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Back in April of this year, Pokémon GO received an update to its avatar system. With the new update to both the Style Shop and avatars, Trainers got access to a wider range of expression with upgraded cosmetics to flaunt their unique styles. Since that update, Trainers can personalize their avatar by adjusting body shape, size, eye color, skin tones, and new hairstyles.

While that kind of update seems like it would be a major win for all Trainers, there was a considerable amount of backlash following its implementation. Players felt that Niantic strayed a bit too far from previous designs, with a not-insignificant amount of people calling the update a step back rather than upgrade.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Pokémon GO director Michael Steranka opened up on the response to the character creator update, and noted that Niantic has been working hard to find a place where all Trainers are feeling satisfied with their avatars.

**We definitely saw a lot of feedback that players felt like it still didn’t match what they were hoping for. The team has been hard at work at looking at that feedback and we’ve already made some updates and adjustments, things like improving the different body proportions that you can have and different skin tones. But I would say it’s just the start, we want to continue adding more to the feature, making it more diverse. My goal is for every single player in the world to really feel they can be represented in Pokémon Go.

The other thing I would just share on this front is just how technically challenging that feature was for us to bring out into the market because we have this backlog of different avatar items and articles and clothing and poses, and those were all designed for two very specific form factors. Taking those dozens and hundreds of avatar items and applying it to much more customisable characters was very, very tricky for us. But we have seen the feedback and have already been making some adjustments and and we have more to come.**

[Pokémon GO director Michael Steranka]

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Comments (5)

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bakfug

I like how your comment starts by belittling complainers only to immediately launch into your own unrelated complaint.

tendonin

1M ago

Ah well, it wouldn’t be a day on the internet if I didn’t see something that made me lose faith in humanity.

The player avatar generic as all hell to begin with. Even if the thought of inclusion sends you into frothing, apoplectic range, better customizations option are a clear. It’s yet another thing the main games should have but just kind of don’t because Game Freak is developing three games at once and needs to put more work into their latest petting mini-game.


bakfug

1M ago

@tendonin

I like how your comment starts by belittling complainers only to immediately launch into your own unrelated complaint.


I don't think anybody was upset about this update over inclusion. They hated the update because it made their avatars misshapen and ugly. The characters' torsos became elongated with a weird gap between their thighs. The skin tones (especially the darker ones) turned into a weird grayish hue. Headphones created indentations in the players' heads. And pretty much every avatar became a weird variation of "pear-shaped". There was very little you could find in the update that one would consider an improvement.


hawk

1M ago

"My goal is for every single player in the world to really feel they can be represented in Pokémon Go."

The whole idea was flawed from the start. I don't want my avatar to look just like me. I want it to look like what I wish I looked like. So giving us frumpier, dumpier bodies and taking away options from players was a bad strategy. A player should be allowed to have an avatar with an hourglass figure or a trim, athletic build if they want. We want our avatars to be attractive.

It wouldn't have been bad to add the "overweight" body types for those who wanted it as long as they also kept what they had before, but they wrecked everything to include them. And I doubt there were very many people asking for overweight body types in the first place. Body shape is just one of the things they wrecked.

The avatar system needs more than "adjustments". It needs rolled back.


riftsilver

1M ago

"The other thing I would just share on this front is just how technically challenging that feature was for us to bring out into the market because we have this backlog of different avatar items and articles and clothing and poses, and those were all designed for two very specific form factors. Taking those dozens and hundreds of avatar items and applying it to much more customisable characters was very, very tricky for us."

I'm not oblivious to how hard it is to execute something like this, but I'm also not going to applaud something that obviously didnt work. It's why games with a large amount of outfits typically don't venture into this very territory, because it's extremely easy to mess up.

The biggest issue here is that they didn't maintain a kind of backwards compatibility with the old avatars. Let the people who want to be represented by a more custom avatar do so and weigh whether the issues are worth it for them. I would much rather just return to the standard avatar because the stuff I purchased actually looks half decent...