E3 Hands-On Impressions
Alongside the two Rare games, during the Xbox Holiday Special in New York City we got a little chance to "play" with the 360 avatar editor.
Being the only MR staffer with a Wii (and a Mii I barely use), I can attest to the similarity of customization, yet Microsoft has expanded on it just a little bit distinguish it graphics-wise. Pretty much anything can be customized, including weight, height, face, eyes, hairstyle, etc. From the normal (medium size and weight) to the crazy (eyes and lips that make you look like either a prostitute or Jaws), it's very easy and more intuitive than the Mii.
There was an option with the X button to let you rotate your avatar around, but it wasn't implemented in the demo. However, unlike the Miis, in which you can make as many as your Wii can handle, your Xbox Live Avatar (as they're officially called) is the only avatar you can customize in your profile. Meaning that if you want to make that more detailed Bill Cosby Avatar that you've always wanted, you'd have to make another account for that sole purpose. Extremely disappointing if you're a huge fan of the Mii interface, but indifferent if you're not. It's obvious that Microsoft is gearing more towards having everyone have their own custom avatar in a personal way instead of the "just for fun and laughs" program that the Wii has.
Talking to the man in charge of the avatars, he revealed us that downloadable content in terms of more options for customization is definitely something being considered, as well as us finding out that no title besides Scene It? 2 will implement the avatars. It is currently in the hands of many developers, so whether or not we'll see Mii60s invading our games is something to anticipate or heavily fear. Rest assured that you won't be seeing them in Nuts & Bolts or Trouble in Paradise.
Verdict? It's too early to say. It's nice that they're attracting the casual gamer as well as giving us core gamers a reason to stay onboard (Resident Evil 5, Fallout 3, and Fable 2, for example), so there's that balance. While it's commendable that Rare decided to do something outside of a video game, it still remains to be seen whether or not it'll garner the positive response it's no doubt looking for later this Fall.