A topic that's brought up when a brand new online multiplayer or MMORPG is released is whether there's a decent character customization system to accompany it. Everyone likes being able to stand out, look beautiful, grotesque, weird and overall different. We all want to look unique and impose our own personalities onto the characters representing us in-game.
As the video game industry on a whole gears towards bringing players together through online multiplayer and co-op gameplay, the importance of character customization is becoming more blatantly obvious in this day and age.
Many companies have invested thousand of hours in attempting to create a uniquely in-depth character creator but for some reason other video game companies still don't see character customization as a high priority on their list.
While leaving it up to game developers to create a likable and incomparable protagonist has been common place since gaming's birth, it's actually pretty cool when a game allows you to create and control your own avatar.
Majority of games already lack diversity so allowing players to create their own character without any unnecessary limitations is a dream come true for many devoted gamers or people who feel their race, creed or colour isn't represented.
It's also worth noting that customization shouldn't just be limited to sliders for every dimension of an avatar's face but rather it should be about bigger factors like skin tone, age, weight, hairstyles, expressions etc. We should be able to create any character we desire, from a bulky young man with a huge afro to an doddery old man with a limp.
Creating a character unique to you and how you want to be seen in-game is an easy way to express yourself, without the pressure of outside forces telling you what you should or shouldn't be. This method of expression is powerful to a gamer who enjoys controlling their own avatar.
A good portion of Mass effect's success relied heavily on how the various interpretations of Shepard's character and interactions with his/her surroundings affected the story. The same can be said with most games where these avatars have a larger role, even without having to choose a character dialogue.
It can not be stressed enough how important a 'flexible' character customization system is, the avatar is an in world representation of the player and since he/she is the most thing the player will see/look at most whilst playing, it should be on point.
A deep but easy customization system means everyone wins or better to say, nobody loses. Therefore gamedevs should make their customization systems as good as possible.It's interesting to see how each year goes by and how new games with character creation add innovations to make creating these avatars just as fun as playing the actual game.
And with the release of the next gen systems, there is an equal chance of seeing a new way for players to express themselves in a way that no one would have thought of.
So in conclusion character customization is very important and a valuable part of any online Multiplayer or role playing game and shouldn't be dismissed or overlooked by developers who feel it isn't as important to include.
Being able to mold your virtual character to your liking in games is highly important and can have a massive impact on the enjoyment that we, and the people we interact with in online games get out of them.
Hopefully in the future character customization will take two steps forward and allow players to create and be whoever they want to be without all the limitations and unnecessary boundaries.