What Does NPC Mean in Gaming?

Even if it sounds like it: NPC has nothing to do with computers. The actual meaning of this abbreviation and what it describes, we explain to you in this article.

What Does NPC Mean in Gaming?

What does the NPC abbreviation stand for?

The abbreviation NPC stands for Non-Player-Character. This English expression means non-player character. An NPC is any character that cannot be controlled by the player. Their actions are predetermined and programmed by the game.

The term NPC or NPC (for non-player characters) originated before the advent of video games. Already in early tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, the abbreviation was used to describe all characters that were not embodied by the players. After video games gained popularity, they adopted the abbreviation as well.

People with no opinions or personalities of their own can also be derisively referred to as NPCs.

What is an NPC?

An NPC can be any character in a game that is capable of action. We will explain it here using the example of the task “Collect 15 deer skins”:

  • A character who gives the players the task is an NPC.
  • A character that walks through the world is an NPC. In our example, it is the deer that needs to be caught.
  • A character that actively hinders the players is an NPC. For example, a bear can attack the players.
  • Objects are normally not NPCs. However, they can turn out to be. In the example, players might encounter a tree that suddenly speaks to them.
  • Resources are also usually not NPCs. There are exceptions to this as well, for example, the voice of the tree can awaken one of the skins and guide the players from then on to free the tree from its curse.

You realize: that anything can become an NPC as long as it is actively acting in the game world and not human-controlled.

Examples for the use of the abbreviation NPC

  • The NPCs seem really wooden in the game.
  • Ranni is my absolute favorite NPC.
  • For an NPC, he’s really strong.
  • The interaction with the NPCs is the most fun for me in the game
  • You’re more than just an NPC in my life.