Part 87: Avatar Creator
Now, before I begin with the Avatar Story proper, lets talk a little bit about the Avatar themselves, shall we?
This is one of the few segments of the base game that Ive yet to speak on in-depth. Its actually the first thing you do when you begin a new game of White Knight Chronicles, so its weird that Ive held off until the very tail end of the LP to actually talk about.
Were going to go in-depth with the Avatar Creation Engine.
So when you select New Game from the title menu, youre presented with a number of options: New Game, New Game+ and Import Save Data.
New Game+ if very straightforward: you can reload any save file that has a clear flag for White Knight Chronicles II on it and begin the duology over again from the start of White Knight Chronicles I to try and see if maybe the game might actually be fun the second time around now that youve got some decent weapons, armour, and the Arc Knight to play around with. Spoiler: it isnt.
Import Save Data is for people with clear save files from the first game, ie: the poor dumb schmucks who bought the even-more-broken first version of the game and actually finished the fucker. Importing your save data throws you right in the start of the second game with all your items, skills, and equipment from your game 1 save file intact, but it resets your level to level 35.
Picking the straight New Game opens up yonder dialog box and gives you the choice of which of the two games you want to start with. You can begin the duology from scratch, or you jump right into game 2 and rely on Cisnas ten second monologue to try and fill you in on everything you missed.
Fun fact: you cant do this in the Japanese version.
Yes, in another gobsmacking example of Fuck you, Love Level-5 the only way you could sit down and immediately start playing White Knight Chronicles II on the copy of White Knight Chronicles II youd just bought was to load a clear file from White Knight Chronicles I right at the start. Otherwise the game would force you to play through the entirety of the first game to get to the content advertised on the front and back cover of the game.
Level-5 owns the naming rights to a professional sports stadium in Japan. I dont know how or why this is a thing, but Im suddenly terrified for the wellbeing of everyone who uses it now just because its associated with Level-5 Studios.
BACKGROUND MUSIC: Adventure, Ho! (Disc 1, Track 2)
So here we go. This is technically the first screen you see when you being playing White Knight Chronicles, and appropriately enough, its a shallow plea to buy the games DLC. Ill get to this bullshit in due time.
Behold, your default Avatar: a generic blond white kid of average height and weight. Now, Im not that tall of a guy in real life, but I can at least proudly say that Im taller than this whitebread motherfucker.
Now, if youre not a fan of the Generic White Kid type, the game helpfully provides a set of other base templates for you to load up and use as inspiration.
Theyre mostly all white too. But you do get one black guy, and one old guy.
And weve got some women-type people too.
The same sort of thing applies here for female Avatars.
Before the game lets you get down to actually designing your digital self-insert hero who will be ignored for 98.5% of the game, you first need to name them. Dont worry about coming up with the perfect name right off the bat. Just call them Dongs and move on because you can always cycle back and forth through each tab from here and change it to whatever you want.
Note the numbered tabs up above. Tabs you havent gone through yet are blacked out, while ones you have scrolled through are highlighted white. Id gone through and created an example Avatar that will be showing up further down the page before scrolling back to reset it and show off the creation engine properly.
Tab #1 is the name and gender tab, while tab #2 is the Body tab. This is where you edit the specific shape of your Avatars body. All the tabs in the image are fairly self-explanatory: you can make your specific Avatar as tall, short, thin, fat, or buff as you want within the creators 0 to 100 scale.
Youve also got a set of shortcut body types that you can choose from. When you select each one you get a comic two second transition of the Avatar morphing between preset body types.
The default one is Avarage.
Big emphasises your characters muscle mass.
Petite makes them a pencil-thin weakling.
Heavy turns them into George RR Martin.
Stocky turns them into Short Geroge RR Martin.
Tiny turns them into a 12-year-old.
Giant makes them super tall and super buff.
And tall just makes them all gangly.
At the bottom of the tab is an option called Skin Colour.
Selecting it opens up the skin colour pallet.
Theres a whole wide range of skin tones to choose from that pretty much cover every possible ethnicity, include Dead (top left corner).
Heres some skin tone examples.
Sadly, there are no unnatural joke skin tones like green or blue or orange.
Tab #3 is the Face tab, where you can tweak your Avatars mug to get it just right for those two or three split-second close ups of them where you can actually discern their features.
Just like the Body tab, the Face tab has its own set of preset face styles to help get the ball rolling on your face-making.
Average is the default setting. Its basically anime character.
Round turns you into an American. HAIOOOO!
Long turns you into a horse.
Wide turns you into Robert ZDar.
Narrow makes you Peter Capaldi.
Square makes your head look like just popped out of a jar. Even though Average is technically the Square character setting.
Chubby also turns you into George RR Martin.
Slim makes you Conan OBrien.
And the aptly-named Jaw-some makes you Jay Leno.
Look at that fucking chin. Holy shit.
Down at the bottom of the Face tab is a slider for wrinkles. The default is a baby-faced 000, however
Behold the ravages of age. Jeez, and I was giving Eldore shit for being decrepit. Thats like Emperor Palpatine shit there.
The other tab thats also going to be appearing on nearly every page now is the Usual Expression tab. This allows you to select what the Avatars neutral facial expression will be whenever theyre on camera and not in the one of two scenes across the duology where there actually bother having them emote.
Theres a bunch of expressions, most of which either look really dumb, or barely affect the look of the Avatar in general. For the curious, Orren sports expression #2, the perpetually pissed off one.
Theres also an option down at the bottom of the screen involving the select button called Demo facial expressions. This lets you see how well your Avatars face holds up by running it through a minute-long demo of various expressions wherein your Avatar will be more emotive than they will in the entire game.
I think that was a holdover from a time when the Avatar was perhaps going to play a larger role in the story before Level-5 d out and gave up on it.
See what I mean about most of these expressions looking the same?
Although, to the games credit you can make an Avatar that is absolutely dumbfounded at Leonards constant failures and exponentially increasing stupidity. So theres that.
Baldurk is going to kill me when he finds out I wasted space on LPix for THAT bullshit.
On tab #4 is the Eye and Eyebrow tab. The Face tab was for the general shape of your Avatars face and head, these next few tabs are all dedicated to their individual features.
At the top of the screen are your various preset eyebrow options.
They run the full gamut from anime to almost normal person.
You also get a colour pallet for eyebrow colour. This is the same colour pallet for your hair colour and facial hair colour too.
Theyre not intrinsically linked, however, so you can if you want have three different hair colours for each part of your Avatars face.
Were one pair of gigantic black glasses (which are bindable in-game) and some blue hair dye away from being Dame Enda.
Theres also an eye type preset.
Unlike the eyebrows, you can tweak the shape of each eye selection somewhat as well.
Theres even eyes with eyeshadow.
The Iris Type tab opens up another screen that lets you choose how big your Avatars irises will appear.
They range from eye-filling moé doll
ToJESUS! Thats fucking creepy.
You can also edit your Avatars eyeball colour for reasons.
The colour pallet isnt that expansive.
So sadly you cant recreate Madorass over-the-top villain eyes, but you can come pretty close.
And heres the tab for Iris Colour.
Theres a ton of colours to choose from. Whoopee.
Tab #5 is Nose, Mouth, and Ears.
Again youve got a number of presets to choose from which you can then warp to your hearts content.
Classic options include the Oswald Cobblepot.
And the Early 00s Michael Jackson.
The preset mouths are much the same.
A lot of them repeat themselves, but there are various stubble options, allowing you to create a teenage anime protagonist who actually looks like a goddamn teenager for once.
Or the goddamn Marlboro Man
The game also shows off its incredible next generation Jowl Simulation Engine.
No you too can have a mouth like Americas 37th President, Richard Milhous Nixon.
In all, you can do some really weird shit with this Avatar creator, like having a character whos got an otherwise young and elastic face
And yet has the time-worn mouth of a man in his mid-50s.
And before you ask, yes there is a lip colour pallet.
Im pretty sure I saw this guy in the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
Snap poll: what fantasy flop do you think Jeremy Irons is more embarrassed to have been a part of, D&D or Eragon? Ive heard Robert Carlyle, an otherwise pretty chill guy, gets absolutely pissed when you remind him he was in Eragon.
Just random triva.
Just in case you want to try making a Joker Avatar or something, I guess
For the otherwise massive catalog of body parts that all the other preset options offer, your choice of ears is sadly lacking.
You can choose between normal lobes, and, I dunno, Ferengi lobes.
So yeah, no pointed elf ears or whatever, just in case you wanted to try and make a proto-Farian or Warg or whatever. You can however buy or bind accessories from the Dahlia Exchange or the Binding Post that will give you Warg or Papitaur ears and Farian horns, however.
Tab #6 is all about the Hair baby.
There is a truly stunning number of hairstyles you can pick for your Avatar.
Each one practically creates a whole new character Eh not really, but whatever.
Heres game 2 Orrens hair style.
And heres game 1 Orrens.
Down near the bottom of the list are the DLC hairs. These are versions of the main characters hairstyles that you can use on your Avatar and colour whatever way you want. Useful if you wanted to create generic versions of each character, though I dont know why youd want to do that.
Each DLC hair is denoted by the blue shopping bag icon that shows up on screen when you select it. If you try to load the game with an unpurchased DLC hair style equipped, the game wont let you continue and will tell you to either pick a new hair style or exit the game and buy it from the PSN store.
They cost $1 per hair style.
There are codes out there for the Game Genie that let you equip these hair styles without paying for them, however, but Ive never used them so I dont really know what to make of this kind of piracy. On the one hand, this games profitability ship has long since sunk and Sony doesnt care if you pirate or mod anything related to it any more, yet on the other hand, these are all giant rip offs if you actually buy them.
God, I feel dumber already showing this one off.
And there we go. Weve found a way to out-ignorant rich white frat boy Caesar in the looks department.
Interestingly enough, while the main characters hair is DLC, Madorass hair isnt. Go figure.
Oh hey, Almost Marcell.
This tab here is all about moles. Mass Effect has badass scars, White Knight Chronicles has beauty marks.
Including more opportunities for unintentional racial insensitivity, represented here by a Nordic teenage boy sporting a Hindu bindi.
You also have a facial hair tab. The range from subtle to beard to full on wacky dacky shit.
Including Belcitanes Dick Dastardly moustache.
And Cyruss barely there pube beard.
And Evil Mirror Universe goatees.
And Leatherman moustaches.
And Santa beards.
And Eldores beard.
On Tab #7 are the finalize colour pallet options. Here you can give all your colour choices a final once over and tweak everything.
On Tab #8 is where you pick your Avatars voice and another chance to change their default expression. There is a surprising number of diverse voices for both male and female Avatars, though when your lines only consist of b-roll combat grunts and no actual lines then youve got plenty of room on the BluRay disc to cast as many community theatre bit player voices you want.
Okay, lets spend a little time with the female Avatar before moving on.
Heres our default female Avatar.
More of the same for default choices of parts on the female Avatar.
Sadly, there is no option for the female Avatar to have stubble, even though the male Avatar can sport eyeshadow and lipstick.
And heres the female Avatars hair styles.
For some reason theres a Payne from FFX-2 hair option... Just as well, as Payne was the only decent thing about FFX-2.
And heres the female Avatar DLC hair styles. Youve got Yulie.
And theres Elvees hair too. Interestingly, Cisnas hair isnt one of the options you can pick, even though Mius is. Though I can see why they didnt let you pick it. When I modded Cisnas hair into the Cisna Avatar seen a couple of times throughout the LP, whenever you run anyway, Cisnas four-foot-long hair train sticks out perpendicular to the back of her. Im talking straight --- horizontal line that remains rigid even when you turn in various directions.
Its fucking hilarious to see in action.
And thats about it for hair style choices. Now lets see what about two hours of faffing about in the Avatar creator can yield.
So yes, you can indeed play the game as StrifeHiras embittered middle aged housewife.
Im Commander Shepard.
No Im Commander Shepard.
Bob Hope? Is that you?
Cap-tain Jean-Luc Pi-card of the U-S-S En-ter-priiiise.
And of course, Our Lord And Saviour Dash Rendar.
Move over Caesar, the real Tony Stark is on the job.
Back at last from the abyss that the Internet and the Freelance Astronauts forget, reborn anew for the modern era, it is the one, the only, the abominable, Dongs REO Speedwagon! Who, coincidentally enough, was voiced by Charles Shaughnessy in Maxwell Adams Saints Row 2 LP.
Back to something a little more vaguely normal, heres game 2 Orren, who let his hair grow out in the intervening year between finally getting away from Leonard and then being dragged back into this mess again.
And heres game 1 Orren, sporting a more exotic and tribal looking hair cut because in my imagined backstory, hed arrived in Balandor shortly before the start of the game from somewhere across the sea after some kind of wild adventure that involved getting this kind of haircut and he just kept it because he thought it looked kind of badass.
Because I sort of imagine that this is what Orrens life has been up until this point, him traveling the world and just sort of begrudgingly fixing things that other people have fucked up through their own incompetence or stupidity.
Hes like Taran Wanderer, only with more cursing and killing things that get in his way.
I made a joke earlier in the thread about Old Man Orren and well here he is. Gaze upon what a year and halfs worth of Leonard does to man.
And then at the very end youre presented with one final tab that gives you the basic run down of the Avatar youve created and a prompt of whether or not you want to start the game with the Avatar youve created.
Once you say yes theres no going back unless you pay Level-5s extortion money to reformat your Avatar after the fact.
That all said, however, the Avatar creator is probably one of the funnesst parts of the game, especially in seeing what kind of absolute horrors like Dongs you can cook up with its various options. I would, all kidding aside, actually recommend picking up a cheap $15 copy of White Knight Chronicles II just for the Avatar creator alone.
Pop it in your PS3, fuck around with it for a couple hours, create something that speaks to you, then challenge yourself to see how far into the game you can push it before you finally get bore or frustrated with it. Then take it back to Gamestop, get a couple bucks back for it.
Regardless, with that out of the way, lets dive into the Avatar Story properly then.
TRANSLATORS NOTE: Im probably the last person you want translating anything from any language to another. I tried my best with my limited knowledge of Japanese and what several various translation softwares were able to help me piece together. Its not going to be 100%, and in some places its probably not going to be even 1% accurate, but Im not aiming for orenronen or Fedule-style perfect replication of the source material, just something that makes sense within the context of whats going on on screen.
Besides, youve stuck with me this far, havent you? Would you really care if I just made up everything wholecloth and tried to see how long I could maintain the deception?
Well, here goes nothing anyway. If you want to contribute an alternate translation based on what youre able to read off the screenshots, feel free to leave notes on it and Ill update the post and include your name at the end with an additional translation by credit. Because god knows I had to mangle a lot of Oruros lines before I got something that was even approaching readable.