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Rogue Protagonist

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"You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

Alright, The Hero has saved the world, paid off his debts, and made time with that girl in the blue dress. His story is done, the credits have rolled, and there was no "To Be Continued", but what's this about a Sequel? What could the guy be in for now?

...Wait, who are these new people? And where's the character from the original?

WHAT?! He's a villain now?! What happened? He went rogue.

Usually, the new main character is Locked Out of the Loop and doesn't know something that the original character does, or the other way around (or perhaps both), and they're at odds over it. Of course, there might be other reasons, but in these cases, it usually ends with the new characters and the original cast working along the same side.

Alternatively, the original character really has gone to the dark side for whatever reason. (Or may have been there the whole time...)

This often appears in Video Games, as a previous main character may be an excellent Final-Exam Boss (thus overlapping with Dueling Player Characters) or give the player A Taste of Power from their side as an Antagonist.

While it can appear that way, this isn't in effect in a P.O.V. Sequel, given that said P.O.V. Sequel is a retelling of the original story.

A Sub-Trope of Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome; also compare with Not as You Know Them. Also note how these heroes seem to avert the Bag of Spilling. See also Previous Player-Character Cameo, when the old PC isn't a major antagonist.

Compare and contrast with Fallen Hero and Role-Reversal Boss. Not to be confused with a hero who happens to be a Rogue. Or Rogue herself. Has nothing to do with Rogue One either. Enemy Without does NOT count, unless used as a subversion (via deliberate trick on the viewer).

WARNING: Expect spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Abundance, the sequel to Faith and Doubt, five of the Mane 6 become the Queens of Harmony, overthrowing the alicorn sisters, and imposing a totalitarian rule upon Equestria to achieve true harmony. As it turns out, they were manipulated by the five abstracts, who were in turn manipulated by the abstract Doubt, who wanted vengeance upon Faith for stealing her name.
  • The Immortal Game's plot is kicked off when the villains use an Artifact of Doom to transform Twilight Sparkle into the Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Nihilus, who ends up serving as the story's first Climax Boss — the heroes have to defeat her before they even think about going after the other villains.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Fate of the Furious, Dom seemingly turns to the dark side courtesy of the Big Bad, Cipher. His own team has to try and hunt him down to get some answers. Cipher's blackmailing him with the lives of his ex-lover and baby son.
  • After being the chief Kaiju hero of Godzilla (2014), and especially Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) where he's at his most heroic while saving the world from King Ghidorah, Godzilla seemingly becomes a hostile antagonist in Godzilla vs. Kong; attacking populated manmade structures for mysterious reasons, and driving Team Kong to try and reach the Hollow Earth in the hopes they can use its Unobtainium to neutralize him. Between the film's two titular kaiju, Kong is the more protagonistic and virtuous-seeming of the two, while Godzilla is portrayed as an obstacle in Kong's plot. Subverted when it's revealed that Godzilla is specifically attacking Apex facilities because he can sense that their experiments are reanimating Ghidorah's remains, and Apex have been actively taking advantage of this to frame Godzilla as a rabid menace; making Godzilla's ruthless measures against the humans whom are in his way very understandable, after everything him and humanity did side-by-side to stop Ghidorah exterminating everyone in the previous film. It culminates in Godzilla and Kong working together to destroy Mechagodzilla after Ghidorah's subconsciousness has possessed it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Jack becomes one for the last arc of Day 8, in which Chloe and the rest of the trustworthy staff at CTU have to keep him off the warpath in addition to stopping the main villains of the season. He snaps back to normal by the finale, but the sequel mini-series 24: Live Another Day shows that he's still seen by the public as this. Namely, even though he's trying to protect the President from being assassinated (again), due to his previous actions everyone's become convinced that he's the one behind the attack.
    • A couple seasons before that, it's Tony who goes into rogue solo revenge mode.
  • Kamen Rider Decade plays with this, as Tsukasa/Decade spends Final Chapter hunting down all the Kamen Riders, while the Riders believe that they must stop Decade's rampage in order to save The Multiverse. In the end, Decade turned out to still be Good All Along, as his trying to "kill" the Riders note  was the only way to save the Multiverse and the Kamen Rider legacy.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A minor example in Michael Eddington. Once the Starfleet officer sent to handle station security, he defects to the Maquis terrorist organization.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Picard is assimilated into the Borg Collective in "The Best of Both Worlds". Slightly averted in that he did not join willingly and was thus forcibly integrated into the collective consciousness, but from the point of view of Starfleet played terrifyingly straight, as the Borg gained knowledge of high-level Starfleet tactics and used that knowledge to great effect at Wolf 359.
    • Subverted in "Unification, Part 1"/"Part 2". When Spock goes to Romulus, Starfleet Command is worried that he has defected. It turns out that his motives are entirely heroic.

    Video Games 
  • In .hack//G.U., Kite's avatar from the first games is used as an evil AI. Also, Elk shows up as Endrance, who plays the part of a villain for a good portion of the game.
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, the True Final Boss of the Brutal Bonus Level is Mobius 1, the protagonist and Player Character of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (which should be chronologically impossible, as Ace Combat 04 takes place ~10 years after Ace Combat Zero, and Mobius 1 officially starts Ace Combat 04 as a newbie pilot). Later games with similar Boss Rush modes also add Scarface One of Ace Combat 2 and Blaze from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  • Armored Core:
    • It's implied in Armored Core 2 that Leos Klein is the player raven from Armored Core: Master of Arena and the original Ninebreaker.
    • In Armored Core: For Answer, main character from Armored Core 4 is the pilot of White Glint, with Fiona still being his operator, who have since joined Line Ark after Anatolia got destroyed at the end of 4. You either fight them or side with them; either way, Anatolia's Mercenary gets downed defending Line Ark.
  • Super Joe was the main protagonist of the original Bionic Commando and was also the player character of many other Capcom games from the 1980s and 1990s. In the 2009 Bionic Commando game, however, he's the Big Bad.
  • Downplayed by Aurelia Hammerlock from the Borderlands series. In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, she is an Affably Evil Villain Protagonist who even calls Jack out when he goes too far. Come Borderlands 3, and she's a much nastier NPC who ends up signing on with the Calypsos and being the Arc Villain of Eden-6.
  • Task Force 141, one of the main forces of good in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, becomes disavowed by the end of that game due to Soap killing General Shepherd, and spend about the entirety of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 working unofficially until their eventual reinstatement by NATO.
  • Castlevania:
  • This happens quite a lot in the Contra series.
    • The most notable examples are Contra: Shattered Soldier and its sequel Neo Contra. In Shattered Soldier it's revealed that the terrorist leader and Disc-One Final Boss is in fact Lance Bean, Player 2 of the classic Contra series, who as it turns out is a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to stop the World Government from destroying the planet, but who was driven insane by the Red Falcon cell he injected into himself to survive an early assassination attempt by the World Government. In Neo Contra, Bill Rizer (Player 1 of the classic series and Shattered Soldier) is the Big Bad and final boss, who wants to destroy the Earth For the Evulz (although it's heavily implied that he's actually an insane A.I. based off of Bill's mind, with the real Bill Rizer being the mentor character). Lucia (Player 2 of Shattered Soldier) is also a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad and seems gleefully evil in helping Bill destroy the world. Unlike Lance, she dies without any explanation being given for her abrupt Face–Heel Turn.
    • Also happens retroactively in Hard Corps: Uprising, where the main character is a young Colonel Bahamut, who was the Big Bad of the original Contra: Hard Corps.
  • After the Downer Ending of Chronos, the final boss of follow-up Remnant: From the Ashes turns out to be the Dreamer/Nightmare aka. the player character of Chronos who, after being manipulated into doing the Root's bidding by destroying the guardians that were keeping it from invading various worlds, is captured by it and possessed to become the new host of Clawbone, the dragon they had initially set out to destroy.
  • Dark Forces Saga:
  • In a fashion in Dark Souls III, in relation to the Final Boss. The Soul of Cinder is stated to be the corporeal manifestation of everyone that ever Linked the Fire, which could potentially include the Chosen Undead from Dark Souls and the Bearer Of The Curse from Dark Souls II.
  • Dead Rising:
    • In Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Chuck Greene appears as a Psychopath, having failed to save Katey in this continuity. Similarly, Stacey is the Big Bad of the game, replacing Sullivan.
    • The Stinger of Dead Rising 3 reveals that Isabella Keyes has developed a hatred for America that surpasses her brother's.
  • J.C. Denton, the protagonist of Deus Ex, becomes one of the major faction leaders in the sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, and is also arguably the character who is most centrally driving the game's plot (a role that usually falls to the Big Bad). You can join his faction in one ending path (and the majority of the game's plot seems to be building up to this), but if you chose any of the other 3 ending paths, he becomes the "final boss" of the game, since assassinating him becomes one of the key endgame objectives. Denton has changed quite a bit between the two games, but can still arguably be described as a "good guy", and Invisible War is much more Gray-and-Gray Morality than the first game.
  • In Devil May Cry 4, Dante is an example, showing up as a villain right out of hell, and making himself a serious enemy to Nero, the new protagonist. They do end up fighting for a similar cause later, especially when it's revealed that the guy that Dante gunned down, and who got better, is the Big Bad.
  • You learn of a possessed and evil character in Diablo II, called the Dark Wanderer. As it turns out, he's the player character of the first Diablo.note 
  • Parodied with most main characters in Nippon Ichi games, especially in Disgaea, who inevitably return as Optional Bosses in later games. Not because they've turned evil, mind you: they don't take kindly to other people stealing the Main Character spot. Also, many of them will claim they were evil in the first place. Depending on one's definition of evil, of course
    • Played straight in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, however, which features Laharl and Etna, the respective protagonist and deuteragonist of the first game, as plot-relevant antagonists. Etna wants to kill Overlord Zenon in order to take over his Netherworld, which directly opposes Adell's goal of defeating Zenon to restore the Netherworld back to a human world. Laharl, on the other hand, just wants Etna (who has joined Adell's party at this point) to come back to work for him again.
  • Lucian the divine is the canon name of the protagonist of Divine Divinity, and he does this twice:
  • Mario goes from rescuing his girlfriend in Donkey Kong to holding the big ape hostage and playing the bad guy to his son in Donkey Kong Junior.
  • Caim, the protagonist of Drakengard, appears about halfway through the sequel as the "One-Eyed Man" responsible for the death of Nowe's adoptive father. He's basically the same person he was in the first game. He's just not the viewpoint character anymore.
  • Elden Ring has an In-Universe variant. You aren't the first Tarnished to seek to become Elden Lord, but by the time the playable Tarnished shows up, most of their predecessors have, for one reason or another, abandoned their quest and are no longer guided by Grace, with the only holdouts being yourself, Sir Gideon Ofnir, Goldmask, and Hoarah Loux. And while some have just given up on the whole 'Elden Lord' deal and are still generally nice people (Nepheli Loux and Sorceror Rogier, for example), others have become villainous. The best example is Festering Fingerprint Vyke, who was once the prime candidate for Elden Lordship but has since fallen to the Frenzied Flame. Bernahl was another Tarnished close to becoming Elden Lord, but turned against the Erdtree to throw in with Volcano Manor, which has the explicit goal of murdering Tarnished so that no one will ever fix the Elden Ring. Sir Gideon Ofnir himself becomes one when something inside the Erdtree breaks his spirit and makes him believe that it's impossible to become Elden Lord.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it's shown that following the events of Shivering Isles the Hero of Kvatch has become the Daedric Prince Sheogorath. While he's not a villain per se, as the god of madness and the physical embodiment of Chaotic Neutral he's not a good guy either, considering his predecessor performed a Colony Drop on Morrowind out of either boredom or a minor slight.
  • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the kingdom of Baron is once again aggressively invading its fellow nations in order to take the Crystals. However, this time, the king of Baron is Cecil... a Brainwashed and Crazy Cecil.
  • The "Warriors of Darkness" you encounter in the 3.1 story in Final Fantasy XIV? They used to be the Warriors of Light just like you (and Word of God confirmed that the player character stand-ins shown in the 2.0 trailers are their own characters) and have forsaken the light in favor of the dark.
  • During Part III of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Ike, protagonist of the previous game Path of Radiance, and Micaiah, the protagonist during Part I of Radiant Dawn, end up commanding opposing armies and clash several times, with the player switching perspectives between chapters. Ike is the boss of Chapter 3-13 and Micaiah is the boss of Chapter 3-Endgame, though both chapters can be completed without ever attacking them (and the story doesn't change even if you do).
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a spin-off that does this by way of being an Alternate Timeline to the events of the mainline game Three Houses. Here, the protagonist is Shez, a mercenary who is implied to have died in a fight against Byleth in the original timeline, but survives in this one thanks to Arval's intervention. Shez ends up replacing Byleth as the one who saves Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude from Kostas and his bandits, essentially taking their place in the narrative — albeit as a student at Garreg Mach rather than a teacher — with Byleth remaining a mercenary themselves under Jeralt that inevitably ends up hired by whichever faction Shez has to fight against.
  • Vanessa/Vanny was the protagonist of Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted, wherein she becomes partially possessed by the Virtual Ghost of Serial Killer William Afton. She returns as the Big Bad of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, acting as Afton's Jack the Ripoff.
  • Golden Sun:
    • Isaac in Golden Sun: The Lost Age is an unseen antagonist to the game's main character, Felix. Felix intentionally avoids contact with Isaac, because he knows they're working against one another, and wishes to avoid a fight — until Felix's supposed allies Karst and Agatio try to kill Isaac, at which point the groups are forced into an uneasy alliance (and eventually team up for real once Felix convinces Isaac he's right).
    • Felix is an opponent to Isaac's group in the first game, and The Stinger for the first game makes it fairly clear that you'll be playing as Felix in TLA. Neither Isaac's goal nor Felix's has changed, so they're still at odds. Effectively, it's the player who's gone rogue.
    • Though Felix does it in reverse, and Jenna and Sheba do it without the player realising it at the time: Felix was an antagonist who then became the protagonist, and Jenna and Sheba were both prisoners who needed to be rescued as far as Isaac knew in the first game, but in the second game it turns out that Jenna was helping of her own free will and Sheba joined Felix's quest because she wanted to get to Jupiter Lighthouse.
    • Also may have happened in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, since Felix hasn't been seen since he left Vale shortly after the Golden Sun.
  • In Gothic 4, the Evil Overlord Big Bad is King Rhobar III, aka the Nameless Hero, the protagonist of the previous three games. It turns out he's possessed by a demon lord, though, and he gets exorcised in the ending.
  • In Hand of Fate 2, though with a bit of a twist: the first game makes it clear that Kallas, the player character, was always a cruel and violent person, so when you face him as the final boss in the sequel, it's not entirely out of the blue.
  • Arguably parodied in I Wanna Be the Guy, where past versions of "the Guy" are player characters from many of the games homaged.
  • In Jade Cocoon, Levant, the main character of the first game, is one of the second game's final bosses.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The big reveal in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is that Terra, one of the main protagonists, eventually gets his body hijacked by Master Xehanort, the main antagonist. As Terra-Xehanort, he releases his heart and gives birth to Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, the antagonist of the first game, and Xemnas, the antagonist of II.
    • Another protagonist gone rogue from Birth by Sleep is Aqua, who in III succumbs to darkness and has to be fought as a boss. For an added emphasis, you are playing as Sora, who can be considered as her successor in-story. It doesn't last long, however.
  • The protagonist of the original Japan-only King's Field game was Prince Alfred. In the third game (King's Field 2 in international releases), King Alfred has been possessed by the Big Bad, and his son Prince Lyle must confront him to save the kingdom.
  • The father from Lakeview Cabin becomes one of the killers on the loose in the third episode of Lakeview Cabin Collection along with his son.
  • Kain, the main character from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, is the Big Bad of the sequel Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. In a twist on the trope, Kain was already a Villain Protagonist in his own game, which was very much a story of Evil Versus Evil.
  • After the Finale of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, there's a brief Divertissement chapter where you control the main character from The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure. The segments end with a boss fight against Rean, the protagonist of Cold Steel, having been forced into helping subjugate Crossbell due to his reputation as a war hero. He's not exactly happy about his new job, though.
  • Vito Scaletta, the protagonist of Mafia II, appears in Mafia III as an ally of that game's protagonist, Lincoln Clay. If Clay doesn't give Scaletta a fair amount of rackets and territories, the latter will betray the former and will have to be fought and killed.
  • This is how you appear to your former squadmates in Mass Effect 2, seeing as how you're currently working for Cerberus, a terrorist group whose members were shoot-on-sight enemies in the first game. Ashley and Kaidan outright refuse to go with you because of it, and Tali rejoins with serious reservations about the Normandy's Cerberus-comprised crew (they attacked her people, so It's Personal). Subverted in that Shepard eventually leaves Cerberus (not to mention people like Admiral Hackett essentially considered Shepard a shadow asset the entire time), Garrus and Wrex trust Shepard without a second thought (although Garrus is reasonably concerned about the Cerberus connection), and everyone else eventually trusts Shepard once again. In fact, the only one who you can possibly kill over this is the Virmire survivor in Mass Effect 3, and even that is hard to do in standard gameplay.
  • The sympathetic and seemingly good-natured protagonist of MechWarrior 4 is revealed to have turned into a cruel despot in the expansion pack, and serves as a Disc-One Final Boss. In his case, it may have been Villainous Lineage, as he obtained the throne by overthrowing his evil dictator cousin.
    • Also, this is an explicit follow-up to one of two possible endings to the original game. Presumably, a sequel to the other ending would not feature him as a villain.
    • Word of God states that he was smear-campaigned by Katrina Steiner-Davion's loyalists and a vast majority of people bought it. Whether this means the events of Black Knight are actually what happens or some kind of Steiner propaganda is still up for debate (especially given the game's second half).
  • Mega Man Zero sets this up with Mega Man X apparently leading the slaughter of an untold number of reploids. It's subverted, but you knew that.
  • Whoever the player picks between Gray and Ashe in Mega Man ZX Advent has to fight the opposite-gendered character from the first game, that being Aile and Vent respectively. They both believe the other wants to claim a nearby Model W, and when the fight concludes, they realize they're on the same side and team up for the rest of the game.
  • Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. At the start of the Plant chapter, Raiden is repeatedly told that the leader of the terrorists is Solid Snake. Ten minutes of gameplay and one Paper-Thin Disguise later, you realize you were an idiot for thinking it was possible.
  • Metroid Prime: Federation Force: Samus Aran is the final boss of the game after having been captured and brainwashed by the Space Pirates, transformed into a giant for good measure. Thankfully, she's stuck in the Morph Ball the entire time, so the fight isn't as hopeless as you'd think.
  • Might and Magic VII: A late-game reveal is that the eight mysterious Visitors that the intro showed breaking up into two quarrelling groups are the protagonists of III, their spaceship turning out to not have crashed before IV as Corak thought and instead going from world to world. One group end up as the leading villains of the game. Either group can end up as the leading antagonists of the game, depending on if the protagonists of VII align with Bracada or Deyja.
  • This seems to be the trend in the NecroVisioN series. The protagonist of the prequel ends up becoming the Disc-One Final Boss of the main game, while the protagonist of the main game either becomes the Devil's right-hand General or (in the hardest to obtain ending) ends up becoming the Lord of Hell himself. In either case, it's pretty clear he'd be the Big Bad if any sequel was ever made. In both cases, they turned to the dark side with the intention of preventing a greater evil from occurring.
  • Ethan Waber in Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus. The events that cause him to go rogue are detailed in the online comic Shadow of the Arkguard.
  • Pizza Tower: In a meta sense. This tweet by the developer discusses a supposed prequel to the game that places Pizza Tower's protagonist, Peppino, as the villain to a Mario-esque character named Pizza Boy, referencing how Wario started as a villain and eventually gained his own series. However, while Wario never again clashed with his heroic counterpart in his personal series, it is ultimately revealed that the mastermind behind Pizza Tower's plot is Pizzahead, who is heavily suggested (and externally confirmed) to be a grown-up version of Pizza Boy who became too protective of the tower and plotted to get even with Peppino.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], Alex Mercer fought to stop the infected and Blackwatch from destroying New York. [PROTOTYPE 2] has him spreading the infection, including to the new player character, James Heller. The reasons for his Face–Heel Turn, given in a Motive Rant towards the end and a prequel comic, seem to be out of line with his characterization at the end of the first game. The best explanation is that he ended up seeing things that convinced him that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 5 as a result of being Brainwashed and Crazy by Wesker.
  • During the events of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, it is revealed that Penelope has undergone a Face–Heel Turn and is working with the game's Big Bad Cyril Le Paradox.
  • In Silent Scope EX, Falcon, the series' protagonist, and Jackal, one of the other protagonists of the second game, can be one of the suspects attempting to assassinate the President.
  • In Slender: The Arrival, the Chaser is revealed to be the Brainwashed and Crazy protagonist from the first game, Kate.
  • Another BioWare example: Revan shows up in Star Wars: The Old Republic, having spent 300 years since Knights of the Old Republic as the Sith Emperor's prisoner/conduit/favorite toy, his life artificially prolonged by Sith alchemy. The Republic side frees him, but we see later, playing as the Imperial faction that he's found yet another Rakata battlestation, a ton of droids, and decided to commit genocide on anyone with a trace of Sith blood (about 98% of the Imperial population, and probably a significant chunk of the Republic's), and is completely insane by the time the party puts him down like a rabid mutt. In Shadow of Revan, he becomes a big enough galactic threat that it warrants an alliance between the Republic and Empire headed by his own descendant.
  • Misleading trailers were released to make it seem like this would be Yuri in Shadow Hearts: Covenant: The trailer made it seem like two new characters would be the leads and with only a brief appearance of Yuri. When the game came out though, Yuri was the main character and almost all the scenes in the trailer never occurred.
  • In Streets of Rage 4, one of the bosses you fight in the second half is Max, one of the playable characters from the second game, seemingly being mind-controlled by the Big Bads.
  • In Tactics Ogre, there is a Gaiden Game for the Game Boy Advance called The Knight of Lodis. Whatever happened to the titular Knight of Lodis? He becomes a Climax Boss in Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together, essentially an antagonist, but not the antagonist.
  • Chronologically inverted since Tales of Berseria is a prequel to Tales of Zestiria. Eizen succumbs to malevolence between games, turns into a dragon, and has to be put down by Sorey and his party, while Laphicet becomes the dragon Maotelus, gets corrupted, and has to be purified by the same.
  • Lloyd Irving in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is seen as a murderer at first, in stark contrast to his ideals in the first game. Emil hates him for killing his parents in a brutal massacre of Palmacosta. Of course, he's not really a villain. The Lloyd who committed those crimes was Decus wearing a disguise.
  • The Tekken series has this a lot. Kazuya is the protagonist in the first game but becomes the antagonist from the second game onward. Jin, Kazuya's son, is the protagonist in the third game, and remains in the role for the next two games before finally taking an antagonistic turn in Tekken 6. The main distinction here is that Kazuya was always meant to be a villain from Day 1, whereas Jin turns out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to combat a greater evil brought to life by his family's ongoing bloody feud.
  • In the True Mastermind Edition of Time Crisis 5, Robert Baxter from Time Crisis II is revealed to be the Big Bad.
  • In Torchlight II, the Alchemist, one of the three player classes of the first game, is revealed to still have the Ember Corruption, and has become obsessed with it. By the time the story starts, he's murdered Syl, blown up Torchlight, and stolen the Heart of Ordrak, the first game's Big Bad.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Subverted. While Bernkastel, who was originally a part of Rika, the protagonist of Higurashi: When They Cry, became this after going through a "Groundhog Day" Loop and becoming an amalgamation of all the pain from it, Word of God states that Bernkastel is essentially an Enemy Without, being purged from Rika’s consciousness after the Dice Killing Chapter.
  • Lenneth Valkyrie from Valkyrie Profile is essentially the main antagonist (from Wylfred's eyes) in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, and can be the final boss (depending on which ending is viewed.)
  • Clyde from Vigilante 8 turns heel in the sequel. His ending in the first game has him finding the villain's bracelets in a men's bathroom, and it possesses him when he puts them on.
  • Angela Deth was one of the four party members in Wasteland and a supporting character in Wasteland 2, but in Wasteland 3 she's an Anti-Hero whose Black-and-White Insanity causes her to antagonize the Player Character for trying to placate the morally gray Patriarch and her actions potentially instigate a Civil War among the Desert Rangers and Colorado as a whole unless you met the requirements for the Golden Ending.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Melia and Nia (main party members from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, respectively) appear as the queens of Keves and Agnus, with the two nations fighting a bloody Forever War for no clear reason, showing no concern over sending their subjects to die in droves. Subverted, as the queens are actually robot Puppet Kings used to control the two nations by the real villains, Moebius. The real Melia and Nia are still firmly on the side of good, ultimately playing key roles in freeing the world from Moebius.
    • In the DLC story, Future Redeemed, Alvis, the god-like AI who lead Shulk to save the world in Xenoblade Chronicles 1, returns (now calling himself Alpha). He intends to destroy the world of Aionios and everyone who originated from the Bionis or Alrest, planning to create a new world in its place that he considers "old life" unworthy of. Justified, as he is now following his programming with cold logic, with Pneuma, Logos, and Klaus no longer around to give him a moral framework. Ultimately Zigzagged, as a part of him eventually splits off to form A: Essentially, his conscience. A is composed of his memories of the time with Shulk, still on the side of good, and ultimately acknowledged by Shulk to be the true "Alvis".

    Web Animation 
  • Agent Washington in Red vs. Blue, who makes the switch between seasons 6 and 8. Though arguably he ends up not a villain but as an Anti-Hero Antagonist, as he has understandable non-evil (if selfish) goals which just end up opposing the other main characters' goals. Wash risks his life to obtain the evidence needed to implicate The Director and is captured while attacking a secure facility. Unfortunately, the person with the evidence would rather use it to rescue his friend than turn the evidence in to the authorities. So Wash is arrested. He then shifts to the mentality of "Being a hero sucks, I am just gonna clear my name and move on", which puts him in direct opposition with the Reds and the Blues. He does take a level in ruthlessness, as he shot Donut and Lopez just to prove a point, and threatens Simmons and Doc with torture. He has a Heel–Face Turn that sticks after the finale, when the Blood Gulch Crew saves him from the Meta, and helps him escape the UNSC by disguising him as Church.

    Web Original 
  • Lore for the Twitch Plays Pokémon runs have it so that the first player character, Twitch Plays Pokémon Red's Red, eventually goes insane from the Voices in his head and becomes the zealous emissary of the Helix fossil by the time of Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal. When he is fought on Mount Silver the end of the run by the new anti-god protagonist AJDNWW, it's portrayed as a clash of ideals from one "Host" to another.

    Western Animation 
  • Aqualad in Young Justice (2010). After spending the first season as the Arc Hero, he's become The Dragon in the second. While ultimately revealed to be a Fake Defector sent by Nightwing to infiltrate The Light, he is forced to commit genuinely villainous acts to maintain his cover.


Video Example(s):


Getting Abby Killed (spoilers)

During a sequence in The Last Of Us 2, players can control Abby, a character that Naughty Dog had wanted players to feel sympathy for. Unfortunately, they have her go against Ellie, one of the protagonists of the first game who they felt more sympathetic towards and so allow her to kill Abby.

How well does it match the trope?

3.55 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnintentionallyUnsympathetic

Media sources: