The Top 7... things Grand Theft Auto IV needs

The kingpin of crime games comes roaring back in October. Here's what we'd like to see when it does

2. Custom characters

San Andreas' former gang-banger CJ was a great character, and probably the best protagonist the GTA series has ever produced. But part of what made him so cool was that you could make him your own, with total control over his outfits, his physique, his hairstyle and even his tastes in cars, music and women. Maybe it's time to give players control over his face, too.


Above: If Home can do it, why not GTA?

Saints Row did it. The Godfather did it. And while deep storylines and strong main characters are great, there's no reason not to give us a little more control over what our drug-thug avatar looks like in GTA, as well. Obviously, there might need to be some restrictions if the main character comes from a certain ethnic background, but honestly, how much does the shape of the protagonist's face matter to the story?

On the other hand, it seems to matter a lot to the players, as create-a-character features are becoming more and more prevalent these days. And by enabling players to put their own stamp on the game, Saints Row and The Godfather brought them a little closer to the story, making them feel more like an active participant than a behind-the-scenes observer. Given that many players form personal connections to GTA games, giving them more control over their avatar's appearance might bridge the gap between GTAIV being a popular car-crime game, and GTAIV being all things to all people. We're just saying, is all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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