All of these games allow you to customize your player avatar's appearance, sometimes in interesting ways.
An interesting thing happened while I was stranded in the Fade.
I started Dragon Age: Inquisition knowing full well that I'd customize my character's appearance. This is a Bioware game, after all. But, with past Bioware games and every other game that allows you to customize your character's appearance, I never really gave it thought. Sure, I put enough effort into the customization to make sure my character looked rugged enough or pretty enough, as the case may be. But it never really meant anything.
But this time, as my thus far nameless character raised her head up and the camera zoomed in on her face, it slowly occurred to me that I was not just building a character's appearance, I was actually filling in her backstory.
At first, it didn't matter. The color of her hair or the shape of her chin meant little to me. But, as I dug deeper into the details, I thought about how she might have earned that scar I was placing on her cheek. Was it during an epic battle with an Orc? Or had she been roughed up by an ex-lover? Then I decided to give her a hair style (of which DA:Inquisition offers precious few for female characters) that covered up that scar, bringing further depth to a character who had not yet uttered a word or, indeed, taken a single step towards saving the world. The scar was something she was ashamed of, so she let her hair obscure it. But, her heritage is something she's proud of, so I gave her a facial tattoo right over and around her left eye. The ink is a bit faded because she earned this tattoo early in life, but she displays it proudly, keeping her hair well out of the way of it. She's a Dalish elf and she's owning it.
Still, she had a rough past (as Dalish do), so I gave her thin lips that favored a frown. She also has slightly squinted eyes, as though she's never quite ready to trust whatever you're saying. Her hair is bright red as are the outer rings of her eyes, so she gets noticed whenever she enters a room.
After about an hour of these tweaks, Atisha exited the Fade to start her next adventure. And that's the thing. In my head, she had already had quite a life, and this was simply the next stop. I felt I knew her better than I know most video game characters after 40 hours of play, and it was all born of slider adjustments and my own imagination. Bioware hadn't written a single word of story at this point, but by virtue of the tools they offered, they had allowed me to tell the origin story of what may well become one of the most thoroughly realized characters I've ever played.
Finally made a couple small updates to the site. Check them out.
// 17 Jan 2015 05:59pm
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