted Johnny after his appearance as an NPC in Sign's Story Mode, and promoted Jack-O', That Man's previously unknown third assistant. The console version promoted Raven to the fighting game scene and after appearing as an arcade-only NPC, much like Sin. Further DLC promoted Kum Haehyun, who was also previously an arcade NPC, and brought back Dizzy, who was originally an NPC in both story modes.
      • Guilty Gear Xrd -Rev 2- saw the return of Ensemble Dark Horse Baiken, as well as the promotion of Answer, an NPC who appeared all the way back in Sign.2'''s Arcade Mode.
    • Goldlewis Dickinson and Happy Chaos were first introduced in -STRIVE-'s story mode before becoming playable characters via DLC. Jack-O' and Testament were also re-promoted after their appearances in story mode. Season 2 re-promoted Sin after his appearance in the season 1 story DLC and also promoted Bedman?, who also made her debut as an NPC in said story. Season 2 is also noteworthy for finally promoting That Man, who has been unplayable for the last 20+ years.
  • Happens after a fashion in Gundam Extreme Vs.; the boss of the game is the Extreme Gundam from the manga Gundam EXA. The sequel, Extreme Vs. Full Boost, introduces EXA's protagonist Leos Alloi, who has his own version of the Extreme Gundam complete with melee, ranged, and funnel forms based off the original Extreme's Meta Mecha. Several of Leos' attacks are taken directly from the original, allowing players to be on the delivering end for a change. Also happens with some mecha (such as Char's Geloogo, Deathscythe Hell or the Strike Rouge going from Assist Characters to playable over the course of the franchise. It also happens in reverse, with playable units being bumped down to Assists.own, her moveset was not toned down, and she's so overpowered that she's banned from tournaments.
  • There are several characters who had background cameos in Injustice: Gods Among Us that were promoted to playable status in the sequel. These include Darkseid, Doctor Fate, Deadshot, Scarecrow, Gorilla Grodd and The Atom (though in this case it's the successor of the guy that had a cameo in the original).
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces allows you to use the Materials once you beat the storylines of the three characters each of them is based upon (e.g. Nanoha, Vita, and Zafira for Material-S). Needless to say, they are the most powerful characters in the game, except Unison Reinforce.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Shang Tsung became playable (and young) from the first game to Mortal Kombat II, where Shao Kahn replaced him as the Final Boss. This is repeated with other boss fighters: Goro in the Game Boy port of MK, Trilogy (PlayStation only), home versions of MK4 and GameCube's Deception; Kintaro in Trilogy (PlayStation only), Motaro and Shao Kahn in home ports of MK3/UMK3, Trilogy and GameCube's Deception (Kahn only). And all of them, plus Moloch, Onaga and Sareena (from Mythologies) became playable in Armageddon.
    • Unplayable hidden characters as well: Reptile (MK) and Jade (MK2) were added to the main roster in MK2 and UMK3 respectively, whereas Smoke (MK2) and Noob Saibot (MK2 & 3) were first playable "hidden" characters in MK3 (Smoke only) and UMK3 before becoming regulars in Trilogy.note 
    • Armageddon has everyone. Literally every fighter over the course of the entire series is playable in that one (except for Human Smoke, and Khameleon continued to be Nintendo exclusive).
    • The developers deliberately flipped this on its head for Mortal Kombat 9, by relegating Goro, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn back to non-playable territory.note  They said they were trying to bring back the feeling of impossible, unplayable bosses from the arcade days.note 
    • In a rather surprising semi-promotion, the Vita port of Mortal Kombat 9 included an extra Challenge Tower where the player can play as Tremor, one of the bosses in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Tremor was later confirmed as the fourth kombatant in Mortal Kombat X's Kombat Pack, alongside with fellow fan favorite Tanya and two iconic guests, Jason Voorhees and the Predator.
    • Mortal Kombat X inverts the trope with Rain, Sindel and Baraka, who all become AI-controlled opponents exclusive to Story Mode. Tanya was originally among these characters, but DLC promoted her back to playable status. All three get promoted back in Mortal Kombat 11.
  • With more information being available in the source material, Darui went from a support-only character in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations to a full-on playable character in Storm 3.
  • Persona 4: Arena allows you to play as Elizabeth, the Superboss from Persona 3. The console port of its sequel, Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, adds Rise Kujikawa, Tohru Adachi, Margaret, and Marie to the playable roster, the latter three via DLC.
  • Croagunk in Pokkén Tournament was just a Support Pokémon at first that lowered the opponent's defenses. A later update made it a playable character while also retaining its Support Pokémon status.
  • Bradshaw and Ayala, two lore characters in Rivals of Aether, are playable as unlockable skins by defeating 250 opponents as Wrastor and Elliana respectively.
  • Samurai Shodown added Amakusa to the playable roster in the third game.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soul Edge saw penultimate boss Cervantes playable in its 2nd revision, and Final Boss SoulEdge in the PS port.
    • Soulcalibur saw Inferno selectable in the Dreamcast port.
    • Amy, Raphael Sorrel's adopted daughter, is briefly seen in the opening of Soulcalibur II. She is made a unique custom character in Soulcalibur III (using the generic rapier moveset), before becoming a proper playable character in Soulcalibur IV.
    • Patroklos and Pyrrha, Sophitia's children, have been mentioned in their mother's in-game bio since as far back as Soulcalibur II, and make an offscreen speaking cameo in Tira's Soulcalibur III ending. They are made playable in Soulcalibur V.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The four Shadaloo Grand Masters (Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison) from Street Fighter II were exclusively computer-controlled in the original game, but were promoted to playable characters in Champion Edition and onward.
    • The Street Fighter Alpha sub-series received 4 of the CPU-only characters from the first Street Fighter: Gen, Adon, Birdie and (much much later) Eagle.
    • Akuma (aka Gouki) was originally the True Final Boss in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, playable only via a cheat code. He became a regular playable character in Street Fighter Alpha 2, with an alternate "Shin Akuma" version as a secret boss (who was only playable in the PS1 and Saturn ports).
    • In a sort of cross-series example: Final Fight bosses Sodom and Rolento became playable in the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series; Hugo (Andore) became playable in Street Fighter III and Poison became playable in Street Fighter X Tekken. Though Poison and Hugo (together with Edi.E, Thrasher and El Gado) were first playable in the Sega Saturn fighting game Final Fight Revenge.
    • Street Fighter V:
      • The roster of the game has veterans from old entries of the SF series and newcomers that made their debut in said game. However, while Season 2 DLC featured a veteran like Akuma, the 5 remaining characters from said Season were pre-existing NPCs that are now playable:
      • Kolin AKA Helen (Gill's secretary) made minor appearances in the Street Fighter III series. She first appears in Dudley's ending in SFIII: New Generation and 2nd Impactnote  and stands alongside Gill prior to his boss fight in 3rd Strike, then walks off-screen. Before becoming playable, she had a larger role in SFV during the Cinematic Story "A Shadow Falls".
      • Ed first appeared as a nameless child in Rose's ending in the original version of Street Fighter IV and Balrog's ending in Super SFIV. In the latter's ending, he came across as a failed replacement body for M. Bison that had no powers whatsoever, until the Shadaloo emblem faintly began to glow on one of his palms. And with that, there were definitely plans for him in the future. Surely enough, he returns in SFV, making more NPC appearances in several Story Mode campaigns before finally becoming playable.
      • Abigail was seemingly a one-shot character that appeared as the 5th boss of the original Final Fight game. Between then and SFV, he only reappeared in several ports of FF1 and made a background cameo in the Mad Gear Hideout stage of Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultra SFIV.
      • It didn't take long for Menat to become playable, since she was created much later. Debuting in SFV during Ed's Story Mode campaign, she makes an appearance as the mysterious "Fortune Teller". This is more of an Early-Bird Cameo.
      • Finally, we have Zeku, who debuted in Guy's ending in Street Fighter Alpha 2. Prior to SFV, his video game appearances were limited only to the same scenario in subsequent ports of SFA2. He also made a minor flashback cameo in the SF comic series by Udon.
      • In the case of Season 3, one of the new playable characters is Falke. She was briefly seen walking alongside Ed at the end of his Story Mode campaign.
  • In the Godzilla Fighting Game for the Turbo CD, Biollante was not playable by any means, but became available to players of the game's Super Famicom successor, Kaijuu Daikessen.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee marks the first time that Sheik, Ganondorf and (if one doesn't count The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games) Princess Zelda have ever been playable in any game. Also, whereas Metal Mario and Giant Donkey Kong appear as unplayable bosses in Super Smash Bros. 64, from Melee onward anyone can be made metal or giant with the Metal Block and Super Mushroom items respectively.
    • Wario, Meta Knight, Pit, Olimar, Squirtle (who doubles as the starting platform in Poké Floats) and King Dedede (who also appeared in the N64 installment as a background character in Kirby's stage) all appeared as trophies in Melee before becoming playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Charizard was one of the Pokémon summoned in the first two games before it became a playable character in Brawl, Red made a cameo in the N64 game's intro before becoming playable as Pokémon Trainer and Wolf became playable in Brawl after making a cameo in Melee's intro. Also, Giga Bowser from Melee becomes playable through Bowser's Final Smash in Brawl.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has Palutena and the dog and duck from Duck Hunt becoming playable after appearing as NPCs in their own series. Little Mac also became playable after being an Assist Trophy in Brawl.
    • Several characters became playable in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after being referenced in earlier games: the Inklings,note  Chrom,note  Dark Samus,note  King K. Rool,note  and Isabelle.note  DLC also added a Piranha Plant as a fighter, which has appeared in both Smash and Super Mario Bros. but had never been playable in either.
    • The finale of Ultimate's adventure mode, World of Light, marks the first time that Master Hand is legitimately playable.
    • Ridley. In the first game, he sometimes appeared in the background of Planet Zebes. In Melee, he briefly appears in the opening cutscene fighting his arch-nemesis Samus and also appears as a trophy. Brawl has him appear as a boss, in both his regular form and his Meta Ridley form from Metroid Prime, while in 3DS/Wii U he is a stage hazard on Pyrosphere. Finally, after years of fan's cries to make him playable despite him being "too big," he debuted as a full playable character in Ultimate, which also marks his first playable appearance in any game.
    • Min Min, Pyra, and Mythra have gone from being mere Spirits in the game to part of Fighter Pack Vol. 2.
  • Tekken:
    • In the first game, Anna Williams, Armor King, Ganryu, Heihachi Mishima, Kuma, Kunimitsu, Lee Chaolan, Prototype Jack, and Wang Jinrei were unplayable in the arcade version, but became playable in the console version.
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament, the Final Boss, Unknown, is unplayable in the arcade version, but is playable in the console version.
    • In Tekken 5, Devil Jin, who was first introduced in Tekken 3, finally became playable in this game. In addition, while Jinpachi Mishima was not playable in the original version of the game, he became playable in the Playstation 3 version of the Dark Resurrection update.
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Sebastian, who first appeared as a nonplayable character in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, and Slim Bob, who first appeared in a cutscene in Tekken 6, became playable.
    • In Tekken 7, Kazumi Mishima was an unplayable boss in the original version, but became playable in an update.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Texas went from a relatively minor story NPC to fully playable as the first character in the Season 1 DLC pass.
  • Under Night In-Birth does this with its major updates.
    • The arcade release of the game's first update, Exe:Late, added Chaos, the de-facto second-in-command of Amnesia, as well as the first NPC to physically appear.
    • The second update, Exe:Late[st], added Phonon, a previously scrapped character, and Mika Returna, a Licht Kreis Executor who appeared in Orie's Arcade Mode ending, while the console release added Enkidu, a member of Amnesia who wanders the Hollow Night to seek out worthy opponents that made an Early-Bird Cameo in Hilda's Arcade Mode ending, and finally Erika Wagner, one of Licht Kreis' most prominent and feared Executors, as well as a prominent NPC who was bought up in the Arcade scenarios for both Gordeau and Chaos.
    • The latest update, Exe:Late[cl-r], adds Londrekia Light, a member of Lich Kreis' twin organization, Ritter Schild, who first appeared properly as an NPC in the Chronicle Mode of Exe:Late[st], and much like Phonon, was originally a scrapped character.

    Hack And Slash 
  • All the bosses and a few of the enemies of Hours (2020) get this treatment, the game allowing you to unlock them through completing certain tasks.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has missions where Shinobu and Henry are playable. They first appeared in the first game as bosses.


    Party Game 
  • In previous Animal Crossing games, the only playable character was... the playable character. In the Party Game spinoff, amiibo Festival, fifteen of the animal NPC characters are playable themselves: Isabelle, K.K. Slider, Tom Nook, Mr. Resetti, Lottie, Kapp'n, Blathers, Celeste, Cyrus, Reese, Digby, Rover, Mabel, Kicks, and Timmy and Tommy. Many more are playable through the card-based minigames.
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party 5: Toad, after being a host in the three previous games, joins the playable cast. Boo and Koopa Kid also become playable characters, though Koopa Kid cannot be played as in Story Mode. Inverted with Donkey Kong, who stopped being playable from this game onward to serve as Bowser's Big Good counterpart. Donkey Kong wouldn't be playable again until Mario Party 10 in 2015, twelve years after this game first released.
    • Mario Party 8: Hammer Bro. and Blooper make their playable Mario Party debut after having appeared as items and non-playable characters in previous games.
    • Mario Party 9: After appearing as items and non-playable characters in previous games, Koopa, Magikoopa/Kamek, and Shy Guy all make their playable Mario Party debuts in this game, the latter two being unlockable.
    • Mario Party 10: After not being playable since the fifth game in the series, Donkey Kong finally becomes playable again in this game. Bowser also becomes playable for the first time in Bowser Party and amiibo Party modes (if one does not count his playable appearance in Mario Party 4's Beach Volley Folley minigame). Bowser becomes a fully playable character like everyone else in Super Mario Party.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush: Diddy Kong appears as a playable character in a Mario Party game for the first time after having appeared as a board host in Mario Party DS and hosting a bonus minigame in Mario Party 9


  • Downplayed in Best Fiends with the Earthworms. They originally had their own solo missions where they were played as entirely separate from the main cast. Eventually, it was changed so playing these solo missions unlocked the five of them as official Fiends in the main game.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death has a couple of examples, though they are only playable in short interlude levels, and Beethro remains the only playable character for most of the game.
  • Updates to Dr. Mario World have promoted certain "Assistant" characters to playable, such as Lakitu, Koopa Troopa, and a Dolphin. The last one is particularly noteworthy as dolphins had never been playable in a Mario title beforehand.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest had for years PVE events featuring Apocalypse and Ultron as bosses before both villains were made into playable characters.
  • Professor Layton:

  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled:
    • In the original game, trophies would be handed out by 4 female bandicoots, dubbed "The Trophy Girls", after each race. In the remake, they are no longer present in the cutscene to accommodate for the fact they are now playable characters.
    • Also present is the addition of Nitros Oxide as a playable character after completing his race in the Adventure Mode, an idea that had been tossed around during the original game's development but ultimately decided against due to hardware limitations. This also unlocks his signature hovercraft as a kart. He was also previously playable in the game's sequel, Crash Nitro Kart.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Kingdom Rush Vengeance has you play as the forces of Vez'Nan, and the towers and heroes under your control are the various mook types that you had to fight against in the previous games.
  • SEAS in Paraworld Boosterpack.
  • Republic at War: In the original game, Dark Side Adepts were enemies that could only be encountered in the campaign. In this mod, players can recruit them on Korriban while playing as the Confederacy.


  • The Binding of Isaac: Zigzagged with The Keeper. It's not directly the same character, but his attack style, unique life mechanic, appearance, and unlock method are obvious references to fan-favourite Mini-Boss Greed.
  • Enter the Gungeon downplays this trope with The Resourceful Rat. He is one of the many NPCs encountered throughout the game, but in Advanced Gungeons and Draguns you can "transform" into him by collecting certain items which are available after defeating a superboss. However, since he's technically not a standalone playable character, the Rat is missing unique HUD sprites and doesn't have his own past to kill (the Ammonomicon justifies the latter part by explaining that he doesn't have any regrets from his past).
  • All the bosses from Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja are playable in the second, including the two hidden ones (Gen-An and Shino).

  • Sarevok in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal.
  • Battle Chef Brigade: In the "Deluxe" update, Ziggy is turned into an extra playable character. It's worth noting that him and Kirin were both originally meant to be playable, before time constraints stopped the production from doing it.
  • Joachim in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    • The game added Cassandra Pentaghast as a playable character. Dragon Age II only featured her in cut scenes, interrogating a friend of the protagonist.
    • It also adds Cole, who first appeared in the novel Dragon Age: Asunder.
    • The Dragonslayer DLC promotes the Avvar Sky Watcher met in the main game to a playable character in the multiplayer mode.
  • Isabela, an NPC in Dragon Age: Origins, becomes a party member in Dragon Age II. Also, Merrill was a tutorial NPC in Origins with not a lot of personality and without her characteristic accent; the sequel expanded her role significantly and added her to the main party.
  • In the 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VIII, you can recruit fan favorite characters Red and Morrie — the former during the plot after the Pirate's Cove, the latter as an extra reward for beating Rank S in the Monster Arena.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Orcs and Imperials became this as of Morrowind. Prior to that, the Orcs were generic Mooks in Arena and, while they got development toward becoming Blizzard Orcs in Daggerfall, they weren't actually playable until Morrowind. Also prior to Morrowind, The Empire was considered to be a melting pot of all the other races. The spin-off game Redguard defined Imperials as a distinct race, but they were not yet playable.Morrowind then made them playable.
  • In the Epic Battle Fantasy series, this happens fairly regularly:
    • NoLegs was a boss in the first game, a summon in the next three, and became a playable character in the Bullet Heaven spinoffs before finally becoming a fully-fledged party member in the fifth instalment.
    • Lance, the Big Bad of EBF2, joins the party after you defeat him and is a player character from EBF3 onward.
    • Anna, a random NPC who appears in EBF3, is effectively the main character of EBF4, and is the character you start off as. She also bears a striking resemblance to the shopkeeper from EBF1.
  • In the original version of Eternal Sonata, Prince Crescendo and Princess Serenade are royalty who your party interact with at various points in the game. The PlayStation 3 Updated Re-release makes them both playable and adds a new dungeon, Lament Mirror, that cements their playable status.
  • Final Fantasy Record Keeper allows you to add characters to your party that were not playable in their original Final Fantasy game. Yes, even Sephiroth.
  • General Leo in Final Fantasy VI, is able to be controlled for one plotline battle.
  • Reno from Final Fantasy VII holds the honor of being the first playable character in Record Keeper to have not been playable in a prior game.
  • In Final Fantasy XV, Gladio, Prompto and Ignis were made playable in their own DLC. A later update allowed you to switch between the party members in the main game itself, with each character retaining their unique gameplay mechanics. "Episode Ardyn" deals with main villain Ardyn and the events that led up to the game.
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, your beginning party is Felix, Jenna and Sheba, either willing or unwilling members of the antagonists' group in the first game. Jenna was briefly playable early in Golden Sun, while Felix and Sheba were NPCs.
  • Histoire finally became playable in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 via DLC.
  • DanMachi: Memoria Freese: In the first run of the Date A Live crossover, ‘’Ais Catastrophe’’, Kotori was merely an assist character while Shido, the main protagonist of Date A Live, was neither featured as an adventurer nor an assist. The rerun addressed that by making them both adventurers with Kotori being in her spirit form.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Knight Bewitched 2: Rae and Alex were two characters that only briefly were introduced in the previous game drinking in a city and giving tips to Ruth on how to explore the Midnight. Hermes is a novice cleric and a friend of Ruth's she can briefly speak with in the initial town of the game. Malady is Gwen's sister who would only show up occasionally and have a crush on Uno. They're now playable characters and members of your party.
  • Lufia: the Legend Returns has two recurring NPCs join the party: Milka as the final main party member and the Egg Dragon as a Secret Character.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance:
    • Nightcrawler appeared as an NPC in the first game, and was later made playable as DLC and on the Xbox 360 port. He and the rest of the downloadable characters were also included in the subsequent Updated Re Release for the PS4 and Xbox One. The same goes for Cyclops, who was a sub-boss in the game before being made playable as a DLC character and in the various aforementioned rereleases.
    • Psylocke was a sub-boss in the first game, and became playable in the second and third installments.
    • Crystal of The Inhumans appeared as an NPC in the first game, before becoming playable in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.
    • Loki is a boss enemy in the first game, but is playable in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
  • Aria T'Loak is a temporary companion in the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3. She comes with the unique biotic power Flare, which contrary to its unassuming name is a staggeringly powerful ability. Mass Effect Multiplayer then made heroes of Batarians and Vorcha, species you could only encounter as enemies in Mass Effect 2. They were followed by the Volus, who had never been used in combat at all, and eventually joined by playable Geth Juggernauts and Collectors.
  • Papa Louie Arcade:
    • Papa Louie, the main protagonist of the series, regularly does this to his loyal customers. Either he will abandon them (in Pancakeria and in Pizzeria), will hold a contest (in Burgeria and in Taco Mia), or flat out give the job to someone (in Freezeria). Usually, the customers pulled into these schemes are not pleased, but end up liking their jobs. This has not stopped with fictional customers. Mandi and Tony Solary, who are both inspired on real people (one of which is the co-founder of Flipline Studios, the creators of the games) both have jobs in the Papa Louie universe (in Wingeria and in Donuteria).
    • Willow and Rudy have the distinction of being chefs after their debut appearances (in Hot Doggeria and in Donuteria, respectively).
    • In real life, Flipline Studios has held a challenge called "Papa's Next Chefs", which is a contest held by fans to determine the chef at Papa's next restaurant. The winners were:
      Cooper and Prudence
      Taylor and Peggy
      James and Willow
      Tony and Scooter
      Rudy and Scarlett
  • Persona 2: Katsuya, Ulala, and Baofu, all non-player characters in Innocent Sin, become party members in Eternal Punishment.
  • In Persona 5, Goro Akechi is a Guest-Star Party Member who joins during the the sixth dungeon, and leaves after it's completed. In the Updated Re-release Royal, he rejoins during the third semester and sticks with you to the end.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse: Flynn, Isabeau, Jonathan, and Walter, the main character and three main partners from the original game, are fully playable during the Peace Route's final battle, while Flynn fights with Satan in the Anarchy Route's final battle. In addition, Merkabah and Lucifer, the original game's final bosses and thus unable to be fused as per series tradition, can be summoned in New Game Plus since they are only bad ending final bosses now.
  • In Suikoden, Kwanda Rosman, Milich Oppenheimer, Sonya Schulen, Varkas, Sydonia, the pirate trio, Alen, Grenseal (though technically their boss is defeated to recruit them), and Griffith (defeated in a tactical battle) can be recruited after defeating them. All are necessary to obtain the 108 Stars (best) ending. Many other recruitable characters are like this throughout the series, to the point that the game may as well shove forgiveness and Defeat Means Friendship down the player's throats.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • The Tales Series tends to do this with its remakes and sequels.
    • Tales of Phantasia has Suzu Fujibayashi going from minor NPC in the Super Famicom version to fully playable in the PlayStation and beyond.
    • Lilith was dummied out as a playable character in the PlayStation Tales of Destiny but got full status in the PlayStation 2 remake.
    • Flynn is a minor example in Tales of Vesperia, going from Guest-Star Party Member in the Xbox 360 version to a fully party member in the Playstation 3 version. The same happens to Richard in Tales of Graces in the transition from the Wii to the PS3.
    • Chalcedony in Tales of Hearts goes from enemy and summonable character to fully playable in the VITA version.
    • Gaius and Muzét become playable in Tales of Xillia 2, retaining every single attack they possessed in their original appearances. Made especially noteworthy by the fact that they were the final bosses in the original game.
    • Tales of Berseria, a prequel to Tales of Zestiria, has two straight examples and one inversion.
      • Eizen is a minor sidequest boss in Zestiria, and becomes one of the main characters of Berseria.
      • Laphicet turns out to be a young version of Maotelus.
      • Zaveid inverts this, going from a playable character in Zestiria to a recurring NPC in Berseria.
  • Trails Series:
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC makes many important side characters playable, including Josette, Mueler, Julia, and Anelace.
    • The Third adds several more, to the point where the heroine Estelle loses her spot as protagonist! The game more or less exists to give Character Development to the side characters and wraps up plot threads unresolved by the end of SC.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II makes a whopping number of characters playable that weren't originally, and adds a significant amount of time for two that were only very briefly playable in the original title. This includes fan favorite Towa Herschel, one of the most requested characters thanks to being the most approachable girl in her Bonding Events.
    • By the time Cold Steel IV's final battle commences, players would have a whopping 39 characters to choose from to take into the True Final Boss fight. Although only 24 characters are allowed in the roster with Rean locked onto the A Team.
    • For The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, players can control 51 playable characters throughout the entire game though only players can only play as 40 for the main story and the rest of the characters are only available at the True Reverie Corridor. This includes Rufus Albarea, who manages to become the Breakout Character of the game by being the third protagonist, and McBurn who were bosses only in the previous games.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki II turns Fourth Dominion Celis Ortesia and Eleventh Dominion Leon Balthazar into Guest Star Party Members, after they spent the first game as NPCs.
  • Valkyrie Profile lets you fight Freya, Brahms, and Lezard Valeth in the Bonus Dungeon, and they join you if you defeat them. You can't use them in the regular game, however, since the bonus dungeon is chosen from the main menu instead of being part of the regular game.
  • While he was an Arc Villain, The Starscream, and overall loose cannon in the original The World Ends with You, NEO: The World Ends with You sees Mad Mathematician Sho Minamimoto return as a playable member of Rindo's party.
  • Ys
    • Ys Origin has Toal Fact. He's encountered several times as an NPC when playing as Hugo or Yunica; completing the game with either of them unlocks him as a player character. Beating the game with him reveals the canon ending.
    • In the original versions of Ys IV, Duren and Karna were NPCs. They are completely playable in Ys: Memories of Celceta.

  • In Agents of Mayhem, Pierce Washington and Oleg Kirrlov are playable as "Kingpin" and "Yeti". Gat and Kinzie also return as playable characters in the form of DLC.
  • Mafia II has this as a midgame plot twist. Vito is actually one of the two generic hitmen who killed Tommy at the end of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven; you actually get to play this scene from Vito's perspective.
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell has the first time Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington are playable in a Saints Row title.

    Simulation Game 
  • In The Sims, most Non Player Characters can be made playable if you have a high enough relationship score and ask them to move in, or marry them. (There are also various Game Mods to do so.) This is possible in all the main series titles, as well as most spin-off games.
  • In The Sims 3, Kaylynn Langerak - who was a Non-Player Character maid with a minor story role in The Sims 2 - is included as a playable pre-made character with her own household due to her popularity with fans. And because it's a prequel, The Sims 3 has fun including some lore characters who existed as ancestors in the family trees of the playable characters in the first two games. Notable examples include Zo and Notzo Curious (grandparents of the Curious brothers from The Sims 2) and Skip Broke (Brandi Broke's husband, who was deceased by the start of The Sims 2) - all of whom had Ensemble Dark Horse status - though some more obscure characters (like the grandparents of the Monty and Capp families) are present and playable as well.
  • In Virtual Villagers 5: The New Believers another tribe of 'heathens' appears, which is controlled by the AI. The player can 'convert' them individually using various methods and they become members of your tribe.

  • Two years post-launch, Apex Legends promotes Ash, who was introduced in Titanfall 2 and fought as boss in story mode, to a playable Legend.
  • A Splicer with a unique character model show up in cut-scenes early in BioShock 2. She's Naledi Atkins, one of the playable characters from the (now defunct) BioShock 2 Multiplayer mode, placing her somewhere between this trope and an Early-Bird Cameo. As a group, Splicers go from being the fairly interchangeable enemies of the first and second games to the playable character class in the multiplayer mode.
  • Part 2 of BioShock Infinite DLC Burial at Sea has you playing as Elizabeth.
  • Borderlands 2 inverts this trope by making the previous playable characters, Lilith, Roland, Brick, and Mordecai, NPC's assisting the players.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is an Interquel taking place before the second game that features Wilhelm and the Sheriff of Lynchwood (known as Nisha) as playable characters as well as Series Mascot Claptrap and Athena from the General Knoxx DLC of the first game. Even Handsome Jack counts in a way- a DLC allows you to play as a body double of him. The only exception is Aurelia, who is a new character introduced to the series though she is connected to a previous character (being the sister of Sir Hammerlock).
  • In Brothers in Arms, Hartsock is an NPC in the first game, but is the main playable character in the second.
  • The Call of Duty series has several examples of this, including Sgt. Viktor Reznov from World At War being playable in Black Ops, Sgt. Frank Woods from Black Ops being playable in Black Ops 2 and Declassified, and Captain Price from the Modern Warfare series being playable in the present time in the final level of Modern Warfare 3.
  • Hibachi is an unlockable fighter in the iPhone port of DoDonPachi Resurrection after beating the game (Good luck with that by the way).
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Galaxy Star was a support NPC in Attack of Darkforce and Valhalla was mentioned once as defending San Antonio. In this game they are both playable characters.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 2 makes the predecessor's main Elite Mooks, the Elites, a playable race in multiplayer. While they aren't technically more powerful, the altered hit-boxes has led to arguments on which model is superior and standardization in the MLG circuit.
    • Elites are also playable in Halo: Reach where they have more shield strength and faster movement speed than their Spartan counterparts. But for balance reasons, they possess larger hitboxes, slightly slower shield recharge times and less physical health, though the last balance is somewhat negated by their ability to fully recover physical health over time without a health pack.
    • In Halo 3, multiplayer Elites are more of examples of Confusion Fu, since, despite the dramatically different character models compared to Spartans, they still had the exact same hitboxes.
    • The ODST soldiers introduced in Halo 2 become playable in their own Gaiden Game, Halo 3: ODST.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare makes four plants (Peashooter, Sunflower, Chomper and Cactus) from the original Plants vs. Zombies playable classes, complete with the ability to move their roots (as this installment is a third-person shooter instead of a Tower Defense game). The zombies have a playable version of a pre-existing character (The All-Star), but the other three are completely new.
  • The Death Knight was originally an enemy in Quake with an ability to swing his sword and create flaming projectiles that the player killed by the dozens. In Quake Champions, a Death Knight is a playable Champion, complete with that same attack as his Active Ability.
  • Splatoon: From the first very game onward, the elites of the Octarian army in all the campaign modes are the octopus counterparts of Inklings called Octolings. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion gives you the ability to play as one in a single-player campaign, and beating said campaign allows you to use them in multiplayer. Come Splatoon 3, you can choose which race you want to be from the start.
  • Team Fortress 2: The extremely popular custom mod "Vs. Saxton Hale" lets a single player become the larger-than-life Mann Co. CEO and fight all the other players simultaneously.
  • Touhou Project does this all the time.
    • Every one of the Windows games has had at least one boss villain reappear as playable in a later game in some way shape or form. That includes the final bosses and some Extra Stage bosses.
    • Being the Stage 5 boss is something of an exclusive club that seems to guarantee promotion to the role of "main protagonist", especially in main games (To note: The three most recurring player characters outside of series-wide main protagonists Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame are Sakuya Izayoi, Youmu Konpaku and Sanae Kochiya, ALL of whom were Stage 5 bosses in their debut games). As of Unconnected Marketeers - the eighteenth main installment - there are only two previous Stage 5 bosses who have never been the main playables of any main series games or any Gaiden games: Rin Kaenbyou and Shou Toramaru.
    • Hidden Star in Four Seasons breaks the trend by adding the playable characters Cirno (the Stage 2 boss from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil) and Aya Shameimaru (the Stage 4 boss from Mountain of Faith).
    • Several characters have gone on to get their own Gaiden games in the series canon, two of which would later be promoted to "main protagonists":
      • Aya Shamemaru in both Bunkachou games, with what can be most easily described as photography games combined with the bullet hell of the usual series
      • Seija Kijin in Impossible Spell Card, whose game plays like Aya's but with the difficulty cranked up and the ability to cheat through special items.
      • Cirno in Fairy Wars, whose game was a bullet hell with bullet freezing mechanics.


  • Assassin's Creed: Chronicles has three protagonists who while not having been NPCs in the earlier titles were prominent in the Franchise's Expanded Universe.
  • The Dishonored franchise makes frequent use of this trope:
    • The first game features two story-based DLC episodes, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, during which the player takes control of Daud (one of Corvo's antagonists from the first game) during his Heel–Face Turn.
    • In Dishonored 2, Emily Kaldwin, the first game's Damsel in Distress, becomes one of the playable protagonists of the game alongside returning PC Corvo Attano. Thanks to a Time Skip she's aged up from ten years old to twenty-five to support her new Action Girl status.
    • The standalone spin-off Dishonored: Death of the Outsider has Billie Lurk, a major supporting character in the Daud DLC and the sequel, becoming playable and sole player character.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven marks the first playable appearance of series' regular bad guy Onikage, in the game's Co-op Versus mode. Some of the bosses from Fatal Shadows (plus a few from older games) became playable in the PSP game Time of the Assassins for its Level Editor.
  • In Yandere Simulator Ayano's mother Ryoba is mentioned as part of the backstory to the game, but in the game itself is out of the country tracking down the Journalist. In 1980s Mode she's the protagonist, as the mode details just how she got her Senpai.

    Survival Horror 


    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The original rules always featured humans and human-like fantasy races with the "core" type of classes. However, official and fan-made rules sprung up early and often to allow players to play things like dragons, ogres, vampires, orcs, and so on. Examples from various editions include Council of Wyrms, Savage Species, Reverse Dungeon, The Advanced Race Guide, and many more.
    • It happened to the settings Ravenloft and Planescape, where both settings originally existed as a thing "normal" characters got pulled into (such as in the Manual of the Planes and the earliest Ravenloft adventures). Eventually, this was (mostly) eschewed for having characters be natives of those settings.
  • Pathfinder made the Goblin race Laughably Evil in the first installment, to the point of having a special module with goblin protagonists ("We Be Heroes!"), and eventually included them as a base race in the second edition of the game.
  • In the original editions of Trinity, full Quantakinetics (psychics with power over energy and inanimate matter) were off the table, deemed appropriate only as Non Player Characters, although the Trinity Players Guide made their first-level powers available to other psions as secondary powers they couldn't raise higher, and fan supplements gave them full PC writeups. For the reboot, Trinity Continuum: Aeon, full Quantakinetics were made available as PCs in the main book.
  • Despite the fluff and tie-in novels depicting them as major players in the Imperium, for the longest time the Adeptus Mechanicus of Warhammer 40,000 had a negligible presence on the tabletop, relegated to techmarines and enginseers that were wrapped into the Space Marine and Imperial Guard army lists respectively. Then, towards the end of 7th edition, the Mechanicus burst onto the scene with three individual armies (the Imperial Knights, the Skitarii, and the Adeptus Mechanicus proper), all of which synergized well when taken as a combined force. The three would be merged under a single Mechanicus codex in 8th Edition, though the Imperial Knights still retain enough flavor to have their own codex.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy the Empire of Grand Cathay was effectively a non-entity in the series, with only a sentence or two acknowledging that they exist in the games. Games Workshop, however, confirmed that Cathay will be playable in the relaunch of the game, Warhammer: The Old World, with a complete roster based on what is seen in Total War: Warhammer III, with GW directly working with Creative Assembly to make sure the new units will fit in with the redesigned Cathay's lore.
  • The traditional playable races of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay are restricted to Human, (High) Elf, Dwarf and Halfling. 2nd edition technically offered the ability to play a Skaven or Mutant, although the rules were incredibly punitive. 4th edition seems intent on following this trope, having given players the option to play Laurelorn Elves (a new elven subrace in between the wargame's High and Wood Elves), Gnomes (who hadn't been seen since 1st edition), and Ogres.
  • The World of Darkness, old and new, pulled a similar trick. Often, the "core" faction in the game had enemies who were both related to and opposed to them, such as the vampiric Camarilla and their enemies, the vampiric Sabbat. Sure enough, it wouldn't take long for a Splat to make that faction playable. Later editions would just stick them right in the core rules like any other player option. Examples include the Technocratic Order, Marauders, and Nephandi from Mage: The Ascension, the Sabbat and Independent Clans in Vampire: The Masquerade, and the Shadow Court and Nunnehi in Changeling: The Dreaming.

    Visual Novel 
  • Ace Attorney:
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls promotes Toko Fukawa/Genocide Jack to playable status when in her last appearance, she was merely a Non-Player Character. This also technically applies to main heroine Komaru Naegi, who had a brief appearance in Makoto's motive video before becoming the star of the show here.
  • Monster Prom: The original game was about four monster students trying to hook up with an expanding roster of potential love interests and take them to prom. Monster Prom: Reverse makes four of the love interests playable: Damien (from the base game), Zoe and Calculester (from the DLC), and Dahlia (from the sequel). The goal is the same, except that the dateable characters are now the four original playable characters.

  • In The Adventure Zone: Amnesty, when Clint's character Ned dies, instead of making a new character, Clint instead chooses to take over NPC-character Thacker.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Promoted To Unlockable


Smash Remix 0.9.2 Trailer

In the original game, a number of enemies were only available as bosses in Single-Player mode. This Game Mod has made most of them — along with character versions from other regions — available to select normally using the D-pad.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / PromotedToPlayable

Media sources: