Supporting characters who deserve their own game

Gaming has had no shortage of memorable protagonists over the years. From an adventurous Italian plumber who really doesn't do a lot of plumbing to a blue hedgehog who has an addiction to going fast, there seems to be a character for everyone when it comes to major video game franchises.

These heroes haven't been able to do it all on their own, though, and sometimes their companions are just as interesting as they are. Often, this can lead to a spin-off series thanks to the demands of fans, but that isn't always the case. We've seen a lot of larger-than-life side characters never realize their potential in their own solo adventure, and we can't let that injustice stand any longer. That's why we've compiled a list of video game supporting characters who deserve their own game. We hope you're listening, developers!

Waluigi (Super Mario Bros.)

The fact that Waluigi hasn't actually had his own game yet is nothing short of mind-boggling. This is the same Waluigi who has had several campaigns to get him included in Nintendo games.

Waluigi started out as a quick palette swap to create Wario's doubles partner in Mario Tennis, representing the evil to Luigi's innocent bliss. His name even means "Bad Luigi," just in case Nintendo hadn't really driven that point home with the sketchy mustache and general maliciousness. Since then, he's been a staple of Mario games that need a larger cast: think Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Mario Party, and others. The thing is, he's developed a cult following over the years, despite never really being given much attention by Nintendo.

Waluigi is also the perfect candidate for a supporting character getting his own game because he literally does not have an origin story to speak of. He just waltzed into the Mushroom Kingdom one day and was buddies with Wario. There's a lot of room to tell his backstory, and we for one yearn for the day that we'll be able to understand exactly what it is that makes Waluigi the absolute specimen of a man he is today. It's Waluigi's world, and we're all just living in it. Somebody just needs to let Nintendo know that.

Zelda (The Legend of Zelda)

Here's another case of a video game supporting character who seems too impactful to have not had her own title yet. Princess Zelda of The Legend of Zelda fame is one of the most iconic characters in all of video gaming, despite not having actually starred in a game as the proper protagonist.

While Zelda might have initially made a name for herself as one of the damsels in distress that populated early video game narratives, more recent interpretations of the character have revealed a strong, cunning woman who is able to take care of herself when evil comes knocking. In Breath of the Wild, she's a huge reason Link is able to regain his lost power and end the threat facing the kingdom forever, and in Ocarina of Time, Zelda adopts the ninja alter-ego of Sheik to aid Link in his quest throughout the game, all while avoiding Ganondorf's careful watch.

Sheik has been a favorite of The Legend of Zelda fans for years, but we'd like to see the Princess proper get her own starring role. Link has gotten into plenty of trouble over the years — maybe it's time Zelda was the one doing the saving? The Legend of Link has a pretty decent ring to it, all things considered.

Falco Lombardi (Star Fox)

Falco Lombardi is a curious case because, unlike the rest of the characters on this list, he's actively been petitioning to become a main character for most of his time as an on-screen character in the Star Fox franchise. He's the second-most talkative character in Star Fox 64 and is the squad member who seems to be the most popular with fans, likely because he offers a cynical, mature alternative to the constant optimism of Hare and … whatever it is that Slippy does.

Falco has also found success as a supporting character outside of Star Fox, as he has flirted with the top tier of various Super Smash Bros. metagames during competitive tournament play. Still, though, he's been inextricably tied to Fox in both the Star Fox and Super Smash Bros. games, with the latter series even giving both characters extremely similar movesets.

It's about time for Falco to spread his wings and earn his first solo video game. He's actually a pretty interesting character with a mysterious past and an on-again, off-again romantic endeavor that could easily fuel a game's worth of narrative, and if it means getting some more Star Fox-style gameplay in our lives, it's well worth the shot.

Atreus (God of War)

Atreus is the son of one of the most powerful video game characters in history, Kratos. Kratos himself is a demigod, and the man responsible for slaying most of the Greek pantheon over the course of the God of War series. That alone would be enough of a pedigree to make Atreus an extremely fascinating protagonist, but the most recent God of War establishes Kratos' son as a character to watch in other ways, too.

First, Atreus is portrayed as being quite capable for his age, despite various slip-ups in the narrative due to his inexperience. More importantly, however, Atreus' mother, Laufey, was actually a frost giant. For those keeping track at home, that makes Atreus one-quarter god, one-quarter mortal, and half-frost giant. That's a lot of power residing in one being.

Towards the end of the game, it's revealed that Atreus has another name, too, one given to him by his mother: Loki. While we're sure that's going to play a role in a future God of War game anyways, it makes Atreus the perfect successor to the series once Kratos' role has run its course, and he's a character who desperately deserves a solo opportunity in the near future. Just imagining what Santa Monica Studio could do with God of War's engine and a trickster god's abilities is a mouth-watering prospect.

Ghost (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)

Ghost was a major part of the reason that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is such a memorable entry into a franchise filled to the brim with strong entries. His skull-patterned balaclava is consistently one of the most popular customization options in Call of Duty titles that allow it, and he's one of characters in the series' many narratives whose death feels like a major blow to the player.

Ghost is also a case of wanting more because you've been given so little. While he's an interesting character and has had a lot of his background fleshed out in comics after the fact, during Modern Warfare 2 he's more mysterious, even a little brooding. As the game progresses he begins to talk a little bit more, just to have him be betrayed and killed alongside Roach, the player character, in one of the more shocking twists the franchise has ever produced.

Despite his death, though, Ghost is worthy of his own prequel game, especially now that we know better about what his early life was like. Surviving an abusive childhood, capture by the enemy, torture, and flirtations with madness and anger issues, Ghost is the kind of redemption narrative that people could really get behind in a shooter. Unfortunately, given the fact he's already been given so much extra attention outside of the video game series proper, it seems unlikely we'll get a Call of Duty that revolves around him.

Morrigan (Dragon Age)

Dragon Age: Origins had a lot of characters worthy of their own spin-offs, so it's difficult narrowing the cast down to just one above the rest. Even still, Morrigan seems like the clear-cut winner here thanks to a combination of popularity, overall power relative to the game's universe, and history.

Morrigan is an extremely powerful swamp witch raised by someone who turns out to be an evil ancient dragon that was plotting to use her as a vessel to continue its artificially extended life. When that's your mother figure, it probably messes with your head a bit. That's probably why Morrigan is also one of the most morally grey characters in the Dragon Age series, with moments of compassion interspersed with vile, selfish actions that serve to further her own power.

Morrigan is the type of character who can easily make fans root for or against her at the snap of her fingers, which would make a game starring her a roller coaster ride. She's also one of the most powerful spellcasters in Dragon Age's world, so much so that it would be believable and fun to track her journey at any point during the narrative — though, we have to admit, we'd personally be pulling for a chronicle of what happens when she leaves for Skyhold at the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Sans (Undertale)

What is there to say about Sans that hasn't already been said? Undertale is a game that couldn't seem to create an uninteresting character, and in a sea of monsters that endeared themselves to players, Sans still manages to stand out amongst them as the one who we couldn't help but fall in love with. The easy-going skeletal brother of Papyrus is exactly the kind of philosophical, mostly-hands-off presence that belies a very powerful hero underneath his cool exterior.

Depending on which of the equally beautiful and intense paths an Undertale player takes, Sans is either alive and very happy or dead and (presumably) pretty bummed about it. There's no confirmed canon ending, so it's not like we can state with certainty that developer Toby Fox has left Sans alive to fight another day, but given the popularity of both the true, peaceful ending and Sans himself, we'd be surprised if that wasn't a possibility. There's just so much about Sans that needs to be explored, and a spin-off game would be the perfect way to do it.

If it was, there's all kinds of directions a Sans journey could take. Perhaps him and Papyrus set out to explore the human world and encounter some trouble along the way. Maybe they just hang out with the rest of the characters in a town and make it an Animal Crossing-esque simulator. We're confident in the assertion that, wherever Sans pops up next, Undertale fans will follow.

Ciri (The Witcher)

Ciri quickly goes from supporting plot point in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt to full-blown heroine, essentially rescuing herself from any of the trials that Geralt imagines might be her undoing along the way to their reunion. She's a powerful warrior who is also the chosen one of the Elder Blood, which essentially makers her the culmination of a prophecy that will see the world saved or ended based on her actions.

Even before all of her heroism in The Witcher 3, though, there's a lot about Ciri's travels that we don't know and would love to find out. She mentions visiting other worlds thanks to her abilities, and in some of them she interacts with cars and other technology. She's also got some of the coolest fighting mechanics in The Witcher 3 when players get to take control of her for a brief time, warping around the battlefield to great effect.

CD Projekt Red has said that The Witcher 3 will be Geralt's last adventure in the franchise, but they've left the door open for more, and Ciri would be the obvious choice. She isn't quite a Witcher in the traditional sense and she has the ability to traverse worlds, which opens up the possibilities narratively and could easily see her star in multiple games with different settings. Provided all the ugliness between CD Projekt Red and Witcher creator Andrzej Sapowski gets sorted out, there's a decent chance we get to see Ciri star in her own game after all.

Augustus "Cole Train" Cole (Gears of War)

Augustus "Cole Train" Cole is probably the one character on this list who honestly feels like he's close to a protagonist in the Gears of War series already. He's involved in a lot of high profile missions, key story moments, and forms a bond with the rest of Delta Squad that sees the usual seriousness of the Gears of War universe interrupted by humor and levity.

The fact is, though, that Cole Train never got his fair shot as the true protagonist of any Gears of War game, and that's a travesty that needs to be rectified. He's one of the most popular characters in the series, and is one of the few members of Delta Squad to show much of a personality beyond the usual tough-guy shtick.

Cole also got a lot of backstory in some Gears of War spin-off comics, many of which feature frenetic combat and dire circumstances, the perfect blend for an actual Gears of War video game. While the Cole Train's popularity might not be at the dizzying highs it once was when the franchise was one of the biggest in the industry, he's still a beloved supporting character with a larger than life personality — a recurring theme on this list, and one of the best reasons to give a character their shot in the driving seat of their own video game adventure.

Alyx Vance (Half-Life 2)

Alyx Vance is the deuteragonist of Half-Life 2, assisting Gordon Freeman by informing him of the dire state of human civilization and later by following him as the Resistance attempts to end the reign of the Combine in City 17 (and, by extension, the world). Alyx plays a major role throughout Half-Life 2, demonstrating that she's every bit as vital to the story as Freeman.

That resume, plus Alyx's charming, optimistic personality, makes her primed for her own spin as the protagonist in a Half-Life game. She's a key member of the Resistance, so it would be easy to follow her during a series of missions that either sees her separated from Gordon or leading him from her perspective, both of which would be a refreshing change for a series that has been so dominated by the rather bland Freeman as its main character.

With that being said, though, Alyx Vance is also the least likely character on this list to get her own video game — not because of merit, but because of Valve, the company who makes Half-Life, or used to. If we're never getting a Half-Life 3, which seems likely at this point, then there's little chance we ever get something like a Half-Life 3.5 with Alyx Vance at the helm.

Oh well. A fandom can dream, at least.