Dress-up Dollies

Kitt Shepard
Kitt Shepard

I’m a customisation fan. I love creating characters or being able to adjust their hairstyle or even just pick their outfit. Ultimately it’s the little girl in me that still wants to play at dress-up dollies. That never quite goes. There’s a ton of games now that offer you all sorts of character options with The Sims probably being the ultimate ‘dolly’ game. I can’t help wanting to be able to carve out my own character in games where it isn’t actually appropriate or possible. There’s something about The Sims that makes it all too easy and somehow a bit lame and uncool. In JRPGs of old you’d collect all kinds of exotic and interesting outfits, armour and accessories but your character on screen didn’t actually change and even when a few games did crack that, cutscenes would still see them in their default costume. It was important back in the day to keep the protagonist almost faceless in order for you to really embody them. They’d be called ‘boy’ or ‘hero’ or wear a mask. They were you or… anybody. It was an answer just not the right one.

These days we’re often treated to a wardrobe of costume possibilities not just when playing online but also in story led, single player games, where our tiger print bikini and RayBans manage to stay on our hero throughout along with the weapon you’ve chosen for them clearly visible in their hilt or holster. My Shepard in Mass Effect 2 is mine. When I fired up the game and imported her from the original Mass Effect, I could see her clearly in my mind before she appeared on screen. It’s been more than two whole years since our paths crossed but I knew every line in her face, her pout, the stern but stoic furrowed brow she would get when asking a teammate how they were feeling. In some ways I think the customisation in Mass Effect is the pinnacle of the whole notion of creating your own character. Few games feel as personal. It’s not the making of one decision in the game that made me truly become Kitt Shepard, it was hundreds of decisions. The more I made, from hair colour to whose life to save, the more I became that Shepard.

RoF costume 1 RoF costume 2 RoF costume 3

It seems now that finally a game has come along that will fulfil my need to customise where I have no right to customise. In the upcoming JRPG Resonance of Fate not only can you dress up your character but you can dress up all the characters. Their look carries through to the cutscenes as well as in-game in a way I haven’t seen before. The game looks very different depending on how you outfit your party. The changes are substantial enough that it actually makes me question the wisdom of including the feature. If the cast of my RPG are conservatively dressed, glasses wearing types, wouldn’t they behave a little differently than spiky-haired, fashion victims or wild west-style outlaws? I’m not sure whether I’m going be able to reconcile the idea of set narrative with a cast of completely modifiable characters but I’ll still be trying out a selection of stupid hats on them anyway.








8 responses to “Dress-up Dollies”

  1. John avatar

    Kirsten, I felt exactly the same when ‘my’ Shepard appeared post-import. Options to change anything were immediatly ignored – Silesti Shepard was back!

  2. Simon avatar

    That looks terrific! The comedy potential is there.

    “Oi! You! Yep! The massive dragon beast! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?! Like my rag-tag band of men in bikinis and police helmets?! Briiiiiiiiiiiing it!”

  3. Zoey avatar

    I had exactly the same. I never even looked at the new options. It was really nice to see good old destinee Shepard back in command 🙂

  4. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    OMG. Noooo. That’s too much. I’d go crazy if I were to try and dress each character. I had played around with the face editor in a few games, but mostly went with default characters (more so because I didn’t know how to re-create myself).

    The only thing I wanted to change with my Commander Shepherd was the name, it was based on my old gamertag but I couldn’t change that with the imported character.

    Next you’ll be wanting an RU clothing line for avatars. 😀

  5. Markatansky avatar

    I love customisation aswell – but not because of dolls, because of LEGO! Easily the best toy evar.

  6. Kirsten avatar

    You can’t recreate yourself because you’re a one off, Rook 😉 There can be no faux Rook! Loads of people just aren’t into customising stuff at all where as I’m annoyed once my characters ready that I have to go play an actual game with it.

  7. Albull avatar

    Haha, I can practically hear the creaking from the RSI mangled joints of the artists on Resonance of Fate from here.

    “So the player can customise their outfits *sigh* but the cut scenes will revert to default outfits right…? Right?! Ok, ok, what are we talking about here 5, 10 outfits? Please?”

  8. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Aawww, cheers Kirsten. I remember customising my abilities in FF8. Trying all my spells as attributes to my stats to max them out.

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