Open-world is one of the most played video game genres, with titles that provide hours of exploration and quests in their vast and varied worlds. Open-world offerings are known to exude player freedom at their best, giving them all the tools and utilities from the get-go to go on adventures.
Games in the open-world genre are known to include various gameplay modes into one cohesive experience with lots of focus on exploration and discovery. Most open-world titles tend to convey narratives based around well-defined characters, like Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and The Witcher games.
Although set-in-stone characters allow developers to weave more cohesive narratives in games filled with open-ended gameplay choices, some titles take the gamble of incorporating character creation systems. This gives gamers more freedom in their open-world experiences.
The extra level of freedom and personalization is greatly enhanced by the quality of the character creator in some of the best open-world games out there. Not all titles possess the same number of options and custom sliders in their character creator. Still, the added freedom is greatly appreciated as it allows users to fully project themselves via their custom avatars in these vast open-world experiences.
Note: This article reflects the author's opinions.
Amazing open-world games with robust character creation options
1) Elden Ring
FromSoftware's games have always included in-depth character creators. From the original Demon's Souls on the PlayStation 3 to Dark Souls 3, the character creation system is one of the best parts of the Souls games.
FromSoftware did not include a character creation system in their 2019 smash-hit Sekiro. Instead of an unnamed custom character, they chose to build the title around a well-defined character.
The company had plans to implement the best iteration of their signature character creation system with their most recent title, Elden Ring.
With Elden Ring, the developers have truly nailed the custom character creation aspect of the souls-like games. The system retains all the previous sliders and options from the earlier games, especially Dark Souls 3.
It even adds a bunch of new sliders with additional face and makeup options for players to sculpt the very best Tarnished Warrior that they can.
Character creation in Elden Ring also benefits hugely from the massively improved lighting and texture quality of the game, giving the textures on the character models near photorealistic visual clarity. Users can easily expect to spend upwards of 15 to 20 minutes (maybe even more) on the character creation screen itself.
Besides having a hugely improved character creation system, Elden Ring also features a vast, massively detailed, and gorgeous open world for gamers to explore. The game is a benchmark of open-world game design, with exploration and freedom at its forefront.
2) Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of developer Bioware's last good titles that was released before the catastrophic launches of Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem. It managed to get plenty of things right over its predecessor Dragon Age 2.
The game features an expansive and equally beautiful open world for players to explore and a solid and well-written narrative with many difficult choices for them to make, with each decision having benefits and consequences.
Another aspect of the title that was massively overhauled over the last two Dragon Age entries is the character creation system. Gamers can choose between human, qunari, dwarf, or elf, each class having its own customizable features. They can easily sink minutes, if not hours, just in the character customization feature of Dragon Age: Inquisition.
3) Fallout 4
The Fallout games revel in giving players complete freedom over how they want to experience the post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic settings in these titles. The series has always emphasized character creation more than any other open-world video game, with detailed character appearances, attributes, and skill customization.
2015's Fallout 4 stands as the best example in the series with a robust character creation system that incorporates everything from the previous titles in the series, improving upon them and adding new features to let players create their ideal 'Sole Survivor' of Vault 111.
The title runs on an updated version of the Creation Engine, with improved lighting, texture mapping, and implementation of temporal anti-aliasing. These improvements allow for substantially better-looking character models in Fallout 4 than what was possible in previous franchise entries.
4) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Like the Fallout games, Skyrim is about user freedom in its gameplay and narrative. It is the poster child of open-world role-playing games that allow gamers to be anyone and do anything.
It is a household name by this point, with the number of ports and different versions developers, Bethesda, have been releasing over the years.
Skyrim allows players to pick from various races and body types to create their own Dragonborn. The character creation might not have lots of options to fine-tune every single detail on their custom character.
Still, for a title that came out a decade ago, it's staggering, and the various gameplay and build options in Skyrim more than make up for that.
5) Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077, at launch, was a complete trainwreck. The game had it all, including visual glitches, bugged quests, erratic framerates, and, worst of all, frequent crashes even on top-tier PC hardware.
As it stands now, with many numerous patches and bug fixes, Cyberpunk 2077 has made tremendous improvements, making it a stable and delightful open-world experience.
While Cyberpunk 2077 might have been one of the worst Triple-A launches in gaming history, one thing it got right from day one was the immaculate character creation in the game. One of its widely marketed aspects was its level of freedom and customization available to users; for the most part, it delivers on its promises.
The title features a robust character customization system that lets gamers decide on their protagonist's gender, skin tone, hairstyle, nail color, teeth color, cyberware, piercings, and many other attributes. The game even lets them customize their character's genitals (whether to give them one or not).
Cyberpunk 2077 might not be the immersive role-playing experience that the developers were hyping it up to be, but it undeniably has one of the best character creation and customization systems in any open-world game to date.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions.