Shack Chat: What is your favorite in-game character creator?

Creating a character is one of the most important steps in a new game, so let's talk about our favorite character creators and what makes them special.


The first time you boot up a new role-playing game, chances are you’ll be greeted with a character creator screen. This is an important moment. Will you make someone that looks like you or dive into the depths of your imagination and create something else? What about your skills and stats, your equipment and starting item, or even the little companion that will be joining you on your journey? A good character creator takes some or all of these things into account. Let’s talk about our favorite one!

Question: What is your favorite in-game character creator?

Saints Row - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Character

A character shoots at a boat while riding a jetski

Source: Deep Silver

I have a soft spot for the Saints Row series, not just because the original was the first project I ever worked on as a QA tester, but because the character creator was so much fun. I loved how detailed this was for the time, allowing me to make a gangster kingpin who looked however I wanted him to look. It's a system that only got better in subsequent sequels, too. I especially loved the silly plot-related justification that the games would give to throw you back into a character creator.

I still remember that original 2006 game. There were so many pimp hats. Pimp hats as far as the eye could see!

Wild Hearts - TJ Denzer, Senior Kemono Slayer

The Wild Hearts character creator screen

Source: Electronic Arts

For my money, there hasn’t been a better character creator for me than Wild Hearts. I always spend hours in these things making my protagonist into someone I’ll want to play for countless hours on end, but the elements I saw in Wild Hearts let me do things I’d never been able to do before. For one, I think Wild Hearts was the first time I’ve ever seen a game’s character creator break hairstyles up into separate pieces that could be mixed and matched to make the full hairstyle. It’s also one of the few times I’ve ever been able to create such expressive eyes in a game, which is a place where I feel a lot of games miss the mark.

My kemono slayer ended up being everything I wanted her to be and more, and it’s due in no small part to the sheer breadth of tools that Omega Force gave me to work with.

NCAA Football 2013 - Asif Khan, Shacknews CEO/EIC/EIEIO

Sure, there are some fancy, newer games with great character creators, but NCAA Football 13 remains my favorite. Want to build a super team of freak athletes who are 7 footers, 400 lbs, and can run a 40 yard dash in 4.2 seconds? Want to create a 5-foot-tall running back that is able to leap over any opposing defender? NCAA Football 2013 has you covered and Coach Divx will be proud of you.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 - Bill Lavoy, Warrior

dragon's dogma 2 character creator

Source: Capcom

I came into this week ready to give the nod to Cyberpunk 2077. No, not because you could set the size of genitalia, but because you could create some incredible characters in that game. That was Monday, however, and I’ve since spent about 90 minutes creating my character in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Boy howdy, as TJ Denzer would say.

I can’t think of another character creator that has as much detail, depth, and customization as Dragon’s Dogma 2. You can tweak every last detail, going full fantasy or ultimate realism as you see fit. Of course, I created a giant, gray-haired warrior who has tattoos and scars that tell the story of his life. A roadmap to his wisdom, if you will. And, since Bill wasn’t an option for his name, I called him Bull, and he will smash his foes to dust with his trusty Pawn, Maya, the tiny, black-haired archer that is his total opposite. That’s right. After you are done obsessing over every detail of your character, you get to do it all over again (if you want) with your Pawn. Oddly enough, it doesn’t get tedious.

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - Sam Chandler, Big into Elder Scrolls astrology

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion character creator

Source: Bethesda

For me, a character creator is more than just the sliders to change the size of your chin or where to put the skill points. A good character creator should be more than just a D&D sheet of paper. It has to feel like it belongs to the world. That’s the feeling I get from the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion character creator.

The models of the people might not look the greatest these days (or even back in 2006), but what really stood out to me when Oblivion first released was the style of the screens, the accents of something simple like the scroll bar, and the flare to the typeface.

But beyond that, you weren’t just choosing what spells you wanted, you were selecting the star sign you were born under. It was subtly teaching you some of the lore of this new universe before you even set foot outside of the prison cell.

These days every single character creator looks to up the number of sliders you can manipulate. I don’t want that. I want to feel like I’ve stepped into another world.

Baldur’s Gate 3 - Donovan Erskine, Fighter

Donovan's character in Baldur's Gate 3

Source: Shacknews

Baldur’s Gate 3’s character creator perfectly captures the energy of creating a character sheet for a D&D character. The sense of endless possibility, the stat math, the fine-tuning of physical features, all while comparing notes with your fellow party members. Bonus point for a character creator that lets you create two characters. It’s an excellent introduction to a game constantly hitting you with surprises and wonder.

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host, Poke-Man!

Pokemon trainer

Source: Nintendo

What is my favorite in-game character creator? I don’t play too many games that give you the option to customize your playable character. That being said, I could take this question in a few directions. I have been playing Dark Souls: Remastered on the Stevetendo show and the character customization screen is pretty good. I like being able to change the facial features of my character. I also like being able to change the height of my character to make them look as crazy as possible.

It’s a bit of a reach but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe lets you pick all aspects of your kart. Picking the wheels, glider, and kart/bike is always fun. I’m an old school guy so I always pick a classic wireframe kart but that’s just me.

But I think my answer is going to be Pokemon Sword and Shield. I love the features in Sword and Shield where I can make my trainer look anyway I want. You could change hairstyle and color, eye color and so much more. I liked the fact that you could get special outfits when you use the Mystery gift feature. It was cool to see what other trainers looked like during online battles and Dynamax raid battles. It’s interesting to see how many games let you craft your character your way!

There you have it, all of our favorite in-game character creators. It’s interesting that we’ve all got different answers while all enjoying slightly different things about what makes a character creator special. Now, how about you? Let us know in the comments which character creator you think nails the assignment.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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