Best NPCs We Wish We Could Play

These are the non-player characters you've been dying to play!

Every gamer has at least a handful of NPCs they've wished they could play as. Some NPCs are just too cool to be NPCs, sometimes even cooler than the protagonist of the game. Some have better gear, better capabilities, and awesome weaponry you want to try out at least once. Some have swag and dialogue that is just too good to not want to walk in their shoes, for the game at least.

We all know them. Those NPCs that stick with you so much that you find yourself wondering what they were thinking when they made the character non-playable. Did they not see what a massive opportunity it was to let players play one of the best NPCs of all time? Wasn't it obvious?

If you know what I'm talking about this list of the best NPCs you wish you could play as is most definitely for you.

Note: some of these NPCs may or may not be playable in other games throughout whatever game series they are a part of (such as Joker, who is playable in some of the Batman series, but not all), or may be temporary-player characters that never got their due.

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Cortana from Halo
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I've always been a fan of Cortana. Not just the way she looks brings to the table, but even her name feels super realistic as an AI for me. Alexa. Siri. Cortana. Right? I imagine something like Cortana to be a natural progression from where we are today technologically. Maybe I just have an active imagination.

This AI character has been an important part of the Halo series. Cortana is crazy powerful, known for her "intelligence," though she is AI, so that might not be the best of descriptors. Throughout the series, she provides interesting storylines. She looks super cool. Who doesn't want to be a colorful, super-smart AI in-game? I do.

Why I want to play as Cortana

Cortana from Halo
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Cortana a bunch of fun:

  • Clones- She can clone herself, which is as useful as it is cool.
  • Software infiltration- She can infiltrate systems and software, how amazing would it be to have this ability as a protagonist. Imagine the possibilities.
  • Teleportation
  • Control- As an AI, she can control various stations and ships.
  • Intelligence- As I said, this word isn't maybe the best to describe an AI character, but she is a smarty pants AI.

Have I convinced you yet? Well, if not, there are more NPCs to see that should be playable but aren't.

Gloria from Devil May Cry 4

Gloria is a big favorite for me from the Devil May Cry series. She's actually an alternate form of Trish, but I prefer the Gloria version of Trish. Gloria is the only female Executive in the Order of the Sword and has noteworthy acrobatic skills. Gloria is a skilled, stand-alone fighter with an edgy haircut and killer blades.

Though she only makes her appearance in Devil May Cry 4, she also makes her mark as a memorable part of the series. Who doesn't want playable characters with killer sword skills and an alter ego? Gloria is an NPC in the original version of the game, but rumor says she is playable in the Special Edition version of Devil May Cry 4.

It always erks me when developers do the cool thing with the special edition of the game, after you've put time, money, and effort into the original release. So, while I appreciate the attempt, I think it was too little too late.

Why I want to play as Gloria

Gloria from Devil May Cry 4
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Gloria a bunch of fun:

  • Fighting- Gloria has a unique fighting style heavy on the acrobatics. How fun would it be to move around the way she does?
  • Trish- Since Gloria is an alternate for Trish, I have this idea of going back and forth between the two in-game, with both of them as main protagonists. Maybe that is a bit out there, but I dream about this stuff.
  • Weaponry- I love Gloria's look and weaponry. She wields two different blades, whips them out of her boots at a moment's notice. Convenient and stylish!

Does anyone want to be Gloria as much as I do?

Leliana from Dragon Age

Dragon Age 3: Inquisition players tend to like Leliana. In fact, this one has been brought up in conversation several times as a potential playable character. People want to be her, at least in-game. Also known as, “The Left Hand of the Divine" or "Sister Nightingale," Leliana is known and appreciated for "Leliana's Song" and her interesting backstory (which is pretty extensive given her involvement as a party member in Dragon Age: Origins).

As a likable, well-written, and deeply involved character, it's a wonder why she is an NPC in Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, and not a playable character. Instead, she's a possible romance, which just belittles her abilities as a character. Plus, who doesn't want to steal stuff, make poison, and battle in the shoes of Leliana? She's super skilled as an archer and in combat. Big missed opportunity here.

Why I want to play as Leliana

Leliana from Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Leliana a bunch of fun:

  • Theivery- She's a skilled thief, and I always this kind of sneaky gameplay fun. Let's steal stuff like a pro.
  • Archery- I love an archer protagonist. While this isn't her only fighting skills of note, it's something I prefer in-game, making Leliana someone I'd love to be in Dragon Age 3: Inquisition.
  • Combat- She is not just an archer. She does it all. This makes for versatile gameplay.

C'mon, BioWare! Why wasn't Leliana a playable character here? We need answers.

Joker from Batman: Arkham Knight

Am I the only one who always wanted to reverse roles and be Joker in Arkham Knight? That's a rhetorical question, I know I'm not the only one. To be a lunatic's hallucination running around Gotham, causing a ruckus, would be tons of fun.

Rocksteady Studios could've allowed us to play Joker for just a moment, making him a temporary player for an additional mission, since the reality is: he is a hallucination happening in Batman's (Bruce Wayne's) mind anyway. Since Joker is one of the most loved villains of all time, it only makes sense. While you can play as Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum, I think having Joker as a playable character in Arkham Knight would've been such as interesting addition.

Why I want to play as Joker

Joker from Batman: Arkham Knight

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Joker a bunch of fun:

  • Intelligence- The Joker is not known for physical capabilities, it's his mind that does the hard work. His intelligence would make for interesting quests.
  • Gear- I just want to wear the clothes, okay?
  • Associates- He has the best partners in crime.
  • Hallucination- I want to be a hallucination! How unique and fun would gameplay be as a figment of someones Joker tainted mind?
Uriel from Darksiders

Uriel is one of my favorite antagonists of all time. Is there a trend here? I want to be the antagonists. They always have the best gear. They always look rad. They always have better hair and dialogue. Just saying.

Uriel is an amazing character. If you played Darksiders, you know why. She has the rune on her forehead, she can fly, and she has the angelic sword. The angelic sword is the weapon to have in Darksiders, and she has a combination of magic and melee fighting, which makes her hard to beat and would make her even more fun to play. She's so powerful and determined and strong-willed. Who doesn't want to play that character? If there is going to be an apocalypse, I hope Uriel is there.

Why I want to play as Uriel

Uriel from Darksiders
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Uriel a bunch of fun:

  • Sword- Her Angelic sword is a big incentive for me. I want the sword.
  • Gear- Her heavy armor is pretty epic. She really has an amazing look and the gear would be useful in battle.
  • Combat and magic- I love that Uriel has both magic and combat in her tool belt. She's super multifaceted, which makes for a fun-to-play protagonist.

She's amazing and that's that!

Rita Wheeler from Cyberpunk 2077

Maybe this one is a little off the wall, but I don't care. Rita is way too cool to just be an NPC. Look at her! She is definitely a leading lady, or CD Projekt should have made her one. Instead, they made her a bouncer at Lizzie's Bar with a small part to play in the overall game.

I think this was a huge mistake. Her weapon of choice is a baseball bat, she has purple hair that she wears in space buns, and is, part of The Mox. While she doesn't have much of a backstory, I think that's room to give her the backstory she deserves. I think working with The Mox as this baseball bat-wielding bouncer would be an interesting experience that would make for exciting gameplay, but that's just me. Or is it?

Why I want to play as Rita Wheeler

Rita Wheeler from Cyberpunk 2077

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Rita Wheeler a bunch of fun:

  • Story- In-game, players don't get a ton of Rita's backstory, but this is a pro. There is room to develop a backstory during gameplay.
  • Weaponry- Weild a baseball bat and take people out? Sounds like a fun game to me. I think it would be cool to see this weapon fortified over time, or for Rita to have different bats for different fights.

Need I say more? She looks cool. She's part of The Mox, and she has space buns. That's literally everything I could need or want in a protagonist.

Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect
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This Turian former C-Sec officer from Mass Effect, one of the greatest games of all time, is definitely one of the cooler characters in Mass Effect. As a potential companion on Mass Effect 2, he fights alongside Commander Shepard (or has the ability to). So, players really get to see him in action.

Known for Garrus keeps it real, is a bit sarcastic, is extremely intelligent, and has an overall cool look that has the makings of being a fun protagonist. Skill-wise he is known for his concussive shot and armor-piercing ammo. Being a sarcastic Turian, using sniper and assault rifles to get the bad guys, and looking great while doing it? Sign me up.

Why I want to play as Garrus

Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Garrus a bunch of fun:

  • Weaponry- I enjoy a good sniper rifle, especially if you are as skilled as Garrus. While I am not as big into shooters as I am other gaming experiences, this is one I enjoy.
  • Sense of humor- I love Garrus as a character. Playing a character with good dialogue is key.
  • Backstory- Garrus has a better backstory and more experience than our protagonist. Sorry, but I said it.

This Turian has a place in my heart.

Vaas from Far Cry
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Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry is another cool villain and the secondary antagonist of Far Cry 3. He is a Rook Islander with some seriously psychotic tendencies and a privateer. Vaas is also known as The Lunatic and a merciless antagonist, though given his backstory it is easy to see how he ends up the way he is as far as characterization goes, and he's also kind of hilarious.

He says some funny things, does some crazy, dangerous things, and as hardcore as he is, players everywhere would love a chance to play as Vaas for a day (at least a day). Maybe how hardcore he actually is is the reason for the longing Far Cry fans have to see him as a playable character. Either way, This is one villain I would love to see in the protagonist's position or as part of a party.

Why I want to play as Vaas

Vaas from Far Cry

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Vaas a bunch of fun:

  • Lunatic- I'm drawn to the idea of playing a lunatic, the same way I love reading a book with an unreliable narrator. There something exciting about it. Plus, the quests would be crazy.
  • Rifle- His rifle is a huge part of his characterization.
  • Backstory- He has a complicated backstory. What makes him such a good antagonist is his backstory. He reminds me a bit of Joker. He has a sad backstory that shows his development.
Mr. Torgue from Borderlands
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Mr. Torgue is an NPC that definitely has the makings to be a playable character. He has an incredible backstory, since his parents died in an explosion and that prompted his interest and passion for understanding explosions and building his business. Most Borderlands 2 players have a soft spot for Mr. Torgue, and I'm one of them. He even likes unicorns, okay? He reminds me of Vladimir from Tangled.

Regardless, his knowledge of explosives, his gritty look, and his strength would make for fun gameplay. As an RPG lover, and someone who likes more mentally stimulating RPGs, having his backstory and collecting parts to build explosives that he uses for good, would be genius. Hear me, Gearbox Software?

Why I want to play as Mr. Torgue

Mister Torgue High-Five Flexington from Borderlands 2

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Mr. Torgue a bunch of fun:

  • Explosives- I love the idea of being the creator of the explosive, collecting the parts, and making this an in-depth part of the gameplay as Mr. Torgue.
  • Backstory- His backstory is compelling. He went through a lot, which inspired his career. Interesting cut scene possibilities.
  • Strength- This guy is muscles on top of muscles, on top of muscles.

Since Mr. Torgue has such a huge following, it would have been a well-received move to have him playable.

Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Okay, so Zelda is not always a non-player character. First playable in the Zelda CD-i games, Zelda has had her moment in the playable spotlight, but the problem is: Zelda has never really had a game that was just about her messing stuff up, using her awesome powers, and owning the spotlight for an entire game. Plus, she was not playable in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was frustrating for me, for one.

I love the Zelda series, not only is it nostalgic for me overall (as it is for most Zelda fans), but it's also a great game series and franchise. However, I've never understood how we have this epic game named for a character you don't always get to play, or who feels like more of a follower and main character in the storyline of the game, but not a protagonist. Zelda is a character who is playable at times but never the true protagonist. I think she, and her fans, deserve that

Because Breath of the Wild is more open-world than any of the previous games in the Zelda series, having Zelda as a playable character would've been epic. Of course, this would've meant a rewrite, but I would've been here for it.

Why I want to play as Princess Zelda

Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Zelda a bunch of fun:

  • Due- It is long overdue to give her a moment in the spotlight. She should've been the protagonist.
  • BOTW- Breath of the Wild is unlike previous games in the series, what better than this one to introduce her? Zelda using teleportation throughout this open-world game makes perfect sense.
  • Wind waker- Link is not on her level when it comes to wielding the wind waker!

Everyone loves Link, and Zelda is often playable, but she really should have been playable in BOTW.

Zeus from god of war

Zeus is the villain in God of War we all want to be. He is extremely powerful, intelligent, manipulative, and the Greek god of lightning. Playing as Zeus, one of the coolest villains of all time, would be a cool experience given that he is the most powerful Greek god.

Given that God of War is an action-adventure game, playing as Zeus would definitely dial the action up a notch. His ability to astral project, manipulate lightning, super strength, and ability to imprison enemies with his mind, would make for an unforgettable protagonist and insanely fun gameplay. Am I right, or am I right?

Why I want to play as Zeus

Zeus from God of War
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Zeus a bunch of fun:

  • Cool factor- Is his cool factor reason enough?
  • Strength and power- His power and strength are what he's known for. To be able to play will that power and strength would be beyond fun.
  • Lightening and other capabilities- His capabilities are something else. Shall I say, "out of this world?" He has skills. Let's manipulate lightning to defeat our enemies.
Vincent Meis from The Witcher
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City guard by day, werewolf by night? Yes, please! Vincent Meis is a city guard who is also a werewolf. On one hand, his job is to protect people, and on the other hand, he is the one murdering citizens, particularly criminals throughout the city.

This juxtaposition would make for killer in-game play, interesting backstory, and feed right into my love of werewolf lore. What's would really be interesting is Vincent Meis as the protagonist and antihero. Too much? I can't help myself, I want to be the werewolf equivalent of Dexter.

Why I want to play as Vincent Meis

Vincent Meis from The Witcher
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Vincent Meis a bunch of fun:

  • Backstory- Like I said, being a city guard by day and werewolf by night would be fun and moody and rad. Imagine fighting the bad guys during the day, and annihilating them at night.
  • Werewolf- I'm curious what capabilities he would have as a werewolf given his story. What is it like to be a werewolf in The Witcher? There are options here! Let's see 'em.

You know you want to be the werewolf version of Dexter in one of the best games of all time.

Tom Nook from Animal Crossing
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Let's cut to the chase here. Tom Nook from Animal Crossing is loaded. He's rolling in dough (or at least he acts like he is). He is the real-estate tycoon that most real-life real-estate agents wish they could be. Houses with no interest? Who can afford to do that? I'll tell you who: Tom Nook.

It would be nice to live like a super-rich raccoon (otherwise known as a tanuki) for a day or two in Animal Crossing. Imagine the dent you could put in Tom's little raccoon pockets. Okay, but in all seriousness, Tom Nook is an important part of Animal Crossing, a generous real-estate agent (though this isn't his only job or business), and a savvy business raccoon. I don't know where all his money is really coming from, but if Nintendo would just make him playable, the world would be a better place.

Why I want to play as Tom Nook

Tom Nook from Animal Crossing
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Tom Nook a bunch of fun:

  • Money
  • Riches
  • Did I mention money? Tom Nook is super-rich. All the damage that could be done with that money would be extremely satisfying.

Plus, he's super cute.

Paarthurnax from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
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Paarthurnax from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is such a unique character that it's hard not to appreciate and love him. He is, after all, the Greybeard's leader. While he is physically, and logically, a threat to Tamriel (who has committed evil acts before), potentially able to kill and destroy the land as many dragons do, he is ashamed of his past and the actions he's taken to hurt Tamriel and its people. He even helps to aid in Alduin's downfall.

While players often struggle to decide whether to (SPOILER) kill Paarthurmax in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I think that decision is actually a foolish mistake a lot of players make not realizing that he is a faithful ally. Either way, playing him would be absolutely so much fun. Can you imagine an entire game dedicated to a backstory of the dragon who learned the error of his ways and turned on his own kind for the people of Tamriel? C'mon!

Why I want to play as Paarthurnax

Paarthurnax from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Paarthurnax a bunch of fun:

  • Backstory- Like I mentioned, Paarthurnax has a cool backstory. It would be cool to see him go from a typical dragon to a heightened dragon and Tamriel ally in a protagonist's role.
  • He's a dragon.
  • Dragon Skills- Again, he is a dragon! How cool is that? I want to be Paarthurnax with his power and wisdom. Fire capabilities, flying, getting the bad guys to help Tamriel. Let's go!

Am I the only one who's thought about playing as Paarthurnax?

Serana from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

When Dawnguard came out for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Serana love was pretty much instantaneous for most players. She's a powerful, ancient vampire that always reminds me of Selene from the Underworld series. Is it a coincidence their names are so similar? She's also one of the few pureblood vampires.

Because Serana is a pureblood vampire, she has some envious skills. Along with super senses, she has super strength, sword skills, and is a necromancer. Serena is a super-powerful vampire who doesn't mess around, and has a streak of vengeance toward her father and other power-hungry vampires within her family. I enjoy Serana's direct personality type and overall nonchalance. While you get to be a vampire, if you so choose, in Dawnguard, being Serana is a different story, since she's ancient and very powerful. Having Serana as a possible follower is not enough. Playing Serana would be a joy.

Luckily, there is apparently a "Serena Playable" mod so you can play as Serana. Try it out! I know I will.

Why I want to play as Serana

Serana from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Dawnguard)

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Serana a bunch of fun:

  • Power- Serana is super powerful and she isn't cocky about it either. To wield her power would be unparalleled. She's strong, has sword skills, and she's a necromancer? Yes, please!
  • Backstory- I have this whole dream of Serana having her own game, where we relive her backstory and it's a beautiful dream to have.
  • Pure-blood and ancient- This is what makes Serana rare and so powerful. I think it would be interesting t see what other capabilities she could have given how ancient and powerful she is. This could be expanded on since she is an ancient pure-blood vampire.
Victor "Sully" Sullivan from Uncharted

Sully was obviously going to be on this list. If you've played Uncharted, you know why. Mentor to Nathan Drake and treasure hunting businessman, Sully is an essential part of the Uncharted series. He's extremely likable as a character, being close with Nathan Drake and a kind and dedicated father figure to him.

He tends to use a revolver or sniper rifle, has a military background and connections, and has a kind of been there done that, sarcastic personality that shows he is capable and sure of himself. It would be great to experience a Sully POV in-game, being the older, wiser Nathan Drake treasure hunter with military training. Yup!

Why I want to play as Sully

Victor "Sully" Sullivan from Uncharted

Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Sully a bunch of fun:

  • Military- I am curious what his military training could bring to the table. As a protagonist, more could be brought to the table to make the experience even more exciting.
  • Personality- Personality means enjoyable dialogue and gameplay.
  • Wisdom- His intelligence and wisdom surpass our protagonist. What would that look like in gameplay?
Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX

Beatrix is actually a temporary player character, as well as a boss, in Final Fantasy IX. So, I hesitated adding her to this list since you can technically play her as a player character. The problem is, she is so briefly used as a player character that Final Fantasy IX players were pretty unanimously disappointed by the part she plays. Only making a brief appearance wasn't enough. We wanted more, okay?

Beatrix is the canny and merciless soldier of the Alexandria army (an all-female army) in Gaia. She's extremely loyal to her cause (Alexandria), wields an awesome sword, and certainly knows how to wield it. She is a swordswoman to be reckoned with and everyone, including herself, knows it. Plus, she has amazing hair. There I said it.

Apparently, the alternate fantasy mod (on PC only) turns her into a party member, which is basically all Final Fantasy IX players and fans are asking for.

Why I want to play as Beatrix

Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX
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Here are just a few of the many skills that would make a protagonist Beatrix a bunch of fun:

  • Army- Her experience as a soldier of the Alexandria would make for such intricate gameplay. Experience means skills being brought to the table.
  • Battle skills- Her battle skills and sword skills are impressive. She's a great swordswoman.
  • Gear- Her entire look, hair, gear, everything, is amazing. A protagonist that looks cool is everything!

Yes, we get play her a bit, but they just did not get enough face time with Beatrix.

Every annoying video game character in one place!

Some of the best and worst parts of gaming are the nonplayable and playable characters we collect in our brains along the way.