Pokémon GO’s New Character Creator Arrives, Everyone Hates It

Pokémon GO’s New Character Creator Arrives, Everyone Hates It

Pretty much every change Niantic makes to Pokémon GO results in enormous backlash from its vast community of players. That’s frequently because pretty much every change Niantic makes to Pokémon GO is heralded as disastrous and stupid. The latest change is a new avatar creator, and you’ll never guess what’s happened.

If there’s one thing gamers hate, it’s an unexpected change, and so player reactions to any change in any game tend to be negative. But sometimes changes can be identified right away as being objectively poor, and that seems to be the case with the avatar updates for POGO. I mean, the fact that every character now looks like it’s straddling an imaginary traffic cone certainly doesn’t help.

In typical Niantic fashion, the update to Pokémon GO was billed with elusive trailers and cryptic in-game messages as a huge, exciting change, leading players to speculate that some significant in-game changes to how the game could be played were coming. Expectations raised, the result was a collection of aesthetic upgrades and downgrades, with the gameplay remaining exactly the same. (I found this even more confusing and anticlimactic than most, because I’d apparently been randomly picked as one of the people to get the graphics updates early, meaning I’d already gotten used to the much-improved backgrounds on catch screens, and prettier in-game map, and assumed so had everyone else.)

 

The majority of issues people have are focused on what might at first seem like a progressive change: the removal of gender options. You can no longer choose between being male or female, instead having all head, body and hair options put together. That’s fine! That’s far more inclusive, and only the wahhiest crybaby would struggle to pick the one that matches their own preference from the list. Oh, except in doing this, Niantic has replaced what was already there with a bunch of androgynous body-type options, a weird middle-ground compromise that offers far less variety. You can now be fat or thin, but that’s about it.

Hair options are especially dreadful, with nothing representing just a generic short hairstyle, and all options beyond “short” contradict the neutral body options with overtly female-styled designs. And while there are many and varied skin tones to choose from (although if you’re white, expect to now be anaemic), it’s miserable when it comes to hair options for people of colour. It’s what you’d expect of a shitty off-brand MMO, not one of the biggest mobile games in the world.

 

Many are upset by how the changes have affected the face of an avatar they’ve enjoyed for the last seven years. Faces can look weirdly stretched, eyes peculiarly far apart (with nothing even close to a slider for such a setting).

“Horrible update, everyone’s avatars look more childish and rounded. The options for the face are terrible too I can’t even….” said Reddit user Stunning-Balance-175 on The Silph Road’s Reddit.

“I wasn’t expecting coming out of the update more beautiful than before, but damn, wtf did they do to me?” added paranoia_muscipula.

Meanwhile on X, popular Pokémon poster Lewtwo wrote, “literally every pokemon go post over the last 24 hours has felt like a fucking funeral this shit is unreal man.”

“How did they manage to whitewash a white man” asked @outofyourvector, posting a before-and-after of their avatar with the new vitamin D-deficient caucasian options.

 

“He looks so sad now. The light gone from his eyes, the healthy glow taken from his skin,” adds @Sti11B3jeweled.

Characters’ eyes are especially different after the update, far less realistic and larger, which is likely what’s causing most of the dissonance for players reeling in response. Also, anyone who was enjoying their curves being represented in-game has now found themselves rather significantly less endowed.

Pokémon GO content creator ZyoniK has come up with a handy set of tips for evading the changes.

 

In his thread, ZyoniK demonstrates how ensuring you’re on Team Instinct (which all the best people already were) means you can pick a costume that comes with a mask, glasses and hat that almost entirely obscures your face.

I’ve found that my kid’s avatar was protected from the worst of it by already having glasses and a giant Mimikyu hat covering half his face. There’s nothing I can do about those bowlegs, however.


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