Character Creation and You

I have a feeling this may have been raised before, so if so, sorry for a repeat thread. If not...

So, something I'm curious about is how people approach character customization in games. As in, when you get to choose your character's gender, appearance, background, etc. Some games offer this more than others, but if there's a general trend for you and characters in this sense, what is it? Do you try to create yourself visually, getting an on-screen avatar? Do you go for what's "kewl?" Do you make an Adonis, a Frankenstein, or something else?

For me personally, I try and go with the most "canon" character depiction. Now obviously that might not even exist, but having just started Mass Effect: Andromeda for example, I'll give insight into my thought process:

1) Go with a default appearance (closest to canon)

2) Go with Sara Ryder. While there's no true 'canon' gender, she was the 'face' of the game's reveal trailer (insert joke about graphics here), and it balances out with M!Shepard (which I went with per being the 'canon' choice in ME1)

3) Start playing

4) Regret my decision because I'm not enjoying the game so far.

Okay, so you could probably write off point 4 as superfluous. And you can also ask how I'd have a 'canon character' for an MMO for instance. But basically that's my approach - go with a representation as true to the story/setting as possible.

You?

It depends? Much like with yourself, If there's a canon appearance, I'll often just make my character's appearance match that (eg, my KoTOR 1 and 2 characters tend to end up as the closest match to the official art that I can get). Similarly, it depends on how I like my ability to customize contrasted with the default look. In Dragon Age 2, I simply loved lady Hawke's iconic look and thought it fit her snarky attitude perfectly, so everything else was a step down and I just went with that. Similarly, male Shepard's appearance read more military to me than what I was capable of customizing, so I kept him.

Outside of that, however? I just try to make my characters "work" for the story they're in. My character in Fallout 4? Basically could have been the mother on a fifties family sitcom, reflecting the pre-war setting she starts in. My Thief in Guild Wars 2? I made him a human noble (I fancied him a Robin Hood) and he damn well was going to look the part. I err conventionally attractive, more often than not, but my first concern is whether or not the character will feel out of place.

I just make a character that I like the look of. Typically female if given the option, pink hair, long or short depending on which hair options I like more but usually leans to short. Even if it doesn't really look normal in the world, I don't typically care. I always give her the same name too between games so I guess I have a "canon" in a sense of a character I always try to make an iteration of in every game they appear in?

Hawki:
2) Go with Sara Ryder. While there's no true 'canon' gender, she was the 'face' of the game's reveal trailer

image

I really don't care for it. I'll mess with it a bit but not really worry about it too much. Some people are really good at recreating characters from various IPs in these systems but I mainly care about actually playing the game so I just try to go for something that doesn't stand out like a sore thumb in the context of the game world. Something that doesn't turn serious or grim moments comedic due to sheer absurdity.

If there's a default I go with that, otherwise I just slam random until there's something I'm okay with and roll with it. Most game your character end up behind so much armor, none of those slider matter.

I usually go with male avatars, and I tend to go with a smooth bald head, goatee, and striking bright blue eyes (like Fremen from Dune blue if the game allows it).

This is especially true if I'm playing some kind of magic user, or similar "energy" type character. It's just always been my mental image for what a wizard/mage/etc would look like. Mostly it goes back to the actor who played Galen the Technomancer on Babylon 5, as that guy's appearance just really burned into my brain. I just toss on some facial hair because most clean shaven models look a little weird to me in games. A slight variant for this archetype, would be pure white hair (even if they are young). I usually try to give them some kind of physical trait that indicates their "other worldly" nature.

Another common one I use is some kind of mohawk, especially multicolored if I can manage it. I've just always dug mohawks, even short ones. Just the look of the shaved sides, with this streak of hair down the middle has always pleased me. And the more colorful it is, the better.

Beyond those, usually just some minor tweaks to the default. Since most games don't have you actually seeing your main character much, even in conversations, I don't worry about it too much.

For my first run, I use the preset defaults that comes closest to how I look..or maybe a slightly ideal version of it.
I don't fiddle much with the sliders, except to correct any egregious errors.

When I eventually give up on that first run, and come back to it again, I make a new character.
She is made to be someone to whom I would feel attracted to. I've always favored the lower back, and in this case others would tend to agree.

I like to pretend I'm not that fussed by them, and then I'll proceed to lose my entire first play session on character creation alone.

Sometimes I just make them look like me, sometimes I'll do a female character for maximum 'escape from reality' effect, but generally I stick to human characters when there are alien options included. When I finally tried Mass Effect 2 after years of seeing all the posters for the series and building up in my head that the protagonist looked that way, I just made my character look as close to the standard FemShep as possible, because I'd heard that the voice acting was way better for the female version of Shepard, thanks to the always dependable Jennifer Hale.

Generally don't care that much. I'll look at the options, sometimes choose a female character, sometimes not(sometimes depends if the character is voiced and what the voices sound like). If there's an alien/non-human race option, I'll often gravitate towards that unless there's some notable downside to it.

If it's a game like Dark Souls I normally don't bother beyond some really generic choices like gender, hair and skin color because the character will either be a zombie, covered in armor or a zombie covered in armor for like 90% of the game anyway.

I think the only exception is Saints Row, where the character options are so out there that I've spent a lot of time making characters with a distinct look.

Usually I just try to create an attractive lady.

Sometimes I'll start the game and for whatever reason, in the first seconds of the actual game I don't like it, so I go back to the character creator and start again.

Also humans. Even if I'm allowed to make some fish buffalo alien hybrid, I'll still go with a human. If some specific class is a cat/lizard/whatever looking thing, then I'll just never play that one.

Wintermute:
Also humans. Even if I'm allowed to make some fish buffalo alien hybrid, I'll still go with a human. If some specific class is a cat/lizard/whatever looking thing, then I'll just never play that one.

I'm the opposite. Why would I play a game just to be the same old thing as always? Humans are boring; I interact with them every day, whether I want to or not. It's like flying out to some exotic country just so I can have a Big Mac.

The Rogue Wolf:

Wintermute:
Also humans. Even if I'm allowed to make some fish buffalo alien hybrid, I'll still go with a human. If some specific class is a cat/lizard/whatever looking thing, then I'll just never play that one.

I'm the opposite. Why would I play a game just to be the same old thing as always? Humans are boring; I interact with them every day, whether I want to or not. It's like flying out to some exotic country just so I can have a Big Mac.

I mean- everyone has their different reasons for playing as they do, but if you're curious why someone would avoid the non-human options, in my case it's because I don't see them as aliens. All I see them as is humans in rubber suits on the set of some super cheap Star-Trek knockoff. It's the same reason I can never take video game monsters seriously. They're not built like they've evolved to survive an ever changing world- they're just made on the PC of some guy that thinks he should make the claws and the teeth etc just so for maximum effect on a human audience. If bears never existed, you can bet your life no 3D modeller would ever invent anything like them- as they don't 'look' ferocious enough to be a dangerous beast in a modern game.

First Character is almost always:
Mekel Galasarn
Human Fighter-type (Or Equivalent)
In fantasy games, uses sword-and-board and heavy armor.
In shooters and the like, tends to use bolt-action rifle or equivalent (Not quite sniper rifles).

Appearance is usually the same... guy's face, long-ish black hair that's a bit scraggly, goatee (The kind that surrounds the mouth, not the kind that goes off the chin. Think Evil Spock, not Devil). Sometimes has a scar running down his face across one eye, sometimes has stubble for the rest of the beard.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture available to show (Due to not having a place to upload what I have).

Depends on my mood. I've probably made the most characters in WoW and SWTOR, and I usually have some kind of general idea of how I want them to be in terms of their appearance reflecting name and alignment. Sometimes I will just create a character to see the appearance options of a new class or race.

Ironically, the now dead City of Heroes/Villains still has the most diverse character appearance editor of any game I've seen, although it's generally more the costume you're creating than the person beneath- the exact opposite of most MMORPGs where your outfit fluctuates wildly as you pick up better gear.

I guess the most common thread I have is providing my characters with the most badass beards I can make, because unlike reality no maintenance is required. My most played character in SWTOR has Obi-Wan Kenobi's beard and attitude, but he is a Sith.

There were some games where I went with default. Usually when the character is already fleshed out to some degree, especially in trailers and whatnot and a 'default' look already exists. Mainly Mass Effect, where I went with default male Shepard and Dragon Age 2 where I went with default male Hawke. The only other game that comes to mind is the first Deus Ex, but the customization is kinda just 'there' and pretty much amounts to skin tone and hair colour with a pointless name input.

My usual default however, is a dark skinned elderly man. The reason for this is that my first Morrowind character which I created is a Redguard. I can't remember why I decided on the Redguard, but probably had something to do with stats and whatnot. So that's just what I roll with. I think having some fascination with Morgan Freeman at some point in my life also contributed to this.

https://imgur.com/a/jap04jw

My current MHW character. Originally I didn't really bother with the whole elderly look, but newer games allow you to crank age/wrinkles the hell up so I enjoy doing so.

If I have the patience to create an attractive female however, I will and this can override my usual default. A lot of the time I just want to get on with life and play the game and I'm somewhat less particular about the look of my male characters. Which is why I quite enjoyed how Saint's Row allowed you to completely change your appearance and gender as you pleased.

Typically it is easier to make a waifu in anime styled games so I'm more likely to go female in those games.

Depends entirely on the game and the scope of the character creation process. For heavy story-based games I usually think of the type of character I want to play and then craft a character that fits the description I have in my head. For games where the protagonist's personality/appearance is largely irrelevant I will usually just try to make the coolest looking female character I can within the limitations of the engine. I wouldn't say there are many universal preferences.

I always make a character that looks like me.

Main Player-Controlled Characters that look like me are already rare enough. And I live in a society that people legitimately argue that the inclusion of Alien creatures or Fantasy monsters is diverse enough. A made up creature should sate various gamers needs to be represented.

... Ok...

The Rogue Wolf:

Wintermute:
Also humans. Even if I'm allowed to make some fish buffalo alien hybrid, I'll still go with a human. If some specific class is a cat/lizard/whatever looking thing, then I'll just never play that one.

I'm the opposite. Why would I play a game just to be the same old thing as always? Humans are boring; I interact with them every day, whether I want to or not. It's like flying out to some exotic country just so I can have a Big Mac.

I guess most people are the opposite.

I just avoid these things like the plague. I mean, I've never seen The Lion King either. Or Zootopia, or anything with talking animals, I guess.

I love character creations, and I will spend absolutely ages on them if the game lets me tweak everything. If the options include scars & tattoos and stuff, I'll be there for a stupidly long time.

If the game has a feline race/ options, I'll go with that (Khajiit in Elder Scrolls, Charr in Guild Wars 2). Otherwise I'll make some hawt guy and pretend to myself that I'm not making them look that way for hawtness reasons.

I find character creations difficult, i tend to make horrific creations that i regret, so more often than not i'll go with the "default" option or some variant thereof. Exceptions to this are when the character creation is truly exceptional, like the delightful Code Vein. You don't even have to *try* to make something badass.

I guess i mostly just make myself i suppose.... so tall, average build, short dark brown hair, with a stubble / groomed facial hair and call it a day.

Sometimes i will try to make a character i'm particularly fond of if the character creator is powerful enough. For example, you can make a scarily accurate copy of 2B in Code Vein.

Right now i'm obsessed with Ai: The Somnium Files so i'm trying to make a character that looks like Aiba, but it's hard to find one good enough.

image

I usually go with a preset character or default one.

Every minute spent on the character creator is a minute I could have been actually playing the game 🤷.

I tend to usually go female, but don't much like delving into the deeper options like when there's ten different sliders just for your cheeks, as I feel a bit like an evil plastic surgeon obsessed with a compulsive chase for perfection when I try. Also I fucking hate the 'eye-spacing' option as, for some reason, anytime it's moved, it never looks right at all and I'd spend forever adjusting them back and forth until having to give up and submit to the insanity of second-hand face dysmorphia. Best to not touch that for own sake.

Depends on the game.

Example if it's a human characters and a silent generic protagonist, I try to make that character look like me "me" aka asian male and short black hair. If it's a talking and story invest character like Sheperd from Mass Effect, I tend to leave it to default as I had become well known to that character default look than a customize one.

If it's a non human characters like the different races in Guild Wars 2 then I just make them whatever I want them to be. I will admit, in Guild Wars 2, it was the first game that I did started playing as female characters as the armors between the sexes are vastly different to each other. I actually enjoyed the female armors mores as I was able to get alot of different combinations compared to the males.

It depends on the game.

If a game comes with your character plastered on the box or is very prominent in the marketing, I will use that appearance. ie, Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2.

For games with fairly basic character creation options, like World of Warcraft where your options basically boil down to Face option 1, 2, or 3, I will make my character how I like them.

For games with super indepth character creation screens, I will just do the basics. I will pick a pretty good preset, change the hair, eye colour and maybe a few other bits and pieces, and then start playing. Its too much faff to go through the whole process, especially seeing as you don't actually see your character all that much in a lot of these games.

As for the other bits and pieces:
I tend to prefer playing as female characters.
If a game lets me play as a race other than a human, I will probably do so.
And I like mage classes, because fireballs are better than guns/swords.

 

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