Video game characters like Ezio Auditore can seamlessly transition into different genres, as seen in his shift from a parkour expert to a tactical leader in the
Lara Croft evolved from a platforming puzzle-solver to an action hero in the rebooted
games, with a focus on combat and stealth.
Kratos from the
God of War
series transitioned from a hack-and-slash god to a caring father in a story-driven action adventure series, showcasing a more nuanced fighting style.
Whenever the idea of a new video game is conceived, the developers have to think about the perfect playable protagonist for that type of game. For instance, a colorful animal mascot seemed to be the perfect playable character in the 90s. Developers cannot anticipate that these characters will be popular enough to front an entire series, nor can they foresee these protagonists becoming part of another video game genre.
Despite this, there have been plenty of examples of video game characters who have been successful in other genres than the one they were created for. This may be because they have been around so long to be instantly recognizable to fans, or that their story can be told in new ways. As such, there are also lots of iconic video game characters that could easily jump genres if given the chance.
6 Ezio Auditore
From Parkour Expert To Tactical Leader
Assassin’s Creed Revelations
- November 15, 2011
Ezio Auditore is the second protagonist in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. This Italian Casanova is thrust into a life of covert assassinations when his father and brother are killed in front of him in Assassin’s Creed 2, a game that slightly updates the combat and parkour mechanics from the first game. However, players get to spend much more time with Ezio than expected. This assassin is the protagonist of three games in the series, and is quite old by the time he gets to Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
Assassin’s Creed Protagonist Tier List
Assassin’s Creed boasts a wealth of protagonists across its games, each telling their own unique tales and leaving lasting memories with fans.
As such, Ezio takes on a new role during the third game in his story. The main gameplay is still centered on doing parkour across rooftops and taking out key targets, but the developers added a new mini-game to the series. Since Ezio is one of the senior leaders in the Creed, he now gets to recruit and train the new assassins. Part of this new role involves a tower defense game that sees Ezio trying to control an army and fend off an attacking force. It may not have been part of a spin-off game, but Ezio slides seamlessly into the role of commander in this franchise.
5 Lara Croft
From Platforming Puzzle-Solver To Action Hero
When Lara Croft first debuted on the PlayStation in 1996, much of the promotional material depicted the Tomb Raider protagonist wielding a pair of guns. In truth, these guns were hardly used in the early games in the series, and players mainly used Lara Croft to platform around narrow tombs and solve puzzles. However, her duties would change when it came to rebooting the series in 2013.
Video games have come a long way in the twenty years since Lara’s debut, so re-crafting this adventurer’s story made for the perfect action-adventure game. The new games saw a young Lara Croft lost on an island with nothing but her wits to save her. There were still platforming challenges and puzzles in this series, but gameplay was focused far more on combat and stealth than before.
From Hack And Slash God To Caring Father
God of War
- March 22, 2005
- Hack and Slash
Kratos is a video game protagonist who is much like Lara Croft in the fact that he had to switch genres to fit with the times. The early God of War video games were released on the PS2, which meant that the combat engine and cutscenes had to be a lot simpler in those early games. As such, the God of War series became an iconic hack-and-slash series, and Kratos fit this genre perfectly.
Heartwarming God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla Detail Shows How Much Kratos Loves Atreus
An easily missable detail within God of War Ragnarok’s recently released Valhalla DLC shows just how strong Kratos’ bond with his son is.
However, this god could be updated by the time the PS4 was released. As a result, Kratos soon became the face of a story-driven action adventure series, instead of a puppet for young button-mashers. The cut scenes and story in this new saga paint Kratos as a much more sympathetic character, and his fighting style is much more nuanced.
3 Spyro The Dragon
From Platforming Mascot To Unlockable Toy
- Android , iOS , PC , Nintendo 3DS , PS3 , PS4 , Wii , Wii U , Switch , Xbox 360 , Xbox One
- October 13, 2011
- Toys For Bob, XPEC Entertainment, Vicarious Visions, n-Space, Beenox, Com2Us
- Platformer , toys to life
The first trilogy of Spyro games were a big success for the PlayStation in the late 1990s. However, when the lead developers, Insomniac Games, left the franchise to focus on other projects, the purple platforming dragon was left up in the air for a while. Other developers tried to take the character in the same direction, but they failed to capture the same success of the early games. That left Spyro the Dragon out of the picture for a while until Skylanders was released in 2011.
Best Skylanders Games, Ranked
While Skylanders might not be a household gaming name anymore, there are still a boatload of titles for fans to check out.
Skylanders was a toys-to-life game that allowed players to purchase real toy figurines to plug into their console and use in the game. One of the more popular characters in this series full of mini-games and loot chests was Spyro, and he fit seamlessly alongside the other characters in this series until Toys For Bob remastered his original trilogy of games in 2018.
2 Crash Bandicoot
From Platforming Hero To Racing Legend
CTR: Crash Team Racing
- October 19, 1999
Crash Bandicoot is often considered to be the orange counterpart of Spyro the Dragon. This marsupial was the star of his own trilogy of platforming games on the PS1 until its main developer, Naughty Dog, decided to step away. However, Crash managed to get his own spin-off series long before players expected.
In a strange move for the time, Crash Bandicoot received a cart-racer in the form of Crash Team Racing in 1999. The game turned out to be a rousing success, taking all the characters and chaos from the platforming games and placing it in this fun multiplayer racer. Crash Bandicoot would go on to appear in other video game genres, but he went back to his platforming roots after the release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
From Platforming Mascot To Whatever Nintendo Needs Him To Be
Mario the plumber first debuted in 1981 as the player character in Donkey Kong under the name “Jump-Man.” This arcade game was so successful that Nintendo then gave the mascot his own platforming game in 1986. Since then, Mario has been a big platforming hero, starring in a series of games that perfectly fit this genre.
However, Mario and his cast of supporting characters are so famous that they are often used to promote new genres of video games by Nintendo. As a result, Mario has appeared in cart-racers, tennis games, party games, and has even had a string of games set at the Olympics. There seems to be no genre of video game that Mario the plumber will not fit into, and that is why he is the crown jewel of Nintendo.
10 Forgotten Video Game Mascots
These mascots may not have the popularity of Mario or Sonic, but they still deserve to be remembered for their place in video game history.