The Importance of Physical Appearance in Video Game RPGs

Sophia Moonstone

Updated Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 12:13 AM CDT

The Importance of Physical Appearance in Video Game RPGs

In the world of video game RPGs, customization is a key aspect that allows players to create their own unique characters. From choosing hairstyles to f***** features, players have the freedom to design their avatars to their liking. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is the correlation between a character's physical appearance and their physical attributes. This article explores the idea of how video game RPGs could benefit from a system that forces a character's physical appearance to match their physical attributes, creating a more immersive and realistic gaming experience.

The Immersion Break:

Many players agree that the current system in video game RPGs, where a character's physical appearance does not necessarily reflect their physical attributes, can break immersion. For example, it can be jarring to see a petite Paladin character with maximum strength or a muscular character with low strength. This disconnect between a character's appearance and their abilities can make it difficult for players to suspend their disbelief and fully engage with the game world.

The Importance of Immersion:

Immersion is a crucial element in video game RPGs as it allows players to feel a sense of connection and investment in the game world. When a character's physical appearance aligns with their physical attributes, it enhances the overall immersion and realism of the game. Players can use their own eyes and logic to determine if an NPC has high strength or not, adding an extra layer of depth to the gameplay experience.

Examples of Games that Implement Physical Attribute Matching:

While many games still have room for improvement in this aspect, some titles have already embraced the concept of matching physical appearance with physical attributes. One such game is Dragon's Dogma, where players have the ability to customize their character's body parts, which directly affects gameplay. Taller characters run faster, while smaller characters use less stamina. Muscular characters can carry more inventory but move slower, while thin characters regenerate stamina faster but have limited carrying capacity. This level of detail adds a new dimension to character creation and gameplay.

Another game that partially implements this concept is Fable 2. In this game, a character's physical appearance is influenced by their skill distribution. Characters with high skill in ranged attacks and speed will be tall and skinny, while those with high strength will be short and stout. Although this system is not as comprehensive as Dragon's Dogma, it still demonstrates the potential benefits of matching physical appearance with physical attributes.

Real-Life Examples:

In real life, physical appearance does not always accurately reflect a person's physical abilities. A friend who can deadlift a weight equivalent to her husband may not appear as strong as him. Similarly, a bodybuilder may not have a visibly muscular physique under their clothes. These examples highlight the importance of not judging physical abilities solely based on appearance.

Incorporating a system that forces a character's physical appearance to match their physical attributes in video game RPGs can greatly enhance immersion and realism. By aligning a character's appearance with their abilities, players can use their own eyes and logic to gauge the strength of NPCs and create a more engaging gameplay experience. While some games have already taken steps in this direction, there is still room for further exploration and implementation of this concept in future RPG titles.

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