Character customization

From gameontology
Revision as of 21:03, 18 December 2008 by Jp (Talk) (49 revision(s))

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
This is a proposed entry.
This entry is currently being proposed as a permanent part of the ontology. It should be considered a draft and not really part of the "official" ontology.

Many games allow the player to customize his or her character or characters prior to starting to play the game. Customizations usually involves either tweaking parameters or choosing from a list of options. While most games allow a player to make changes to the character during the game (such as changing the weapons equipped), this entry refers to choices that impact gameplay that the player makes before starting to play.


Strong examples

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

The first thing you do in this game is create your character. You get to choose from a multitude of custimizable aspects to your character. You get to choose the race of your player and then you can change everything about his look from his eyes and height and weight to his age and freckles and voice. The options are very detailed and you can change the look of your character very easily and custimize him/her to your own likings. The system allows you to have many many options on how to change your character.

Neverwinter Nights

In Neverwinter Nights (and other D&D-based games), the player customizes a character by choosing from a number of discrete possibilities (class, alignment, etc.), and then assigning a number of skill points (depending on those choices) to various attributes, such as dexterity, stamina, etc.


The character customization options in FIFA 07 are excellent. The player has the options of customizing every aspect of a character, he or she has ability to decide exactly what the character is going to look like. For example, the player has control over the size and shape of any facial characteristics, as well as the weight, height, and age of a character. Along with these customization, the player also has the option of deciding how "good" the character is going to be; the player is given the choice of determining the exact skills that the character will have.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

The customization process begins with a selection of a class (Soldier, Scout or Scoundrel) and gender. This will determine your options in the next step, which is feeding points into your attributes and skills. This will provide a basis for the player's future level-ups in the game, as will another opportunity for character customization, when the player is given the opportunity to choose which class of Jedi (Consular, Sentinel or Guardian) to become.

Final Fantasy XI

In Final Fantasy XI at the beginning of the game, you can choose what race you want to be and what type of character model you wish to be. For example, one human may have short and bushy hair when another human may have no hair at all. Also ingame, you can buy certain armor that changes not only the appearance of you character but also affects your stats as well. Since there is a vast majority of different types of armor, it means that the majority of the players are different which makes Final Fantasy XI a strong example of character customization.

Final Fantasy Tactics

In tactics the player has a team composed of about six characters, all of which are customizable. The player can choose the main characters name as well as generic characters. He can also choose the gender of the generic characters. All the characters can have various equips too boost their stats and the player can then choose a class for each character. Once the characters level up, the player can distribute points to lear class skills for that character. The character can then change classes while still having those skills, this allows for numerous combinations.

Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok online provides the player with a great deal of customization for his or her character. When beginning the game and creating a character, the player has the option to customize the character's abilities and stength in multiple categories which later serve to influence how strong the player's character is in combat. This system allows each character to be slightly unique, making no character exactly the same in strength as another.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

One of the most exciting things about this game is the ability to create new and interesting characters. Everything about your character can be modified, ranging from hair color and height, to board set up and skill concentration. Pre-made pro skaters may also be selected, but for those who wish to get "personal" with the game, you can design a character that reflects your own skills, dimensions, and appearence. As a skateboarder, I always loved this feature because it allowed me to feel more invested in the game, almost like I was doing all the tricks myself.

NBA Shootout 2005

NBA Shootout 2005 provides the plaer with a flood of features of customization for his or her character. When you start customizing you can first choose the height of your player which also correlates to which position that you would choose. You wouldn't like to put a 5' 4" player in a post position. After you are allowed to choose what skin color you want, color of your eyes, and all the aspects to your uniform that you want. The feature that allows you the most fun though is the feature that allows you to control the body parts of the player. If you want the player to have huge hands, go on ahead. The game allows you to control every aspect of customization which makes this game a stron example of character customization.

World of Warcraft

The first thing you do in WoW when you are creating a character is to customize the character. You get to choose what the character looks like as well as what faction, race and class they will be. The faction you choose determines what side of the war you are on and who your friends/enimies will be. The race you choose determines what city or area of the world map you will start out in as well as the history of your character. And lastely, the class you choose will determine what type of weapons, magic, armor, and pets (if any) you will be allowed to acquire throughout the game. The decisions you make when creating a character has a big effect on the gameplay.

Weak Examples

Tekken 3

Tekken 3 for all platforms is a weak example of character customization. The player can choose between some alternative costumes for the fighters. These costumes have practically no effect on the gameplay but afford the player the ability personalize his or her chosen fighter.

Tekken 5

Tekken 5 for the PS2 allows the player to customize each characters outfit. This is a weak example because the player cannot customize every aspect of the character and also, customizations do not affect gameplay.


In Gauntlet, the player can implicitly choose between playing a Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, or Elf by choosing which of the four positions on the cabinet to play at.


In Civilization (and many other RTS games), the player can choose from different civilizations, each with different pros and cons.

Civilization IV

In Sid Meir’s Civilization IV, the player can choose from different civilizations, each with different pros and cons but the player can also chose the civilization of the AI. The player chooses the map that the whole game will happen on which is a huge customization of the game. The player has the option to add different “MODS” as a built in option to customize everything from the fact that you can build underwater to having different sciences to almost any other aspect of the game. You also chose AI difficulty, which makes a large difference to the game. You chose what the objectives to winning the game are and than strive to achieve them. You choose how many other civilizations are in the game and the size of the map (any map can be resized using this option). I see this as a very strong example of customization because almost anything that can be customized is actually done before the game begins. The whole definition of a character should be extended to allow for games like this which though they are strong aexamples of the equivalent to character customisation are not actualy a game that is based on a character

Final Fantasy I

In Final Fantasy I, the player composes his or her initial party by choosing four characters (with repetition allowed) from a list of character classes: Warrior, Black Belt, Thief, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

In Rainbow Six Vegas, players can customize the look of their character. They can add a vest, body armor, boots, things wearable on the body. The only problem is that it doesn't affect how good of a player the person becomes just merely the appearance.

Mario Party 3

This game is a weak example of Character Customization. In Mario Party 3 the player is allowed to chose from one of a handful of Nintendo characters. No two players can pick the same character and the gamer has no choice in character size or color. Throughout the game, present in mini games, some characters are changed in size or appearance depending on the challenge. These effects do not last and are not controllable by the player, so characters are basically unalterable.

Rayman Raving Rabbids

In this game, you are allowed to slightly change the appearance of the character. In the dungeon you are able to change your character's hair, clothes, shoes, and accessories. This does not affect the game at all, it's more of just a costume change.

Street Fighter 2

Street Fighter allows no character customization in the game. You choose a fighter and what color outfit he may wear but in the end it has no affect on how your character performs in battle. Compared to how vast character customization options in present games are, this acts as a very weak example.

Katamari Damacy

While rolling up the mass of the universe, the player's Prince will perhaps find a present among other items. If this present remains in the katamari ball it becomes equipable for all missions afterward. Examples of these presents are a crown, purse, camera, or mask of the King. Excluding the camera, which lets you save in-game snapshots, these items offer mild customization to the player character but do not change the game environment one bit. It doesn't matter whether the crown is equipped or not, it is just an aesthetic add-on. (Davehansen)

Devil May Cry 3

In Devil May Cry 3, the player gets the option of choosing a style to use while playing. The style affects what techniques the player can use and may change their fighting style. This is a weak example to character customization because the style you choose to play with doesn't affect much about the game, and the techniques you gain aren't much more useful than the techniques you have at your disposal anyways.

Magic: The Gathering Online

In Magic: The Gathering Online, players can choose from among 4 default avatars, or purchase/trade for a numerous selection of different avatars. This is a weak example because the avatars themselves have no effect on gameplay unless you play the Vanguard format. In this case, each avatar grants special abilities and/or bonuses (this format comprises a minority of games played).