Microsoft’s new Xbox avatars have been delayed to early 2018, according to Mike Ybarra, the corporate vice president of the Xbox and Windows gaming platforms. The new avatars will completely revamp the existing system, introducing more inclusive character designs.
The new Xbox avatars were announced during the Xbox presentation at E3 2017 and were just one of the major reveals from the event. The show also included a look at Crackdown 3‘s female characters and the announcement of Assassin’s Creed Origins.
New Xbox Avatars Offer More Inclusive Designs, Allow Players to Express Themselves
The new Xbox avatars had been scheduled to release on Windows PCs this fall, with an Xbox One release planned for the end of the year. But it now looks like this will not be happening.
When a fan asked Mike Ybarra for news on the character revamp, Ybarra told them that the new Xbox avatars will “most likely [release] early next year.” The team is “working to make them great,” added the Microsoft executive, who also said that “[fans’] patience will pay off.”
The new Xbox avatars appear to reflect the full diversity of Xbox One and Windows PC players. Players will be able to model their Xbox avatars after themselves, including wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and various skin tones. The revamped character design system will also remove gender roles and will not assign specific looks and pieces of clothing to a specific gender, which sounds similar to The Sims 4‘s removal of gender restrictions on Create-A-Sim items.
Most likely early next year. Working to make them great. Patience will pay off. https://t.co/iqn4Y4FNPu
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) November 13, 2017
During a livestream at E3 2017, Kathryn Storm, interaction designer with Xbox, said that the new Xbox avatar system had been “built with inclusivity in mind” and that “We want people to feel like they have endless options to reflect who they really are.”
Meanwhile, Bryan Saftler, Xbox lead product manager, said that “No matter what you think you look like, what you want to represent online, this new avatar system, the whole way we built it, is designed to make sure you feel like you can represent your best self online.”
Windows PC and Xbox One players will be disappointed that the feature will miss its initial release window. However, it sounds as though Microsoft is taking great care in getting the system right and allowing players to fully express themselves and their identities. So, as Ybarra suggests, the wait will be worth it.
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