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Thread: Race and character creation
05-04-2012, 03:37 PM #1
Race and character creation
So it's often been discussed about playing as a woman in RPGs for various reasons. However, I recently reliased that when race is an option I seem to always go with the default caucasian skin tone. Now I've justified it to myself as not actually missing out on anything as with the exception of Saints Row theres only one voice actor/ress and race is never a factor in game. But if that's true and race doesn't affect content why do I always pick the default white tones?
Anyone else thought like that?
05-04-2012, 03:45 PM #2
05-04-2012, 03:45 PM #3
05-04-2012, 04:02 PM #4
In Skyim, for example, I tend to choose skin tones that will show off the finely crafted facial features I've chosen. Given the way lighting works in that game and on my TV, it's a lot easier for me to see wrinkles, tints, and fine details with a light skin tone. My last two characters have been Redguards, but I chose light hair so I could continue to admire my moustaches.Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.
05-04-2012, 04:16 PM #5
05-04-2012, 04:20 PM #6
You'll probably find that on average people will unconsciously gravitate to something slightly resembling themselves (there's probably been studies to show this but I'm too knackered to google for crap like that), it's not racist, it's just that when we think of a person, our own self-image inserts itself. It only becomes racist if you were to flat out refuse to play people with different skin tones (and then only in a Daily Mali kind of way).
However, given a virtually infinite choice of image (say as a forum avatar), very few of us end up with something resembling themselves, I know I'm no sweet potato.
05-04-2012, 04:24 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
I usually do the opposite, going away from the default / the 'norm' as far as possible. For example, my current (male) Shepard for a complete playthrough of all 3 games looks sort of half asian/half black (quite difficult to accomplish given Bioware's limited customization options for non-white characters). If there are fantasy races to choose from, I usually also go for the less common race/class/gender combinations (my female orc huntress in WoW was an absolute rarity back in the day).
05-04-2012, 04:27 PM #8
I can see how a voiced player character might influence how you picture him or her to look. That said, I think the use of English makes it easier to associate a voice with a character regardless of its looks, because of how universal the language has become. Perhaps someone who plays their games in localized versions has some thoughts on this.
On another note, I've actually been asked about my WoW human being black. Perhaps this shouldn't have come as a surprise, given the nature of WoW's vocal playerbase, but I found it sufficiently odd that I remember it to this day. I don't recall there being a specific reason for making the character this way; in WoW, but also in other games, I usually just make some small adjustments to whatever comes out of the random generator.
Last edited by Tritagonist; 05-04-2012 at 04:31 PM.
05-04-2012, 04:27 PM #9
I usually go for least like me (white, male). If there are non-human options, I usually take those. (Not elves though. Elves are boring.) I do like to mix it up though, so it may be female of varying races, it may be non-caucasian male.
It also depends on the aesthetics though. If it's only a choice of presets and I don't like how the other options have been set up by the devs, I may end up playing a more 'vanilla' character.
05-04-2012, 04:30 PM #10
Actually, no. It doesn't. At all. On top of that, it seems like there's little accommodation for physical traits we would associate with those of different races. If you look at the facial structures of Africans, the Chinese, those of the Middle-East and so on, there's a lot of variation, and most of the time you end up only being able to create, well, a black white person. Even in terms of Spanish/Hispanic/Mexican physiology, you end up limited.
I would love to see games, particularly RPGs and their ilk, have their creation suites massively improved to:
a) Further add to the diversity in terms of what characters can look like (rather than having them feel like just a variation on a theme)
b) Further accommodate different builds, figures and racial features
c) Stop with the goddamn playdough hair.
05-04-2012, 04:31 PM #11
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- Cincinnati, OH
Whenever I try to make a character that looks like me, I end up with a Ken doll, which isn't what I look like, but it seems my longish hair is never really an option, so I always go with somebody who looks totally different. My Mass Effect character was a bald black guy with a fu manchu.
05-04-2012, 04:45 PM #12
05-04-2012, 06:00 PM #13
If there were pre-generated characters that looked like Lauryn Hill or if the character builders actually let you pick a race* rather than just painting your avatar in different colours I wouldn't think twice about playing as them. Ironically, the trying too hard to be offensive Saints Row series has always done that and it possibly makes it more mature about the issue than any other developer. Scary thought.
I don't like the term race either but its the closest term we can get before breaking into semantics.
05-04-2012, 06:36 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
I always try to make someone who isn't like me (white, male) when given the choice. I find I feel more at home with the character as their own entity, since whenever I try to be Me in Spaaace I always end up an uncomfortable fit for the situations I find myself in. If the character is unlike me, with their appearance symbolising that, I'm more likely to a) make decisions for them that would be different from the decisions I myself would make in their circumstances and b) be more permissive with limited choices I'm given, as I can tell myself even if my preferred action is not written, the not-me I'm playing might not have considered it.
It's also to break away from having more white males starring in games. It gets terribly monotonous, and its a symptom of all sorts of endemic cultural unhealthiness.
My Mass Effect FemShepherd is intended to look pretty mixed race, and I'm pleased enough with how she turned out. Some African, some Asian, some other stuff. I agree that it is often disappointing how hard it is to get non-Caucasian facial types, but you could contruct something pretty decent with the ME face creator.
05-04-2012, 06:49 PM #15