Non-playable characters we wish were playable

Over the years we’ve been forced to control some fairly dreadful characters. Monosyllabic space marines. Sassy cartoon marsupials. Ashley Graham. And the really annoying thing is most of these boring, obnoxious or insipid playable stars have been surrounded by brilliantly offbeat, charming or mysterious NPCs we’d have loved to control. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate list of characters who were criminally left out in the NPC cold and why they'd have offered awesome diversions in the games you never controlled them in.

As not played in: Resident Evil 4

Seriously, how could we kick this list off with anyone but Mr. ‘WELCOME STRANGER’. Already a cult figure after only one Resi game – eat that Barry Burton – the mysterious, enigmatic Merchant would be a brilliant playable character. Just imagine your trench coat billowing every time you drew your - almost unlimited supply – of guns to cap some undead ass. Hell, we can just see it now: The Merchant in a post-modern Wild West zombie game. It would sell, literally, three copies. Awesome.

As not played in: FIFA 09

So we could reward players with the card they deserve when they cynically scythe down a man running through on goal. A Noel Redmonds. An early bath. A red card, in other words, ref.

As not played in: Street Fighter II

Who's the most badass character in the Street Fighter series? Chun Li and her calves of concrete? M. Bison and his Hitler-shaming ways? That green bloke known as Jimmy to his mum? Nope. It’s the poultry-strangling, black hole where his heart should be, background character from Miss Li’s Street Fighter II stage. We can barely comprehend how vicious his ultra move would be in SF IV. We’d just clear all our fouls out of Dodge.

As not played in: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Why control an evil-faced planet that’s stuck in a time warp, which could flatten such a charming place as Termina, you ask? So we could flatten Tingle. Again and again… and again. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: What. An. Asshole.

As not played in: Shenmue

So we could kill Ryu at the start and never go through the pain of playing through two incredibly absorbing adventures, which left us wanting the supposed three final parts that would never come. Thus avoiding the insanity that has plagued our souls over a lack of closure ever since.

As not played in: Ico

To prove girls can actually jump across a two foot gap without male assistance.

David Meikleham
Google AMP Stories Editor

David has worked for Future under many guises, including for GamesRadar+ and the Official Xbox Magazine. He is currently the Google Stories Editor for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, which sees him making daily video Stories content for both websites. David also regularly writes features, guides, and reviews for both brands too.