E3 2017: Xbox One Avatars Are Being Overhauled

Since the days of the Xbox 360, players have been able to create an Xbox Live Avatar--a customizable, digital person that serves as an identifier for your profile. Although they rarely get much attention anymore, that hasn't stopped Microsoft from working on a significant overhaul of the customization system. It announced today "Avatars 2.0," a new, more robust Avatar creator that has a lot more options.

On its Xbox Daily show at E3 2017, Microsoft revealed the revamp, detailing some of the changes that are coming. First and foremost, this is not just new items and sliders--the entire Avatar creator has been rebuilt in the Unity engine. Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, designer Kathryn Storm, and project manager Bryan Saftler explained that the system now supports a much higher level of diversity as a result of this new engine.

"Our new Avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind, with absolutely more options," Storm said. "We want people to feel like we have endless options to really reflect who they are."

"At the end of the day, Avatars are meant for whatever you want your digital self to represent," Saftler stated.

Part of this effort for greater diversity is that the new system won't restrict players to wearing a particular gender's clothing. Anything available can be worn by any Avatar, regardless of gender or appearance.

Finally, the new engine allows for a much greater compatibility between item and Avatar. Statler explained that the goal was to make it so that the items--clothing, mounts, and more--feel like they're part of the character. Microsoft hopes that this will create possibilities for better games that integrate Avatars into their gameplay.

The new system will be released this fall for Windows 10 and Xbox One. This is just one of the many things that Microsoft has announced this week; for more, you can check out our roundup of all the news from its E3 2017 press conference. In addition, GameSpot spoke to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer this morning, asking him about console wars, the possibility of PS4 Pro holding back the Xbox One X, and what "console launch exclusive" means.



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