Get ready for your demotion
Video game stardom can be a fickle mistress. One day youre on the front stage at E3 being touted as the next Halo, and the next youre in the half-price bin at GameStop. That loss of status is easy to see in long running franchises, where new additions to a series can displace once-important characters. Its sad to see that happen to a marquee star of the game, but this cycle is usually rougher on the supporting cast. As fresher personalities hop into the spotlight for the next game, these guys get unceremoniously rejected, sometimes in unfairly harsh ways.
These poor digital souls got written out of stories via brutal deaths, brief bits of dialogue, or off-screen explanations that are hardly the farewells they deserve. In the hopes of better recognizing these fallen stars, this feature recounts the worst instances of sequel exits in gaming history. Usually getting another game means success, but these guys were hapless victims to their franchises continuing.
Harry Mason (Silent Hill)
Whered he start out? Harry is the original protagonist in the Silent Hill series, so youd think the guy would command a little more respect. He was the first guy to explore the messed up town, he lost both a wife and a daughter, and then he saved the world by preventing a cult from resurrecting their god through a reincarnation of his daughter. In spite of all that effed up S, Harry finds a way to restart his life in Portland, OR, raising his daughter into a fairly normal teenager. A well-deserved finale, right?
What happened to him? Wrong. After Silent Hill 2s James Sunderland became the more recognizable lead, Harry gets a shockingly quick exit in Silent Hill 3. After meeting SH3s female protagonist in a harrowing opening, she returns home to find out her unfamiliar father has been murdered. We only find out that father is Harry after a twist reveal later in the game, making his brutal exit even more frustrating for fans of the guy. He did return in the overlooked remake Shattered Memories, though he now had many more emotional issues to deal with.
Johnny Cage (Mortal Kombat)
Whered he start out? Mortal Kombat was on some level an homage to action films of the late 1980s, and Johnny Cage might just be the most obvious reference. Cage was clearly based on Jean Claude Van Damme, right down to the crotch punch borrowed from Bloodsport. Cage was the cocky jerk you couldnt help liking (even if he wasnt as popular as Sub-Zero or Scorpion), and his spot on the roster seemed assured for all future sequels.
What happened to him? Cage was left out of Mortal Kombat 3 along with fan favorites like Scorpion and Raiden, but Johnnys off-screen absence was crueler than most. The elite fighter was killed off-screen by Shao Kahns goons, and the sting of that crappy exit was made worse by his similarly speedy demise in the first scene of the awful film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Cage's death was eventually reversed in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but the death and rebirth made it clear he was was B-tier joke character from then on.
Marine the Raccoon
Whered she start out? Sonic fans seem to have a limitless appetite for the hedgehogs collection of goofy friends. Tails and Knuckles begat Cream the Rabbit and Big the Cat, but poor Marine the Raccoon might have been a step too far. The klutzy young lady built and then sunk her own ship, meaning she spent most of Sonic Rush Adventure as a burden on the blue blur that was in constant need of assistance. She meant well and we liked her cheery Aussie accent , but Marines presence definitely made finishing the game a pain.
What happened to her? In a very rare move for the Sonic franchise, Marine has basically been excised from all following entries. Aside from a casual mention here and there, shes yet to appear in the games in any real capacity. Its understandable, but its also a weird place to draw the line with Sonics crappy friends. She might suck, but is Marine really that much worse than Silver the Hedgehogs continued existence?
Whered he start out? Bottles is a nerdy little mole that filled the thankless position of explaining the many different gameplay mechanics of Banjo-Kazooie. He made sure players and talking bears alike knew how to double jump, and he did it with a certain level of know-it-all tude and a honking voice. And should you bother him enough hell threaten to erase your save.
What happened to him? Turns out that gamers (and quite possibly Rare developers) werent the biggest fans of old Bottles, so they were likely pleased by the start of the sequel. When evil witch Grunty returned for the inevitable Banjo-Tooie, her first act is to blow up Banjos house with Bottles in it, leaving him a burnt corpse with a sad spirit hanging above it. Bottles would get resurrected and appear in future Banjo titles, but its hard to get past Kazooies eulogy of Bottles: He wasnt the favorite character in Banjo-Kazooie anyway.
Uncle Mario (Assassin's Creed II)
Whered he start out? The Assassins Creed is a centuries old maxim that takes years of training to truly understand, and each new protagonist in the franchise needs a number of side characters to initiate them. Mario Auditore not only teaches his nephew Ezio how to be an assassin, he offers up his luxurious home of Monteriggioni as sanctuary for his family and friends. Introduced with a winking Its-a me, Mario! the one-eyed Italian was a lovable gentleman that could hold his own in a fight, making him an indispensable supporting character.
What happened to him? How do you quickly establish that a new villain is way worse than the last games boss? Have that baddie murder a kindly old friend like Mario, preferably by shooting him in the head as Cesare did to Mario at the outset of Assassins Creed Brotherhood. Cesare then chopped off Marios head and put it on a pike just so Ezio (and the player) knew what a dick Cesare is. Mario had pretty much outlived his usefulness to the story, but did Ubisoft really need to go to such an extreme with dumping the sweet old teacher?
Marian Kelly (Double Dragon)
Whered she start out? 80s arcade games didnt have time for much explanation, instead choosing to keep things simple so kids would spend quarters faster. The iconic brawler Double Dragon need only say a gang had kidnapped a girl (Marian), and that brothers Billy and Jimmy needed to save her. As unoriginal as it may be, Marian played a fine damsel in distress, and she had the added twist of sometimes forcing the two brothers to fight over who gets to be her boyfriend. It was a weird kink, but it made her unique.
What happened to her? Double Dragon II decided it needed to get a little darker when it came to arcades. Instead of bothering with all the complications of your standard video game kidnapping, a rival gang straight up murders Marian in the first minute. Billy and Jimmy get revenge by beating up hundreds of street punks, and should they earn the best ending, an actual angel comes from Heaven to resurrect Marian. Its a weird fit for the gritty series, but at least it got her back in the franchise after such a cruel exit in the opening.
Johnny Klebitz (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Whered he start out? Johnny Klebitz seemed to have a pretty crappy life that was made somewhat better by climbing the ranks of the Lost Brotherhood biker gang. Johnny teamed up with some others on the fringe of the law to help steal diamonds and sell heroin, but it was all in the name of keeping his gang intact together. GTA IVs main game stuck him in the background, but Klebitz went on to star in the games high profile DLC episode, Lost & Damned. Even if he was a bit depressing at times, Johnny seemed to be more important than ever to the franchise.
What happened to him? That all changed in Grand Theft Auto 5. Beware of GTA 5 spoilers ahead! Johnny returns as a sad sack crying over his girlfriend sleeping with the games resident madman Trevor. After a brief argument, Trevor blindsides him and then stomps on Johnnys skull till Klebitz is clearly dead, though for good measure Trevor also kills several of Klebitzs best friends in the Damned. Its a shocking moment that sets up Trevor well, its just too bad Johnny had to be the sacrificial lamb. Why couldnt it be Roman?!
Aldo Trapani (The Godfather)
Whered he start out? The Godfather is perhaps the quintessential American film, but the game it inspired three decades later was hardly as definitive. Instead of controlling a Corleone, you play as a low level enforcer Aldo Trapani. He navigates a violent battle within the mafia, all of which places Aldo (seemingly the games hero) just outside the frame of some of cinemas most famous scenes. He doesnt do much of note until Aldo makes his biggest impact as one of the assassins in the games (and the films) gory finale, become one of Michael Corleones top men in the process.
What happened to him? Life is cheap as a mafioso, and eventually a bullet will catch up with you. When the eventual Godfather II game recreated the greatest film sequel of all time, Aldo gets his head blown off pretty fast for a guy that starred in a game with such huge marketing as The Godfather. But dont think youll all of a sudden be playing as one of the real Godfather characters, because Aldo is quickly supplanted by a mook known as Dominic. Oh Madone!
All of Leisure Suit Larry's girlfriends
Whered they start out? Leisure Suit Larry isnt a series that would rank high on a list of important games, but the risque adventure series is good for a racy pun or two. Each entry in the series has perennial loser Larry chasing after every available woman he meets, continually failing in humorous ways until he ultimately finds the one... woman that can actually stomach his presence. Once Larry finds love, its happily ever after.
What happened to them? The romantic ending only lasts until the first few minutes of most of the sequels. Monogamous love might be an ideal in the real world, but not so much in a smutty dating sim, so each new title places Larry back on the singles scene. This is too bad for fans of Eve, Patti, and the other women that got hastily written out of Larrys life, but honestly, theyre going to be much happier without him.
Many happy returns
The creators may have tried to sweep these characters away in favor of fresher faces, but the fans arent so quick to forget. If you readers have any characters you loved that got the boot in an erstwhile sequel, let us know in the comments!