by Julia Parobek
From MMORPG to FPS, creating a customizable character has started to become a necessity in the gaming world through recent games. Customizing a character can be from anywhere between setting up their face structure pixel-by-pixel to changing the design and color of their camouflage. However, recent games are beginning to evolve from the cliche white hero.
Let’s take a look at the game Call of Duty: Ghosts, released on November 5, 2013. In Ghosts, players can now set their multiplayer character to whatever gender, face, face paint, headgear, uniform, and clan tag. You can also unlock special getups by reaching the achievement listed under the uniform. Now users can personalize a soldier to their liking that once only owned a present face and voice.
Now let’s be honest here. The amount of customizable characterization in war first person shooters is at a low, especially online. Usually you pick a class and the most customization that goes into that is whether you would prefer a shotgun or an assault rifle, or if you would prefer a smoke grenade or an explosive grenade. Call of Duty took a right turn here with adding their own gender and head settings, not only being able to personalize but also representing both genders of their audience. This is the first of their games to add a gender button, and its gained a positive reputation with the fans.
Mark Rubin, executive producer, announces that the reason for adding females to the game wasn’t put there to attract women to the game. The developers took into account the large female population that their game has already attracted for years and decided they deserved a little acknowledgement. Not only that, but the game also keeps both genders equal with their hitboxes, the only difference being the animation.
Another game to introduce character customization would be Pokemon X & Y, which was released October 18, 2013. It is the first game in the Pokemon collection to allow a decent amount of freedom for an otherwise preset character. In this same instance, your character lacks a background story.
While choosing female or male was introduced in Pokemon Crystal, now players have the ability to change almost anything about their character. From skin tones to hair color, the ability to create something unique and personal to you is easy with the help of new Salons and Boutiques. Salons allow you to change your hair color or style whenever you want for a small fee. And the more you visit the store as a customer, the more hairstyles you unlock.
But the personalized part of your character doesn’t truly come out until you look at the online world where you meet with other trainers. It’s similar in respect to a pallette of different paints and shades as everyone finds their own creative way to express themselves through the customization process.
And Pokemon went above and beyond when first introducing this new creator. Not only did they allow hair and clothes to the mix like the usual creator would add, but they also immediately put in different skin colors, giving representation to multiple races.
This isn’t the only area where Pokemon X & Y represent people of color. Three out of the eight gym leaders throughout the game represent P.O.C as well as two out of the four Elite Four. The amount of games that lack this feature at all and have their audience play a white male protagonist is astonishing. You go Nintendo.