This week on Kotaku’s Splitscreen podcast we play god and fiddle with the fabric of creation. Whether to perfect our imperfect selves or make a creature so hideous it begs for the sweet release of death, character creators offer players the ability to express themselves with their own customized avatars. But not all character creators are...ahem...created equal. Join us as Ash (me), Fahey (not me), and Nathan (also not me), discuss the merits of different character creators, our favorite creations, and just how important it is to customize your dong.
Get the MP3 here, and check out an excerpt below.
Ash: This week we are not discussing Fahey’s natural talents for singing arias.
Nathan: A huge bummer.
Ash: We’re gonna be talking about character creators. So all the games where you can modify a person or your avatar to be an extension of yourself or your inner ego, that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today, and we’re gonna get started with a new segment that we’re gonna call Bullet Points. Fahey, you’re up.
Fahey: We’re not calling it Bullet Points we’re calling it [Fahey makes cartoon bullet noises] *pew pew pew pew* Bullet Pointssss! Our producer’s gonna go ahead and add a sound effect in there so it won’t just be me going *pew pew pew*.
Ash: The sound effect should just be you going [now Ash makes cartoon bullet noises] *pew pew*.
Nathan: It really should and it should be that exact sound effect of you every time even when you’re talking.
Fahey from the ether: *PEW PEW PEW*
Fahey: Wow, okay, there’s that taken care of. Bullet Points, what we do with Bullet Points is it’s a new segment where I’ve come up with a list of 10 character-creation subjects—things you come across in character creators. I will list them off and you guys can tell me if it’s something important, what your general choice is for that, if you don’t like it or if you do. We’ll do it really quick.
Ash: It won’t be quick.
Nathan: No, probably not.
Fahey: So we’ll go ahead and start off right off the bat with number one: Eye color. How important is eye color to you guys?
Nathan: I have multiple thoughts on this. So, it’s definitely important just because that’s one of the identifying features of a person I think. You often remember eye color especially if you meet someone in an up-close setting. So you tend to focus on it. But at the same time, I always oscillate between trying to do a naturalistic eye color like “I have green eyes so my character is gonna have green eyes like a normal person” and being “No nevermind I’m gonna do red eyes or gold eyes or white eyes” and then being like “Oh great I’ve just made a really generic anime avatar.”
Fahey: [in his best D&D nerd voice] It says here on my character sheet that I have gray eyes. My character has gray eyes instead of blue eyes. I know it said that but I’ve changed it so I have gray eyes.
Ash: For anybody who didn’t catch that Fahey was doing an impression of a nerd at a D&D table, but...Nathan, you have green eyes?
Nathan: I do.
Ash: You can’t really tell because—nobody can see this—but I’m looking at your face right now and it’s just all washed out.
Fahey: They look black and dead to me. Your eyes look like coals.
Nathan: That’s what my eyes look like inside. That is who I am and who they are but externally they are green. And then sometimes in video games they are red and I immediately regret it. I rolled that characters and I thought “Whoa this is super fucking cringey nevermind. I’m starting over.”
Fahey: For me, the only thing I look for when I have eyes in a character creator is I wanna make sure they give the option to have one eye a different color.
Nathan: You wanna make David Bowie.
Fahey: I hardly ever use it but I like having the option and I think that’s the sign of a good character creator.
Ash: I’ll probably say this about most of the bullets that you shoot for this segment, butI tend to stick to reality. Especially for me because I’m Black, and when you get character creators that allow you to be representatively and authentically Black it’s new and different so I have a tendency to want to represent myself as best as possible because you don’t see a lot of Black people as main characters. I don’t wanna make it crazy or weird, I wanna be myself because this is a new and radical thing already—just existing as a Black person in a video game. So yes, I’m boring and I usually go for brown eyes.
Fahey: Well that’s gonna...the whole identifying yourself is gonna be awkward in about nine entries. Second entry: Body type!
If you want to hear more about body type and the other choices we make with character creators, you gotta listen to the rest of the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also if you feel so inclined, leave a review, or you can always drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to yell at us directly (please don’t yell, we’re fragile) you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtra, Fahey is @UncleFahey, and Nathan is @Vahn16. See you next week!