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Create A Character: Sometimes It’s The Only Reason I Play

Create A Character: Sometimes It’s The Only Reason I Play

I thought I would use my daily blog today to make something of a confession. It’s not really something I feel all that guilty about, but I don’t talk about it all that often. What I’m circling around here is my passion for create-a-character tools in videogames and how their inclusion can actually be the difference between me playing a game and not.

The best example of this is has been THQ’s WWE Smackdown Vs Raw series whose create a wrestler mode probably takes up more of my time than any of the gameplay modes or multiplayer. I might dabble in the the Road To Wrestlemania mode or some other career distraction, but oddly I find they don’t have anywhere near as much depth as the Create A Wrestler ‘campaign’.

And I do sometimes think of it as a campaign. A kind of personal career progression from beginner to expert wrestler creator. I can lose hours and hours tweaking faces, building costumes, editing layers and generally getting lost in the minutiae the tools available to me.

I had a similar experience ultimately with ModNation Racers. There was another game in which I spent about as much time creating racers and karts as I did playing through the career mode. I certainly spent longer doing that than playing online (although I’m not much of an online fiend so that’s not saying much). The real breakthrough on that game was cracking things like layer depth and material type. Once I had mastered those I was creating all sorts of characters (proudest creations? Kaneda from the anime Akira and Gum from Jet Set Radio). Playing through the career became about unlocking more materials for the creation zone, not actually playing the game.

But what surprises me is the praise some games get for their creative tools when they are really rather shallow. Mass Effect for instance, a game I adore and have poured hours into actually playing the game, really has a very limited character creator. Creating a past for your character was cool, and the armour customisation in Mass Effect 2 worked well, but the facial sliders were limited. Yet, it’s often referenced as a great creation tool. I really don’t know why.

Anyway, here’s a toast to creation tools. Making games I otherwise wouldn’t care about the most important things in my life for at least a month or so.

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  • KeeperOfTheWord

    I remember spending hours creating cars in Lego Racers 😀

  • koloco9

    Create a character hints at the core of videogames, Put yourself IN the game. Look at a game like Skate3. It’s just skatboarding but it’s more fun if it looks like you and your pals, trying to spread egale across the parking lot, instead of Shaun White and some random backstreet boys.

    Even if it doesn’t look like you, which most video games don’t. Just the skin tone and hair makes a big diffrence.

  • Zeal

    I remember playing smackdown 2005 or 04 I create Jim Ross(J.R) his special moves was the stone cold stunner and closeline ha ha…it actually look like him.

    DW4 had create a character one of the best dw games koei created afterwards the series when downhill well dw5 wasnt bad but it wasnt all that good.

    MK:Armageddon had the create fighter figure but that game suck b/c every1 had about the same fatality : ( hopefully Neatherealm Studios(Midway games new name) will make the next MK bring the series after armageddon and MK vs DC suck imho.

    Is that Motoko from Ghost in the shell lol good try look like chyna

  • b

    Fallout! Or Oblivion, whichever. Fun character creation to some extent, but very limited. I think the best game for character creation would have to be Saints Row.

  • Degenerate

    I must say, I havent dabbled in the CAWs yet on SVR2011 but I remember bookmarking other peoples CAWs for 2010 and then recreating their creations, then tweaking them how i saw fit and making what i thought were slightly better and more accurate representations of wrestlers such as the rock, goldberg and my favorite “Stone Cold”. With Stone Cold the main thing i changed were things on his vest, just small things that made me happy

    Heres a toast to those who put forth so much effort and share with the rest of us their formulas