Games with character creators are great. If it’s a good one, you easily spend at least 15 minutes putting together a special someone and maybe over a half an hour if it lets you alter all of the details. Xenoblade Chronicles X may not have the most elaborate creation options, but it does reign triumphant in one area: the characters look the same in the creator as they do in the game.
It’s something that happens in many games where you customize your avatar. No matter how many options you get and amazing it all seems, sometimes the people you make don’t look the same in the actual game. Characters can look fantastic in Mass Effect 3, Dragon’s Dogma, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, WWE 2K16 and Dark Souls‘ creators, but sometimes look like entirely different people once you actually begin playing the game. There’s a disconnect, because you had someone in mind. You knew what you wanted and it seemed like you had it. Then, once you’ve gotten into the good stuff, you’re looking at what appears to be a totally different person.
Xenoblade Chronicles X doesn’t suffer from that issue. Part of it is due to the relative simplicity of the creator. There’s enough depth there to make a difference. A player determines the character’s gender, base face, body size, skin color, if the avatar has any blush, freckles, moles, scars, the hair style, cowlick, root and tip color, eye pupils and colors, and what kind, if any, eye shadow, lipstick or face paint the person wears. People are given 18 variables to choose from, with specific options in each category. Monolith Soft has given people enough choices to create distinct characters, but also to provide a controlled environment in terms of presentation.
The developer’s deliberate designs also help. Xenoblade Chronicles X doesn’t set up residence in the uncanny valley. The characters are cartoonish. They have exaggerated features that pair well with the outlandish situations. We aren’t comparing them with real people, because Monolith Soft doesn’t want us to. Meanwhile, games like Mass Effect 3 and Dragon’s Dogma shoot for a level of realism they can’t obtain. The resulting characters look uncomfortable. By shooting for a particular aesthetic, it’s easier to create character models that don’t disappoint.
Xenoblade Chronicles X‘s history helps as well. People playing it are going to compare the characters to ones from Xenogears and Xenosaga. Put Cross, Elma, and Lin alongside people like Fei Fong Wong, Elly Van Houten, Citan Uzuki, Shion Uzuki, KOS-MOS, M.O.M.O. and Ziggy and you’ll see clear graphical enhancements. There’s a distinct evolution and welcoming style. Improvements are evident and considered a welcoming throwback, a salute to simpler times. It’s quite a difference from games where character creators are trying to be too real.
When you’re creating your Xenoblade Chronicles X heroes or heroines, you know they will be exactly the people you want them to be. It’s reassuring, knowing that all that effort expended in those first fifteen to thirty minutes will make a person you can be proud of. Enjoy ogling that unchanging, pretty face for as long as you like!