Customisation has been a part of many games for a very long time, but 2019 seems to be the year it has stepped up into sixth gear.
Revealed in a live stream a couple months ago, Anthem‘s customisation and vanity are incredibly in-depth, having what appears to be a near-endless stream of potential combinations. With each of the four Javelins; Colossus, Ranger, Storm and Interceptor, there are eight regions that can be customised. These are Helmet, Chest, Arms, Legs, Wear State, Vinyls, Animations and Paint.
The physical armour pieces, like the Legion of Dawn pre-order bonus armour, alter the silhouette of your Javelin. Your helmet can be switched out and changed, but arms, legs and chest are applied topically over the existing shape.
Wear is quite interesting, as it will react depending on what materials you have equipped on your Javelin (which I will get to in a moment). You can choose to imbue your suit with a paint-scratched worn look, be pristine and clean or dirty and mud-splattered. The appearance will change depending on whether you are using a fabric-based material, metal etc.
Paint is where most of the magic happens. Six regions can be customised and altered to develop the perfect look for you; Primary Hard, Secondary Hard, Tertiary Hard, Primary Soft, Secondary Soft and Tertiary Soft.
Control is absolutely in your hands, as you can select the base material for each zone, not just a colour. Whether you enjoy the shine of metal or love patterned fabric, there is an option for you. Each material significantly changes how the suit looks and opens you up to a wide world of experimentation.
Going one layer deeper, the choice of material also affects the range of colours you have at your disposal. Particularly in the case of metal materials, the colours you can select reflect the colours and tones of real-world metals. Opposed to having a bright pink metal sheen, you can utilise copper, gold, silver and more, to give your Javelin a sleek appearance.
Each of the customisation zones can be coloured the way you want them, with full access to the colour-wheel. You can create your own colour palettes to make quick changes on the go, and a recent colours section enables you to find a particular tone you may not have saved.
And then we have the Vinyls, which are more than simple insignias or sigils for your Javelin. Vinyls are full-body designs that add a lot of punch and impact to your character. Vinyls can be earned in-game as symbols of what you have completed, and shown off in stupendous ways.
Cyperpunk 2077 takes customisation, injects it with either cocaine or whatever dragonflies are made of and sets it loose. Not satisfied with simple physical customisation, you can control your backstory, attribute points and of course, your appearance.
Being an RPG, you can select from a male or female protagonist and alter their body type, hairstyle, eye colour, scars, tattoos, just to name a few. You are also provided with a base amount of Attribute points to assign to certain specs, such as Tech, Strength and Intelligence.
In what can only be described as the Holy Grail of RPG elements, you can even customise your player’s backstory. Key Life Events, the motivation for coming to Night City, and more all form an essential part of the story; your choices regarding your backstory matter. The past you create directly affects the events of the game.
This, I believe, is one of the best forms of customisation, especially in an RPG, and it has set a whole new bar. Of course, there may be changes to this before release, but optimism is quite infectious.
2019 is going to be a good year for games; the air is practically buzzing with electricity and excitement and it’s going to be amazing watching it unfold.