Character creation is a fun and immersive way for players to add themselves, their original characters, or even their favorite fictional characters into a game. Visual novels are no exception to this. Letting players choose the character they want to be allows for players to self-insert or create new characters for multiple playthroughs. Here are a few visual novels that feature formidable character creation systems with worthwhile and appealing options.
Arcade Spirits Series
There are two games in the Arcade Spirits series, and both feature robust character creation systems. The first game follows the protagonist as they get a new job at an arcade in an attempt to find a new meaning in their life. They get to make friends and possibly a lover along the way! This game allows players to choose from three pronouns: he, she, or they. They’ll also be able to give their character a first and last name. There are three hairstyles to choose from, which are short, medium, and long in length. Players can choose from a large variation of skin tones—thirty, to be exact, which goes beyond the few standard choices often seen in video games. Hair color, eye color, and outfit color benefit from the same variety, with more than 100 shades to choose from. What I absolutely love about Arcade Spirits is that the player character’s design is reflected in-game. Not only do you see their neon outline on the left side of the textbox when they’re talking, you also get to see their sprite on screen during specific scenes, like when operating the prize counter. Furthermore, your character can be seen in various CGs throughout the game!]
The character creation is improved upon in the second installment of the series, Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers. You get to choose your character’s handle to use online, as well as their first and last name. There are five times more pronouns to choose from, adding in more options for players of different identities. Players can choose from more hairstyles and add in accessories like hats or glasses. Players also get to change their outfit and certain facial features. Fans of the first game wanted more options and the developers certainly delivered! You can make a truly unique character in this game. A unique feature that I hadn’t seen before is the ability to create your dateable rival’s look.
Our Life Series
Our Life is a well-known and well-loved indie romance game series by GB Patch Games. In the first game, Our Life: Beginnings and Always, you take the role of a person who literally gets to grow up with their new neighbor, Cove Holden. It’s up to you to choose how you’ll customize your character and their personality. Players can choose the shape of their character’s head and eyes, and can choose the style of their character’s hair (front and back parts) as well as the color of each. There is the option to pick your pronoun, and you can select a name from a list that Cove’s voice actor will actually say out loud throughout the game. While this character doesn’t show up on screen or in CGs, the developers give the option to players so they can roleplay and better immerse themselves into the game’s world.
A nice addition is the ability to choose your affinity towards Cove once you meet him. Do you have a strong crush on him from the beginning, or will it grow gradually as you age up? As your character gets older, you get to change them how you see fit. You also get to change the way Cove looks as he grows older as well!
Our Life: Now and Forever is the second game in the series, and though only the demo is available currently, it improves upon the character customization from the first game. Players can choose their character’s features such as head and eye shape, hairstyle, and outfit. Colors are not preset and players can use sliders to get the exact tint they’re looking for. Different parts of hair and eyes can be different colors, and some elements can even be flipped to fit the look you desire. Furthermore, you can choose your character’s height, dominant hand, name, nickname preference, pronouns, and more. You can also choose your mother’s look from a few presets. This game is going to be one you’ll really be able to immerse yourself into!
In Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, developed by Game Grumps, you play as a single father of one trying to find your way in a new home. At the start of the game, you get to choose what your character looks like. There are quite a few options to choose from. You get to choose your character’s head shape and their body, which includes transgender options as well. You have a variety of eye, hair, and skin color options to sift through. Players will also get to choose their eye shape, hairstyle, and outfit. This character appears on screen for most of the game, which is a nice addition for immersion. The game even goes as far as to allow you to choose whether your daughter, Amanda, was from a relationship with a woman prior, or if she was adopted.
This is definitely a unique but heartwarming and fun addition to this list, which you should certainly check out if you’re looking for a modern male/male love story!
Have you created a unique character in any of these games? Share them with us in the comments below!