How many established characters is too many?

I watched and played quite a handful of fan games in my time and obviously everyone’s opinion and execution differs, from the games based on existing properties that use entirely established characters to games that will have maybe one character from the main series of games utilised in a way that it doesn’t pull the player out of the narrative they’re trying to create. So in your opinion, how many established characters would you consider using? How do you choose which ones you use? Do you work around the existing canon to make your work fit narratively? And what in your opinion what’s the best use of an existing character in a fan game (and of course you can be biased)

Mr. Gela

Elite Trainer
If they were done well, they'd be alright. Can't name many who do that. You can find Cynthia in Pokémon Vega, for example. Hell, Cynthia is the perfect example just across several games. She doesn't play an important role in her outside-Sinnoh appearances. In HGSS, she can help you research the Unown myth and their relation to Arceus. In Gen 5 she's there as an extra challenge and connecting Sinnoh to Unova (being friends with other Unova characters). In SM she's just there for battling, so that's poorer.

My question is: Why would you need an existing character to appear in your game? Do they serve a role no other original character can fill? If it's a new region you can visit, why not also use new characters you can meet? If you're certain you NEED that character, go ahead, but I can think of few scenarios where you can't just build a new world up.


Honestly, I wouldn't try any game where I knew that established characters played anything more than the most minor bit part in the story. It's one of those things that in theory should be fine, but in practice the sorts of writers who choose to use established characters aren't usually very good at writing plots that I find compelling. I think it's an age thing, so YMMV.


in all honesty it really depends, if it is in a region that is canon then using them as the celebrity is fine as long as there role is like that of Reds in Pokemon heartgold as just a little cameo battle or something like that is fine (in the game im working on you can fight specific canon trainers (like Red, May, Serena, and a few others, but they are "Pro Trainers" who only really make a appearance late game in a tournament as competition) it really just depends on what you plan to do


Have they found the One Piece yet
Hell, Cynthia is the perfect example just across several games. She doesn't play an important role in her outside-Sinnoh appearances.
Cynthia's kinda special because she's a history nerd, though, and you can fit history into almost any game with a world map. You still have to keep it in character though, make her appear more around ruins and funny rocks and less around bars and metal concerts.


There's no real limit to how many established characters you can use. You just need to make sure that how they are portrayed fits their character in the games.