The 'Elden Ring' Create-A-Character Continues Gaming's Laziest Trend
Elden Ring is out, and it's apparently the best thing to lose your mind to these days. There's one thing it doesn't do well, however, and that's POC hair – more specifically, Black hair. Not getting to play as a character you fully identify with in a blockbuster that boasts a crazy number of customization options sucks – especially when most people have that option. Many will brush off hair as a small thing, sure. But is it? Is it really? I don't need to ask the FBI to learn that we all spend unhealthy amounts of time on character creation screens, and I won't because I don't want to bother the FBI while they're busy playing Elden Ring.
The Black hairstyle choices here are particularly jarring. From Software did a good job in the texture department, but instead of using it to come up with some cool designs, you just get one really bad afro – don't take it from me, take it from someone who knows about this stuff.
If you don't see anything wrong with that, think about a game that only allowed you to pick this hairstyle.
Many game devs seemingly don't get (or maybe care about) how big anime and Japanese video games are among Black people in the US, and how such a big game shouldn't be missing out on something as relatively simple as a cool hairstyle. From Software really has no excuse here when they feature so many white hairdos that feel like a joke. Devs are aware that players like to make joke characters, so having bad non-white hairstyles would be acceptable if only they also had some cool ones.
It's weird because outside of that, Elden Ring's character creation is pretty good, with skin colors looking more natural than they ever have. Even weirder is how even goddamn Cyberpunk 2077 proves to be the total anti-Elden Ring by actually doing Black hair correctly.
While it's but a myth for many Westerners, Black Japanese people exist too. Did you know that the Obsidian Samurai from Nioh – Dark Souls' biggest successful copy – isn't an attempt at being woke, but a real-life black samurai named Yasuke who served lord Nobunaga himself? It's crazy that Black people are actually pop-culturally tied with white people when it comes to the number of samurai depictions. Thanks for nothing, Tom Cruise.
Top Image: From Software