All game avatars are the same...

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All game avatars are the same...

Postby weemadando » 2009-10-21 06:26am

...discuss.

From a Shadow Complex review on Australian Gamer.

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Dooey Jo » 2009-10-21 07:57am

Well yeah, we must strive for photorealism, so we'll have more variation in the games. Just like in the real world!

Also, is it good that I don't recognise even one of those "different" "characters"?
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby tezunegari » 2009-10-21 08:09am

Ok, lets see who I can identify:
(row-column)
1-2: Naked Snake / Big Boss - Metal Gear Solid 3
2-3: Sam Fisher - Splinter Cell 4 (concept Art)
2-4: Sheppard - Mass Effect (standard Avatar)
2-5: Galen Marek / Starkiller - SW Force Unleashed ???
3-5: Max Payne - Max Payne 2
4-3: William "B.J." Blazkowicz - Wolfenstein
4-4: Nico Belic - GTA4

It is quite interesting how similar those characters actually look.
Maybe the female playable characters are more diverse?

P.S.: Is that a CG version of Brad Pitt at 2-2?!
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Laughing Mechanicus » 2009-10-21 08:22am

There was a similar... thing a while ago showing the covers from video game magazines from around the world. There were many of them and all contained the same set up: two large men (one fore and one background) with angry expressions on their faces and/or shouting while they brandished large weapons. The themes went through everything from WW2 to modern warfare to generic space marines, but that simple formula was remarkably consistent.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Oskuro » 2009-10-21 11:03am

I was going to go with "I don't recognize any of those", but Max Payne scowled at me and ruined it.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Zixinus » 2009-10-21 11:15am

I think the brown hair and being 30-something is probably because a good deal of developers is also 30-something and brown-haired?

And that development studios imitate each other, either because they're just uncreative or are pushed to imitate the last successful title.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby General Zod » 2009-10-21 11:46am

I was able to pick up Big Boss and Nico Bellic right off, but it seems that there's only so much variation you can use for male video-games character faces. I guess there's way more options if you aren't as focused on realism but then you'd have people whining that it was too Japanese or something.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby neoolong » 2009-10-21 11:50am

They're kinda cherry picking aren't they? Where's Chow Yun Fat or Lara Croft? Or that Asian chick from Mirror's Edge?

Though they do have something of a point. But, I guess they're also creating for their audience.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby General Zod » 2009-10-21 11:56am

neoolong wrote:They're kinda cherry picking aren't they? Where's Chow Yun Fat or Lara Croft? Or that Asian chick from Mirror's Edge?


I'm not sure I'd call focusing on male characters "cherry-picking", especially when most of them are from (mostly) high profile games.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby salm » 2009-10-21 01:16pm

Well, they´re all action heroes in photorealitic games that´s why they all go for the tough guy look with an aggressive or determined face. I think that´s a pretty good choice for an action hero. I agree that there could be some more variation racewise. It would be nice to play a black guy or an arab here and there.
The age makes for a more believable character. Old enough to have experience, young enough to be physically fit for the stuff they have to do.
Brown is probably the hair color of choice because it looks more bad ass than a blonde guy. The lack of black hair might be a technical issue. It´s harder to make black things good looking if you don´t have certain types of shaders (which you usually don´t have in games).

Out of couriosity, how would you guys design an action hero like this?

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby General Zod » 2009-10-21 01:37pm

salm wrote:Well, they´re all action heroes in photorealitic games that´s why they all go for the tough guy look with an aggressive or determined face. I think that´s a pretty good choice for an action hero. I agree that there could be some more variation racewise. It would be nice to play a black guy or an arab here and there.
The age makes for a more believable character. Old enough to have experience, young enough to be physically fit for the stuff they have to do.
Brown is probably the hair color of choice because it looks more bad ass than a blonde guy. The lack of black hair might be a technical issue. It´s harder to make black things good looking if you don´t have certain types of shaders (which you usually don´t have in games).

Out of couriosity, how would you guys design an action hero like this?


I can't say I've ever been too concerned with faces looking "samey" as long as their personality and dialogue/voice acting makes them stand out. If their dialogue makes them so bland that they come off as "generic action hero with nothing memorable to say" then I'll probably forget about them in short order regardless of what they look like.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby salm » 2009-10-21 01:49pm

To be honest i don´t even think they look too much alike. They have a couple of things in common, some of these common things even make sense, and that´s it. Some look similar to some others but all in all the variety in the image isn´t that small.

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby neoolong » 2009-10-21 02:08pm

General Zod wrote:
neoolong wrote:They're kinda cherry picking aren't they? Where's Chow Yun Fat or Lara Croft? Or that Asian chick from Mirror's Edge?


I'm not sure I'd call focusing on male characters "cherry-picking", especially when most of them are from (mostly) high profile games.


I'm not saying that they don't have a point, but that there are a number of high profile characters that aren't brown haired white guys. And even then, there's actually variations in the pictures shown. Niko for instance isn't the same as Drake, American vs. East European.

On a side note, isn't Altair half Arab half English or something? So there kinda is an Arab game avatar.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Darth Wong » 2009-10-21 02:39pm

This is the most obvious revelation I've seen in years. It's like asking why almost all female action videogame characters have the same ridiculous near-impossible giant-titted waif body. It's simply geared to the expectations of the typical teenager. The male is who the customer imagines himself to be in his heroic fantasies, and the female is who he imagines himself to be fucking.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Vendetta » 2009-10-21 02:55pm

General Zod wrote:I can't say I've ever been too concerned with faces looking "samey" as long as their personality and dialogue/voice acting makes them stand out.


Although for a good half of that list their voice acting makes them sound like they're talking whilst gargling with gravel.

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby born in shadow » 2009-10-21 02:56pm

[spoiler=My addition to tezunegari's list]1-1: Nathan Hale - Resistance
1-2: Naked Snake / Big Boss - Metal Gear Solid 3
1-3: Nathan Drake - Uncharted
1-4: Chris Redfield - Resident Evil 5
1-5: ?????
2-1: ?????
2-2: ?????
2-3: Sam Fisher - Splinter Cell 4 (concept Art)
2-4: Sheppard - Mass Effect (standard Avatar)
2-5: Galen Marek / Starkiller - SW Force Unleashed ???
3-1: Cole - Infamous
3-2: Silent Hill: Homecoming guy
3-3: Sev - Killzone 2
3-4: ?????
3-5: Max Payne - Max Payne 2
4-1: ?????
4-2: ?????
4-3: William "B.J." Blazkowicz - Wolfenstein
4-4: Nico Belic - GTA4
4-5: Dead Rising guy[/spoiler]

Like Wong said, it is probably an attempt to reach the majority of people who play games, or who those people want to be. It's probably a part of the contract a developer has to sign in order to make a big budget game :lol:

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Vendetta » 2009-10-21 03:04pm

2-1 is Man-Samus From Shadow Complex
4-1 is Alan Wake

Brown Haired White Dudes not appearing in this list are Alex Mercer, though he wears a hoodie all the time, so you can tell he's up to no good, and Ethan Thomas from Condemned.

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby weemadando » 2009-10-21 03:21pm

Darth Wong wrote:This is the most obvious revelation I've seen in years. It's like asking why almost all female action videogame characters have the same ridiculous near-impossible giant-titted waif body. It's simply geared to the expectations of the typical teenager. The male is who the customer imagines himself to be in his heroic fantasies, and the female is who he imagines himself to be fucking.


No shit, really? People market these things at impressionable kids with power fantasies?

I just find it amusing that the images are so consistent across the major franchises. I wonder if anyone has put together stats on lead characters in games and their various looks (anglo, asian, black etc, hair colours and so forth).

This one may be a little misleading on that front as both Max Payne and that RE douche have black hair don't htey?

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Dooey Jo » 2009-10-21 03:24pm

salm wrote:Out of couriosity, how would you guys design an action hero like this?

An action hero like what? If you're going to do a bog-standard "reasonably angry man kills people" type of action story, you've already limited yourself, and then comes the publisher to tell you about demographics. It would bore me to tears to design an action hero like this, or I would make it completely ironic.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Gramzamber » 2009-10-21 03:53pm

Ah yes, the video game character archetype look I hate.
Well. I have always liked Big Boss/Solid Snake's look, there is some degree of rugged uniqueness there (plus the mullet > all).
I absolutely unequivocally despise the default male Sheppard/Nico Bellic/Starkiller neo nazi skinhead look and wish it would die a painful death in the pits of obscurity.
I'm not a fan of the clean cut Chris Redfield look either.

To me the ideal game avatar is one you create yourself - and I tend to stay far, far away from the standard 30 something rugged white male or uber-boob female.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby TC Pilot » 2009-10-21 05:26pm

Of all the characters that I recognized (only 5), I'm pretty sure none of them are actually 30-something, except maybe Shepard. So, take that motivator! :P
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby General Zod » 2009-10-21 06:20pm

TC Pilot wrote:Of all the characters that I recognized (only 5), I'm pretty sure none of them are actually 30-something, except maybe Shepard. So, take that motivator! :P


Niko Bellic is 30 years old in GTA 4, and depending on the source material Big Boss would be in his late 20s/early 30s in MGS3.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby weemadando » 2009-10-21 06:37pm

Gramzamber wrote:To me the ideal game avatar is one you create yourself - and I tend to stay far, far away from the standard 30 something rugged white male or uber-boob female.


My Sheppard in ME is a 50yo bald, pasty skinned guy with serious scars (acne and otherwise). I find him a way more interesting character to look at than "SUPER HUMAN SPACE MARINE mk12" which is the default.

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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Vympel » 2009-10-21 06:55pm

I don't understand people (that's you, Stofsk, in case you didn't realise) who use the default Mass Effect male character face. They provide you with a tool to give the character whatever face you want - why use a poncy face derived from some Dutch male model?

Whilst my attempts to make my ME Shepard vaguely resemble me were a failure, at least he doesn't have that stupid skinhead look, nor is he particularly intended to be good looking. He's just average.
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Re: All game avatars are the same...

Postby Ford Prefect » 2009-10-21 07:03pm

The Mass Effect character creation process was pretty retarded, anyway. It was way too easy to create some malformed dork, and literally any facial variation on the female face will create a freakish abomination. In any case all my efforts default to black dude with pornstache, so ... :)
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