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How Do you Solve A Problem Like Miranda Lawson? A Discussion Of Romance And Character Creation In Video Games

The character creation tools afforded in many games are a funny thing. They can be unbelievably complex, and players can and often do devote full hours of time fine-tuning the perfect intrepid hero (or horrific monster) out of the numerous sliders, style choices and tweaks that alter the facial and body features of their player-character. It’s one of the defining tropes of the RPG genre.

Yet for all that creativity and time sunk into making your own character, once the game actually starts that huge amount of attention is often inconsequential. In some games, like Bloodborne, you rarely even see your character’s face after all of that effort. In the best cases character creators build a connection between the player and their avatar, but it never goes further than that. Other characters in the games you play never have anything to say about your character’s appearance, whether they have the chiseled features of a Greek statue or the twisted figure of a del Toro monster. It’s all the same to the inhabitants of Skyrim’s Tamriel or Fallout’s American Wasteland. It’s a small, forgivable but ever-present gap in video game logic.

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