You can make a skeletal old man be the street-savvy leader of the Saints, or a fat, middle-aged woman. We can't emphasise enough how convincing the slider-bars are, as their effects are portayed in real-time on your avatar. Breasts augment then sag, thighs get tree trunk-like, and muscle tone changes seamlessly from body-builder to Jarvis Cocker to Jabba the Hutt and back again - or anything in-between.
The only part that didn't look quite right in the build we saw was the characters' eyes - the whites were plain white, making the faces look a tad mask-like, but everything else was superb. Once you're done, hit finish and your character gets dressed in the blink of an eye (customisable later) and you're shown your crib.
But it doesn't end there. Your crib is also fully customisable. You start off with a run-down, slob's flat with garbage lying around and a tiny TV. But you can spend money earned in-game to upgrade your TV to a home-cinema system with a widescreen plasma TV. You can also install a 'stripper pole', which, sure enough, immediately attracts a girl to come and dance round it. Of course, videogame strippers are never that sexy, but it's a nice idea.
There are three styles of crib, from cheap to classy, until you're living in a magnificent abode just like in... well, MTV's Cribs (see below). We're very impressed and can't wait to get exploring the system ourselves. Seeing how the game deals with your outlandish creations in cut-scenes etc will be very interesting. We'll have an in-depth preview for you very soon as the game gets ready to go head-to-head with GTA IV.
Peep the progression:
Check out more new screens here.