5 ways Pokemon GO could fix the avatar update issues

Official artwork for Pokemon GO (Image via Niantic)
Many fans have complained about the new way avatars look in Pokemon GO (Image via Niantic)

Following a recent update to Pokemon GO, many players have noticed a stark decrease in the visual quality of the game's player avatars. This has been done without much notice to the community outside of an announcement on the title's official website stating that new customization options would be coming soon.

This sudden change in avatar appearances is likely caused by the newfound success of Niantic's other popular release, Monster Hunter Now. With both titles featuring avatar customization, the Monster Hunter Now avatars were ported over to Pokemon GO. This was most likely because their generic body types were cheaper to design cosmetics for instead of the classic anime appearances the latter game was known for.

Since it is unlikely that Niantic will revert the update, here are five ways the developer could improve this avatar situation.

Note: This list is subjective and solely reflects the opinions of the writer


5 ways Niantic could improve Pokemon GO avatars' visual quality

1) Give players the choice

Niantic could have incorporated a body type option, giving players the choice of what avatar they want (Image via Niantic)
Niantic could have incorporated a body type option, giving players the choice of what avatar they want (Image via Niantic)

Many online games with avatar creation often feature various different body types for player characters. While Niantic would most likely label the two distinct Pokemon GO avatar models as modern and classic, they can give players the choice to keep their old avatars if they prefer the classic look.

Even if Niantic stops making new clothes for these classic avatars, many players would want to still keep their classic avatars. This option may result in Niantic halting the creation of cosmetics for these classic avatars.


2) Update the avatars again

Niantic could make a finalized avatar design that works with the art styles of both games (Image via Niantic)
Niantic could make a finalized avatar design that works with the art styles of both games (Image via Niantic)

With the current version of the avatars, it is clear that Niantic had Monster Hunter Now in mind. This has led to the avatars looking a bit too realistic, while still maintaining cartoonish eyes, which many players claim look ugly and jarring.

Niantic could fix this criticism with another major overhaul to avatar appearances. Making the avatars look a bit more cartoonish would fit Monster Hunter Now's more lighthearted theme while translating well into Pokemon GO. While this would be the most costly option, many fans may see it as the best choice.


3) Introduce more advanced customization features

Players should be given more options for customizing their facial features in Pokemon GO (Image via Niantic)
Players should be given more options for customizing their facial features in Pokemon GO (Image via Niantic)

Many online RPGs have implemented more in-depth character customization by allowing players to sculpt facial structures. While giving Pokemon GO facial customization options on par with console games like Elden Ring and Fallout 4 would be overwhelming for many, Niantic could still introduce a list of pre-made facial features.

For example, Niantic could make five or six different nose types, eye types, lip types, and other facial features. As of writing, Niantic offers various sliders to allow players to customize their character's physical build, so it might not be too unrealistic to assume that this level of customization will make it to Pokemon GO one day.


4) Embrace the more mature-looking avatars

If the avatars are going to look oddly older, Niantic should add more mature customizations like facial hair and makeup (Image via Niantic)
If the avatars are going to look oddly older, Niantic should add more mature customizations like facial hair and makeup (Image via Niantic)

Pokemon GO's avatars were originally designed as parallels for the in-game protagonists from the main series. As such, they were originally made to appear much younger as Pokemon protagonists are typically pre-teens. However, the mobile spin-off's new avatars somewhat rewrote this aesthetic.

With modern GO avatars looking much older, it would fit much better compared to the main series to incorporate customization for other parts of character appearances like facial hair, piercings, and makeup. Since these could just be additional add-ons to characters, they would not be expensive cosmetics to implement.


5) More masks

If the face is the worst part of one's Pokemon GO avatar, they can always just cover it up (Image via Niantic)
If the face is the worst part of one's Pokemon GO avatar, they can always just cover it up (Image via Niantic)

Since the problems a lot of players have with the new avatars are over how the new face template looks, many fans have just started keeping masks on their models. With Niantic giving so many great masks and helmet cosmetics in Pokemon Go's recent updates, players have more choices than ever to cover up those uncanny faces.

While it is a bit unfortunate that the only option to fix the new faces is to cover them up, at least Niantic is putting some serious effort into the new head accessories. Hopefully Niantic either fixes these issues fans have with the avatars or releases mask cosmetics more often.

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