Podcast: What character do you always end up creating?


You look a little tired, friend. Let me just adjust this slider for you. There, wide awake. Now you’ve got some energy, how about listening to the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show? This week we’re talking about character creation. Which games spoil us with choice? And why do we always end up creating the same sneaky elf?

Our recent video recruit, Matthew Castle, makes his debut on the podcast, and informs us that he always creates the same persona – a silver-haired man with a pencil moustache called “Mr Basil Pesto”. Terrifying. Meanwhile, Brendan usually tries to make someone new with every game, like a poetic orc, a rude lizard, or sometimes just a misshapen monster who maxed out on all of life’s sliders (but not the above horror, that’s Graham’s handiwork).

We’ve also had some time to play things. Matthew is pottering through the first Pillars of Eternity, keen to reach the ships and islands of the recently released sequel. And Brendan is scavenging through the bugs and jank of State of Decay 2 in search of things to praise.

The topic this week was sent in by listener Orlando. Thanks, Orlando. Thorlando. If you want to send in your own suggestion for a topic or theme, just email podcast@rockpapershotgun.com.

You can listen above, or go straight to Soundcloud where you can download it for later.

You can also get the RSS feed here or find it on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocket Casts. Music is by a bard character called Jack de Quidt.


Matthew is our video person!

He makes our videos!

Mr Basil Pesto looks like John Waters

Have you played… Grand Theft Auto Online?

Brendan’s misshapen ‘Blapchap’ in 7 Days to Die

Lauren Morton at PC Gamer investigates the Dark Souls fashion police

Tekken 7’s character creator is joyful

A very Tekken Christmas

The Fabsolver community

Samuel Beckett or Dishonored NPC?

South Park: The Stick of Truth’s character creator

South Park avatar creator

Things to celebrate about Divinity Original Sin 2

Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku on Splinter Cell’s enemy barks

John’s Pillars of Eternity review

Pillars of Eternity II review-in-progress

20 minutes of State of Decay 2

Some early impressions of its buggy zombie shopping trip

Sad weary science lady with a weak arm


  1. schurem says:

    ” Music is by a bard character called Jack de Quidt. ”

    The sweet dulcet tones of the clarinet and hand clapping, such a sweet unhurried sound. I cant get enough of that.
    Perhaps even more than your voices this draws me to listen every week. Still, the talk aint half bad either :P

  2. Seafoam says:

    When creating characters, I always end up with something that looks like Space Dandy. Someone with a pomp who seems like they would end every other sentence with “baby”.
    Game developers please put more pompadours in games.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Came in to post this. Pompadours are always the best hairstyle and instantly make any game better. Though I will say my go-to character design is more Johnny Bravo.

  3. automatic says:

    Most of the time I play with Generic Joe. Because digital RPGs are usually not de facto RPGs and the character you play has little or no effect at all on the story.

  4. MikoSquiz says:

    If there’s a richly featured character creator I tend to make a big burly muscle bear type who wears, like, bit stompy boots, a thong, and a cowboy hat.

    If it won’t stretch to that I make a perfectly ordinary pretty ginger boi.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I like how you think.

      Mass Effect was disappointing in that regard. “Only olympic swimmer bodies allowed!”

      • onodera says:

        Wasn’t Maleshep modelled on a cyclist?

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        In fairness it makes sense that a military setting would not have the widest range of body shapes as everyone needs to be in perfect shape and unlike olympic athletes they cannot be hyper-specialized either. The other more boring reason is that it’s hard to account for wildly varying shapes & sizes if you want interactions with characters to be correct so unless you specifically create a highly adaptable system with IK and staging that knows how to deal with any combination of proportions it will just destroy all your carefully crafted scenes.

  5. Sin Vega says:

    “Mr Basil Pesto” is an excellent name. Top work.

    Some of my favourites include Dr. Heinrich Stupidname, Patricia Jalfrezi, OUTDOOR VOICE, and Officer Nigel Breasts. Appearances tend to vary based on how silly vs serious I’m feeling.

  6. GernauMorat says:

    I just want to agree that the Dragon Ball style of characters are among the ugliest things in any form of media

  7. SaintAn says:

    If it’s an RPG with a lot of customization options I end up making every character I can think of and sticking to none because I think of a character I want to play and start over. Balder’s Gate and Pillars of Eternity are hell for me because I get stuck in a loop of creating characters, playing for a few hours and creating more characters. And I spend hours making characters just right and thinking up perfect names because I’m OCD about it.

  8. TormDK says:

    I always end up making the rugged Paladin/Knight with blue eyes, black hair in some sort of horsetail hair setup.

    I always focus on diplomacy skills, or skills that let me influence/steer the conversation.

  9. Justin says:

    I actually almost always try to make a version of myself.

  10. Darth Gangrel says:

    I have only played Saint’s Row 2 a bit, never any other game with a character generator. This is my proud accomplishment: link to static.gamespot.com (Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager with a giant afro)

    Sadly, my initial reaction after playing it a few hours is that it isn’t fun enough to stick around with, but I don’t want all my hard work to be for nothing, so I’ll play some more when I can put up with it.

  11. TerminatorJones says:

    I am a tall, fat man who is consistently thwarted in his attempts to create a tall, fat man in video games. Sometimes you can do tall, but rarely can you do fat, and even when you can it’s rarely as fat as I would like.

    The best likeness of me was created in a boxing game, Fight Night Round 3, I believe. I was able to make myself both tall and fat. But horror of horrors, my character gradually became more fit as he worked out to become a better boxer. I didn’t like how the game was whispering in my ear “hey, if you just worked out instead of playing video games all day, you could look like this ripped stud.” So I stopped playing the game.

    • Don Reba says:

      So I stopped playing the game.

      Did you become that ripped stud after that?

    • onodera says:

      Do you get no respect?

    • ElkiLG says:

      As an student learning 3D animation, that is because that would require a different set of animations and would cause some other problems. Basically making more body weights, up to a point, requires quite a bit of work from the different artists that, I guess, the devs don’t believe is worth it. It’s still possible though, I believe Saints Row 3 (and 4 I guess?) has more flexibility on that part.

  12. bhauck says:

    Darkest skin available, bald, short white beard. Looks so middle-aged and respectable and not something I see much in NPCs.

    • eLBlaise says:

      I’m the same way I try to get as close to obsidian as possible, we differ on the hair color though. I prefer contrast with bright reds, blues or purple. I usually make one character of each gender and go with whichever looks best.

  13. Turkey says:

    I like making my NPC as old as possible cause it usually messes with the coming of age bit in the beginning that a lot of RPGs have.

  14. brucethemoose says:

    Dark skin, light blue eyed, black haired humans are a favorite of mine, as are orange eyes/light skin ones (often through mods).

    I like the idea of a human fantasy race. Something exotic you’d be surprised but not freaked out to see IRL, walking around on our Earth. Makes them feel like they stand out, without being so different that they don’t feel human.

  15. DEspresso says:

    I think you forgot to embed the cast?

  16. racccoon says:

    A devil or darksided or brilliantly white, mage or archer.

  17. Ejia says:

    If my character can be any race other than human, I’ll pick it, though if there are a lot of races available I’ll be pretty indecisive. Unfortunately if I get past that I will then spend too much time twiddling with options, and most of the time it will look completely terrible outside of the character creation screen and I start all over.

    For actual in-game skills, I like to choose ones that favor diplomacy, and let me blast foes with magic or science lasers if it fails.

  18. onodera says:

    Facewise I make whatever fits the game, but generally it’s a gaunt older male.

    Role-wise, it’s often a diplomatic smooth-talker trying to please everyone. I’m so happy I made a Bleak Walkers Paladin in Pillars of Eternity, because that forced me to switch to an aggressive playstyle.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I tend to prefer games about specific characters, but when pressed I will tend to create someone different from me who fits in the setting. In Skyrim I played a male Khajit with a Scandinavian name (whom I imagined had been adopted and grown up with the Nords, now returning home). In Mass Effect I initially went with Broshep but bounced off the game and when I tried it again I created a red-headed Femshep (this was before Bioware marketing came up with the official ME3 version incidentally… Mine looked less like a dainty supermodel and more like someone you could imagine as a space marine, and diplomat… based on one of the ME1 template Sheps but with some subtle tweaks to the face).

  20. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I suppose I’m all over the place, but I’m another who at least tends to go for the non-human races or something other than the character(s) plastered all over the ads. Regardless, for first runs, I usually end up with a very tall or very short runner-type build with neat hair, a mildly amused look on their face, and otherwise unexaggerated features. If there are only humans/elves
    available, I often end up with an “awesome, storied, white-haired grandma” or an “awesome, storied, white/gray/salt&pepper-haired African grandpa/grandma” look.

    In ESO – the character creator I’ve probably played more than any – some of my later characters were a stocky/muscular Argonian healer named Bari Saxheals and a Khajiit sorcerer/healer with an unamused housecat look on her face named Queueoia (often just called Q). And the latter was nominal arch-nemesis to Grnthwl, a tiny sneaky bow thief jerk of a Bosmer, which is a character type (jerk thief) I otherwise never play. There was also an obese green Orsimer with a fabulous, voluminous red hairdo, branching dastardly mustache, no trousers, nothing but fists for weapons, and the most agility centric spells and abilities I could muster for him.

  21. plume says:

    Female, slender, redhead, pigtails named Martha Pepper. EVERY SINGLE GAME. I love the idea of her being the same person in so many ridiculous situations. Fallout 4 one week and Wizardry 7 the next. She just can’t get a bloody break. I’m so sorry Martha…

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Between your Martha Pepper and Matthew’s Basil Pesto, I’m really liking this notion of a persistent character. I’ve only half-done it with the Elder Scrolls games, so far – my first characters in each sharing an imagined family lineage and more or less my personality and stuff.

  22. daztec says:

    wiry half-elf ranger

  23. jermermern says:

    When I’m creating a character I always start out trying to make myself but generally get bored shortly after adding slight cheekbones and tack on a moustache because they’re funny to me, hence Basil Fawlty in Bloodborne and Freddy Mercury in MGSV

  24. jermermern says:

    The Tekken thing calls to mind an old episode of Expert Super Guide where someone called “Matthew” chanced on an online opponent who’d customised their characters as Phoenix Wright and Edgeworth

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