Xbox Live’s Avatars, first introduced on the Xbox 360, are getting one hell of a makeover.
Microsoft announced its plans to update the cartoony characters, which Live users can customize to represent themselves online, during its Xbox Daily livestreams from the E3 2017 show floor. Frankly, what was shown and discussed was so impressive that it’s surprising the Xbox team chose not to include it in the press conference. I guess that’s what happens when you’re already jam-packed with a new console reveal and people saying “Native 4K, rock-sold 60 FPS.”
Anyway, take a look at this sizzle reel:
As you can see, the art style has gotten a massive upgrade, fixing the awkwardly shaped heads of the old Avatars and adding way more expressiveness to the faces. A big focus has also been placed on inclusivity. The team confirmed during the Xbox Daily stream that the Avatars will offer a diversity of body types, including those that are gender-neutral. Clothes aren’t locked down by gender, either, so anyone can wear whatever they damn well feel like. Huzzah!
Also, since the Avatars have been rebuilt from the ground up in Unity, they now sport a full physics system that lets them interact with objects in the world. That includes what Xbox senior product manager Bryan Saftler called “different types of mounts, so to speak—whether you’re on a skateboard or a motorcycle, or whether you want to be in a wheelchair.” Not entirely sure that conveys the finer points of being in a wheelchair, but there you have it.
Here’s the full discussion of the new Avatars from the Xbox Daily stream, if you’d like to watch it yourself. (The embed should start and stop in the right place, but if not, you’ll want to skip ahead to just past the 1:55:00 mark.)
The new Avatars are slated to design this fall. By the sound of what was said on the livestream, they’ll arrive first on Windows 10 before rolling out to “the Xbox family of devices.” If we had to guess, that means Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X, not Xbox 360.