Player-Protagonist Narratives in Games

Noah Johnson
Noah Johnson

What are some games that subtly combine the union/separation between Player and RPG Protagonist into the narrative? I'll give examples:
Dragon's Dogma
Persona 4&5
Fate/Extella
- Dragon's Dogma, the player enters in only when the otherwise NPC protagonist is forced to be a protagonist. It ends with the player committing suicide, thus forfeiting their ability to continue playing the game (which is fine since they could barely interact to begin with at that point). The NPC at their side which was slowly learning to be more human by aping the behavior of their master(player) finds themselves in the Player's vessel character, literally meaning the NPC has replaced the player as the protagonist and will presumably continue on in-game as the character the player controlled, making them the new player, so to speak.
- Persona 4&5 departs continues on despite the story ending and both the player and the protagonist are given a "farewell" ending, despite the fact that both protagonists will in-game continue on with those friends and relationships. The Goodbye scenes serve as the entering and departing points of the player in the protagonist's life for the adventure, and once the adventure is done, the player leaves. P5's protagonist even looks up essentially at the player in the ending (likely because he had the most direct personality, even involving internal monologues and suggestions from the first-person perspective).
- Fate/Extella is about hunting down the servant of a….giant, "culture" eating…planet? It's stupid, but the main villain hops timelines and the protagonist tries to stop them - only the protagonist acutally has no idea what is happening, only the player does. The player slips between the three perspectives and timelines in pursuit despite the protagonist not really knowing anything, meaning the player uses the protagonist vessel to solve the problem (which is helped by a really stupid loli). The player IS the protagonist, and yet he transcends the protagonist in a metatextual sense. Once the protagonist is reunified the player's interaction ends, divorcing the need for the transcendental player from the now resolved protagonist and his waifu (and one which basically makes you Muhammad-teir…)

What are some other games which do this sort of thing? I think Dark Souls 3 has something but I don't know.

Joseph Collins
Joseph Collins

the status screen in persona 5 "dont look at me like that" and his hand trying to cover his face

Christian Kelly
Christian Kelly

Sekien no Inganock
Can't explain it without spoilers.

Undertale
Chara's entire existence is implied to be the player. It's subverted.

OFF
Right from the start, the player is introduced as a godlike guiding figure for the protagonist.

Leo Turner
Leo Turner

Ace Wombat 2

Adrian Ortiz
Adrian Ortiz

I want to say DS2 because of the scene at the beginning with the witches and the end since the game is about cycles.

Bentley Phillips
Bentley Phillips

Baten Kaitos

Blake Roberts
Blake Roberts

Off
What the fuck are you talking about you play God the whole fucking time

Alexander Rogers
Alexander Rogers

Sekien no Inganock
Never heard of it but the artwork looks really interesting. Why didn't you mention this in the vnthreads?

off
Also never heard of it. Is it in English?

Dylan Campbell
Dylan Campbell

Baten Kaitos
You gotta say more than that, mate. Besides, the game is ages old so you can spoil it behind spoiler blacks.

Do you mean the character from DS2 just loops back without the player, or that the player is trapped in a cycle? What do you mean?

heh Never thought of it that way before.

Samuel Diaz
Samuel Diaz

You mean this?

Zachary Carter
Zachary Carter

Is it in English?
It's French, but it's got a English translation.

Hudson Diaz
Hudson Diaz

White knight chronicles has you make your own personal character and then puts you in control of the protagonist over yourself, to the point of actually removing control of yourself at times to have you control the protagonist alone instead of yourself. It's the weirdest disconnect i've ever seen in the game.

Kevin Howard
Kevin Howard

The latter, the game gives the player the option to reset the world and begin the game in NG+ as another cycle.

Benjamin Bennett
Benjamin Bennett

- Dragon's Dogma, the player enters in only when the otherwise NPC protagonist is forced to be a protagonist. It ends with the player committing suicide, thus forfeiting their ability to continue playing the game

"The player only controls the character during the game, and they stop controlling the character when they die because they're fucking dead."

I really hate it when pretentious fuckwits try to make something 2deep. This just reminds me of all the "is X game actually about a person in a coma/dead/dying?" "theories". Same goes for trying to make something out of how a fuckton of games have some sort of fourth wall-breaking "thanks for playing the game, bye" scene.

Nathaniel Moore
Nathaniel Moore

Bravely Default and Bravely Second.
Barvely Second end layers title even changes to Send Player.

Tiz even goes into a coma between games because the "spirit" left him and since it finding refuge in him was what saved his life when his village was destroyed he was unable to do anything but sleep and dream after it had left him at the end of Default

Luis Watson
Luis Watson

Fate/Extella
Stopped right there. The game is just shameless fanservice and does absolutely nothing but retcons a fuck ton of stupid shit and makes the already convoluted plot of Extra even worse.

Xavier Walker
Xavier Walker

And i highly reccomend them.

Althoigh i will say that whilst the first has, in my opinion better classes and music (behind enemy lines ==HNNNGG== ) the second has music just barely not as great because they changed the dungeon theme but has a far better story and characters imo. The jobs in the second are also fantastic and unique and it may just be i havent fully explored them enough.

Thougj the catnomancer and chef are retarded and i will not budge from that position.

Also one of the villains in the games is basically a french jew that looks like a rat. The best he becomes is a true neutral asshole who cares almost entirely about dollars

Adam Hall
Adam Hall

Tiz even goes into a coma between games because the "spirit" left him and since it finding refuge in him was what saved his life when his village was destroyed he was unable to do anything but sleep and dream after it had left him at the end of Default
Now that's the kind of thing we're talking about! I never got into it because of the style but maybe it's worth it.

a fuckton of games have some sort of fourth wall-breaking "thanks for playing the game, bye" scene.
I can't remember more than these. What are you thinking of? And that's not the same as the player-protagonist deal we're talking about.
And what's "2deep" about what I said? You just reiterated my point to an extent.

Also this. Totally forgot about that. Good call.

Anthony Hill
Anthony Hill

Bravely Default is a fantastic game and while chaptrrs 5 through 8 are tedious its only if you dont grind right (ie early on go for the jp up skills and the lile asap so you get shitloads of xp. Also auto battle makes grinding a cinch)

Joshua Price
Joshua Price

In Guardian Heroes Advance, the story begins with a common soldier sacrificing his spirit so his body can be possessed by the Undead Hero. You (the player) are the Undead Hero's spirit, and take command of the soldier's body from that point on. The story refers to this split several times throughout the game.

Juan Martin
Juan Martin

You literally play as yourself in these games, communicating with the characters through a terminal or robot.

Charles Miller
Charles Miller

Baten Kaitos
The main character occasionally stops to ask you, the player, something and you just pick a dialogue option. It's revealed that he's talking to/you're actually playing as the last remaining shred of consciousness from some dead god that you learn about during the story. You're right, that game is ancient, so I might have some details wrong.

Jacob Anderson
Jacob Anderson

Ah man, Ar nosurge was so good. I can't believe I forgot that one! That's probably the quintessential example all around, I think.

THAT SOUNDS GREAT! I never got into it since people told me it was a card game battle system. Now I think I missed out.

William Davis
William Davis

That caveat reminds me of Growlanser's schtick with the down-level rings and how you need to lower your level to get more exp for your stats early on or you basically cannot even finish half the game. Stupid angel thing running away…

Might check those Braves out now, though.

Sounds like a reverse Dragon's Dogma thing. That's really interesting. Too bad I don't have a gibby anymore.

Julian Sanders
Julian Sanders

I never got into it since people told me it was a card game battle system
Slightly true. It still plays like an RPG, but your commands and equipment are cards you draw from a deck. Gamecube emulation is really good, so I'd encourage you to give it a shot. The soundtrack is also incredible, and should sound very familiar if you're a fan of Star Ocean.

Oliver Clark
Oliver Clark

I don't know if that counts, but in Kid Klown the player is asked to help the protagonist because he is a dimwitted imbecile and would never finish the mission by himself.

Josiah Campbell
Josiah Campbell

Panzer Dragoon Saga, the protagonist dies at the end of the game and the player enters him, resurrecting him and causing the dragon to come to his aid. The Dragon's loyalties are more to you, the player than Edge, the protagonist. The Dragon's mission is to take you, the player and your vessel, Edge, to the main Tower where you have to turn off the simulation the Ancients started after their civilization got wiped out, which causes all the monsters and destruction to happen in the world.
There's other neat little details like how everyone speaks Panzer Dragoon's in-world language but after naming yourself as the player and taking over Edge's body everyone speaks Japanese, which considering the games country of origin means you can understand their language after entering Edge. This video should show you that, there's some commentary from the uploader outside of the cutscenes but it's good enough since it shows what I'm talking about.

Thomas Evans
Thomas Evans

I meant dies at the start of the game, sage for double post.

Brayden Bailey
Brayden Bailey

I thought Marathon had one of the more subtler 'just do what you're told to do' stories since the theme of freedom plays a large part in it. You're often following the orders of AI's talking to you through text terminals in order to defend your colony ship against alien slavers, and later on you get kidnapped for shits 'n giggles by one of the other on-board AIs called Durandal who's gone rampant and desires freedom above else.

To do so he was the one who led the alien force to your colony ship, so he could escape using their ship and more advanced technology. Over the course of the game he treats you like a tool for killing aliens, as that's what the gameplay is about: killing aliens. He asks you whether you actually wonder why is it that you're so good at killing things, and whether that's your actual purpose in the story. Through the lore it's heavily hinted that you're a WMD on two legs illegally sneaked aboard the ship posing as a security guard, and that you're a cyborg implanted with ancient alien technology your creators didn't fully understand, but that your kind was declared illegal after the sheer carnage a handful of them committed in a past war.

In Marathon Infinity you voluntarily or involuntarily travel between timelines in order to find the right one with the right causality conditions so you can prevent a Lovecraftian horror from escaping the planet it was imprisoned in after it got nuked open at the end of Marathon 2. What's interesting is that in these different timelines you end up working as a conditioned cyborg unit for another AI who got captured and tortured by the aliens after the events of the first game only to end up being really fucking pissed at Durandal for calling over the aliens in the first place and the humans who only used him like a tool. So under him your missions involve killing your former human brethren and killing Durandal instead, amongst some of the timelines. In between traveling timelines you have to go through dream levels which have some text terminals that contain some stream-of-consciousness accounts of your own player-character's dreams and that you might feel guilty about your actions. At the end of the game you contain the cosmic horror, and are set free by Durandal to do whatever you want, at which point the game ends, which is a rather fitting way for the trilogy to end.

Jayden Baker
Jayden Baker

the game deliberately delves into the spiritual aspect of ones actions with the player taking a literal role of the holy spirit, the dragon the father, and edge, the son. It's subtle story, but the hints that are there are more than enough to get the message across. Probably one of the best examples of a meta narrative in games.

Brandon Hernandez
Brandon Hernandez

That's completely bizarre

Caleb Roberts
Caleb Roberts

That sounds really interesting, mate! Why have I never heard of this before?
And is that a chart for the story?

Angel Jackson
Angel Jackson

Fire Emblem 7 does this with "the strategist"

and not like awakening with Robin, where canonically robin is his own character. in 7 you are the strategist and part of the group, and they all follow your lead.

Nolan Jenkins
Nolan Jenkins

Skyrim

Ryan Wilson
Ryan Wilson

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