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Required Party Member

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In a Role-Playing Game, the opposite of an Optional Party Member. That is, someone who you must have in the group, usually due to plot reasons and regardless of the player's own choice in the matter. Depending on the story, they may leave after their work is done, taking with them everything they had, or they may stick around with your Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.

A slightly less annoying version is requiring certain party members to raise specific Event Flags. You don't have to put Bob into the party so he can unlock the door to the underground base... unless you want 100% Completion.

This can also be But Thou Must!, if the game appears to give you a choice, but then forces you to use the characters it wants you to anyway. If it's the main protagonist that's forced to be in your party at all times (which is almost always the case anyways), that's the Sub-Trope, Can't Drop the Hero. If you can choose not to use the character, but the game becomes nigh-impossible without them, that's Character Select Forcing.


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    Adventure Game 
  • In Maniac Mansion, The Hero Dave is required to participate in the rescue, while you can choose two other characters to use at the start of the game.

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Some levels of X-Men Legends forced you to take certain members along. Sometimes you were free to fill out the other party slots with your choice (up to 4 characters total), other times you were restricted to less.
    • Some levels also required certain skills to be able to progress through them, most notably being able to make bridges, or weld. These were less annoying in that there was usually more than one character that could do the task, but you sometimes had to backtrack to the nearest save point to swap the party around.
      • The 'required skill' part was greatly toned down for the sequel. Instead of needing the skill to advance, it was usually only required to unlock bonus content.

    Fighting Game 

  • Various Fighting Fantasy adventures have you forming compulsory alliances with various Assist Characters, where you must keep them alive (at least long enough) if you even want to succeed in your quest.
    • Creature of Havoc have you meeting a half-orc named Grognag Clawtooth, who's being assaulted by some human thugs. You can choose to kill Grognag on the spot, but doing so your adventure is now entirely unwinnable. Have Grognag tag along for the adventure, and he will save you from a group of hostile Frog Men and leave behind an item you'll need later for your quest.
    • Crypt of the Sorcerer have you meeting a tracker named Symm, who greets you with an arrow pointed at your face. If you reveal yourself as the hero out to slay the titular Sorceror, Razaak, Symm will quickly become your ally. Try running away or trick him by claiming to be working for the forces of chaos, and you'll be killed on the spot.
    • Halfway through Deathtrap Dungeon, you'll meet a barbarian named Throm, who will offer a chance for a temporary alliance. Refuse his offer (or pretend to accept, just to ditch him later on) and you'll die a couple pages later. Let Throm follow you and you'll gain a valuable ally in the deeper parts of the dungeon, until you reach the trialmaster who pits you to fight Throm to the death.
    • Magehunter have you teaming up with your Lord Margrave's son, Reinhardt, which you're not too fond off since Reinhardt is a Spoiled Brat. But you will need to keep Reinhardt alive for the entire adventure, and later on you two become Fire-Forged Friends working together to defeat the evil mage, Mencius.
    • The Port of Peril have the kunoichi, Hakasan Za, which you encounter halfway into the book. She will willingly become your ally, since you're both after the powerful Necromancer, Zanbar Bone who is threatening Allansia, but if you choose to attack her you'll meet an unpleasant end for Hakasan won't be there in the final battle to cut off Zanbar's hand and prevent him from frying you with a thunderbolt spell.

  • Star Trek Online:
    • Tovan Khev for the Romulan Player Character. He's the only bridge officer ("boff") in the game who cannot be deleted from the PC's crew because he's so intensely integrated into the faction storyline.
    • The revamped Federation and Klingon Justified Tutorials give sets of predefined boffs (complete with voice acting), though these can be replaced with custom boffs once you get through the tutorial and into The Overworld.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • Most classes have certain missions that need a certain companion. In addition, any mission classified as a Companion Mission will require that companion to accompany you.
      • The Sith Inquisitor has to bring Andronikos Revel with them for a significant chunk of Tatooine because they're in an Enemy Mine: he's helping them recover a Sith artifact in exchange for their help getting revenge on his Starscream of a former first mate. The Inquisitor is also specifically instructed to take Khem Val with him for Zash's ritual, because Zash accidentally possessing him is a major plot point through the rest of the Inquisitor storyline. There is also a Sith Inquistor mission on Rishi in the Shadows of Revan expansion that you must take Talos Drellik with you, as it involves an archaeological find, and Talos is a professional archaeologist, and he is a key part of the conversations in that mission.
      • The Republic Trooper has one mission where you have to use certain companions for certain segments of the mission, and switch out when moving on to the next one. Justified because it's a sabotage assault on a superweapon, and you need your demolitions expert to plant the bombs, your tech guy to shut down enemy systems, etc.
      • The Jedi Knight takes Kira along on the mission where you learn she's actually a Child of the Emperor. The Jedi Knight must also take T7 along as his companion when he goes to Dromund Kaas for his showdown and to kill the Sith Emperor, where it's Justified that due to his strong mind control powers, which only the Knight has been able to resist, only a droid, also immune to force-based mind control, could accompany him.
    • The storyline missions in Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne expansions are scripted to an extreme degree and therefore invariably require one of a small selection of companions (mostly new characters, with a few returning companions from the class stories).

    Platform Game 
  • If you want to make significant progress through Super Mario 64 DS, you need to defeat Goomboss and rescue Mario, as not only can he open the doors leading to Bowser's levels, but he's the only character allowed to enter the final level.
  • The Sonic Advance Trilogy only permits you to fight the True Final Boss of every installment should you be playing as Sonic. Sonic Advance 3 additionally forces Dr. Eggman to be your partner for the True Final Boss.
  • In the GI Joe game for the NES, you get to take three of the Joes with you for each mission, but the first slot is always taken by a mission specialist, such as requiring Blizzard for the snowfield mission. Everyone on the roster gets their time to shine until the last mission, which gives you access to General Hawk, who is the best and most overpowered character in the game, and required for that last mission.

  • This happens frequently in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, particularly in the games after the first.
    • You're often denied the ability to bring any party members of your own choosing in the story dungeons, either having to manage with just you and your partner, or being forced to take along a NPC as well (who annoyingly needs to survive through the dungeon and cannot be issued commands like normal party members, which can lead to losses via Artificial Stupidity).
    • Gates to Infinity is more merciful about this, as the Pokémon who you're forced to take are either an official part of your team (meaning you can level them up and customize them to your liking beforehand) or are extremely overpowered, plus it no longer matters if they get KO'd and you can issue them orders.
  • Bonfire normally averts this, but quests related to specific heroes' stories require them to be in the party.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War II: The first expansion, Chaos Rising, plays with this trope. While the Force Commander is mandatory, for certain missions, the game selects some squads to gain Corruption. The negative karma of their Karma Meter, if forced to stay behind (such as denying Thaddeus the chance to defend his homeworld or Cyrus to avenge his fallen Initiates), makes those members effectively this if you don't want the corruption. The second expansion, Retribution, does away with this, making only one character required and giving the option to replace the other three with an extra squad of soldiers.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Every character (except Magus) is forced on you for a dungeon when he or she first joins. Frog and Ayla get two such dungeons and Robo is a mandatory party member when you're exploring the factory ruins. Crono is forced on you for most of the game, but eventually, he becomes optional after he dies and is retrieved.
    • Also, there are optional dungeons later in the game that require certain characters to be in your party, namely Robo and Marle. Frog, Robo, and Lucca are each required to be in your party to finish certain optional quests, but they're not required for the dungeons/fights that are part of those quests. Finally, Magus gets some special dialogue in two others but is not required for them.
    • Another end-game dungeon ends with the party trapped, so it's up to the remaining ones to bust them out. Note that depending on the player's choices, "remaining" members could very well be a single person.
  • Chrono Cross has this with Serge (and later, Lynx, after Serge's body is swapped with Lynx's). He must be in the party for the entire game, and there's no way to remove him. Playing on a New Game Plus, though, will earn you an item that allows you to switch Serge out for someone else in battle. Additionally, some party members are required for certain sequences, such as one of either Guile, Pierre, or Nikki for the infiltration of Viper Manor.
  • The .hack//G.U. Games would occasionally require you to use specific teams for story events. When this happened, you could bet you were going to see an FMV before the dungeon was out. There were also side-dungeons which your party members invited you to, thus requiring you to use that particular person. At one point this results in an inadvertent Two-Timer Date when Kite is invited to the same dungeon by both Black Rose and Terajima Ryoko.
    • The sequel pretty much forces at least one member for nearly every story dungeon. Likewise, your team for the Arena story battles are always Haseo/Atoli/Silabus for Vol 1, Haseo/Atoli/Alkaid (Haseo/Kuhn/Endrance for the finale) in Vol 2 and Haseo/Atoli/Kuhn for Vol 3. And whenever AIDA is confirmed in a dungeon you can only take someone who has an Avatar there.
  • A staple in Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, you must bring Oghren on the Anvil of the Void quest, Alistair to the Landsmeet, Zevran to the final fight against the Crows, provided he chooses to stay with you, etc. The various personal quests also require the companion they are associated with for obvious reasons except for Morrigan, who inverts it: her assignment requires you to avoid bringing her along when you face Flemeth. On larger scale, you can kill or drive away pretty much any party member in the game except Alistair and Morrigan until the endgame (when you can drive even them away by recruiting Loghain and refusing the Dark Ritual, respectively). Ultimately subverted with Alistair during the Final Battle, however: even though as a fellow Gray Warden, he is supposed to face the Archdemon with you, you can just as well leave him behind.
    • In Dragon Age II, most of the Companions' Personal Quests will require you to include them in the party. The one exception is Aveline's Act II Personal Quest which involves her attempts to woo Guardsman Donnic (keyword: attempts). There are also various points in the main plot in which companions may be required, such as Varric on the Deep Roads expedition.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition is a touch better about this: of your nine companions, four can be driven away through disapproval, and you can't kill any of your party in battle. However, it uses the Mass Effect loyalty mission scheme as described above, with the exception of Cole's personal mission, which requires him, Solas, and Varric in the same party. (Thankfully no combat is involved, so you're not penalized if your Inquisitor happens to not be a tank.)
  • In Dragon Quest VI, Ashlynn can't be left at Patty's Party Planning Place unlike any other party members, without any reason given for this.
    • Terry is required to be in your party in order to recruit Lizzie the Hackasaurus.
  • In Earthbound Beginnings, when you reach Mt. Itoi (Holy Loly Mountain in the Japanese Famicom version), Lloyd is required to find the seventh melody as he's the only one who can fix the boat at the lake, and gain access to the underwater lab where they can find EVE.
  • Enchanted Arms requires the player to always have the main character, Atsuma, at the head of the active party. Jarring, in that the game provides you with a large pool of optional "battle golems" to fill out the rest of your party. Not to mention that, in areas with enemies that either resist fire or possess strong water attacks, Atsuma can be a liability.
  • All the party members introduced in Eternal Eden is integral to the plot in some way, and to make sure their role gets properly established throughout the game, one member always dies/leaves the party before a new one is introduced.
  • This is not really the case in Fallout: New Vegas (with the exception of companion quests, which obviously requires the associated companion but are not needed to complete the game unless you want 100% Completion). It does, however, show up in the Dead Money and Honest Hearts add-ons, which both have main quest stretches that require a specific companion.
    • Likewise, several missions in the sequel, Fallout 4, require you to have a certain companion, like Dogmeat or Nick Valentine. However, the game does not count mandatory companions as counting to the one-companion limit, which is extremely helpful. Furthermore, while the DLC Far Harbor doesn't require you to take Nick Valentine, the story of Nick and Far Harbor are deeply entwined, due to the fact that Nick's half-brother DiMA runs Arcadia, the Synth refuge on the island.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Your party is perpetually altering itself in Final Fantasy IV, but it's always doing so at the story's discretion.
    • Final Fantasy VI is an odd case in that this happens frequently in the first half of the game (such as with Banon's Escort Mission, or Locke and Celes being mandatory for the opera house storyline), but in the second half, almost nobody is technically required except for a few characters. You could go straight to the final dungeon with only three characters if you wanted to.
      • A more minor example of the Event Flag version of this trope occurs in cutscenes after you can begin swapping party members in and out of your group. While dialogue is largely the same regardless of who is with you, particular characters will get lines attributed to them specifically. If that character is not in your group the line will simply have quotation marks around it and no named speaker
    • Final Fantasy VII loves this trope; at various points in the game, one character or another is required to be in your party to advance the plot, whether you like it or not. Yuffie and Vincent are the only exceptions since they are optional party members and have no relevance to the main plot.
      • Barret forces himself into the party as they investigate who is framing him.
      • Red XIII is forced onto you when you explore the caves in Cosmo Canyon as he learns about his father.
      • After getting the Keystone, Aerith is forced into your party as you explore the Temple of the Ancients so she can understand herself and her ancestors. Meta-explanation: it's required because she needs to be there to get abducted. And no, you are not getting her back. Can also be a Player Punch if you were trying to get her together with Cloud.
      • Done once again in the Whirlwind Maze where Tifa forces herself into your active party so she can see Sephiroth defeated once and for all. At least, that's what it looks like on the surface: the game forces Tifa to join you so that she can see that Cloud's memories of the Nibelheim incident are fragmented and made up, forcing her to spill the beans about what really happened. What makes this example particularly frustrating is that she gets shoehorned into the party right before a boss fight, quickly turning her into The Load if you haven't been training her.
      • When Shinra attempts to use the rocket in Rocket Town, Cid forces himself into your party so he can personally kick Shinra's ass.
      • There is a point where Cloud is forced out of the party, leaving Tifa as the 'main/leader' character. Then you find Cloud, and both Cloud and Tifa are out of the party for a while, leaving Cid in charge.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, during the last portion of Disc 1, you are forced to use the split-up teams of Squall, Irvine, and (later on) Rinoa as well as Quistis, Zell, and Selphie. On Disc 2, when visiting the now under siege Balamb, Squall must have Zell in the party.
    • Final Fantasy IX does this constantly until Disc 3. It also does the inverse, having characters just randomly walk away so that you can't add them to the party.
    • In Final Fantasy X, while you can usually switch characters at any time, there are a few parts where you have to fight underwater - and that means only Tidus, Wakka and Rikku can be in your party for those parts, since they're the only ones who know how to fight in the water. You can recruit/remove Wakka from the Besaid Aurochs team, but never Tidus (you don't have to play him, but he takes up a slot).
    • Final Fantasy XIII is an absurd case. You can't switch the party at all until you reach the Ark. Read: Chapter 11, around 18+ hour of gameplay. Even when the group's shown to be together, you can't just switch anybody out until then. The game plays this straight at the conclusion of Chapter 10, though, as you can have anyone in the party, as long as Lightning is the leader.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has an unusual case of the trope at the end of the 2.5 storyline. Midgardsormr, a legendary and ancient dragon whom you defeat at one point, not only takes away your special ability that the Mothercrystal blessed you with, but uses some of that power to construct himself a temporary body and forces himself into your company as a minion/pet. Unlike other minions, Midgardsormr is NOT optional and he automatically gets added to your minion list whether you want him to or not. Said dragon will also pop up during certain cut scenes to give his quips on what the current situation is and you can't stop him from doing so. To drive the point home further, floating/flying minions will sometimes land on your head/shoulder and fly off if you move. Midgardsormr, if you have him out, will perch on your shoulder and will only get off when he feels like it as he sticks to you like glue. That dragon won't be leaving anytime soon. At the end of 3.0, Midgardsormr is impressed by your achievements without your gift and not only do you earn it back, the dragon gains an adult body and allows you to fly on his back as a flying mount while being forced into your mount collection. You don't have to use him as a mount and are free to use a different mount to fly with.
    • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius has 8 "storyline" characters you are guaranteed to obtain through the course of play: Rain, Lasswell, Fina, Lid, Nichol, Jake, Sakura, and "Blue Mage" Fina, and you even start with Rain & Lasswell being the only two characters you can use until you get more. There are ways to obtain other units (and they're permanently available to use unless you do something to get rid of them - sell, use as an "enhancement material"...), but it's largely random. Certain [side]quests will either require one of the "story" characters to even start it, or count their presence towards completion rewards; usually either abilities usable only by them, or equipment that, while useable by nearly any other unit, has extra buffs if attached to them. (Rarely it's just a random reward, but their presence is still made a 'requirement', usually due to the nature of the plot, such as the needed character learning something about a family member.)
  • Some battles in Fossil Fighters require the player to use specific vivosaurs in their team.
  • Every single character in Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis will be a Required Party Member at some point in the game. Many times in fact, as the plot continually divides and regroups the party. Thankfully near the end you can choose who you want in your party and who all you want to toss out out their butts.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, certain story chapters will require some of the story characters to be in your party until you complete the chapter. This is also applied during event scenarios wherein the player needs to use the event character for the event chapters until they are completed. Lastly, this is played straight in 99% of all character's Fate Episodes (only a handful Fate episodes will require you not to use the character for story-telling purposes, such as in Jamil's Dark version).
  • Guild Wars features a few quests and missions which require a particular hero in the party. It also has the inverse; a quest in which you can't bring a particular hero, lest the correct NPCs fail to spawn.
  • Kinder always determines which children are in Shunsuke's party for majority of the battles. The only time the player can freely choose is for the Final Boss on the True Ending path. And even then, the player has to have either Hiroto or Aya in their party because their unique ability is the only thing that can prevent the boss from using a party-wiping attack.
    • The remake Re:Kinder removes this necessity for the Final Boss battle because the player can obtain the Eternal Force Blizzard, an item that only works on that boss and foregoes the worry about that attack. But actually getting that item is another matter.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In the first game, Peter Pan is required to be active to fight the Phantom in Neverland.
    • Mulan (as Ping), Auron, Jack Sparrow, and Simba at certain story points in Kingdom Hearts II. Only the third of these has an "excuse" for his requirement.
    • In the same game, during the last boss battle in Space Paranoids, the party requires Tron to be active during the battle with the MCPnote , even though he didn't get the (!) that the previously mentioned got when they were required. Fortunately, since party members can be switched mid-combat, it's not much of an issue.
    • During the final battle against Xemnas, Riku will be Sora's only remaining party member after the first stage. Like with Jack Sparrow before, it's game over if Riku's HP hits zero.
  • Knights of the Old Republic gives you numerous quests that cannot be completed without a certain party member. You get forced to take Carth when you first enter Taris, you have to have Mission to get into the Vulkar base, T3-M4 is required to get into the Sith base, you need HK-47 to complete the light-side track with the Sand People on Tantooine, you need Bastila for the beginning of Dantooine, etc.
    • And railroads you entirely on the Leviathan level, by locking you with Carth and Bastila. Of course, because of certain story events, the whole thing wouldn't work without them. The Brotherhood of Shadow mod also forces this in several places. Justified on some of it, as you're playing a flashback to some event in your life as Revan.
      • On the unknown planet, your party members will leave when you prepare to open up the temple, but Jolee and Juhani will come back and insist on accompanying you in. Since Jolee and Juhani are a popular choice of party members, being the only two Jedi you have left after Bastila leaves, this can make the part in which you're forced to leave your party behind seem rather silly.
    • In the sequel, you need Bao-Dur to track down the Ebon Hawk on Telos. Mandalore is needed for the Iziz level before the Onderon Civil War. Kreia is required in your party during the civil war at Onderon. Also, during the assault on the Ravager, you are forced to bring Visas and Mandalore with you.
  • A handful of battles in The Legend of Dragoon require certain party members to fight with you at certain points. Lavitz must be in your party during the second visit to Hellena Prison to save King Albert, Haschel is required for the fight with Gherich, and every party member gets a special personal fight in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon whether you leveled them up or not.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails
    • There are points during Trails in the Sky where Estelle is required to bring a specific party member with her. For example, Joshua is required for the original game's final dungeon, and in Second Chapter, Joshua again is mandatory from the climax of Chapter 6 all the way to the end of the game.
    • In the Final Dungeon of Trails to Azure, the pathways during the Boss Bonanza are blocked until the required party member is brought to face the specific boss.
    • In both Trails of Cold Steel I and II, Emma is needed in the final dungeon of the first game, and the shrine trials in the second game. This is because she needs to explain to the party members about the things that are happening. Some party members in the second game are also required during certain sections of the game in the second act; Gaius during Nord, Elliot and Sara to rescue Fiona, Millium because she just wants to tag along, Alisa for Roer, Fie for the third exploration and the first shrine trial, Jusis and Sara for arresting Duke Albarea, Laura for the final three shrine trials, and Machias for rescuing his dad. The final boss in the Royal Palace is fought in two stages. In the first stage, the party is made up of the characters who are not in the active party when you reach the boss. The party becomes very large in Cold Steel IV, being composed of Old Class VII, New Class VII, and various friends and allies. For nearly every mission, characters from the greater party will insist on being in the active party, ostensibly for story reasons, but probably to stop the players from using the same characters over and over again.
  • In LISA: The Painful RPG, Brad's presence in the party is mandatory. At first, this doesn't seem like a problem, as he is quite tanky, and a good damage dealer thanks to his combos. Later on, though, his Joy addiction and possible loss of arms make him much weaker, especially when compared to characters with similar capabilities, like RT, Tiger Mask, and Mad Dog.
    • Some of the recruitable party members (Terry Hintz, Fardy Hernandez, Percy Monsoon and Buffalo Van Dyke) are recruited automatically as the story progresses; this happens specifically so that you will always have a character that can be sacrificed to other story events (like Buzzo's decisions or the Russian Roulette).
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect: Kaidan and Jenkins are initially your only party members. Once Jenkins dies Ashley joins your squad. You can try to reject her later on the ship, but Anderson will overrule you. Garrus or Wrex is required to proceed on the Citadel, but the other can be rejected. Tali and Liara also must join your group for the game to proceed, if you complain on Tali Udina overrules you (you don't even get the option to complain with Liara). Ultimately, this means out of your 6 possible members, you need a minimum of 5 to complete the game, 4 of which are predetermined.
    • Mass Effect 2 has Jacob, Miranda, Jack, and Garrus invariably join you before the second plot mission but the one with most impact on the plot is Prof. Mordin, whose genius provides most of the success-relevant tech on the Normandy. However, you cannot expect to survive the Suicide Mission without losses with just the required party members. Interestingly played with for Grunt and Legion. The missions where they are acquired must be completed for the game to advance; but the manner in which they then join your team means that technically, they are actually optional. Another plot critical mission won't unlock until you have at least 8 members, but there are no further requirements for which ones.
    • You also have to bring each party member along on his/her loyalty mission, for what should be pretty obvious reasons. Because of this, loyalty missions tend to be tailored to the associated party member's special skills. The initial part of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC can be completed with any two characters. However at a certain point Liara joins your squad, and remains in it for the rest of the DLC.
    • Mass Effect 3: Liara for the Thessia and (DLC) Eden Prime missions, Tali (if she survived 2) for the first and last missions of the Geth-Quarian arc, and EDI for the assault on Cerberus headquarters.
    • The early missions in the third game force you to take along an exact party: Anderson on Earth, Ashley/Kaidan and James on Mars (until you meet Liara, then Ashley/Kaidan and Liara), and James/Liara on Menae (unless Garrus survived; then he'll replace Liara). In all cases, the game goes out of its way to justify what the other characters are doing, and you don't have anyone else in your party to bring. While it is possible to recruit Javik (if you got the DLC) prior to Menae, the game will not allow you to bring him with you on that mission.
    • And throughout the entire game you have to pick up James, EDI, and Liara and they cannot be killed outside of a Bad Ending or otherwise removed from the ship, nor is there any point in the previous games where they can die. Garrus is similar, but he can die in the finale of the second game, in which case he won't appear in the third. If he is, he automatically joins your party, and don't have the option to reject him.
    • Finally, a literal example. The DLC Citadel concludes with a party. Joker, Liara, EDI, James, Cortez, and Traynor (the only ones who must still be alive) are all automatically invited, and you cannot uninvite them. All other surviving teammates can be invited or not at your discretion.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, Jaal is automatically chosen for the mission to rescue the Moshae. Justified since it's a joint mission with the Angaran Resistance, and Jaal is their liaison to Ryder's team. Also, like in Mass Effect 2, every party member is required for their individual loyalty mission.
  • There are two points during Might and Magic VIII where a specific character is required (above the undroppable hero). First the troll Overdune Snapfinger has to be recruited as a witness to the Lake of Fire's creation (this is not so bad, since it is still relatively early in the game, and the structure of the quest means no major combat is necessary during the parts where Overdune is required). Secondly, the cleric Dyson Leland is necessary for either variant of the quest where you align with the Clerics or the Necromancers (this is annoying, since Leland is liable to be more underlevelled than Overdune, and you have to take extreme measures to avoid having to have him in the party during the combat segments).
  • Monster Hunter:
    • In Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) and 3 Ultimate, some Moga Village quests require you to bring at least one of your Shakalaka comrades to begin the quest.
    • In Monster Hunter 4 and 4 Ultimate, some Caravan quests have the Ace Palico's deployment as a requirement to start.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 had an interesting take on this that alleviated the more annoying aspects of the trope. It forced you to take Shandra along for an entire chapter.... but raised the party member limit by one to accommodate her, allowing you to take whatever team you were comfortable with in the previous chapters, plus her. When she died, the extra spot became open.
  • In Octopath Traveler, you are required to bring along a specific party member when you are doing their story quest. In addition, many quests in the game require the specific abilities of a character. Luckily, half of the party shares a similar ability with the other half, giving you a choice of who you want to use for the quest. For instance, if you need to get an item off an NPC, you can either buy it with Tressa or steal if off them with Therion. The sole exception is that, if you want access to the contents of locked treasure chests (none of which are mandatory), Therion is the only party member that can pick them open.
  • In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, each companion has a personal quest, most of which require visiting a specific location. In some cases, you can't even enter that location without having the person in the party, even after completing the quest.
  • Persona:
    • The Required Party Members in Persona vary depending on which path you take. In the SEBEC Quest, your party will ultimately consist of the MC, Maki, Mark and Nanjo, with one slot left for you to choose, and in the Snow Queen Quest, your party consists of the MC, Yukino and Ayase, with two slots to choose.
    • Persona 3:
      • The Hierophant/Lovers full moon requires you to bring Yukari (because your party was fixed last time and did not include her) so you can fall into the Lovers's mind control. This is slightly more lenient in Portable for the heroine — you'll need a full party, which ensures that you'll have to bring at least one of the guys.
      • In "The Answer", your party will consist solely of Aigis and Metis for the 2-on-2 party battles before the final door.
    • Persona 5:
      • Whenever you get a new party member, the game forces them into your party for the ensuing mini-boss battle.
      • During the lead-up to Yusuke's awakening, you are forced to do a mini-boss fight with just Ryuji at your side. He and Ann are required for Yusuke's awakening fight.
    • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, certain sidequests require specific characters in your party.
    • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, most of the "special showings" avert this, since while they give bonuses to the party members who participate, they aren't required. The exceptions are the quests in which you fight the Optional Boss of each labyrinth, since a specific character is required for each fight. Another exception is a late-game request that requires Haru and Aigis to be in your active party and Rise to serve as your navigator.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Nei in Phantasy Star II insists on coming with Rolf everywhere he goes until she's murdered by her "sister" Neifirst.
    • In Phantasy Star IV, the party right up until the final dungeon is determined by the plot at any given point.
  • In Planescape: Torment, Annah is necessary to progress into the Lower Ward. Unless you kill her, then the game opens another path for you.
  • Pokémon does this to some extent. It requires you to bring along a mon with certain special attacks if you want to get through certain dungeons.
    • Particularly, you need Rock Climb to face Red in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
    • Also sometimes a factor with event legendary Pokémon. You have to bring the three Legendary Golems, Regice, Regirock and Registeel, to Snowpoint Temple to wake up Regigigas in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum. (And unless you trade or use Pal Park to bring those mons over from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, you need the special movie Regigigas to awaken the three golems in DPP, in order to wake up the other Regigigas.) Other examples include needing Celebi in your party to get Zorua and needing the three Legendary Beasts for Zoroark in Pokémon Black and White. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, bringing the Pikachu-colored (Shiny) Pichu to Ilex Forest shrine is necessary to get Spiky-Eared Pichu.
    • Other times, the event mons are needed to trigger in-game events. Black and White have specific events for Keldeo, Meloetta and Genesect, and Pokémon Yellow has a surfing game that needs the Surfing Pikachu to activate. The HeartGold and SoulSilver have the Sinjoh Ruins event, requiring an Arceus as your lead Pokémon to activate it, and the Giovanni battle, which requires specifically a DS-generation event Celebi to activate it.
    • A much more direct example is in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, where you need to catch Rayquaza and have it in your party, since it can fly you into space and destroy the meteor in the Delta Episode. It's not at all burdensome, as Rayquaza comes into the final battle instantly a Mega and at a very high level.
    • To get the ability to teach a Pikachu Surf, you need to complete the Prime Cup while having a Pikachu in your chosen three Pokémon at the final round.
    • Mantyke in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl evolves into Mantine, but a Remoraid is required to be in your party in order for the evolution to occur.
    • In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you have to have the legendary that you caught at Spear Pillar (Dialga or Palkia depending on what clan you did the endgame with) in your party before you can leave the village to face its counterpart.
  • Various characters during the seven heroes' games in SaGa Frontier have to join your party just to advance the plot. Others, like Gen and Fuse, are required to do certain quests.
  • Played straight for most of the game yet also subverted at one point in Sailor Moon: Another Story. There are times in the game where you play as one set specific character or a set group of characters, and this holds for the first 3/5ths of the game. In the fourth "chapter" you're allowed to choose groups of Senshi, though Sailor Moon is usually required (in a few cases, Chibi Moon is). At the beginning of the fifth chapter, the Senshi split up, one group going to rescue Sailor Moon's little brother and the other to go visit the Crystal Palace. In the cut scene before choosing teams, it looks like Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury are going with Sailor Moon, while the other five (the "Outers" and Chibi Moon) are the other group. However, aside from Chibi Moon and Sailor Moon, you actually can mix this up and choose whoever you want to be in which group. There is different dialogue in the cut scenes depending on who's in which group.
  • Happens quite a bit in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, whenever you must split into teams. Usually, some choices are already pre-selected for you, which can be a pain as it locks out certain combination attacks. One especially annoying example is Omega, who becomes unobtainable if you don't find him in Eggman's City. Better hope you remembered to bring Shadow or Rouge along if you don't want him to try and murder Eggman.
  • A few of the stars in Suikoden games get thrown into your party for plot. Luckily, due to the game's levelling system, even if they're weak when you get them, they catch up fairly quickly. These are also the characters that tend to get the most characterization.
    • The first game was probably the worst about this, to the point where half of your six-person party was predetermined for the last stretch of the plot, right up to the final boss.
    • By contrast, Suikoden V included four 'extra' party slots (for a total of ten) where you could put non-combatants and spare members. So if somebody was forced into your party for plot reasons and you didn't care to use them/they were way too underleveled, you could just stick them in there and drag them along without worrying about dead weight.
  • Super Paper Mario: In Chapter 3, Peach must be the selected party member to enter the door to Francis' room.
  • Tales of...
    • In Tales of Symphonia, Collette is required in all of the boss fights at the end of Sylvarant's temples(which are seals she must open for her journey of regeneration as The Chosen One), while Sheena is required for all summon seals. Also, in order to get the location information for monsters into your Monster Book, you need to use the Magic Lens with Raine, not any of the other characters. Raine is also required for the Windmaster boss fight, because she is participating in the ritual, and Lloyd is required for the third battle with Yggdrasill, the third battle with Kratos and the battle with Origin.
    • This happens extremely often in Tales of Xillia 2, forcing an entire party formation on you for every story chapter but the last one, and requiring one or two specific members for the character episodes. Naturally, they end up making you have to fight That One Boss using a formation that doesn't have any of the party's primary healers.
  • Frequently occurs in Xenoblade Chronicles X. All missions that continue the main story require Elma and Lin on the party. Most missions unlocked through affinity with other party members must include them from the start, though some instead limit the party's usual size and disallow a character so that they can join midway through.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the signature Blades of each party member (Pyra/Mythra for Rex, Drommarch for Nia, Poppi for Tora, Brighid for Mòrag, and Pandoria for Zeke) cannot be removed from their Driver's active Blade slots. The only exceptions to this are Pyra and Mythra leaving for most of chapter 7 and an ability which Rex gets at the start of chapter 8 which allows him to equip any Blade, even the signature ones of other Drivers. Signature Blades can also be removed from the party by sending them on mercenary missions, but only during New Game Plus. In addition, there are specific quests, heart-to-hearts, and mercenary missions tied to specific rare Blades which need those Blades as part of the party.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies lets you run through the game again, once you beat Zomboss for the first time, keeping all the seeds you've collected so far - but with the price that Crazy Dave now picks three of your seeds every time, on the second play through.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • The final battle in Advance Wars has you leading three separate armies. Two of them are determined by various factors in the GBA version, but you're free to choose whoever you want in the Switch version. In either version, you're forced to use Andy as one of your three COs.
  • There are various points in Cross Edge where you'll be forced into using one or two other characters during a battle. York (Main character) and Raze get this treatment the most.
  • Devil Survivor occasionally has missions where you're required to dispatch a specific party member. For example, talking Keisuke into rejoining the party without fighting him on Day 5 leads to a fight with Kaido and Midori where he is required, and Atsuro is required for two of the game's final battles on Day 7 for (his own and Gin's ending).
  • Devil Survivor 2 has occasional battles, where certain members need to be dispatched. Usually, this occurs along with the [Character] Dies losing condition, so the player cannot cheat the system by just not dispatching that character.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce has episodes where specific characters are required to engage in the upcoming fight for plot-related reasons. Sometimes, only the select characters can be playable, or something will prevent specific characters from participating in the fight.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, an NPC will occasionally take up one of your precious party member slots, most annoyingly in the Riovanes rooftop battle where Malak is dead and can't be revived until the post-battle cutscene and a suicidally angry Rafa, who will charge headfirst into death unless your party is fast enough to intercept.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, you were often forced to take certain clan members on certain missions, mostly Adelle's Heritor missions and sub-plots involving the optional unique clan members. Likewise, Luso can't be removed from the party during storyline missions and clan trials. None of the unique characters can be sent on dispatch missions, either.
  • Fire Emblem has several chapters in most of its games where a character is forced into the party and absolutely must be used for that chapter. You usually have to keep them alive too, i.e. you can't just let them get beaten and leave the field; if they get beaten, they're dead.
    • As a rule of thumb, Can't Drop the Hero is in play. The main character can never leave the front line under any circumstances and will cause a game over if they kick the bucket.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Fae is required for the final two chapters. If you used up her irreparable, irreplaceable Dragonstone, you're in for a rotten time.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • All three lords are required for chapters 19E/20H, 21E/22H, 24E/26H, 29E/31H and the endgame.
      • Hawkeye is required for chapter 22xE/23xH.
      • Nino is required for chapter 26xE/28xH.
      • Nils is required for chapters 30E/32H and the endgame.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, both lords are required for the endgame.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, whichever dragon you recruited (Ena or Nasir) is required for the endgame.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, Robin is required for chapter 23.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, all child paralogue chapters require you to deploy the fixed parent of the child you are recruiting. For most children, it's their father, for Kana, it's Corrin, and for Shigure, it's his mother, Azura.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • All paralogues focusing on playable characters require you to bring the characters in focus.
      • Hubert is required for Chapter 12 of the Black Eagles route, the last mission before the Time Skip, if you side with Edelgard in the Holy Tomb.
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has a couple of cases, one over the course of the game, one at a specific point.
    • Over the course of the game is more a case of "Required Party Member Type": On top of Can't Drop the Hero being in play with Mario, the player must always deploy one out of four Raving Rabbids in their three-man squad, but is always free to choose which Rabbid to deploy (the game begins with two of the Rabbids in the starting party).
    • During one fight in the game, specifically the boss fight of World 2, Princess Peach is forcibly added to your party at the expense of someone else depending on the "Mario, one Mushroom Kingdom, one Rabbid" formula. If you brought two Rabbids, one will be abducted at random, but Luigi will always be ejected if you try to bring him — did you really think the devs would let you cheese the MELEE-focused boss with the Friendly Sniper?. (Seriously, use Luigi in a re-fight. You'll immediately understand.) An odd case where the character forcing is based on gameplay rather than plot.
  • Phantom Doctrine: For the final mission of the unlockable campaign, the entire party is chosen for you. You get the main character plus five new ones, and everyone is wearing "Openly Hostile" heavy armour.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole has certain story segments and battles where you are forced to use specific party members. An example of this is during the raid on Professor Chaos's base where Toolshed is with you for the majority of the battles since he owes the player character a favor.
  • Super Robot Wars games will automatically deploy certain units from time to time for plot reasons. This usually happens in the Mainline games when a stage is adapting certain episodes and/or important plot points for one or more series'. In addition, recruiting optional characters or secret mechs often require specific characters to set flags.
  • Telepath Tactics does this twice in the campaign: Teresa and Phoebe have to be included in the party in the crypt Side Quest, as does Silithis Predat in Rescuing Sarn Kamina. (In the later case, it's also an automatic game over if she dies.)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown's final mission requires you to have your brand new super soldier, the psyonic volunteer, on the team, if the volunteer dies, its game over. Interestingly, this soldier could be anyone up to the point that they are chosen, after this, they are The Hero.

  • Angry Birds 2: Previously, you could add in a single additional flock member, but the whole base roster (Red, Blues, Chuck, Bomb, Matilda, Silver, and Terrence) had to be in your flock. Averted as of the June 1, 2022 update where you could choose whatever combination of eight birds that you like, meaning that you can even put Red, the leader of the flock, on the sidelines!
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (2023): While the other two Family players can choose between Drayton, Nubbins, Johnny, Sissy or Nancy, one of them must play as the Series Mascot Leatherface.