Last year, I had the privilege of playing Tales of Eternia (Tales of Destiny 2 in the US), which I borrowed from my best friend. There were many great aspects to this little overlooked gem, but there was one tiny little something that irked me and stuck with me long after the game was completed.
One of ToE's highlights was its multitude of mini-games. My personal favorite was one called Craymel Ball, where one of your characters and a Mintche University student have to dodge a large ball while making his or her opponent get hit with it using something like magical attraction and repulsion. I tended to control Farah in battle, so I tended have her be the one to play Craymel Ball, though eventually I had Meredy play the game occasionally as well. It took many, many tries, but eventually one of my girls triumphed three times in a row. The prize was a title, which had no real meaning in the game except just to be something fun to collect. But the odd thing was that it wasn't the winner who received the title. Instead, it went to the lead character, Reid. Most of the mini-games forced you to use a particular character, and if you managed to win the mini-game, that character got the title for winning, but in the case of Craymel Ball, when any character had the chance to play, only Reid would get the title.
And therein lies the problem... Why should one character get the credit for something he or she didn't do, merely because that character is the lead character? Why is that character given recognition for what his or her teammates accomplished?
ToE isn't the only case where something like this happens. In Chrono Trigger, you have about five characters at the time who are trying to save Guardia in 600AD, yet the great meal that the cook creates later on in memory of the great battle against Magus is the Crono Special. Crono was not the only one crossing Zenan Bridge, getting the Masamune, or going through the gauntlet of monsters in Magus's castle. If anything, special credit should go to Frog, the one with the Hero Medal and the only one able
to wield the Masamune.
Thankfully, not every game treats its non-leads like they are merely helpers. Tales of Symphonia's characters each have their own long lists of titles, many of which have equivalents that all characters can earn. For example, every character is capable of mastering all the recipes and receiving a title for it, though each character's title has a different name.
Just because one character leads a number of others doesn't mean that only the leader should be recognized. Each cast member deserves credit for their own individual accomplishments and those that are completed by many should be credited to all involved.