Here is a video demonstration of the character creator, taken from the PSO2 Media Briefing and uploaded by youtube user “RemiusTheAwesome”.
One thing to immediately note in this video is the interface is clearly designed for PC. Of particular note are the click and drag diamond shapes which alter the shapes of their indicated bodyparts. This does not bode well for anyone still wishing for a console release.
Seems you can select through pre-sets (Base Type) for head and bodyshape before you decide to go in and tweak them further. This is a good feature, in particular for more complicated character creators, simply because not all players are artists. They don’t all know what looks good, what looks bad. Heck, even if you do know what you’re doing it’s nice to start from a template which is at least somewhat like how you envision your character. Having presets helps with this to give everyone templates to work with as well as giving people a means to skip the tweaking entirely if they want to.
The face morpher from PSU is back, but this time there are drop down menus on all four sides. I’m not entirely sure what they do, but I assume this means you can change what is influenced on the graph.
Next are the aforementioned “diamond editors”, diamond shaped wire boxes coupled with a graphic of the bodypart which give a nice indication of not only what they change but how the shape will change when you click and drag the points. I like this a lot, I just can’t imagine something like it on a console. I guess you could have a joystick-controlled pointer maybe, that’s the only way I can imagine a port could happen without having to completely redo the UI.
There is a slider for overall bodyshape much like there was in PSU, but you can go further now and tweak the size length and shapes of bodyparts (like legs, arms, boobs on female characters, ears on Newmans), much like you could in AION.
Seems like the colour pickers are similar to the ones we saw in PSP2, which is good because the colour picker in PSU was terrible (seriously the PSO one was better, with its RGB sliders). You couldn’t really pick any vibrant colours, really limiting what you could do with hair. Of course, a part of me wishes they had just gone with a color picker that would also allow you to tweak the saturation, some colour presets would be neat too. Also unlike PSU, you can set a separate colour for your eyebrows and there’s now a colour picker for skin color (though limited, so no martians). There is also body paint! You can pick things like tattoos and body-hair, but there’s not much choice with them. There’s also facial customization with things like scars and face-paint. There is also a beard picker, hell yeah.
Finally, costumes! In this demo it seems you can choose between 3 costumes and can further customize it with a limited colour picker and sticker picker. To anybody who was afraid that class would determine your appearance, you may breathe a sigh of relief!
It also seems like accessories are separated from hairstyles, which is a big improvement over PSU (where hair and accessories were one and the same). Of course I expect that there will be limitations on them for certain hairstyles to prevent clipping, anyway. It appears you get to choose up to 3 accessories.
The voice picker is pretty much exactly the same as it was in PSU.
CASTs, at least male casts as they were the only ones demonstrated in the briefing, get to choose between parts in a similar fashion as they used to in PSU. I assume they have sliders and whatnot to change bodyshapes like their fleshy counterparts (given the way their shape changes with the random character generator). It also seems like human faces are not an option for male casts, at least not yet. No screenshot or video has shown otherwise, so this may be bad news for anyone wanting to play a humanlike male cast but I know female casts have human face options at least. Female CAST creation was not demonstrated, but you can see one with a human face in my post on units.
We also got a very brief glimpse of male Newmans during the demonstration!
Of course, their concept outfits as seen in previous posts aren’t present which means either they share the same defaults as humans or their models just simply aren’t ready yet. Edit: In fact it was confirmed that their models aren’t ready yet.
I’m pleased with this demonstration and am looking forward to attempting to recreate my PSU characters and maybe even new ones. There are certainly plenty of tools to play with now. Character creation in MMOs is a funny business, for despite the assumed importance of looking somewhat unique in these worlds, most character creators in MMOs are really lacking. In fact even today, PSU’s character creator is still pretty exceptional in the amount of customization it gives you, which is kind of sad. Sure there are good ones out there, like in AION, EVE, APB but they and games like them are the minority. Maybe it’s not really as important as I think it is!
My only real concern with this is how much will I be able to change post creation? PSU had “Lumilass” which was the makeover shop, in which you could alter an awful lot of your characters appearance for ingame currency (JP later added body shape for cash). PSO also allowed you to remake your character’s appearance. Given the history, I’m sure there’ll be a limited makeover shop of some kind, but what will be ingame currency and what will be in the inevitable cash shop is as of yet unknown.