Game developers generally have a tendency to make male characters within games a generic stereotypical everyday type of guy, who has a fairly strong build, generally wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I don’t believe however, it is to much of a problem but with that said it depends on the game. An action adventure game such as Uncharted has the description I said above but I believe it goes with the game genre. I remember watching an interview with Naughty Dog a while back for uncharted 2, with them saying they wanted Nathan Drake to look like a typical everyday kind of guy, with a bit of humor and fairly good looks makes him more relatable to the consumers, than say somebody who may look out of place who is either to big or skinny and wear clothes that are not socially acceptable within society.
Booker DeWitt from Bioshock Infinite also has a similar effect were he has that strong macho look to him, with a strong jawline and a toned body. It fits within the game and his character(being a Pinkerton agent) but I can understand why this look can become boring and stagnant to some.
Commander Shepard also suffers a similar fate in this regard with his masculine looks, though it does allow you to change the looks from the preset. Due to it being an rpg, the conventions are different from action games in the custimisation department, generally allowing you to change the look of clothing and your protagonists features. This is why rpg games do not suffer similar effects to that of action/adventure games and other genres(generally).
A female sheppard was also introduced on the third game giving gamers a greater choice in the character they want to be.
Here is a screenshot of the character custimisation screen for mass effect 3 –
You can also see this effect with Mad max with his tone and facial features and hair type…
Many other games have this effect, most within the action/adventure genre and it can become tiresome and sterile to see. Whilst I do not have to much of a problem with this, it just depends on the games story and whether he/she fits into the world. I think it is one of the limitations with the genre and how the developer sees there characters vision. For example, Naughty dog could go down the route of allowing you to change the look of Nathan Drake in uncharted, but to me it would not be the same game as I know it now. Nathan Drake has an iconic look to that franchise just like Indiana Jones does with Harrison ford, and to change the look of Drake would, to me, subtract from the experience. Though they could go down the mass effect route were you could change the character look and keep the same preset, but may have less detail overall in facial animation and what not and subtract from the graphical fidelity.
Image credit –
Booker Dewitt –
Commander shepard –
Female shepard –
Character custimisation –
Mad max –