Despite them feeling like a forgotten entity from the yesteryear of gaming, Microsoft has not given up on its colourful player avatars, nor does it plan to anytime soon. In fact, the company believes in them so much that it’s secretly spent the last while redesigning and recreating the personable caricatures from the ground up, using the Unity engine. Their goal? To create a more modern, gender neutral and totally inclusive system, which will speak to today’s varied Xbox Live users.
Major Nelson, designer Kathryn Storm and project manager Bryan Saftler took to the Internet today, via Microsoft’s Xbox Daily Show, where their focus was discussing the need for change and all of the added diversity that has come with it.
“Our new Avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind, with absolutely more options,” Storm stated. “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 continued.
The key words here are inclusivity and diversity, as Microsoft’s new avatars will not restrict clothing items to certain genders. Instead, any particular item of clothing (or any accessory, for the matter) will be wearable by both male and female caricatures, and will fit better than ever before. Going forward, things like side shaves, coloured hair, and different body types will also factor in, as will wheelchairs, which are one of the most impressive additions to this roster.
These new creations, which are code named “Avatars 2.0” will make their Windows 10 and Xbox One debuts sometime next fall. Microsoft also confirmed that it hopes that these redesigns will make developers more interested in including avatars in their games, or basing games around them.